Thursday, June 23, 2011


Ovid's Georgics

Ovid, Remedia Amoris 169-196 (tr. J.H. Mozley, rev. G.P. Goold):
The country also delights the mind, and the pursuit of husbandry: no care is there but must yield to this. Bid the tamed bulls bow their necks to the burden, that the curved share may wound the stubborn ground; bury the seeds of Ceres in the upturned soil, that the earth may restore them to you with lavish usury. Watch your boughs bent with the weight of apples, so that the tree scarce sustains the burden of its produce; watch the streams gliding with cheerful sound; watch the sheep cropping the fertile grass. Lo! the goats make for the rocks and precipitous cliffs: soon they will bring back full udders to their kids; the shepherd plays a ditty on his unequal pipes, nor lacks the company of his faithful dogs; elsewhere the deep glades resound with lowings, and a mother complains that her calf is lost. What of the swarms that flee from the torch-smoke set beneath them, that the taking of the combs may unburden the rounded osiers? Autumn brings fruit: summer is fair with harvest: spring gives flowers: winter is relieved by fire. At fixed seasons the countryman picks the ripened grapes, and the vintage flows beneath his naked foot; at fixed seasons he cuts and binds the grasses, and harrows the shaven earth with wide-toothed comb. You yourself can plant a shoot in a well-watered garden, you yourself can guide the runnels of gentle water. The time of grafting has come: see that bough adopts bough, and that the tree stands covered with leaves that are not its own.
The same, tr. Nahum Tate (1652-1715):
Or country-work and tillage can disarm
Your am'rous cares, for ev'ry grief a charm.
Yoke oxen, plough the painful field, you'll find
The wounded earth will cure the love-sick mind.
Then trust your grain to the new-furrow'd soil,
That with large int'rest will requite your toil.
Behold what kind returns your fruit trees send,
Down to your hand the burden'd branches bend.
Behold a murm'ring brook through pastures glide;
Behold the gazing sheep on either side;
While in the shade his pipe the shepherd tries,
The watchful dog his master's care supplies.
With loud complaints another grove is fill'd,
Of heifers lowing for their firstlings kill'd,
What pleasure 'tis with smoke of yew to drive
The murm'ring swarm, and seize the loaded hive.
All seasons friendly to the swain are found;
Autumn with fruit, with harvest summer's crown'd:
The spring's adorn'd with flow'rs to charm the eye,
And winter fires the absent sun supply.
At certain times you'll see the vintage full,
And for your wine-press may choice clusters cull.
At certain times your pond'rous sheafs may bind,
Yet for the rake leave work enough behind.
In mellow ground your plants no wat'ring need;
The thirsty you from neighb'ring springs may feed.
Then grafting make old stocks sprout fresh and green,
And various fruits on one proud branch be seen.
The Latin:
Rura quoque oblectant animos studiumque colendi:
    Quaelibet huic curae cedere cura potest.    170
Colla iube domitos oneri supponere tauros,
    Sauciet ut duram vomer aduncus humum:
Obrue versata Cerialia semina terra,
    Quae tibi cum multo faenore reddat ager.
Aspice curvatos pomorum pondere ramos,    175
    Ut sua, quod peperit, vix ferat arbor onus;
Aspice labentes iucundo murmure rivos;
    Aspice tondentes fertile gramen oves.
Ecce, petunt rupes praeruptaque saxa capellae:
    Iam referent haedis ubera plena suis;    180
Pastor inaequali modulatur harundine carmen,
    Nec desunt comites, sedula turba, canes;
Parte sonant alia silvae mugitibus altae,
    Et queritur vitulum mater abesse suum.
Quid, cum suppositos fugiunt examina fumos,    185
    Ut relevent dempti vimina curva favi?
Poma dat autumnus: formosa est messibus aestas:
    Ver praebet flores: igne levatur hiems.
Temporibus certis maturam rusticus uvam
    Deligit, et nudo sub pede musta fluunt;    190
Temporibus certis desectas alligat herbas,
    Et tonsam raro pectine verrit humum.
Ipse potes riguis plantam deponere in hortis,
    Ipse potes rivos ducere lenis aquae.
Venerit insitio; fac ramum ramus adoptet,    195
    Stetque peregrinis arbor operta comis.
Telemaco Signorini (1835-1901),
Pascoli a Castiglioncello

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