And don’t let anyone be so wise as to convince you
to turn the solid earth when a North wind’s blowing.
Since winter grips the soil with frost and won’t let a shoot
that’s planted then fix its frozen roots in the ground.
The optimum season for planting vines is when the stork
that enemy of long snakes, arrives, in the first blush of spring,
or in autumn’s first chill before the horses of the swift sun
touch winter, when summer is on the wane.
Spring benefits the leaves of the groves and woods,
in Spring soil swells and demands life-bringing seed.
Then Heaven, the omnipotent father, descends as fertile rain,
into the lap of his joyful consort, and joining his power
to her vast body nourishes all growth.
Then the wild thickets echo to the songs of birds,
and in the settled days the cattle renew their loves:
the kindly earth gives birth, and the fields open their hearts,
in the warm West winds: gentle moisture flows everywhere,
and the grasses safely dare to trust to the new sun.
the vine-shoots don’t fear a rising Southerly,
or rain driven through the sky, by great Northerly gales,
but put out their buds, and unfold all their leaves.
I can believe such days shone at the first dawn
of the nascent world, and took such temperate course.
That was true Spring, the great world passed its Spring,
and the Easterlies spared their wintry gales,
when the first cattle drank in the dawn,
and the iron race of men lifted their heads from the hard ground,
and wild creatures were freed in the woods, and stars in the sky.
And tender things could not endure their labour,
if this respite did not come between the cold and the heat,
and heaven’s gentleness welcome the earth.