Before Gardens: The Golden Age
 
 
 
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 no other countries yet where themselves did keep;
There was no town enclosed yet, with walls and ditches deep. 
No horn or trumpet was in use, no sword or helmet worn:
The world was such that soldiers’ help might easily be forborn.
The fertile earth as yet was free, untouched of spade or plough,
And yet it yielded of itself of every thing enough.
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 raspis, 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 fruit did plenteously afford.
No muck nor tillage was disposed on lean and barren land,
To make the crops 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.
 
 

Ovid (trans. Arthur Golding)

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