To Tellus and Ceres
O Mothers of Fruitfulness, Tellus and Ceres, please,
With salted spelt cakes offered for Your mother’s woe,
In kind service have Tellus and Ceres nurtured wheat,
She who gave grain life, She who gave us room to grow.
Pray then before the sheep are shorn their winter’s fleece.
Consorts in labour who antiquity reformed,
Oaken acorn have You replaced by useful meal,
With boundless crops satisfy those who fields farmed,
O that they may by their tillage their reward seal.
May You grant tender seed abundant increase.
Let not icy cold enwrap our new shoots with snow,
While we sow let cloudless skies and fair winds blow.
When the seed lies sprouting, sprinkle with gentle rains,
May You ward off the feasting by birds from our grains.
You also, little ants, spare the grain we have sown,
More abundant will be your harvest when ’tis grown.
Meanwhile may our grain not blight by rough mildew,
Nor foul weather our seed blanch to a sickly hue.
Never may our grain be shriveled nor may it swell,
Without eye-stinging cockle, not by wild oats held.
Crops of wheat, of barley, of spelt grow on the farm,
Look now, Good Mothers, guard well the field,
The seasons change, the earth by Your breath grows warm,
With Your gentle touch may You increase our yield.
By Peace Ceres nursed, Her foster-child live in peace.
– Ovid Fasti I.671-704