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His life unites them all; but when he dies,
All in loud tumults and distractions rise ;
They waste their honey, and their combs deface,
And wild confusion reigns in every place.
Him all admire, all the great guardian own,
And crowd about his courts, and buz about his

Oft on their backs their weary prince they bear,
Oft in his cause embattled in the air,
Pursue a glorious death, in wounds and war.

Some from such instances as these have taught
The bees' extract is heavenly; for they thought
The universe alive; and that a soul,
Diffused throughout the matter of the whole,
To all the vast unbounded frame was given,
And ran through earth, and air, and sea, and all

the deep of heaven;
That this first kindled life in man and beast,
Life, that again flows into this at last;
That no compounded animal could die,
But when dissolved the spirit mounted high,
Dwelt in a star, and settled in the sky.'

Whene'er their balmy sweets you mean to seize,
And take the liquid labours of the bees,
Spirt draughts of water from your mouth, and drive
A loathsome cloud of smoke amidst their hive.

Twice in the year their flowery toils begin, And twice they fetch their dewy harvest in; Once when the lovely Pleiades arise, And add fresh lustre to the summer skies, And once when, hastening from the watery sign, They quit their station, and forbear to shine.

The bees are prone to rage, and often found To perish for revenge, and die upon the wound:

Their venom'd sting produces aching pains,
And swells the flesh, and shoots among the veins.

When first a cold hard winter's storms arrive,
And threaten death or famine to their hive,
If now their sinking state and low affairs
Can move your pity and provoke your cares,
Fresh burning thyme before their cells convey,
And cut their dry and husky wax away;
For often lizards seize the luscious spoils,
Or drones, that riot on another's toils;
Oft broods of moths infest the hungry swarms,
And oft the furious wasp their hive alarms
With louder hums, and with unequal arms;
Or else the spider at the entrance sets
Her snares, and spins her bowels into nets.

When sickness reigns (for they as well as we
Feel all the effects of frail mortality)
By certain marks the new disease is seen,
Their colour changes, and their looks are thin;
Their funeral rites are form’d, and every

With grief attends the sad solemnity;
The few diseased survivors hang before
Their sickly cells, and droop about the door,
Or slowly in their hives their limbs unfold,

up with hunger, and benumb’d with cold;
In drawling hums the feeble insects grieve,
And doleful buzzes echo through the hive,
Like winds that softly murmur through the trees,
Like flames pent up, or like retiring seas.
Now lay fresh honey near their empty rooms,
In troughs of hollow reeds, whilst frying gums
Cast round a fragrant mist of spicy fumes.
Thus kindly tempt the famish'd swarm to eat,
And gently reconcile them to their meat.

Mix juice of galls and wine, that grow in time
Condensed by fire, and thicken to a slime;
To these dried roses, thyme, and centery, join,
And raisins ripen'd on the Psythian vine.

Besides, there grows a flower in marshy ground,
Its name Amellus, easy to be found;
A mighty spring works in its root, and cleaves
The sprouting stalk, and shows itself in leaves ;
The flower itself is of a golden hue,
The leaves inclining to a darker blue;
The leaves shoot thick about the flower, and

grow Into a bush, and shade the turf below; The plant in holy garlands often twines The altar's posts, and beautifies the shrines; Its taste is sharp; in vales new-shorn it grows, Where Mella's stream in watery mazes flows; Take plenty of its roots, and boil them well In wine, and heap them up before the cell.

But if the whole stock fail, and none survive, To raise new people and recruit the hive, I'll here the great experiment declare That spread the’Arcadian shepherd's name so far, How bees from blood of slaughter'd bulls have fled, And swarms amidst the red corruption bred.

For where the’Egyptians yearly see their bounds Refresh'd with floods, and sail about their grounds, Where Persia borders, and the rolling Nile Drives swiftly down the swarthy Indians' soil, Till into seven it multiplies its stream, And fattens Egypt with a fruitful slime, In this last practice all their hope remains, And long experience justifies their pains.

First, then, a close contracted space of ground, With straiten'd walls and low-built roof they found;

A narrow shelving light is next assign'd
To all the quarters, one to every wind;
Through these the glancing rays obliquely pierce;
Hither they lead a bull that's young and fierce,
When two-years growth of horn he proudly shows,
And shakes the comely terrors of his brows:
His nose and mouth, the avenues of breath,
They muzzle up, and beat his limbs to death.
With violence to life and stilling pain
He flings and spurns, and tries to snort in vain ;
Loud heavy blows fall thick on every side,
Till his bruised bowels burst within the hide.
When dead, they leave him rotting on the ground,
With branches, thyme, and cassia, strow'd around.
All this is done, when first the western breeze
Becalms the


and smooths the troubled seas, Before the chattering swallow builds her nest, Or fields in spring's embroidery are dress'd. Meanwhile the tainted juice ferments within, And quickens as it works : and now are seen A wondrous swarm, that o'er the carcass crawls Of shapeless, rude, unfinish'd animals. No legs at first the insects weight sustain, At length it moves its new-made limbs with pain ; Now strikes the air with quivering wings, and tries To lift its body up, and learns to rise ; Now bending thighs and gilded wings it wears Full grown,

and all the bee at length appears : From every

side the fruitful carcass pours Its swarming brood as thick as summer showers, Or flights of arrows from the Parthian bows, When twanging strings first shoot them on the foes.

Thus have I sung the nature of the bee, While Cæsar, towering to divinity,

The frighted Indians with his thunder awed,
And claim'd their homage, and commenced a god:
I fourish'd all the while in arts of

Retired and shelter'd in inglorious ease :
I who before the songs of shepherds made,
When gay and young my rural lays I play'd,
And set my Tityrus beneath his shade.




Lost in the gloomy horrors of the night
We struck


the coast where Ætna lies, Horrid and waste, its entrails fraught with fire, That now casts out dark fumes and pitchy clouds, Vast showers of ashes hovering in the smoke; Now belches molten stones and ruddy flame Incensed, or tears up mountains by the roots, Or slings a broken rock aloft in air : The bottom works with smother'd fire, involved In pestilential vapours, stench, and smoke.

"Tis said that thunder-struck Enceladus, Grovelling beneath the incumbent mountain's

weight, Lies stretch'd supine, eternal prey of flames, And when he heaves against the burning load, Reluctant, to invert his broiling limbs, A sudden earthquake shoots through all the isle, And Etna thunders dreadful under ground, Then pours out smoke in wreathing curls convolved, And shades the sun's bright orb, and blots out day.

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