Page images


A scabber tetter on their pelts will stick, During th' autumnal heats th' infection grew, When the raw rain has pierc'd them to the Tame cattle and the beasts of nature slew, quick,

Pois'ning the standing lakes, and pools imOr searching frosts have eaten through the skin,

pure ; Or burning icicles are lodg'd within:

Nor was the foodful grass in fields secure. Or, when the fleece is shorn, if sweat remains Strange death! for, when the thirsty fire had Unwash'd, and soaks into their empty veins ;

drunk When their defenceless limbs the brambles tear, Their vital blood, and the dry nerves were Short of their wool, and naked from the shear.

shrunk, Good shepherds, after shearing, drench their When the contracted limbs were cramp'd, e'en sheep;

then And their flock's father (forc'd from high to leap) A wat'rish humour swelld and ooz'd again. Swims down the stream, and plunges in the Converting into bane the kindly juice, deep.

Ordain'd by Nature for a better use. They oint their naked limbs with mother'd oil ; The victim ox, that was for altars prest, Or, from the founts where living sulphurs boil; Trimm'd with white ribbons, and with garlands Thoy mix a med'cine to foment their limbs,

drest, With scum that on the molten silver swims; Sunk of himself, without the gods' command, Fat pitch, and black bitumen, add to these, Preventing the slow sacrificer's hand. Besides the waxen labour of the bees,

Or, by the holy butcher if he fell, And hellebore, and squills deep rooted in the Th’inspected entrails could no fates foretell :

Nor, laid on altars, did pure flames arise ; Receipts abound; but, searching all thy store, But clouds of smould'ring smoke forbade the The best is still at hand, to lance the sore,

sacrifice. And cut the head ; for, till the core be found, Scarcely the knife was redden'd with his gore, The secret vice is fed, and gathers ground, Or the black poison stain'd the sandy floor. While, making fruitless moan, the shepherd The thriven calves in meads their food forsake, stands,

And ronder their sweet souls before the plenAnd, when the lancing knife requires his hands, teous rack, Vain help, with idle prayr's, from heav'n de- The fawning dog runs mad; the wheezing mands.

swine Deep in their bones when fevers fix their seat, With coughs is chok'd, and labours from the And rack their limbs, and lick the vital heat,

chine : The ready cure to cool the raging pain

The victor horse, forgetful of his food, Is underneath the foot to breathe a vein. The palm renounces, and abhors the flood. This remedy the Scythian shepherds found : He paws the ground; and on his hanging ears Thinhabitants of Thracia's hilly ground, A doubtful sweat in clammy drops appears : And Gelons, use it, when for drink and food Parch'd is his hide, and rugged are his hairs. They mix their curdled milk with horses' blood. Such are the symptoms of the young disease;

But, where thou seest a single sheep remain But, in time's process, when his pains increase, In shades aloof, or couch'd upon the plain, He rolls his mournful eyes : he deeply groans Or listlessly to crop the tender grass,

With patient sobbing, and with manly moans. Or late to lag behind with truant pace ; He heaves for breath ; which, from his lungs Revenge the crime, and take the traitor's head, supplied. Ere in the faultless flock the dire contagion And fetch'd from far, distends his lab'ring side. spread.

To his rough palate his dry tongue succeeds : On winter seas we fewer storms behoid, And ropy gore he from his nostrils bleeds. Than foul diseases that infect the fold.

A drench of wine has with success been usd, Nor do those ills on single bodies prey, And through a born the gen'rous juice infus'd, But oft'ner bring the nation to decay, [away. Which, timely taken, op'd his closing jaws, And sweep the present stock and future hope But, if too late, the patient's death did cause : A dire example of this truth appears,

For the too vig'rous dose too fiercely wrought, When, after such a length of rolling years, And added fury to the strength it brought. We

Te see the naked Alps, and thin remains Recruited into rage, he grinds his teeth Of scatter'd cots, and yet unpeopled plains, In his own flesh, and feels approaching death. Once fill'd with grazing flocks, the shepherds' Ye gods, to better fate good men dispose, happy reigns.

And turn that impious error on our foes ! Here, from the vicious air and sickly skies, The steer, who to the yoko was bred to bow, A plague did on the dumb creation rise: (Studious of tillage, and the crooked plough)

his prey.

Falls down and dies; and, dying, spews a flood At length, she strikes a universal blow :
Of foamy madness, mix'd with clotted blood. To death at once whole herds of cattle go:
The clown, who, cursing Providence, repines, Sheep, oxen, horses, fall: and, heap'd on high,
His mournful fellow from the team disjoins; The diff"ring species in confusion lie,
With many a groan forsakes his fruitless care, Till, warn'd by frequent ills, the way they found
And in th' unfinish'd furrow leaves the share. To lodge their loathsome carrion under ground;
The pining steer no shades of lofty woods, For useless to the currier were their hides;
Nor How'ry meads, can ease, nor crystal floods Nor could their tainted Aosh with ocean-tides
Rollid from the rock : his flabby flanks decrease; Be freed from filth ; nor could Vulcanian flame
His eyes are settled in a stupid peace;

The stench abolish, or the savour lame.
His bulk too weighty for his thighs is grown; Nor safely could they shear their fleecy store,
And his unwieldly neck hangs drooping down. (Made drunk with pois'nous juice, and stiff with
Now what avails his well-deserving toil

gore) To turn the glebe, or smooth the rugged soil ? Or touch the web: but, if the vest they wear And yet he never supt in solemn state, Red blisters rising on their paps appear (Nor undigested feasts did urge his fate) And flaming carbuncles, and noisome sweat, Nor day to night luxuriously did join,

And clammy dews, that loathsome lice beget; Nor surfeited on rich Campanian wine. 'Till the slow-creeping evil eals his way, Simple his bev'rage, homely was his food, Consumes the parching limbs, and makes the life

The wholesome herbage, and the running flood :
No dreadful dreams awak'd him with affright:
His pains by day secur'd his rest at night.
'Twas then that buffaloes, ill pair'd, were seen

To draw the car of Jove's imperial queen,

ARGUMENT, For want of oxen; and the lab'ring swain

Virgil has taken care to raise the subject of each Scratch'd, with a rake, a furrow for his grain, Georgic. In the first, he has only dead matter on And cover'd with his hand, the shallow seed which to work. In the second, he just steps on

the world of life, and describes that degree or it again.

which is to be found in vegetables. In the third, He yokes himself, and up the hilly height

he advances to animals: and, in the last, he sinWith his own shoulders, draws the wagon's

gles out the hee, which may be reckoned the most

sagacious of them, for his subject. weight.

(prowl'd in this Georgic, he shows us what station is most The nightly wolf, that round th' inclosure proper for the bees, and when they begin to ga

ther honey: how to call thein home when they To leap the fence, now plots not on the fold,

swarm ; and how to part them when they are en. Tam'd with a sharper pain. The fearful doe, gaged in battle. From hence he takes occasion And flying stag, amidst the greyhounds go,

to discover their different kinds: and, after an exAnd round the dwellings roam of man, their

cursion, relates their prudent and politic adninis

tration of affairs, and the general diseases that fiercer foe.

often rage in their hives, with the proper synp. The scaly nations of the sea profound,

toms and remedies of each disease. In the last

place he lays down a method of repairing their Like shipwreck'd carcasses, are driv'n aground, kind, jupposing their whole breed lost; and gives And mighty phocæ, never seen before

at large the history of its invention. In shallow streams, are stranded on the shore. The gifts of heav'n my following song pursues, The viper dead within her hole is found : Aerial honey, and ambrosial dews. Defenceless was the shelter of the ground. Mæcenas, read this other part, that sings The water-snake, whom fish and paddocks fed, Erbatuld squadrons and advent'rous kingsWith staring scales lies poison'd in his bed:

A mighty pomp, though made of little things. To birds their native heav'ns contagious prove : Their arms, their arts, their manners, I disFrom clouds they fall, and leave their souls close, above.

And how they war, and whence the people rose. Besides, to change their pasture 't is in vain, Slight is the subject, but the praise not small, Or trust to physic: physic is their bane. If heav'n assist, and Phæbus hear my call. The learned leeches in despair depart,

First, for thy bees a quiet station find, And shake their heads, desponding of their art, And lodge them under covert of the wind : (drive

Tisiphone let loose from under ground, (For winds, when homeward they return, will Majestically pale, now treads the round, The loaded carriers from their evening hive,) Before her drives Diseases and Affright, Far from the cows' and goats' insulting crew, And ev'ry moment rises to the sight,

That trample down the flow'rs, and brush the Aspiring to the skies, encroaching on the light. dew. The rivers, and their banks, and hills around, The painted lizard, and the birds of prey, With lowings and with dying bleats resound. Foes of the frugal kind, be far away

The titmouse, and the pecker's hungry brood, For what remains, when golden suns appear,
And Procne, with her bosom stain'd in blood : And under earth havc driv’n the winter year,
These rob the trading citizens, and bear The winged nation wanders through the skies,
The trembling captives through the liquid air, And o'er the plains and shady forests flies :
And for their ca low young a cruel feast prepare. Then, stooping on the meads and leafy bow'rs,
Bul near a living stream their mansion place, They skim the floods, and sip the purple
Edg'd round with moss, and tufts of matted flow'rs.
grass :

Exalted hence, and drunk with secret joy,
And plant, (the wind's impetuous rage to stop) Their young succussion all their cares employ:
Wild olive trees, or palms, before the busy shop; They breed, they brood, instruct, and educate,
That when the youthful prince, with proud And make provision for the future state :

They work their waxen lodgings in their hives, Calls out the venturous colony to swarm They labour honey to sustain their lives. When first their way through yielding air they But when thou seest a swarning cloud arise, wing,

That sweeps aloft, and darkens all the skies, New to the pleasures of their native spring The motions of their hasty flight attend; The banks of brooks may make a cold retreat And know, to floods or woods, their airy march For the raw soldiers from the scalding heat,

they bend. And neighb’ring trees with friendly shade invite Then melloil beat, and honey-suckles pound; The troops, unus'd to long laborious flight. With these alluring savours strew the ground: Then o'er the running stream or standing lake, And mix with tinkling brass the cymbal's dronA passage for thy weary people make;

ing sound. With osier floats the standing water strew; Straight to their ancient cells, recall'd from of massy stones make bridges, if it flow;

air, That basking in the sun thy bees may lie, The reconcil'd deserter's will repair. And, restiny there their flaggy pinions dry, But, if intestine broils alarm the hive, When, late returning home, the laden host (For two pretenders oft for empire strive) By raging winds is wreck'd upon the coast. The vulgar in divided factions jar; Wild thyme and sav'ry set around their cull, And murm'ring sounds proclaim the civil war. Sweet to the taste, and fragrant to the smell : Inflam'd with ire, and trembling with disdain, Set rows of rosemary with flow'ring stein, Scarce can their limbs their mighty souls conAnd let the purple vi’lets drink the stream.

lain, Whether thou build the palace of thy bees With shouts, the coward's courage they excite, With twisted osjers, or with barks of trees, And martial clangors call them out to fight : Make but a narrow mouth; for as the cold With hoarse alarms the hollow camp rebounds, Congeals into a lump the liquid gold,

That imitate the trumpets angry sounds: So 'tis again dissolv'd by summer's heat; Then to their common standards they repair ; And the sweet labours by extremes defeat. The nimble horsemen scour the fields of air ; And therefore not in vain, th' industrous kind In form of battle drawn, they issue forth, With dauby wax and Aow'rs the chinks have And ev'ry knight is proud to prove his worth. lin'd,

Prest for their country's honour, and their And with their stores of gather'd glue, contrive kings, To stop the vents and crannies of their hive. On their sharp beaks they wet their pointed Not birdlime, or Idean pilch, produce

stings, A more Lenacious mass of clammy juice. And exercise their arms, and tremble with their

Nor bees are lodg'd in hives alone, but found wings. In chambers of their own beneath the ground: Full in the midst the haughty monarchs ride ; Their vaulted roofs are hung in pumices, The trusty guards come up, and close the And in the rotten trunks of hollow trees.

side; But plaster thou the chinky hives with clay, With shouts the daring foe to batue is defied. And leafy branches o'er their lodgings lay: Thus, in the season of unclouded spring, Nor place them where loo deep a water flows, To war they follow their undrunted king, Or where the yew, their pois'npus neighbour, Crowd through their gates; and, in the fields of grovas;

light, Nor roast red crabs, e' offend the niceness of the shocking squadrons meet in mortal fight.

(ground; Headlong they fall from high, and wounded Nor near the streaming stench of muddy wound; Nor hollow rocks that renrler back the sound, And heaps of slaughter'd soldiers bite the And double images of voice rebound


their nose ;

Hard hailstones lie not thicker on the plain, And with wild thyme and sav'ry plant the Nor shaken oaks such show'rs of acorns rain.

plain, With gorgeous wings, the marks of sovereign Till his hard horny fingers ache with pain ; sway,

And deck with frutif trees the fields around, The two contending princes make their way; And with refreshing waters drench the ground. Intrepid through the midst of danger go,

Now, did I not so near my labours end, Their friends encourage and amaze the foe. Strike sail, and hasi'ning to the harbour tend, With mighty souls in narrow bodies prest, My song to flow'ry gardens might extend They challenge, and encounter breast to breast; To teach the vegetable arts to sing, So fix'd on fame, unknowing how to fly, The Pæstan roses, and their double spring; And obstinately bent to win or die,

How succ'ry drinks the running streams,

and That long the doubtful combat they maintain,

how Till one prevails—for one can only reign. Green beds of parsley near the river grow; Yet all these dreadful deeds, this deadly fray, How cucumbers along the surface creep, A cast of scatter'd dust will soon allay,

With crooked bodies, and with bellies deepAnd undecided leave the fortune of the day. The late narcissus, and the winding trail When both the chiefs are sunder'd from the Of bear's foot, myrtles green, and ivy pale : fight,

For, where with stately tow'rs Tarentum Then lo the lawful king restore his right ;

stands, And let the wasteful prodigal be slain,

And deep Galæsus soaks the yellow sands, That he, who best deserves, alone may reign. I chanc'd an old Corycian swain to know, With ease distinguish'd is the regal race: Lord of few acres, and those barren too, One monarch wears an honest open face : Unfit for sheep or vines, and more unfit to sow: Shap'd to his size, and godlike to behold, Yet, lab'ring well his little spot of ground, His royal body shines with specks of gold, Some scatt'ring pot-herbs here and there he And ruddy scales; for empiro he design'd,

found, Is better born, and of a nobler kind.

Which, cultivated with his daily care, That other looks like nature in disgrace: And bruis'd with vervain, were his frugal fare. Gaunt are his sides, and sullen is his face, Sometimes while lilies did their leaves afford And like their grizzly prince appear his gloomy With wholesome poppy flow'rs, to mend his Grim, ghastly, rugged, like a thirsty train (race. homely board : That long have travell’d through a desert plain, For, late returning home, he supp'd at ease, And spit from their dry chaps the gather'd dust And wisely deem'd the wealth of monarchs again.

less : The better brood, unlike the bastard crew, The little of his own, because his own did please. Are mark'd with royal streaks of shining hue; To quit his care, he gather'd first of all, Glitt'ring and ardent though in body less : In spring the roses, apples in the fall : From these at pointed seasons, hope to press And, when cold winter split the rocks in twain, Huge heavy honeycombs, of golden juice And ice the running rivers did restrain, Not only sweet, but pure, and fit for use, He stripp'd the bear's-foot of its leafy growth, T' allay the strength and hardness of the wine, And, calling western winds, accus'd the spring And with old Bacchus, new metheglin join.

of sloth. But, when the swarms are eager of their He therefure first among the swains was found play,

To read the product of his labour'd ground, And loathe their empty hives, and idly stray, And squeeze the comb, with golden liquor Restra in the wanton fugitives, and take

crown'd. A timely care to bring the truants back. His limes were first in flow'rs; his lofty pines, The task is easy—but to clip the wings With friendly shade, secur'd his tender vinos. Of their high-flying arbitrary kings.

For ev'ry bloom his trees in spring affora, At their command, the people swarm away : An autumn apple was by tale restor'd. Confine the tyrant, and the slaves will stay.

He knew to rank his elms in even rows, Sweet gardens, full of saffron flowers, invite For fruit the grafted pear-tree to dispose, The wand'ring gluttons, and retard their flight And tame to plums the sourness of the sloes. Besides the god obscene, who frights away, With spreading planes he made a cool retreat, With his lath sword, the thieves and birds of To shade good fellows from the summer's heat, prey,

But, straiten'd in my space, I must forsake With his own hand, the guardian of the bees, This lask, for others afterwards to take. For slips of pine may search the mountain Describe we next the nature of the bees, trees,

Bestow'd by Jove for secret services,

When, by the tinkling sound of timbrels led, When hollow murmurs of their evering bells The king of heav'n in Cretan caves they fed. Dismiss the sleepy swains, and toll them to their Of all tho race of animals, alone

cells. The bees have common cities of their own, When once in beds their weary limbs they And common sons: beneath one law they live, steep, And with one common stock their traffic drive. No buzzing sounds disturb their golden sleep Each has a certain home, a sev'ral stall : 'Tis sacred silence all. Nor dare they stray, All is the state's; the state provides for all.

When rain is promis'd, or a stormy day; Mindful of coining cold, they share the pain, But near the city walls thcir wat’ring take, And hoard, for winter's use, the summer's gain, Nor forage far, but short excursions make. Some o'er the public magazines preside ;

And as when empty barks on billows float, And some are sent new forage to provide. With sandy ballast sailors trim the boat ; These drudge in fields abroad; and those at So bees bear gravel stones, whose poising homo

weight Lay deep foundations for the labour'd comb, Steers through the whistling winds their steady With dew, narcissus-leaves, and clammy gum. flight. To pitch the waxen flooring some contrive; But (what's more strange) their modest apa Some nurse the future nation of the hive;

petites, Sweet honey some condense; some purge the Averse from Venus, fly the nuptial rites. grout;

No lust enervates their heroic mind, The rest, in cells apart, the liquid nectar shut: Nor wastes their strength on wanton womanAll, with united force, combine to drive

kind; The lazy drones from the laborious hive : But in their mouths reside their genial pow'rs : With envy stung, they view each others deeds: They gather children from the leaves and With diligence the fragrant work proceeds.

flow'rs. As when the Cyclops, at th' almighty nod,

Thus make they kings to fill the regal seat, New thunder hasten for their angry god,

And thus their little citizens create, Subdu'd in fire the stubborn metal lies;

And waxen cities build, the palaces of state. One brawny smith the puffing bellows plies,

And oft on rocks their tender wings they lear, And draws and blows reciprocating air :

And sink beneath the burdens which they bear : Others to quench the hissing mass prepare : Such rage of honey in their bosom beats, With lifted arms they order ev'ry blow, And such a zeal they have for flow'ry sweets. And chime their sounding hammers in a row; Thus, though the race of life they quickly run, With labour'd anvils Etna groans below. Which in the space of sev'n short years is done : Strongly they strike; huge flakes of Aames ex- Th' immortal line in sure succession reigns; pire :

The fortune of the farnily remains ; With tongs they turn the steel, and ver it in the And grandsires' grandsires the long list confire.

tains. If little things with great we may compare,

Besides, not Egypt, India, Media, more Such are the bees, and such their busy care ; With servile awe their idol king adore : Studious of honey, each in his degree, [bee- While he survives, in concord and content The youthful swain, the grave experienc'd The commons livo, by no divisions rent: That in the field; this, in affairs of state But the great monarch's death dissolves the Employ'd at home, abides within the gate,

government. To fortify the combs, to build the wall,

All goes to ruin ; they themselves contrive To prop the ruins, lest the fabric fall:

To rob the honey, and subvert the hive. But, late at night, with weary pinions come The king presides, his subjects' toil surveys, Tho lab'ring youth, and heavy laden, home. The servilo route their careful Cæsar praise : Plains, meads, and orchards, all the day he plies; Him they extol; they worship him alone ; The gleans of yellow thyme distend his thighs : They crowd his levees, and support his throne : He spoils the safforon flow'rs: he sips the blues They raise him on their shoulders with a shout; Of villets, wilding blooms, and willow dews. And, when their sov'reign's quarrel calls them Their toil is common; common is their sleep;

out, They shake their wings when morn begins to His foes to mortal combat they defy, peep;

And think it honour at his feet lo die. Rush through the city gates without delay; Induc'd by such examples some have taught Nor ends their work but with declining day. That bees have portion of etherial thought Then, having spent the last remains of light, Endu'd with particles of heavenly fires; *They give their bodies due repose at night, For God the whole created mass inspires,

VOL. II.-4

« EelmineJätka »