chapter  25
29 Pages

From Winter

On the Nature of the Universe: I will now explain the nature of epi­ demics and the source from which the accumulated power of pestilence is able to spring a sudden devastating plague upon the tribes of men and beasts___This crop of pestilence and plague either comes through the sky from outside, like clouds and mists, or very often springs from the earth itself. . . (vi, 1091-4, 1098-101, trans. Latham) [65] Untended left out deliberately; wholesome root turnips. [63-5] Referring to the 'Norfolk system of husbandry' which was becoming popular in other parts of Britain. By this method the stubble was ploughed into the land after the harvest, and sheep were put out into the fields and fed with turnips through the winter so that their dung would restore the land's fertility (see Sambrook, 1972). Similarly Virgil in Georgies outlined a new and beneficial system of treating the land: 'Long practice has a sure improvement found,/ With kindled fires to bum the barren ground;/ When the slight stubble, to the flames resigned,/ Is driv'n along, and crackles in the wind', Dryden's trans­ lation, i, 122-5. [67] genius tutelary spirit. [69] fractured mountains wild mountains with broken rocks. This method of two adjectives, one on each side of the noun, is very Miltonic; brawling noisy, loud. As opposed to the usual 'purling' brook. [70] presageful foreboding. [71] listening fancy the imagination that perceives more than the simple sense of hearing. [74] mingling confused. [76] unsightly 'Disagreeable to the sight', Johnson, Dictionary.