'Georgic' means 'to work the earth', and this poetic guide to country living combines practical wisdom on tending the land with exuberant fantasy and eulogies to the rhythms of nature. It describes hills strewn with wild berries in 'vine-spread autumn'; recommends watching the stars to determine the right time to plant seeds; and gives guidance on making wine and keeping bees. Yet the Georgics also tells of angry gods, bloody battles and a natural world fraught with danger from storms, pests and plagues. Expansive in its scope, lush in its language, this extraordinary work is at once a reflection on the cycles of life, death and rebirth, an argument for the nobility of labour and an impassioned reflection on the Roman Empire of Virgil's times. Kimberly Johnson's lyrical verse translation captures all the rich beauty and abundant imagery of the original, re-creating this ancient masterpiece for our times.
The Eclogues of Virgil gave definitive form to the pastoral mode, and these magically beautiful poems, which were influential in so much subsequent literature, perhaps best exemplify what pastoral can do. "Song replying to song replying to song," touchingly comic, poignantly sad, sublimely joyful, the various music that these shepherds make echoes in scenes of repose and harmony, and of hardship and trouble in work and love.
The Eclogues of Virgil includes concise, informative notes and an introduction that describes the fundamental role of this deeply original book in the pastoral tradition.