Obrazy na stronie

coffee, or both, we will proceed to enumerate the various appearances of nature in this month of December.

Rain and wind are now extremely prevalent; and, as the frost seldom sets in till the latter end of the month, December may be reckoned the most unpleasant of the whole year. At other times, however, November is better entitled to this appellation, and ice and snow contribute to give to Christmas that union of frost and good cheer which form the usual character of this season.

From the fall of the leaf, and withering of the herb, an unvarying death-like totpor oppresses almost the whole vegetable creation, and a considerable part of the animal, during this entire portion of the year. The whole race of insects, which filled every part of the summer landscape with life and motion, are now either buried in profound sleep, or actually no longer exist, except in the unformed rudiments of a future progeny. Many of the birds and quadrupeds are retired to concealments, from which not even the calls of hunger can force them; and the rest, intent only on the preservation of a joyless life, have ceased to exert those powers of pleasing, which, at other seasons, so much contribute to their mutual happiness, as well as to the amusement of their human sovereign. Their social connections, however, are improved by their wants. In order the better to securo their scanty subsistence, and resist the inclemencies of the sky, they are taught by instinct to assemble in flocks, and this provision has the secondary effect of gratifying the spectator with something of novelty and action, even in the dreariness of a wintery prospect.

This reads a moral lesson of no small import to their natural protector, but too often avowed enemy and destroyer, MAN. But his cruelties are not confined to the feathered creation; they are frequently manifested to his own species: at this inclement season, too, such conduct is doubly criminal. Let him


relieve the poor, than create poverty by unjust oppression. How can they who experience all the blessings of competence better express their gratitude to the Great Giver of all good, than by extending their aid to the forlorn cottager, and offering bim supplies of firing, clothing, and bedding? In this case, the rich may often be taught a lesson of benevolence by their inferiors. As an instance, we give the following pretty lines by ROBERT BLOOMFIELD:

Dear boy, tlırow that icicle down,

And sweep this deep snow from the door :
Old WINTER comes on with a frown;

A terrible frown for the poor.
In a season so rude and forlorn,

How can age, how can infancy, bear
The silent neglect and the scorn

Of those who have plenty to spare ?
Fresh broached is my cask of old ale,

Well timed now the frost is set in;
Here's Job come to tell us a tale,

We'll make him at home to a pin.
While my wife and I bask o'er the fire,

The roll of the seasons will prove,
That time may diminish desire,

But cannot extinguish true love.
O the pleasures of neighbourly chat,

If you can but keep scandal away,
To learn wbat the world has been at,

And what the great orators say!
Though the wind through the crevices sing,

And hail down the chimney rebound,
I'm happier than many a king,

While the bellows blow bass to the sound.
Abundance was never my lot:

But out of the trifle that's given,
That no curse may alight on my cot,

I'll distribute the bounty of Heaven.
The fool and the slave gather wealth ;

But if I add naught to my store,
Yet while I keep conscience in heulth,

I've a mine that will never grow poor.
The flowers mentioned as continuing in blow in
January, of course afford their beauties in this

month. Evergreens, firs, ivy, laurel, and that most beautiful plant the arbutus, rich in flowers and fruit at the same time, serve to enliven this dreary month.

The oak, the beech, and the hornbeam, in part, retain their leaves, and the ash its keys. The common holly (ilex aquifolium), with its scarlet berries, is now conspicuous; and those dwarfs of the vegetable creation, mosses, and the liverwort (lichen), now attract our notice.--See T.T. for 1817, p. 358. The redbreast is still heard to chaunt his cheerful strain,' and the sparrow chirps.-See our last volume, p. 319.

Towards the end of the month, woodcock shooting commences.

Of the snipe (scolopax gallinago), which becomes a prey to the fowler in this and the following month, there are more than forty varieties, mostly breeding in Europe, and subsisting on insects. Some of these wild-fowl frequent moors, others delight in swampy bushes, and others in the open fields.-See T.T. for 1816, p. 351.

In this month, those wild animals which pass the winter in a state of torpidity, retire to their hiding places. The frog, lizard, badger, and hedgehog, which burrow under the earth, belong to this class.

The bat is now found in caverns, barns, &c. suspended by the claws of its hind feet, and closely enveloped in the membranes of the fore feet. Dormice, squirrels, water-rats, and field-mice, provide a large stock of food for the winter season.

On every sunny day through the winter, clouds of insects, usually called gnats (tipulæ & empedes), appear sporting and dancing over the tops of evergreen trees in shrubberies; and they are seen playing up and down in the air, even when the ground is covered with snow. At night, and in frosty weather, or when it rains and blows, they appear to take shelter in the trees.

The farmer is happy to avail himself of a hard frost,

[ocr errors]

when the earth burns frore' and 'cold performs the effect of fire,' or of the sun, to dry the roads, to get the dung-cart, and carry out his manure, ready for the ensuing season of sowing spring corn.

December, with its winds and it storms, its joys and its sorrows, is now passed away, along with the shortest day and the winter solstice; and a scene of renovation, of hope and of joy, opens upon us, which carries us from the contemplation of terrestrial and transitory scenes, to those which are unearthly and endure for ever. These are beautifully typified in the gradual march of the seasons.

Deem we the face
Of changeful seasons varied but to charm
The gazing eye, and soothe the vacant mind!
Say, is not NATURE's ample tome displayed,
Even to the careless wanderer in the field,
With loftier purpose ? Wisdom's dictates pure,
Themes of momentous inport, charactered
By more than human finger, every page
Discloses. He, who formed this beauteous globe
So fair, amid her brightest scenes hath hung
Fit emblems of a perishable world;
And graved on tablets he that runs may read
Your fickle date, ye sublunary joys,
Ihe nuds doth SPRING unfold, and, thick as dew
Spanyling the grass, the purple bloom diffuse?
Comes a chill blight, and bids the sanguine youth
Read in its ravages a lore that tells
Of frustrate plans, and hope indulged in vain.
Do SUMMBR suns the mead with herbage load,
And tinge the ripening ear? With sudden rage
The thunder-storm descends; the river swells
Impatient, leaps the mound; and, while the waves
Devour the promised harvest, calls on thee,
O Man, to tremble for thy daily bread,
The faded leaves doth AUTUMN scatter wide;
Or WINTER rend the desolated boughs,
And lay the fathers of the forest low?
Child of the dust, attend! To thee they cry,
Each from his whirlwind, Earth is not thy home.'



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

* For the various SAINTS, see the word. The Roman Numerals

refer to the INTRODUCTION.


Abbey of St. Denis, 247

January 1819, 14; February, 48;
Abbot of St. Stephen's, S09

March, 70; April, 98; May,
Accession of king George III, 252 124; June, 144 ; July, 170;
ode for, ib.

August, 198 ; September, 226;
Advent Sunday, 285

October, 255; November, 285;
Albemarle, Countess of, 281

December, 311
Albumen, xxvii, xxxv

Atmospheric air, ix
Alembic, common, xlix

August, explained, 192
Alkalies, xvii

Azotic gas, X
All Fools' Day, 90
Saints, 277

Souls, 277

Barytes, xx
Almond-tree, 165

Batavia, landslip in, 43
Alumine, xix

Becket, Thomas à, 166
America, on the birds of, 111 Bede, venerable, 123
Ammonia, xvii

Bee, lines to, 84
Angler's song, 269

Beloe, Rev. W.95
Animal kingdom, chemistry of, Bernard, Sir Thomas, 165

Bile, xxxix
resins, xxxvi

Bird-lime, xxxi
Annunciation of B.V.M., 69 Birds, poetical invitation to, 119-
Antimony, xxiji

of America noticed, 111-lines on
Apple-tree, 29

a bird's nest, 11%, note
Apricot-tree, 33

Bismuth, xxiii
April, explained, 90-poetical de Bitter principle, xxix
scription of, 115

Bitumens, xxxiii
Arsenic, xxiv

Blackstone, Sir W. 41
Ascension Day, 122

Blood, xxxviii
Ashton, landslip, 43

Boerhaave, Dr. 223
Ash-Wednesday, 46

Bones, xxxvi
Assumption, 194

Boracium, xv

« PoprzedniaDalej »