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Before the Pleiads from the dawn retire,

Or Ariadne gleams with matin fire.

Swains, who, ere Maia sets, cast forth the seed,
Mourn o'er delusive crops their fruitless speed.
But if Pelusian lentils clothe the plain,
Nor thou th' unvalued bean and vetch disdain,
Wait till Bootes' lingering beams descend,
And 'mid hoar frosts thy patient toil extend.
For this the golden sun the earth divides,

And, wheel'd thro' twelve bright signs, his chariot guides.
Five zones the heaven surround: the centre glows
With fire unquench'd, and suns without repose:
At each extreme the poles in tempest tost
Dark with thick showers and unremitting frost :
Between the poles and blazing zone confin'd
Lie climes to feeble man by heaven assign'd. '
'Mid these the signs their course obliquely run,
And star the figur❜d belt that binds the sun.
High as at Scythian cliffs the world ascends,
Thus low at Libyan plains its circle bends.
Here heaven's bright lustre gilds our glowing pole,
There gloomy Styx, and Hell's deep shadows roll :
Here the huge Snake in many a volume glides,
Winds like a stream, and either Bear divides,
The Bears that dread their flaming lights to lave,
And slowly roll above the ocean wave.

There night, eternal night, and silence sleep,

And gathering darkness broods upon the deep:

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Or from our clime, when fades the orient ray,
There bright Aurora beams returning day :
And when above Sol's fiery coursers glow,
Late Vesper lights his evening star below.

Experience hence the doubtful storm divines,
Seed-time and harvest marks by prescient signs;
When, best with cautious hand along the shore
In treacherous seas to ply the guardian oar,
Or launch the freighted navy 'mid the flood,
Or fell the season'd pine that crown'd the wood.
Thus observation reads the starry sphere,
And fourfold parts, as seasons change, the year.
Th'industrious peasants, shelter'd from the shower,
To timely profit turn each leisure hour;

Mature the works that tire th' impatient hand,
When fairer skies far other cares demand;

Scoop troughs from trees, or mark each hoarded heap,
Or head the two-horn'd forks, or brand the sheep;
Point the sharp stake, or edge the blunted share,
For flexile vines the willowy wreath prepare,
Light baskets weave with pliant osier twin'd,
Now parch the grain, and now with millstones grind.
E'en 'mid high feasts to holy leisure giv❜n
Earth claim's a part nor fears offended Heav'n.
Go forth; the Gods permit, thy ditches drain,
Fire the wild thorns, and fence the rising grain,
Ensnare the plundering birds, and timely lave
The bleating flock beneath the wholesome wave:

Then oft the swain each balanc'd panier loads,
And the slow ass beneath his burden goads,
Brings pitch and millstones home for barter'd oil,
And fruit, cheap produce of his native soil.

Nor less the lunar orb with prescient ray

Marks for each varying work th' appropriate day. Avoid the fifth, then pallid Orcus rose,

And Furies brooding stern o'er human woes

Then, with dire labour rent, the womb of Earth
Pour'd forth her offspring of gigantic birth,
Cœus, Iapetus, Typhoeus bold,

And kindred bands against the Gods enroll'd;
Thrice with enormous strength the rebels strove,
Rock pil'd on rock, to scale the throne of Jove,
On Pelion Ossa heave, and firmly rest

Olympus pois'd on Ossa's towering crest.

Jove gaz'd indignant as the structure grew,

And, thundering, thrice the mountain mass o'erthrew. Seventh from the tenth, the hours propitious shine, To weave, to tame the steer, and plant the vine; Fair guides the ninth the wanderer on his way, While robbers dread the inauspicious ray.

The night to many a work advantage yields, Nor less the dawn that gems with dew the fields; By night o'er arid meads the swathe pursue, And mow the stubble glittering o'er with dew. While some o'er wintry hearths, the livelong night, Point the sharp torch beneath the unsteady light,

The housewife sooths late toil with many a song,

Her whirling shuttle shoots the loom along, Seeths the sweet must, the trembling caldron skims, with wavy leaf its frothy brims.

And sweeps

But reap beneath the sun thy golden wheat, And tread the ear in noontide's sultry heat. Alone bleak Winter's unproductive reign Rests the long labours of the wearied swain. Then the gay hind unlocks his hoarded store, Piles social feasts, and jests the goblet o'er; The genial time invites; th' elastic mind Springs from its load, and leaves its cares behind. Thus, reckless of the sea's tempestuous roar, Gay shouts the sailor on his native shore, Decks his moor'd ship with many a votive flower, And laughs, unmindful of the future hour.

Yet, not regardless of the wintry food,

Then gather acorns from the leafless wood,
Fruits that the olive and the bay supply,
And myrtle-berries stain'd with sanguine dye;
Then toil the struggling stags, then cranes ensnare,
Press round her tainted maze the listening hare;
And whirl the Balearic sling around,

And pierce the distant doe with flying wound,
When winter hides the world with gather'd snows,
And the clogg'd river freezes as it flows.

Why should I mark each storm, and starry sign, When milder suns in Autumn swift decline?

Or what new cares await the vernal hour,

When Spring descends in many a driving shower,
While bristle into ear the bearded plains,

And the green stalk distends its milky grains?
E'en in mid Autumn, while the jocund hind
Bade the gay field the gather'd harvest bind,
Oft have I seen the war of winds contend,
And prone on earth th' infuriate storm descend,
Waste far and wide, and, by the roots uptorn,
The heavy harvest sweep through ether borne,
While in dark eddies, as the whirlwind past,
The straw and stubble flew before the blast.
Column on column prest in close array,
Dark tempests thicken o'er the watery way,
Heaven pour'd in torrents rushes on the plain,
And with wide deluge sweeps the floating grain;
The dikes o'erflow, the flooded channels roar,
Vext ocean's foaming billows rock the shore:


The Thunderer, thron'd in clouds, with darkness crown'd,
Bares his red arm, and flashes lightnings round.
The beasts are fled: earth rocks from pole to pole,

Fear walks the world, and bows th' astonish'd soul :

Jove rives with fiery bolt Ceraunia's brow,

Or Athos blazing 'mid eternal snow.

The tempest darkens, blasts redoubled rave,

Smite the hoarse wood, and lash the howling wave.

Preventful of the storm, with prescient view

The monthly signs and nightly orbs pursue,

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