Heat and Lust: Hesiod’s Midsummer Festival Scene Revisited

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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”).


[ 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.