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But false their swell, and oft the chosen seed,
Seeth'd in slow fires, that maturate the breed. 220
Yet have I seen the chosen seeds deceive,
And o'er degenerate crops the peasant grieve:
Saye where slow patience, o'er and o'er again,
Cull'd yearly one by one the largest grain;
So all, forced back by Fate's resistless sway, 225
To swift destruction falls and sad decay.

Thus if the boatman who long-labouring plied
The stubborn oar that scarcely stemm'd the tide,
Once, once relax, the stream's o'erwhelming force
Drives him, whirld backwards, down its headlong
course.

230
Nor less intent, Arcturus' train behold,
The Kid's bright beams, and Dragon's lucid fold,

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grain de seigle, qui avoit crû sous les débris d'une couche de mon jardin, m'a donné 14 épis et 833 grains. Pline raconte qu'on avoit envoyé d'Afrique à Auguste un grain qui avoit poussé 400 tiges, et que Néron en avoit reçu un sur lequel on en comptoit 560.- Pluche, quoted by De Lille.

218 Saline bodies, particularly a strong solution of common salt, appear to destroy one species of parasitical plant—that which constitutes smut in corn. But modern experience proves that nothing of this kind has any influence on the (probably) very numerous family of parasitical plants which produce diseases on corn and fruit-trees. -T. A. Knight.

224 There is an old opinion that the earth is fond of variety of seed, and the farmers generally change their seed of every kind within a short period, to prevent degeneration. With some, however, this principle is exploded, who deem it more reasonable to cull the best seed from their own every year, as has been observed by Mr. Bakewell with respect to his breeding cattle. Letter on Husbandry in Lord Kaimes's Life.

It has been intimated that plants acquire certain habits, which they preserve for a time, though removed to different soils and climates: this disposition may and has been taken advantage of. The Siberian wheat, habituated to a rapid vegetation, in a season of momentary warmth, retains the impression of its cli mate. Fruit-trees that are forced will vegetate under the same premature impulse, even after the cause is removed. The corn of a southern aspect will ripen early, though changed to a more unfavourable situation.-Stawell. 231 Arcturus is a star of the tirst magnitude, in the sign Boötes

Than the bold crew that sweep the Euxine o'er,
And by Abydos seek their native shore.
When poising Libra rest and labour weighs, 235
And parts with equal balance nights and day?,
Goad, goad the steer, with barley sow the plain,
Till the bleak solstice sheds its latest rain.
While yet the glebe is dry, beneath the earth
Hide the young flax, and poppy's future birth, 240
And urge the harrow while the clouds impend,
And tempests gather, ere the rains descend.

When Taurus' golden horns the year unbar,
And Sirius “'gins to pale” his yielding star,
Then beans and lucerne claim the mellow soil, 245
And millet springing from thy yearly toil.

But if thy labour from the cultur'd plain Exact rich wheat, strong spelt, and bearded grain, Trust not the furrow, nor with lavish haste The promise of the year untimely waste, 250

the Kids, two stars on the left arm of Auriga, whose rising por tended storms: the Dragon, a constellation between the two Bears.

234 Abydos is situated on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont.

235-237 The time mentioned by Virgil for the sowing of barley is from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice. This perhaps may seem strange to an Engļish reader, it being our custom to sow it in the spring ; but it is certain that in warmer climates they sow it at the latter end of the year; whence it happens that their barley harvest is considerably sooner than their wheat harvest. Thus we find, in the book of Exodus, the flax and the barley were destroyed by the hail, because the Sarley wasin the ear, and the flax was in seed; but the wheat and the rye escaped, because they were not yet come up.—Martyn.

243 C'est par le Belier que commence l'année astronomique; mais comme c'est au mois d'Avril que la Nature ouvre son sein, Virgile a jugé à propos de faire ouvrir l'année rurale par le signe du Taureau, où le soleil entre le 22 Avril. Virgile donne au Taureau deux cornes dorées, à cause d'une étoile brillante qu'il a au bout de chacune de ses deux cornes.-De Lille.

245 The lucerne was introduced from Media into Greece by Darius, in the Persian war.

246 Le sainfoin dure plusieurs années : le millet, au contraireveut être semné tous les ans.

De Lille.

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Before the Pleiades from the dawn retire,
Or Ariadne gleams with matin fire.
Swains, who, ere Maia sets, cast forth the seed,
Mourn o'er delusive crops their fruitless speed.

But if Pelusian lentils clothe the plain, 255
Nor thou th' unvalued bean and vetch disdain,
Wait till Boötes' lingering beams descend,
And ’mid hoar frosts thy patient toil extend.

For this the golden sun the earth divides,
And, wheel'd thro’ twelve bright signs, his chariot
guides.

260
Five zones the heav'n surround: the centre glows
With fire unquench'd, and suns without repose:
At each extreme the poles in tempest tost
Dark with thick show'rs, and unremitting frost :
Between the poles and blazing zone confined 265
Lie climes to feeble man by Heav'n assign'd.
'Mid these the signs their course obliquely run,
And star the figur'd belt that binds the sun.
High as at Scythian cliffs the world ascends,
Thus low at Libyan plains its circle bends.

270
O'er us perpetual glows th' exalted pole ;
There gloomy Styx, and hell's deep shadows roll:

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252 Ariadne, daughter of Minos, king of Crete. At the celebration of her nuptials with Bacchus, in the island of Naxos, where she was abandoned by Theseus, Venus presented her with a crown, which was translated to the heavens.

253 Maia is one of the Pleiades: the poet puts a part for the whole. He speaks here against sowing too early; and we are informed by Columella that it was an old proverb among the farmers, that an early sowing often deceives our expectations, but seldom a late one.—Martyn. Too early sowing

is apt in this country to produce much straw and little wheat.-T. A. Knight.

255 Pelusium is a town of Egypt, which gives name to one of the seven mouths of the Nile: the best lentils are said to grow in that country.—Martyn.

257 Boötes, a northern constellation, near the tail of the Great Bear. Arcturus (in this constellation) sets, according to Columella, on the 29th of October.—Martyn.

271 Virgil says that the North Pole is elevated, because that

Here the huge Snake in many a volume glides,
Winds like a stream, and either Bear divides,
The Bears that dread their flaming lights to lave, 275
And slowly roll above the ocean wave.
There night, 'tis said, and silence, ever sleep,
And gathering darkness broods upon the deep:
Or from our clime, when fades the orient ray,
There bright Aurora beams returning day: 280
And here when first the Sun's hot coursers breathe,
Late Vesper lights his evening star beneath.

Experience hence the doubtful storm fore-learns,
When best to sow, when best to reap, discerns.
Oar the false wave, or trust with fleets the flood, 285
Or timely fell the pine that crown'd the wood.

Thus observation reads the starry sphere, And fourfold parts, as seasons change, the year. Swains shelter'd from the shower at leisure frame Works that serener skies impatient claim: 290 Scoop troughs from trees, or mark each hoarded

heap, Or head the two-horn'd forks, or brand the sheep; Point the sharp stake, or edge the blunted share, For flexile vines the willowy wreath prepare;

only is visible to us; and, for the contrary reason, he calls the Southern Pole depressed. - 275 Virgil no doubt had in view Homer's description of the northern constellations on the shield of Achilles.

“The Pleiads, Hyads, with the northern team,

And great Orion's more refulgent beam,
To which, around the axle of the sky,
The Bear, revolving, points his golden eye,
Still shines exalted on th' ethereal plain,
Nor bathes his blazing forehead in the main."

Pope.-Martyn. 277 Virgil here alludes to that doctrine of Epicurus, that the sun might possibly revive and perish daily; and in line 280,

“ There bright Aurora beams returning day," he proposes the contrary doctrine ; that the sun lights another hemisphere when he leaves our horizon. Lucretius mentions both opinions.—Martyn.

Light baskets weave with pliant osier twined, 295 Now parch the grain, and now with millstones grind.

E’en 'mid high feasts to holy leisure giv'n, Earth claims a part, nor fears offended Heav'n: Then drain the dikes, snare birds, and fire the thorn, And lave the bleating flock, and fence the corn. 300 Then oft the peasant, balancing his loads, The sluggish mule beneath his burden goads; Brings pitch and millstones, home for barter'd oil, And fruit, cheap produce of his native soil.

Nor less the lunar orb with prescient ray 305 Marks for each varying work th' appropriate day. Avoid the fifth, it gave pale Orcus birth, The Furies and nefarious brood of Earth, Cæus, Iapetus, Typheus bold,

309 And the leagued brethren 'gainst the gods enroll'd; Thrice their strain'd strength had Ossa on Pelion

laid, And heaved on Ossa all th’ Olympian shade; But Jove, indignant as the structure grew, Thrice, thund'ring, thrice the mountain mass o'er

threw. Seventh from the tenth, the hours propitious shine,

315 To weave, to tame the steer, and plant the vine; Fair sheds the ninth the beam that favours flight, While robbers dread the inauspicious light.

The night to many a work advantage yields, Nor less the dawn that cools with dew the fields ; 320 By night o'er arid meads the swathe pursue, And mow the stubble moist with clammy dew.

296 The Romans kiln-dried their corn before grinding, from its being considered more salubrious, and in conformity with an ordinance.De Lille.-- Stawell.

303 A l'égard de la poix, les Romains en faisoient grand usage pour goudronner les vases où ils gardoieni le miel et le vin.-D. Lille.

321 Pliny observes that a dewy night is fittest for mowing.Martyn.

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