Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring and its attendant prognostications.

Courtesy Vergil (Georgics 1.187-203)

Take note when in the woods many a walnut tree

pranks herself in blossom, droops her fragrant branches.

If nuts flourish, grain will follow,

and great threshing come with great heats.

But if shade thrives, an extravagance of leaves,

for naught your threshing-floor will thresh stalks thick with chaff.

I’ve known many sowers to minister to seeds,

to sprinkle with saltpeter, steep in black oil-dregs,

that beans might plump within the pod’s deceptive bulk,

and, though the fire be small, hastily stew.

I’ve seen seeds long chosen and attended with much labor

still degenerate if human sinew culled not

the fattest out by hand each year. So by decree

all things incline to worse, and foundering backslide, back

like one whose oar can scarcely thrust his skiff upstream;

if perchance he slack his arms, sternward

the coursing water drags him down the rapids.

1 comment:

Special K said...

Vergil courtesy of RG, no doubt. :)