“heaven’s indulgence brooded on the ground”

John Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s hymn to Spring in book two of his Georgics:

The spring adorns the woods, renews the leaves;

The womb of earth the genial seed receives:

For then almighty Jove descends, and pours

Into his buxom bride his fruitful showers;

And, mixing his large limbs with hers, he feeds

Her births with kindly juice, and fosters teeming seeds.

Then joyous birds frequent the lonely grove,

And beasts, by nature stung, renew their love.

Then fields the blades of buried corn disclose;

And, while the balmy western spirit blows,

Earth to the breath her bosom dares expose.

With kindly moisture then the plants abound;

The grass securely springs above the ground;

The tender twig shoots upward to the skies,

And on the faith of the new sun relies.

The swerving vines on the tall elms prevail;

Unhurt by southern showers, or northern hail,

They spread their gems, the genial warmth to share,

And boldly trust their buds in open air.

In this soft season, (let me dare to sing,)

The world was hatched by heaven’s imperial king—

In prime of all the year, and holidays of spring.

Then did the new creation first appear;

Nor other was the tenor of the year,

When laughing heaven did the great birth attend;

And eastern winds their wintery breath suspend:

Then sheep first saw the sun in open fields;

And savage beasts were sent to stock the wilds;

And golden stars flew up to light the skies;

And man’s relentless race from stony quarries rise.

Nor could the tender new creation bear

The excessive heats or coldness of the year,

But, chilled by winter, or by summer fired,

The middle temper of the spring required,

When warmth and moisture did at once abound,

And heaven’s indulgence brooded on the ground.

And even better, the original Latin.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s