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Virgil — A Storm at Harvest Time

Georgics, book 1, lines 311–327

Need I describe what men must watch for
when the weather changes under autumn’s stars,
the days grow shorter, with a gentler heat;
or when spring downpours soak the bristling cornfields
as the milky grain is swelling on green stalks?

A farmer and his reaper reach his golden acres
and begin to strip the barley from its fragile stems.
Just then, the winds from every quarter join in battle,
tearing the laden harvest far and wide,
uprooting it and hurling it on high,
as if it were light chaff and flying stubble
scattered by a whirlwind to the darkening air.
I’ve often seen it. Often, too, I’ve seen
a mighty mass of waters gather in the sky;
inside the toppling clouds black showers form.
Heaven falls to earth; the deluge
drowns the smiling crops and wastes the oxen’s labour.
Ditches fill; deep rivers in their channels swell and roar;
the ocean chafes and boils in the estuaries.

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Listen to this translation — read by Peter Hetherington

Virgil — Georgics, book 1, lines 311–327

Quid tempestates autumni et sidera dicam,
atque, ubi iam breviorque dies et mollior aestas,
quae vigilanda viris, vel cum ruit imbriferum ver,
spicea iam campis cum messis inhorruit et cum
frumenta in viridi stipula lactentia turgent?
saepe ego, cum flavis messorem induceret arvis
agricola et fragili iam stringeret hordea culmo,
omnia ventorum concurrere proelia vidi,
quae gravidam late segetem ab radicibus imis
sublimem expulsam eruerent; ita turbine nigro
ferret hiems culmumque levem stipulasque volantis.
saepe etiam inmensum caelo venit agmen aquarum
et foedam glomerant tempestatem imbribus atris
collectae ex alto nubes; ruit arduus aether,
et pluvia ingenti sata laeta boumque labores
diluit; implentur fossae et cava flumina crescunt
cum sonitu fervetque fretis spirantibus aequor.