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ceded the death of Julius Cæfar. This naturally leads him to implore the gods, for the prefervation of Auguftus and of Rome, and with this fupplication he concludes his first Georgic.
After the figns in the heavens, portending the change of weather, which are too many to be here inserted, the prodigies that are fuppofed to have preceded Cafar's death, and the destructive war occafioned by it, are very artfully introduced; and, tho' no one can believe that Nature fuffered thefe commotions in behalf of a man who had enslaved his country, yet all will be pleased with the poet's addrefs, and the circumstances he has affimulated on the occafion.
The fun reveals the fecrets of the sky;
And who dares give the Source of Light the lie?
The change of empires often he declares,
Fierce tumult, hidden treasons, open wars.
He firft the fate of Cafar did foretel,
And pitied Rome, when Rome in Cæfar fell.
In iron clouds conceal'd the public light,
And impious mortals fear'd eternal night.
Nor was the fact foretold by him alone :
Nature herself stood forth, and feconded the fun.
Earth, air, and feas, with prodigies were fign'd,
And birds obfcene, and howling dogs divin'd.
What rocks did Ætna's bellowing mouth expire
From her torn entrails! and what floods of fire!
What clanks were heard, in German skies afar,
Of arms and armies, rushing to the war!
Dire earthquakes rent the folid Alps below,
And from their fummits fhook th'eternal fnow:
Pale fpectres in the close of night were seen;
And voices heard of more than mortal men.
In filent groves, dumb fheep and oxen spoke,
And streams ran backward, and their beds forfook:
The yawning earth difclos'd th' abyfs of hell:
The weeping statues did the wars foretel;
And holy fweat from brazen idols fell.
Then rifing in his night the King of Floods
Rush'd thro' the forefts, tore the lofty woods;
And rolling onward with a sweepy fway,
Bore houses, herds, and lab'ring hinds away.
Blood sprang from wells, wolves howl'd in town by night,
And boding victims did the priests affright.
Such peals of thunder never pour'd from high,
Nor forky light'nings flash'd from fuch a fullen fy.
Red meteors ran across th' ethereal space,
Stars disappear'd, and comets took their place.
For this, th' Emathian plains once more were ftrow'd
With Roman bodies, and juft heaven thought good
To fatten twice thofe fields with Roman blood.
Then after length of Time, the lab'ring swains,
Who turn the turfs of thofe unhappy plains,
Shall rufty piles from the plough'd furrows take,
And ever empty helmets pafs the rake.
Amaz'd at antique titles on the stones
And mighty relicks of gigantic bones.
The subject of the second book is planting, in which the poet points out all the different methods of raifing trees; fpeaks of their variety, and lays down rules for the management of each He then describes the foils that are fuitable to the different plants; makes a di greffion in praise of his native country; gives fome directions for discovering the nature of each foil; lays down rules for dreffing vines, olives, &c. and concludes with a fine panegyrick on rural life.
As this Georgic abounds with beauties, we fhall confider it more particularly, and give the reader fome examples of the manner in which he has treated the subject. What he has faid with refpect to the grafting and management of trees, is worthy of our admiration.
'Tis ufual now, an inmate graff to see
With infolence invade a foreign tree:
Thus pears and quinces from the crab-tree come;
And thus the ruddy cornel bears the plum.
The thin-leav'd arbute, hazel-graffs receives,
And planes huge apples bear, that bore but leaves.
Thus maftful beech the briftly chefnut bears,
And the white ash is white with blooming pears,
And greedy fwine from grafted elms are fed,
With falling acorns, that from oaks are bred.
But various are the ways to change the ftate
Of plants, to bud, to graft, t'inoculate.
For where the tender rinds of trees difclofe
Their fhooting gems, a fwelling knot there grows ;
Juft in that space a narrow flit we make,
Then other buds from bearing trees we take :
Inferted thus, the wounded rind we close,
In whofe moist womb th' admitted infant grows.
But when the fmoother bole from knots is free,
We make a deep incision in the tree;
And in the folid wood the flip inclose,
'The bat'ning bastard shoots again and grows;
And in fhort space the laden boughs arife,
With happy fruit advancing to the skies.
'The mother plant admires the leaves unknown
Of alien trees, and apples not her own.
Here Virgil, in confidering the effects of the union between trees of different kinds, attends particularly to thofe circumftances that feemed the most wonderful, and which not only expreffed the capacity and tendency of trees to be thus united, but excited at the fame time admiration and pleasure in the mind. His method of tranfplanting trees is altogether as beautiful, and concludes with a fine reflection on the force and power of cuítom.
Some peasants, not t'omit the nicest care,
Of the fame foil their nursery prepare,
With that of their plantation; left the tree
Tranfplanted, fhou'd not with the foil agree.
Befides, to plant it as it was, they mark
'The heav'n's four quarters on the tender bark;
And to the north or fouth restore the fide,
Which at their birth did heat or cold abide.
So ftrong is cuftom, each effects can use
In tender fouls of pliant plants produce.
But becaufe precepts laid down one after another, notwithflanding all the poet's endeavours to make them entertaining, would by degrees tire, Virgil fuffers the reader fometimes to reft for the fake of a pertinent and
pleafing digreffion, or leads him out of the road to entertain him with a beautiful description.-Such is that of Italy.
But neither Median woods, (a plenteous land)
Fair Ganges, Hermus rolling golden fand,
Nor Bactria, nor the richer Indian fields,
Nor all the gummy fhores Arabia yields ?
Nor any foreign earth of greater name,
Can with fweet Italy contend in fame.
Nor bulls whofe noftrils breathe a living flame
Have turn'd our turf, no teeth of ferpents here
Were fown, an armed host, an iron crop to bear.
But fruitful vines, and the fat olives freight,
And harvests heavy with their fruitful weight,
Adorn our fields; and on the chearful 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 profp'rous war,
The victim ox, and fnowy sheep prepare.
Perpetual spring our happy climate fees;
Twice breed the cattle, and twice bear the trees;
And fummer funs recede by flow degrees.
The following defcription is of the fame beautiful caft; and the reader will obferve that these, and indeed all the descriptions in Virgil, are fo artfully introduced, that they' feem to arife naturally out of the principal argument and defign of the poem.
But eafy quiet, a fecure retreat,
A harmless life that knows not how to cheat,
With home-bred plenty the rich owner blefs,
And rural pleasures crown his happiness.
Unvex'd with quarrels, undisturb'd with noise,
The country-king his peaceful realm enjoys :
Cool grots, and living lakes, the flow'ry pride
Of meads, and ftreams that thro' the valley glide;
And shady groves that eafy fleep invite,
And after toilfome days, a foft repofe at night.
Wild beafts of nature in his woods abound;
And youth, of labour patient, plough the ground,
Inur'd to hardship, and to homely fare.
Nor venerable age is wanting there,
In great examples to the youthful train :
Nor are the Gods ador'd with rites profane.
From hence Aftrea took her flight, and here
The prints of her departing steps appear.
Virgil begins his third book with an invocation to fome of the rural deities, and then, after complimenting Auguftus, addresses himself to Mecenas, and enters on his fubject; 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 fpeaks 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 defcriptions in particular are extremely beautiful. His rules for training up young calves to the yoke, and of breaking horfes to the different employments they were intended for, are alfo very happily expreffed.
The calf by nature and by genius made
To turn the glebe, breed to the rural trade..
Set him betimes to fchool; and let him be
Inftructed there in rules of husbandry;
While yet his youth is flexible and green;
Nor bad examples of the world has feen.
Early begin the ftubborn child to break;
For his foft neck, a fupple collar make
Of bending ofiers; and (with time and care.
Inur'd that eafy fervitude to bear)
Thy flatt'ring method on the youth pursue:
Join'd with his fchool-fellows by two and two,
Persuade 'em first to lead an empty wheel,
That scarce the dust can raife or they can feel:
In length of time produce the lab'ring yoke
And fhining shares, that make the furrow fmoke.
Ere the licentious youth be thus reftrain'd,
Or moral precepts on their minds have gain'd;