Ed. pr. Vitelli-Norsa, Papiri Greci e Latini, ix. 1929, no. 1090, p. 137, Plate IV. See Maas, Hermes, 69, 1934, 206; Vitelli, Gnomon, 1928, 455 and 1929, 172 and 288; Körte, Archiv, x. 21; Bowra, New Chapters, iii. 180 and *Greek Poetry and Life, p. 325 (qu. v. for full discussion).
This beautiful fragment is part of Erinna’s Distaff, aἐς βαθ]ὺ κῦμα λε]υκᾶν μαινομέν[οισιν ἐσάλαο π]οσσὶν ἀφ᾿ ἵ[π]πω[ν· ἀλ]λ᾿, ἴσ[χ]ω, μέγ᾿ ἄυσα, φ[ίλα. τὺ δ᾿ ἔοισα] χελύννα ἁλ]λομένα μεγάλας [ἔδραμες κατὰ] χορτίον αὐλᾶς. 5τα]ῦτα τύ, Βαῦκι τάλαι[να, βαρὺ στονα]χεῖσα γόημ[ι· τα]ῦτά μοι ἐν κρα[δίαι τεῦς, ὦ κό]ρα, ἴχνια κεῖται θέρμ᾿ ἔτι· τῆν[α δ᾿ ἃ πρίν ποκ᾿ ἐπα]ύρομες ἄν- θρακες ἤδη. δαγύ[δ]ων τ᾿ ἐχ[όμεσθα νεαν]ίδες ἐν θαλάμοισι νύμ[φαι]σιν [προσόμοιοι ἀκηδ]έες· ἅ τε πὸτ ὄρθρον 10μάτηρ, ἃ ἔ[ριον νέμεν ἀμφιπόλ]οισιν ἐρίθοις, τήνα σ᾿ ἦλθ[ε κρέας προκαλευμέ]να ἀμφ᾿ ἁλίπαστον. αἲ μικραῖς τ[όκα νῶιν ὅσον] φόβον ἄγαγε Μο[ρμ]ώ, τᾶ]ς ἐν μὲν κο[ρυφᾶι μεγάλ᾿ ὤ]ατα, ποσσὶ δ᾿ ἐφοίτη τέ]τρασιν, ἐκ δ᾿ [ἑτέρας ἑτέραν] μετεβάλλετ᾿ ὀπωπάν.
- 6τεῦς, ὦ κόρα D. L. P., cf. Theocr. xi. 25.
The Distaff [1 b.c.]
poem written in sorrow for the death of Baucis, a friend of her girlhood. Erinna herself is said to have died at the age of nineteen: and this poem, which (according to Suidas) consisted of 300 hexameters, was perhaps her only published work.
. . . From white horses with madcap bound into the deep wave you leapt: “I catch you,” I shouted, “my friend!” And you, when you were Tortoise, ran leaping through the yard of the great court.a
Thus I lament, unhappy Baucis, and make deep moan for you. These traces of you, dear maid, lie still glowing in my heart: all that we once enjoyed, is embers now.
We clung to our dolls in our chambers when we were girls, playing Young Wives, without a care. And towards dawn your Mother,b who allotted wool to her attendant workwomen, came and called you to help with the salted meat. Oh, what a trembling the Bogy brought us then, when we were little ones!—On its head were huge ears, and it walked on all fours, and changed from one face to another!
- aThe paragraph refers to the game described by Pollux ix. 125: one girl (called the Tortoise) sat among others and spoke with them in alternate lines. At the end of the last line the Tortoise leapt up and tried to catch, or touch, one of the others—who would then take her turn as Tortoise. The last two lines are given by Pollux as: (Girls) ὁ δ᾿ ἔκγονός σου τί ποΐων ἀπώλετο; (Tortoise) λευκᾶν ἀφ᾿ ἵππων εἰς θάλασσαν ἅλατο “from white horses into the sea he leapt” (on the last word the Tortoise leaps up): hence the first line here.
- bI suspect that the “Mother “here and below (v. 16) is Erinna herself, playing “Mothers and Children” with Baucis: the “attendant toilers” would be a row of dolls, or imaginary. Both references to “Mother” seem thus more charming and apter to their contexts.