« PredošláPokračovať »
Bathed in soft dew, and fann'd by western winds,
384 And, freed from southern blast and northern shower, Spreads without fear, each bud, and leaf, and flower.
Yes ! lovely Spring! when rose the world to birth, Thy genial radiance dawn'd upon the earth, Beneath thy balmy air creation grew, And no bleak gale on infant Nature blew.
390 When herds first drank the light, from Earth's rude
bed When first man’s iron race uprear'd its head, When first to beasts the wild and 'wood were given, And stars unnumber'd paved th' expanse of heaven; Then as through all the vital spirit came,
395 And the globe teem'd throughout its mighty frame, Each tender being, struggling into life, Had droop'd beneath the elemental strife, But thy mild season, each extreme between, Soft nurse of Nature, gave the golden mean. 400
Guard, when you set the plants, their infant rows, Feed with manure, with plenteous mould inclose; Shells in their bed, and spongy stones inhume, To draw the dew down earth's imbibing womb; Hence shall each root new life and strength inhale, And catch the spirit of the genial gale ;
393 This seems, at first sight, to be oddly put together : the forests were stocked with beasts and the heavens with constellations. It was not so in these times, when the constellations were generally considered as real animals, and many of them as men, but most of them as beasts. The prologue to the Rudens of Plautus is spoken by Arcturus, as one of the dramatis personæ.-Spence, quoted by Warton,
403 Ceci est encore pratiqué près de Trani dans la Pouille, où l'on fait d'excellent vin muscat.- De Lille.
And some are found, who ponderous fragments spread,
The plants now fix'd, th' unwearied work pursue ;
When the new leaf in Spring's luxuriant time Clothes the young shoot, oh! spare its tender prime: And when the gadding tendril wildly gay
421 Darts into air, and wantons on its way, Indulgent yet the knife's keen edge forbear, But nip the leaves, and lighten here and there. But when in lusty strength th' o'er-shadowing vine 425 Clings with strong shoots that all the elm entwine, Range with free steel, exert tyrannic sway, Lop the rank bough, and curb th' exuberant spray. Now weave the hedge, guard from stray herds the
ground, Now, when the tender branch most feels the wound, 430 Not the fierce sun alone, and icy gale, But savage buffaloes the shoots assail ; And persecuting goats devour the boughs, And nibbling sheep and greedy heifers browse. Yet, nor the rime by hoary winter shed,
435 Nor suns that scorch the mountain's arid head,
432 In the original urus, which Julius Cæsar describes as a wild bull, inhabiting the Hercynian wood, of prodigious strength and swiftness, and almost of the size of an elephant.
Hurt like the flock, whose venom'd teeth deface
For this the goat, that on the vineyard seeds,
440 For this the goat first crown’d the scenic song, When round their hamlets roved th’ Athenian throng, And wild with joy and wine, in grassy plains 'Mid oily bladders leap'd the bounding swains. Nor less Ausonian hinds, the race of Troy, 445 Sport in rude rhymes, and shout their tipsy joy; Grim masks of bark deform the laughing band, And, Bacchus ! Bacchus! rings around the land : While on the lofty pine his figure hung, Floats to and fro the breezy boughs among. 450 Where'er the god his gracious front inclines, There plenty gushes from the loaded vines, Down richer vallies fragrant clusters breathe, And hills grow dark their purple weight beneath. Then pile the charger, hallow'd offerings bring; 455 Songs, that our fathers taught, to Bacchus sing: Lead by the horns the goat, and, duly slain, Slow roast on hazel spits before the fane.
Yet other cares remain, thy vines require Exhaustless pains, and hands that never tire. 460 If turn'd the ground, thrice urge the yearly toil ; Break with bent prongs, and ceaseless work the
Strip all the leaves : so labor claims the swain,
439 Thespis, an Athenian poet, contemporary with Solon, is said to have invented tragedy, and to have carried his actors in a cart.
449 Spence, in his Polymetis, says that he was obliged to a gem in the Great Duke's collection at Florence for the understanding of the passage in Virgil which mentions the little heads of Bacchus suspended from trees.
E’en when at last the north has blown away 465 The lonely leaf that shiver'd on the spray, Th’unwearied peasant, as his labor ends, O’er all the coming year his care extends, Prunes the bare vine, unblest with fruit, or shade, And shapes its future growth beneath the blade. 470
First of the swains th' impatient furrow turn, First of the swains the shoots superfluous burn, And first beneath thy roof the props repose, Last, strip thy vines at Autumn’s ling'ring close. Twice, countless leaves their loaded boughs o'ershade, Weeds and wild brambles twice their beds invade: 476 If such the laborer's unremitting care, Praise the large farm, but till thy scantier share ; Go, cut the broom that shoots along the wood, And reeds and willows that o'erhang the flood. 480 At length the toil is o’er, the vines are bound, The blunted knife lies idle on the ground; Th’ o’erwearied dresser sings in sweet repose At the last rank where all his labors close ; Yet must he turn the soil, and dread lest Jove 485 Crush the ripe grapes, and waste the purple grove.
Not tortured thus to frail and feeble life, The olive slowly grows beneath the knife, When once her root has pierced the soil below, Or genial breezes wanton'd round her brow. 490 Earth, loosen'd by the prong, the nursling feeds, And fruit unstinted to the plough succeeds. Then go, and, grateful for the blest increase, With happiest culture rear the plant of peace.
Nor less, when once the vigorous scions rise, 495 Nature herself the orchard's growth supplies, Gives with internal strength to dart in air, And scorn the littleness of human care,
See, on each loaded grove wild fruitage grows,
Why on sublimer trees the lay prolong?
smites, Give pines that spread the canvass o'er the main, Cedar and cypress that the dome sustain, Form the swift spokes, and orb the solid wheel, And cut the stormy brine with crooked keel. 520
501 Citysus Maranthæ.–Martyn. Shrub-trefoil. Columella says the time for cutting it for hay is when its seeds begin to grow large ; first dried in the sun, then thoroughly in the shade. It is used as fodder for goats in the Neapolitan territories, whence excellent cheese is made : it bears cutting several times in the year. It afforded the Roman husbandman bloom for his bees, seed for his poultry, and shoots and leaves for his flocks.-Stawell.
511 Cytorus, according to Pliny, a mountain with a city of the same name in Paphlagonia.--Voss.
512 Naryx, a town of Magna Græcia.--Stawell.
515 Caucasus, a ridge of mountains running from the Black sea to the Caspian.-Martyn.