Georgic is a poem about rural life, the practical aspects of agriculture, farming, and rural affairs, so-called from the Greek word for ‘earth worker, farmer’. This is a form of didactic poetry and its principal purpose is to give instructions on how to do something.
As Addison put it in his essay on the georgic, it consists of giving ‘plain and direct instructions’.
Georgic also tends to celebrate rural life and nature.
A very early example is Hesiod’s Works and Days (8th c. BC). The standard for such poems, Virgil’s Georgics, is responsible for its name. That poem, written between 37 and 30 B.C., called for a restoration of agricultural life in Italy after its farms fell into neglect during the civil war. James Thomson’s Seasons (1726–30) and William Cowper’s The Task (1785) are very much in the Virgilian tradition.
Other georgics include Poliziano’s Rusticus (1483); Vida’s De Bombyce (1527); Alamanni’s La Coltivazione (1546); Tusser’s Five Hundred
Points of Good Husbandry (1573); and Rapin’s Horti (1665).