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[280] and the girls led on the lovely dance to the sound of lyres. Then again on the other side was a rout of young men revelling, with flutes playing; some frolicking with dance and song, and others were going forward in time with a flute player and laughing. The whole town was filled with mirth and dance and festivity. [285] Others again were mounted on horseback and galloping before the town. And there were ploughmen breaking up the good soil, clothed in tunics girt up. Also there was a wide cornland, and some men were reaping with sharp hooks the stalks [290] which bended with the weight of the ears—as if they were reaping Demeter's grain: others were binding the sheaves with bands and were spreading the threshing floor. And some held reaping hooks and were gathering the vintage, while others were taking from the reapers into baskets white and black clusters from the long rows of vines [295] which were heavy with leaves and tendrils of silver. Others again were gathering them into baskets. Beside them was a row of vines [297] in gold, the splendid work of cunning Hephaestus: [299] it had shivering leaves and stakes of silver [300] and was laden with grapes which turned black.1And there were men treading out the grapes and others drawing off the liquor. Also there were men boxing and wrestling, and huntsmen chasing swift hares with a leash of sharp-toothed dogs before them, they eager to catch the hares, and the hares eager to escape. [305] Next to them were horsemen hard set, and they contended and labored for a prize. The charioteers standing on their well-woven cars, urged on their swift horses with loose rein; the jointed cars flew along clattering and the naves of the wheels shrieked loudly. [310] So they were engaged in an unending toil, and the end with victory came never to them, and the contest was ever unwon. And there was set out for them within the course a great tripod of gold, the splendid work of cunning Hephaestus. And round the rim Ocean was flowing, with a full stream as it seemed, [315] and enclosed all the cunning work of the shield. Over it swans were soaring and calling loudly, and many others were swimming upon the surface of the water; and near them were shoals of fish. A wonderful thing the great strong shield was to see—even for Zeus the loud-thunderer, by whose will Hephaestus made it [320] and fitted it with his hands. This shield the valiant son of Zeus wielded masterly, and leaped upon his horse-chariot like the lightning of his father Zeus who holds the aegis, moving lithely. And his charioteer, strong Iolaus, standing upon the car, guided the curved chariot. [325] Then the goddess grey-eyed Athena came near them and spoke winged words, encouraging them:

1 The existing text of the vineyard scene is a compound of two different versions, clumsily adapted, and eked out with some makeshift additions.

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