The Economist of Xenophon

By Alexander D. O. Wedderburn | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVI.

HOW TO LEARN THE NATURE OF THE SOIL. OF FALLOW LAND.

IN the first place, then, Socrates, said he, I would show you that there is no real difficulty in what is called the great riddle of husbandry by people who, though they possess the most thorough and accurate knowledge in theory, have absolutely no practical experience of it. For it is said that he who would set about farming in the right way ought first to know the nature of the soil.

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And rightly said too, replied I. For he who does not know what the soil can bear, would not, I imagine, know either what to sow, or what to plant.

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Well then, said Ischomachus, by observing their crops and trees, we can learn from the lands of other men what. soils can and what they cannot bear. And when one knows this, there is no longer any use in fighting against Providence. For a man would not obtain the necessaries of life by

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