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worthy of the task he had undertaken, that of laying down the rules of good husbandry in a way that should insure the reading of them, and kindle a love for the pursuit.

I suspect that Virgil was not only a reader of all that had been written on the subject, but that he was also an insistant questioner of every sagacious landholder and every sturdy farmer that he fell in with, whether on the Campanian hills or at the house of Mæcenas. How else does a man accomplish himself for a didactic work relating to matters of fact? I suspect, moreover, that Virgil, during those half-dozen years in which he was engaged upon this task, lost no opportunity of inspecting every bee-hive that fell in his way, of measuring the points and graces of every pretty heifer he saw in the fields, and of noting with the eye of an artist the color of every furrow that glided from the plough. It is inconceivable that a man of his intellectual address should have given so much of liter

ary toil to a work that was not in every essential fully up to the best practice of the day. Five years, it is said, were given to the accomplishment of this short poem. What say our poetasters to this? Fifteen hundred days, we will suppose, to less than twice as many lines; blocking out four or five for his morning's task, and all the evening for he was a late worker-licking them into shape, as a bear licks her cubs.

But cui bono? what good is in it all? Simply as a work of art, it will be cherished through all time, an earlier Titian, whose color can never fade. It was, be sides, a most beguiling peace-note, following upon the rude blasts of war. It gave a new charm to forsaken homesteads. Under the Virgilian leadership, Monte Gennaro and the heights of Tusculum beckon the Romans to the fields; the meadows by reedy Thrasymenus are made golden with doubled crops. The Tarentine sheep multiply around Benacus, and crop close those dark bits of herbage which have been fed by the blood of Roman citizens.

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Thus much for the magic of the verse; but there is also sound farm-talk in Virgil. I am aware that Seneca, living a few years after him, invidiously objects that he was more careful of his language than of his doctrine, and that Columella quotes him charily, that the collector of the "Geoponics" ignores him, and that Tull gives him clumsy raillery; but I have yet to see in what respect his system falls short of Columella, or how it differs materially, except in fulness, from the teachings of Crescenzi, who wrote a thousand years and more later. There is little in the poem, save its superstitions, from which

a modern farmer can dissent.*

We are hardly launched upon the first Georgic before we find a pretty sugges tion of the theory of rotation,

"Sic quoque mutatis requiescunt fœtibus


Rolling and irrigation both glide into the verse a few lines later. He insists upon the choice of the best seed, advises to keep the drains clear, even upon holydays, (268,) and urges, in common with a great many shrewd New-England farmers, to cut light meadows while the dew is on, (288-9,) even though it involve night-work. Some, too, he says, whittle their torches by fire-light, of a winter's night; and the good wife, meantime, lifting a song of cheer, plies the shuttle merrily. The shuttle is certainly an archaism, whatever the good wife may be.

His theory of weather-signs, taken principally from Aratus, agrees in many respects with the late Marshal Bugeaud's observations, upon which the Marshal planted his faith so firmly that he is said to have ordered all his campaigns in Africa in accordance with them.

In the opening of the second book, Virgil insists, very wisely, upon proper adaptation of plantations of fruit-trees to different localities and exposures, -a matter which is far too little considered

*Of course, I reckon the

"Exceptantque leves auras; et sæpe sine ullis," etc., (Lib. III. 274,) as among the superstitions.

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It is curious how generally this belief in something like promiscuous grafting was entertained by the old writers. Palladius repeats it with great unction in his poem "De Insitione," two or three centuries later; and in the tenth book of the "Geoponics," a certain Damogerontis (whoever he may have been) says, (cap. lxv.,)" Some rustic writers allege that nut-trees and resinous trees (τὰ ῥητίνην ἔχοντα) cannot be successfully grafted; but," he continues, "this is a mistake; I have myself grafted the pistache nut into the terebenthine."

Is it remotely possible that these old gentlemen understood the physiology of plants better than we?

As I return to Virgil, and slip along the dulcet lines, I come upon this cracking laconism, in which is compacted as much wholesome advice as a loose farmwriter would spread over a page :"Laudato ingentia rura,

Exiguum colito." ↑ The wisdom of the advice for these days of steam-engines, reapers, and high wages, is more than questionable; but it is in perfect agreement with the notions

The same writer, under Februarius, Tit. XVII, gives a very curious method of grafting the willow, so that it may bear peaches. + Praise big farms; stick by little ones.

of a great many old-fashioned farmers who live nearer to the heathen past than they imagine.

The cattle of Virgil are certainly no prize-animals. Any good committee would vote them down incontinently:

"Cui turpe caput, cui plurima cervix," (iii. 52,) would not pass muster at any fair of the last century.

The horses are better; there is the dash of high venture in them; they have snuffed battle; their limbs are suppled to a bounding gallop, as where in the Eneid,

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Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum."

The fourth book of the Georgics is full of the murmur of bees, showing how the poet had listened, and had loved to listen. After describing minutely how and where the homes of the honey-makers are to be placed, he offers them this delicate attention : —

"Then o'er the running stream or standing lake

A passage for thy weary people make; With osier floats the standing water strew; Of massy stones make bridges, if it flow; That basking in the sun thy bees may lie, And, resting there, their flaggy pinions dry." DRYDEN.

Who cannot see from this how tenderly the man had watched the buzzing yellow-jackets, as they circled and stooped in broad noon about some little pool in the rills that flow into the Lago di Gar da? For hereabout, of a surety, the poet once sauntered through the noontides, while his flock cropped the "milk-giving cytisus," upon the hills.

And charming hills they are, as my own eyes can witness: nay, my little note-book of travel shall itself tell the story. (The third shelf, upon the right, my boy.)

No matter how many years ago, — I was going from Milan, (to which place I had come by Piacenza and Lodi,) on my way to Verona by Brescia and Peschie ra. At Desenzano, or thereabout, the blue lake of Benaco first appeared. A

few of the higher mountains that bounded the view were still capped with snow, though it was latter May. Through fragrant locusts and mulberry-trees, and between irregular hedges, we dashed down across the isthmus of Sermione, where the ruins of a Roman castle flout the sky.

Hedges and orchards and fragrant locusts still hem the way, as we touch the lake, and, rounding its southern skirt, come in sight of the grim bastions of Peschiera. A Hungarian sentinel, lithe and tall, I see pacing the rampart, against the blue of the sky. Women and girls come trooping into the narrow road, for it is near sunset, with their aprons full of mulberry-leaves. A bugle sounds somewhere within the fortress, and the mellow music swims the water, and beats with melodious echo- boom on boom— against Sermione and the farther shores.

The sun just dipping behind the western mountains, with a disk all golden, pours down a flood of yellow light, tinting the mulberry-orchards, the edges of the Roman castle, the edges of the waves where the lake stirs, and spreading out in a bay of gold where the lake lies still.

Virgil never saw a prettier sight there; and I was thinking of him, and of my old master beating off spondees and dactyls with a red ruler on his threadbare knee, when the sun sunk utterly, and the purple shadows dipped us all in twilight.

"È arrivato, Signore!" said the vetturino. True enough, I was at the door of the inn of Peschiera, and snuffed the stew of an Italian supper.

Virgil closes the first book of the Georgics with a poetic forecast of the time when ploughmen should touch upon rusted war-weapons in their work, and turn out helmets empty, and bones of dead soldiers, as indeed they might, and did. But how unlike a poem it will sound, when the schools are opened on the Rappahannock again, and the boy scans, choking down his sobs,

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"Aut gravibus rastris galeas pulsabit inanes, Grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa sepulcris," and the master veils his eyes!

I fear that Virgil was harmed by the Georgican success, and became more than ever an adulator of the ruling powers. I can fancy him at a palace teadrinking, where pretty court-lips give some witty turn to his "Sic Vos, non Vobis," and pretty court-eyes glance tenderly at Master Marius, who blushes, and asks some Sabina (not Poppæa) after Tibullus and his Delia. But a great deal is to be forgiven to a man who can turn compliments as Virgil turned them. What can be more exquisite than that allusion to the dead boy Marcellus, in the Sixth Book of the Æneid? He is reading it aloud before Augustus, at Rome. Mæcenas is there from his tall house upon the Esquiline; possibly Horace has driven over from the Sabine country, — for, alone of poets, he was jolly enough to listen to the reading of a poem not his own. Above all, the calm-faced Octavia, Cæsar's sister, and the rival of Cleopatra, is present. A sad match she has made of it with Antony; and her boy Marcellus is just now dead, dying down at Baiæ, notwithstanding the care of that famous doctor, Antonius Musa, first of hydropaths.

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(The motherless Octavia is listening with a yearning heart.)

And Anchises, the tears starting to his eyes, says,

"Seek not, O son, to fathom the sorrows of thy kindred. The Fates, that lend him, shall claim him; a jealous Heaven cannot spare such gifts to Rome. Then, what outery of manly grief shall shake the battlements of the city! what a wealth of mourning shall Father Tiber see, as he sweeps past his new-made grave! Never a Trojan who carried hopes so high, nor ever the land of Romulus so gloried in a son."

(Octavia is listening.)

"Ah, piety! alas for the ancient faith! alas for the right hand so stanch in battle! None, none could meet him, whether afoot or with reeking charger he pressed the foe. Ah, unhappy youth! If by any means thou canst break the harsh decrees of Fate, thou wilt beMarcellus!

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It is Octavia's lost boy; and she is carried out fainting.

But Virgil receives a matter of ten thousand sesterces a line, which, allowing for difference in exchange and value of gold, may (or may not) have been a matter of ten thousand dollars. With

this bouncing bag of sesterces, Virgil shall go upon the shelf for to-day.

I must name Horace for the reason of his "Procul beatus," etc., if I had no other; but the truth is, that, though he rarely wrote intentionally of countrymatters, yet there was in him that fulness of rural taste which bubbled overin grape-clusters, in images of rivers, in snowy Soracte, in shade of plane-trees; nay, he could not so much as touch an amphora but the purple juices of the hill-side stained his verse as they stained his lip. See, too, what a garden pungency there is in his garlic ode (III. 5); and the opening to Torquatus (Ode VII. Lib. 4) is the limning of one who has followed the changes of the bursting spring with his whole heart in his


"Diffugere nives, redeunt jam gramina campis,"

every school-boy knows it: but what every school-boy does not know, and but few of the masters, is this charming, jingling rendering of it into the Venetian dialect:

"La neve xè andada,

Su i prài torna i fiori
De cento colori,

E a dosso de i àlbori
La fogia è tornada
A farli vestir.

"Che gusto e dilèto
Che dà quèla tèra
Cambiada de cièra,
Ei fiumi che placidi
Sbassài nel so' léto

Va zòzo in te 'I mar!

On my last wet-day, I spoke of the elder Pliny, and now the younger Pliny shall tell us something of one or two of his country-places. Pliny was a government-official, and was rich: whether these facts had any bearing on each other I know no more than I should know if he had lived in our times.

I know that he had a charming place down by the sea, near to Ostium. Two roads led thither: "both of them," he says, "in some parts sandy, which makes it heavy and tedious, if you travel in a coach; but easy enough for those who ride. My villa" (he is writing to his friend Gallus, Epist. XX. Lib. 2) "is large enough for all convenience, and not expensive." He describes the portico as affording a capital retreat in bad weather, not only for the reason that it is protected by windows, but because there is an extraordinary projection of the roof. 'From the middle of this portico you pass into a charming inner court, and thence into a large hall which extends towards the sea, so near, indeed, that under a west wind the waves ripple on the steps. On the left of this hall is a large loungingroom (cubiculum), and a lesser one be

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*This, with other odes, is prettily turned by Sig. Pietro Bussolino, and given as an appendix to the Serie degli Scritti in Dialetto Venez., by Bart. Gamba.

yond, with windows to the east and west. The angle which this lounging - room forms with the hall makes a pleasant lee, and a loitering-place for my family in the winter. Near this again is a crescent-shaped apartment, with windows which receive the sun all day, where I keep my favorite authors. From this, one passes to a bed-chamber by a raised passage, under which is a stove that communicates an agreeable warmth to the whole apartment. The other rooms in this portion of the villa are for the freedmen and slaves; but still are sufficiently well ordered (tam mundis) for my guests."

And he goes on to describe the bathrooms, the cooling-rooms, the sweatingrooms, the tennis-court, "which lies open to the warmth of the afternoon sun." Adjoining this is a tower, with two apartments below and two above,- besides a supper-room, which commands a wide look-out along the sea, and over the villas that stud the shores. At the opposite end of the tennis-court is another tower, with its apartments opening upon a museum, — and below this the great dining-hall, whose windows look upon gardens, where are box-tree hedges, and rosemary, and bowers of vines. Figs and mulberries grow profusely in the garden; and walking under them, one approaches still another banqueting-hall, remote from the sea, and adjoining the kitchengarden. Thence a grand portico (cryptoporticus) extends with a range of windows on either side, and before the portico is a terrace perfumed with violets. His favorite apartment, however, is a detached building, which he has himself erected in a retired part of the grounds. It has a warm winter-room, looking one way on the terrace, and another on the ocean; through its folding-doors may be seen an inner chamber, and within this again a sanctum, whose windows command three views totally separate and distinct, the sea, the woods, or the villas along the shore.

"Tell me," he says, "if all this is not very charming, and if I shall not have

the honor of your company, to enjoy it with me?"

If Pliny regarded the seat at Ostium as only a convenient and inexpensive place, we may form some notion of his Tuscan property, which, as he says in his letter to his friend Apollinaris, (Lib. V. Epist. 6,) he prefers to all his others, whether of Tivoli, Tusculum, or Palestrina. There, at a distance of a hundred and fifty miles from Rome, in the midst of the richest corn-bearing and olive-bearing regions of Tuscany, he can enjoy country quietude. There is no need to be slipping on his toga; ceremony is left behind. The air is healthful; the scene is quiet. "Studiis animum, venatu corpus exerceo." I will not follow him through the particularity of the description which he gives to his friend Apollinaris. There are the widereaching views of fruitful valleys and of empurpled hill-sides; there are the fresh winds sweeping from the distant Apennines; there is the gestatio with its clipped boxes, the embowered walks, the colonnades, the marble banquet-rooms, the baths, the Carystian columns, the soft, embracing air, and the violet sky. I leave Pliny seated upon a bench in a marble alcove of his Tuscan garden. From this bench, the water, gushing through several little pipes, as if it were pressed out by the weight of the persons reposing upon it, falls into a stone cistern underneath, whence it is received into a polished marble basin, so artfully contrived that it is always full, without ever overflowing. "When I sup here," he writes, "this basin serves for a table,the larger dishes being placed round the margin, while the smaller ones swim about in the form of little vessels and waterfowl."

Such al fresco suppers the countrygentlemen of Italy ate in the first century of our era!

Palladius wrote somewhere about the middle of the fourth century. His work is arranged in the form of a calendar for the months, and closes with a poem which

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