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The Georgics

by Virgil

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What makes the cornfield smile; beneath what starMaecenas, it is meet to turn the sodOr marry elm with vine; how tend the steer;What pains for cattle-keeping, or what proofOf patient trial serves for thrifty bees;-Such are my themes.O universal lightsMost glorious! ye that lead the gliding yearAlong the sky, Liber and Ceres mild,If by your bounty holpen earth once changedChaonian acorn for the plump wheat-ear,And mingled with the grape, your new-found gift,The draughts of Achelous; and ye FaunsTo rustics ever kind, come foot it, FaunsAnd Dryad-maids together; your gifts I sing.And thou, for whose delight the war-horse firstSprang from earth's womb at thy great trident's stroke,Neptune; and haunter of the groves, for whomThree hundred snow-white heifers browse the brakes,The fertile brakes of Ceos; and clothed in power,Thy native forest and Lycean lawns,Pan, shepherd-god, forsaking, as the loveOf thine own Maenalus constrains thee, hearAnd help, O lord of Tegea! And thou, too,Minerva, from whose hand the olive sprung;And boy-discoverer of the curved plough;And, bearing a young cypress root-uptorn,Silvanus, and Gods all and Goddesses,Who make the fields your care, both ye who nurseThe tender unsown increase, and from heavenShed on man's sowing the riches of your rain:And thou, even thou, of whom we know not yetWhat mansion of the skies shall hold thee soon,Whether to watch o'er cities be thy will,Great Caesar, and to take the earth in charge,That so the mighty world may welcome theeLord of her increase, master of her times,Binding thy mother's myrtle round thy brow,Or as the boundless ocean's God thou come,Sole dread of seamen, till far Thule bowBefore thee, and Tethys win thee to her sonWith all her waves for dower; or as a starLend thy fresh beams our lagging months to cheer,Where 'twixt the Maid and those pursuing ClawsA space is opening; see! red Scorpio's selfHis arms draws in, yea, and hath left thee moreThan thy full meed of heaven: be what thou wilt-For neither Tartarus hopes to call thee king,Nor may so dire a lust of sovereigntyE'er light upon thee, howso Greece admireElysium's fields, and Proserpine not heedHer mother's voice entreating to return-Vouchsafe a prosperous voyage, and smile on thisMy bold endeavour, and pitying, even as I,These poor way-wildered swains, at once begin,Grow timely used unto the voice of prayer.In early spring-tide, when the icy dripMelts from the mountains hoar, and Zephyr's breathUnbinds the crumbling clod, even then 'tis time;Press deep your plough behind the groaning ox,And teach the furrow-burnished share to shine.That land the craving farmer's prayer fulfils,Which twice the sunshine, twice the frost has felt;Ay, that's the land whose boundless harvest-cropsBurst, see! the barns.But ere our metal cleaveAn unknown surface, heed we to forelearnThe winds and varying temper of the sky,The lineal tilth and habits of the spot,What every region yields, and what denies....