Obrázky na stránke


Fruits and fair seasons from thy influence flow,
And the maternal myrtle wreathe thy brow;
O’er boundless ocean shall thy pow'r prevail, 32
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?

Scorpius, e'en now, each shrinking claw confines,
And more than half his heav?n to thee resigns.
Where'er thy reign (for not, if hell invite,
May such dire lust of sway thy soul delight,
Though-Greece Elysium vaunt, and oft in vain, 45
Lorn Ceres woo her child to earth again),
Breathe fav’ring gales, my course propitious guide,
O'er the rude swain's uncertain path preside;
Now, now invoked, assert thy heav'nly birth,
And learn to hear our pray’rs, a god on earth.
When first young Zephyr melts the mountain

snow, And Spring unbinds the mellow'd mould below,

34 The myrtle was sacred to Venus, from whom, and An chises, the Julian family boasted their origin.

37 The isle which the Romans called Thule seems to be Shetland. Shetland is still called by sailors Thylensel. Stawell.

39 Servius says, that the Chaldæans made the Scorpion ex. tend his claws into the place of Libra, reckoning only elever signs, though the Egyptian astronomers reckoned twelve. Virgil takes advantage of this difference among the ancient astrono mers, and accommodates it poetically, by placing Augustus instead of Libra, the emblem of justice, between Virgo (Eri gone) and Scorpio; and describes the Scorpion as already pull ing back his claws to make room for him.-Martyn.

The balance was originally represented as held up by Scor pius, 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.

51 The beginning of the spring was in the month of March, but Virgil, and the writers on agriculture, did not confine them

Press the deep plough, and urge the groaning team
Where the worn shares 'mid opening furrows gleam,
Lands that the summer sun has twice matur'd, 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 grow-
Her' saffron, Tmolus, Ind her ivory boasts, 65
Soft Saba yields the spice that scents her coasts;
Pontus the pow'rful Castor, Chalybs' steel,
And Elis' palms th' Epiran steeds reveal.
In stated regions, from th' eternal Cause,
Such nature's compact and unbroken laws;
Such from the time when first Deucalion hurl'd
The stones, whence man's harsh race o'erspread the



selves 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 Horse-hoeing Husbandry.-Stawell.

65 å 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.

66 The Sabeans are a people of Arabia Felix, in whose coun. try 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

Conie, 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, lêst rude weeds' should choke the rising

grain, And here, scant moisture fail the sandy plain. 80

Rest by alternate fallows wearied earth, And leave the soil to harden into birth; 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, 85 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

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 124 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.

87°De Lille has suggested the true interpretation of this passage. “ Virgile ne defend point ici de semer du lin, de l'avoine et des pavots, comme on peut le voir par le vers 212, où il pre. scrit 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 inany 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

Yet shall thy lands through easier labour rear
Fresh crops by changesul produce year by year, 90
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;
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 ráy,
To piercing show'rs th’ expanded fissure close,
And the chill north that blisters as it blows. 104

Th' obdurate glebe with frequent harrow break, 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. 110 is made. The 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. B

quoted 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 chaleur que causoit l'incendie des chaumes dans les campagnes voisines de Rome, persuada au souverain pontile 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

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?-'Mid gasping herbs when sever'd nature dies, Lo! on yon brow whence bubbling springs arise, 120 The peasant, bending o'er th' expanse below, Directs the channellid 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

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;


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 summer; 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 modern 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.

« PredošláPokračovať »