« PredošláPokračovať »
course of the sun, and of the singular varieties occasioned by the position of the poles-He farther evinces the utility of astronomical knowlege; enumerates several works to be performed in the rainy season, and what are lawful on festivals; gives an account of fortunate and unfortunate days; what works best suited to the night; what to the day, both in summer and winter–From winter he naturally remarks on the stormy seasons, the latter end of spring, and the commencement of autumn; describes a storm in autumn; and shows how to avoid such calamities by a diligent observation of the heavens, and worship of the gods, chiefly Ceres—Then he enumerates various prognostics of the wea. ther; those of bad weather; those of fine weather, Farther prognostics from the sun and moon–He begins with the latter : continues the subject by predictions drawn from the rising and setting of the sun-These prepare the way for a digression on the prodigies that followed the death of Julius Cæsar, and predicted the horrors of the civil wars, And he concludes with vows for Augustus, under whose government alone the world could be restored to peace and order.
Whence joyful harvests spring, what heav'nly sign
found the grape, and mingling with the wave, To Acheloian bowls its nectar gave :
8 Epirus is often called Chaonia, because the Chaones formerly ruled over the whole country. Dodona, a city of Epirus, celebrated for the oracular oaks encompassing the temple of Jupiter.
10 The river Achelous is said to have been the first that broke out of the earth. Macrobius relates, and Fulvius Ursi.
Ye, too, whose gifts my votive numbers guide,
nus quotes, many passages to prove that water was solemnly invoked by the term of Achelous
14 This alludes to the contest between Neptune and Minerva. The deity whose gift was deemed most beneficial was to name the new-founded city. Neptune, by the stroke of his trident, caused the earth to pour forth a horse. Minerva (Athena) produced an olive-tree. A dolphin in brass was placed over a bar that runs across the entrance of the Hippodrome at Olympia, as a symbol of the production of the horse by Neptune.-West's Dissertation on the Olympic Games, and quoted by Stawell.
15 Aristæus, the son of Apollo and Cyrene, was taught by the nymphs the arts of curdling milk and cultivating olivetrees.
16 Cæa, an isle in the Ægean sea, one of the Cyclades. To this isle Aristæus retired after the death of his son Actæon.
18, 19 Mountains of Arcadia, sacred to Pan. 20 Tegea, a town of Arcadia.
21 Pliny says, that the olive-tree produced by Minerva was to be seen at his time in Athens. 22 Triptolemus, the son of Celeus, instructed by Ceres in the arts of husbandry,
23 God of the woods. Achilles Statius, in his commentary on Catullus, tells us, that on ancient coins and marbles Sylvanus is represented bearing a cypress-tree plucked up by the roots.
Oh come, protectors of the plains ! descend; 25
Thou, Cæsar, chief, where'er thy voice ordain
30 Wilt thou o'er cities rule ? shall earth obey ? The world's vast orb shall roll beneath thy sway ; Fruits and fair seasons from thy influence flow, And the maternal myrtle wreathe thy brow; O’er boundless ocean shall thy pow'r prevail, 35 Thee her sole lord the world of waters hail ! Rule, where the sea remotest Thule laves, While Tethys' dow'rs thy bride with all her waves. Wilt thou ’mid Scorpius and the Virgin rise, And, a new star, illume thy native skies?
40 Scorpius, e’en now, each shrinking claw confines, And more than half his heav'n to thee resigns.
34 The myrtle was sacred to Venus, from whom, and Anchises, the Julian family boasted their origin.
37 The isle which the Romans called Thule seems to be Schetland. Schetland is still called by sailors Thylensel.Stawell.
39 Servius says, that the Chaldæans made the Scorpion extend his claws into the place of Libra, reckoning only eleven signs, though the Egyptian astronomers reckoned twelve. Virgil takes advantage of this difference among the ancient astronomers, and accommodates it poetically, by placing Augustus instead of Libra, the emblem of justice, between Virgo (Erigone) and Scorpio; and describes the Scorpion as already pulling back his claws to make room for him.-Martyn.
The balance was originally represented as held up by Scorpius, who extended his claws for that purpose out of his proper dominions. On the Farnese globe it is held by Scorpius : in several of the gems and medals it is held by a man : this is said to be Augustus. Perhaps the Roman astronomers took the hint of placing him there from Virgil.-Polymetis.
Where'er thy reign (for not, if hell invite,
When first young Zephyr melts the mountain snow,
55 Twice the keen frost, and wintry cold endur'd, Profuse of wealth repay th’insatiate swain, And pour from bursting barns th' exuberant grain.
Ere virgin earth first feel th’ invading share, The genius of the place demands thy care :
60 The culture, clime, the winds, and changeful skies, And what each region bears, and what denies. Here golden harvests wave, there vineyards glow, Fruit bends the bough, or herbs unbidden growHer saffron, Tmolus, Ind her ivory boasts,
65 Soft Saba yields the spice that scents her coasts ;
51 The beginning of the spring was in the month of March; but Virgil, and the writers on agriculture, did not confine themselves to the computations of astrologers, but dated their spring from the end of the frosty weather.–Martyn.
64 It is a singular circumstance that many seeds lie dormant in the earth till brought forward by a particular cultivation or manure. It is known that siliceous sand, limestone gravel, and other calcareous manures, have brought to light the finest carpets of white clover. Poppy seeds have also been known to lie dormant for many years. See Tull's Horsehoeing Husbandry.-Stawell.
65 A mountain of Lydia, famous for saffron.-Ivory is the tusk, not the tooth, of the elephant. The elephants of India are preferable to those of all other countries. --Martyn.
Pontus the pow'rful Castor, Chaly bs' steel,
70 Such from the time when first Deucalion hurl'd The stones, whence man's harsh race o'erspread the
world. Come, when new Spring first claims the timely
toil, Break with laborious steers the generous soil, And give the sun through many a summer day 75 To bake the clod, and feed with ripening ray ; But in light furrows turn th' unfertile ground When slow Arcturus wheels his lingering round: There, lest rude weeds should choke the rising grain, And here, scant moisture fail the sandy plain.
Rest by alternate fallows wearied earth, And leave the soil to harden into birth;
66 The Sabeans are a people of Arabia Felix, in whose country only the frankincense-tree is said to grow.–Martyn.
68 Epirus, a kingdom of Greece, famous for horses.
71 When the world was destroyed by a deluge Deucalion, and Pyrrha his wife, only survived. The oracle of Themis commanded them to cast the bones of their great mother behind them, in order to reproduce the human race. By the
great mother, they understood the earth to be meant; and by her "bones,' the stones. They obeyed the oracle; and the stones cast by Deucalion became men, those cast by Pyrrha women.-See Ovid's Metam.
73 Both Pliny and Columella agree in this precept. The early season, and the deep ploughing, are restrained to the rich soil.
77 Columella gives the same advice relative to the light and late ploughing of a poor soil. · Arcturus, in the time of Columella and Pliny, rose with the sun at Athens, when the sun was in 12} of Virgo; but at Rome three days sooner, the sun being in 94 of Virgo; the autumnal equinox then falling on the 24th or 25th of September.'-- Dr. Halley, quoted by Martyn.