Eclogues and Georgics (Mackail 1910)/Georgics 2

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Virgil2646968The Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil — The Georgics, Book II1910John William Mackail

Book II.

Thus far of tillage of the fields and stars in the sky: now of thee, Bacchus, will I sing, and with thee no less of woodland copses and the slowly waxing olive growth. Hither, lord of the winepress; here all is full of thy bounties, for thee the field flowers, heavy with tendrils of autumn, and the brimming vintage foams; come hither, lord of the winepress, by my side pluck off thy buskins and dye thy bared ankles in the new wine.

First of all, Nature is manifold in the birth of trees. For some with no human urging come at their own will and spread wide by plain and winding river, like the soft osier and tough broom, the poplar, and pale willow-beds with their silvery leafage; and some rise from seed they drop, like the towering chestnuts, and Jove's winter-oak, lordliest of leafage in the woodland, and those oaks that Greece holds oracular. Others, like the elm and cherry, multiply from the root in serried undergrowth; and the tiny bay-tree on Parnassus springs beneath her mother's vast shade. These ways are of Nature's ancient gift; in these wear their green all the tribes of forest and underwood and sacred grove.

Others there are, which experience has found out for itself on the way. One tears suckers from their mother's tender stem and sets them in trenches; one plunges in the soil stocks and cross-cleft billets and sharpened stakes from the core: and some forest trees await the layer's pinned arch and slips alive in their parent earth: others need a root in nowise, and the pruner doubts not to commit the topmost twigs to earth's keeping. Nay, and from the dry wood of her sawn trunk, wonderful to tell! the olive pushes forth a root. And often we see the boughs of one turn lightly into another's, and the changed pear-tree bear her grafted apples, and plums redden on the stony cornel.

Wherefore come, O husbandmen, learn the proper training of each after their kinds, and soften the wild fruits by your nurture, nor let earth lie idle; good it is to plant Ismarus thick with vines and clothe mighty Taburnus in olive. And be thou nigh, to fulfil at my side the task begun, Maecenas our honour, by just due the chiefest sharer in our fame, and give thy flying sails to the spacious sea. I ask not to embrace it all in these my verses; no, though I had an hundred tongues and an hundred mouths, and my voice were iron: come, and skirt close by the shore's edge. Land is in reach: I will not keep thee here in mazes and long-drawn preludes of fabulous song.

Plants that rise unbidden into the borders of day are unfruitful indeed, but lusty and strong of growth, for native force is in the soil. Yet even these, if one graft them or transplant them into trenched mould, will outgrow their savagery, and under ceaseless training will soon follow thy call to whatsoever ways thou wilt. Even the barren sucker that springs from the stem's foot will do likewise, if set in rank over a clean plot; now the mother's deep-foliaged boughs overshadow it, and steal the produce of its growth, and stifle its fruitfulness. Once more, the tree that rises from shed seed is slow in coming, and will yield shade to thy children's children on a later day; apples dwindle, forgetting their former savour, and ragged clusters hang for birds to plunder from the vine.

Truth to say, on all must labour be lavished, and all be forced into the furrow and tamed at a great price. But olive-trees answer better in truncheons, vines in layers, myrtles of Paphos in the solid wood; and from slips are born the hardwood hazel and the mighty ash, and the shady tree of Hercules' garland, and the acorns of our lord of Chaonia; in like wise is born the tall palm and the fir that shall look on the perils of the sea: while by grafting the rough arbutus yields the walnut, and barren planes carry sturdy apple-boughs; the mountain-ash silvers with white pear-blossom, the beech with chestnut-blooms, and swine crush acorns beneath the elm.

Nor is there one single way of grafting and of budding. For where the buds push out from amid the bark and burst their delicate sheaths, there, just on the knot, a narrow slit is made; in it they imbed the shoot of an alien tree, and teach it to grow into the wet sapwood. Or again, smooth trunks are cleft open and a way driven deep by wedges into the core, then grafts of the fruit-tree let in; nor long time, and the tree climbs skyward in breadth of prosperous boughs, and marvels in strange leafage and fruits not her own.

Furthermore, not single in kind are either strong elms or willow and lotus, or cypresses of Ida; nor in a single likeness is born the fat olive, the ball and the spindle-shaped, and the pausian with bitter berry, nor apples in Alcinous' orchards; nor does the same twig bear Crustumian and Syrian pears and the heavy wardens. Not the same is the vintage that trails from trees of ours, and that which Lesbos gathers from the branch of Methymna: there are Thasian and there are pale Mareotic vines, these meet for a rich, those for a lighter soil; and the Psithian more serviceable for raisin-wine, and the thin Lagean that in her day will trip the feet and tie the tongue; and the purple and the earlier grape; and in what verse may I tell of thee, O Rhaetian? yet not even so vie thou with Falernian vaults. Likewise there are Aminaean vines, theirs the soundest wine of all, for which the Tmolian and even the royal Phanaean make room; and the lesser Argitis, that none other may rival whether in abundant flow or in lasting through length of years. Let me not pass thee by, O Rhodian, well-beloved of gods and festal boards, and Bumastus with thy swelling clusters. But there is no tale of the manifold kinds or of the names they bear, nor truly were the tale worth reckoning out; whoso will know it, let him choose to learn likewise how many grains of sand eddy in the west wind on the plain of Libya, or to count, when the violent East sweeps down upon the ships, how many waves come shoreward across Ionian seas.

Nor indeed can all soils bear all things. By riversides willows grow, and alders in thick swamps, barren mountain-ashes on rocky hills; on the seashore myrtle thickets flourish best; and the god of the vine loves open slopes as yew trees do the freezing north. Look too, where the ends of the earth obey men's tillage, on the Arabian dwellings of the East and the painted Gelonian; so diverse are the native lands of trees. Alone India bears black ebony, alone the Sabaeans have their rod of spice. Why should I rehearse to thee the scented wood that drips with balm, and the clusters of the evergreen thorn? why those Aethiopian forests silvered with a soft fleece, or how Chinese comb off leaves their delicate down? or the groves which India wears nearing Ocean in the world's utmost recesses, where no arrow-shot can ever win through air up to the tree-top; and truly these tribes are not slack when they handle the quiver. Media bears the sour juices and lingering savour of the citron, than which naught is more sovereign, if ever a cruel step-mother has drugged the cup with mingled herbs and baleful charms, to arrive for succour and expel the black poison from the limbs. The tree is large, and most like a laurel to view, and were a laurel but for the difference of wide-wafted fragrance; the leaves drop not in any wind, the flower clings close as may be; with it the Medes anoint their faces and perfume their breath, and cure the pantings of old age.

But neither those Median forests where earth is richest, nor fair Ganges and Hermus turbid with gold, may vie with the praise of Italy; not Bactra nor Ind, or all Panchaia with her wealth of spicy sands. This land of ours no bulls with fire-breathing nostrils have upturned where the monstrous dragon's teeth were sown, no harvest of men has bristled up with helms and serried spears; but heavy cornfields and Massic juice of wine fill it all, olives and shining herds hold it in keeping. Hence the war-horse issues stately on the plain; hence thy white flocks, Clitumnus, and the lordly victim bull, often bathed in thy holy stream, lead on Roman triumphs to the gods' temples. Here is perpetual spring and summer in months not her own; twice the cattle breed, twice the apple tree yields her service. But the raging tigress is not there or the fierce lion-brood, nor does monkshood deceive the wretched gatherer, nor the scaly serpent dart in huge coils over the ground or gather so long a train of spires. Add thereto all her illustrious cities and the labours wrought in her, all her towns piled high by men's hands on their sheer rocks, and her rivers that glide beneath immemorial walls. Or shall I tell of the seas that wash above her and below? or her great lakes, thee, lordly Larius, and thee, Benacus, heaving with billows and roar as of the sea? or tell of her harbours, of the barriers set upon the Lucrine and the thunder of the indignant sea where the Julian wave echoes afar in the tideway, and the Tyrrhene surge pours into the channels of Avernus? She it is likewise who unlocks from her veins streams of silver and ore of brass, and flows with abundant gold: she who rears a valiant race of men, the Marsian and the Sabellian stock, the Ligurian trained in hardship and the Volscian spearmen; she the Decii, the Marii, and the mighty Camilli, the seed of Scipio stern in war, and thee, princely Caesar, who even now victorious in Asia's utmost borders dost keep aloof the unwarlike Indian from the towers of Rome. Hail, mighty mother of harvests, O land of Saturn, mighty of men: for thee I tread among the glories and arts of old, and dare to unseal these holy springs, making the song of Ascra echo through the Roman towns.

Now, for a space, of the tempers of the fields, the strength of each, and the colour, and the native power of fruit-bearing. First, stubborn soils and ungracious hills, fields of lean marl and pebbly brushwood, welcome the long-lived olive groves of Pallas; for sign thereof, in this same region the oleaster springs abundant, and strews the fields with her wild berries. But fat land glad with sweet moisture, and flats thick with herbage and bounteous in richness, such as often we may look down upon in the cup of a mountain valley (for hither streams trickle from the clifftops and draw down their rich mud), and the southern upland that feeds the fern, hateful to crooked ploughs; this one day will yield thee vines excelling in strength and flowing with wealth of wine, this is fertile of the grape, this of such juice as we pour in offering from cups of gold, when the sleek Etruscan blows his ivory flute by the altars and we offer the steaming entrails on hollow platters. But he whose desire is rather the keeping of cattle and calves, or the breed of sheep or she-goats that strip the plantations, let him seek the lawns and distances of rich Tarentum, or such a plain as unhappy Mantua lost, where snow-white swans feed in the weedy river: not clear springs nor grass will fail the flocks, and how much soever the cattle crop through the long days, as much the chilly dew of a brief night will restore. Land that is black and rich under the share's pressure, and crumbling-soiled (for this it is that we imitate by ploughing) is always the best for corn: from no other harvest floor shalt thou discern the slow oxen bring thy wagons oftener home: or where the angry ploughman has carted the forest-trees away, and levelled the copses that lay idle many a year, and rooted clean out the birds' ancient homes; they spring skyward from their abandoned nests, but the tangled field gleams behind the driven share. For in truth the starved gravel of the hill-country scarce serves the bees with dwarf spurge and rosemary; and scaling tufa and chalk tunnelled by black-scaled snakes call no other land their like to furnish dainty food and yield winding retreats for serpents. Such land as exhales thin mist and flitting smoke, and drinks in and drains away the wet at will, such as is evergreen in clothing of native grass, and mars not iron with a scurf of salt rust, this will garland thine elms with laughing vines, this is fruitful of oil, this wilt thou prove in tillage gracious to the flock and yielding under the crooked share. Such is the tilth of wealthy Capua and the coast that borders the Vesuvian ridge, and where Clanius encroaches on desolate Acerrae.

Now I will tell in what wise thou mayest know each from each. If thou must know whether it be loose or compact beyond the wont (since the one is good for corn, the other for Bacchus, for the corn-goddess where more compact, where loosest for the wine-god), first shalt thou choose a spot by eye, and bid a pit be sunk deep in the solid ground, and again replace in it all the soil, and level the earth atop with thy feet. If earth is lacking, loose will be the plot and fitter for flocks and gracious vines; but if it refuses to return whence it came, and soil is over when the trenches are full, that land is solid; look for sticky clods and lumpy ridges, and furrow the ground with thy strongest oxen. Salt land moreover, and sour so-called—unfruitful for corn it is and no ploughing softens it, nor does the grape keep her race nor orchard-fruits their name therein—will offer such proof as this: pluck thou down from the smoky rafters close-plaited wicker-baskets and strainers of wine-presses; herein let that evil soil and sweet spring-water be filled and trodden; all the water will be squeezed out, yes, and large drops trickle through the wickerwork; but the savour will give plain token, and writhe the taster's face with displeasure at its bitterness. Again, what land is fat we learn briefly in this wise: when tossed from hand to hand it never crumbles, but grows sticky like pitch on the fingers in the handling. Wet ground nurtures a taller herbage, and the native growth is ranker than is right. Ah, may mine be not thus over-fertile, nor show itself too lusty in the early blade! Heavy soil betrays itself without words by weight, light likewise; thine eyes will at first glance know the black, and the several colour of each. But to search out cruel cold is difficult: only that sometimes pitch-pines and baleful yews are there, or the dark ivy spreads her creepers.

Which things regarded, remember long time first to bake thy land in the sun and cleave the broad hillsides with thy trenches, first to lay bare the upturned clods to the North, ere thou plant in the glad stock of the vine. Fields of crumbling soil are the best; for that winds and icy frosts provide, and the sturdy delver that shakes and stirs the acres. But men who will let nothing escape their vigilance seek out beforehand a bed where the seedling tree may have her early training, like to that whither thereafter it shall be borne and set in the row, lest a sudden change of mother estrange the plant. Nay, and they score on the bark the quarters of the sky, to replace in each as it stood the face whereon it bore the ardours of the South, the back it turned towards the Pole; so strong is the habit of infancy.

Whether hill or flat be the better for thy vine-setting, inquire beforehand. If thou wilt rule thy plots in a rich plain, plant thickly; thickly set, the vine is no less bounteous in bearing; but if on the sloping soil of knolls or on couchant hills, give the ranks larger room; yet no less let every alley where the trees are set be drawn square and true to line: as often in pomp of war, when a legion deploys in long line of cohorts and draws up from column on the open plain, and the ranks are straightened and all the earth surges wide with sparkle of brass, nor yet do they close in grim conflict, but the War-god wanders wavering amid their arms. Let equal space of passage be measured every way; not merely that the view may regale a vacant mind, but since none otherwise will earth supply equal strength to all, nor clear space be left for the outstretching boughs.

Haply too thou mayest inquire of the cuttings for thy trenches. The vine I would dare to intrust to ever so slender a furrow: the tree is sunk deeper and right into the earth; the winter-oak beyond all, who, as high as her top scales the air skyward, strikes her root as deep to hell: therefore not storms nor blasts nor rains uproot her; she abides unstirred, and outlives many children's children, and sees roll by her many generations of men; and stretching wide to right and left her strong boughs and arms, uprears the mass of her own enfolding shade.

Neither let thy vineyards slope to the setting sun; neither plant hazel among the vines; neither cut the uppermost vine-switches, or tear away the uppermost shoots from the tree (such is their love of earth); neither plant among them stems of wild olive: for often heedless shepherds drop a spark, which hiding stealthily at first under the resinous bark, fastens on the core, and, darting out among the high sprays, roars loudly skyward; thence pursues its way, and reigns victorious over bough and summit, and wraps all the woodland in flame, and, thickening, streams into the sky in a cloud of pitch-black gloom: above all if a storm falls prone on the forest and the wind fans and spreads the fire. Where this is, the trees have no force left at root, nor can they recover when cut away, nor grow green again from under earth as before; the barren and bitter-leaved oleaster only is left.

Nor let any counsellor how wise soever persuade thee to stir the earth when stiffened under the breath of the North. Then winter keeps the country ice-bound, nor though the seed be scattered lets the frozen root fasten in the ground. Best is the setting of vineyards when with the flush of spring comes that snow-white bird abhorred of long snakes, or hard on the first frost of autumn, when the fiery horses of the sun yet touch not winter, and even now summer passes away. Spring aids woodland leaf and forest tree; in spring earth yearns and cries for the life-giving seed. Then the lord omnipotent of Sky descends in fruitful showers into the lap of his laughing consort, and mingling with her mighty body nourishes all her fruits in might. Then pathless copses ring with warbling birds, and at the appointed days the herds renew their loves; the bountiful land breaks into birth, and the fields unbosom to warm breezes of the West: everywhere delicate moisture overflows, and the grasses dare in safety to trust themselves to spring suns, nor does the vine-tendril fear gathering gales or sleet driven down the sky by the blustering North, but thrusts forth her buds and uncurls all her leaves. None other to my thinking were the days that shone at the first dawn of the rising world, none other the course they kept; spring was then, spring reigned on the broad earth, and the east wind held back his wintry blasts, when the first-born beasts drank the daylight, and the iron brood of men reared their head on the firm fields, and the wild creatures were let loose in the forests and the stars in heaven. Neither might things so delicate endure this their toil, except such space of calm passed between the cold and the heat, and earth were cradled by an indulgent sky.

For the rest, what plantations soever thou wilt set over thy fields, scatter fatting dung, and hide it heedfully deep in earth; dig in porous stone or rough shells, for through them rains will trickle and thin vapour ascend, and the plants take courage; and before now have some been found who would load them down with a stone or the weight of a massy tile, this their defence against streaming rains, this when the dogstar brings the heat and the fields gape in cracks for thirst.

The seedlings set, it remains again and again to bank the earth up to the stalks, and swing the stiff hoe, or to work the soil beneath the ploughshare's pressure and wheel thy straining oxen between the vineyard-rows: therewithal to fit together light reeds and shafts of peeled rods, and ashen stakes and strong crutches, in whose strength they may learn to climb, and scorn the winds, and climb from story to story high up the elm.

And while the earlier youth of the fresh foliage grows towards maturity, spare their tenderness; and while the glad shoot springs upward and mounts unchecked into the blue, not yet should it feel the edge of the pruning-knife, but the leaves be broken off and thinned with bent fingers. Thereafter, when now they have shot up and their strong stems enringed the elm, then strip their tresses, then lop their arms; till then they shrink under the steel; then at last keep imperious rule and check the trailing branches.

Likewise must hurdles be woven and all the flock kept away, specially while the leaf is tender and innocent of toil; since besides rude storms and the tyrant sun, buffaloes from the thickets and restless roe-deer make it their playground, sheep and hungry heifers their pasture. Not so deadly to it is the stiffening chill of hoar-frost, or the whole weight of summer brooding on the parched crags, as the flocks with the poison of their hard teeth, and the indented scar left on the bitten stem. For none other crime is the goat slain to Bacchus on all our altars while the antique plays advance upon the stage, since Theseus' people ordained prizes among the villages and clustering hamlets of their tribe, and joyfully amid their cups danced on oiled wine-skins in the soft meadows. And Ausonian settlers likewise, the race sent forth from Troy, disport with rude verses and careless jest, and put on frowning masks of hollow cork, and call on thee, O Bacchus, in joyous song, and to thee hang swinging amulets from the lofty pine. Thus all their vines ripen with abundant increase, and teem in hollow dells and deep lawns and wheresoever the god turns his goodly head. Therefore meetly shall we recite Bacchus' due honour in ancestral hymns, and bear cakes and platters, and led by the horn the victim goat shall stand by the altar, and the fat flesh roast on spits of hazelwood.

Likewise is there that other labour of vine-dressing, which nothing is ever enough to satisfy; for year by year must all the soil thrice and again be loosened, and the mattock everlastingly turned to break the clod, must all the orchard be lightened of his leaf. The circling toil of the husbandman returns even as the year rolls back on itself along the familiar track. And now what time the vineyard sheds her lingering leaves and the icy North scatters the tresses of the forest, even then the active farmer reaches his care into the coming year, and presses on to lop the bared vine and trim it into shape with the crooked tooth of Saturn. Be first to dig the ground, first to wheel away and burn the prunings, and first to carry the vine-poles indoors; be last to gather the vintage. Twice the shade thickens on thy vines, twice weeds clothe the field with thick entanglement; both make hard work; praise great estates, farm a little one. And therewithal the rough shoots of broom are cut in the woodland, and the river-reed on the banks, and the wild osier-bed gives work to keep. Now the vines are tied, now the shrubberies lay by the pruning-knife, now the last vine-dresser sings over his finished plots; yet must the soil be broken and the dust stirred, and the lord of the sky be dreaded for the grapes even as they ripen.

Contrariwise olives grow all untended; they look not for the sickle-shaped knife or the stiff hoe, when once they have struck root on the field and borne the weather: earth herself, when laid open by the crooked fang, yields sap in sufficience and heavy crops following the ploughshare: so shalt thou nurture the fat olive dear to Peace.

Orchard-trees likewise, so soon as they feel strength in their stem and possess their full vigour, climb fast skyward of their own force and needing no aid of ours: no less withal the whole woodland grows heavy with increase, and the untilled haunts of birds flush with blood-red berries; the cytisus is mown, the high forest yields store of firewood, and nightlong the fires are fed and scatter their radiance; and do men doubt to plant and lavish their care? Why should I keep by larger trees? the osier and the low broom, even they yield leafage to the herd or shade to the herdsman, and hedge the crops and pasture the honey-bee. And fain would I gaze on Cytorus billowy with boxwood, or groves of Narycian pine; fain see fields that owe no debt to the mattock nor to any mortal care. Even fruitless forests on a Caucasian summit, which angry east winds perpetually shatter and toss, yield produce after their kind, yield profit of timber, pines for ships, cedar and cypress for dwellings; from one the countryfolk turn spokes for wheels, from one fashion drum-heads for wagons and curving keels of ships; withies grow thick on osiers, leaves on elms, but strong spear-shafts on the myrtle and the cornel trusty in battle; the Ituraean yew is bent into bows; therewithal smooth lime and polished box-wood take shape under the lathe or are hollowed out by the sharp chisel; and therewithal the light alder, sent down the Po, swims on the bubbling wave; and therewithal the bees hide their swarms in the hollow bark or the shell of a mouldering ilex. What have Bacchus' gifts bestowed of equal renown? Bacchus gives cause for blame likewise; he it was who laid the mad Centaurs low in death, Rhoetus and Pholus, and Hylaeus as he aimed that great flagon at the Lapithae.

Ah too fortunate the husbandmen, did they know their own felicity! on whom far from the clash of arms Earth their most just mistress lavishes from the soil a plenteous sustenance. Though no high proud-portalled house pours forth the vast tide of morning visitants that fill her halls; though they feed no gaze on doors inlaid with lovely tortoise-shell or raiment tricked out with gold or bronzes of Ephyre; though the fleece's whiteness is not stained with Assyrian dye nor the clear olive-oil spoiled for use with cinnamon; but careless quiet and life ignorant of disappointment, wealthy in manifold riches, but the peace of broad lands, caverns and living lakes, but cool pleasances and the lowing of oxen and soft slumbers beneath the tree fail not there; there are the glades and covers of game, and youth hardy in toil and trained to simplicity, divine worship and reverend age; among them Justice set her last footprints as she passed away from earth.

Me indeed first and before all things may the sweet Muses, whose priest I am and whose great love hath smitten me, take to themselves and show me the pathways of the sky, the stars, and the diverse eclipses of the sun and the moon's travails; whence is the earthquake; by what force the seas swell high over their burst barriers and sink back into themselves again; why winter suns so hasten to dip in Ocean, or what hindrance keeps back the lingering nights. But if I may not so attain to this side of nature for the clog of chilly blood about my heart, may the country and the streams that water the valleys content me, and lost to fame let me love stream and woodland. Ah, where the plains spread by Spercheus, and Laconian girls revel on Taÿgetus! ah for one to lay me in Haemus' cool dells and cover me in immeasurable shade of boughs! Happy he who hath availed to know the causes of things, and hath laid all fears and immitigable Fate and the roar of hungry Acheron under his feet; yet he no less is blessed, who knows the gods of the country, Pan and old Silvanus and the Nymphs' sisterhood. Him fasces of the people or purple of kings sway not, not maddening discord among treacherous brethren, nor the Dacian swarming down from the leagued Danube, not the Roman state or realms destined to decay; nor may pity of the poor or envy of the rich cost him a pang. What fruits the boughs, what the gracious fields bear of their own free will, these he gathers, and sees not the iron of justice or the mad forum and the archives of the people. Others vex blind sea-ways with their oars, or rush upon the sword, pierce the courts and chambers of kings; one aims destruction at the city and her wretched homes, that he may drink from gems and sleep on Tyrian scarlet; another heaps up wealth and broods over buried gold; one hangs rapt in amaze before the Rostra; one the applause of populace and senate re-echoing again over the theatre carries open-mouthed away: joyfully they steep themselves in blood of their brethren, and exchange for exile the dear thresholds of their homes, and seek a country spread under an alien sun. The husbandman sunders the soil with curving plough; from this is the labour of his year, from this the sustenance of his native land and his little grandchildren, of his herds of oxen and his faithful bullocks; and unceasingly the year lavishes fruit or young of the flock or sheaf of the corn-blade, and loads the furrow and overflows the granary with increase. Winter is come; the Sicyonian berry is crushed in the olive-presses, the swine come home sleek from their acorns, the woodland yields her arbute-clusters, and autumn drops his manifold fruitage, and high up the mellow vintage ripens on the sunny rock. Meanwhile sweet children cling round his kisses, the home abides in sacred purity, the kine droop their milky udders, and on the shining grass fat kids wrestle with confronting horns. Himself keeps holiday, and stretched on the sward where the fire is in the midmost and the company wreathe the wine-bowl, calls on thee, god of the winepress, in libation, and marks an elm for contests of the flying javelin among the keepers of the flock, or they strip their hardy limbs for the rustic wrestling-match. This life the ancient Sabines kept long ago, this Remus and his brother; even thus Etruria waxed mighty, ay, and Rome grew fairest of the world and ringed her sevenfold fortresses with a single wall. Yes, before the sceptre of that Cretan king, before a guilty race slew oxen for the banquet, this life golden Saturn led on earth; nor yet withal had they heard war-trumpets blown, nor yet the hard anvil clink under the sword.

But we have crossed a boundless breadth of plain, and now is time to loosen the necks of our steaming horses.