Bion of Smyrna (Βίων ὁ Σμυρναῖος) was an Hellenic bucolic poet. He was a native of the city of Smyrna and flourished about 100 BC. Most of his work is lost. There remain 17 fragments (preserved in ancient anthologies) and the Epitaph of Adonis, a mythological poem on the death of Adonis and the lament of Aphrodite (preserved in several late medieval manuscripts of bucolic poetry). Some of the fragments show the pastoral themes that were typical of ancient Greek bucolic poetry, while others attest the broader thematic interpretation of the bucolic form that prevailed in the later Hellenistic period.

Bion's influence can be seen in numerous ancient Greek and Latin poets and prose authors, including Virgil and Ovid. His treatment of the myth of Adonis in particular has influenced European and American literature since the Renaissance.

Almost nothing is known of Bion's life. One ancient text gives his place of origin as "a little place called Phlossa", which is otherwise unknown; it was presumably a district under the administration of Smyrna, perhaps one of the villages out of which Smyrna was reconstituted during the Hellenistic period. The appellation "Bion of Phlossa", under which he is sometimes known (for example, by the Library of Congress), is unlikely to have been used in antiquity: outside of Smyrna itself he would have been known as Bion of Smyrna. I'd like to share one of his fragments today.

"If my songs are good, then these few
Fate has granted as a safeguard for what I have done.
If they are not pleasing, why should I toil any longer?
If Kronos’ son or devious Fate had granted to us
Two lifetimes, so that we could dedicate
The first to happiness and pleasure and the second to work,
Then it would be right to work first and sample happiness later.
But since the gods have decreed that one time come
For human life and that this is brief and minor too,
How long, wretches, should we toil tirelessly at work.
How long will we throw our soul and hearts into
Profit and skill, longing always for more and greater wealth?
Truly, have we all forgotten that we are mortal?
Have we all forgotten our lifetime is brief?"
[fr. 8 / Stobaeus 4.16.15]
Translation here