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The poem of Aratus was in great esteem, both with the Greeks and Romans; and was translated into Latin by the celebrated Germanicus, and by Cicero; some of whose version is extant in his works. It is perfectly simple and inartificial; containing little more than a description of the constellations, as they are painted on the celestial globe; and of the several appearances of the moon and stars, as indicative of atmospheric changes: though, where he digresses to general nature, and in particular to the instincts of animals, he displays, not merely accurate observation, but that faculty of colouring objects which is peculiar to the true poet; and we find that Virgil has availed himself of these passages with his usual discernment of excellence. Aratus is quoted by St. Paul, in his oration to the Athenians on Mars's hill: Acts xvii. 28. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; (as certain also of your own poets have said; for we are also his offspring."




FROM Jove begin my song; nor ever be

The name unutter'd: all are full of thee;

The ways, and haunts of men; the havens, and the


On thee our being hangs; in thee we move;
All are thy offspring, and the seed of Jove.
Benevolent, he warns mankind to good,
Urges to toil, and prompts the hope of food.
He shows when best the yielding globe will bear
The goaded oxen, and the cleaving share.
He shows what seasons smile, to delve the plain,
To set the plant, or sow the scatter'd grain.
'Twas he, that placed those glittering signs on high,
Those stars, dispers'd throughout the circling sky;
From these the seasons and the times appear,
The labours, and the harvests of the year.

Hence men to him their thankful homage raise,

Him, first and last, their theme of joy and praise. Hail, Father! wondrous! whence all blessings spring!

Thyself the source of every living thing!
Oh of mellifluous voice! ye Muses, hear!
And, if my prayer may win your gracious ear,
Your inspiration, all ye Muses, bring,

And aid my numbers, while the stars I sing.


BE this the sign of wind: with rolling sweep High swells the sea; long roarings echo deep From billow-breaking rocks; shores murmur shrill, Though calm from storm, and howls the topmost hill.

The heron with unsteady motion flies,

And shoreward hastes, with loud and piercing cries;
Borne o'er the deep, his flapping pinions sail,
While air is ruffled by the rising gale.
The coots, that wing through air serene their way,
'Gainst coming winds condense their close array.
The diving cormorants and wild-ducks stand,
And shake their dripping pinions on the sand:
And oft, a sudden cloud is seen to spread,
With length'ning shadow, o'er the mountain's

By downy-blossom'd plants, dishevell❜d-strown,
And hoary thistles' tops, is wind foreshown:
When, those behind impelling those before,
On the still sea they slowly float to shore.

Watch summer thunders break, or lightnings fly, Wind threatens from that quarter of the sky; And, where the shooting stars, in gloomy night, Draw through the heavens a track of snowy light, Expect the coming wind: but, if in air

The meteors cross, shot headlong here and there,
From various points observe the winds arise,
And thwarting blasts blow diverse from the skies.
When lightnings in the North and South appear,
And East, and West, the mariner should fear
Torrents of air, and foamings of the main;
These numerous lightnings flash o'er floods of rain.
And oft, when showers are threat'ning from on

The clouds, like fleeces, hang beneath the sky:
Girding heaven's arch, a double rainbow bends,
Or, round some star, a black'ning haze extends.
The birds of marsh, or sea, insatiate lave,
And deeply plunge, with longings for the wave.
Swift o'er the pool the fluttering swallows rove,
And beat their breasts the ruffled lake above.
Hoarse croak the fathers of the reptile brood,
Of gliding water-snakes the fearful food:

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