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There are various kinds of manure, the use of which is of very ancient date. In the times of Homer1 even, the aged king is represented as thus enriching the land by the labour of his own hands. Tradition reports that King Augeas was the first in Greece to make use of it, and that Hercules introduced the practice into Italy; which country has, however, immortalized the name of its king, Stercutus,2 the son of Faunus, as claiming the honour of this invention. M. Varro3 assigns the first rank for excellence to the dung of thrushes kept in aviaries, and lauds it as being not only good for land, but excellent food for oxen and swine as well; indeed, he goes so far as to assert that there is no food that they will grow fat upon more speedily. We really have some reason to augur well of the manners of the present day, if it is true that in the days of our ancestors there were aviaries of such vast extent as to be able to furnish manure for the fields.

Columella4 gives the second rank to pigeon manure,5 and the next to that of the poultry-yard; but he condemns that of the aquatic birds. Some authors, again, are agreed in regarding the residue of the human food6 as the very best of all manures; while others would only employ the superfluous portion of our drink,7 mixing with it the hair that is to be found in the curriers' workshops. Some, however, are for employing this liquid by itself, though they would mix water with it once more, and in larger quantities even than when originally mixed with the wine at our repasts; there being a double share of noxious qualities to correct, not only those originally belonging to the wine,8 but those imparted to it by the human body as well. Such are the various methods by which we vie with each other in imparting nutriment to the earth even.

Next to the manures above mentioned, the dung of swine is highly esteemed, Columella being the only writer that condemns it. Some, again, speak highly of the dung of all quadrupeds that have been fed on cytisus, while there are others who prefer that of pigeons. Next to these is the dung of goats, and then of sheep; after which comes that of oxen, and, last of all, of the beasts of burden. Such were the distinctions that were established between the various manures among the ancients, such the precepts that they have left us, and these I have here set forth as being not the mere subtle inventions of genius, but because their utility has been proved in the course of a long series of years. In some of the provinces, too, which abound more particularly in cattle, by rea- son of their prolific soil, we have seen the manure passed through a sieve like so much flour, and perfectly devoid, through lapse of time,9 of all bad smell or repulsive look, being changed in its appearance to something rather agreeable than otherwise. In more recent times it has been found that the olive thrives more particularly in soil that has been manured with the ashes10 of the lime-kiln. To the ancient rules Varro11 has added, that corn land should be manured with horsedung, that being the lightest manure of all, while meadow land, he says, thrives better with a manure of a more heavy nature, and supplied by beasts that have been fed upon barley; this last tending more particularly to the better growth of grass.12 Some persons, indeed, prefer the dung of the beasts of burden to that of oxen even, the manure of the sheep to that of the goat, and the manure of the ass to all others, the reason being that that animal masticates the most slowly of them all. Experience, however, has pronounced against these dicta of Varro and Columella; but it is universally agreed by all writers that there is nothing more beneficial than to turn13 up a crop of lupines, before they have podded, with either the plough or the fork, or else to cut them and bury them in heaps at the roots of trees and vines. It is thought, also, that in places where no cattle are kept, it is advantageous to manure the earth with stubble or even fern. " You can make manure," Cato14 says, "of litter, or else of lupines, straw, beanstalks, or the leaves of the holm-oak and quercus. Pull up the wallwort from among the crops of corn, as also the hemlock that grows there, together with the thick grass and sedge that you find growing about the willow-plots; of all this, mixed with rotten leaves,15 you may make a litter for sheep and oxen. If a vine should happen to be but poor and meagre, prune16 the shoots of it, and plough them in round about it." The same author says, also,17 "When you are going to sow corn in a field, fold your sheep18 there first."

1 Odyssey xxiv. 225.

2 From "stercus," "dang." A fabulous perscnage, most probably.

3 De Re Rust. i. 38.

4 De Re Rust. ii. 15.

5 Mixed with other manures, it is employed at the present day in Normandy.

6 This manure is still extensively employed in Flanders, Switzerland, and the vicinity of Paris. In the north of England it is mixed with ashes, and laid on the fields. There was an old prejudice, that vegetation grown with it has a fetid odour, but it has for some time been looked upon as exploded.

7 Or urine. In the vicinity of Paris, a manure is employed called urate, of which urine forms the basis.

8 Fée seems to think that this passage means that the bad smell of urine is imparted to it by the wine that is drunk. It is difficult to say what could have been the noxious qualities imparted by wine to urine as a ma- nure, and Pliny probably would have been somewhat at a loss to explain his meaning.

9 In lapse of time, if exposed to the air, it is reduced to the state of humus or mould.

10 Consisting of lime mixed with vegetable ashes.

11 De Re Rust. i. 38.

12 "Herbas." This would appear to mean grass only here; though Fée seems to think that it means various kinds of herbs.

13 This method is sometimes adopted in England with buckwheat, trefoil, peas, and other leguminous plants; and in the south of France lupines are still extensively used in the same manner, after the usage of the ancient Romans here described. The French also employ, but more rarely, for the same purpose, the large turnip, vetches, peas, trefoil, Windsor beans, sanfoin, lucerne, &c.; but it is found a very expensive practice.

14 De Re Rust. 37.

15 "Frondam putidam." Fée thinks that this expression is used in reference to the "ebulum," dane-wort, wall-wort, or dwarf-elder, previously mentioned.

16 "Concidito." Sillig adopts the reading "comburito," "burn the shoots, and dig in, &c." But in the original the word is " concidito."

17 De Re Rust. 30.

18 This is still extensively practised in England and France, and other countries. The azote, even, that exhales from the bodies of the animals, is supposed to have a fertilizing influence, to say nothing of the dung, grease of the body, and urine.

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