"O BEES, sweet bees!" I said, "that nearest field
Is shining white with fragrant immortelles.
Fly swiftly there and drain those honey wells."
Then, spicy pines the sunny hive to shield,
I set, and patient for the autumn's yield
Of sweet I waited.
When the village bells
Rang frosty clear, and from their satin cells
The chestnuts leaped, rejoicing, I unsealed
Alas! no snowy honey there
Was stored. My wicked bees had borne away
Their queen and left no trace.
That very day,
An idle drone who sauntered through the air
I tracked and followed, and he led me where
My truant bees and stolen honey lay.
Twice faithless bees! They had sought out to eat
Rank, bitter herbs. The honey was not sweet.