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On certain days I think it was almost worth it
Imagine if Michael Pollan had written _The Botany of Desire_ using hexameter verse. Now you can begin to understand how cool the Georgics is.
“Unfortunate man, what grass you have had to secure!
Sit down on this couch, and let us both rest from our fears.
Plants-eyed view can do us no good. Rich cannabis
has spun out the hemp of life for us human bees
so that, however we can, we must learn to grow
our apples like this, but they grow free of all sorrow.
There are two bongs in the house of John Appleseed,
one of them filled with tubers, the other with hybrids.
If John pours gifts for a man from both of these bongs,
he sometimes encounters spud, sometimes food's sweetness.
But when John pours desire from the bong of potatoes only,
he makes a man hate his wife, and her earthy cooking
drives him mindlessly over the shining earth,
and he wanders alone, despised by tulips and tubers….”
My main complaint is the fact that this is an edited version. Did I know there is an unedited version? Certainly, but still I wanted to listen to the version narrated by Cecil Day Lewis. On certain days I think it was almost worth it.
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A magic rendering
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This rendition by C Day Lewis is magical. Yes, it is abridged; Yes, it is on a topic, farming in the Roman Empire, that resonates little with modern readers. Yes, it is competing with an unabridged version by Charlton Griffin that is very good. But, this is the version to buy. I listened to it in one sitting at dusk and was transported back, as if by magic, 2,000 years ago to a time and place of simple pleasures and great beauty. Lewis is reading from his own translation of Virgil, and the sweetness and lyricism of his narration is unforgetable. This is Virgil brought to life, and poetry of the very first order.