Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Virgil's Georgics Book IV

And I myself, were I not even now Furling my sails, and, nigh the journey's end, Eager to turn my vessel's prow to shore, Perchance would sing what careful husbandry Makes the trim garden smile; of Paestum too, Whose roses bloom and fade and bloom again; How endives glory in the streams they drink, And green banks in their parsley, and how the gourd Twists through the grass and rounds him to paunch; Nor of Narcissus had my lips been dumb, That loiterer of the flowers, nor supple-stemmed Acanthus, with the praise of ivies pale, And myrtles clinging to the shores they love. For 'neath the shade of tall Oebalia's towers, Where dark Galaesus laves the yellowing fields, An old man once I mind me to have seen- From Corycus he came- to whom had fallen Some few poor acres of neglected land, And they nor fruitful' neath the plodding steer, Meet for the grazing herd, nor good for vines. Yet he, the while his meagre garden-herbs Among the thorns he planted, and all round White lilies, vervains, and lean poppy set, In pride of spirit matched the wealth of kings, And home returning not till night was late, With unbought plenty heaped his board on high. He was the first to cull the rose in spring, He the ripe fruits in autumn; and ere yet Winter had ceased in sullen ire to rive The rocks with frost, and with her icy bit Curb in the running waters, there was he Plucking the rathe faint hyacinth, while he chid Summer's slow footsteps and the lagging West. Therefore he too with earliest brooding bees And their full swarms o'erflowed, and first was he To press the bubbling honey from the comb; Lime-trees were his, and many a branching pine; And all the fruits wherewith in early bloom The orchard-tree had clothed her, in full tale Hung there, by mellowing autumn perfected. He too transplanted tall-grown elms a-row, Time-toughened pear, thorns bursting with the plum And plane now yielding serviceable shade For dry lips to drink under: but these things, Shut off by rigorous limits, I pass by, And leave for others to sing after me. http://classics.mit.edu/Virgil/georgics.4.iv.html

No comments: