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The crow with clam'rous cries the show'r de- Next day, nor only that, but all the moon,
'Till her revolving race be wholly run,
Are void of tempests, both by land and sea;
And sailors in the port their promis'd vow shall
And single stalks along the desert sands.
The nightly virgin, while her wheel she plies
Foresees the storm impending in the skies,
When sparkling lambs their sputt'ring light ad-
And in the sockets oily bubbles dance.
Then, after showers, 'tis easy to descry Returning suns and a serener sky: The stars shine smarter; and the moon adorns, As with unborrow'd beams, her sharpen'd horns. The filmy gossamer now flits no more, Nor halcyons bask on the short sunny shore: Their litter is not toss'd by sows unclean; But a blue droughty mist descends upon the plain;
And owls, that mark the setting sun, declare
A star-light evening, and a morning fair.
Tow'ring aloft avenging Nisus flies,
While, dar'd, below the guilty Scylla lies.
Wherever frighted Scylla flies away
Swift Nisus follows, and pursues his prey:
Where injured Nisus takes his airy course,
Thence trembling Scylla flies, and shuns his
Above the rest, the sun who never lies,
Foretells the change of weather in the skies :
For, if he rise unwilling to his race,
Clouds on his brow, and spots upon his face,
Or if through mists he shoots his sullen beams,
Frugal of light, in loose and straggling streams,
Suspect a drizzling day, with southern rain,
Fatal to fruits and flocks, and promis'd grain.
Or, if Aurora, with half open'd eyes,
And a pale sickly cheek, salute the skies
How shall the vine, with tender leaves, defend
Her teeming clusters, when the storms descend.
When ridgy roofs and tiles can scarce avail
To bar the ruin of the rattling hail?
But more than all, the setting sun survey,
When down the steep of heav'n he drives the
For oft we find him finishing his race,
With various colours erring on his face.
If fiery red his glowing globe descends,
High winds and furious tempests he portends:
But, if his cheeks are swoln with livid blue,
He bodes wet weather by his wat❜ry hue:
If dusky spots are varied on his brow,
And streak'd with red, a troubled colour show,
That sullen mixture shall at once declare
Winds, rain, and storms, and elemental war.
What desp'rate madman then would venture o'er
The frith, or haul his cables from the shore?
But, if with purple rays he brings the light,
And a pure heav'n reigns to quiet night,
No rising winds, or falling storms are nigh;
But northern breezes through the forests fly,
And drive the rack, and purge the ruffled sky.
Th' unerring sun by certain signs declares
What the late ev'n or early morn prepares,
And when the south projects a stormy day,
And when the clearing north will puff the clouds
The sun reveals the secrets of the sky; And who dares give the source of light the lie?
The change of empires often he declares,
Fierce tumults, hidden treasons, open wars.
He first the fate of Cæsar did foretell,
And pitied Rome, when Rome in Cæsar fell;
In iron clouds conceal'd the public light;
And impious mortals fear'd eternal night.
Nor was the fact foretold by him alone: Nature herself stood forth and seconded the
Earth, air, and seas, with prodigies were sign'd; And birds obscene, and howling dogs, divin'd.
What rocks did Etna's bellowing mouth expire
From her torn entrails! and what floods of fire!
What clanks were heard, in German skies afar,
Of arms and armies, rushing to the war!
Dire earthquakes rent the solid Alps below,
And from their summits shook th' eternal
Pale spectres in the close of night were seen;
And voices heard of more than mortal men,
In silent groves: dumb sheep and oxen spoke;
And streams ran backward, and their beds
The yawning earth disclos'd th' abyss of hell: The weeping statues did the wars foretell; And holy sweat from brazen idols fell.
Then, rising in his might, the king of floods Rush'd through the forest, tore the lofty woods, And, rolling onward, with a sweepy sway, Bore houses, herds, and lab'ring hinds away, Blood sprang from wells; wolves howl'd in towns by night,
And boding victims did the priests affright. Such peals of thunder never pour'd from high, Nor forky light'nings flash'd from such a sullen sky.
Red meteors ran across the etherial space; Stars disappear'd, and comets took their place. For this th' Emathian plains once more were strew'd [good With Roman bodies, and just heav'n thought To fatten twice those fields with Roman blood. Then, after length of time, the lab'ring swains, Who turn the turfs of those unhappy plains, Shall rusty piles from the plough'd furrows take,
And over empty helmets pass the rake-
Amaz'd at antique titles on the stones,
And mighty relics of gigantic bones
Ye home-born deities of mortal birth! Thou father Romulus, and mother Earth, Goddess unmov'd! whose guardian arms extend, O'er Tuscan Tiber's course, and Roman tow'rs defend ;
With youthful Cæsar your joint pow'rs engage,
Nor hinder him to save the sinking age.
O! let the blood, already spilt, atone
For the past crimes of curst Laomedon!
Heav'n wants thee there: and long the gods, we
Have grudg'd thee, Cæsar, to the world below, Where fraud and rapine right and wrong confound,
Where impious arms from ev'ry part resound, And monstrous crimes in ev'ry shape are crown'd.
The peaceful peasant to the wars is press'd; The fields lie fallow in inglorious rest;
The subject of the following book is planting; handling of which argument, the poet shows all the different methods of raising trees, describes their variety, and gives rules for the management of each in particular. He then points out the soils in which the several plants thrive best, and thence takes occasion to run out into the praises of Italy; after which, he gives some directions for discovering the nature of every soil, prescribes rules for dressing of vines, olives, &c. and concludes the Georgic with a panegyric on a country life. THUS far of tillage, and of heav'nly signs; Now sing, my Muse, the growth of gen'rous vines,
The shady groves, the woodland progeny,
And the slow product of Minerva's tree.
Great father Bacchus! to my song repair;
For clust'ring grapes are thy peculiar care:
For thee large bunches load the bending vine;
And the last blessings of the year are thine.
To thee his joys the jolly Autumn owes,
When the fermenting juice the vat o'erflows.
Come, strip with me, my god! come drench
Thy limbs in must of wine, and drink at ev'ry
Some trees their birth to bounteous nature
For some, without the pains of planting, grow.
With osiers thus the banks of brooks abound,
Sprung from the wat'ry genius of the ground.
From the same principles gray willows come
Herculean poplar, and the tender broom.
But some, from seeds inclos'd in earth arise;
For thus the mastful chestnut mates the skies.
Hence rise the branching beech and vocal oak,
Where Jove of old oraculously spoke.
Some from the root a rising wood disclose :
Thus elms, and thus the savage cherry grows :
Thus the green bay, that binds the poet's brows,
Shoots, and is shelter'd by the mother's boughs.
8 These ways of planting Nature did ordain, For trees and shrubs, and all the sylvan reign. Others there are, by late experience found, Some cut the shoots, and plant in furrow'd ground;
Some cover rooted stalks in deeper mould; Some, cloven-stakes; and (wondrous to behold!)
Their sharpen'd ends in earth their footing place;
And the dry poles produce a living race;
Some bow their vines, which buried in the plain;
Their tops in distant arches rise again.
Others no root require; the lab'rer cuts
Young slips, and in the soil securely puts.
Ev'n stumps of olives, bar'd of leaves, and dead,
Revive, and oft redeem their wither'd head.
'T is usual now an inmate graff to see
With insolence invade a foreign tree:
Thus pears and quinces from the crabtree come;
And thus the ready cornel bears the plum.
Then let the learned gard'ner mark with care The kinds of stocks, and what those kinds will bear;
Explore the nature of each sev'ral tree,
And, known, improve with artful industry;
And let no spot of idle earth be found;
But cultivate the genius of the ground:
Ismarus will Bacchus please;
Taburnus loves the shade of olive-trees.
The virtues of the sev'ral soils I sing.-
Maecenas, now thy needful succour bring!
O thou, the better part of my renown,
Inspire thy poet, and thy poem crown:
Embark with me, while I new tracts explore,
With flying sails and breezes from the shore
Not that my song in such a scanty space,
So large a subject fully can embrace-
Not though I were supplied with iron lungs,
A hundred mouths, fill'd with as many tongues :
But steer my vessel with a steady hand,
And coast along the shore in sight of land.
Nor will I tire thy patience with a train
Of preface, or what ancient poets feign.
The trees which of themselves advance in air
Are barren kinds, but strongly built and fair,
Because the vigour of the native earth
Maintains the plant, and makes a manly birth.
Yet these, receiving grafts of other kind,
Or thence transplanted, change their savage
Their wildness lose, and, quitting nature's part,
Obey the rules and discipline of art.
The same do trees, that, sprung from barren
In open fields transplanted bear their fruits.
For, where they grow, the native energy,
Turns all into the substance of the tree,
Much labour is requir'd in trees, to tame
Their wild disorder, and in ranks reclaim.
Well must the ground be digg'd, and better
New soil to make, and meliorate the rest.
Old stakes of olive trees in plants revive
By the same method Paphian myrtles live:
But nobler vines by propagation thrive.
From roots hard hazels, and from scions rise
Tall ash, and taller oak that mates the skies.
Palm, poplar, fir, descending from the steep
Of hills, to try the dangers of the deep.
The thin-leav❜d arbute hazel-graffs receives;
And planes huge apples bear, that bore but
Thus mastful beech the bristly chestnut bears, And the wild ash is white with blooming pears. And greedy swine from grafted elms are fed With falling acorns, that on oaks are bred.
But various are the ways to change the state
Of plants, to bud, to graff, t' inoculate.
For, where the tender rinds of trees disclose
Their shooting gems, a swelling knot there
Just in that space a narrow slit we make,
Then other buds from bearing trees we take;
Inserted thus, the wounded rind we close,
In whose moist womb th' admitted infant grows.
But, when the smoother bole from knots is free,
We make a deep incision in the tree.
And in the solid wood the slip inclose;
The batt'ning bastard shoots again and grows;
And in short space the laden boughs arise,
With happy fruit advancing to the skies.
The mother plant admires the leaves unknown
Of alien trees, and apples not her own.
Of vegetable woods are various kinds;
And the same species are of several minds.
Lotes, willows, elms, have different forms al-
So fun❜ral cypress, rising like a shroud.
Fat olive trees of sundry sorts appear,
Of sundry shapes: their unctious berries bear,
Radii long olives, orchites round produce,
And bitter pausia, pounded for the juice.
Alcinoüs' orchard various apples bears:
Unlike are burgamots and pounder pears.
Nor our Italian vines produce the shape,
Or taste, or flavour of the Lesbian grape.
The Thasian vines in richer soils abound;
The Mareotic grow in barren ground.
The Psythian grape we dry: Lagean juice Will stamm'ring tongues and stagg'ring feet produce.
Rath ripe are some, and some of later kind,
Of golden some, and some of purple rind.
How shall I praise the Rhotian grape divine,
Which yet contends not with Falernian wine?
Th' Arminian many a consulship survives,
And longer than the Lydian vintage lives,
Or high Phanæus, king of Chian growth:
But, for large quantities and lasting, both,
The less Argitis bears the prize away,
The Rhodian, sacred to the solemn day,
In second services is pour'd to Jove,
And best accepted by the gods above.
Nor must Bumastus his old honours lose,
In length and largeness like the dugs of cows.
I pass the rest, whose ev'ry race, and name,
And kinds, are less material to my theme;
Which, who would learn, as soon may tell the
Driv'n by the western wind on Libyan lands; Or number, when the blust'ring Eurus roars, The billows beating on Ionian shores.
Nor ev'ry plant on ev'ry soil will grow : The sallow loves the wat'ry ground and low; The marshes, alders: Nature seems t' ordain The rocky cliff for the wild ash's reign; The baleful yew to northern blasts assigns, To shores the myrtles, and to mounts the vines. Regard the extremest cultivated coast, From hot Arabia to the Scythian frost: All sorts of trees their sev'ral countries know; Black ebon only will in India grow, And od❜rous frankincense on the Sabæan bough. Balm slowly trickles thro' the bleeding veins Of happy shrubs in Idumæan plains. The green Egyptian thorn, for med'cine good, With Ethiops' hoary trees and woolly wood, Let others tell; and how the Seres spin Their fleecy forests in a slender twine; With mighty trunks of trees on Indian shores, Whose height above the feather'd arrow soars, Shot from the toughest bow, and, by the brawn Of expert archers with vast vigour drawn. Sharp tasted citrons Median climes produce, (Bitter the rind, but gen'rous is the juice) A cordial fruit, a present antidote Against the direful stepdame's deadly draught, Who, mixing wicked weeds with words impure, The fate of envied orphans would procure. Large is the plant, and like a laurel grows, And, did it not a diff'rent scent disclose, A laurel were: the fragrant flow'r contemn The stormy wind, tenacious of their stem. With this, the Medes to lab'ring age bequeath New lungs, and cure the sourness of the breath.
But neither Median woods, (a plenteous land) Fair Ganges, Hermus rolling golden sand, Nor Bactria, nor the richer Indian fields, Nor all the gummy stores Arabia yields, Nor any foreign earth of greater name, Can with sweet Italy contend in fame.
No bulls, whose nostrils breathe a living flame, Have turn'd our turf; no teeth of serpents here Were sown, an arm'd host and iron crop to bear.
But fruitful vines, and the fat olive's freight, And harvests heavy with their fruitful weight, Adorn our fields; and on the cheerful green The grazing flocks and lowing herds are seen. The warrior horse, here bred, is taught to train: There flows Clitumnus through the flow'ry plain,
Whose waves, for triumphs after prosp❜rous
The victim ox, and snowy sheep prepare.
Perpetual spring our happy climate sees
Twice breed the cattle, and twice bear the
And summer suns recede by slow degrees.
Our land is from the rage of tigers freed, Nor nourishes the lion's angry seed; Nor pois'nous aconite is here produc'd, Or grows unknown, or is, when known, refus'd; Nor in so vast a length our serpents glide, Or rais'd on such a spiry volume ride.
Next and our cities of illustrious name, Their costly labour, and stupendous frame; Our forts on steepy hills, that far below See wanton streams in winding valleys flow; Our twofold seas, that, washing either side, A rich recruit of foreign stores provide; Our spacious lakes; thee, Larius, first; and
Benacus, with tempestuous billows vex'd.
Or shall I praise thy ports, or mention make
Of the vast mound that binds the Lucrine lake?
Or the disdainful sea, that, shut from thence,
Roars round the structure, and invades the
There, where secure the Julian waters glide, Or where Avernus' jaws admit the Tyrrhene tide?
Our quarries deep in earth, were fam'd of old
For veins of silver, and for ore of gold.
Th' inhabitants themselves their country grace :
Hence rose the Marsian and Sabellian race,
Strong limb'd and stout, and to the wars in-
And hard Ligurians, a laborious kind,
And Volscians arm'd with iron-headed darts.
Besides-an offspring of undaunted hearts-
The Decii, Marii, great Camillus, came
From hence, and greater Scipio's double name,
And feed with ooze; where rising hillocks run
In length, and open to the southern sun;
Where fern succeeds, ungrateful to the plough-
That gentle ground to gen'rous grapes allow.
Strong stocks of vines it will in time produce,
And overflow the vats with friendly juice,
Such as our priests in golden goblets pour
To gods, the givers of the cheerful hour,
Then when the bloated Tuscan blows his horn,
And reeking entrails are in chargers borne.
If herds or fleecy flocks be more thy care,
Or goats that graze the field, and burn it bare,
Then seek Tarentum's lawns,and furthest coast,
Or such a field as hapless Mantua lost,
Where silver swans sail down the wat'ry road,
the floating herbage of the flood.
There crystal streams perpetual tenor keep,
Nor food nor springs are wanting to thy sheep;
For, what the day devours, the nightly dew
Shall to the morn in pearly drops renew.
Fat crumbling earth is fitter for the plough,
Putrid and loose above, and black below;
For ploughing is an imitative toil,
Resembling nature in an easy soil.
No land for seed like this; no fields afford
So large an income to the village lord:
No toilings teams from harvest-labour come
So late at night, so heavy-laden home.
The like of forest land is understood, [wood,
From whence the surly ploughman grubs the
Which had for length of ages idle stood.
Then birds forsake the ruins of their seat, And, flying from their nests, their callow young forget.
The coarse lean gravel, on the mountain-sides, Scarce dewy bev'rage for the bees provides ; Nor chalk nor crumbling stones, the food of snakes,
That work in hollow earth their winding tracks,
The soil exhaling clouds of subtle dews,
Imbibing moisture which with ease she spews,
Which rusts not iron, and whose mould is clean,
Well cloth'd with cheerful grass, and ever green,
Is good for olives, and aspiring vines,
Embracing husband-elms in am'rous twines;
Is fit for feeding cattle, fit to sow,
And equal to the pasture and the plough.
Such is the soil of fat Campanian fields;
Such large increase the land that joins Vesuvius
And such a country could Acerro boast,
Till Clanius overflow'd the unhappy coast.
I teach thee next the diff'ring soils to know,
The light for vines, the heavier for the plough.
Choose first a place for such a purpose fit:
There dig the solid earth and sink a pit;
Next fill the hole with its own earth again,
And trample with thy feet and tread it in:
Then, if it rise not to the former height
Of superfice, conclude that soil is light,
A proper ground for pasturage and vines.
But, if the sullen earth, so press'd, repines
Within its native mansion to retire,
And stays without, a heap of heavy mire,
'Tis good for arable, a glebe that asks
Tough teams of oxen, and laborious tasks.
Salt earth and bitter are not fit to sow, Nor will be tam'd and mended by the plough. Sweet grapes degen'rate there; and fruits, declin'd [kind: From their first flav'rous taste, renounce their This truth by sure experiment is tried: For first an osier colander provide
Of twigs thick wrought (such toiling peasants twine,
When thro' straight passages they strain their wine :)
In this close vessel place that earth accurs'd,
But fill'd brimful with wholesome water first;
Then run it through: the drops will rope around,
And, by the bitter taste, disclose the ground.
The fatter earth by handling we may find,
With ease distinguish'd from the meagre kind
Poor soil will crumble into dust; the rich
Will to the fingers cleave like clammy pitch :
Moist earth produces corn and grass, but both
Too rank and too luxuriant in their growth.
Let not my land so large a promise boast,
Lest the rank ears in length of stem be lost.