Appendix 7. Harvest Songs

a) For the ancient evidence of harvest and other work-songs, cf. J. C. B. Petropoulos 1989.159-164, especially 162-163, to which add Simonides fr. 543.21-22 (PMG) (a βαυκάλημα), and Sappho fr. 102 (LP) (a loom-song?).
b) Richardson 1986. 62, 67-68 notes a number of Chian harvest songs, some of which are katalogia.
The following is a harvest song from the village of Drymos in Macedonia; it was published by Slines 1938.100:
          Σηκώνουμι προυΐ-προυΐ' ’π’ τοὺν ὕπνου ἡ καϊμένη,
          παίρνου νιρὸ κὶ νίβουμι μαντῆλι κὶ σφουγκιοῦμι,
          κὶ στοὺ γυαλὶ γυαλίζουμι, τὰ κάλλια μου λουγιάζου.
          Βρίσκου τ’ ἀστῆθι μ’ἀνοιχτό, τ’ἀχείλι μ’φιλημένου.
5        Ποιὸς εἶν’ αὐτὸς π’ μὶ τα ’καμι ἰμένα τὴ καϊμένη;
          "Ἂν εἶν ’ δικός μου ἀγουρός, χαλάλι νὰ τοὺν γένῃ, [1]
          ἂν εἶνι ξένους ἀγουρός, χαράμι νὰ τοὺν γένῃ.
          Ἀκούσιτι μάρ' ἔμουρφις κὶ σεῖς μαρ’ μαυρουμάτσις·
          Τοὺ Μάη κραςὶ μὴν πίνιτι κὶ ὄξου μὴν κοιμᾶστι.
          Γύρισμα· "ἔρ καὶ λέ."

          Miserable me, I rise from sleep at early morn,
          I take water and wash myself and [sc. take] my handkerchief and wipe myself dry,
          I primp in front of the mirror, and take stock of my beauty.
          I find my bosom opened, my lips kissed.
5        Who's the one who's done this to miserable me?
          If it's my man, then power to him;
          If it's another man, may he perish.
          Now listen, beautiful girls and you dark-eyed maidens:
          Don't drink wine in May and don't sleep outside.
          (Refrain "er ke le").
The moral of the song—'Don't drink wine in May and don't sleep outside'—is puzzling as the narrator has not mentioned that she has slept out-of-doors. There exist longer versions of this song which treat of a rape that has occurred à la belle étoile, [2] the audience of the Macedonian song was probably familiar with similar versions and readily assumed that the narrator had slept in her garden. Otherwise we must suppose that the singer adopted the wrong ending. [3]


[ back ] 1. The indeclinable forms χαλάλι (v.6) and χαράμι (v.7) are derived from the Turkish. Χαράμι (noun) is used only in curses. Note the assonance of χαλάλι-χαράμι.
[ back ] 2. Cf. the song " Ἡ ξανθή" ('The blonde girl'), in Kanellakis 1890. 31. Another version, " Ἡ παθοῦσα "('The casualty’) ibid., p. 43, shows the same inconsistency as the Macedonian song.
[ back ] 3. Still another possibility is that the last two lines are a humorous surprise ending.