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The vernal equinox appears to end on the eighth1 day be- fore the calends of April. Between the equinox and the morning rising of the Vergiliæ, the calends2 of April announce, according to Cæsar, [stormy weather].3 Upon the third4 before the nones of April, the Vergiliæ set in the evening in Attica, and the day after in Bœotia, but according to Cæsar and the Chaldæans, upon the nones.5 In Egypt, at this time, Orion and his Sword begin to set. According to Cæsar, the setting of Libra on the sixth before6 the ides of April announces rain. On the fourteenth before7 the calends of May, the Suculæ set to the people of Egypt in the evening, a stormy constellation, and significant of tempests both by land and sea. This constellation sets on the sixteenth8 in Attica, and on the fifteenth, according to Cæsar, announcing four days of bad weather in succession: in Assyria it sets upon the twelfth9 before the calends of May. This constellation has ordinarily the name of Parilicium, from the circumstance that the eleventh10 before the calends of May is observed as the natal day of the City of Rome; upon this day, too, fine weather generally returns, and gives us a clear sky for our observations. The Greeks call the Suculæ by the name of "Hyades,"11 in consequence of the rain and clouds which they bring with them; while our people, misled by the resemblance of the Greek name to another word12 of theirs, meaning a "pig," have imagined that the constellation receives its name from that word, and have consequently given it, in their ignorance, the name of "Suculæ," or the "Little Pigs."

In the calculations made by Cœsar, the eighth13 before the calends of May is a day remarked, and on the seventh14 before the calends, the constellation of the Kids rises in Egypt. On the sixth before15 the calends, the Dog sets in the evening in Bœotia and Attica, and the Lyre rises in the morning. On the fifth16 before the calends of May, Orion has wholly set to the people of Assyria, and on the fourth17 before the calends the Dog. On the sixth before18 the nones of May, the Suculæ rise in the morning, according to the calculation of Cæsar, and on the eighth before19 the ides, the She-goat, which announces rain. In Egypt the Dog sets in the evening of the same day. Such are pretty nearly the movements of the constellations up to the sixth before20 the ides of May, the period of the rising of the Vergiliæ.

In this interval of time, during the first fifteen days, the agriculturist must make haste and do all the work for which he has not been able to find time before the vernal equinox; and he should bear in mind that those who are late in pruning their vines are exposed to jibes and taunts, in imitation of the note of the bird of passage known to us as the cuckoo.21 For it is looked upon as a disgrace, and one that subjects him to well-merited censure, for that bird, upon its arrival, to find him only then pruning his vines. Hence it is, too, that we find those cutting jokes,22 of which our peasantry are the object, at the beginning of spring. Still, however, all such jokes are to be looked upon as most abominable, from the ill omens23 they convey.

In this way, then, we see that, in agricultural operations, the most trifling things are construed as so many hints supplied us by Nature. The latter part of this period is the proper time for sowing panic and millet; the precise moment, however, is just after the barley has ripened. In the case of the very same land, too, there is one sign that points in common both to the ripening of the barley and the sowing of panic and millet—the appearance of the glow-worm, shining in the fields at night. "Cicindelæ"24 is the name given by the country people to these flying stars, while the Greeks call them "lampyrides,"—another manifestation of the incredible bounteousness of Nature.

1 Twenty-fifth of March.

2 First of April.

3 This passage is omitted in the original, but was probably left out by inadvertence.

4 Third of April.

5 Fifth of April.

6 Eighth of April.

7 Eighteenth of April.

8 Sixteenth of April.

9 Twentieth of April.

10 Twenty-first of April. See B. xix. c. 24.

11 From ὕειν, to rain.

12 "Sus," apig.

13 Twenty-fourth of April.

14 Twenty-fifth of April.

15 Twenty-sixth of April.

16 Twenty-seventh of April.

17 Twenty-eighth of April.

18 Second of May.

19 Eighth of May.

20 Tenth of May.

21 "Cuculus." See B. x. c. 11,

22 "Petulantiæ vales." Perhaps "indecent," or "wanton jokes:" at least, Hardouin thinks so.

23 By causing quarrels, probably.

24 See B. xi. c. 34.

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