Georgics: A Poem of the Land
Part agricultural manual, part political poem and allegory, Virgil’s ‘Georgics’ restores to life the sights, sounds, and textures of the ancient Italian landscape.
One of the greatest poems of the classical world, Virgil’s Georgics is a glorious celebration of the eternal beauty of the natural world, now brought vividly to life in a powerful new translation.
‘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.