> (1764) says that Cato writes like an English squire and Varro like a French academician. This is just comment on Cato but it is at once too much and too little to say of Varro: a French academician might be proud of his antiquarian learning, but would balk at his awkward and homely Latin, as indeed one French academician, M. Boissier, has since done. The real merit of Varro's book is that it is the well digested system of an experienced and successful farmer who has seen and practised all that he records.
The authority from which Virgil drew the practical farming lore, for which he has been extolled in all ages, was Varro: indeed, as a farm manual the Georgics go astray only when they depart from Varro. It is worth while to elaborate this point, which Professor Sellar, in his argument for the originality of Virgil, only suggests.
After Philippi the times were ripe for books on agriculture. The Roman world had been divided between Octavian and Antony and there was peace in Italy: men were t