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Ventos et varium caeli praediscere morem
Arborei fetus alibi, atque iniussa virescunt
experience shows. It is Nature's law, as old as man's creation.'
50.] At' Palatine MS. 'Ac' Med. Rom. The former seems better, as the poet apparently interrupts himself.
51.] The same question is raised by Varro at the outset of his work (1. 3. 4), and also by Columella (1 pref.) who has Virgil in his mind. Lucr. 1. 296 talks of the facta ac mores' of the winds.
52.] Patrios cultus,' as we should say, the agricultural antecedents of the spot, which is spoken of as if it were a person with ancestors. So 'morem caeli' and 'recuset' imply personifications. The expression then is virtually equivalent to proprios cultus,' 2. 35. Cultusque is the reading of the best MSS., so that 'patrios' belongs to habitus' as well as cultus.' Heyne follows others in reading 'cultus,' understanding 'patrios cultus' of the mode of culture practised by the past generation. The whole subject is dealt with more at large by Virgil, 2. 109 foll.
54.] Veniunt,' 2. 11.
55.] With Keightley I have recalled the comma after alibi,' so as to make fetus' and 'gramina' alike subjects of 'virescunt,' which seems specially appropriate where young trees are spoken of.
56.] Nonne vides,' a favourite Lucretian expression. So Aratus opens his Diosemeia with oux ópáaç. Tmolus' (Dict. Geog.) is named by no earlier writer than Virgil as producing saffron, the place most famous for which was Cilicia, so that it is possible this may be one of Virgil's geographical inaccuracies. The later writers who support Virgil (Columella, Solinus, and Marcianus Capella) probably only copy him. Serv. mentions an alternative of un
Ergo age, terrae
derstanding 'croceos odores' of the peculiar smell of the Tmolian wine (2. 98); but this seems very unlikely.
57.] Mittit,'' sends to Rome.' For the indic. see on E. 4. 52. But Med. has 'mittat,' which may be right. India produced the largest elephants (Pliny 8. 11), whence ivory is called 'Indus dens' Catull. 62 (64). 48. 'Molles sua tura Sabaei:' "odores, Quos tener e terra divite mittit Arabs," Tibull. 2. 2. 4.
58.] 'At' used as in 2. 447, distinguishing one part of an enumeration from another. Chalybes' (Dict. G.), called oidŋpotékTOVEC Esch. Prom. 714. 'Nudi' gives the picture of them as working in the forge, like the Cyclopes A. 8. 425. Virosa castorea' like 'castoreo gravi,' Lucr. 6. 794, the epithet referring to the strong smell. For the fable and the fact about the beaver, see Mayor on Juv. 12. 34. The best' castoreum' was produced in Pontus; an inferior sort in Spain. Strabo 3, p. 163. Cas.
59.] The palms of the mares of Elis' for the mares which win palms at Elis.' The object of the breed is said to be produced when the breed itself is produced. Thus the expression is not quite parallel to "tertia palma, Diores," A. 5. 339, with which it is commonly compared. With Epiros' comp. 3. 121, with 'Eliadum,' ib. 202. Mares are mentioned as fleeter than horses. " Apta quadrigis equa," Hor. 2 Od. 16. 35.
60.] Continuo' connected with 'quo tempore.' 'Foedera' of the laws of nature, as in A. 1. 62, Lucr. 1. 586., 5. 57, 924.
62.]"Lapides Pyrrhae iactos," E. 6. 41. 63.] Durum genus,' because born from the stones. Comp. 2. 341, Lucr. 5. 926. The connexion seems to be that the restric
Pingue solum primis extemplo a mensibus anni
tion of certain products to certain soils is part of the iron rule of the world, which is now inhabited by men of rougher mould, doomed to labour, and physically adapted to it. Work then, Virgil goes on to say, man and beast, and accomplish your destiny. Contrast the language of E. 4. 39, 41, when all countries shall produce all things, and the strength of man and beast no more be put under requisition.
63-70.] 'Work then, as soon as weather allows you: plough with your might in spring and cross-plough in summer; that is, where the soil is rich and strong: if it is meagre, a shallow ploughing in September will do.'
64.] Pingue' emphatic, as v. 67 shows. 65.] Fortes' emphatic, like "validis terram proscinde iuvencis," 2. 237. The rhythm of the line is obviously intended to suit the sense. 'Iacentis,' upturned by the plough and lying exposed to the sun. The word is probably meant to indicate that there should be a second ploughing, or cross-ploughing in summer. See on vv. 47, 48, and comp. 2. 261, "Ante supinatas Aquiloni ostendere glaebas." 'Let the clods be exposed for summer to bake them to dust with its full mellow suns.'
66.] 'Maturis' of full midsummer heat; but it seems also to contain the notion of actively ripening.
67.] So Col. 2. 4, "Graciles clivi non sunt aestate arandi, sed circa Septembres Calendas: quoniam si ante hoc tempus proscinditur, effeta et sine succo humus aestivo sole peruritur, nullasque virium reliquias habet." This September ploughing is apparently meant to supersede both winter and summer ploughing: Col. however goes on to say, that the ploughing must be repeated shortly after, so that sowing may take place at the beginning of the equinoctial rains.
quoque inviolatum," Col. 3. 13, who immediately afterwards talks of "vineam in summa terra suspendere," as opposed to planting deep. The notion seems to be that of raising the soil lightly so as to leave it, as it were, hanging in air.
69.] Illic' refers to vv. 64-6, 'hic' to vv. 67, 68. Laetis,' as the quality of the soil would make the corn grow luxuriantly. Forb. comp. 2. 251, "Humida maiores herbas alit, ipsaque iusto Laetior."
71-83.] It is well to let your land lie fallow every other season: or again you may change the crops, and so relieve the soil at the same time that you turn it to
71.] "It can hardly be meant that the land was to be let lie idle an entire year, for in that case there would be only one crop in three years. What he means is, that after the corn had been cut in the summer, the land was to be let to lie and get a scurf of weeds till the following spring, when they were to be ploughed in." Keightley, who, however, on v. 47, quotes a passage from Simond's Travels in Italy and Sicily, showing that the extreme view of the length of time allowed to elapse between the crops is countenanced by the present practice at Sciacca on the south coast of Sicily. "When the land is manured, which is rarely the case, it yields corn every year, otherwise once in three years: thus, first year corn (fromento); second year fallow, and the weeds mowed for hay; third, ploughing several times, and sowing for the fourth year" (p. 476). Dickson (Husbandry of the Ancients, vol. i. pp. 444 foll.) concludes from a study of the agricultural writers that fallowing was the general rule in Italy. "When the several authors," says he, "treat of ploughing, and direct at what seasons this operation should be performed, they have the fallow land only in view. The seasons of ploughing . . . were in the spring and summer, while the crop was on the ground; for the seed-time was in autumn, and the harvest in the end of summer. The directions given must therefore relate only
Et segnem patiere situ durescere campum ;
to the fallow. It would seem that they considered the ploughings given to land that had carried a crop the preceding year, and was immediately to be sown for another, as of so little consequence that it was needless to give any directions about them. From this we may conclude that they considered ploughing and sowing immediately after a crop as bad husbandry, and only to be practised in a case of necessity; or at least that they were of opinion that very little of their land was so rich as to allow this kind of management." Compare Daubeny's Lec. tures, p. 125. Alternis,' 'alternately,' implying no more than that the husbandman instead of sowing every time is to sow every other time. Idem,' as we should say, 'at the same time,' implying that the rules already given do not exhaust the subject. Sapienter idem Contrahes. . . vela," Hor. 2 Od. 10. 22. Tonsas,'' reaped.' .'"Colonus agros uberis tondet soli," Sen. Phoen. 130. Fornovalis,' see E. 1. 71, note. Here it apparently means fallow-land,' the word being used proleptically.
72.] Situ:'"Sed nos de agitatione terrae nunc loquimur, non de situ," Col. 2. 2. § 6.
Here'situ' may denote not only repose, but the scurf that forms on things allowed to lie, as 'durescere' seems to mean the physical effect of exposure to the air.
73.] 'Mutato sidere,' because wheat would not be sown at the same time of the year as pulse. See vv. 215, 220. 'Sidere' is used strictly, as in v. 1, as the seasons of the year were marked by the constellations. Keightley seems right after Voss in supposing these two crops to be sown in the same year, the pulse in spring, the wheat in autumn. Farra,' properly 'spelt:' here probably corn in general. "The Romans seem to have had some glimpses of the doctrine of the rotation of crops: but it does not appear that any system of culture founded upon this knowledge was in general use among them," Daubeny, p. 124.
74.] The pulse which is luxuriant with quivering pod' '-a description of the bean. Pliny 18. 21.
75.] Tenuis viciae:" "The tare or vetch is called slight because its halm is so slender and its seed so small, compared with those of the bean or pea." Keightley. 'Tristis,' 'bitter,' as in 2. 126. Vetches and lupines were supposed actually to enrich the land, acting as manure if immediately after they had been cut the roots were ploughed in and not left to dry in the ground. Col. 2. 13.
76.] Silvam,' like 'calamos,' belongs to viciae' and 'lupini,' expressing the luxuriance of the crop. So aspera silva,' v. 152, of burrs and caltrops.
77.] The general sense is that the same crop, invariably repeated, will exhaust the soil. Flax, oats, and poppies are specified merely as instances of this rule, though of course they are chosen as significant instances. Virgil then goes on to say that, though this is the tendency of these crops in themselves, it need not be apprehended when they are made to alternate with each other, if only the soil is renovated after each crop by plentiful manuring. This is substantially the interpretation of Wagn., and seems the only satisfactory one. Lini:' "Tremellius obesse maxime ait solo virus ciceris et lini, alterum quia sit salsae, alterum quia sit fervidae naturae," Col. 2. 13, who goes on to quote the present passage.
78.] Comp. A. 5. 854, "ramum Lethaeo rore madentem Vique soporatum Stygia."
79.] Labor' of the field. 'Rotation will lighten the strain.' "Mox et frumentis labor additus," v. 150. 'Arida' and 'effetos' are emphatic-after the parching and exhausting effect of each crop. We may render freely 'only think of the dried-up soil, and be not afraid to give it its fill of rich manure: think of the exhausted field, and fling about the grimy ashes broadcast.'
80.] Pudeat,' because shame restrains men from excess in anything. Comp. E.
Effetos cinerem inmundum iactare per agros.
7. 44, note. 'Iactare' in the same way
82.] Sic quoque' is explained by 'mutatis fetibus.' Rest is gained by a change of crops as well as by leaving the land untilled. 83.] Nor is the land meantime, while enjoying its rest, thankless and unfruitful, because unploughed.' 'Gratia' is said of land which repays the labour bestowed on it, and restores the seed committed to it with interest. "Siccum, densum, et macrum [agri genus]...ne tractatum quidem gratiam referet," Col. 2. 2, § 7. So Martial uses 'ingratus' of a field that does not bear. Inaratae terrae,' genitive after 'gratia,' the thanklessness of unploughed land the thanklessness, as it were, of that which has nothing to be thankful for.
84-93.] Burning stubble is a good thing, either as invigorating the soil, or as getting rid of its moisture, or as opening its pores, or as acting astringently.'
84.] Saepe' with 'profuit.' 'Sterilis agros is perhaps rightly explained by Keightley of the lands from which the corn had been carried, and which therefore have nothing but the stubble on them.
85.] Levem stipulam,' v. 289. Emm. comp. Οr. M. 1. 492, " Utque leves stipulae demtis adolentur aristis." The most common mode of reaping was to cut the corn in the middle of the straw, leaving the rest in the ground. Varro, R. R. 1. 50. The rhythm again is accommodated to the
86.] Daubeny (pp. 91 foll.) accepts all Virgil's reasons but the last,seu durat,' &c., remarking that light and sandy soils are injured by the operation. He adds that the ancients do not seem to have reached
to the modern practice of burning away the turf, though Virgil's words would be a good statement of its salutary effects.
88.] Vitium' as the cold in soils is called 'sceleratum,' 2. 256.
90.] Spiramenta,' 4. 39. So 'spiracula,' Lucr. 6. 493; 'spiramina,' Lucan 10. 247. 'Qua' follows 'viis' similarly A. 5.
91.] The object of durat' seems to be the land itself rather than the pores, venas hiantis.' The explanations given are apparently intended to vary more or less according to the different kinds of soil.
92.] Tenues,' 'subtle,' 'penetrating.' "Tenuisque subibit Halitus," 2. 349. Pluviae' is of course grammatically constructed with 'adurant,' supplied from 'adurat,' which however belongs to it in sense only so far as it contains the general notion of injuring. See on A. 2. 780. Rapidi,' E. 2. 10. 93.] Penetrabile :' 'penetrale frigus," Lucr. 1. 494. 'Adurat:' cold is said to burn not only by poets (e. g. Ov. M. 14. 763, "frigus adurat Poma"), but by prose writers, as Tac. A. 13. 35, "ambusti multorum artus vi frigoris." Cerda quotes Aristot. Meteor. 4. 5, káɛ déyerαi kai θερμαίνειν τὸ ψυχρόν, οὐχ ὡς τὸ θερμόν, ἀλλὰ τῷ συνάγειν ἢ ἀντιπεριιστάναι τὸ Opμóv. So dπокαícola is used in Theophr. and the Geoponica of the effect of intense cold.
94-99.] Harrowing is useful, and so is cross-ploughing.'
94.] "Our way, after breaking a field, is to give it a good tearing up with a heavy harrow with iron teeth, drawn by two or more horses. The ancients, who were unacquainted with this harrow,
Vimineasque trahit cratis, iuvat arva; neque illum
to break the clods by manual labour with
96.] Flava Ceres,' "rubicunda Ceres," v. 316, Homer's kavoǹ Anμýtnp, the epithet here seemingly indicating the nature of the reward. Neque-nequiquam,' A. 6. 117. Ceres does not regard him vainly, as if she were an idle spectator, or were unable to help. So 'respicere' of divine aid E. 1. 28. Virgil may have thought of Hes. Works 299, ἐργάζευ, Πέρση, διον γένος, ὄφρα σε Λιμὸς Εχθαίρῃ, φιλέῃ δέ σ' ἐϋστέφανος Δημήτηρ. The spelling 'nequiquam,' adopted by Wagn., is supported by the general practice of Med., by the Vatican fragment, and by the Canon. MS. It assumes that the word is derived, not from ' quidquam,' but from 'quiquam,' the old form of the abl., so that we may compare 'nequaquam.'
97.] Virgil means merely to distinguish the processes of harrowing and crossploughing, though he expresses himself as if both were not carried on by the same individual, or applied to the same land. He seems to be enumerating the different parts of cultivation without much regard to order, forgetting that he has already recommended cross-ploughing, v. 48. 'Proscindere' is the technical term for the first ploughing, the second being expressed by 'offringere,' the third by lirare.' 'Suscitat' is illustrated by 'inertis,' v. 94, and also by 'suspendere,' v. 68. Though in the present tense, it must not be understood as implying that ploughing was to be immediately followed by cross-ploughing, as the two took place at different times, but merely as denoting the husbandman's habitual practice. The clods which he turns up he afterwards
breaks across.' 'Terga,' of the surface presented by the clods, 2. 236.
99.] Exercet:' "Paterna rura bobus exercet suis," Hor. Epod. 2. 3. 'Inperat arvis: "ut fertilibus agris non est inperandum, cito enim exhauriet illos non intermissa fecunditas, ita animorum inpetus assiduus labor frangit," Sen. de Tranq. 15, which however refers to constant sowing (comp. 'inperare vitibus,' to task vines by making them bear, inperare voci,' to task the voice by exerting it), rather than as here to constant breaking up of the ground. Cic. De Sen. 15 says of the earth
quae nunquam recusat inperium," and so the author of the lines prefixed to the Aeneid, "ut quamvis avido parerent arva colono." Comp. the use of subigere' for thorough cultivation.
100-117.] Dry winters and wet summers are best for the land. It is well to irrigate the field after sowing-well, too, to let the cattle eat down the young corn, if too luxuriant, and to drain off water when the land is too moist.' Here again there seems no great connexion between the various precepts.
100.] Macrobius (Sat. 5. 20) says that Virgil has followed the words of a 'rusticum canticum,' contained in a volume of verse older than any of the compositions of the Latin poets. "Hiberno pulvere, verno luto, grandia farra, Camille, metes.' 'Solstitium,' properly of either solstice; when used alone, restricted to the summer. "Sic multas hiemes atque octogesima vidit solstitia," Juv. 4. 92.
102.] Maesia' was the reading of the old editions; but Mysia' is supported by the best MSS., and required by the context, being the region of which Gargarus, the top of Mount Ida, forms a part. The fertility of Gargarus (or of the lower lands about it) was proverbial. "Gargara quot segetes, quot habet Methymna racemos," Ov. A. Ă. 1. 57. The sense then seems to be, as Heyne takes it, Mysia is never so much in its pride, and Gargarus never so marvellously fertile, as in a dry