Wednesday, June 01, 2016


A Summer's Day

Vergil, Georgics 3.322-338 (tr. Peter Fallon):
But when the west wind's gentle breezes summon them,
the sheep and goats, to summer in the outfields,
we'll make our way at crack of dawn and take to chilly pastures—
the day still young and grass a frosty glisten—        325
while dew the cattle love still lingers on fresh shoots.

Then, when the risen sun has honed a thirst
and crickets stir the plantings with their brittle song,
I'll bring the flocks to springs and standing pools
and let them drink from hardwood troughs.        330

But by high noon I'll have them forage for and find
a shady glen where one of those ages-old,
great girthed oaks of Jupiter stretches out stout branches
or a thickly planted holly grove lours in its own hallowed shadows.

I'll have them drink again cool runs of water and browse again        335
until the setting sun when twilight starts to chill the air,
its dews refresh the grazing, and cries of birds ring out again—
kingfishers from the shoreline, wood-warblers from the woody groves.

at vero Zephyris cum laeta vocantibus aestas
in saltus utrumque gregem atque in pascua mittet,
Luciferi primo cum sidere frigida rura
carpamus, dum mane novum, dum gramina canent,        325
et ros in tenera pecori gratissimus herba.

inde ubi quarta sitim caeli collegerit hora
et cantu querulae rumpent arbusta cicadae,
ad puteos aut alta greges ad stagna iubebo
currentem ilignis potare canalibus undam;        330

aestibus at mediis umbrosam exquirere vallem,
sicubi magna Iovis antiquo robore quercus
ingentis tendat ramos, aut sicubi nigrum
ilicibus crebris sacra nemus accubet umbra;

tum tenuis dare rursus aquas et pascere rursus        335
solis ad occasum, cum frigidus aëra vesper
temperat, et saltus reficit iam roscida luna,
litoraque alcyonem resonant, acalanthida dumi.
Varro, On Agriculture 2.2.10-11 (tr. W.D. Hooper and Harrison Boyd Ash):
Such flocks, even when they feed in the same locality, are treated differently at different seasons; thus, in summer they begin feeding at daybreak, because at that time the grass, filled with dew, is superior to the grass of midday, which is drier.

At sunrise they are driven to water, to make them more eager to graze when they come back.

During the midday heat they are driven under shady cliffs and wide-spreading trees to cool off until the day grows cooler; and they feed again in the evening until sunset. Sheep should be headed in grazing in such a way as to have the sun behind them, as the head of the sheep is its weakest part.

A short time after sunset they are driven to water, and then again they graze until it becomes quite dark; for at this time the succulence comes again to the grass.

eaeque ibi, ubi pascuntur in eadem regione, tamen temporibus distinguntur, aestate quod cum prima luce exeunt pastum, propterea quod tunc herba ruscida meridianam, quae est aridior, iucunditate praestat.

sole exorto potum propellunt, ut redintegrantes rursus ad pastum alacriores faciant.

circiter meridianos aestus, dum defervescant, sub umbriferas rupes et arbores patulas subigunt, quaad refrigeratur. aere vespertino rursus pascunt ad solis occasum. ita pascere pecus oportet, ut averso sole agat; caput enim maxime ovis molle est.

ab occasu parvo intervallo interposito ad bibendum appellunt et rursus pascunt, quaad contenebravit; iterum enim tum iucunditas in herba redintegrabit.

Paulus Potter (1625-1654), Cows Reflected in the Water

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