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THE honey-gilded summer loud with bees,
Perfumed with lemons, mint, and pine-trees' scent,
Cradles its sensual dream in the sugared breeze,
And bathes its face in waters somnolent.


The heavy butterflies make languorous
The flowers, and the beautiful balm-mint's
Rich fragrance mingles with the cytisus,
While on the smooth trees' bark the sunshine glints.


The elder-branches and the fig-trees are
Filled with honey-bees' loud eddyings.
How gay the day and hot fields stretching far!
The russet meads crackle with noise of wings.


Now here comes little Bittô, sun in eyes,
Who, when she dances, cymbals beats together;
Her glad feet love the glaring dust that flies,
And warms them, burning through her sandal leather.


Her veil is of green linen like young grapes;
Her robe upon her delicate shoulder stirs,
Moving upon the budding breasts it drapes,
Which are as gay as singing grasshoppers.


Her mirror, scent-boxes, and drinking-cup
Rattle like pebbles in her basket carried;
She skips along, and sees the bees fly up
From the rich lips of flowers whereon they tarried.


--Ah Bittô! what desires your feet impel
To pathways where the beast in sunshine pants?
Unseen Erotes in the forests dwell,
And subtle poisons rise from hearts of plants.


Go back and work with other maids together!
The noon is coming with its shivering light.
Or go into your garden and see whether
Your green egg-plants have ripened overnight.


But, laughing, from the prudent words she flees,
Around her supple throat her two hands tying;
The playful breeze rolls himself round her knees,
And makes a noise like silken ribbons flying;


The vegetable balm which round her floats
With honey light her yielding soul endues;
She walks through fields of undulating oats,
And sits down by a pool whose waters muse.


Eager to blend with summer's glorious day,
The tufted peony and windflower pied
Swoon with desire, and seem to cast away
Their cowardly corollas opened wide.


What silent, palpitating odours dart
Around your feet, what god an ambush weaves,
Bittô? The sun matures and swells your heart;
Your heart is trembling like a bush of leaves.


Down the hillside where currants glimmer blue,
Here Crito brings his goats to the drinking pool,
And in the shade of leaves sees Bittô, who
Is puffing up her cheeks with water cool.


He hath approached her, saying: "Bittô, take
This cup that I have carved with tendril shoots
And curling vine-leaves, and this white cheese-cake,
And this cane-basket where I keep my fruits."


He swears her oaths now timid and now bold,
He seizes, presses her, he cannot speak . . .
--And Bittô, tired and feeble in his hold,
Lies in his arms and kiss him his cheek.

* * * * *

After the acrid union O how grave
And pale she is, confused and full of terror!
--Bittô, you know not what mad impulse drave
Your heart into irreparable error.


The heavy kiss by poets celebrated
Brings to the ill you suffer from no ease;
Your language came from the green season sated
With scent of turpentine and mulberry trees.


Thinking to ease your unknown torment, springing
From all fermenting things the earth that litter
Imprudently your arms you would be flinging
Round the young goatherd's neck whose kiss is bitter;


Loving the laughing day and light, you thought
That you could ease upon his lips, that lie,
And speak in frenzy great words full of naught,
Your desire of air and flowers and waters shy;


O Bittô, it is not for some chance comer
That with the stress of fever your heart pines!
--The lover that you needed was the summer,
Sated with scents and aromatic vines!