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And tho' sometimes they near approach the fun,
Sometimes beyond our system's Orbit runs
Throughout their race they act their maker's will,
His pow'r declare, his purposes fulfil.

We are now to speak of those preceptive poems that treat of the business and pleasures of mankind; and here Virgil claims our first and principal attention, who in his Georgics has laid down the rales of husbandry in all its branches with the utmost exactness and perfpicuity, and at the same time embellished them with all the beauties and graces of poetry. Tho' his subject was hufbandry, he has delivered his precepts, as an ingenious author ob ferves, not with the fimplicity of a ploughman, but with the addtefs of a poet. The meanest of his rules are laid down with a kind of grandeur, and be breaks the clods, and toffes about the dung with an air of gracefulness *. Of ' the different ways of conveying the fame truth to the mind, he takes that which is pleafanteft ; and this chiefly distinguishes poetry from prose, and renders Virgil's rules of husbandry inore delightful and valuable than any other.

These poems which are esteemed the most perfect of the author's works are, perhaps, the best that can be proposed for the young fudents imitation in this manner of writing; for the whole of his Georgics is wrought up with wonderful art, and decorated with all the flowers of poetry.

In the first of the four books, he proposes the general design of each Georgic, and afier a solemn invocation of all the heathen deities, who are supposed to be any ways concerned in rural affairs, he addresses himself particularly to Auguftus Cæfar, whom he compliments with Die vinity: then falling in with his subject, he speaks of the different kinds of tillage, that are suitable to different foils; traces out the origin of agriculture ; pretents us with a catalogue of the implements of husbandry, and points out the business peculiar to each season. He next describes the changes of the weather, and the signs in the heavens and the earth, by which the approaching change may be foretold; and in compliment to Augufus, introduces some prodigies which are said co have pre

* Mr, Addison.

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ceded the death of Julius Cæfar. This naturally leads him to implore the gods, for the preservation of AuguJtus and of Rome, and with this supplication he concludes his first Georgic.

After the ligns in the heavens, portending the change of weather, which are too many to be here inserted, the prodigies that are supposed to have preceded Cæsar's death, and the destructive war occasioned by it, are very artfully introduced ; and, tho' no one can believe that Nature suffered these commotions in behalf of a man who had enslaved his country, yet all will be pleased with the poet's address, and the circumstances he has allimulated on the occasion.

The fun reveals the secrets of the sky;
And who dares give the source of Light the lie?
The change of empires often he declares,
Fierce tumult, hidden treasons, open wars, -
He first the fate of Cæfar did foretel,
And pitied Rome, when Rome in Cæfar fell.
In iron clouds conceal'd the public light,
And impious mortals fear'd eternal night.

Nor was the fact foretold by him alone :
Nature herself stood forth, and feconded the fun..
Earth, air, and seas, with prodigies were fign'd,
· And birds obscene, and howling dogs divin'd.
What rocks did Ætna's bellowing mouth expire.
From her torn entrails! and what floods of fire ! .,,
What clanks were heard, in German kies afar,
Of arms and armies, rushing to the war !
Dire earthquakes rent the folid Alps below,
And from their fummits shook th'eternal snow:
Pale spectres in the close of night were feen ;
And voices heard of more than mortal men.
In filent groves, dumb sheep and oxen spoke,
And streams ran backward, and their beds forsook :
The yawning earth disclos'd th’abyss of hell:
The weeping statues did the wars foretel ;
And holy sweat from brazen idols fell.
Then rising in his inight the King of Floods
Ruth'd thro’ the forests, tore the lofty woods ;
And rolling onward with a fweepy sway,
Bore houses, herds, and lab'ring binds away.



Blood fprang from wells, wolves howl'd in town by night,
And boding victims did the priefts affright.
Such peals of thunder never pour'd from high,
Nor forky light’nings flash'd from such a fullen ky:-
Red meteors ran across th' ethereal space,
Stars disappear'd, and comets took their place.
For this, th’Emathian plains once more were strow'd
With Roman bodies, and just heaven thought good
To fatten twice those fields with Roman blood.
Then after length of Time, the lab'ring fwains;
Who turn the turfs of those unhappy plains,
Shall rusty piles from the plough'd furrows take,
And ever empty helmets pass the rake.
Amaz’d at antique titles on the stones
And mighty relicks of gigantic bones.

The subject of the second book is planting, in whiih the poet points out all the different methods of raising trees ; speaks of their variety, and lays down rules for the management of each. He then describes the soils that are suitable to the different plants ;, makes a dia gression in praise of his native country ; gives some directions for discovering the nature of each foil ; lays down rules for dressing vines, olives, &c. and concludes with a fine panegyrick on rural life.

As this Georgic abounds with beauties, we shall confider it more particularly, and give the reader fome ex. amples of the manner in which he has treated the subject. What he has said with respect to the grafting and management of trees, is worthy of our admiration.

'Tis usual now, an inmate graff to see
With insolence invade a foreign tree:
Thus pears and quinces from the crab-tree come ;
And thus the ruddy cornel bears the plum.
The thin-leav'd arbute, hazel-graffs receives,
Anå planes huge apples bear, that bore but leaves.
Thas mastful beech the bristly chesnut bears,
And the white ash is white with blooming pears,
And greedy swine from grafted elms are fed,
With falling acorns, that from oaks are bred.

But various are the ways to change the state
Of plants, to bud, to graft, t'inocolate,
For where the tender rinds of trees disclose
Their fhooting gems, a swelling knot there grows ;
Just in that space. a narrow sit we make,
Then other buds from bearing trees we'take :
Inserted thus, the wounded rind we close,
In whose moist womb th' admitted infant growe.
But when the smoother bole from knots is free,
We make a deep incision in the tree ;
And in the solid wood the slip inclose,
The bat'ning bastard Moots again and grows ;
And in short space the laden boughs arise,
With happy fruit advancing to the skies.
The mother plant admires the leaves unknown.
Of alien trees, and apples not her own.

Here Virgil, in considering the effects of the union between trees of different kinds, attends particularly to those circumstances that feemed the most wonderful and which not only expressed the capacity and tendency. of trees to be thus united, but excited at the same time admiration and pleasure in the mînd.--His method of tranfplanting trees is altogether as beautiful, and can. cludes with a fine reflection on the force and power of custom.

Some peasants, not t’omit the nicest care,
Of the fame foil their nursery prepare,
With that of their plantation ; leit the tree
Transplanted, thou'd not with the foil agree.
Besides, to plant it as it was, they mark
The lieav'n's four quarters on the tender bark;
And to the north or fouth restore the fide,
Which at their birth did heat or cold abide.
So strong is cufom, each effects can use
In tender fouls of pliant plants produce.

But because precepts laid down one after another, notwithstanding all the poet's endeavours to make them entertaining, would by degrees tire, Virgil suffers the reader sometimes to rest for the sake of a pertinent and


pleasing digression, or leads him out of the road to entertain him with a beautiful description.--Such is that of Italy.

Bat neither Median woods, (a plenteous land)
Fair Ganges, Hermus rolling golden fand,
Nor Bactria, nor the richer Indian fields,
Nor all the gummy shores Arabia yields ?
Nor any foreign earth of greater name,
Can with sweet Italy contend in fame.
Nor bulls whose noftrils breathe a living flame
Have turn d our turf, no teeth of ferpents here
Were fown, an armed hoft, an iron crop to bear.
But fruitful vines, and the fat olives freight,
And harvests heavy with their fruitful weight,
Adorn our fields; and on the chearful green,
The grazing flocks and lowing herds are seen.
The warrior horse here bred, is taught to train :
There filows Clitumnus thro` the Aow'ry plain ;
Whose waves, for tộiumphs after prosp?rous war,
The victim ox, and snowy sheep prepare.
Perpetual spring our happy climate fees;
Twice breed the cattle, and twice bear the trees;
And summer suns recede by flow degrees.

The following description is of the same beautiful cast; and the reader will observe that these, and indeed all the descriptions in Virgil, are so artfully introduced, that they seem to arise naturally out of the principal argument and design of the poem.

But easy quiet,' a secure retreat,
A harmless life that knows not how to cheat,
With home-bred plenty the rich owner blefs,
And rural pleasures crown his happiness.
Unvex'd with quarrels, undisturb'd with noise,
The country-king his peaceful realm enjoys :
Cool grots, and living lakes, the flow'ry pride
Of meads, and streams that thro’ the valley glide;
And shady groves that easy sleep invite,
And after toilsome days, a soft repose at night.
Wild beasts of nature in his woods abound;
And youth, of labour patient, plough the ground,



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