Three acres and a cow. BenthamWorks. Vol. VIII. P. 448. Quoted from Bentham by Lord Rosebery. Monologue on Pitt, in Twelve English Statesmen. Referred to by Sir John Sinclair Code of Agriculture, Miscellaneous Essays, 1802. Same idea in Defoes Tour through the whole Islands of Britain, 6th Ed. Phrase made familiar by Hon. Jesse Collings in the House of Commons, 1886, Small Holdings amendment.
Oculos et vestigia domini, res agro saluberrimas, facilius admittit. He allows very readily, that the eyes and footsteps of the master are things most salutary to the land. ColumellaDe Re Rustica. IV. 18.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield: Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke: How jocund did they drive their team a-field! How bowd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! GrayElegy in a Country Churchyard. St. 7.
Beatus ille qui procul negotiis, Ut prisca gens mortalium, Paterna rura bpbus exercet suis, Solutus omni fænore. Happy he who far from business, like the primitive race of mortals, cultivates with his own oxen the fields of his fathers, free from all anxieties of gain. HoraceEpodon. Bk. II. 1.
When the land is cultivated entirely by the spade, and no horses are kept, a cow is kept for every three acres of land. John Stuart MillPrinciples of Political Economy. Bk. II. Ch. VI. Sec. V. (Quoting from a treatise on Flemish husbandry.)
Our rural ancestors, with little blest, Patient of labour when the end was rest, Indulgd the day that housd their annual grain, With feasts, and offrings, and a thankful strain. PopeSecond Book of Horace. Ep. I. L. 241.
And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together. SwiftVoyage to Brobdingnag.
In ancient times, the sacred Plough employd The Kings and awful Fathers of mankind: And some, with whom compared your insect-tribes Are but the beings of a summers day, Have held the Scale of Empire, ruled the Storm Of mighty War; then, with victorious hand, Disdaining little delicacies, seized The Plough, and, greatly independent, scorned All the vile stores corruption can bestow. ThomsonThe Seasons. Spring. L. 58.
Een in mid-harvest, while the jocund swain Pluckd from the brittle stalk the golden grain, Oft have I seen the war of winds contend, And prone on earth th infuriate storm descend, Waste far and wide, and by the roots uptorn, The heavy harvest sweep through ether borne, As the light straw and rapid stubble fly In darkning whirlwinds round the wintry sky. VergilGeorgics. I. L. 351. Sothebys trans.