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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.


Gathering the Cocoons

By Frédéric Mistral (1830–1914)

(From Mirèio)
Translated by Harriet W. Preston

WHEN the crop is fair in the olive-yard,

And the earthen jars are ready

For the golden oil from the barrels poured,

And the big cart rocks unsteady

With its tower of gathered sheaves, and strains

And groans on its way through fields and lanes;

When brawny and bare as an old athlete

Comes Bacchus the dance a-leading,

And the laborers all, with juice-dyed feet,

The vintage of Crau are treading,

And the good wine pours from the brimful presses,

And the ruddy foam in the vats increases;

When under the leaves of the Spanish broom

The clear silkworms are holden,

An artist each, in a tiny loom,

Weaving a web all golden,—

Fine, frail cells out of sunlight spun,

Where they creep and sleep by the million,—

Glad is Provence on a day like that,

’T is the time of jest and laughter:

The Ferigoulet and the Baume Muscat

They quaff, and they sing thereafter.

And lads and lasses, their toils between,

Dance to the tinkling tambourine.