The Distaff

Come, ye dainty Graces and lovely Muses,
Rosy-armed and pure and with fairest tresses,
Come from groves on Helicon’s hill where murmur
                    Founts that are holy;

Come with dancing step and with lips harmonic,
Gather near and view my ivory distaff,
Gift from Cos my brother Charaxus brought me,
                    Sailing from Egypt;

Sailing back to Lesbos from far Naucratis,
From the seven mouths of the Nile and Egypt
Up the blue Ægean, the island-dotted
                    Ocean of Hellas;

Choicest wool alone will I spin for fabrics,
Winding reel with threads for the cloths as fleecy,
Soft and fine as they bring from far Phocea,
                    Sidon or Sardis;

While I weave my thought shall engird the giver,
Whether here, or far on the sea, or resting
Couched in shady courts with the lovely garland
                    Girls of Naucratis.

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