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The following notes, of which the sole object is to facilitato the English version to the English reader, have been added, more in conformity with the desire of others than from my own original intention: they are chiefly compiled from remarks of former commentators; and are inserted in the words, and designated by the names, of their respective authors. For the selection alone I hold myself responsible. But it would be unpardonable not to particularize the remarks of the Rev. W. Stawell and T. A. Knight, Esq. My estimation of the remarks of the former will be best evinced by the number and importance of the notes which I have selected from his printed illustrations: and the original observations of the latter, communicated in a letter to me, will give additional proofs of the sagacity of a writer, whose philosophical investigations and successful experiments have not only contributed to the speculative knowledge of this scientific age, but have assisted the labours, and meliorated the produce, of the farmer and the horticulturist.
Pirgil begins the poem by propounding the subjects of his
four books-Agriculture, Planting, the Breeding of Cattle, and the Management of Bees--Aster invoking every rural deity, he particularly calls on Augustus Cæsar to favour his attempt-He now opens the peculiar subject of the first book, by pointing out the proper seasons for ploughing-He advises the husbandman to acquire a previous knowledge of different soils and climates, of the prevailing modes of cultivation, and of the productions suited to each country: and of these he gives several examples-He then resumes the subject, and mentions the seasons best adapted for the ploughing either of rich or of poor soils—Recommends that the ground should lie fallow, or be refreshed by change of crops or manure; that the stubble should be burnt for the melioration of the soil ; and that the ground be duly prepared by frequent ploughing and harrowing-He now enters on the subject of sowing, an. advises that, immediately after that process, the clods be carefully broken, and the land artificially overflowed-He then proceeds to the growth of the corn, and recommends the feeding down of its rank luxuriance-He now mentions several circumstances prejudicial to agriculture, and attributes them to the will of Jove. This remark easily leads to a digression on the golden and silver ages-He then describes the origin of agriculture, and the instruments employed in it: shows how to form a judgment of the ensuing harvest, and how to medicate and select the seeds---He then marks the connexion between agriculture and astronomy, which points out the different seasons for sowing different grains-From this connexion he likewise introduces the description of the annual course of the sun, and of the singular varieties occasioned by the position of the poles-He further evinces the utility of astro. Romical knowledge; enumerates several works to be performed in the rainy seasoil, 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 sea. sons, the latter end of spring, and the commencement of autumn ; deseribes 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 weather; those of bad weather ; those of fine weather-Further 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 heavenly sign
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 Ursinus quotes, many passages to prove that water was solemnly invoked by the term of Acnelous.
14 This alludes to the contest between Neptune and Minerva. The deity whose gift was deemed most beneficial was to name
Guardian of woods! whose herds, a snowy breed, 15
plants that earth spontaneous yields, Or feed with prosperous show'rs the cultur'd fields.
Thou, Cæsar, chief, where'er thy voice ordain To fix 'mid gods thy yet unchosen reign- 30 Wilt thou o'er cities rule ? shall earth obey? The world's vast orb shall roll beneath thy sway;
the new-founded city. Neptune, by the stroke of his trident, caused the earth tó pour forth a horse. Minerva (Athenæ) 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 Sys vanus is represented bearing a cvoress-tree plucked up by the roots.