Excerpt from Planting A Vineyard, Georgics: Book II Arboriculture and Viniculture, Virgil

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.



Moreover, your wit is fully apt to all things, and to be rationally employed, not in a few or low things, but many and sublimer. Yet this one rule I advise you to observe—that you communicate vulgar secrets to vulgar friends, but higher and secret to higher and secret friends only: Give hay to an ox, sugar to a parrot only. Understand my meaning, lest you be trod under the oxen’s feet, as oftentimes it falls out.



He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether he himself was a lunatic. Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one. At one time it had been a sign of madness to believe that the earth goes round the sun; to-day, to believe that the past is inalterable. He might be alone in holding that belief, and if alone, then a lunatic. But the thought of being a lunatic did not greatly trouble him: the horror was that he might also be wrong.

Silence is golden 

“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. . . .Nay, in thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal. Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprecfien ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden (Speech is silvern, Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.

Thomas Carlyle