Then are the trackless copses alive with the trilling of birds,
And the beasts look for love, their hour come round again:
Lovely the earth in labour, under a tremulous west wind
The fields unbosom, a mild moisture is everywhere.
Confident grows the grass, for the young sun will not harm it;
The shoots of the vine are not scared of a southerly gale arising
Or the sleety rain that slants from heaven beneath a north wind, —
No, bravely now they bud and all their leaves display.
So it was, I believe, when the world first began,
Such the illustrious dawning and tenor of their days.
It was springtime then, great spring
Enhanced the earth and spared it the bitter breath of an east wind—
A time when the first cattle lapped up the light, and men
Children of the earth themselves arose from the raw champaign,
And wild things issued forth in the wood, and stars in the sky.
How could so delicate creatures endure the toil they must,
Unless between cold and heat there came this temperate spell
And heaven held the earth in his arms and comforted her.
—Italy, 1st century BCE
Sources and thanks for this Brew News bedtime story, from Virgil’s Georgics, Book II, lines 328-345:
- translation from Latin by C. Day Lewis as found in “a flock of words” ©The Bodley Head 1969
- an alternate translation by A.S. (Tony) Kline of Book II is copyrighted and can be found at Poetry in Translation from, “Then the wild thickets […] welcome the earth.”
- The entire, four book poem can be downloaded from the Poetry in Translation website.
- This Public Domain, low resolution version of “Cultivation of the Vines” is the work of Impressionist painter, Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin (5 August 1860 – 12 November 1943,) born in Toulouse to an Italian mother and French father. We found it at WikiArt.