From Hesiod’s Works and Days
Those evil days, last weeks of January,
bring bitter cold so frigid it will harry
even thick-hided oxen. Animals
shudder, their tails between their legs, their calls
all lamentation. The sheep’s shaggy coat,
the fox’s fur, the long hair of the goat,
can’t shield them when the North Wind sets his face
and puffs his frigid storm-blast out of Thrace.
His glacial torrent makes the old man bend,
round-shouldered like a wheel stood up on end
but does not touch the sheltered virgin girl
warm in her mother’s home, safe from the swirl—
a maiden, stranger to the sensuous ways
of Aphrodite; who, on winter days,
bathes then anoints her tender skin with oil,
and takes a nap, oblivious to toil.
But you, my friend, caught in the winter’s welter,
are not like her, so here’s your proper shelter:
a fleecy coat that reaches to your feet,
woof thicker than its warp, and woven neat;
boots made of oxen-hide and lined with felt;
a rawhide cape all covered with kid’s pelt.
Be sure to have a cap upon your head.
Tend to your fields and, in this time of dread,
take care to feed your stock a little more;
your hired hands too, out of your larder’s store.
Tend to your fields. The north wind brings a mist
that makes them fertile; see that your persist
in working them but leave before the snow
can chill your skin down to the bone. We know
this time is grim and silent, when the night
is cold and long and dark comes more than light.
After the solstice and then sixty days,
the earth will warm, the birds will make their ways
back to the trees around your farm. Then prune
your vines, since summer’s warmth is coming soon.