'A countryman cleaves earth with his crooked plough. Such is the labourof his life. So he sustains his native land ...'Virgil's affectionate poem of the land does not admit brief excerpts, any more than the labour of the farmer can easily be shortened. His verse, descriptive and narrative, brings us the disappointments as well as the rewards of the countryman's year-round devotion to his crops, his vines andolives, livestock great and small, and the complex society of bees. Part agricultural manual, part political poem and allegory, the Georgics' scenes are real and vivid, and the poet-farmer Peter Fallon makes us feel the sights, sounds, and textures of the ancient Italian landscape.