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Large expectation, he disposes near
At measur'd distances, that air and sun;
Admitted freely; may afford their aid,
And ventilate and warm the swelling buds.
Hence summer has her riches, autumn hence,
And hence ev'n winter fills his wither'd hand
With blushing fruits, and plenty not his own *.
Fair recompense of labour well bestow'd,
And wise precaution, which a clime so rude
Makes needful still, whose spring is but the child
Of churlish winter, in her froward moods
Discov'ring much the temper of her fire.
For oft, as if in her the stream of mild
Maternal nature had revers'd its course,
She brings her infants forth with many smiles,
But once deliver'd, kills them with a frown.
He therefore, timely warn’d, himself supplies
Her want of care, screening and keeping warm
The plenteous bloom, that no rough blast may sweep
* Miraturque novos fructus et non sua poma. Vol. II.
His garlands from the boughs. Again, as oft
As the sun peeps and vernal airs breathe mild,
The fence withdrawn, he gives them ev'ry beams
And spreads his hopes before the blaze of day.
To raise the prickly and green-coated gourd, So grateful to the palate, and when rare So coveted, else base and disesteem'd Food for the vulgar merely—is an art Thať toiling ages have but just matur'd, And at this moment unaflay'd in fong. Yet gnats have had, and frogs and mice, long since, Their eulogy; those sang the Mantuan bard, , And these the Grecian, in ennobling strains ; And in thy numbers, Phillips, shines for aye The solitary shilling. Pardon then, Ye fage dispensers of poetic fame! Th'ambition of one meaner far, whose pow'rs, Presuming an attempt not less sublime, Pant for the praise of dressing to the taste
Of critic appetite, no sordid fare,
A cucumber, while costly yet and scarce.
The stable yields a stercoraceous heap,
Impregnated with quick fermenting falts,
And potent to resist the freezing blast:
For ere the beech and elm have cast their leaf
Deciduous, when now November dark
Checks vegetation in the torpid plant
Expos’d to his cold breath, the task begins,
Warily therefore, and with prudent heed,
He seeks a favor'd spot; that where he builds
Th’ agglomerated pile, his frame may front
The sun's meridian disk, and at the back
Enjoy close shelter, wall, or reeds, or hedge
Impervious to the wind. First he bids spread
Dry fern or litter'd hay, that
Th’ascending damps ; then leisurely impose,
And lightly, shaking it with agile hand
From the full fork, the saturated straw.
What longest binds the closest, forms secure
The shapely side, that as it rises takes,
By just degrees, an overhanging breadth,
Shelt'ring the base with its projected eaves,
Th’ uplifted frame, compact at ev'ry joint,
And overlaid with clear translucent glass,
He settles next upon the floping mount,
Whose sharp declivity shoots off secure
From the dash'd pane the deluge as it falls.
He shuts it close, and the first labor ends.
Thrice must the voluble and restless earth
Spin round upon her axle, ere the warmth,
Slow gathering in the midst, through the square mass
Diffus'd, attain the surface: when, behold !
A pestilent and most corrosive steam,
Like a gross fog Bæotian, rising fast,
And fast condens'd upon the dewy fash,
Alks egress; which obtain'd, the overcharg'd
And drench'd conservatory breathes abroad,
In volumes wheeling Now, the vapor dank,
And purified, rejoices to have lost
Its foul inhabitant. But to assuage
Th' impatient fervor which it first conceives
Within its reeking bosom, threat’ning death
To his young hopes, requires discreet delay.
Experience, Now preceptress, teaching oft
The way to glory by miscarriage foul,
Must prompt him, and admonish how to catch
Th' auspicious moment, when the temper'd heat,
Friendly to vital motion, may afford
Soft fomentation, and invite the seed.
The feed, felected wisely, plump, and smooth,
And glossy, he commits to pots of size
Diminutive, well fillid with well-prepar'd
And fruitful soil, that has been treasur'd long,
And drank no moisture from the dripping clouds :
These, on the warm and genial earth that hides
The smoking manure, and o’erspreads it all,
He places lightly, and as time fubdues
The rage of fermentation, plunges deep