Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

85

Or sow, the season chang’d, with grain the clod,
Where the bean harvest burst the shatter'd pod,
Or the light vetch and bitter lupine grew,
Bow'd to the gale, and rattled as it blew.
Oats and the flaxen harvest burn the ground,
And poppies shedding slumb'rous dews around.
Yet shall thy lands through easier labor rear
Fresh crops by changeful produce year by year,
If rich manure new life and nurture yield,
And ashes renovate th' exhausted field.
Thus interchanging harvests earth repair,
Nor lands unplough'd, meantime, no profit bear.

Much it avails to burn the sterile lands
And stubble crackling as the flame expands ;

90

95

87 De Lille has suggested the true interpretation of this passage. · Virgile ne défend point ici de semer du lin, de s'avoine et des pavots, comme on peut le voir par le vers 212, où il prescrit le tems de les semer : mais il ordonne aux cultivateurs d'observer que ces sortes de graines, au lieu d'amender la terre comme les légumes, l'épuisent, et la maigrissent.'- Stawell.

88 The esculent poppy of the Romans seems to be the same as that of our gardens, from the figure of its head in the hand of many statues of Ceres.-Martyn.

Pliny mentions three sorts : the white, or esculent; the black, the receptacle of opium ; the red, which Mr. Martyn thinks the corn-rose, or poppy weed. Of the heads of the first diacodion is made. T'he black is found wild, as well as in our gardens. See Miller.-Stawell.

95 Virgil speaks of two different things; of burning the soil itself before the ground is ploughed, and of burning the stubble after the corn is taken off the arable land.-Mr.Bquoted by Martyn. Sir H. Davy explains better than I can the effects

produced by burning the turf, which are greater than I can account for. The farmer of the present day, with reason, thinks burning his stubble a bad practice.-T. A. Knight.

Cet usage s'est conservé en Italie. Fontanini, dans son Histoire des Antiquités d'Horta, rapporte à ce sujet une anecdote singulière. Marie Lancisius, qui avoit beaucoup de crédit auprès du Pape Clément XI., incommodée par la chaVIR.

VOL. I.

E

[ocr errors]

110

Whether earth gain fresh strength or richer food,
Or noxious moisture, forced by fire, exude ;
Whether it draw through many an opening vein
Juice to fresh plants that clothe anew the plain, 100
Or brace the pores that, pervious to the day,
Felt the prone sun's intolerable ray,
To piercing show'rs th' expanded fissure close,
And the chill north that blisters as it blows.

Th’ obdurate glebe with frequent harrow break, 105
With osier hurdles each dull clod awake.
Fair Ceres self shall kindly view thy toil,
When, sidelong furrows cross the furrow'd soil.
Thus rule the fields, exert despotic sway,
Pursue thy triumph, and bid earth obey.

Swains ! pray for wintry dust, and summer rain ;
Then smiles the freshen’d earth, and golden plain :
More rich the crop on Mysia's fertile fields,
And Gargarus wonders at the wealth he yields.

Him shall I praise, who o'er the new-sown earth 115 Crumbles the clods that hide th' intrusted birth, Freshens with streams that at his pleasure glide, And leads th' obedient rills from side to side? leur que causoit l'incendie des chaumes dans les campagnes voisines de Rome, persuada au souverain Pontife de proscrire cet usage par un édit. Le Pape fit part de ce projet au Cardinal Nuptius, qui l'en détourna en lui représentant l'antiquité et l'utilité de cet usage, et en lui citant ces beaux vers de Virgile. De Lille.

111 This prayer is adopted by the Tuscans to this day. “In a dry and cold winter the wheat is generally strong-rooted, and is able to withstand any accidents in the spring and sommer ; but if the winter be wet and mild, and the spring also proves both moist and warm, a dearth is inevitable. Symond's Communications to the Annals of Agriculture.Stawell.

113, 114 Mysia is a part of Asia Minor, joining to the Hellespont. In this province were both a mountain and a town called Gargarus, famous for great plenty of corn.–Martyn.

117 The advantages of irrigation are well known to the mo

'Mid gasping herbs when fever'd nature dies,
Lo! on yon brow whence bubbling springs arise, 120
The peasant bending o'er th' expanse below
Directs the channell’d waters where to flow :
Down the smooth rock melodious murmurs glide,
And a new verdure gleams beneath the tide.

Him shall I praise, who, lest th' o'erloaded ear 125
Shed with prone stem the promise of the year,
Feeds down its rank luxuriance, when the blade
Waves level with the ridge its rising shade;
Or who, in changeful months, and flooding rains,
Down the drench'd sand th'o'erflowing marshes

drains, When oozy rivers far and wide expand,

131 And issuing vapors smoke along the land ?

Yet when the sturdy swain and patient steer Have tamed the land by many a toil severe; Cranes, noxious geese, and succory's bitter root 135 Waste, or injurious woods o'ershade the fruit.

Not to dull Indolence and transient Toil Great Jove resign’d the conquest of the soil: He bad sharp Care make keen the heart, nor deign'd That sloth should linger where his godhead reign’d. 140 Ere Jove bore rule, no labor tamed the ground, None dared to raise the fence, or mark the bound :

dern cultivators. The sentiments of the ancients on this important precept are strongly illustrated by the following circumstance, quoted by Warton from Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws.

• When the Persians were masters of Asia, they permitted those who conveyed a spring to any place, which had not been watered before, to enjoy the benefit for five generations: and, as a number of rivulets flowed from Mount Taurus, they spared no expense in directing the course of their streams. At this day, without knowing how they came thither, they are found in the fields and gardens.'-Stawell.

Nature for all her fruits profusely bore,
And the free earth, unask'd, but proffer'd more. 145
Jove to the serpent fang new venom gave,
Commanded wolves to prowl, and swell’d the wave;
From leaves their honey shook, the fire withheld,
And wand'ring streams, that flow'd with wine, re-

pell'a.
Jove will’d that Man, by long experience taught,
Should various arts invent by gradual thought, 150
Strike from the flint's cold womb the latent flame,
And from the answering furrow nurture claim.
Then first the hollow'd alder prest the stream,
Then sailors watch'd each star's directing beam,
Number'd the host of heav'n, and nam’d the train, 155
Pleiads, and Hyads, and the northern Wain;
Then snares, and lime, the beast and bird betray’d,
And deep-mouth'd hounds inclosed the forest glade ;
Light meshes lash'd the stream with circling sweep,
And weighted nets descending dragg’d the deep; 160
Then iron, and the saw's shrill-grating edge,
Eas'd the rude efforts of the forceful wedge;
Hence various arts : stern labor all subdues,
And ceaseless toil that urging want pursues.

First pitying Ceres taught the famish'd swain 165 With iron shares to turn the stubborn plain,

153 The alder tree delights in moist places, and on the banks of rivers. One of these, hollowed by age, floating down a stream, may have given the first hint towards navigation.-Martyn.

156 The Pleiades are seven stars in the neck of the Bull. They are fabled to have been the seven daughters of Atlas, king of Mauritania, whence they are called by Virgil Atlantides. The Hyades are seven stars in the head of the Bull. Calisto, the daughter of Lycaon, violated by Jupiter, was turned into a bear by Juno. Jupiter afterwards translated her into the constellation called by us the Great Bear.Martyn.

What time the arbute fail'd and fail'd the food
Shower'd from the oak along Dodona's wood.
New cares the corn pursued : here mildew fed,
There thistles rear'd aloft their horrent head :

170

167 The arbute or strawberry-tree is common in our gardens. The fruit resembles a strawberry, but is larger, and has not the seed on the outside of the pulp, like that fruit. It grows plentifully in Italy, where the meaner sort of people eat the fruit; a very sorry diet.—Martyn.

169 Sir Joseph Banks, in a late pamphlet, attributes the disease of blight, or mildew, to a parasitic plant of the fungus kind, growing on the stalks of wheat, which propagates rapidly : this he illustrates by engravings made from the drawings of Mr. Bauer, botanical painter to His Majesty; the striped appearance of the surface of a straw, which may be seen by a common magnifying glass, is caused by alternate longitudinal partitions of the bark; the one imperforate, and the other furnished with one or two rows of pores or mouths, shut in dry, and open in wet weather: by these pores, which exist also on the leaves and glumes, it is presumed that the seeds of the fungus gain admission, and at the bottom of the hollows to which they lead they germinate and push their minute roots, no doubt, into the cellular texture beyond the bark, where they draw their nourishment by intercepting the sap that was intended by nature for the nutriment of the grain, Though every species of corn is subject to the blight, he remarks, that spring-corn is less damaged by it than winter-corn, and rye less than wheat. Each individual is so small, that every pore on a straw will produce from twenty to forty fungi, and every one of these will no doubt produce one hundred seeds. A few diseased plants, scattered over a field, must very speedily infect a whole neighborhood, for the seeds of fungi are not much heavier than the air. The fungus of the barberry-bush, and that of wheat, are possibly one of the same species : the seed, therefore, transferred to the corn, may be one cause of the disease. Stawell.

170 Our common thistle not only sends forth creeping roots, which spread every way, and send up suckers on all sides, but is propagated also by a vast number of seeds, which, by means of their winged down, are carried to a considerable distance. Dr. Woodward has calculated that one thistle seed will produce at the first crop twenty-four thousand ; and consequently five hundred and seventy-six millions of seeds at the second crop.- Stawell.

« PredošláPokračovať »