Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The waves on heaps are dash'd against the shore,
And now the woods, and now the billows roar.
In fear of this, observe the starry signs,
Where Saturn houses, and where Hermes joins.
But first to Heaven thy due devotions pay,
And annual gifts on Ceres' altars lay.
When winter's rage abates, when cheerful hours
Awake the spring, the spring awakes the flowers.
On the green turf thy careless limbs display,
And celebrate the mighty mother's day.
For then the hills with pleasing shades are crown'd,
And sleeps are sweeter on the silken ground:
With milder beams the Sun securely shines;
Fat are the lambs, and luscious are the wines.
Let every swain adore her power divine,
And milk and honey mix with sparkling wine:
Let all the choir of clowns attend the show,
In long procession, shouting as they go;
Invoking her to bless their yearly stores,
Inviting plenty to their crowded floors.

Thus in the spring, and thus in summer's heat,
Before the sickles touch the ripening wheat,
On Ceres call; and let the labouring hind
With oaken wreaths his hollow temples bind :
On Ceres let him call, and Ceres praise,
With uncouth dances, and with country lays.
And that by certain signs we may presage
Of heats and rains, and wind's impetuous rage,
The sovereign of the Heavens has set on high
The Moon, to mark the changes of the sky: [swain
When southern blasts shall cease, and when the
Should near their folds his feeding flocks restrain.
For, ere the rising winds begin to roar,
The working seas advance to wash the shore:
Soft whispers run along the leafy woods,
And mountains whistle to the murmuring floods :
Ev'n then the doubtful billows scarce abstain
From the toss'd vessel on the troubled main;
When crying cormorants forsake the sea,
And, stretching to the covert, wing their way;
When sportful coots run skimming o'er the strand;
When watchful herons leave their watery stand;
And mounting upward with erected flight,
Gain on the skies, and soar above the sight.
And oft before tempestuous winds arise,
The seeming stars fall headlong from the skies;
And, shooting through the darkness, gild the night
With sweeping glories, and long trails of light:
And chaff with eddy winds is whirl'd around,
And dancing leaves are lifted from the ground;
And floating feathers on the waters play.
But when the winged thunder takes his way.
From the cold north, and east and west engage,
And at their frontiers meet with equal rage,
The clouds are crush'd, a glut of gather'd rain
The hollow ditches fills, and floats the plain,
And sailors furl their dropping sheets amain.
Wet weather seldom hurts the most unwise,
So plain the signs, such prophets are the skies:
The wary crane foresees it first, and sails
Above the storm, and leaves the lowly vales:
The cow looks up, and from afar can find
The change of Heaven, and snuffs it in the wind.
The swallow skims the river's watery face, [race.
The frogs renew the croaks of their loquacious
The careful ant her secret cell forsakes,
And drags her eggs along the narrow tracks.
At either horn the rainbow drinks the flood,
Huge flocks of rising rooks forsake their food,
And, crying, scek the shelter of the wood,

Besides, the several sorts of watery fowls,
That swim the seas, or haunt the standing pools:
The swans that sail along the silver flood,
And dive with stretching necks to search their food,
Then lave their backs with sprinkling dews in vain,
And stem the stream to meet the promis'd rain.
The crow, with clamorous cries, the shower de
And single stalks along the desert sands. [mands,
The nightly virgin, while her wheel she plies,
Foresees the storms impending in the skies,
When sparkling lamps their sputtering light ad-
And in the sockets oily bubbles dance. [vance,
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 starlight evening, and a morning fair.
Towering 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 injur'd Nisus takes his airy course,
Thence trembling Scylla flies, and shuns his force.
This punishment pursues th' unhappy maid,
And thus the purple hair is dearly paid.
Then, thrice the ravens rend the liquid air,
And croaking notes proclaim the settled fair.
Then, round their airy palaces they fly,
To greet the Sun: and seiz'd with secret joy,
When storms are over-blown, with food repair
To their forsaken nests, and callow care.
Not that I think their breasts with heavenly souls
Inspir'd, as man, who destiny controls;
But with the changeful temper of the skies,
As rains condense, and sunshine rarifies ;
So turn the species in their alter'd minds,
Compos'd by calins, and discompos'd by winds.
From hence proceeds the birds' harmonious voice;
From hence the cows exult, and frisking lambs re-
Observe the daily circle of the Sun,
And the short year of each revolving Moon:
By them thou shalt foresee the following day;
Nor shall a starry night thy hopes betray.
When first the Moon appears, if then she shrouds
Her silver crescent, tipp'd with sable clouds;
Conclude she bodes a tempest on the main,
And brews for fields impetuous floods of rain.
Or if her face with fiery flushing glow,
Expect the rattling winds aloft to blow.
But four nights old, (for that's the surest sign,)
With sharpen'd horns if glorious then she shine;
Next day, not 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 vows shall
Above the rest, the Sun, who never lies,
Foretels 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 rigid roofs and tiles can scarce avail
To bar the ruin of the rattling bail?
But, more than all, the setting Sun survey,
When down the steep of Heaven he drives the day.
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 watery hue;
If dusky spots are vary'd 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 desperate 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 Heaven resigns to quiet night,
No rising winds, or falling storms are nigh:
But northern breezes through the forest 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, [away.
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 foretel,
And pity'd 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 Sun.
Earth, air, and seas, with prodigies were sign'd,
And birds obscene, and howling dogs divin'd.
What rocks did Ætna'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 snow:
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 forsook :
The yawning Earth disclos'd th' abyss of Hell:
The weeping statues did the wars foretel;
And holy sweat from brazen idols fell.
Then rising in his might, the king of floods
Rush'd through the forests, tore the lofty woods;
And rolling onward, with a sweepy sway,
Bore houses, herds, and labouring hinds away.
Blood sprang from wells, wolves howl'd in towns by


And boding victims did the priests affright.
Such peals of thunder never pour'd from high,
Nor forky lightnings flash'd from such a sullen
Red meteors ran across th' ethereal space;
Stars disappear'd, and comets took their place.
For this, th' Emathian plains once more were strow'd
With Roman bodies, and just Heaven thought good
To fatten twice those fields with Roman blood.
Then, after length of time, the labouring 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 relies of gigantic bones.

Ye homeborn 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 towers de



With youthful Cæsar your joint powers engage,
Nor hinder him to save the sinking age.
O! let the blood, already spilt, atone
For the past crimes of curst Laomedon!
Heaven 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 every part resound,
And monstrous crimes in every shape are crown'd.
The peaceful peasant to the wars is prest;
The fields lie fallow in inglorious rest;
The plain no pasture to the flock affords,
The crooked scythes are straighten'd into swords:
And there Euphrates her soft offspring arms,
And here the Rhine rebellows with alarms;
The neighbouring cities range on several sides,
Perfidious Mars long plighted leagues divides,
And o'er the wasted world in triumph rides.
So four fierce coursers starting to the race,
Scour through the plain, and lengthen every pace:
Nor reins, nor curbs, nor threatening cries they
But force along the trembling charioteer.





THE subject of the following book is planting. In handling of which argument, the poet shows all the different methods of raising trees: describes their variety; and gives rules for the management of cach 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 pane gyric on a country life.

THUS far of tillage, and of heavenly signs ;
Now sing, my Muse, the growth of generous vines;
The shady groves, the woodland progeny,
And the slow product of Minerva's tree.

Great father Bacchus! to my song repair;
For clustering 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 all o'er
Thy limbs in must of wine, and drink at every pore.

Some trees their birth to bounteous Nature owe; For some without the pains of planting grow. With osiers thus the banks of brooks abound, Sprung from the watery genius of the ground: From the same principle gray willows come; Herculean poplar, and the tender broom. But some from seeds enclos'd in earth arise; For thus the mastful chesnut 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 clms, 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.
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 shoot, 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, bury'd in the plain,
Their tops in distant arches rise again.
Others no root require, the labourer 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.
'Tis usual now, an inmate graff to see
With insolence invade a foreign tree:
Thus pears and quinces from the crab-tree come;
And thus the ruddy cornel bears the plum.

Then let the learned gardener mark with care
The kinds of stocks, and what those kinds will bear,
Explore the nature of each several tree;
And known, improve with artful industry;
And let no spot of idle earth be found,
But cultivate the genius of the ground.
For open Ismarus will Bacchus please;.
Taburnus loves the shade of olive-trees.
The virtues of the several soils I sing.
Mæcenas, 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 tracks 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 supply'd 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 graffs of other kind,
Or thence transplanted, change their savage mind;
Their wildness lose, and quitting Nature's part,
Obey the rules and discipline of art.

The same do trees, that, sprung from barren roots
In open fields, transplanted bear their fruits.
For where they grow, the native energy
Turns all into the substance of the tree,
Starves and destroys the fruit, is only made
For brawny bulk, and for a barren shade.
The plant that shoots from seed, a sullen tree
At leisure grows, for late posterity;
The generous flavour lost, the fruits decay,
And savage grapes are made the birds' ignoble prey.
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 dress'd,
New soil to make, and meliorate the rest.
Old stakes of olive-trees in plants revive;
By the same methods Paphian myrtles live ;
But nobler vines by propagation thrive.

From roots hard hazles, and from cyons 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, hazle-graffs receives,
And planes huge apples bear, that bore but

Thus mastful beech the bristly chesnut 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 grows;
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 enclose,
The battening 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 allow'd,
So funeral cypress rising like a shroud.
Fat olive-trees of sundry sorts appear,

Of sundry shapes their unctuous berries bear.
Radii long olives, orchites round produce,
And bitter Pausia pounded for the juice.
Aloinous' orchard various apples bears:
Unlike are bergamots 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 Meriotique grow in barren ground.
The Psythian grape we dry: Lagean juice
Will stammering tongues and staggering feet pro-
Rathe ripe are some, and some of later kind


Of golden some, and some of purple rind.
How shall I praise the Ræthean grape divine,
Which yet contends not with Falernian wine!
Th' Aminean 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 every race and name,
And kinds, are less material to my theme.
Which who would learn, as soon may tell the

Driven by the western wind on Lybian lands;
Or number, when the blustring Eurus roars,
The billows beating on Ionian shores.

Nor every plant on every soil will grow :
The sallow loves the watery 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 th' extremest cultivated coast,
From hot Arabia to the Scythian frost :
All sorts of trees their several countries know,
Black ebon only will in India grow:

And odorous frankincense on the Sabean bough.
Balm slowly trickles through the bleeding veins
Of happy shrubs, in Idumæan plains.
The green Egyptian thorn, for medicine good;
With Ethiop's hoary trees and woolly wood,
Let others tell: and how the Seres spin
Their fleecy forest 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 generous is the juice:
A cordial fruit, a present antidote
Against the direful stepdame's deadly draught:
Who, mixing wicked deeds with words impure,
The fate of envy'd orphans would procure.
Large is the plant, and like a laurel grows,
And did it not a different scent disclose,
A laurel were: the fragrant flowers contemn
The stormy winds, tenacious of their stem.
With this the Medes to labouring 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 breath a living flame,
Have turn'd our turf, no teeth of serpents here
Were sown, an armed host, an iron crop to

[ocr errors]

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 flowery plain;
Whose waves for triumphs, after prosperous war,
The victim ox and snowy sheep prepare.
Perpetual spring our happy climate sees;
Twice breed the cattle, and twice bear the trees;
And summer suns recede by slow degrees.

Our land is from the rage of tigers freed,
Nor nourishes the lion's angry seed;
Nor poisonous 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 add our cities of illustrious name,
Their costly labour, and stupendous frame:
Our forts on steepy bills, 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 next
Benacus, with tempestuous billows vext.
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 fence;
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 inclin'd,
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 mighty Cæsar, whose victorious arms
To farthest Asia carry fierce alarms;
Avert unwarlike Indians from his Rome;
Triumph abroad, secure out peace at home.
Hail, sweet Saturnian soil! of fruitful grain
Great parent, greater of illustrious men,
For thee my tuneful accents will I raise,
And treat of arts disclos'd in ancient days:
Once more unlock for thee the sacred spring,
And old Ascræan verse in Roman cities sing.

The nature of their several soils now see,
Their strength, their colour, their fertility:
And first for heath, and barren hilly ground,
Where meagre clay and flinty stones abound;
Where the poor soil all succour seems to want,
Yet this suffices the Palladian plant.
Undoubted signs of such a soil are found,
For here wild olive shoots o'erspread the ground,
And heaps of berries strew the fields around.
But where the soil, with fattening moisture fill'd,
Is cloth'd with grass, and fruitful to be till'd,
Such as in cheerful vales we view from high;
Which dripping rocks with rolling streams supply,
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 generous 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 Thuscan blows his hora,
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 farthest coast, Or such a field as hapless Mantua lost : Where silver swans sail down the watery road, And graze the floating herbage of the flood, There crystal streams perpetual tenour 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 toiling teams from harvest labour come So late at night, so heavy laden home. The like of forest land is understood, From whence the surly ploughman grubs the Which had for length of ages idle stood. [wood, Then birds forsake the ruins of their seat, [forget. And flying from their nests their callow young The coarse lean gravel on the mountain sides, Scarce dewy beverage 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 amorous 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 Acerra boast,
Till Clanius overdow'd th' unhappy coast.
I teach thee next the differing 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 degenerate there, and fruits, declin'd
From their first flavorous taste, renounce their

This truth by sure experiment is try'd:
For first an osier colander provide

Of twigs thick wrought (such toiling peasants twine,
When through strait 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 lank ears in length of stem be lost.
The heavier earth is by her weight betray'd,
The lighter in the poising hand is weigh'd:
'Tis easy to distinguish by the sight,
The colour of the soil, and black from white.
But the cold ground is difficult to know,

Yet this the plants, that prosper there, will show ;
Black ivy, pitch trees, and the baleful yew
These rules consider'd well, with early care
The vineyard destin❜d for thy vines prepare:
But, long before the planting, dig the ground,
With furrows deep that cast a rising mound:
The clods expos'd to winter winds will bake,
For putrid earth will best in vineyards take,
And hoary frosts, after the painful toil
Of delving hinds, will rot the mellow soil.
Some peasants not t' omit the nicest care,
Of the same soil their nursery prepare,
With that of their plantation; lest the tree
Translated, should not with the soil agree.
Beside, to plant it as it was, they mark
The Heaven's four quarters on the tender bark;
And to the north or south restore the side,
Which at their birth did heat or cold abide.

So strong is custom, such effects can use
In tender souls of pliant plants produce.

Choose next a province for thy vineyard's reign,
On hills above, or on the lowly plain:
If fertile fields or vallies be thy choice,
Plant thick, for bounteous Bacchus will rejoice
In close plantations there. But if the vine
On rising ground be plac'd, or hills supine,
Extend thy loose battalions largely wide,
Opening thy ranks and files on either side:
But marshall'd all in order as they stand,
And let no soldier straggle from his band.
As legions in the field their front display,
To try the fortune of some doubtful day,
And move to meet their foes with sober pace,
Strict to their figure, though in wider space,
Before the battle joins; while from afar
The field yet glitters with the pomp of war,
And equal Mars like an impartial lord,
Leaves all to fortune, and the dint of sword;
So let thy vines in intervals be set,
But not their rural discipline forget:
Indulge their width, and add a roomy space,
That their extremest lines may scarce embrace;
Nor this alone t' indulge a vain delight,
And make a pleasing prospect for the sight:
But for the ground itself, this only way
Can equal vigour to the plants convey;
Which, crowded, want the room their branches to

How deep they must be planted, would'st thou

In shallow furrows vines securely grow.
Not so the rest of plants; for Jove's own tree,
That holds the woods in awful sovereignty,
Requires a depth of lodging in the ground;
And, next the lower skies, a bed profound :
High as his topmast boughs to Heaven ascend,
So low his roots to Hell's dominion tend.
Therefore, nor winds, nor winter's rage o'erthrowS
His bulky body, but unmov'd he grows.
For length of ages lasts his happy reign,
And lives of mortal man contend in vain.
Full in the midst of his own strength he stands,
Stretching his brawny arms, and leafy hands;
His shade protects the plains, his head the hills

[ocr errors]

The hurtful hazle in thy vineyard shun;
Nor plant it to receive the setting Sun:
Nor break the topmost branches from the tree;
Nor prune, with blunted knife, the progeny.
Root up wild olives from thy labour'd lands:
For sparkling fire from hinds' unweary hands,
Is often scatter'd o'er their unctuous rinds,
And after spread abroad by raging winds.
For first the smouldering flame the trunk receives,
Ascending thence, it crackles in the leaves;
At length victorious to the top aspires,
Involving all the wood in smoky fires,
But most, when driven by winds, the flaming storm
Of the long files destroys the beauteous form,
In ashes then th' unhappy vineyard lies,
Nor will the blasted plants from ruin rise:
Nor will the wither'd stock be green again,

But the wild olive shoots, and shades th' ungrate

ful plain.

Be not seduc'd with wisdom's empty shows,
To stir the peaceful ground when Boreas blows.
When winter frosts constrain the field with cold,
The fainty root can take no steady hold.

« PreviousContinue »