Saturday, September 5, 2009

summer sweets and autumn redolence


"Down the Road" - August 2009

Many poplars and many elms shook overhead, and close by, holy water swashed down noisily from a cave of the nymphs. Brown grasshoppers whistled busily through the dark foliage. Far treetoads gobbled in the heavy thornbrake.

Larks and goldfinch sang, turtledoves were moaning, and bumblebees whizzed over the splashing brook.

The earth smelled of rich summer and autumn fruit: we were ankle-deep in pears, and apples rolled all about our toes. With dark damson plums the young sapling branches trailed on the ground.

~Theokritos (Theocritus) - 316-260 BCE

...and another translation...

He courteous bade us on soft beds recline,
Of lentesch and young branches of the vine;
Poplars and elms above their foliage spread,
Lent a cool shade, and waved the breezy head.
Below, a stream, from the nymph's sacred cave,
In free meanders led its murmuring wave;
In the warm sunbeams, verdant shrubs among,
Shrill grasshoppers renew'd their plaintive song;
At distance far, conceal'd in shades alone,
The nightingale pour'd forth her tuneful moan:
The lark, the goldfinch, warbled lays of love,
And sweetly pensive coo'd the turtle-dove;
While honey-bees, for ever on the wing,
Humm'd round the flowers, and sipp'd the silver spring:
The rich, ripe season gratified the sense
With summer's sweets and autumn's redolence.
Apples and pears lay strew'd in heaps around,
And the plum's loaded branches kiss'd the ground.
.

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