Monday, August 24, 2009

Advice for the End of Summer

"Do not postpone for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow;
barns are not filled by those who postpone
and waste time in aimlessness. Work prospers with care;
he who postpones wrestles with ruin.
When the sun's fierce swelter abates
with the coming of Zeus's rains in autumn,
a man's body feels much lighter
because the dog star, now night's lover
much longer, stands only a brief part of the day
over the heads of men, death's fattened victims....

...But when the house-carrier from the ground climbs on plants,
fleeing the Pleiades, then no longer hoe your vines
but sharpen your sickles and wake up the slaves.
Do not dawdle on shady benches and do not sleep past dawn,
when it is time to reap and the sun shrivels the skin.
At that time rise before the crack of dawn
and bring the grain home to secure abundance of good.
The dawn claims the third portion of a day's work,
the dawn gives a headstart for journeys and jobs,
the dawn's arrival sends many men on their way
and puts the yoke on the necks of many oxen.
When the thistle blooms and the chirping cicada
sits on trees and pours down shrill song
from frenziedly quivering wings in the toilsome summer,
then goats are fatter than ever and wine is at its best;
women's lust knows no bounds and men are all dried up,
because the dog star parches their heads and knees
and the heat sears the skin. Then, ah then,
I wish you a shady ledge and your choice wine,
bread baked in the dusk and mid-August's goat milk
and meat from a free-roving heifer that has never calved -
and from firstling kids. Drink sparkling wine,
sitting in the shade with you appetite sated,
and face Zephyr's breeze as it blows from mountain peaks."

- Hesiod, Works and Days

1 comment:

  1. The 'Puppy'is so much bigger........... are you sure he is not eating a chicken on the sly ????