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pleasing digression, or leads him out of the road to entertain him with a beautisul description.—Such is that of Italy.
But neither Median woods, (a plenteous land)
Fair Ganges, Hermus rolling golden fand,
Nor Batlria, nor the richer Indian sields,
Nor all the gummy shores Arabia yields?
Nor any foreign earth of greater name,
Can with sweet Italy contend in fame.
Nor bulls whose nostrils breathe a living flame
Have turn'd our turf, no teeth of serpents here
Were sown, an armed host, an iron crop to bear.
But fruitsul vines, and the fat olives freight,
And harvests heavy with their fruitsul weight,
Adorn our sields; and on the chearsul green,
The grazing flocks and lowing herds are seen.
The warrior horse here bred,.is taught to train:
There flows Clitumnus thro' the flow'ry plain;
Whose waves, for triumphs after prolp'rous war,
The victim ox, and snowy sheep prepare.
Perpetual spring our happy climate sees;
Twice breed the cattle, and twice bear the trees;
And summer suns recede by flow degrees.
The following description is of the fame beautisul cast; and the reader will observe that these, and indeed all the descriptions in Virgil, are so artsully introduced, that they seem to arise naturally out of the principal argument and design of the poem.
But easy quiet, a secure retreat,
A harmless lise that knows not how to cheat,
With home-bred plenty the rich owner bless,
And rural pleasures, crown his happiness.
Unvex'd with quarrels, undisturb d with noise,
The country-king his peacesul realm enjoys:
Cool grots, and living lakes, the flow'ry pride
Of meads, and streams that thro' the valley glide;
And shady groves that easy fleep invite,
And aster toilsome days, a soft repose at night.
Wild beasts of nature in his woods abound;
And youth, of labour patient, ploegh the ground,
Jnur'd to hardship, and to homely fare.
Nor venerable age is wanting there,
In great examples to the youthsul train:
Nor are the Gods ador'd with rites profane.
From hence Afirta took her flight, and here
The prints of her departing steps appear.
Virgil begins his third book with an invocation tosome of the rural deities, and then, after complimenting Augustus, addresses himself to Mecttnas, and enters on his subject; which contains rules for the breeding and management of horses, oxen, sheep, goats, and dogs: and with these rules are interwoven descriptions of chariot races, of the battle of the bulls, of the force of love, and of the Scythian winter. He then speaks of the diseases incident to cattle, and concludes this Georgic with the description of a fatal murrain, which had raged among the Alps.
The whole book is wrought up with great art, and the descriptions in particular are extremely beautisul. His rules for training up young calves to the yoke, and of breaking horses to the different employments they wera intended for, are also very happily expressed.
The calf by nature and by genius made
To turn the glebe, breed to the rural trade.
Set him betimes to school ; and let him be
Instructed there in rules of husbandry;
While yet his youth is flexible and green;
Nor bad examples of the world has seen.
Early begin the stubborn child to break;
For his soft neck, a supple collar make
Of bending osiers; and (with time and care
Jnur'd that easy servitude to bear)
Thy flatt'ring method on the youth pursue:
Join'd with his school sellows by two and two»
Persuade 'em sirst to lead an empty wheel,
That scarce the dust can raise or they can seel:
In length of time produce the lab'ring yoke
And shining shares, that make the surrow smoke.
Ere the licentious youth be thus restrains),
Or moral precepts on their minds have gain'd;
Their wanton appetites not only seed
With delicates of leaves, and marshy weed,
But with thy sickle reap the rankest land,
And minister the blade, with bounteous hand.
Nor be with harmsul parsimony won
To follow what our homely sires have done;
Who sill'd the pail with beestings of the cow,
But all the udder to the calf allow.
Jf to the warlike steed thy studies bend,
Or for the prize in chariots to contend;
Near Pisa's flood the rapid wheels to guide,
Or in Olympian groves aloft to ride.
The gen'rous labours of the courser sirst
Must be with sight of arms and sounds of trumpets nurft,
Inur'd the groaning axle-tree to bear;
And let him clashing whips in stables hear.
Sooth him with praise, and make him understand
The loud applauses of his master's hand:
This from his weaning, let him well be taught;
And then betimes in a soft snasfle wrought:
Before his tender joints with nerves are knit;
Untry'd in arms, and trembling at the bit;
But when to four full Springs his years advance,
Teach him to run the round, with pride to prance;
And (rightly manag'd) equal time to beat,.
To turn, to bound in measure, and curvet.
Let him, to this, with easy pains be brought:
And seem to labour when he labours not.
Thus, form'd to speed he challenges the wind s
And leaves the Scythian arrow far behind:
He scours along the sield, with loosen'd reins;
And treads so light, he scarcely prints the plains,
Like Boreas in his race, when rushing forth,
He sweeps the skies, and clears the cloudy north:
The waving harvest bends beneath his blast;
The forest shakes, the groves their honours cast;
He flies aloft, and with impetuous roar
Pursues the foaming surges to the shore.
Thus o'er the Elean plains, thy well-breath'd horse
Impels the flying carr, and wins the course.
Or, bred to Belgian waggons, leads the way;
Untir'd at night, and chearsul all the day.
When once he's broken, seed him sull and high.
Indulge his growth, and his gaunt sides supply.
Before his training, keep him poor and low;
For his stout stomach with his food will grow;
The pamper'd colt will discipline disdain,
Impatient of the lash, and restiff to the rein.
The description which he has given us of a war-horse is (excepting that contained in the book of Job) the most animated and beautisul that ever was drawn.
The siery courser, when he hears from far, The sprightly trumpets and the shouts of war, Pricks up hi. ears, and trembling with delight, Shifts place, and paws, and hopes the promis'd sight. On his right shoulder his thick mane reclin'd, Ruffles at speed, and dances in the wind. His horny hooss are jetty black, and round; f His chine is doable, starting with a bound s He turns the turss, and shakes the solid ground. J Fire from his eyes, clouds from his nostrils flow: He bears his rider headlong on the foe,
The description he has given us of the distemper among the cattle, and the wonderful change it wrought in the disposition of animals, by making those who were of contrary natures, and obnoxious to each other grow familiar and herd together, is very sinely, and very afsectingly expressed; especially this part of it.
Lo! while he toils the galling yoke beneath, Foaming black blood, the bullock sinks in death: The pensive hind the brother-steer relieves, ~i Who faithsul for his lost companion grieves, C And the six'd share amid the surrow leaves. j Mean time, nor grassy mead, nor lofty grove, The mournsul mate's asslicted mind can move: Nor yet from rocks delicious streams that roll As amber clear, can sooth his sorrowing soul; His slanks flow loose, his eyes grow dim and dead; And low to earth he hangs his heavy head.
Ah! what avails his ceaseless usesul toil? What boots it to have turn'd the stubborn soil?
Yet ne'er choice maffie wines debauch'd his tafte,
Ne'er did he riot in the rich repast;
His food is leafy browze, and nature's grass,
His draught fresh rills, that thro' the meadows pass.
Or torrent rushing from the rocky steep;
Nor care disturbs his falutary fleep.
Then cars were drawn, while fail'd th'accustom'd kine;
By ill-pair'd busfaloes, to jsuno's shrine.
And men with harrows toil'd to till the plain,
And with their nails dug in the golden grain;
The rattling waggon's galling yoke fustain'd,
And up the rocky steep laborious strain'd.
The wily wolf, no more by hunger bold,
With secret step explores the nightly fold.
Deers herd with hounds, and leave their sylvan seat,
And seek with man to sind a fase retreat.
Thick on the shores, like ship-wreck'd corses cast,
Appear the sinny race of ocean vast;
TV asfrighted Phocae to the rivers haste.
His cave no more to shield the snake avails;
Th'astonish'd hydra dies erecting all his scales.
Ev'n their own skies to birds unfaithsul prove,
Headlong they fall, and leave their lives above.
Virgil lays down the rules of tillage and planting with wondersul art in his twO.sirst books. He has, as the author of the essay on his Georgia observes, a fort of rustic majesty about him, and seems like a Roman dictator at the plough tail. The second book has indeed most wit in it, and abounds with bolder metaphors than are found in any of the rest; for in this the poet attributes the passions of human life to the vegetable creation. The third book, however, seems more laboured and spirited, and the descriptions, in particular, are more animated and lively; especially those of the murrain among the cattle, the Scythian winter, and the horse and chariot races. But he seems most delighted with the subject of his fourth book, where he is got among the bees. In this Georgic he points out the situation most proper for bees; tells us when they begin to gather honey, directs how to call them home when they swarm, and how to part'them