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Not the prone sun alone, and icy gale,
But savage buffaloes the shoots assail;
There persecuting goats devour the boughs,
And nibbling sheep and greedy heifers browse.
Yet, nor the soil with hoary frosts o'erspread,
Nor suns that scorch the mountain's arid head,
Hurt like the flock, whose venom❜d teeth deface
The wounded bark, and scar the bleeding race.
For this the goat, that on the vineyard feeds,
Victim to Bacchus, on each altar bleeds:
For this the goat first crown'd the scenic song,
When round their hamlets rov'd th' Athenian throng,
And wild with joy and wine, in grassy plains
'Mid oily bladders leap'd the bounding swains.
Nor less Ausonian hinds, the race of Troy,
Sport in rude rhymes, and shout their tipsy joy;
Grim masks of bark deform the laughing band,
And, Bacchus! Bacchus! rings around the land :
While on high pines his waving figures hung,
Float to and fro the breezy boughs among.
Where'er the God his gracious front inclines,
There plenty gushes from the loaded vines,
Down richer vallies fragrant clusters breathe,
And hills grow dark their purple weight beneath.
Then pile the charger, hallow'd offerings bring;
Songs, that our fathers taught, to Bacchus sing:
Lead by the horns the goat, and, duly slain,

Slow roast on hazel spits before the fane.

Yet other cares to dress the vine require

Exhaustless pains, and hands that never tire.

If turn'd the ground, thrice urge the yearly toil;
Break with bent prongs, and ceaseless work the soil;
Lighten the boughs with leaves superfluous crown'd,
While the long year but rolls new labours round.
E'en when at last the north has blown away
The lonely leaf that shiver'd on the spray,
Th' unwearied peasant, as his labour ends,
O'er all the coming year his care extends,
Prunes the bare vine, unblest with fruit, or shade,
And shapes its future growth beneath the blade.
First of the swains th' impatient furrow turn,
First of the swains the shoots superfluous burn,
And first beneath thy roof the props repose,
Last, strip thy vines at autumn's lingering close.
Twice, countless leaves their loaded boughs o'ershade,
Weeds and wild brambles twice their beds invade :
If such the ceaseless toil, large fields commend;
But till'd with care thy bounded portion tend.
Go, cut the broom that shoots along the wood,
And reeds and willows that o'erhang the flood.
At length the toil is o'er, the vines are bound,
The blunted knife lies idle on the ground;
Th' o'erwearied dresser sings in sweet repose
At the last rank where all his labours close;
Yet must he turn the soil, and dread lest Jove
On the ripe clusters rush, and waste the purple grove.


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Not tortur'd thus to frail and feeble life,

The olive slowly grows beneath the knife,
When once her root has pierc'd the soil below,
Or genial breezes wanton'd round her brow.
Earth, loosen'd by the spade, with moisture feeds,
And fruit unstinted to the plough succeeds.
Then go, and, grateful for the blest increase,
With happiest culture rear the plant of peace.
Nor less, when once the vigorous cions rise,
Nature herself the apple's growth supplies,
Gives with internal strength to dart in air,
And scorn the littleness of human care.

On every wood unlabourd' plenty grows,
Round each wild nest th' uncultur'd berry glows;
Th' unconquer'd cytisus, profuse of life,

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Shoots from the wound, and buds beneath the knife;
Firs and tall pines throughout the livelong night
Feed the bright flame, and spread the cheerful light.
And doubts ungrateful man to plant the earth,

And tend on Nature teeming into birth?

Why on sublimer trees the lay prolong?

Willows and lowly broom demand the song;
Their leaves the cattle feed, the shepherd shade;
They load with sweets the bee, and fence the blade.
Gay waves with box Cytorus' breezy head,
Grateful the pines o'er dark Narycium spread.
How sweet to rove 'mid Nature's boundless shade,
Rich beyond art, and scorning human aid!

Unfruitful woods that crest Caucasean heights,

Woods whose shent brow th' unwearied whirlwind smites, Give pines that spread the canvass o'er the main,

Cedar and cypress that the dome sustain,

'Form the swift spokes, and orb the solid wheel,
And cut the stormy brine with crooked keel.
Wreaths for thy vines the pliant willow weaves,
Elms for thy flock diffuse their nurturing leaves;
Thy spear a myrtle, dart a cornel grew;
Bend for thy bow the Ityræan yew.

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Smooth box and polish'd lime the lathe demand,
And shape their patient forms beneath thy hand
Light alders that o'erhung Po's shadowy side
Launch'd on her bosom down the torrent glide;
Bees in the sheltering bark embosom'd dwell,
Or hide in hollow oaks their murmuring cell.
And shall with these the Bacchic gifts compare,
Source of mad discord and infuriate war?
Bacchus the Centaur feast with slaughter crown'd,
And red with blood the goblet hurl❜d around.

Ah! happy swain ! ah ! race belov'd of heaven!
If known thy bliss, how great the blessing given !
For thee just Earth from her prolific beds
Far from wild war spontaneous nurture sheds.
Though nor high domes through all their portals wide
Each morn disgorge the flatterer's refluent tide;
Though nor thy gaze on gem-wrought columns rest,
The brazen bust, and gold-embroider'd vest;

Nor poisoning Tyre thy snowy fleeces soil,

Nor casia taint thy uncorrupted oil;

Yet peace is thine, and life that knows no change,
And various wealth in Nature's boundless range,
The grot, the living fount, the umbrageous glade,
And sleep on banks of moss beneath the shade;
Thine, all of tame and wild, in lawn and field,
That pastur'd plains or savage woodlands yield:
Content and patience youth's long toils assuage,
Repose and reverence tend declining age :
There Gods yet dwell, and, as she fled mankind,
There Justice left her last lone trace behind.

Me first, ye Muses! at whose hallow'd fane
Led by pure love I consecrate my strain,
Me deign accept! and to my search unfold
Heaven and her host in beauteous order roll'd,
Th' eclipse that dims the golden orb of day,
And changeful labours of the lunar ray ;

Whence rocks the earth,. by what vast force the main
Now bursts its barriers, now subsides again;
Why wintry suns in ocean swiftly fade,

Or what delay retards night's lingering shade.
But if chill blood restrain th' ambitious flight,
And Nature veil her wonders from my sight,
Oh may I yet, by fame forgotten, dwell
By gushing fount, wild wood, and shadowy dell!
Oh lov'd Sperchean plains, Taygetian heights,
That ring to virgin choirs in Bacchic rites!

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