Works and Days, by Hesiod

Works And Days text

Defend yourself against the evil days

Lenaion brings, all of them days which pierce

The hides of oxen; guard against the frosts

That kill, when Boreas blows on the earth.

He blows through Thrace, where horses graze; he blows

On the broad sea and whips it up: the earth

And forest mutter; in the mountain pass

He falls on high-leafed oaks and thick-branched pines

And brings them to the fruitful earth; while all

The boundless forest crys. The animals

Shudder, with tails between their legs; they find

No help in furry hides, the cold goes through

Even the shaggy-breasted. Boreas

Goes through an oxen’s hide, through the fine coat

The goat wears, but his windy force cannot

Pierce through the thick-piled fleece of sheep; he makes

The old man bend, round-shouldered as a wheel…


The horned and hornless creatures of the wood

In pain, with chattering teeth, flee through the brush,

One care in all their minds, to find a cave

Or thickly covered shelter. Like the man,

Three-legged with his staff, with shattered spine,

Whose head looks to the ground, like him they go

Wandering, looking for shelter from the snow.


Works and Days

The Works and Days is a didactic poem of some 800 lines written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BCE. At its center, the Works and Days is a farmer’s almanac in which Hesiod instructs his brother Perses in the agricultural arts. More…


Image: The Hunters in the Snow  by  Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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