Written probably in June 1818, either shortly before, or concurrently with, The Cyclops (see headnote to no. 172). The Fourth Georgic is about bee-keeping, and the fable of Aristaeus relates how the practice of getting bees to hive in a dead animal originated. Aristaeus’s pursuit of Orpheus’s wife Eurydice has led to her death, and Aristaeus is punished by the loss of his bees. He seeks advice from his mother Cyrene, who is daughter of the river Peneus and lives underwater. Cyrene tells him to consult Proteus, who in turn advises a sacrifice of oxen to Orpheus and Eurydice, after which a fresh swarm of bees emerges from the carcasses. S. translated only some opening words of the fable, and the beginning of Aristaeus’s underwater visit (Georgies iv 317-19 and 360-73). Webb 332 observes that the underwater world seems to fascinate S. (cp. Ode to the West Wind’ 33-42; ‘Lines written in dejection’ 10-11, etc.), and that by his additions to the Latin (e.g. ‘the deep’s untrampled fountains’ (line 7), and ‘groves profaned not by the step of mortal’ (line 10), where Virgil has simply ‘river’, and ‘groves’) S. is adding to the holy mystery of this underwater paradise into which Aristaeus has penetrated. The lines are in terza rima.