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In the south of Italy such storms rarely occur; Virgil's experience of them doubtless dated from his Mantuau farming days, as he seems to suggest by the personal note which he brings into the description.

There is much in the "Georgics" about the intelligent care needed in cultivating the vines, though the vinedresser of those days had not to be constantly abroad with his sulphursprinkler and with the host of chemical messes on which his successor depends in striving with diseases then undreamt of. Nor do the olives appear to have been subject to the decay (though it is an old disease) which necessitates lopping and excision, leaving the tree saved but maimed. The ground round the trunks was broken up by the plough, but the practice came in later of enriching it with rags, unfragraut bales of which, of Oriental origin, disturb the nerves of the sanitary reformer in his holiday on the Riviera. What Lucretius so plainly foretold has come to pass the virgin soil yielded abundantly if only scratched, but every generation has a heavier toil in supplying that which has been taken away.

is worried by cranes and wild geese, | had sung all the night as if nothing and noxious weeds, thistles, and wild had happened; the dense foliage of the oats, by mildew, wolves, mice, moles, magnolias must have shielded them. weevils, and harvesting ants, which “fearful of an indigent old age" take a toll upon his store. Also he thinks that he loses somehow by toads, in which he is mistaken. Furthermore, drought affects his crops, and if not drought, then thunderstorms bringing the horrid hail which rattles and dances on the roof, and ill can the vine-leaves protect the grapes against it. A tremendous wind blows up, tearing the corn from the ground, and whirling it in the air; rain follows, a solid black bank of water which, when it bursts, washes away the crops and blots out in a few minutes the patient toil of the year. Virgil must have seen that sight often in northern Italy, where the cold air from the Alps meets the hot exhalations from the Po, in one spot or another, with fearful consequences, on almost every summer day. No one can tell what it is who has not seen it; once, on the evening of such a storm, all our peasants at Rovato were eating small birds, sixty of which had been found killed. Another time, I went to Roccafranca, the day after a temporale which will be remembered for years; the factor and his wife described to me how they had watched the crashing If the plants of the earth were healthdownfall of hail, consisting of large ier and more vigorous in Virgil's time pieces of jagged ice, for ten minutes; than they are now, no modern cattlenot more. Then it ceased, the thun- blight was ever more destructive than der grew faint, and they went out to the very horrible rinderpest or influsee acres on acres of hay ready for the enza recorded in the third "Georgic." scythe ironed as flat as though a steam Some commentators have thought that roller had passed over it, while the Virgil introduced this episode because swelling wheat ears, severed with a Lucretius had made similar use of the certain neatness from their stalks, plague of Athens. It can hardly be were scattered in all directions. "We doubted, however, that it was based on cried," they said. It was not their the tradition or recollection of a real loss, it was ours; but they had wit- fact. The disease took the form of a nessed the patient human labor be- mysterious malarious epidemic, coming stowed upon these fields where there with unseasonably warm weather, and would be no harvest, and the tragedy affecting even the fishes, as influenza of the thing struck them more keenly in the first year of its appearance than it did me. "And the nightin-affected the trout and carpioni of the gales?" I asked; for a pair of night- Lake of Garda. There is one touch in ingales nest every year close to the house, arriving on the same day in March. The nightingales, I was told,

the narrative of which every one has felt the pathos though not every one has recognized the truth - I mean the

reference to the ox that mourns for its | If Hesiod's cry was "Work, work, yoke-fellow and loses spirit and pines work," Virgil added, "Yes, and in away. Our bifolco bears out Virgil's that work you will find the best return correctness. Nor is it strange, if we that human existence can give." The come to think of it; the effect of sor-"Georgics" is a hymn to labor. If row or even of dulness on animals as rightly read, we see in it also a hymn to on savages, when they feel it, is far more patriotism. The old connection befatal than it is on civilized man. The tween the love of the land and the love many stories of dogs and birds that of our land which is so near the root of died of grief may well be true, as most the matter, and which yet is so far people can recall some instance to the from the thoughts of the town-bred or point. I knew a parrot which hopped nomadic politicians who are inclined to into the room where its master lay claim a monopoly of the patriotism of dead (he was an old French physi- the nineteenth century, was to Virgil cian); after looking at him for some an absolutely real fact. Man in his time, it hopped back again to its perch, simplicity gets to love the familiar fearefused food, and in three days was tures of the landscape round him as dead. Self starvation is not always he loves the familiar faces which he necessary; the Maories die when they saw when he was a child. Then steps determine that they have lived long in the reflection, "Here my fathers enough, even if forced to eat. There died, and here my children will live is probably a psychological state of passive abandonment which kills very soon, but it is hardly ever reached by man when he ceases to be primitive, except when his vitality is lowered by illness and he "gives himself up for lost" the results of which every doctor knows.


Apart from that great epidemic, would appear that animals were as liable to suffer then as now; life had even, says the poet, entailed our misfortunes on the bees, of which he gives a deplorable account in their sick condition. The " Georgics" is one of the most faultless of poems; but perhaps a reader here and there has privately regretted that so much stress is laid upon the details of these animal plagues. But Virgil was resolved not to soften any of the lines of his picture, not to "retouch" the photograph; it was a matter of conscence with him to be sincere. In spite of drawbacks, he deliberately held that the proprietor of a moderate-sized estate (he objected to a large acreage) was a person greatly to be envied. Happy the husbandman if he only knew it!" Life is best judged by its compensations, and of compensations, both on the lower and the higher plane, the agriculturist has more than the followers of other callings. His work is its own reward.

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when I am dead;" and to this, again,
is added, if he have even the smallest
piece of ground which he calls his
own, the immeasurably strong instinct
shared by all creatures, to defend their
own nest, their own lair, against all
comers. This is the beginning of
patriotism, and though it may be called
narrow or selfish, it was as good a thing
for a man to think of his country thus
as to think of her as a scantily dressed
female figure on a monument.
himself combined the pride of empire
in its loftiest sense with the strong
primitive love of his birth-land which
he had inherited from his yeoman fore-
fathers. The inspired Vates of the
Roman race, he was yet an Italian
first; he was indeed the first poet of
an United Italy.



"Rich in crops and rich in heroes," so he described his country, and he was contented to sing of crops and of heroes. He was quite as serious about the first as about the last, quite as sure of the majesty of the argument. called the husbandman the prop of the State. The story that he wrote the "Georgics" at the request of Mæcenas with the fixed purpose of attaching retired soldiers to the land awarded to them is not likely to be true; but the appearance of the work was much more than a mere literary event. Its suc

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cess was immediate and immense. this sort of unsentimental taste in

Augustus had it read to him four times
running. Though Hesiod was vener-
ated by all generations of Greeks, it is
not possible to imagine him writing his
"Book of Days" in the age of Peri-
cles. That he was archaic was one
reason why they admired him. It
pleased them to picture their remote
ancestors being instructed by the rude
old poet in

country concerns that "Il cantor dei bucolici carmi" found an appreciation, not only fervid, but also intelligent and sympathetically critical.


From Nature.


THE physical conditions of the counPloughing and sowing and rural affairs, try during the period of the Diprotodon, Rural economy, rural astronomy, Nototherium, and associated fauna, Homely morality, labor and thrift. differed materially from that which But their affection for these excellent now subsists, for the structure of the things became, little by little, somewhat larger quadrupeds would render them platonic. While the aesthetic aspects incapable of obtaining a subsistence of a country life always appealed to from the short herbage now existing in the Greeks they were not wrought (if the same localities, and it is evident we except Xenophon) to much enthu- that their food was of a large succulent siasm by its practical duties. On the growth, such as is found only in moist other hand, Virgil found an audience climates and marshy land or lake marnot only ready to admire his work as a gins. This view is also supported by great poem, but also to take a lively the fact that on the Darling Downs and interest in it as a farm manual. Nor Peak Downs the associated fossils inhas this engrained Italian interest in cluded crocodile and turtle, so that agricultural operations ever died out. what are now open, grassy plains must There is, for instance, a month in the have been lakes or swamps, into which year when the most highly educated the streams from the adjacent basaltic Italians in Lombardy think by day and hills flowed, and, gradually filling the dream by night of silkworms. Some hollows with detritus, formed level years ago I called in June on the doyen plains. That this gradual filling up of of Italian literature, Cesare Cantù. lakes actually occurred is shown by the The delightful old man greeted me beds of drift which are found in sinkwith his charming cordiality, and began ing wells and in sections exposed by to show me the books which lined his erosion of water-courses; but in all pleasant apartment in the Via Morigi these instances there is evidence that (Milan), but before long came the in- the ancient rainfall was excessive, as evitable question, "E come vanno i even our present wettest seasons are bachi?" and literary conversation had inadequate to the removal of the quanto retreat from the field. More recently tities of drift which have been the I was at Athens at the same season. result of a single flood in the ancient I had been conversing with the Italian period. On the ridges around the minister about the Acropolis Museum, lakes there existed a forest growth, as Eleusis, Marathon, when he exclaimed many species of opossum have left with a look of ecstatic pride, "Come their bones as evidence; but the timand see my cocoons!" The "ruling ber evidently differed from the present passion" had induced him to educate scanty growth of eucalypti. Whether (as the Italian phrase is) a quantity of silkworms in the centre of Athens, and there were the cocoons, the finest I ever saw, neatly arranged on tables in the lower quarters of the Italian Legation. It was among people who had

the same abundant rainfall extended far into the western interior is uncertain, but the rivers evidently maintained a luxuriant vegetation adapted to the sustenance of these gigantic animals, as the discovery of a nearly

complete skeleton of Diprotodon on | bury River on the east coast, Port the shore of Lake Mulligan, in South Darwin and Cambridge Gulf on the Australia, shows that these animals north-west, and the Pallinup River on lived in this locality, as it is not probable that their bodies could have floated down the Great River which drained the interior of the continent through Lake Eyre.

the south-west of the continent may be cited as examples. Thus Australia, after its first appearance in the form of a group of small islands on the east, and a larger island on the west, was raised at the close of the Palæozoic period into a continent of at least double its present area, including Papua, and with a mountain range of great altitude. In the Mesozoic times, after a grand growth of vegetation which formed its coal beds, it was destined to be almost entirely submerged in the Cretaceous sea, but was again resuscitated in the Tertiary period with the geographical form it now presents. Thus its climate at the time of this last elevation maintained a magnificent system of rivers, which drained the interior into Spencer's Gulf, but the gradual decrease in rainfall has dried up these watercourses, and their channels have been nearly obliterated, and the country changed from one of great fertility to a comparatively desert interior which can only be partially reclaimed by the deep boring of artesian

It is evident that the climate gradually became dryer, that the rivers nearly ceased their flow, and the lakes and marshes became dry land, while the vegetation was reduced to short grasses that no longer sufficed for the subsistence of the huge Diprotodon and gigantic kangaroo, though some of the smaller may still survive to keep company with the dingo, who, while he left the impressions of his teeth in the bones of the Diprotodon, has shown a greater facility for adapting himself to altered conditions. It was in these days that some of the rivers flowing direct to the coast cut through the sandstones into the softer shales beneath, and by their erosion formed considerable valleys bounded by rocky cliffs, and when the land was subsequently depressed the sea flowed in and formed inlets, of which Sydney Harbor and the entrance to the Hawkes- wells.

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The Field enclosure was famous in the history of London, and appears in many records formerly as a place of waste and disorder till, for the peace and safety of the neighborhood, it was enclosed and railed in. For some years the place has been occasionally opened during vacation times at the Law Courts, but is now thrown open for all in every season. The provision of regular park-keepers is necessary for peace and order. One memorable incident connected with Lincoln's Inn Fields in the old time is that Lord William Russell, the patriot, was executed there by the express order of King James II., that his execution might be seen from his house in Bloomsbury- a strange illustration of the changes in London during two centuries since that time.

METROPOLITAN OPEN SPACES. places opened during a year for the health and recreation of the people make a long list. Most of them are old churchyards and burial-grounds, which form safe and useful recreation-grounds for their neighborhoods, especially for the young. In not a few there are historical memorials, which are in most cases preserved. Two of the latest spaces opened for public use are Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the ground in Tottenham Court Road near the Tabernacle where Whitfield's preaching was once famous, and whose name consecrates the ground, opened with so much ceremony by Sir John Hutton when chairman of the last County Council. The Tabernacle site is redolent of evangelistic memories, from the days of Toplady and Whitfield to the middle of our century. The Lincoln's Inn

Leisure Hour.

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