This poem has only survived in a very fragmentary state. An ellipse indicates a missing word or series of words, while the words in square brackets are doubtful or conjectural.
GIRLS: Torty-tortoise, what are you doing in the middle of the ring? TORTOISE (scuttling from side to side): I am weaving wool and Milesian weft. GIRLS: And what was your son doing when he was lost? TORTOISE: From the white horses into the sea he SPRANG! (On the last word the Tortoise jumps up to chase the other girls; the first one to be caught becomes the new Tortoise.)
Girls’ game recorded by Julius Pollux of Naucratis, 2nd century AD
… into the wave [you sprang] from the white horses with crazy bounds. “Aiai!” I screamed. [Then it was my turn to be] tortoise, and leaping up, [I raced] through the pen in the great courtyard. Unlucky Baucis! this is why … I mourn for you, and in my heart … these traces still lie warm. Now, they are only embers, those things [we used to share]: of dolls … in our chambers … brides … towards dawn [my/your] mother … woolworkers … about the cloth shot with purple Ah! [in those days] the bogey-woman [so] frightened [us two] little ones: … on her head she had [huge] ears, and she roamed around on four feet; she would change her appearance [from one thing to another]. But when the time came that [you went to your marriage] bed, you forgot all the things which while you were still a child … you had heard from your mother, dear Baucis: … Aphrodite [put] forgetfulness [in your heart]. So, crying out for you, … the rest I set aside. For my feet [are] not [so] profane [as to leave] the house, nor [is it fit that I should] set eyes on your [corpse], nor lament with my flowing hair uncovered … the regard I feel for you crimsons my [cheeks] and tears them.
… always in the past … nineteen … Erinna … dear [girls] … looking at a spindle … know that to you … spinning round … for this reason my regard … unmarried girls … perceiving … and flowing hair …
Gray-headed women, gentle in speech, who are the flower of old age among mortals.
… you dear … O Baucis! … weeping … a flame … hearing howling … O Hymen! … O Hymen! … Aiai! unlucky Baucis! …
From here to Hades an echo swims vainly across; silence among the dead; the darkness flows over my eyes.
Hymen was a god who was invoked at weddings.