Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

are found on the bushes, palings, and outsides of houses. The iulus terrestris appears, and the deathwatch (termes pulsatorius) beats early in the month. The wood-ant (formica herculanea) now begins to construct its large conical nest. The shell-snail comes out in troops; the stinging-fly (conops calcitrans) and the red-ant (formica rubra) appear. The mole cricket (gryllus gryllotalpa) is the most remarkable of the insect-tribe seen about this time. The black slug ( limax ater) abounds at this season. The blue flesh-fly (musca vomitoria), and the dragonfly (libellula) are frequently observed towards the end of the month. Little maggots, the first state of young ants, are now to be found in their nests. The great variegated libellula (libellula varia of Shaw), which appears, principally, towards the decline of summer, is an animal of singular beauty. The cabbage butterfly also (papilio brassica) now appears.

The following anonymous lines from the Northampton Mercury describe very prettily some of the appearances of nature in this month.

O charming Spring, with what delight I watch
Thy gradual progress! I've viewed with joy
The earliest snowdrop on the sunny bank,
And felt the odour of the ev'ning gale,
Whose sweetest fragrance the eye bewrayed
Where the first vilet peeped. Thy temp?rate sun
Wakes pature to new life.-Now o'er the vale
Big with new life the industrious bee
Rifles the op’ning flow'r., The insect tribe
Sport in the ev'ning ray, not wearying now
The thoughtful man, as with the ceaseless sound
Of summer, myriads, o'er their parent stream,
Dark’ning the twilight sky; for these called forth
To earlier life, the first-born of the year,
Now but remind him, that the better time
Draws on.

Well pleased he views each wintry trace
That still remains, and when he hears the wind
Shake the green budding boughs, or clatter harsh
The bright-leaved ivy to the trunk it clasps,
He thinks that soon the summer breeze shall sound
Refreshing in the waving foliage.

On the habits and food of caterpillars consult T.T. for 1816, p. 124, and T.T. for 1818, p. 119. The scenery of a forest at the approach of spring is beautifully described in our last volume, p. 107, in an extract from Mr. Gisborne.

River fish leave their winter retreats, and again become the prey of the angler,

For the various employments of the Fisher Boy' in this month, and some lines descriptive of river fish, see T.T. for 1817, p. 121.

The spring flight of pigeons (columbæ) appears in this month, or early in the next.

Dry weather is still acceptable to the farmer, who is employed in sowing various kinds of grain, and seeds for fodder, as buck-wheat, lucerne, saintfoin, clover, &c. The young corn and springing-grass, however, are materially benefited by occasional showers. The important task of weeding now begins with the farmer, and every thistle cut down, every plant of charlock pulled up, may be said to be not only an advantage to himself, but a national benefit.

Sowe barlie this season in land that is strong,
Your gurden hearbes setting delaye not too long :
To sowe hempe und flaxe and other good seede,
As cucummers and melons, this month you had neede.

To hoalsome buthes vse thee,

Sweet hearbs there to chuse thee.
The lambe and kyddes in Lenten time

Which dreadlesse slept of slaughtering knyfe,
To furnysh Easter in his prime

To butcher's gripes now pawne their lyfe.

DESCRIPTION OF FRUIT TREES.

[Continued from p. 90.] FILBERD TREE. See HAZEL. GOOSEBERRY TREE (ribes grossulariæ).--The name of this fruit, which is so universal in England,

appears to have been derived from its having formerly been eaten as a sauce with young, or, as they are commonly called, green geese. The best judges do not think it to have been originally a native of this country. In its wild state, the gooseberry tree or bush is only a foot or two in height, with a straight stem, and wholly covered with yellowish stiff prickles. This diminutive plant bas, therefore, been greatly improved by cultivation; for in our gardens, when full grown, it generally attains to four feet in height. The smoothness or hairiness of the fruit is purely accidental. It is by no means esteemed in the southern parts of Europe, though so universally eaten in Great Britain. It is almost unknown in the Spanish peninsula. Even in this country it was at first held in but slight estimation; but has been so assiduously cultivated and improved, that it is now become valuable, not only for tarts, pies, and sauces, both fresh and preserved in bottles, but as an early dessert fruit: it is, also, preserved in sugar for culinary purposes during the winter. The varieties best known at present are of the red kind, as the hairy and smooth; the deep red; the damson, or dark bluish red; the red raspberry; the early black red; and the champaigne. The green sorts are the hairy, the smooth, the Gascoigne, the raspberry. The yellow kind are the largest, and are called the great oval, the great amber, the hairy amber, the early amber, and the large tawny or great mogul. The whites, are the common white, the white veined, and the large crystal. Besides all these there is the rumbullion, the large ironmonger, the smooth ironmonger, the hairy globe, and an immense host of others that are annually raised from seeds. Some of these are of an enormous size, so that the boughs would not bear their disproportionate weight, unless effectually propped, which the gardener could not safely omit. In the neighbourhood of London, these bushes have often been seen covered with berries, each of which

weighed from fifteen pennyweights to an ounce; but it must be confessed that the smaller sorts are better tasted. Although these shrubs will thrive in almost any soil and situation, and are often planted under the shade of trees, the fruit is invariably best when they are planted apart from all kinds of trees, and upon a light loamy soil. Although all other poets have passed over this humble annual contributor to our tables, the present Laureate has condescended to notice it in the following appropriate stanzas:

Gooseberry-Pie is best.

Full of the theme, () Muse, begin the song !
What though the sunbeams of the west
Mature within the turtle's breast

Blood glutinous and fat of verdant hue?
What though the deer bound sportively along
O'er springy turf, the park's elastic vest?"

Give them their honours due,
But Gooseberry-Pie is best.

*

*

Blow fair, blow fair, thou orient gale!
On the white bosom of the sail

Ye winds enamoured, lingering lie!
Ye waves of ocean, spare the bark !

Ye tempests of the sky!
From distant realms she comes to bring

The sugar for my pie.
For this on Gambia's arid side

The vulture's feet are scaled with blood,
And Beelzebub beholds with pride

His darling planter brood.
First in the spring thy leaves were seen,

Thou beauteous bush, so early green!
Soon ceased thy blossom's little life of love.

O safer than the Alcides-conquered tree
That

grew the pride of that Hesperian grove,
No dragon does there need for thee
With quintessential sting to work alarms,

And guard thy fruit so fine,

Thou vegetable porcupine!
And didst thou scratch thy tender arms,

O Jane! that I should dine !
The flour, the sugar, and the fruit,
Commingled well, how well they suit,

And they were well bestowed.
O Jane, with truth I praise your pie,
And will not you in just reply

Praise my Pindaric ode? HAZEL (corylus avellana).—The common hazel grows in woods, copses, and hedges, and flowers in March or April. All the different species of the hazel are large, hardy, and deciduous shrubs; they have several varieties, valuable for their fruit, which, in a cultivated state, is known under the name of Filberts. These shrubs prosper in almost any soil or situation; and may be propagated either by layers, or by planting their nuts in February. Squirrels and mice are excessively fond of the nuts; goats and horses eat the leaves, but they are refused by sheep and hogs. When reared in coppices, the hazel produces abundance of underwood.

The wood of the hazel is employed for poles, hoops for barrels, spars, hurdles, handles for implements of husbandry, walking-sticks, fishing-rods, &c. Charcoal, made from the hazel, is highly esteemed by painters and engravers.

Mr. Park's rustic plant, entitled the « Filberd Tree,' cannot fail of being acceptable to every lover of delicate sentiment and elegant poetry :

I had a little cornely cot,

As neat as cottage well could be;
And near it rose a garden-plot,

Where fourished one embowering treem

Ah, 'twas a tree of trees to me!
To my neat cot it gave a name,

A Filberd was my favourite tree;
Who saw it, praised it into fame,

And ev’n my ucighbours, envying me,
Confessed it was a goodly tree.
Its graceful branches o'er my head

Waved wide an arched canopy;
And its broad leaves benignly spread

A fan of green embroidery,
That shaded all my family.

« PoprzedniaDalej »