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The first of every moon we sacred deem,
Alike the fourth throughout the year esteem;
And in the seventh Apollo we adore,
In which the golden god Latona bore;
Two days succeeding these extend your cares,
Uninterrupted in your own affairs;
Nor in the next two days, but one, delay
The work in hand, the business of the day,
Of which the' eleventh we propitious hold,
reap the corn, the twelfth to shear the fold;
And then behold, with her industrious train,
The ant, wise reptile, gather in the grain;
Then you may see suspended in the air,
The careful spider his domain prepare;
And while the artist spins the cobweb dome,
The matron cheerful plies the loom at home.
Forget not in the thirteenth to refrain
From sowing, lest your work should prove in vain ;
Though then the grain may find a barren soil,
The day is grateful to the planter's toil.
Not so the sixteenth to the planter's care;
A day unlucky to the newborn fair,
Alike unhappy to the married then;
A day propitious to the birth of men :
The sixth, the same both to the man and maid;
Then secret vows are made, and nymphs betray'd;
The fair by soothing words are captives led;
The gossip's tale is told, detraction spread:
The kid to castrate, and the ram, we hold
Propitious now, alike to pen the fold.
Geld in the eighth the goat and lowing steer;
Nor in the twelfth to geld the mule-colt fear.
The offspring male born in the twentieth prize, 40
'Tis a great day, he shall be early wise.





Happy the man-child in the tenth day born;
Happy the virgin in the fourteenth morn;
Then train the mule obedient to your hand,
And teach the snarling cur his lord's command;
Then make the bleating flocks their master know,
And bend the horned oxen to the plough.
What in the twenty-fourth you do beware;
And the fourth day requires an equal care;
Then, then be circumspect in all your ways,
Woes, complicated woes, attend the days.
When, resolute to change a single life,
You wed; on the fourth day lead home your
But first observe the feather'd race that fly,
Remarking well the happy augury.
The fifth of every month your care require,
Days full of trouble and afflictions dire:
For then the Furies take their round, 'tis said,
And heap their vengeance on the perjured head.
In the seventeenth prepare the level floor; 60
And then of Ceres thrash the sacred store;
In the same day, and when the timber's good,
Fell, for the bedpost and the ship, the wood.
The vessel, suffering by the sea and air,
Survey all o'er, and in the fourth repair.
In the nineteenth 'tis better to delay,
Till afternoon, the business of the day.
Uninterrupted in the ninth pursue
The work in hand, a day propitious through;
Themselves the planters prosperous then employ;
To either sex, in birth, a day of joy:
The twenty-ninth is best, observe the rule,
Known but to few, to yoke the ox and mule;
"Tis proper then to yoke the flying steed;
But few, alas! these wholesome truths can read;



Then you may fill the cask, nor fill in vain;
Then draw the swift ship to the sable main.
To pierce the cask till the fourteenth delay,
Of all most sacred next the twentieth day;
After the twentieth day few of the rest
We sacred deem, of that the morn is best.


These are the days of which the' observance can Bring great advantage to the race of man; The rest unnamed indifferent pass away, And nought important marks the vulgar day: Some one commend, and some another praise, But most by guess, for few are wise in days; One cruel as a stepmother we find, And one as an indulgent mother kind.

O happy mortal! happy he, and bless'd, Whose wisdom here is by his acts confess'd; Who lives all blameless to immortal eyes, Who prudently consults the auguries, Nor by transgression works his neighbour pain, Nor ever gives him reason to complain.





Ver. 1. THAT is, teach them how to distinguish lucky days from other. It was customary among the Romans to hang up tables, wherein the fortunate and unfortunate days were marked, as appears from Petronius, chap 30. Le Clerc.

Ver. 3. Jove may be said to preside over the year, naturally, from the motion of the celestial bodies in the heavens; or, religiously, from his divine administration.

Ver, 10. Tzetzes endeavours to account for Apollo being born in the seventh day, by arguments from nature, making him the same with the sun; which error Valla has run into in his translation. The mistake is very plain, if we have recourse to the Theogony; where the poet makes Latona bring forth Apollo, and Artemis or Diana, to Jove; and in the same poem makes the sun and moon spring from Thia and Hyperion: Hesiod therefore meaned it no otherwise than the birthday of one of their imaginary gods. He tells us also the first, fourth, and twentieth of every month are holidays; but he gives us no reason for their being so. If a conjecture may be allowed, I think it not unlikely but the first may be the feast of the new moon; which day was always held sacred by the Jews: in which the people ceased from business. When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn;' Amos, chap. viii. ver. 5; but Le Clerc will not allow açov uap here to be a festival: yet the same critic tells us, from Dionysius


Petavius, that the Orientals, as well as the most ancient Greeks, went by the lunar month, which they closed with the thirtieth day.

Ver. 18. The poet here makes the ant and the spider sensible of the days; and indeed Tzetzes is of opinion that the ant is a creature capable of distinction from a sense of the winds, and the influence of the moon. He likewise tells us, from Pliny, that the ants employed themselves all the time of the full of the moon, and cease at the change.

Ver. 24. Melancthon and Frisius tell us, it is wrong to sow at this time of the lunar month, because of the excessive moisture, which is hurtful to the cornseed, and advantageous to plants just planted.

Ver. 54. I translate it, 'the feather'd race that fly,' to distinguish what kind of augury the poet means. Tzetzes tells us, two crows, the halcyon or king'sfisher, the dark-coloured hern, a single turtle, and a swallow, &c. are inauspicious; the peacock, and such birds as do no mischief, auspicious. I suppose he does not place the turtle as one of the mischievous kind, but would have the misfortune be in seeing but one.

Ver. 60. He advises to thrash the corn at the time of the full moon, because the air is drier than at other times; and the corn that is sacked, or put up in vessels, while dry, will keep the longer; but if the grain is moist, it will soon grow mouldy and useless.

In the preceding book the poet tells us the proper month to fell wood in; and in this, the proper day of the month. Melancthon and Frisius.

Ver. 92. It is worth observing, that the poet begins and ends his poem with piety towards the gods; the only way to make ourselves acceptable to whom, says he, is by adhering to religion; and, to use the phrase of Scripture, by' eschewing evil.'

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