Then sprang up first the golden age, which of itself maintained
The truth and right of everything unforced and unconstrained.
There was no fear of punishment, there was no threatening law
In brazen tables nailed up, to keep the folk in awe.
There was no man would crouch or creep to judge with cap in hand,
They lived safe without a judge, in every realm and land.
The lofty pine tree was not hewn from mountains where it stood,
In seeking strange and foreign lands, to rove upon the flood...
Men knew none other countries yet than where themselves did keep;
There was no town enclosed yet, with walls and ditches deep.
No horn nor trumpet was in use, no sword nor helmet worn;
The world was such that soldiers' help might eas'ly be forborne...
The fertile earth as yet was free, untouched of spade or plow,
And yet it yielded of itself of every things enow.
And men themselves contented well with plain and simple food
That on the earth of nature's gift without their travail stood...
Did live by raspes, hips, and haws, by cornels, plums, and cherries,
By sloes and apples, nuts and pears, and loathsome bramble berries...
And by the acorns dropped on ground from Jove's broad tree in field.
The springtime lasted all the year, and Zephyr with his mild
And gentle blast did cherish things that grew of own accord;
The ground untilled all kinds of fruits did plenteously afford...
These three photos (church, lake, and crabapple tree) were taken at Lake Ella Park in Tallahassee in late January.
No muck nor tillage was bestowed on lean and barren land,
To make the corn of better head and ranker for to stand...
Then streams ran milk, then streams ran wine, and yellow honey flowed
From each green tree whereon the rays of fiery Phoebus glowed.
Found in Lafayette Heritage Trail Park, Tallahassee, January 2010. Picture of stream also taken there. First three photos are from Fort Pickens, Pensacola, Florida, late January.
The poetry I paired with the pictures above came from Arthur Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which he completed in 1567. Shakespeare was partial to Golding's Ovid, and his references to the classic myths in his own work reflect that fondness for Golding's English version. Even the Elizabethans, it seems, yearned for that same elusive Elysium we look for today--in our diets, our environments, our families, our governments, our world. Will we ever find it? Or, more importantly, would we be satisfied with it if we did?
Please visit Ramblingwoods.com for more links to her Nature Notes/Signs of the Season post this week.