The Georgics (Nevile)/Book 2
OF signs celestial, and the cultur'd plain,
Thus far; next, Bacchus! to thy praise the strain
Is due; trees too, and shrubs I'll sing with thee,
And the slow-rising olive's progeny.
Lenæan Sire, be present to my lays! 5
Where-e'er we turn, the scene thy gifts displays:
For thee, with Autumn laden, swells the vine;
And the full vintage froths with floods of wine.
Come, Sire Lenæan! nor with me disdain
Thy legs unbuskin'd in new must to stain. 10
First, in creating trees attentive know
How Nature varies; some spontaneous grow,
Unconscious of man's toil, and wide abound:
As flexile broom, that loves the champaign-ground,
Poplars, and osiers soft, near rivers seen, 15
And willows hoar with leaves of blueish green.
From seed, fortuitously dropt, part rise;
Such as the chesnut, tow'ring to the skies,
The beech, of trees with broadest foliage fraught,
And oaks, oracular by Grecians thought. 20
Others, as elms and cherries, from their root
See a thick grove of springing suckers shoot:
Ev'n the Parnassian Bay, while young, seeks aid
From the vast shelter of parental shade. 24
These methods Nature taught; by means like these
Flourish shrubs, hallow'd groves, and forest-trees.
Methods there are, which gradual Use has found:
This puts young suckers in the furrow'd ground,
Torn from the mother's tender trunk: that takes
Sets, cleft in four, or sharpen'd into stakes, 30
And buries: from the tortur'd layer's sweep
In their own earth some trees delight to keep
A living nursery; while others need
No root, but from the tops of sprigs succeed.
Ev'n from dry cuttings of a stock will shoot, 35
Wond'rous to tell! an olive's spreading root:
And oft one plant by easy change we see
Assume the branches of an alien tree:
Thus on the plum blush cornels; and the pear,
Transform'd, inserted apples knows to bear. 40
Rise ye, to whom this province is assign'd,
And learn the culture proper to each kind;
The savage fruits by art to soften try,
Nor let your lands in sloth neglected lie:
What joy on Ism'rus rows of vines to spread, 45
And clothe with olives great Taburnus' head!
Come then, my pride! my glory! in whose name
I boast the greatest part of all my fame,
With me pursue the destin'd task, and deign
To give the loosen'd canvass to the main: 50
Not that I hope, had I an hundred tongues,
An hundred mouths, and brass-resounding lungs,
To croud so vast a subject in my song:
Come then, the first shore's margin coast along!
The land's in view: no fictions I'll display, 55
Nor in preambles vain your course delay.
Trees, that spontaneous shoot into the skies,
Fruitless indeed, but fair and sturdy rise,
Strong nature working in the soil; yet these
Wild as they are, will take what forms, you please,
And leave their sylvan genius, if with care 61
You graff them, or to order'd trenches bear.
Nor less to art the steril suckers yield,
If once transplanted to the spacious field: 64
Darken'd by leaves and boughs no fruit they know;
Their mother screens, and blasts them as they blow.
Trees, that have sprung from casual seed, slow rise:
But late posterity their shade shall prize.
Apples, their former flavour lost, decay:
And grapes but ripen to the birds a prey. 70
Culture and cost all equally demand,
To tame, and force them in the furrow'd land.
To Paphian myrtles solid wood assign;
To olives truncheons, layers to the vine;
Thus best each thrives: from suckers ashes grow; 75
The tree, that branches for Alcides' brow;
Hazels, and acorns of Chaonia's Sire,
Sea-faring fir, and palms this way aspire.
From walnuts the rough arbutes graffs receive;
To barren planes an offspring apples give; 80
To chesnuts beaches; Ashes learn to bear
The paly blossom of the downy pear;
And grafted elms, o'er-charg'd with bitter mast,
Spread to the crunching swine a rich repast.
Nor to insert the graff, and eye include, 85
Deem the same task: where sprouting gems protrude
From the mid bark, and pierce the membranes, there
A small and strait recess is slit with care:
For this a bud from a strange tree they find,
And bid it grow into the weeping rind. 90
Or the cut knotless stock the deep wedge cleaves,
And the cleft bole the fertile graffs receives:
Strait with rich boughs to heav'n the Tree aspires,
And foreign leaves and foreign fruit admires.
Nor yet to Elms, or Willows is assign'd, 95
To Lotes, or Cypresses, a single kind:
Of Olives, whether Orchites the name,
Pausia, or Radii, various is the frame:
Unnumber'd forms Alcinous' fruitage wears,
Nor apples less; and shoots distinguish pears: 100
Nor such ripe clusters do our vines command,
As in Methymna tempt the Gatherer's hand.
A fat soil suits the Mareotic vine;
Men to the Thasian a light glebe consign.
The Psythia, proper in the sun to dry, 105
And, whose quick fumes the tongue and feet will try,
The thin Lageos, Purple, ask my verse,
And Early grape: say, how shall I rehearse
Thy praise, O Rhætica! yet rashly vain
Cope not with wine Falernian vaults contain. 110
Amminean vines of generous juice why sing,
Rever'd by Tmolus' and Phanæus' King;
Or less Argitis, yet unmatch'd in song,
For flowing largely, and for lasting long?
Nor shall I leave in silence thee, of Rhodes, 115
To men delicious, grateful to the Gods!
Nor thee, Bumastus, of protuberant size!
But who their names and numbers can comprise?
And what avails it? who would learn, as well
Whirl'd by the West the Libyan sands might tell, 120
Or, by the furious East when ships are tost,
Count ev'ry wave, that beats th' Ionian coast.
Nor yet all trees alike all lands approve:
The willow rivers, alders marshes love;
The barren ash in rocky mountain-ground 125
Rejoices; myrtles on sea-shores abound:
Bacchus affects the breezy hilly height;
Yews in the cold and Boreal blasts delight.
The cultur'd globe's extremest ends survey,
The Scythian wilds, and realms of rising Day, 130
Trees separate nations: Indian climes alone
Bear the black Eben; frankincense her own
Soft Sabe calls: of balsams need I say,
That sweat thro' aromatic wood their way,
Or berries of Acanthus? or describe 135
The flimzy fleeces, that the Seric tribe
Comb off from leaves? or mention in the West
The forests hoary with a wooly vest?
Or at Earth's verge, where Ocean laves the coast,
Declare what groves the sons of India boast, 140
A quiver'd race, whose arrows' loftiest flight
Soars not above their trees' stupendous height?
Citron, blest fruit, the Median tracts produce,
Of ling'ring savour, and of austere juice; 144
Than which no plant, when stepdames, fell of soul,
With charms and temper'd drugs have mixt the bowl,
An antidote more instant can impart,
To rout the venom, ere it reach the heart:
A large fair tree, in form so like a bay,
A bay it were, did not the boughs betray 150
A diff'ring scent; the flow'r clings firm and fast,
The leaves tenacious mock the forceful blast.
With this the Medes relieve a noisome breath,
And snatch asthmatics from the arms of Death.
Yet may not Media vie, tho' rich in woods, 155
Nor Ganges fair, nor Hermus' golden floods,
With Italy, nor Ind, nor Bactra's lands,
Nor all Panchæa with her spicy sands.
Here no fire-breathing bulls the yoke have known,
Nor in the furrows serpents' teeth been sown, 160
Nor iron harvests of mens' helms and spears
Roughen'd the fields; but crops of bearded ears,
And Bacchus' purple gifts have throng'd the ground,
And olives flourish, and herds frisk around.
Hence prances to the plain the stately steed, 165
Hence the vast victim bull, and snow-white breed,
Oft in thy stream, Clitumnus, cleans'd from stains,
Precede Rome's triumphs to the hallow'd fanes.
In strange months summer, lasting spring we see,
Sheep twice are big, twice apples load the tree. 170
No lion-brood, no tigers roam the land;
Nor pois'nous plants deceive the reaper's hand;
Nor snakes their orbs immense along the plain
Snatch, nor in such vast volumes writhe their train.
Here labour'd works, proud cities strike our eyes;
Rear'd on rough rocks there towns aerial rise; 176
Beneath old battlements, see! rivers flow:
Shall I name ocean, that above, below,
Laves her? or vaunt her lakes? thee, Larius! thee,
Benacus! foaming like a troubled sea? 180
Her ports, and moles to Lucrine join'd, explain,
Or tell the roarings of th' indignant main,
The refluent floods where Julius' water braves,
And in Avernus rush the Tyrrhene waves?
Copper and silver ore her veins have shown, 185
And gold in copious tides has been her own.
She a rough race of men the Marsi boasts,
The painful Ligures, the Sabine hosts,
The dart-fam'd Volsci: she the Decii gave,
The great Camilli, Marii bold and brave, 190
The Scipio-line, invincible in fight;
Thee, mightiest Cæsar! she brought forth to light;
Who, of all Asia victor, from the pow'rs
Of humbled India screen'st the Roman tow'rs.
Prolific Parent, hail! for thee I raise, 195
Saturnian Land! themes full of art and praise,
And, daring to disclose the sacred spring,
Ascræan strains through Roman cities sing.
Of soils the genius we must next declare;
The strength, the colour; what each best will bear.
First stubborn soils, and churlish hilly grounds, 201
Where gravel in the shrubby lands abounds
Mixt with a meager clay, rejoice to raise
An olive-grove, that lives a length of days:
Groups of wild olives interspers'd make known 205
The spot, and fields with sylvan berries strown.
But where the ground a sweet'ning moisture cheers,
And the fair plain in verdant pomp appears,
(Such as low valleys spread before the sight,
When rivers, melting from the rocky height, 210
Feed them with ooze;) and, to the south-wind bare,
Breeds ferns, detested by the crooked share:
Here to your warmest wish in pride shall grow
Vines, whose swoll'n clusters in full streams shall flow;
Here the juice mellows, that in hallow'd hour, 215
When the puft Tuscan's pipe has ceas'd, we pour
From golden goblets, as in chargers bent
The reeking loads we to the Gods present.
But should the care of herds, or calves more please,
Or lambs, or kids tormenting tender trees, 220
Seek lawns afar on rich Tarentum's coast,
Fields, such as hapless Mantua once could boast,
Feeding in mossy streams where swans are found:
Here herb for cattle, here clear springs abound;
And what in one long day the grazing train 225
Crop, a short night's cool dew restores again.
A black glebe, fat beneath the prest plough-share,
Of texture, such as we by art prepare,
Is best for corn: (returning from no plains
The slow-pac'd oxen drag more loaden wains;) 230
Or whence th' indignant hind has fetch'd the wood,
And fell'd the groves, that useless long have stood;
And grub'd the birds' old mansions: in affright
Quitting their nests they wing'd their airy flight.
Torn by the share soon brightens the rough land:
For of the steepy country the lean sand, 236
And toph, and chalk gnawn by the snaky brood,
Scarce to the bees lend dew, and meanest food:
For sweet repast, and winding ways, no place
Is half so grateful to the serpent-race. 240
Lands, that exhale light vapours, and receive
Moisture at pleasure, and at pleasure give,
Their own green liv'ry that perennial wear,
Nor foul with scurf and rust the shining share,
Will teach the Vine her elm to curl around 245
With wanton tend'rils; these with oil abound,
The freshest grass for cattle these allow,
And bear the labours of the crooked plough.
Such are the fields rich Capua's peasants till,
And such the region round Vesevus' hill, 250
And meads, that Clanius laves, whose fury falls
Oft on Acerra's desolated walls.
Next the distinctive marks of soils I'll show:
Would you a subtile from a dense glebe know?
(One favours vines, and one the golden grain, 255
The subtile Bacchus, Ceres the dense plain:)
A spot selected, sink a pit profound,
Then back replace the dirt, and tread the ground:
Should mould be wanting, the soil loose declare,
And flocks will fatten, and vines flourish there: 260
But if the rubbish it's old seat disdain,
And, the trench fill'd, redundant mould remain,
With ridgy clots expect a sluggish soil;
Here, harnest to the yoke, let stout steers toil:
But earth, that planters salt and bitter name, 265
Churlish to corn, and what no plough can tame,
Alike unfit to propagate the kind
Of grapes and apples, by this mark you'll find:
Baskets with twigs well-woven first provide, 269
And wine-press strainers, in the smoke long dry'd,
Snatch from the roofs; in those the bad mould fling
Heap'd high, and drench'd with water from the spring:
Soon thro' the wicker, struggling to be free,
The liquid trickling in large drops you'll see;
The savour will detect itself now plain, 275
And the shockt Taster writhe his mouth with pain.
The greazy soil this token will betray;
Squeez'd in the hand it crumbles not away,
But pitch-like clammy to the fingers clings:
In the moist ground rank grass luxuriant springs; 280
O! be not mine so fertile, nor appear
It's strength too forward in the early ear!
The heavy speaks itself, nor less the light:
Colours are all discernible at sight:
The cold soil shuns the search; unless the yew, 285
Fir, or black ivy point it to the view.
Regardful of these precepts, timely bake
Your ground, and trenches in the great hills make;
Ere the glad vine you plant, the glebe to bare,
And lay it leaning to the northern air. 290
To none yield lands, that boast a crumbling mould,
Effect of drying blasts, and frosty cold,
And of the drudging Digger's skilful pains;
They, to whose heed no task undone remains,
Rest not, till soils quite similar they see, 295
In one to rear, in one transplant the tree,
Lest a strange parent the new nursling find:
Yet more, they print the aspect on the rind,
To each it's former station to restore;
Mark, on what side the southern heats it bore, 300
What parts were open to the Boreal rage:
So strong is habit's force in tender age.
Consider first, if it be better found
To plant on hilly, or on level ground:
If you a plain prefer, in thick ranks sow; 305
Vines not less fertile in thick ranks will grow.
But if a wavy surface claim your care,
And sloping steeps, 'tis best your ranks to spare:
Yet in exactest rows your trees design,
Each space responding to the transverse line. 310
As in th' embattled field we oft behold
The length'ning legion all files unfold;
From the dire conflict while the hosts abstain,
And Mars yet dubious roams the midmost plain,
The rank'd battalions stand expos'd to sight; 315
The wide field fluctuates with a brazen light.
So at just intervals arrange your trees;
Yet not alone a vacant mind to please,
But that Earth equally may feed each root,
And free in air the spreading branches shoot. 320
Ask ye, how low the trenches should be cut?
In a slight furrow I the vine would put;
Not so the Tree: the Tree delights to stretch
In earth more deep his fibres; chief the Beech:
High as to heav'n 'his towring top ascends, 325
So low his root to hell's dark regions tends.
Hence on his strength keen winters waste their pow'r,
The roaring tempest, and the rattling show'r;
Unmov'd he mocks their rage; nor knows decay
While men and generations pass away: 330
On all sides round his sturdy arms display'd,
He stands, and bears a mighty weight of shade.
Let not your vineyard toward the west incline,
Nor mix the hazel with your rows of vine:
The topmost shoots reject, and (such the love 335
Of earth) take not your cuttings from above.
Beware your plants with blunted steel to wound,
Nor let wild olives creep into your ground.
Oft from the careless hinds a casual spark
Falls, and, first lurking in the unctuous bark, 340
Catches the stem, then creeping up on high
Preys on the leaves, and crackles in the sky:
From bough to bough the conqu'ring ruin strays,
Reigns o'er the top sublime, in one bright blaze
Wraps all the grove, and, thick with pitchy night,
Whirls dusky volumes up th' ethereal height: 346
Chief if, a storm descending on the wood,
The winds before them urge the fiery flood.
To your scorcht trees no arts can life restore;
In vain you cut them, they return no more, 350
Nor rise renew'd in verdure, once their own;
Unhurt the steril olive stands alone.
Aw'd by the counsels of the wise forbear
To stir the ground, while Boreas chills the air:
In vain you set; fast-bound by Winter's hand 355
No root can fasten in the frozen land.
Then plant your vines, when in the youthful year
Loath'd by long adders the white birds appear;
Or when the cold autumnal heats succeeds,
Nor yet has Winter felt Sol's panting steeds. 360
In spring the groves, in spring the woods delight,
In spring swoll'n lands the genial seeds invite.
Then on his glad Wife's breast in fertile show'rs
Himself th' all-potent Father Ether pours;
Mixt with the Mother in a vast embrace 365
The mighty Sire refreshes all her race.
The lone brakes echo with the plumy quire,
And on set days herds burn with fierce desire:
Earth bounteous teems; the fields their bosom bare
To the kind warmth of Zephyr's balmy air: 370
A subtile moisture wide prevails: the land
Dares to new suns her verdant vest expand:
Nor then the Vine dreads Auster's threat'ning pow'r,
Or, by rough Boreas driv'n, the weighty show'r;
But all her gems, and all her leaves displays: 375
Such was, I trust, the brightness of the days,
In the same tenour the soft season ran,
When in it's first weak growth the world began:
Yes, spring was then: o'er the vast globe spring reign'd,
And baneful Eurus his bleak blasts restrain'd; 380
What time the flocks light's liquid lustre cheer'd,
And from the flinty earth with head uprear'd
Burst forth Man's iron breed, and stars were sent
To shed their radiance o'er the firmament,
And savage beasts the forest-walks to range: 385
Nor could Creation yet have born the change,
Had there of heat and cold no respite been,
Nor the fields foster'd by a sky serene.
Next when you force your sprigs into the ground,
Sprinkle fat dung, and heap the mould around: 390
In earth about them spongy pebbles hide,
Or rugged shells: between them streams will slide
To feed the feeble fibres, and diffuse
Round the young plants invigorating dews. 394
Nor are there now some wanting, who have thrown
Above a weight of shards and pond'rous stone,
A sure protection 'gainst the rushing rain,
Or when hot Sirius cleaves the gaping plain.
Soon as your sets are plac'd, the glebe raise high
About the roots, and hard-tooth'd drags apply, 400
Or, winding oft the leafy rows between,
Yok'd to the plough let struggling steers be seen.
Smooth reeds and stakes of ash be then your care;
And spears of polish'd rods, and forks prepare,
To prop, and teach them to creep stage by stage 405
Up the tall Elm, and brave the tempest's rage.
In youth's first growth, their shoots just springing, spare
Their tender years; and while in open air
The bough luxuriant runs with loosen'd rein,
From the sharp pruning-hook a while abstain; 410
Nip with your nail the shoots, and ev'ry space
Clear from cast leaves: but when with close embrace
Strong round their elms the rambling tendrils twine,
Then strip the foliage, lop the straggling vine: 414
Till then they dread the steel: now let them know
Your pow'r's full force, and check the branchy flow.
To keep off cattle weave thick fences round;
Chief, while the saplings feel at ev'ry wound:
Beside keen winters, and Sol's potent ray,
Of goats and buffaloes annoys the play; 420
And the sheep nibble, and the kine devour:
Not half so harmful is the piercing pow'r
Of hoary frosts, or summer's scorching heat,
When on dry rocks the solar fervours beat,
As the sharp venom of the browsing kind, 425
And the deep scar imprinted on the rind.
For this to Bacchus bleeds the goat, and Plays
Assume the buskin'd pomp of ancient days:
The sons of Theseus to contending Bards,
Decreed in towns and public ways rewards, 430
And in mad mood with many a sportive bound
Leap'd on oil'd bags along the grassy ground.
Th' Ausonians too, a colony of Troy,
In uncouth metre give a loose to joy:
In hideous masks of hollow'd bark the throng 435
Invoke thee, Bacchus, in the festal song,
And hang for thee with images the pine:
Hence with full produce swells the bloomy vine;
With purple harvests vallies, lawns abound,
Where'er the God has turn'd his visage round. 440
To Bacchus' praise then hymns of honour sing
In custom'd verse, and cakes and chargers bring;
Before the altar lead the goat, and there
On hazel spits the hallow'd feast prepare.
Yet more; one endless labour vines demand; 445
Oft ev'ry year to plough the planted land,
Ceaseless with drags to break the mould, and free
Of her superfluous leaves the cumber'd tree.
One round of toil employs the drudging swain,
And in itself the year rolls back again. 450
When her late honours now the vine has cast,
And the stript forests felt the northern blast,
Ev'n then no vigilance the Rustic spares,
But to the coming year extends his cares,
With Saturn's sickle plies the slighted trees, 455
And lops, and prunes, and forms them by degrees.
Dig you the first, the cuttings in a blaze
First set, and homeward first bear back the stays,
But reap the last: twice shadowy leaves abound, 459
With tangling thorns twice weeds o'er-spread the ground:
Tiresome alike each task: do you commend
Extensive vineyards, but a small one tend.
The sithe to reeds along the river's side,
And the rough twigs of Ruscus, is apply'd;
Nor less wild willows your attention share: 465
Now the well-order 'd rows the hook forbear;
The Dresser, spent with toil, surveys his vines
Fast-bound, and whistles near th' extremest lines:
Still he must cleave the clods, still stir the plain;
And for the ripen'd clusters dread the rain. 470
Not olives thus: no culture they demand:
When once they 've fixt their fibres in the land,
And once the changes of the weather born,
Harrows, and pruning hooks alike they scorn.
Open'd by drags Earth largely feeds the roots, 475
And furrow'd loads the bending boughs with fruits.
Thus with fat olives, lov'd of Peace, you deal:
And apples, when the sturdy trunks they feel,
Proud of strength all their own, that instant rise
Disdaining aid, and shoot into the skies. 480
Nor less the woods their weighty branches show,
And sylvan brakes with sanguine berries glow.
The shrub is shorn: from forests torches come,
And late fires glimmer through the nightly gloom
With streamy splendors: and does Man recoil? 485
Doubts he to lend his labour to the soil?
But why sublimer themes should I pursue?
To brooms and willows some regard is due;
Whence browse to cattle, shelter to the swain,
Sweets to the bee, and fences to the grain. 490
The pitchy groves of Naryx give delight,
And box-trees waving on Cytorus’ height:
And the fair fields how grateful to behold,
Where no share turns, no harrow marks the mould!
The barren woods of Caucasus, that bear 495
The rage of Eurus, rent, and whirl'd thro' air,
For dwellings cedars, cypresses assign,
And for the vessel lend the lofty pine:
Hence spokes for wheels are fashioned by the swains,
Bent keels for ships, and rollers for the wains. 500
With leaves are elms, with twigs the willow stor'd;
Cornels fit instruments of war afford;
Stout spears the myrtle: yews their boughs bestow
To form the flexure of th' Ityrean bow:
Nor the box, shaven by the turner's wheel, 505
Nor the smooth limes resist the shaping steel.
Launch'd on the Po the foamy flood along
Floats the light alder: in swarms clust'ring throng
To hollow barks and rotten oaks the bees:
What gifts has Bacchus to compare with these? 510
Bacchus to violence has led the way:
Rhætus and Pholus perish'd in the fray,
Fierce Centaurs both: Hylæus pour'd his soul,
As at the Lapithæ he aim'd a bowl.
Too happy ye, whom rural tasks employ, 515
Did ye the knowledge of your bliss enjoy!
Far from discordant arms the grateful ground
For you diffuses competence around.
What tho' no palace proud from portals wide
Pours forth of visitants the morning tide, 520
Tho' for no posts with tortoise-shell enrol'd
Ye sigh, no garments wanton'd o'er with gold;
Tho' the white wool no Tyrian poison soil,
Nor spice with fragrance taint the liquid oil;
Yet peace secure, yet days to guile unknown, 525
Leisure with plenty, these are all your own;
The low of herds, clear lakes, and breezy glade,
Grots, and soft sleeps beneath the bow'ry shade.
Nor want ye lawns, or thickets for the chace,
Or train'd to little a rough patient race, 530
Duty to Gods, and Parents: last with you
Astræa linger'd, ere she quite withdrew.
Me may the Nine, my first, my latest care,
With awful love whose mysteries I bear,
Lead thro' heav'n's radiant roads, the starry way; 535
The lunar labours, Sol's defects display;
Tell, by what force the swoll'n seas burst the mound,
Then in themselves subside: what rocks the ground;
Whence wintry Suns so rapid roll the light 539
Down to the main; what stays the loit'ring night.
But should these arduous longings be represt,
Life's chilly stream scarce creeping in my breast,
May rural scenes, thro' meads rills sparkling please,
And woods, and rivers, in inglorious ease; 544
Where plains are seen, and Sperchius' winding wave,
And the proud hill, where Spartan virgins rave:
In Hæmus' cooly vales, O! were I laid,
Screen'd by the sweep of some high-arching shade!
Happy the Man, whose penetrating mind
Of things the latent causes first could find, 550
He, who all terrors, ruthless Fate could quell,
And the dire din of all-devouring Hell!
Blest too, who knew the Gods, that haunt the plain,
Pan, old Sylvanus, and the Dryad train;
Unmov'd by purple pride, the rods of state, 555
Or faithless brethren rous'd to mutual hate,
Or Rome, or kingdoms sinking to decay,
Or from leagu'd Ister his restless way
The Dacian bursting: nor for others' store
Fed he a wish, or sorrow'd for the poor. 560
The boughs he lighten'd of their luscious load,
And pull'd the fruits, the willing fields bestow'd:
Stranger to strife he felt no griping law,
Nor the mad rabble of the Forum saw.
Some rush to battle, vex with oars the deep, 565
Or in the courts of Kings insidious creep;
For cups of gem, and quilts of Tyrian die,
Others remorseless loose each public tie:
On hoarded treasures these ecstatic gaze,
Those eye the Rostra, stupid with amaze: 570
This for the theatre's applauding roar
Sighs: with the blood of brothers sprinkled o'er
From their dear homes to exile others run,
And seek new seats beneath a distant sun.
The busy husbandman has turn'd the soil 575
With his bent ploughshare: hence his annual toil;
His country, children profit by his pains;
Hence he his herds and useful steers maintains.
No pause he knows: or teems the bounteous year
With fruits, or cattle, or the bearded ear: 580
The plenteous produce loads the furrow'd land;
The granaries burst: cold winter is at hand;
The pounding press now Sicyon's berries feel;
Glad to their sties the swine full acorn'd reel.
The woods give arbutes; autumn-fruits abound, 585
And mild grapes ripen on high sunny ground.
Their fathers' neck the fondling train embrace:
And Virtue's self protects the blameless race.
With dugs distended strutting kine are seen,
And the fat kids frisk butting on the green. 590
Stretcht on the grass himself on festal days,
As with crown'd goblets by the brightning blaze
His comrades stand, Lenæus! calls on thee,
Pouring libation large, and hangs a tree
With prizes for the swains, the dart who fling, 595
And bares the wrestlers for the rustic ring.
Such was the life th' Etrurians, Sabines led;
Thus Remus and his Brother once were bred;
Rome by these arts the world's great wonder rose,
Proud her sev'n hills with ramparts to enclose; 600
And ere Dictæan Jove commenc'd his reign,
Ere impious mortals heap'd with oxen slain
The genial board, a life of rural ease
In golden days ev'n Saturn's self could please:
No brazen trump had learn'd men's ears to wound,
Nor swords on anvils sent a clatt'ring sound. 606
But such a vast career some respite needs,
And the time calls to loose the steaming steeds.