Page images

Thus change of seeds for meagre soils is best; But most in autumn, and the show'ry spring, And earth manur'd, not idle, though at rest, When dubious months uncertain weather bring ,

Long practice has a sure improvement found, When fountains open, when impetuous rain With kindled fires to burn the barren ground, Swells hasty brooks, and pours upon the plain; When the light stubble, to the flames resign’d, When earth with slime and mud is cover'd o'er, Is driv'n along, and crackles in the wind. Or hollow places spew their wat'ry store. Whether from hence the hollow womb of carth Nor yet the ploughman, nor the lab'ring steer, Is warm'd with secret strength for better birth; Sustain alone the hazards of the year: Or, when the latent vice is cur'd by fire, But glutton geese, and the Strymonian crane, Redundant humours through the pores expire; With foreign troops invade the tender grain ; Or that the warmth distends the chinks, and And tow’ring weeds malignant shadows yield; makes

(takes; And spreading succ'ry chokes the rising field. New breathings, whence new nourishment she The sire of gods and men, with hard decrees, Or that the heat the gaping ground constrains; Forbids our plenty to be bought with ease, New knits the surface,and new strings the veins; And wills that mortal men, inur'd to toil, Lest soaking show'rs should pierce her secret Should exercise, with pains, the grudging soil ; seat,

Himself invented first the shining share Or freezing Boreas chill her genial heat, And whetted human industry by care ; Or scorching suns too violently beat.

Himself did handicrafts and arts ordain, Nor is the profit small the peasant makes, Nor suffer'd sloth to rust his active reign. Who smooths with harrows, or who pound Ere this, no peasant vex'd the peaceful ground, with rakes,

Which only turfs and greens for allars found : The crumbling clods : nor Ceres from on high No fences parted fields, nor marks nor bounds Regards his labours with a grudging eye, Distinguish'd acres of litigious grounds: Nor his, who ploughs across the furrow'd grounds, But all was common, and the fruitful earth And on the back of earth inflicts new wounds; Was free to give her unexacted birth. For he, with frequeni exercise, commands Jove added venom to the viper's brood, Th' unwilling soil, and tames the stubborn lands. And swell’d, with raging storms, the peaceful Ye swains, invoke the pow’rs who rule the


Commission'd hungry wolves t’infest the fold, For a moist summer and a winter dry; And shook from oaken leaves the liquid gold; For winter drought rewards the peasant s pain, Remov'd from human reach the cheerful fire, And broods indulgent on the buried grain. And from the rivers bade the vine retire ; Hence Mysia boasts her harvests, and the tops That studious need might useful arts explore ; Of Gargarus admired their happy crops. From furrow'd fields to reap the foodful store, When first the soil receives the fruitful seed, And force the veins of clashing flints t' expire, Make no delay, but cover it with speed : The lurking seeds of their celestial fire. So fenc'd from cold the pliant furrows break, Then first on seas the hollow'd alder swam; Before the surly clod resists the rake;

Then sailors quarter'd heav'n, and found a name And call the floods from high, to rush amain For ev'ry fix'd and ev'ry wand'ring starWith pregnant streams, to swell the teeming The Pleiads, Hyads, and the Northern Car. grain.

Then toils for beasts, and lime for birds, were Then, when the fiery suns too fiercely play,

found, And shrivell d herbs on with’ring stems decay, And deep-mouth'd dogs did forest-walks surThe wary ploughman, on the mountain's brow,

round ; Undams his wat’ry stores-huge torrents flow, And casting-nets were spread in shallow brooks, And, rattling down the rocks, large moisture Drags in the deep, and baits were hung on yield,

hooks, Temp'ring the thirsty fever of the field- Then saws were tooth'd, and sounding axes And, lest the stem, too feeble for the freight,

made; Should scarce sustain the head's unwieldly (For, wedges first did yielding wood invade) weight,

And various arts in order did succeed, Sends in his feeding flocks betimes, t'invade (What cannot endless labour, urg'd by need ?) The rising bulk of the luxuriant blade,

First Ceres taught the ground with grain to Ere yet th' aspiring offspring of the grain

sow, O'ertops the ridges of the furrow'd plain ; And arm'd with iron shares the crooked plough And drains the standing waters, when they yield When now Dodonian oaks no more supplied Too large a bev'rage to the drunken field: Their mast, and trees their forest-fruits denied.

Soon was his labour doubled to the swain, But, if a wood of leaves o'ershade the tree And blasting mildews blacken'd all his grain : Such and so barren will thy harvest be: Though thistles chok'd the fields, and kill'd the In vain the hind shall vex the threshing-floor corn,

For empty chaff and straw will be thy store. And an unthrifty crop of weeds was born : Some steep their seed, and some in caldrons Then burs and brambles, an unbidden crew

boil, Of graceless guests th’ unhappy field subdue ; With vig'rous nitre and with lees of oil, And oats unblest, and darnel domineers, O'er gentle fires, th' exub'rant juice to drain, And shoots its head above the shining ears; And swell the flau'ring husks with fruitful So that, unless the land with daily care

grain. Is exercis'd, and, with an iron war

Yet, the success is not for years assur'd, Of rakes and harrows, the proud foes expellid, Though chosen is the seed, and fully cur'd, And birds with clamours frighted from the field; Unless the peasant, with his annual pain, Unless the boughs are lopp'd that shade the Renews his choice, and culls the largest grain. plain

Thus all below, whether by Nature's curse, And heav'n invok'd with vows for fruitful rain- Or Fate's decree, degen'rate still to worse. On others' crops you may with envy look, So the boat's brawny crew the current stem, And shake for food the long-abandon'd oak. And, slow advancing, struggle with the stream: Nor must we pass untold what arms they wield, But, if they slack their hands, or cease to strive, Who labour tillage and the furrow'd field;

Then down the flood with headlong haste they Without whose aid the ground her corn denies, drive. And nothing can be sown, and nothing rise- Nor must the ploughman less observe the The crooked plough, the share, the tow'ring kies, height

When the Kids, Dragon, and Arcturus rise, Of wagons and the cart's unwieldly weight, Then sailors homeward bent, who cut their The sled, the tumbril, hurdles, and the flail,

way The fan of Bacchus, with the flying sail- Thro' Helle's stormy straits, and oyster-breedThese all must be prepar'd if ploughmen hope ing sea. The promis'd blessing of a bounteous crop. But, when Astrea's balance, hung on high, Young elms, with early force, in copses bow, Betwixt the nights and days divides the sky, Fit for the figure of the crooked plough. Then yoke your oxen, sow your winter grain, Of eight feet long a fasten'd beam prepare :

Till cold December comes with driving rain. On either side the head, produce an ear;

Linseed and fruitful poppy bury warm, And sink a socket for the shining share. In a dry season, and prevent the storm. Of beech the plough-tail and the bending yoko, Sow beans and clover in a rotten soil, Or softer linden harden'd in the smoke. And millet rising from your annual toil, I could be long in precepts; but I fear When with his golden horns, in full career So mean a subject might offend your ear. The bull beats down the barriers of the year, Delve of convenient depth your threshing And Argo and the dog forsake the northern floor :

sphere. With temper'd clay, then fill and face it o'er; But if your care to wheat alone extend, And let the weighty roller run the round, Let Maja with her sisters first descend. To smooth the surface of th' unequal ground; And the bright Gnossian diadem downward Lest, crack'd with summer hoats, the flooring bend, flies,

Before you trust in earth your future hope; Or sinks, and through the crannies weeds arise: Or else expect a listless lazy crop. For sundry foes the rural realm surround: Some swains have sown beforu; but most have The field-mouse builds her garner under ground

found For gather'd grain : the blind laborious mole A husky harvest from the grudging ground. In winding mazes works her hidden hole: Vile vetches would you sow, or lentils lean, In hollow caverns vermin make abodem The growth of Egypt, or the kidney bean, The hissing serpent, and the swelling toad: Begin when the slow Wagoner descends ; The corn devouring weasel here abides, Nor cease your sowing till midwinter ends. And the wise ant her wintry store provides. For this, through twelve bright signs Apollo

Mark well the flow'ring almonds in the wood : guides If od'rous blooms the bearing branches load, The year, and earth in sev'ral climes divides. The glebe will answer to the sylvan reign; Five girdles bind the skies: the torrid zone Great heats will follow, and large crops of grain. Glows with the passing and repassing sun :

Far on the right and left, th' extremes of heav'n And thrice his lightning and red thunder play'd,
To frosts and snows and bitter blasts are giv’n: And their demolish'd work in ruin laid.
Betwixt the midst and these, the gods assign'd The sev'nth is, next the tenth, the best to join
Two habitable seats for human kind,

Young oxen to the yoke, and plant the vine.
And 'cross their limits, cut a sloping way, Then, weavers, stretch your stays upon the
Which the twelve signs in beauteous order west.

(rise The ninth is good for travel, bad for theft. Two poles turn round the globe ; one seen to Some works in dead of night are better done, O'er Scythian hills, and one in Libyan skies; Or when the morning dew prevents the sun, The first sublime in heav'n, the last is whirl'd Parch'd meads and stubble mow by Fhæbe's Below the regions of the nether world,

light, Around our pole the spiry Dragon glides, Which both require the coolness of the night ; And like a winding stream, the Bears divides For, moisture then abounds, and pearly rains The less and greater, who by Fate's decree Descend in silence to refresh the plains. Abhor to dive beneath the northern sea. The wife and husband equally conspire There, as they say, perpetual night is found To work by night, and rake the winter fire : In silence brooding on th' unhappy ground: He sharpens torches in the glim’ring room ; Or, when Aurora leaves our northern sphere She shoots the flying shuttle through the loom, She lights the downward heav'n, and rises Or boils in kettles must of wine, and skims, there;

With leaves, the dregs that overflow the brims, And, when on us she breathes the living light, And, till the watchful cock awakes the day, Red Vesper kindles there the tapers of the She sings to drive the tedious hours away. night.

But, in warm weather, when the skies are From hence uncertain seasons we may know : c!rar, And when to reap the grain, and when to sow; By daylight reap the product of the year; Or when to fell the furzes : when 't is meet And in the sun your golden grain display, To spread the flying canvass for the fleet. And ihresh it out and winnow it by day. Observe what stars arise or disappear; Plough naked, swain, and naked sow the land; And the four quarters of the rolling year. For lazy winter numbs the lab'ring hand. But, when cold weather and continu'd rain In genial winter, swains enjoy their store, The lab'ring husband in his house restrain, Forget their hardships, and recruit for more. Let him forecast his work with timely care : The farmer to full bowls invites his friends, Which else is huddled, when the skies are fair: And, what he got with pains, with pleasure Then let him mark the sheep, or whet the shin spends. ing share,

So sailors, when escap'd from stormy seas, Or hollow trees for boats, or number o'er First crown their vessels,then indulge their ease. His sacks, or measure his increasing store, Yet that's the proper time to thresh the wood Or sharpen stakes, or head the forks, or twine For mast of oak, your father's homely food; The sallow twigs to tie the straygling vine ; To gather laurel-berries, and the spoil Or wicker baskets weave, or air the corn, of bloody myrtles, and to press your oil : Or grinded grain betwixt two ma:bles turn. For stalking cranes to set the guileful snare; No laws, divine or human, can restrain, T'inclose the stags in toils, and hunt the hare; From necessary works the lab'ring swain. With Balearic slings, or Gnossian bow, E’en holy days and feasts permission yield To persecute from far the flying doe, To float the meadows, or to fence the field, Then, when the fleecy skies new clothe the wood, To fire the brambles, snare the birds, and steep And cakes of rustling ice come rolling down the In wholesome waterfalls the woolly sheep.

flood. And oft the drudging ass is driven, with toil, Now sing we stormy stars, when autumn To neighb'ring towns with apples and with oil ; weighs Returning, late and laden, home with gain The and adds to nights, and shortens days, Of barter'd pitch, and handmills for the grain. And suns declining shine with feeble rays :

The lucky days, in each revolving moon, What cares must then attend the toiling swain, For labour choose : the fifth be sure to shun; Or when the low'ring spring, with lavish rain, That gave the Furies and pale Pluto birth, Beats down the slender stem and bearded grain, And arm'd against the skies, the cons of earth. While yet the head is green, or, lightly swellid With mountains pild on mountains, thrice they With milky moisture, overlooks the field. strovo

E'en when the farmer, now secure of fear, To scale the steepy battlements of Jove ; Sends in the swains to spoil the finish'd year,


E'en while the reaper fills his greedy hands, On Ceres let him call, and Ceres praise,
And binds the golden sheaves in brittle bands, With uncouth dances, and with country lays.
Ofi have I seen a sudden storm arise,

And that by certain signs we may presage From all the warring winds that sweep the or heals and rains, and wind's impetuous rage, skies:

The sov'reign of the heav'ns has set on high The heavy harvest from the root is torn, The moon, to mark the changes of the sky; And whirl'd aloft the lighter stubble borne: When southern blasts should ease, and when the With such a force the flying rack is driv'n,

swain And such a winter wears the face of heav'n. Should near their fold his feeding flocks reAnd oft whole sheets descend of sluicy rain,

strain. Suck'd by the spongy clouds from off the For, ere the rising winds begin to roar, main :

The working seas advance to wash the shore: The lofty skies, at once come pouring down, Soft whispers run along the leafy woods; The promis'd crop,

and golden labours drown. And mountains whistle to the murm'ring floods. The dikes are fillid; and, with a roaring sound, E'en then the doubtful billows scarce abstain The rising rivers float the nether ground; From the toss'd vessel on the troubled main ;, And rocks the bellowing voice of boiling seas When crying cormorants forsake the sea, rebound.

And, stretching to the covert, wing their way; The father of the gods his glory shrouds, When sportful coots run skimming o'er the Involv'd in tempests, and a night of clouds;

strand; And, from the middle darkness flashing out,

When watchful herons leave their watry stand, By fits ho deals his fiery bolts about.

And, mounting upward with erected fight, Earth feels the motions of her angry god; Gain on the skies, and soar above the sight. Her entrails tremble, and her mountains nod; And oft, before tempestuous winds arise, And flying beasts in forests seek abode : The seeming stars fall headlong from the skies, Deep horror seizes ev'ry human breast; And, shooting through the darkness, gild the Their pride is humbled, and their fear consessid, night While he from high his rolling thunder throws, With sweeping glories, and long trails of light; And fires the mountains with repeated blows : And chaff with eddy-winds is whirl'd around, The rocks are from their old foundations rent; And dancing leaves are listed from the ground; The winds redouble, and the rains augment : And floating feathers on the waters play. The waves on heaps are dash'd against the But, when the winged thunder takes his way shore ;

From the cold north, and east and west engage, And now the woods, and now the billows, roar

And at their frontiers meet with equal rage, In fear of this, observe the starry signs, The clouds are crush'd : a glut of gather'd rain Where Saturn houses, and where Hermes joins. The hollow ditches fills, and floats the plain ; But first to heav'n thy due devotions pay, And sailors furl their dropping sheets amain. And annual gifts on Ceres' altar lay.

Wet weather seldom hurts the most unwise ; When winter's rage abates, when cheerful So plain the signs, such prophets are the skies. hours

The wary crane foresees it first, and sails Awake the spring, the spring awakes the flow'rs, Above the storm, and leaves the lowly vales: On the green turf thy careless limbs display, The cow looks up, and from afar can find And celebrate the mighty Mother's day: The change of heaven, and snuffs it in the wind: For then the hills with pleasing shades are The swallow skims the river's wat’ry face : crown'd,

The frogs renew the croaks of thoir loquacious And sleeps are sweeter on the silken ground:

race: With milder beams the sun serenely shines : The careful ant her secret cell forsakes, Fai are the lambs, and luscious are the wines. And drags bor eggs along the narrow tracks: Let ev'ry swain adore her pow'r divine, At either horn the rainbow drinks the flood : And milk and honey niix with sparkling wine : Huge flocks of rising rooks forsake their food, Let all the choir of clowns attend the show, And, crying, seek the shelter of the world. In long procession, shouting as they go Besides, the sev'ral sorts of wat'ry fowls, Invoking her to bless their yearly stores, That swim the seas or haunt the standing pools, Invoking plenty to their crowded floors. The swans that sail along the silver flood, Thus in the spring, and thus in summer's heat, And dive with stretching necks to search their Before the sickles touch the rip'ning wheat,


(vain, On Ceres call; and let the lab'ring hind Then lave their backs with sprinkling dews in With oaken wreaths his hollow temples bind: And stem the stream to meet the promis'd rain.

The crow with clam'rous cries the show'r de- Next day, nor only that, but all the moon, mands,

'Till her revolving race be wholly run, And single stalks along the desert sands. Are void of tempests, both by land and sea , The nighuly virgin, while her wheel she plies And sailors in the port their promis'd vow shall Foresees the storm impending in the skies,

pay. When sparkling lambs their sputi'ring light ad Above the rest, the sun who never lies, vance,

Foretells the change of weather in the skies : And in the sockets oily bubbles dance.

For, if he rise unwilling to his race, Then, afier showers, 'lis easy to descry Clouds on his brow, and spots upon his face, Retuming suns and a serener sky:

Or if through mists he shonts his sullen beams, The stars shine smarter; and the moon adorns, Frugal of light, in loose and straggling streams, As with unborrow'd beams, her sharpen'd horns. Suspect a drizzling day, with southern rain, The filmy gossamer now fits no more,

Fatal to fruits and Aocks, and promis'd grain. Nor halcyons bask on the short sunny shore: Or, if Aurora, with half open'd eyes, Their litter is not toss'd by sow's unclean; And a pale sickly cheek, salute the skies But a blue droughty mist descends upon the How shall the vine, with tender leaves, defend plain;

Her teeining clusters, when the storms descend. And owls, that mark the setting sun, declare When ridgy roofs and tiles can scarce avail A star-light evening, and a morning fair. To bar the ruin of the ratiling hail ? Tow'ring aloft avenging Nisus flies,

But more than all, the setting sun survey, While, dar'd, below the guilty Scylla lies. When down the steep of heav'n he drives the Wherever frighted Scylla flies away

day : Swift Nisus follows, and pursues his

prey :

For oft we find him finishing his race, Where injured Nisus takes his airy course, With various colours erring on his face. Thence trembling Scylla fies, and shuns his If fiery red his glowing globe descends, sorce,

High winds and furious tempests he portends : This punishment pursues th' unhappy maid, Bui, if his cheeks are swoln with livid blue, And thus the purple hair is dearly paid : He bodes wet weather by his wai'ry hue : Then, thrice the ravens rend the liquid air, If dusky spots are varied on his brow, And croaking notes proclain the settled fair. And streak'd with red, a troubled colour show, Then round their airy palaces they fly,

That sullen mixture shall at once declare To greet the sun; and, seiz'd with secret joy, Winds, rain, and storms, and elemental war. When storms are overblown, with food repair What desp'rate madman then would venture o'er To their forsaken nests, and callow care. The frith, or haul his cables from the shore ? Not that I think their breasts with heav'nly But, if with purple rays he brings the light, souls

And a pure heav'n reigns to quiet night, Inspir'd, as man, who destiny controls.

No rising winds, or falling storms are nigh; But with the changeful temper of the skies, But northern breezes through the forests fly, As raios condense, and sunshine rarifies, And drive the rack, and purge the ruffled sky. So turn the species in their alter'd minds, Th’unerring jun by certain signs declares Compos'd by calms and discompos'd by winds : What the late ev'n or early morn prepares, From hence proceeds the bird's harmonious And when the south projects a stormy day, voice ;

And when the clearing north will puff the clouds From hence the cows exult, and frisking lambs away. rejoice,

The sun reveals the secrets of the sky; Observe the daily circle of the sun,

And who dares give the source of light the And the short year of each revolving moon :

lie? By them thou shalt foresee the following day ; The change of empires often he declares, Nor shall a starry night thy hopes betray. Fierce tumulls, hidden treasons, open wars. When first the moon appears, if then she He first the fate of Cæsar did foretell, shrouds

And pitied Rome, when Rome in Cæsar fell; Her silver crescent tipp'd with sable clouds, In iron clouds conceal'd the public light; Conclude she bodes a tempest on the main, And impious mortals fear'd elernal night. And brews for fields impetuous floods of rain. Nor was the fact foretold by him alone : - if her face with fiery rlushing glow,

Nature herself stood forth and seconded the Ernect the rattling winds aloft to blow. But, four nights old, (for that's the surest sign) Earth, air, and seas, with prodigies were sign'd; TVith sharpen'd horns if glorious then she shine, And birds obscene, and howling dogs, divin’d.


« EelmineJätka »