In what ways does work conquer all in the Georgics?

Work conquers all in the Georgics because Virgil believes that the honest, devoted labor of the farmer is one source of the greatness of the Roman Empire.

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In Virgil's Georgics, a work in praise of the simple, pastoral life of the farmer, the cycle of work puts the farmer into right relationship with nature. The labor of farming—planting and caring for trees, grapes, olives, and even bees—is tied to a natural rhythm that keeps the human close to the earth and to the gods, a blessed situation.

Virgil ties the timeless work of Italy's farmers and their dedication to the soil to Rome's rise to greatness, finding in their cycle of work the foundation necessary to maintain the Roman Empire.

The farmer's work may be physical and constant, but done properly, it is "easy"—not an endless, grinding toil—because the farmer is in harmony with the natural world. At the end of book 2, for example, Virgil jumps into ecstatic words about the pastoral life, stating:

Oh! all too happy tillers of the soil,
Could they but know their blessedness, for whom
Far from the clash of arms all-equal earth
Pours from the ground herself their easy fare!

Virgil favorably contrasts this blessed cycle of work not only to warfare ("the clash of arms") but also to the corruptions of aristocratic life. The courtly life "vomits" forth a stream of courtiers, lies, and drugs. The golden palaces and wealthy splendor of the powerful carry the price of immorality and anxiety. Better the simple existence of the farmer, who can live an honest life amid the beauties of wooded nature and clear streams, working hard, prospering, and remaining faithful and close to the gods.

Many of Virgil's longings for a simpler, purer, hard-working rural life, away from sophistication and corruption, stay with us still today. Virgil places such a life above that of the most powerful courtiers, showing that it conquers all in its simple devotions to the gods, its harmony with nature, and its easy and bountiful rhythm of cycling through the seasons. This portrait may be idealized, but it remains compelling.

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