And your face yet other work and caring for your vine,
for which you can never do enough. Every year the soil
must be turned over three or four times, and the clods broken up
with your two-pronged hoe reversed, and the whole arbor
stripped of leaves. Moving in great circles, work revisits
the farmer as the year wheels around its own tracks.
As soon as the vineyard drops its leaves in the fall,
and the frigid North Wind shakes summer’s beauty from the woods,
the passionate farmer extends his planning to the coming
year and attacks the dormant vine, cutting it back
with Saturn‘s curved pruning hook and trims it into shape.
Be the first to break up the earth, first to burn the cuttings
you’ve piled up, and first to store your support stakes in the shed.
Be the last to gather grapes. Twice, deep shade assaults your vines;
twice, weeds thick with thorny brambles overrun your vineyard.
Either task is hard work. Give praise to grand estates, but
farm one that’s modest. Still more, prickly shoots of butcher’s broom
throughout the woods and reeds on the riverbanks much be cut back;
dealing with wild willows will also keep you occupied.
Now the vines are bound, now leave off pruning the vineyard,
Now the very last vine-dresser sings the completed rows
You must still rake the soil, stirring up clouds of dust, and worry
that Jove may pummel your ripe grapes with hard rain. (Book II)
Publius Vergilius Maro, Georgics (Trans. Janet Lembke)