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Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica


Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #8

S    Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1090.
A    Vienna, Rainer Papyri L.P. 21-9 (4th cent.).
B    Geneva, Naville Papyri Pap. 94 (6th cent.).
C    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2771 (11th cent.).
D    Florence, Laur. xxxi 39 (12th cent.).
E    Messina, Univ. Lib. Preexistens 11 (12th-13th cent.).
F    Rome, Vatican 38 (14th cent.).
G    Venice, Marc. ix 6 (14th cent.).
H    Florence, Laur. xxxi 37 (14th cent.).
I    Florence, Laur. xxxii 16 (13th cent.).
K    Florence, Laur. xxxii 2 (14th cent.).
L    Milan, Ambros. G 32 sup. (14th cent.).
M    Florence, Bibl. Riccardiana 71 (15th cent.).
N    Milan, Ambros. J 15 sup. (15th cent.).
O    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2773 (14th cent.).
P    Cambridge, Trinity College (Gale MS.), O.9.27 (13th-14th
Q    Rome, Vatican 1332 (14th cent.).

These MSS. are divided by Rzach into the following families,
issuing from a common original: --

a = C
b = F,G,H
a = D
b = I,K,L,M

a = E
b = N,O,P,Q

"Theogony": --

N    Manchester, Rylands GK. Papyri No. 54 (1st cent. B.C. - 1st
     cent. A.D.).
O    Oxyrhynchus Papyri 873 (3rd cent.).
A    Paris, Bibl. Nat. Suppl. Graec. (papyrus) 1099 (4th-5th
B    London, British Museam clix (4th cent.).
R    Vienna, Rainer Papyri L.P. 21-9 (4th cent.).
C    Paris, Bibl. Nat. Suppl. Graec. 663 (12th cent.).
D    Florence, Laur. xxxii 16 (13th cent.).
E    Florence, Laur., Conv. suppr. 158 (14th cent.).
F    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2833 (15th cent.).
G    Rome, Vatican 915 (14th cent.).
H    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2772 (14th cent.).
I    Florence, Laur. xxxi 32 (15th cent.).
K    Venice, Marc. ix 6 (15th cent.).
L    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2708 (15th cent.).

These MSS. are divided into two families:

a = C,D
b = E,F
c = G,H,I
 = K,L

"Shield of Heracles": --

P    Oxyrhynchus Papyri 689 (2nd cent.).
A    Vienna, Rainer Papyri L.P. 21-29 (4th cent.).
Q    Berlin Papyri, 9774 (1st cent.).
B    Paris, Bibl. Nat., Suppl. Graec. 663 (12th cent.).
C    Paris, Bibl. Nat., Suppl. Graec. 663 (12th cent.).
D    Milan, Ambros. C 222 (13th cent.).
E    Florence, Laur. xxxii 16 (13th cent.).
F    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2773 (14th cent.).
G    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2772 (14th cent.).
H    Florence, Laur. xxxi 32 (15th cent.).
I    London, British Museaum Harleianus (14th cent.).
K    Rome, Bibl. Casanat. 356 (14th cent.)
L    Florence, Laur. Conv. suppr. 158 (14th cent.).
M    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2833 (15th cent.).

These MSS. belong to two families:

a = B,C,D,F
b = G,H,I
a = E
b = K,L,M

To these must be added two MSS. of mixed family:

N    Venice, Marc. ix 6 (14th cent.).
O    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2708 (15th cent.).

Editions of Hesiod: --

Demetrius Chalcondyles, Milan (?) 1493 (?) ("editio princeps",
     containing, however, only the "Works and Days").
Aldus Manutius (Aldine edition), Venice, 1495 (complete works).
Juntine Editions, 1515 and 1540.
Trincavelli, Venice, 1537 (with scholia).

Of modern editions, the following may be noticed: --

Gaisford, Oxford, 1814-1820; Leipzig, 1823 (with scholia: in
     Poett. Graec. Minn II).
Goettling, Gotha, 1831 (3rd edition.  Leipzig, 1878).
Didot Edition, Paris, 1840.
Schomann, 1869.
Koechly and Kinkel, Leipzig, 1870.
Flach, Leipzig, 1874-8.
Rzach, Leipzig, 1902 (larger edition), 1913 (smaller edition).

On the Hesiodic poems generally the ordinary Histories of Greek
Literature may be consulted, but especially the "Hist. de la
Litterature Grecque" I pp. 459 ff. of MM. Croiset.  The summary
account in Prof. Murray's "Anc. Gk. Lit." is written with a
strong sceptical bias.  Very valuable is the appendix to Mair's
translation (Oxford, 1908) on "The Farmer's Year in Hesiod". 
Recent work on the Hesiodic poems is reviewed in full by Rzach in
Bursian's "Jahresberichte" vols. 100 (1899) and 152 (1911).

For the "Fragments" of Hesiodic poems the work of Markscheffel,
"Hesiodi Fragmenta" (Leipzig, 1840), is most valuable: important
also is Kinkel's "Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta" I (Leipzig, 1877)
and the editions of Rzach noticed above.  For recently discovered
papyrus fragments see Wilamowitz, "Neue Bruchstucke d. Hesiod
Katalog" (Sitzungsb. der k. preuss. Akad. fur Wissenschaft, 1900,
pp. 839-851).  A list of papyri belonging to lost Hesiodic works
may here be added: all are the "Catalogues".

1)   Berlin Papyri 7497 (1) (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 7.
2)   Oxyrhynchus Papyri 421 (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 7.
3)   "Petrie Papyri" iii 3. -- Frag. 14.
4)   "Papiri greci e latine", No. 130 (2nd-3rd cent.). -- Frag.
5)   Strassburg Papyri, 55 (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 58.
6)   Berlin Papyri 9739 (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 58.
7)   Berlin Papyri 10560 (3rd cent.). -- Frag. 58.
8)   Berlin Papyri 9777 (4th cent.). -- Frag. 98.
9)   "Papiri greci e latine", No. 131 (2nd-3rd cent.). -- Frag.
10)  Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1358-9.

The Homeric Hymns: --
The text of the Homeric hymns is distinctly bad in condition, a
fact which may be attributed to the general neglect under which
they seem to have laboured at all periods previously to the
Revival of Learning.  Very many defects have been corrected by
the various editions of the Hymns, but a considerable number
still defy all efforts; and especially an abnormal number of
undoubted lacuna disfigure the text.  Unfortunately no papyrus
fragment of the Hymns has yet emerged, though one such fragment
("Berl. Klassikertexte" v.1. pp. 7 ff.) contains a paraphrase of
a poem very closely parallel to the "Hymn to Demeter".

The mediaeval MSS. (2) are thus enumerated by Dr. T.W. Allen: --

A    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2763.
At   Athos, Vatopedi 587.
B    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2765.
C    Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2833.
   Brussels, Bibl. Royale 11377-11380 (16th cent.).
D    Milan, Amrbos. B 98 sup.
E    Modena, Estense iii E 11.
G    Rome, Vatican, Regina 91 (16th cent.).
H    London, British Mus. Harley 1752.
J    Modena, Estense, ii B 14.
K    Florence, Laur. 31, 32.
L    Florence, Laur. 32, 45.
L2   Florence, Laur. 70, 35.
L3   Florence, Laur. 32, 4.
M    Leyden (the Moscow MS.) 33 H (14th cent.).
Mon. Munich, Royal Lib. 333 c.
N    Leyden, 74 c.
O    Milan, Ambros. C 10 inf.
P    Rome, Vatican Pal. graec. 179.

 Paris, Bibl. Nat. Suppl. graec. 1095.
Q    Milan, Ambros. S 31 sup.
R1   Florence, Bibl. Riccard. 53 K ii 13.
R2   Florence, Bibl. Riccard. 52 K ii 14.
S    Rome, Vatican, Vaticani graec. 1880.
T    Madrid, Public Library 24.
V    Venice, Marc. 456.

The same scholar has traced all the MSS. back to a common parent
from which three main families are derived (M had a separate
descent and is not included in any family): --

x1 = E,T
x2 = L,,(and more remotely) At,D,S,H,J,K.
y = E,L,,T (marginal readings).
p = A,B,C,,G,L2,L3,N,O,P,Q,R1,R2,V,Mon.

Editions of the Homeric Hymns, & c.: --

Demetrius Chalcondyles, Florence, 1488 (with the "Epigrams" and
     the "Battle of the Frogs and Mice" in the "ed. pr." of
Aldine Edition, Venice, 1504.
Juntine Edition, 1537.
Stephanus, Paris, 1566 and 1588.

More modern editions or critical works of value are:

Martin (Variarum Lectionum libb. iv), Paris, 1605.
Barnes, Cambridge, 1711.
Ruhnken, Leyden, 1782 (Epist. Crit. and "Hymn to Demeter").
Ilgen, Halle, 1796 (with "Epigrams" and the "Battle of the Frogs
     and Mice").
Matthiae, Leipzig, 1806 (with the "Battle of the Frogs and
Hermann, Berling, 1806 (with "Epigrams").
Franke, Leipzig, 1828 (with "Epigrams" and the "Battle of the
     Frogs and Mice").
Dindorff (Didot edition), Paris, 1837.
Baumeister ("Battle of the Frogs and Mice"), Gottingen, 1852.
Baumeister ("Hymns"), Leipzig, 1860.
Gemoll, Leipzig, 1886.
Goodwin, Oxford, 1893.
Ludwich ("Battle of the Frogs and Mice"), 1896.
Allen and Sikes, London, 1904.
Allen (Homeri Opera v), Oxford, 1912.

Of these editions that of Messrs Allen and Sikes is by far the
best: not only is the text purged of the load of conjectures for
which the frequent obscurities of the Hymns offer a special
opening, but the Introduction and the Notes throughout are of the
highest value.  For a full discussion of the MSS. and textual
problems, reference must be made to this edition, as also to Dr.
T.W. Allen's series of articles in the "Journal of Hellenic
Studies" vols. xv ff.  Among translations those of J. Edgar
(Edinburgh), 1891) and of Andrew Lang (London, 1899) may be

The Epic Cycle: --

The fragments of the Epic Cycle, being drawn from a variety of
authors, no list of MSS. can be given.  The following collections
and editions may be mentioned: --

Muller, Leipzig, 1829.
Dindorff (Didot edition of Homer), Paris, 1837-56.
Kinkel (Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta i), Leipzig, 1877.
Allen (Homeri Opera v), Oxford, 1912.

The fullest discussion of the problems and fragments of the epic
cycle is F.G. Welcker's "der epische Cyclus" (Bonn, vol. i, 1835:
vol. ii, 1849: vol. i, 2nd edition, 1865).  The Appendix to
Monro's "Homer's Odyssey" xii-xxiv (pp. 340 ff.) deals with the
Cyclic poets in relation to Homer, and a clear and reasonable
discussion of the subject is to be found in Croiset's "Hist. de
la Litterature Grecque", vol. i.

On Hesiod, the Hesiodic poems and the problems which these offer
see Rzach's most important article "Hesiodos" in Pauly-Wissowa,
"Real-Encyclopadie" xv (1912).

A discussion of the evidence for the date of Hesiod is to be
found in "Journ. Hell. Stud." xxxv, 85 ff. (T.W. Allen).

Of translations of Hesiod the following may be noticed: -- "The
Georgicks of Hesiod", by George Chapman, London, 1618; "The Works
of Hesiod translated from the Greek", by Thomas Coocke, London,
1728; "The Remains of Hesiod translated from the Greek into
English Verse", by Charles Abraham Elton; "The Works of Hesiod,
Callimachus, and Theognis", by the Rev. J. Banks, M.A.; "Hesiod",
by Prof. James Mair, Oxford, 1908 (3).


(1)  See Schubert, "Berl. Klassikertexte" v. 1.22 ff.; the other
     papyri may be found in the publications whose name they
(2)  Unless otherwise noted, all MSS. are of the 15th century.
(3)  To this list I would also add the following: "Hesiod and
     Theognis", translated by Dorothea Wender (Penguin Classics,
     London, 1973). -- DBK.


WORKS AND DAYS (832 lines)

(ll. 1-10) Muses of Pieria who give glory through song, come
hither, tell of Zeus your father and chant his praise.  Through
him mortal men are famed or un-famed, sung or unsung alike, as
great Zeus wills.  For easily he makes strong, and easily he
brings the strong man low; easily he humbles the proud and raises
the obscure, and easily he straightens the crooked and blasts the
proud, -- Zeus who thunders aloft and has his dwelling most high.

Attend thou with eye and ear, and make judgements straight with
righteousness.  And I, Perses, would tell of true things.

(ll. 11-24) So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife
alone, but all over the earth there are two.  As for the one, a
man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the
other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. 
For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man
loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men
pay harsh Strife her honour due.  But the other is the elder
daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and
dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she
is far kinder to men.  She stirs up even the shiftless to toil;
for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a
rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in
good order; and neighbour vies with is neighbour as he hurries
after wealth.  This Strife is wholesome for men.  And potter is
angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is
jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel.

(ll. 25-41) Perses, lay up these things in your heart, and do not
let that Strife who delights in mischief hold your heart back
from work, while you peep and peer and listen to the wrangles of
the court-house.  Little concern has he with quarrels and courts
who has not a year's victuals laid up betimes, even that which
the earth bears, Demeter's grain.  When you have got plenty of
that, you can raise disputes and strive to get another's goods. 
But you shall have no second chance to deal so again: nay, let us
settle our dispute here with true judgement which is of Zeus and is 
perfect. For we had already divided our inheritance, but you seized the 
greater share and carried it off, greatly swelling the glory of our 
bribe-swallowing lords who love to judge such a cause as this.  Fools!  
They know not how much more the half is than the whole, nor what great 
advantage there is in mallow and asphodel (1).

(ll. 42-53) For the gods keep hidden from men the means of life. 
Else you would easily do work enough in a day to supply you for a
full year even without working; soon would you put away your
rudder over the smoke, and the fields worked by ox and sturdy
mule would run to waste.  But Zeus in the anger of his heart hid
it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he
planned sorrow and mischief against men.  He hid fire; but that
the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the
counsellor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in
thunder did not see it.  But afterwards Zeus who gathers the
clouds said to him in anger:

(ll. 54-59) `Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are
glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire -- a great plague
to you yourself and to men that shall be.  But I will give men as
the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of
heart while they embrace their own destruction.'

(ll. 60-68) So said the father of men and gods, and laughed
aloud.  And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth
with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind,
and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal
goddesses in face; and Athene to teach her needlework and the
weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace
upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs. 
And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argus, to put in
her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature.

(ll. 69-82) So he ordered.  And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son
of Cronos.  Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the
likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed.  And
the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the
divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon
her, and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring
flowers.  And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of
finery.  Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within
her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of
loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in
her.  And he called this woman Pandora (2), because all they who
dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.

(ll. 83-89) But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare,
the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer, the swift messenger of the
gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift.  And Epimetheus did not
think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take
a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might
prove to be something harmful to men.  But he took the gift, and
afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood.

(ll. 90-105) For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote
and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring
the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly.  But the
woman took off the great lid of the jar (3) with her hands and
scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to
men.  Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home within
under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door;
for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of
Aegis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds.  But the rest,
countless plagues, wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils
and the sea is full.  Of themselves diseases come upon men
continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals
silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them.  So is there
no way to escape the will of Zeus.

(ll. 106-108) Or if you will, I will sum you up another tale well
and skilfully -- and do you lay it up in your heart, -- how the
gods and mortal men sprang from one source.

(ll. 109-120) First of all the deathless gods who dwell on
Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of
Cronos when he was reigning in heaven.  And they lived like gods
without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief:
miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never
failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all
evils.  When they died, it was as though they were overcome with
sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth
unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint.  They
dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things,
rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.

(ll. 121-139) But after earth had covered this generation -- they
are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly,
delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam
everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on
judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth; for this royal
right also they received; -- then they who dwell on Olympus made
a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far. 
It was like the golden race neither in body nor in spirit.  A
child was brought up at his good mother's side an hundred years,
an utter simpleton, playing childishly in his own home.  But when
they were full grown and were come to the full measure of their
prime, they lived only a little time in sorrow because of their
foolishness, for they could not keep from sinning and from
wronging one another, nor would they serve the immortals, nor
sacrifice on the holy altars of the blessed ones as it is right
for men to do wherever they dwell.  Then Zeus the son of Cronos
was angry and put them away, because they would not give honour
to the blessed gods who live on Olympus.

(ll. 140-155) But when earth had covered this generation also --
they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and,
though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also --
Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen
race, sprung from ash-trees (4); and it was in no way equal to
the silver age, but was terrible and strong.  They loved the
lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no
bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men.  Great
was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from
their shoulders on their strong limbs.  Their armour was of
bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their
implements: there was no black iron.  These were destroyed by
their own hands and passed to the dank house of chill Hades, and
left no name: terrible though they were, black Death seized them,
and they left the bright light of the sun.

(ll. 156-169b) But when earth had covered this generation also,
Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the
fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like
race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our
own, throughout the boundless earth.  Grim war and dread battle
destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven-
gated Thebe when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some,
when it had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy
for rich-haired Helen's sake: there death's end enshrouded a part
of them.  But to the others father Zeus the son of Cronos gave a
living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the
ends of earth.  And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands
of the blessed along the shore of deep swirling Ocean, happy
heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit
flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and
Cronos rules over them (5); for the father of men and gods
released him from his bonds.  And these last equally have honour
and glory.

(ll. 169c-169d) And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another
generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth.

(ll. 170-201) Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of
the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born
afterwards.  For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest
from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and
the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them.  But, notwithstanding,
even these shall have some good mingled with their evils.  And
Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to
have grey hair on the temples at their birth (6).  The father
will not agree with his children, nor the children with their
father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor
will brother be dear to brother as aforetime.  Men will dishonour
their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them,
chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing
the fear of the gods.  They will not repay their aged parents the
cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man
will sack another's city.  There will be no favour for the man
who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather
men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing.  Strength
will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will
hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will
swear an oath upon them.  Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil,
with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. 
And then Aidos and Nemesis (7), with their sweet forms wrapped in
white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake
mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter
sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help
against evil.

(ll. 202-211) And now I will tell a fable for princes who
themselves understand.  Thus said the hawk to the nightingale
with speckled neck, while he carried her high up among the
clouds, gripped fast in his talons, and she, pierced by his
crooked talons, cried pitifully.  To her he spoke disdainfully:
`Miserable thing, why do you cry out?  One far stronger than you
now holds you fast, and you must go wherever I take you,
songstress as you are.  And if I please I will make my meal of
you, or let you go.  He is a fool who tries to withstand the
stronger, for he does not get the mastery and suffers pain
besides his shame.'  So said the swiftly flying hawk, the long-
winged bird.

(ll. 212-224) But you, Perses, listen to right and do not foster
violence; for violence is bad for a poor man.  Even the
prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down
under it when he has fallen into delusion.  The better path is to
go by on the other side towards justice; for Justice beats
Outrage when she comes at length to the end of the race.  But
only when he has suffered does the fool learn this.  For Oath
keeps pace with wrong judgements.  There is a noise when Justice
is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and
give sentence with crooked judgements, take her.  And she,
wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people,
weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have
driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her.

(ll. 225-237) But they who give straight judgements to strangers
and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just,
their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Peace, the
nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus
never decrees cruel war against them.  Neither famine nor
disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly
they tend the fields which are all their care.  The earth bears
them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns
upon the top and bees in the midst.  Their woolly sheep are laden
with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents.  They
flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on
ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.

(ll. 238-247) But for those who practise violence and cruel deeds
far-seeing Zeus, the son of Cronos, ordains a punishment.  Often
even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises
presumptuous deeds, and the son of Cronos lays great trouble upon
the people, famine and plague together, so that the men perish
away, and their women do not bear children, and their houses
become few, through the contriving of Olympian Zeus.  And again,
at another time, the son of Cronos either destroys their wide
army, or their walls, or else makes an end of their ships on the

(ll. 248-264) You princes, mark well this punishment you also;
for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who
oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the
anger of the gods.  For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice
ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep
watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in
mist, all over the earth.  And there is virgin Justice, the
daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods
who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying
slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and
tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad
folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and
give sentence crookedly.  Keep watch against this, you princes,
and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put
crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.

(ll. 265-266) He does mischief to himself who does mischief to
another, and evil planned harms the plotter most.

(ll. 267-273) The eye of Zeus, seeing all and understanding all,
beholds these things too, if so he will, and fails not to mark
what sort of justice is this that the city keeps within it.  Now,
therefore, may neither I myself be righteous among men, nor my
son -- for then it is a bad thing to be righteous -- if indeed
the unrighteous shall have the greater right.  But I think that
all-wise Zeus will not yet bring that to pass.

(ll. 274-285) But you, Perses, lay up these things within you
heart and listen now to right, ceasing altogether to think of
violence.  For the son of Cronos has ordained this law for men,
that fishes and beasts and winged fowls should devour one
another, for right is not in them; but to mankind he gave right
which proves far the best.  For whoever knows the right and is
ready to speak it, far-seeing Zeus gives him prosperity; but
whoever deliberately lies in his witness and forswears himself,
and so hurts Justice and sins beyond repair, that man's
generation is left obscure thereafter.  But the generation of the
man who swears truly is better thenceforward.

(ll. 286-292) To you, foolish Perses, I will speak good sense. 
Badness can be got easily and in shoals: the road to her is
smooth, and she lives very near us.  But between us and Goodness
the gods have placed the sweat of our brows: long and steep is
the path that leads to her, and it is rough at the first; but
when a man has reached the top, then is she easy to reach, though
before that she was hard.

(ll. 293-319) That man is altogether best who considers all
things himself and marks what will be better afterwards and at
the end; and he, again, is good who listens to a good adviser;
but whoever neither thinks for himself nor keeps in mind what
another tells him, he is an unprofitable man.  But do you at any
rate, always remembering my charge, work, high-born Perses, that
Hunger may hate you, and venerable Demeter richly crowned may
love you and fill your barn with food; for Hunger is altogether a
meet comrade for the sluggard.  Both gods and men are angry with
a man who lives idle, for in nature he is like the stingless
drones who waste the labour of the bees, eating without working;
but let it be your care to order your work properly, that in the
right season your barns may be full of victual.  Through work men
grow rich in flocks and substance, and working they are much
better loved by the immortals (8).  Work is no disgrace: it is
idleness which is a disgrace.  But if you work, the idle will
soon envy you as you grow rich, for fame and renown attend on
wealth.  And whatever be your lot, work is best for you, if you
turn your misguided mind away from other men's property to your
work and attend to your livelihood as I bid you.  An evil shame
is the needy man's companion, shame which both greatly harms and
prospers men: shame is with poverty, but confidence with wealth.

(ll. 320-341) Wealth should not be seized: god-given wealth is
much better; for it a man take great wealth violently and
perforce, or if he steal it through his tongue, as often happens
when gain deceives men's sense and dishonour tramples down
honour, the gods soon blot him out and make that man's house low,
and wealth attends him only for a little time.  Alike with him
who does wrong to a suppliant or a guest, or who goes up to his
brother's bed and commits unnatural sin in lying with his wife,
or who infatuately offends against fatherless children, or who
abuses his old father at the cheerless threshold of old age and
attacks him with harsh words, truly Zeus himself is angry, and at
the last lays on him a heavy requittal for his evil doing.  But
do you turn your foolish heart altogether away from these things,
and, as far as you are able, sacrifice to the deathless gods
purely and cleanly, and burn rich meats also, and at other times
propitiate them with libations and incense, both when you go to
bed and when the holy light has come back, that they may be
gracious to you in heart and spirit, and so you may buy another's
holding and not another yours.

(ll. 342-351) Call your friend to a feast; but leave your enemy
alone; and especially call him who lives near you: for if any
mischief happen in the place, neighbours come ungirt, but kinsmen
stay to gird themselves (9).  A bad neighbour is as great a
plague as a good one is a great blessing; he who enjoys a good
neighbour has a precious possession.  Not even an ox would die
but for a bad neighbour.  Take fair measure from your neighbour
and pay him back fairly with the same measure, or better, if you
can; so that if you are in need afterwards, you may find him

(ll. 352-369) Do not get base gain: base gain is as bad as ruin. 
Be friends with the friendly, and visit him who visits you.  Give
to one who gives, but do not give to one who does not give.  A
man gives to the free-handed, but no one gives to the close-
fisted.  Give is a good girl, but Take is bad and she brings
death.  For the man who gives willingly, even though he gives a
great thing, rejoices in his gift and is glad in heart; but
whoever gives way to shamelessness and takes something himself,
even though it be a small thing, it freezes his heart.  He who
adds to what he has, will keep off bright-eyed hunger; for it you
add only a little to a little and do this often, soon that little
will become great.  What a man has by him at home does not
trouble him: it is better to have your stuff at home, for
whatever is abroad may mean loss.  It is a good thing to draw on
what you have; but it grieves your heart to need something and
not to have it, and I bid you mark this.  Take your fill when the
cask is first opened and when it is nearly spent, but midways be
sparing: it is poor saving when you come to the lees.

(ll. 370-372) Let the wage promised to a friend be fixed; even
with your brother smile -- and get a witness; for trust and
mistrust, alike ruin men.

(ll. 373-375) Do not let a flaunting woman coax and cozen and
deceive you: she is after your barn.  The man who trusts
womankind trust deceivers.

(ll. 376-380) There should be an only son, to feed his father's
house, for so wealth will increase in the home; but if you leave
a second son you should die old.  Yet Zeus can easily give great
wealth to a greater number.  More hands mean more work and more

(ll. 381-382) If your heart within you desires wealth, do these
things and work with work upon work.

(ll. 383-404) When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising
(10), begin your harvest, and your ploughing when they are going
to set (11).  Forty nights and days they are hidden and appear
again as the year moves round, when first you sharpen your
sickle.  This is the law of the plains, and of those who live
near the sea, and who inhabit rich country, the glens and dingles
far from the tossing sea, -- strip to sow and strip to plough and
strip to reap, if you wish to get in all Demeter's fruits in due
season, and that each kind may grow in its season.  Else,
afterwards, you may chance to be in want, and go begging to other
men's houses, but without avail; as you have already come to me. 
But I will give you no more nor give you further measure. 
Foolish Perses!  Work the work which the gods ordained for men,
lest in bitter anguish of spirit you with your wife and children
seek your livelihood amongst your neighbours, and they do not
heed you.  Two or three times, may be, you will succeed, but if
you trouble them further, it will not avail you, and all your
talk will be in vain, and your word-play unprofitable.  Nay, I
bid you find a way to pay your debts and avoid hunger.

(ll. 405-413) First of all, get a house, and a woman and an ox
for the plough -- a slave woman and not a wife, to follow the
oxen as well -- and make everything ready at home, so that you
may not have to ask of another, and he refuses you, and so,
because you are in lack, the season pass by and your work come to
nothing.  Do not put your work off till to-morrow and the day
after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who
puts off his work: industry makes work go well, but a man who
putts off work is always at hand-grips with ruin.

(ll. 414-447) When the piercing power and sultry heat of the sun
abate, and almighty Zeus sends the autumn rains (12), and men's
flesh comes to feel far easier, -- for then the star Sirius
passes over the heads of men, who are born to misery, only a
little while by day and takes greater share of night, -- then,
when it showers its leaves to the ground and stops sprouting, the
wood you cut with your axe is least liable to worm.  Then
remember to hew your timber: it is the season for that work.  Cut
a mortar (13) three feet wide and a pestle three cubits long, and
an axle of seven feet, for it will do very well so; but if you
make it eight feet long, you can cut a beetle (14) from it as
well.  Cut a felloe three spans across for a waggon of ten
palms' width.  Hew also many bent timbers, and bring home a
plough-tree when you have found it, and look out on the mountain
or in the field for one of holm-oak; for this is the strongest
for oxen to plough with when one of Athena's handmen has fixed in
the share-beam and fastened it to the pole with dowels.  Get two
ploughs ready work on them at home, one all of a piece, and the
other jointed.  It is far better to do this, for if you should
break one of them, you can put the oxen to the other.  Poles of
laurel or elm are most free from worms, and a share-beam of oak
and a plough-tree of holm-oak.  Get two oxen, bulls of nine
years; for their strength is unspent and they are in the prime of
their age: they are best for work.  They will not fight in the
furrow and break the plough and then leave the work undone.  Let
a brisk fellow of forty years follow them, with a loaf of four
quarters (15) and eight slices (16) for his dinner, one who will
attend to his work and drive a straight furrow and is past the
age for gaping after his fellows, but will keep his mind on his
work.  No younger man will be better than he at scattering the
seed and avoiding double-sowing; for a man less staid gets
disturbed, hankering after his fellows.

(ll. 448-457) Mark, when you hear the voice of the crane (17) who
cries year by year from the clouds above, for she give the signal
for ploughing and shows the season of rainy winter; but she vexes
the heart of the man who has no oxen.  Then is the time to feed
up your horned oxen in the byre; for it is easy to say: `Give me
a yoke of oxen and a waggon,' and it is easy to refuse: `I have
work for my oxen.'  The man who is rich in fancy thinks his
waggon as good as built already -- the fool!  He does not know
that there are a hundred timbers to a waggon.  Take care to lay
these up beforehand at home.

(ll. 458-464) So soon as the time for ploughing is proclaimed to
men, then make haste, you and your slaves alike, in wet and in
dry, to plough in the season for ploughing, and bestir yourself
early in the morning so that your fields may be full.  Plough in
the spring; but fallow broken up in the summer will not belie
your hopes.  Sow fallow land when the soil is still getting
light: fallow land is a defender from harm and a soother of

(ll. 465-478) Pray to Zeus of the Earth and to pure Demeter to
make Demeter's holy grain sound and heavy, when first you begin
ploughing, when you hold in your hand the end of the plough-tail
and bring down your stick on the backs of the oxen as they draw
on the pole-bar by the yoke-straps.  Let a slave follow a little
behind with a mattock and make trouble for the birds by hiding
the seed; for good management is the best for mortal men as bad
management is the worst.  In this way your corn-ears will bow to
the ground with fullness if the Olympian himself gives a good
result at the last, and you will sweep the cobwebs from your bins
and you will be glad, I ween, as you take of your garnered
substance.  And so you will have plenty till you come to grey
(18) springtime, and will not look wistfully to others, but
another shall be in need of your help.

(ll. 479-492) But if you plough the good ground at the solstice
(19), you will reap sitting, grasping a thin crop in your hand,
binding the sheaves awry, dust-covered, not glad at all; so you
will bring all home in a basket and not many will admire you. 
Yet the will of Zeus who holds the aegis is different at
different times; and it is hard for mortal men to tell it; for if
you should plough late, you may find this remedy -- when the
cuckoo first calls (20) in the leaves of the oak and makes men
glad all over the boundless earth, if Zeus should send rain on
the third day and not cease until it rises neither above an ox's
hoof nor falls short of it, then the late-plougher will vie with
the early.  Keep all this well in mind, and fail not to mark grey
spring as it comes and the season of rain.

(ll 493-501) Pass by the smithy and its crowded lounge in winter
time when the cold keeps men from field work, -- for then an
industrious man can greatly prosper his house -- lest bitter
winter catch you helpless and poor and you chafe a swollen foot
with a shrunk hand.  The idle man who waits on empty hope,
lacking a livelihood, lays to heart mischief-making; it is not an
wholesome hope that accompanies a need man who lolls at ease
while he has no sure livelihood.

(ll. 502-503) While it is yet midsummer command your slaves: `It
will not always be summer, build barns.'

(ll. 504-535) Avoid the month Lenaeon (21), wretched days, all of
them fit to skin an ox, and the frosts which are cruel when
Boreas blows over the earth.  He blows across horse-breeding
Thrace upon the wide sea and stirs it up, while earth and the
forest howl.  On many a high-leafed oak and thick pine he falls
and brings them to the bounteous earth in mountain glens: then
all the immense wood roars and the beasts shudder and put their
tails between their legs, even those whose hide is covered with
fur; for with his bitter blast he blows even through them
although they are shaggy-breasted.  He goes even through an ox's
hide; it does not stop him.  Also he blows through the goat's
fine hair.  But through the fleeces of sheep, because their wool
is abundant, the keen wind Boreas pierces not at all; but it
makes the old man curved as a wheel.  And it does not blow
through the tender maiden who stays indoors with her dear mother,
unlearned as yet in the works of golden Aphrodite, and who washes
her soft body and anoints herself with oil and lies down in an
inner room within the house, on a winter's day when the Boneless
One (22) gnaws his foot in his fireless house and wretched home;
for the sun shows him no pastures to make for, but goes to and
fro over the land and city of dusky men (23), and shines more
sluggishly upon the whole race of the Hellenes.  Then the horned
and unhorned denizens of the wood, with teeth chattering
pitifully, flee through the copses and glades, and all, as they
seek shelter, have this one care, to gain thick coverts or some
hollow rock.  Then, like the Three-legged One (24) whose back is
broken and whose head looks down upon the ground, like him, I
say, they wander to escape the white snow.

(ll. 536-563) Then put on, as I bid you, a soft coat and a tunic
to the feet to shield your body, -- and you should weave thick
woof on thin warp.  In this clothe yourself so that your hair may
keep still and not bristle and stand upon end all over your body.

Lace on your feet close-fitting boots of the hide of a
slaughtered ox, thickly lined with felt inside.  And when the
season of frost comes on, stitch together skins of firstling kids
with ox-sinew, to put over your back and to keep off the rain. 
On your head above wear a shaped cap of felt to keep your ears
from getting wet, for the dawn is chill when Boreas has once made
his onslaught, and at dawn a fruitful mist is spread over the
earth from starry heaven upon the fields of blessed men: it is
drawn from the ever flowing rivers and is raised high above the
earth by windstorm, and sometimes it turns to rain towards
evening, and sometimes to wind when Thracian Boreas huddles the
thick clouds.  Finish your work and return home ahead of him, and
do not let the dark cloud from heaven wrap round you and make
your body clammy and soak your clothes.  Avoid it; for this is
the hardest month, wintry, hard for sheep and hard for men.  In
this season let your oxen have half their usual food, but let
your man have more; for the helpful nights are long.  Observe all
this until the year is ended and you have nights and days of
equal length, and Earth, the mother of all, bears again her
various fruit.

(ll. 564-570) When Zeus has finished sixty wintry days after the
solstice, then the star Arcturus (25) leaves the holy stream of
Ocean and first rises brilliant at dusk.  After him the shrilly
wailing daughter of Pandion, the swallow, appears to men when
spring is just beginning.  Before she comes, prune the vines, for
it is best so.

(ll. 571-581) But when the House-carrier (26) climbs up the
plants from the earth to escape the Pleiades, then it is no
longer the season for digging vineyards, but to whet your sickles
and rouse up your slaves.  Avoid shady seats and sleeping until
dawn in the harvest season, when the sun scorches the body.  Then
be busy, and bring home your fruits, getting up early to make
your livelihood sure.  For dawn takes away a third part of your
work, dawn advances a man on his journey and advances him in his
work, -- dawn which appears and sets many men on their road, and
puts yokes on many oxen.

(ll. 582-596) But when the artichoke flowers (27), and the
chirping grass-hopper sits in a tree and pours down his shrill
song continually from under his wings in the season of wearisome
heat, then goats are plumpest and wine sweetest; women are most
wanton, but men are feeblest, because Sirius parches head and
knees and the skin is dry through heat.  But at that time let me
have a shady rock and wine of Biblis, a clot of curds and milk of
drained goats with the flesh of an heifer fed in the woods, that
has never calved, and of firstling kids; then also let me drink
bright wine, sitting in the shade, when my heart is satisfied
with food, and so, turning my head to face the fresh Zephyr, from
the everflowing spring which pours down unfouled thrice pour an
offering of water, but make a fourth libation of wine.

(ll. 597-608) Set your slaves to winnow Demeter's holy grain,
when strong Orion (28) first appears, on a smooth threshing-floor
in an airy place.  Then measure it and store it in jars.  And so
soon as you have safely stored all your stuff indoors, I bid you
put your bondman out of doors and look out for a servant-girl
with no children; -- for a servant with a child to nurse is
troublesome.  And look after the dog with jagged teeth; do not
grudge him his food, or some time the Day-sleeper (29) may take
your stuff.  Bring in fodder and litter so as to have enough for
your oxen and mules.  After that, let your men rest their poor
knees and unyoke your pair of oxen.

(ll. 609-617) But when Orion and Sirius are come into mid-heaven,
and rosy-fingered Dawn sees Arcturus (30), then cut off all the
grape-clusters, Perses, and bring them home.  Show them to the
sun ten days and ten nights: then cover them over for five, and
on the sixth day draw off into vessels the gifts of joyful
Dionysus.  But when the Pleiades and Hyades and strong Orion
begin to set (31), then remember to plough in season: and so the
completed year (32) will fitly pass beneath the earth.

(ll. 618-640) But if desire for uncomfortable sea-faring seize
you; when the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea (33) to escape
Orion's rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage.  Then
keep ships no longer on the sparkling sea, but bethink you to
till the land as I bid you.  Haul up your ship upon the land and
pack it closely with stones all round to keep off the power of
the winds which blow damply, and draw out the bilge-plug so that
the rain of heaven may not rot it.  Put away all the tackle and
fittings in your house, and stow the wings of the sea-going ship
neatly, and hang up the well-shaped rudder over the smoke.  You
yourself wait until the season for sailing is come, and then haul
your swift ship down to the sea and stow a convenient cargo in
it, so that you may bring home profit, even as your father and
mine, foolish Perses, used to sail on shipboard because he lacked
sufficient livelihood.  And one day he came to this very place
crossing over a great stretch of sea; he left Aeolian Cyme and
fled, not from riches and substance, but from wretched poverty
which Zeus lays upon men, and he settled near Helicon in a
miserable hamlet, Ascra, which is bad in winter, sultry in
summer, and good at no time.

(ll. 641-645) But you, Perses, remember all works in their season
but sailing especially.  Admire a small ship, but put your
freight in a large one; for the greater the lading, the greater
will be your piled gain, if only the winds will keep back their
harmful gales.

(ll. 646-662) If ever you turn your misguided heart to trading
and with to escape from debt and joyless hunger, I will show you
the measures of the loud-roaring sea, though I have no skill in
sea-faring nor in ships; for never yet have I sailed by ship over
the wide sea, but only to Euboea from Aulis where the Achaeans
once stayed through much storm when they had gathered a great
host from divine Hellas for Troy, the land of fair women.  Then I
crossed over to Chalcis, to the games of wise Amphidamas where
the sons of the great-hearted hero proclaimed and appointed
prizes.  And there I boast that I gained the victory with a song
and carried off an handled tripod which I dedicated to the Muses
of Helicon, in the place where they first set me in the way of
clear song.  Such is all my experience of many-pegged ships;
nevertheless I will tell you the will of Zeus who holds the
aegis; for the Muses have taught me to sing in marvellous song.

(ll. 663-677) Fifty days after the solstice (34), when the season
of wearisome heat is come to an end, is the right time for me to
go sailing.  Then you will not wreck your ship, nor will the sea
destroy the sailors, unless Poseidon the Earth-Shaker be set upon
it, or Zeus, the king of the deathless gods, wish to slay them;
for the issues of good and evil alike are with them.  At that
time the winds are steady, and the sea is harmless.  Then trust
in the winds without care, and haul your swift ship down to the
sea and put all the freight no board; but make all haste you can
to return home again and do not wait till the time of the new
wine and autumn rain and oncoming storms with the fierce gales of
Notus who accompanies the heavy autumn rain of Zeus and stirs up
the sea and makes the deep dangerous.

(ll. 678-694) Another time for men to go sailing is in spring
when a man first sees leaves on the topmost shoot of a fig-tree
as large as the foot-print that a cow makes; then the sea is
passable, and this is the spring sailing time.  For my part I do
not praise it, for my heart does not like it.  Such a sailing is
snatched, and you will hardly avoid mischief.  Yet in their
ignorance men do even this, for wealth means life to poor
mortals; but it is fearful to die among the waves.  But I bid you
consider all these things in your heart as I say.  Do not put all
your goods in hallow ships; leave the greater part behind, and
put the lesser part on board; for it is a bad business to meet
with disaster among the waves of the sea, as it is bad if you put
too great a load on your waggon and break the axle, and your
goods are spoiled.  Observe due measure: and proportion is best
in all things.

(ll. 695-705) Bring home a wife to your house when you are of the
right age, while you are not far short of thirty years nor much
above; this is the right age for marriage.  Let your wife have
been grown up four years, and marry her in the fifth.  Marry a
maiden, so that you can teach her careful ways, and especially
marry one who lives near you, but look well about you and see
that your marriage will not be a joke to your neighbours.  For a
man wins nothing better than a good wife, and, again, nothing
worse than a bad one, a greedy soul who roasts her man without
fire, strong though he may be, and brings him to a raw (35) old

(ll. 706-714) Be careful to avoid the anger of the deathless
gods.  Do not make a friend equal to a brother; but if you do, do
not wrong him first, and do not lie to please the tongue.  But if
he wrongs you first, offending either in word or in deed,
remember to repay him double; but if he ask you to be his friend
again and be ready to give you satisfaction, welcome him.  He is
a worthless man who makes now one and now another his friend; but
as for you, do not let your face put your heart to shame (36).

(ll. 715-716) Do not get a name either as lavish or as churlish;
as a friend of rogues or as a slanderer of good men.

(ll. 717-721) Never dare to taunt a man with deadly poverty which
eats out the heart; it is sent by the deathless gods.  The best
treasure a man can have is a sparing tongue, and the greatest
pleasure, one that moves orderly; for if you speak evil, you
yourself will soon be worse spoken of.

(ll. 722-723) Do not be boorish at a common feast where there are
many guests; the pleasure is greatest and the expense is least

(ll. 724-726) Never pour a libation of sparkling wine to Zeus
after dawn with unwashen hands, nor to others of the deathless
gods; else they do not hear your prayers but spit them back.

(ll. 727-732) Do not stand upright facing the sun when you make
water, but remember to do this when he has set towards his
rising.  And do not make water as you go, whether on the road or
off the road, and do not uncover yourself: the nights belong to
the blessed gods.  A scrupulous man who has a wise heart sits
down or goes to the wall of an enclosed court.

(ll. 733-736) Do not expose yourself befouled by the fireside in
your house, but avoid this.  Do not beget children when you are
come back from ill-omened burial, but after a festival of the

(ll. 737-741) Never cross the sweet-flowing water of ever-rolling
rivers afoot until you have prayed, gazing into the soft flood,
and washed your hands in the clear, lovely water.  Whoever
crosses a river with hands unwashed of wickedness, the gods are
angry with him and bring trouble upon him afterwards.

(ll. 742-743) At a cheerful festival of the gods do not cut the
withered from the quick upon that which has five branches (38)
with bright steel.

(ll. 744-745) Never put the ladle upon the mixing-bowl at a wine
party, for malignant ill-luck is attached to that.

(ll. 746-747) When you are building a house, do not leave it
rough-hewn, or a cawing crow may settle on it and croak.

(ll. 748-749) Take nothing to eat or to wash with from uncharmed
pots, for in them there is mischief.

(ll. 750-759) Do not let a boy of twelve years sit on things
which may not be moved (39), for that is bad, and makes a man
unmanly; nor yet a child of twelve months, for that has the same
effect.  A man should not clean his body with water in which a
woman has washed, for there is bitter mischief in that also for a
time.  When you come upon a burning sacrifice, do not make a mock
of mysteries, for Heaven is angry at this also.  Never make water
in the mouths of rivers which flow to the sea, nor yet in
springs; but be careful to avoid this.  And do not ease yourself
in them: it is not well to do this.

(ll. 760-763) So do: and avoid the talk of men.  For Talk is
mischievous, light, and easily raised, but hard to bear and
difficult to be rid of.  Talk never wholly dies away when many
people voice her: even Talk is in some ways divine.

(ll. 765-767) Mark the days which come from Zeus, duly telling
your slaves of them, and that the thirtieth day of the month is
best for one to look over the work and to deal out supplies.

(ll. 769-768) (40) For these are days which come from Zeus the
all-wise, when men discern aright.

(ll. 770-779) To begin with, the first, the fourth, and the
seventh -- on which Leto bare Apollo with the blade of gold --
each is a holy day.  The eighth and the ninth, two days at least
of the waxing month (41), are specially good for the works of
man.  Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for
shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth
is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging
spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One (42),
gathers her pile.  On that day woman should set up her loom and
get forward with her work.

(ll. 780-781) Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for
beginning to sow: yet it is the best day for setting plants.

(ll. 782-789) The sixth of the mid-month is very unfavourable for
plants, but is good for the birth of males, though unfavourable
for a girl either to be born at all or to be married.  Nor is the
first sixth a fit day for a girl to be born, but a kindly for
gelding kids and sheep and for fencing in a sheep-cote.  It is
favourable for the birth of a boy, but such will be fond of sharp
speech, lies, and cunning words, and stealthy converse.

(ll. 790-791) On the eighth of the month geld the boar and loud-
bellowing bull, but hard-working mules on the twelfth.

(ll. 792-799) On the great twentieth, in full day, a wise man
should be born.  Such an one is very sound-witted.  The tenth is
favourable for a male to be born; but, for a girl, the fourth day
of the mid-month.  On that day tame sheep and shambling, horned
oxen, and the sharp-fanged dog and hardy mules to the touch of
the hand.  But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the
heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it
is a day very fraught with fate.

(ll. 800-801) On the fourth of the month bring home your bride,
but choose the omens which are best for this business.

(ll. 802-804) Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. 
On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of
Horcus (Oath) whom Eris (Strife) bare to trouble the forsworn.

(ll. 805-809) Look about you very carefully and throw out
Demeter's holy grain upon the well-rolled (43) threshing floor on
the seventh of the mid-month.  Let the woodman cut beams for
house building and plenty of ships' timbers, such as are suitable
for ships.  On the fourth day begin to build narrow ships.

(ll. 810-813) The ninth of the mid-month improves towards
evening; but the first ninth of all is quite harmless for men. 
It is a good day on which to beget or to be born both for a male
and a female: it is never an wholly evil day.

(ll. 814-818) Again, few know that the twenty-seventh of the
month is best for opening a wine-jar, and putting yokes on the
necks of oxen and mules and swift-footed horses, and for hauling
a swift ship of many thwarts down to the sparkling sea; few call
it by its right name.

(ll. 819-821) On the fourth day open a jar.  The fourth of the
mid-month is a day holy above all.  And again, few men know that
the fourth day after the twentieth is best while it is morning:
towards evening it is less good.

(ll. 822-828) These days are a great blessing to men on earth;
but the rest are changeable, luckless, and bring nothing. 
Everyone praises a different day but few know their nature. 
Sometimes a day is a stepmother, sometimes a mother.  That man is
happy and lucky in them who knows all these things and does his
work without offending the deathless gods, who discerns the omens
of birds and avoids transgressions.


(1)  That is, the poor man's fare, like `bread and cheese'.
(2)  The All-endowed.
(3)  The jar or casket contained the gifts of the gods mentioned
     in l.82.
(4)  Eustathius refers to Hesiod as stating that men sprung `from
     oaks and stones and ashtrees'.  Proclus believed that the
     Nymphs called Meliae ("Theogony", 187) are intended. 
     Goettling would render: `A race terrible because of their
     (ashen) spears.'
(5)  Preserved only by Proclus, from whom some inferior MSS. have
     copied the verse.  The four following lines occur only in
     Geneva Papyri No. 94.  For the restoration of ll. 169b-c see
     "Class. Quart." vii. 219-220.  (NOTE: Mr. Evelyn-White means
     that the version quoted by Proclus stops at this point, then
     picks up at l. 170. -- DBK).
(6)  i.e. the race will so degenerate that at the last even a
     new-born child will show the marks of old age.
(7)  Aidos, as a quality, is that feeling of reverence or shame
     which restrains men from wrong: Nemesis is the feeling of
     righteous indignation aroused especially by the sight of the
     wicked in undeserved prosperity (cf. "Psalms", lxxii. 1-19).
(8)  The alternative version is: `and, working, you will be much
     better loved both by gods and men; for they greatly dislike
     the idle.'
(9)  i.e. neighbours come at once and without making
     preparations, but kinsmen by marriage (who live at a
     distance) have to prepare, and so are long in coming.
(10) Early in May.
(11) In November.
(12) In October.
(13) For pounding corn.
(14) A mallet for breaking clods after ploughing.
(15) The loaf is a flattish cake with two intersecting lines
     scored on its upper surface which divide it into four equal
(16) The meaning is obscure.  A scholiast renders `giving eight
     mouthfulls'; but the elder Philostratus uses the word in
     contrast to `leavened'.
(17) About the middle of November.
(18) Spring is so described because the buds have not yet cast
     their iron-grey husks.
(19) In December.
(20) In March.
(21) The latter part of January and earlier part of February.
(22) i.e. the octopus or cuttle.
(23) i.e. the darker-skinned people of Africa, the Egyptians or
(24) i.e. an old man walking with a staff (the `third leg' -- as
     in the riddle of the Sphinx).
(25) February to March.
(26) i.e. the snail.  The season is the middle of May.
(27) In June.
(28) July.
(29) i.e. a robber.
(30) September.
(31) The end of October.
(32) That is, the succession of stars which make up the full
(33) The end of October or beginning of November.
(34) July-August.
(35) i.e. untimely, premature.  Juvenal similarly speaks of
     `cruda senectus' (caused by gluttony).
(36) The thought is parallel to that of `O, what a goodly outside
     falsehood hath.'
(37) The `common feast' is one to which all present subscribe. 
     Theognis (line 495) says that one of the chief pleasures of
     a banquet is the general conversation.  Hence the present
     passage means that such a feast naturally costs little,
     while the many present will make pleasurable conversation.
(38) i.e. `do not cut your finger-nails'.
(39) i.e. things which it would be sacrilege to disturb, such as
(40) H.G. Evelyn-White prefers to switch ll. 768 and 769, reading
     l. 769 first then l. 768. -- DBK
(41) The month is divided into three periods, the waxing, the
     mid-month, and the waning, which answer to the phases of the
(42) i.e. the ant.
(43) Such seems to be the meaning here, though the epithet is
     otherwise rendered `well-rounded'.  Corn was threshed by
     means of a sleigh with two runners having three or four
     rollers between them, like the modern Egyptian "nurag".