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On a Cicada

Noisy cicada, drunk with dew drops,

you sing your rustic ditty

that fills the wilderness with voice,

and seated on the edge of the leaves,

striking with saw-like legs your sunburnt skin,

you shrill music like the lyre's.

But sing, dear, some new tune

to gladden the woodland nymphs,

strike up some strain responsive to Pan's pipe,

that I may escape from Love

and snatch a little midday sleep,

reclining here beneath the shady plane-tree.


If anything happens to me,

Kleoboulos my friend,

(For I am not safe ---

I lie like a curling vine

flung in the fire of girls),

before you send

my ashes under earth,

pour in strong wine,

then on the drunken urn write,

“Hades, know

Love sends this gift to death”—

and bury me and go.