vol II date / index
St. Bernardin of Sienna, A.D. 1444. St. Ethelbert, King of the East Angles, A.D. 793. St. Yvo, Bp. of Chartres, A.D. 1115.
ON BEING CONFINED TO SCHOOL ONE PLEASANT MORNING IN SPRING.
The morning sun's enchanting rays
Now call forth every songster's praise;
Now the lark, with upward flight,
Gaily ushers in the light;
While wildly warbling from each tree,
The birds sing songs to Liberty.
But for me no songster sings,
For me no joyous lark up-springs;
For I, confined in gloomy school,
Must own the pedant's iron rule,
And, far from sylvan shades and bowers,
In durance vile, must pass the hours;
There con the scholiast's dreary lines,
Where no bright ray of genius shines,
And close to rugged learning cling,
While laughs around the jocund spring.
How gladly would my soul forego
All that arithmeticians know,
Or stiff grammarians quaintly teach,
Or all that industry can reach,
To taste each morn of all the joys
That with the laughing sun arise;
And unconstrain'd to rove along
The bushy brakes and glens among;
And woo the muse's gentle power,
In unfrequented rural bower!
But, ah! such heaven-approaching joys
Will never greet my longing eyes;
Still will they cheat in vision fine,
Yet never but in fancy shine.
Oh, that I were the little wren
That shrilly chirps from yonder glen
Oh, far away I then would rove,
To some secluded bushy grove;
There hop and sing with careless glee,
Hop and sing at liberty;
And till death should stop my lays,
far from men would spend my days.
In the "Perennial Calendar," Dr. Forster with great taste introduces a beautiful series of quotations adapted to the season from different poets:—
Lucretius on Spring and the Seasons, translated by Good.
Spring comes, and Venus with fell foot advanced;
Then light-winged Zephyre, harbinger beloved;
Maternal Flora, strewing ere she treads,
For every footstep flowers of choicest hue,
And the glad æther loading with perfumes
Then Heat succeeds, the parched Etesian breeze,
And dust-discoloured Ceres; Autumn then
Follows, and topsy Bacchus, arm in arm,
And storms and tempests; Eurus roars amain,
And the red south brews thunders; till, at length,
Cold shuts the scene, and Winter's train prevails,
Snows, hoary Sleet, and Frost, with chattering teeth.
Milton makes the most heavenly clime to consist of an eternal spring:—
The birds that quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the graces, and the hours in dance,
Led on the eternal spring.
From Atherstone's Last Days of Herculaneum.
Soft tints of sweet May morn, when day's bright god
Looks smiling from behind delicious mists;
Throwing his slant rays on the glistening grass,
Where 'gainst the rich deep green the Cowslip hangs
His elegant bells of purest gold:— the pale
Sweet perfumed primrose lifts its face to heaven,
Like the full, artless gaze of infancy:—
The little ray-crowned daisy peeps beneath,
When the tall neighbour grass, heavy with dew,
Bows down its head beneath the freshening breeze;
Where oft in long dark lines the waving trees
Throw their soft shadows on the sunny fields;
Where, in the music-breathing hedge, the thorn
And pearly white May blossom, full of sweets,
Hang out the virgin flag of spring, entwined
With dripping honey-suckles, whose sweet breath
Sinks to the heart—recalling, with a sigh,
Dim recollected feelings of the days
Of youth and early love.
From Spring, by Kleist
Who thus, O tulip! thy gay-painted breast
In all the colours of the sun has drest?
Well could I call thee, in thy gaudy pride,
The queen of flowers; but blooming by thy side
Her thousand leaves that beams of love adorn,
Her throne surrounded by protecting thorn,
And smell eternal, form a juster claim,
Which gives the heaven-born rose the lofty name,
Who having slept throughout the wintry storm
Now through the opening buds displays her smiling form.
Between the leaves the silver whitethorn shows
Its dewy blossoms, pure as mountain snows.
Here the blue hyacinth's nectareous cell
To my charmed senses gives its cooling smell.
In lowly beds the purple violets bloom,
And liberal shower around their rich perfume.
See, how the peacock stalks yon beds beside,
Where rayed in sparkling dust and velvet pride,
Like brilliant stars, arranged in splendid row,
The proud auriculas their lustre show:
The jealous bird now shows his swelling breast,
His many-coloured neck, and lofty crest;
Then all at once his dazzling tail displays,
On whose broad circle thousand rainbows blaze.
The wanton butterflies, with fickle wing,
Flutter round every flower that decks the spring
Then on their painted pinions eager haste,
The luscious cherry's blood to taste.
Prognostics of Weather and Horologe of Flora.
FOR SPRING AND SUMMER.
From the "Perennial Calendar."
Chickweed.—When the flower expands boldly and fully, no rain will happen for four hours or upwards: if it continues in that open state, no rain will disturb the summer's day: when it half conceals its miniature flower, the day is generally showery; but if it entirely shuts up, or veils the white flower with its green mantle, let the traveller put on his great coat, and the ploughman, with his beasts of drought, expect rest from their labour.
Siberian sowthistle.—If the flowers of this plant keep open all night, rain will certainly fall the next day.
Trefoil.—The different species of trefoil always contract their leaves at the approach of a storm: hence these plants have been termed the husbandman's barometer.
African marygold.—If this plant opens not its flowers in the morning about seven o'clock, you may be sure it will rain that day, unless it thunders.
The convolvulus also, and the pimpernel anagalis arvensis, fold up their leaves on the approach of rain: the last in particular is termed the poor man's weather-glass.
Besides the above, there are several plants, especially those with compound yellow flowers, which nod, and during the whole day turn their flowers towards the sun: viz. to the east in the morning, to the south at noon, and to the west towards evening; this is very observable in the sowthistle sonchus arvensis: and it is a well-known fact, that a great part of the plants in a serene sky expand their flowers, and as it were with cheerful looks behold the light of the sun; but before rain they shut them up, as the tulip.
The flowers of the alpine whitlow grass draba alpina, the bastard feverfew parthenium, and the wintergreen trientalis, hang down in the night as if the plants were asleep, lest rain or the moist air should injure the fertilizing dust.
One species of woodsorrel shuts up or doubles its leaves before storms and tempests, but in a serene sky expands or unfolds them, so that the husbandman can pretty clearly foretell tempests from it. It is also well known that the mountain ebony bauhinia, sensitive plants, and cassia, observe the same rule.
Besides affording prognostics, many plants also fold themselves up at particular hours, with such regularity, as to have acquired the particular names from this property. The following are among the more remarkable plants of this description:—
Goatsbeard.— The flowers of both species of tragopogon open in the morning at the approach of the sun, and without regard to the state of the weather regularly shut about noon. Hence it is generally known in the country by the name of go to bed at noon.
The princesses' leaf, or four o-clock flower, in the Malay Islands, is an elegant shrub so called by the natives, because their ladies are fond of the grateful odour of its white leaves. It takes its generic name from its quality of opening its flowers at four in the evening, and not closing them in the morning till the same hour returns, when they again expand in the evening at the same hour. Many people transplant them from the woods into their gardens, and use them as a dial or a clock, especially in cloudy weather.
The tamarind tree parkinsonia, the nipplewort lapsana communis, the water lily nymphaea, the marygolds calendulae, the bastard sensitive plant aeschynomene, and several others of the diadelphia class, in serene weather, expand their leaves in the daytime, and contract them during the night. According to some botanists, the tamarind-tree enfolds within its leaves the flowers or fruit every night, in order to guard them from cold or rain.
The flower of the garden lettuce, which is in a vertical plane, opens at sevel o'clock, and shuts at ten.
A species of serpentine aloe, without prickles, whose large and beautiful flowers exhale a strong odour of the vanilla during the time of its expansion, which is very short, is cultivated in the imperial garden at Paris. It does not blow till towards the month of July, and about five o'clock in the evening, at which time it gradually opens its petals, expands them, droops, and dies. By ten o'clock the same night, it is totally withered, to the great astonishment of the spectators, who flock in crowds to see it.
The cerea, a native of Jamaica and Vera Cruz, expands an exquisitely beautiful coral flower, and emits a highly fragrant odour, for a few hours in the night, and then closes to open no more. The flower is nearly a foot in diameter; the inside of the calyx, of a splendid yellow; and the numerous petals are of a pure white. It begins to open about seven or eight o'clock in the evening, and closes before sunrise in the morning.
The flower of the dandelion possesses very peculiar means of sheltering itself from the heat of the sun, as it closes entirely whenever the heat becomes excessive. It has been observed to open, in summer, at half an hour after five in the morning, and to collect its petals towards the centre about nine o'clock.
Linnæus has enumerated forty-six flowers, which possess this kind of sensibility: he divides them into three classes.—1. Meteoric flowers, which less accurately observe the hour of folding, but are expanded sooner or later according to the cloudiness, moisture, or pressure of the atmosphere. 2. Tropical flowers, that open in the morning and close before evening every day, but the hour of their expanding becomes earlier or later as the length of the day increases or decreases. 3. Equinoctial flowers, which open at a certain and exact hour of the day, and for the most part close at another determinate hour.
On Flora's Horologe, by Charlotte Smith.
In every copse and sheltered dell,
Unveiled to the observant eye,
Are faithful monitors, who tell
How pass the hours and seasons by.
The green-robed children of the Spring
Will mark the periods as they pass,
Mingle with leaves Time's feathered wing,
And bind with flowers his silent glass.
Mark where transparent waters glide,
Soft flowing o'er their tranquil bed;
There, cradled on the dimpling tide,
Nymphæa rests her lovely head.
But conscious of the earliest beam,
She rises from her humid nest,
And sees reflected in the stream
The virgin whiteness of her breast.
Till the bright Daystar to the west
Declines, in Ocean's surge to lave:
Then, folded in her modest vest,
She slumbers on the rocking wave.
See Hieracium's various tribe,
Of plumy seed and radiate flowers,
The course of Time their blooms describe,
And wake or sleep appointed hours.
Broad o'er its imbricated cup
The Goatsbeard spreads its golden rays,
But shuts its cautious petals up,
Retreating from the noontide blaze.
Pale as a pensive cloistered nun,
The Bethlem Star her face unveils,
When o'er the mountain peers the Sun,
But shades it from the vesper gales.
Among the loose and arid sands
The humble Arenaria creeps;
Slowly the Purple Star expands,
But soon within its calyx sleeps.
And those small bells so lightly rayed
With young Aurora's rosy hue,
Are to the noontide Sun displayed,
But shut their plaits against the dew.
On upland slopes the shepherds mark
The hour, when, as the dial true,
Cichorium to the towering Lark
Lifts her soft eyes serenely blue.
And thou, "Wee crimson tipped flower,"
Gatherest thy fringed mantle round
Thy bosom, at the closing hour,
When nightdrops bathe the turfy ground.
Unlike Silene, who declines
The garish noontide's blazing light;
But when the evening crescent shines,
Gives all her sweetness to the night.
Thus in each flower and simple bell,
That in our path betrodden lie,
Are sweet remembrancers who tell
How fast their winged moments fly.
Dr. Forster remarks that towards the close of this month, the cat's ear hypochœris radicata is in flower every where; its first appearance is about the 18th day. This plant, as well as the rough dandelion, continues to flower till after Midsummer. The lilac, the barberry tree, the maple, and other trees and shrubs, are also in flower. The meadow grasses are full grown and flowering. The flowers of the garden rose, in early and warm years, begin to open.
On a Young Rosebud in May, from the German of Goëthe.
A Rose, that bloomed the roadside by,
Caught a young vagrant's wanton eye;
The child was gay, the morn was clear,
The child would see the rosebud near:
She saw the blooming flow'r.
My Little Rose, my Rosebud dear!
My Rose that blooms the roadside near!
The child exclaimed, "My hands shall dare,
Thee, Rose, from off they stem to tear:"
The Rose replied, "If I have need,
My thorns shall make thy fingers bleed—
Thy rash design give o'er."
My little Rose, my Rosebud dear!
My Rose that blooms the roadside near!
Regardless of its thorny spray,
The child would tear the Rose away;
The Rose bewailed with sob and sigh,
But all in vain, no help was nigh
To quell the urchin's pow'r.
My little Rose, my Rosebud dear!
My Rose that bloomed the roadside near!
New Monthly Magazine.
From Dr. Aikin's "Natural History of the Year," the ensuing passages regarding the season will be found agreeable and useful.
On hedge-banks the wild germander of a fine azure blue is conspicuous, and the whole surface of meadows is often covered by the yellow crowfoot. These flowers, also called buttercups, are erroneously supposed to communicate to the butter at this season its rich yellow tinge, as the cows will not touch it on account of its acrid biting quality; this is strikingly visible in pastures, where, though all the grass is cropped to the very roots, the numerous tufts of this weed spring up, flower, and shed their seeds in perfect security, and the most absolute freedom from molestation by the cattle; they are indeed cut down and made into hay together with the rest of the rubbish that usually occupies a large proportion of every meadow; and in this state are eaten by cattle, partly because they are incapable of separating them, and partly because, by dying, their acrimony is considerably subdued; but there can be no doubt of their place being much better supplied by any sort of real grass. In the present age of agricultural improvement the subject of grass lands among others has been a good deal attended to, but much yet remains to be done, and the tracts of the ingenious Stillingfleet, and of Mr. Curtis, on this important division of rural economy, are well deserving the notice of every liberal farmer. The excellence of a meadow consists in its producing as much herbage as possible, and that this herbage should be agreeable and nutritious to the animals which are fed with its crop. Every plant of crowfoot therefore ought, if practicable, be extirpated, for, so far from being grateful and nourishing to any kind of cattle, it is notorious, that in its fresh state nothing will touch it. The same may be said of the hemlock, kex, and other umbelliferous plants which are common in most fields, and which have entirely overrun others; for these when fresh are not only noxious to the animals that are fed upon hay, but from their rank and straggling manner of growth occupy a very large proportion of the ground. Many other plants that are commonly found in meadows may upon the same principles be objected to; and though the present generation of farmers has done much, yet still more remains for their successors to perform.
The gardens now yield an agreeable though immature product in the young gooseberries and currants, which are highly acceptable to our tables, now almost exhausted of their store of preserved fruits.
Early in the month the latest species of the summer birds of passage arrive, generally in the following order: fern-owl or goat-scuker, fly-catcher, and sedge-bird.
This is also the principal time in which birds hatch and rear their young. The assiduity and patience of the female during the task of sitting are admirable, as well as the conjugal affection of the male, who sings to his mate, and often supplies her place; and nothing can exceed the parental tenderness of both when the young are brought to light.
Several species of insects are this month added to those which have already been enumerated; the chief of which are the great white cabbage butterfly, capilio brassicæ; the may-chaffer, the favourite food of the fern-owl; the horse-fly, or forest-fly, so great a plague to horses and cattle; and several kinds of moths and butterflies.
Towards the end of May the bee-hives send forth their earlier swarms. These colonies consist of the young progeny, and some old ones, now grown too numerous to remain in their present habitation, and sufficiently strong and vigorous to provide for themselves. One queen bee is necessary to form each colony; and wherever she flies they follow. Nature directs them to march in a body in quest of a new settlement, which, if left to their choice, would generally be some hollow trunk of a tree. But man, who converts the labours and instincts of so many animals to his own use, provides them with a dwelling, and repays himself with their honey. The early swarms are generally the most valuable, as they have time enough to lay in a plentiful store of honey for their subsistence through the winter.
About the same time the glow-worm shines. Of this species of insect the females are without wings and luminous, the males are furnished with wings, but are not luminous; it is probable, therefore, that this light may serve to direct the male to the haunts of the female, as Hero of Sestos is said to have displayed a torch from the top of a high tower to guide her venturous lover Leander in his danterous passage across the Hellespont:—
You (i.e. the Sylphs)
Warm on her mossy couch the radiant worm,
Guard from cold dews her love-illumined form,
From leaf to leaf conduct the virgin light,
Star of the earth, and diamond of the night.
These little animals are found to extinguish their lamps between eleven and twelve at night.
Old May-day is the usual time for turning out cattle into the pastures, though frequently then very bare of grass. The milk soon becomes more copious, and of finer quality, from the juices of the young grass; and it is in this month that the making of cheese is usually begun in the dairies. Cheshire, Wiltshire, and the low parts of Gloucestershire, are the tracts in England most celebrated for the best cheese.
Many trees and shrubs flower in May, such as the oak, beech, maple, sycamore, barberry, laburnum, horse-chestnut, lilac, mountain ash, and Guelder rose; of the more humble plants the most remarkable are the lily of the valley, and woodroof in woods, the male orchis in meadows, and the lychnis, or cuckoo flower, on hedge-banks.
This month is not a very busy season for the farmer. Some sowing remains to be done in late years; and in forward ones, the weeds, which spring up abundantly in fields and gardens, require to be kept under. The husbandman now looks forward with anxious hope to the reward of his industry:—
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man
Has done his part. Ye fost'ring breezes, blow!
Ye soft'ning dews, ye tender show'rs descend;
And temper all, thou world-receiving sun,
Into the perfect year!
The Horse-chestnut. Æschylus Hippocastanum.
Dedicated to St. Barnardine of Sienna.