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Bees figure in the metaphor and allegory of ancient and medieval poets with a variety of meanings and connotations. In much poetic discourse, bees flying to different flowers, collecting nectar, and transforming it into honey serve as models of the process of reading: great models are engaged, absorbed, and made the basis of new expression through imitation, which creates altogether something fresh from what has been visited, understood, and creatively assimilated. That metaphor was famously used by Seneca and Macrobius. It recurs frequently in medieval literature and embodies the medieval understanding of Latin poetry itself as the fruit of learning. Less fully appreciated in Medieval Latin Literature is the role played by bees as symbols of divine inspiration as conveyed to prophets, preachers, and even sometimes to poets. The present contribution surveys various instances of bees as poetic metaphors from the Early Middle Ages into the twelfth century, and traces the complex meanings they bear as joint emblems of poetic work and poetic gift.