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2006-07-29 00:51

  so that we should suspect that we might be conversing with an angel. Bread may not always nourish us; but it always does us good, it even takes stiffness out of our joints, and makes us supple and buoyant,when we knew not what ailed us, to recognize any generosity in man or Nature, to share any unmixed and heroic joy.

  Ancient poetry and mythology suggest, at least, that husbandry was once a sacred art; but it is pursued with irreverent haste and heedlessness by us, our object being to have large farms and large crops merely.  We have no festival, nor procession, nor ceremony,not excepting our cattle-shows and so-called Thanksgivings, by which the farmer expresses a sense of the sacredness of his calling, or is reminded of its sacred origin.  It is the premium and the feast which tempt him.  He sacrifices not to Ceres and the Terrestrial Jove, but to the infernal Plutus rather.  By avarice and selfishness, and a grovelling habit, from which none of us is free,of regarding the soil as property, or the means of acquiring property chiefly, the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us, and the farmer leads the meanest of lives.  He knows Nature but as a robber.  Cato says that the profits of agriculture are particularly pious or just (maximeque pius quaestus), and according to Varro the old Romans "called the same earth Mother and Ceres, and thought that they who cultivated it led a pious and useful life, and that they alone were left of the race of King Saturn."

  We are wont to forget that the sun looks on our cultivated fields and on the prairies and forests without distinction.  They all reflect and absorb his rays alike, and the former make but a small part of the glorious picture which he beholds in his daily course.  In his view the earth is all equally cultivated like a garden.  Therefore we should receive the benefit of his light and heat with a corresponding trust and magnanimity.  What though I value the seed of these beans, and harvest that in the fall of the year?  This broad field which I have looked at so long looks not to me as the principal cultivator, but away from me to influences more genial to it, which water and make it green.  These beans have results which are not harvested by me.  Do they not grow for woodchucks partly?  The ear of wheat (in Latin spica, obsoletely speca, from spe, hope) should not be the only hope of the husbandman; its kernel or grain (granum from gerendo, bearing) is not all that it bears.  How, then, can our harvest fail?  Shall I not rejoice also at the abundance of the weeds whose seeds are the granary of the birds?  It matters little comparatively whether the fields fill the farmer's barns.  The true husbandman will cease from anxiety, as the squirrels manifest no concern whether the woods will bear chestnuts this year or not, and finish his labor with every day, relinquishing all claim to the produce of his fields, and sacrificing in his mind not only his first but his last fruits also.


  古代的诗歌和神话至少提示过,农事曾经是一种神圣的艺术,但我们匆促而杂乱,我们的目标只是大田园和大丰收。我们没有节庆的日子,没有仪式,没有行列了,连耕牛大会及感恩节也不例外,农民本来是用这种形式来表示他这职业的神圣意味的,或者是用来追溯农事的神圣起源的。现在是报酬和一顿大嚼在吸引他们了。现在他献牺牲不献给色列斯,不献给约夫了,他献给普鲁都斯这恶神了。由于我们没有一个人能摆脱掉的贪婪、自私和一个卑辱的习惯,把土地看作财产,或者是获得财产的主要手段,风景给破坏了,农事跟我们一样变得低下,农民过着最屈辱的生活。他了解的大自然,如同一个强盗所了解的那样。卡托说过农业的利益是特别虔敬而且正直的(maximeque pius quaestus),照伐洛说,古罗马的人“把地母和色列斯唤为同名,他们认为从事耕作的人过的是一个虔敬而有用的生活,只有他们才是农神的遗民”。



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