صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[graphic][subsumed]

APRIL.
On April, in old kalendars, is drawn
A gallant hawker, pacing on a lawn,
Holding a bell’d and hooded fowl of

prey,
Ready to loose him in the airy way.
For daily, now, descends the solar beam,
And the warm earth seems in a waking dream;
Insects creep out, leaves burst, and flowers rise,
And birds enchant the woods, and wing the skies;
Each sentient being a new sense receives,

And eloquently looks, to each, it lives. The name of this month is before ob- seeds germinate, and at this season served to have been derived from the verb flowers begin to blow; yet Macrobius aperire,* which signifies to open, because affirms that it is derived from a Greek * Vol. i. p. 407.

word signifying aphrilis, or descended

from Venus, or, born of the scum of the as many different colours, It is this, and sea, because Romulus dedicated the month the budding forth of every living memto Venus. This may be the real deriva- ber of the vegetable world, after its long tion; the former is the most natural. winter death, that in fact constitutes the

spring; and the sight of which affects us in “ April,” says the author of the Mirror the manner it does, from various causesof the Months, “ is spring—the only spring chiefly moral and associated ones; but month that we possess—the most juvenile one of which is unquestionably physical : of the months, and the most feminine- I mean the sight of so much tender green the sweetest month of all the year; partly after the eye has been condemned to look because it ushers in the May, and partly for months and months on the mere negafor its own sake, so far as any thing can tion of all colour, which prevails in winter be valuable without reference to any in our climate. The eye feels cheered thing else. It is, to May and June, cherished, and regaled by this colour, as what 'sweet fifteen,' in the age of the tongue docs by a quick and pleasant woman, is to passion-striken eighteen, taste, after having long palated nothing and perfect two-and-twenty.

It is but tasteless and insipid things.—This is worth two Mays, because it tells tales of the principal charm of spring, no doubt. May in every sigh that it breathes, and But another, and one that is scarcely every tear that it lets fall. It is the har- second to this, is, the bright flush of binger, the herald, the promise, the pro

blossoms that prevails over and almost pnecy, the foretaste of all the beauties hides every thing else in the fruit-garden that are to follow it-of all, and more and orchard. What exquisite differences of all the delights of summer, and all the and distinctions and resemblances there pride, pomp, and circumstance of glo- are between all the various blossoms of rious autuin. It is fraught with beau- the fruit-trees; and no less in their ties that no other month can bring before general effect than in their separate deus, and

tails! The almond-blossom, which comes • It bears a glass which shows us many more.'

first of all, and while the tree is quite bare

of leaves, is of a bright blush-rose colour; Its life is one sweet alternation of smiles and when they are fully blown, the tree, and sighs an! tears, and tears and sighs if it has been kept to a compact head, and smiles, till it is consummated at last instead of being permitted to straggle, in the open laughter of May."

looks like one huge rose, magnified by By the same hand we are directed to

some fairy magic, to deck the bosom of observe, “what a sweet flush of new some fair giantess. The various kinds of green has started up to the face of this plum follow, the blossoins of which are meadow! And the new-born daisies snow-white, and as full and clustering as that stud it here and there, give it the those of the almond. The peach and look of an emerald sky, powdered with nectarine, which are now full blown, are snowy stars. In making our way to unlike either of the above; and their yonder hedgerow, which divides the sweet effect, as if growing out of the hard meadow from the little copse that lines one bare wall, or the rough wooden paling, is side of it, let us not take the shortest way, peculiarly pretty. They are of a deep but keep religiously to the little footpath; blush colour, and of a delicate bell shape, for the young grass is as yet tno tender the lips, however, divided, and turning to bear being trod upon; and the young backward, to expose the interior to the lambs themselves, while they go cropping cherishing sun. But perhaps the bloom its crisp points, let the sweet daisies that is richest and most promising in its alone, as if they loved to look upon a general appearance is that of the cherry, sight as pretty and as innocent as them- clasping its white honours all round the selves." " It is further remarked that long straight branches, from heel to point, " the great charm of this month, both in and not letting a leaf or a bit of stem be the open country and the garden, is un. seen, except the three or four leaves that doubtedly the infinite green which per. come as a green finish at the extremity of vades it every where, and which we had each branch. The other blossoms, of the best gaze our fill at while we may, as it pears, and (loveliest of all) the apples, do lasts but a little while,-changing in a not come in perfection till next month." few weeks into an endless variety of shades and tints, that are equivalent to

VOL. II.-68.

SPRING.

site description and just application. The

writers have traversed “woods and wilds, The beauties of the seasons are a con- and fields, and lanes, with a curious and stant theme with their discoverers--the delighted eye,” and “ written not for the poets Spring, as the reproductive source sake of writing," but for the indulgence ot" light and life and love," has the pre- of their overflowing feelings. They are eminence with these children of nature. “ members of the Society of Friends," The authors of “ The Forest Minstrel and and those who are accustomed to regard other poems,” William and Mary Howitt, individuals of that community as neceshave high claims upon reflective and ima- sarily incapable of poetical impression, ginative minds, in return for the truth and will be pleased by reading from Mr. beauty contained in an elegant volume, Howitt's “ Epistle Dedicatory" what he which cultivates the moral sense, and says of his own verses, and of his help infuses a devotional spirit, through exqui- mate in the work:

And now 'tis spring, and bards are gathering flowers ;

So I have culi'd you these, and with them sent
The gleanings of a nymph whom some few hours

Ago I met with—some few years I meant-
Gathering " true-love" amongst the wild-wood bowers;

You'll find some buds all with this posy blent,
If that ye know them, which some lady fair
Viewing, may haply prize, for they are wond'rous rare.

[ocr errors]

Artists have seldom represented friends fashion, which marks the wearer as re-" of the Society of Friends,"—with markably formal; while the young females poetical feeling. Mr. Howitt's sketch of of the society, still preserving the distinchimself, and her whom he found gathering tion prescribed by discipline, dress more

true love,” though they were not clad attractively, to the cultivated eye, than a perhaps as worldlings are,” would in- multitude of the sex who study variety of spire a painter, whose art could be roused costume. Such lovers, pictured as they by the pen, to a charming picture of are imagined from Mr. Howitt's lines, youthful affection. The habit of some of would grace a landscape, enfoliated from ihe young men, in the peaceable commu other stanzas in the same poem, which nity, maintains its character, without that raise the fondest recollections of the plea. extremity of the fashion of being out of sures of boyhood in spring.

Then did I gather, with a keen delight,

All changes of the seasons, and their signs :
Then did I speed forth, at the first glad sight

Of the coy spring—of spring that archly shines
Out for a day-then goes—and then more bright

Comes laughing forth, like a gay lass that lines
A dark lash with a ray that beams and burns,
And scatters hopes and doubts, and smiles and frowns, by turns.

On a sweet, shining morning thus sent oul,

It seem'd what man was made for, to look round
And trace the full brook, that, with clamorous route,

O'er fallen trees, and roots black curling, wound
Through glens, with wild brakes scatter'd all about ;

Where not a leaf or green blade yet was found
Springing to hide the red fern of last year,
And hemlock's broken stems, and rustling rank grass sere,

But hazel catkins, and the bursting buds

Of the fresh willow, whisper'd « spring is coming;"
And bullfinches forth Aitting from the woods,

With their rich silver voices; and the humming

Of a new waken'd bee that pass'd; and the broods

Of ever dancing gnats, again consuming,
In pleasant sun-light, their re-given time;
And the germs swelling in the red shoots of the line.
All these were tell-tales of far brighter hours,

That had been, and again were on their way;
The breaking forth of green things, and of flowers,

From the earth's breast; from bank and quickening spray
Dews, buds, and blossoms; and in woodland bowers,

Fragrant and fresh, full many a sweet bird's lay,
Sending abroad, from the exultant spring,
To every living heart a gladsome welcoming.

Howitt.

April 1.

(p. 409,) there is an account of the sin

gular usage of fool-making to-day, which ALL Fool's Day.

may be further illustrated by a few lines In the first volume of the present work, from an almanac of 1760 :

The first of April, some do say,
Is set apart for All Fool's-day;
But why the people call it so,
Nor I, nor they themselves, do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment;
And though the day is known before,
Yet frequently there is great store
Of these forgetfuls to be found,
Who're sent to dance Moll Dixon's round;
And having tried each shop and stall,
And disappointed at them all,
At last some tell them of the cheat,
And then they hurry from the street,
And straightway home with shame they run,
And others laugh at what is done.
But 'tis a thing to be disputed,
Which is the greatest fool reputed,
The man that innocently went,
Or he that him designedly sent, Poor Robin.

The custom of making April fools pre- vessel carried to receive the pease was not vails all over the continent. A lady relates thrown at the head of the bearer. that the day is further marked in Provence by every body, both rich and poor, having There is an amusing anecdote connected for dinner, under some form or other, a with the church of the convent of the sort of peas peculiar to the country, Chartreux, at Provence. It was dedicatcalled pois chiches. While the convented to St. John, and over the portico were of the Chartreux was standing, it was one colossal statues of the four evangelists, of the great jokes of the day to send which have been thrown down and broken novices thither to ask for these peas, to pieces, and the fragments lie scattered telling them that the fathers were obliged about. The first time Miss Plumptre to give them away to any body who with her party visited this spot, they would come for them. So many applica- found an old woman upon her knees tions were in consequence made in the before a block of stone, muttering somecourse of the day for the promised bounty, thing to herself:—when she arose up, that the patience of the monks was at last curiosity led them to inquire, whether usually exhausted, and it was well if the there was any thing particular in that

Aprů 2.

stone; to which she replied with a deep “ Ordered that All-Saints have the sigh, Ah oui, c'est un morceau de Saint metal belonging to the horse of the said Jean, “Ah yes, 'tis a piece of Saint statue, except a leg thereof, which must John." The old lady seemed to think go towards the casting of a new bell for that the saint's intercession in her behalf, St. Andrew's parish.” mutilated as he was, might still be of A print of the statue was published some avail.

on two large sheets of Genoa paper,"

price 5s. by Joseph Barber of Newcastle. In Xylander's Plutarch there is a Records, by John Sykes, bookseller,

There is an engraving from it in “ Local passage in Greek, relative to the “ Feast Newcastle, 1824," a book which consists of Fools,” celebrated by the Romans, to of a chronological arrangement of curious this effect, “ Why do they call the Quiri- and interesting facts, and events

, that have nalia the Feast of Fools ? Either, because occurred exclusively in the counties of they allowed this day (as Juba tells us) to Durham and Northumberland, Newcastlethose who could not ascertain their own upon-Tyne, and Berwick, with an obituary tribes, or because they permitted those . and anecdotes of remarkable persons. who had missed the celebration of the The present notice is taken from Mr. Fornacalia in their proper tribes, along Sykes's work. with the rest of the people, either out of negligence, absence, or ignorance, to hold their festival apart on this day.”

NATURALISTS' CALENDAR.

Mean Temperature ... 44• 17. The Romaps on the first day of April abstained from pleading causes, and the Roman ladies performed ablutions under myrtle trees, crowned themselves with its

CHRONOLOGY. leaves, and offered sacrifices to Venus. On the 2d of April 1755, Severndroog This custom originated in a mythological castle, on the coast of Malabar, belonging story, that as Venus was drying her wet to Angria, a celebrated pirate, was taken ted hair by a river side, she was perceived by commodore James. His relict, to by satyrs, whose gaze confused her :

commemorate her husband's heroism, and But soon with myrtles she her beauties

to testify her affectionate respect to his meveiled,

mory, erected a tower of the same name From whence this annual custom was en

on Shooters-hill, near Blackheath, where tail'd.

it is a distinguished land-mark at an Ovid.

immense distance to the circumjaceat

country. NEWCASTLE.

NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. Extract from the Common Council Book. Mean Temperature ... 44.37.

“ April 1, 1695. All-Saints' parish humbly request the metal of the statue,

April 3. towards the repair of their bells." This refers to a statue of James II.

SIGNS OF THF SEASONS. pulled down from the Exchange in con It is noticed on this day in the “Perensequence of lord Lumley having entered nial Calendar,” that the birds are now the town and declared for a free parlia- arriving daily, and forming arrangements ment. It was an equestrian figure in for the hatching and nurture of their copper, of the size of Charles I. at Char- future young. The different sorts of ing-cross. The mob demolished the nests of each species, adapted to the statue, dragged it to the quay, and cast it wants of each, and springing out of their into the river. As the parish of All Saints respective instincts, combined with the desired to turn the deposit to some ac- propensity to construct, would form a count, the parish of St. Andrews peti- curious subject of research for the natural tioned for a share of the spoil, and it historian. Every part of the world furappears by the subjoined extract from the nishes materials for the aërial architects : council books, that each was accommo- leaves and small twigs, roots and dried dated.

grass, mixed with clay, serve for the ex

« السابقةمتابعة »