Obrazy na stronie

Of him bereft, who shall me aid

To rear our tender young!
'Twas all she could, here utterance failed,

Her heart with anguish wrung.
A red-breast, from a neighbouring tree,
Surveyed their hopeless state-
Cease, cease your piteous plaints,' said he,

• Nor think to shun your fate.
* Poor lark! be sure thy doom's decreed,

No eloquence will do;
For know, the wretch, to whom you plead,

Is judge and jury too!'
Yet grief had moved the farmer's breast,

Which, glorying to forgive,
Determined death should

not divide
Those truth had formed to live.
With ready hand he loosed the string,

The captive soared on high;
Quickly his mate, with eager wing,

Rejoined him in the sky.
The red-breast, seeing mercy shown,

Enraptured took his flight;
Nor did the farmer's feeling heart

Experience less delight. In this month, trout begin to rise; blood-worms appear in the water; black ants (formica nigra) are observed; the blackbird and the turkey (meleagris gallopavo) lay; and house pigeons sit. The greenfinch (loxia chloris) sings; the bat(vespertilio) is seen flitting about, and the viper uncoils itself from its winter sleep. The wheatear(sylvia cenanthe), or English ortolan, again pays its annual visit, leaving England in September. They are found in great numbers about East Bourne, in Sussex, more than eighteen hundred dozen being annually taken in this neighbourhood. They are usually sold at sixpence a dozen.—See T.T. for 1816, p.88.

Those birds which have passed the winter in England now take their departure for more northerly regions. The fieldfares (turdus pilaris) travel to Russia, Sweden, and Norway, and even as far as Siberia. They do not arrive in France till December, when they assemble in large flocks of two or three thousand. The red-wing (turdus iliacus), which frequents the same places, eats the same food, and is very similar in manners to the fieldfare, also takes leave of this country for the season. Soon after, the woodcock (scolopax rusticola) wings its aërial voyage to the countries bordering on the Baltic. Some other birds, as the crane and stork, formerly natives of this island, have quitted it entirely, since our cultivation and population have so rapidly increased.

Frogs, enlivened by the warmth of spring, rise from the bottom of ponds and ditches, where they have lain torpid during the winter.-See our last volume, p. 69.

The facetious Peter Pindar has written a quaint, but amusing, little ode on the frog; and as it inculcates a useful moral lesson, we shall introduce it to the notice of our readers :

A thousand frogs, upon a summer's day,

Were sporting 'midst the sunny ray,
In a large pool reflecting ev'ry face;
They showed their gold-laced clothes with pride,

In harmless sallies frequent vied,
And gambolled through the water with a grace.

It happened that a band of boys,

Observant of their harmless joys,
Thoughtless, resolved to spoil their happy sport;

One frenzy seized both great and small,

On the poor frogs the rogues began to fall,
Meaning to splash them, not to do them hurt.

As Milton quaintly sings, the stones 'gan pour,'

Indeed an Otaheite show'r !
The consequence was dreadful, *

One's eye was beat out of his head-
This limped away, that lay for dead



Among the smitten, it was found
Their beauteous queen received a wound;

The blow gave ev'ry heart a sigh,

And drew a tear from ev'ry eye:
At length king croak got up, and thus begun-

My lads, you think this very pretty fun!
• Your pebbles round us fly as thick as hops,-




[ocr errors]

To you, I guess that these are pleasant stones;

And so they might be to us frogs, But they're so hard, they break our bones.' The smelt (salmo'eperlanus) begins to ascend rivers to spawn, when they are taken in great abundance.

On the 20th, the vernal equinox takes place. All Nature feels her renovating sway, and seems to rejoice at the retreat of winter. The sallow (salix) now enlivens the hedges; the aspen (populus tremula), and the alder (alnus betula), have their flowers full blown; the laurustinus (viburnum tinus) and the bay (laurus nobilis) begin to open their leaves. The equinoctial gales are usually most felt, both by sea and land, about this time.

Our gardens begin now to assume somewhat of a cheerful appearance: Crocuses, exhibiting a rich mixture of yellow and purple, ornament the borders; mezereon is in all its beauty; the little flowers • with silver crest and golden eye,' daisies, are scattered over dry pastures; and the pilewort (ranunculus ficaria) is seen on the moist banks of ditches. The primrose too (primula veris) peeps from beneath the hedge.

The leaves of honeysuckles are now nearly expanded: in our gardens, the buds of the cherry tree (prunus cerasus), the peach (amygdalus persica), the nectarine, the apricot, and the almond (prunus armeniaca), are fully opened in this month. The buds of the hawthorn (cratogus oxycantha) and of the larch tree (pinus larix) begin to open; and the tansy (tanacetum vulgare) emerges out of the ground; ivy-berries are ripe;

the coltsfoot (tussilago), the cotton-grass (eriophorum vaginatum), wood spurge (euphorbia amygdaloides), butcher's broom (ruscus aculcatus), the daffodil (pseudonarcissus) in moist thickets, the rush (juncus pilosus), and the spurge laurel (daphne laureola), found in woods, are now in bloom. The common whitlow grass (draba verna) on old walls; the yellow Alpine whitlow grass (draba aizoides) on maritime rocks; and the mountain pepper-wort (lepidum petræum) among limestone rocks, flower in March.

The sweet violet (viola odorata) sheds its delis cious perfumes in this month.

To the VIOLET.
Sweet flower of the tranquil glade,
Emblem of virtue, in the shade;
Rearing thy head, to brave the storm,
That wou'd thy beauty soon deform-
Of all the flowers the seasons bring,
Of all that decorate the Spring,
To me, while doomed to wander here,
The fragrant Violet shall be dear.
How like the Violet in th' wild,
In Claremont's Groves the Princess smiled,
Till God (who gave those blossoms birth)
So fair a Flower removed from earth :
Nor left, alas! one Bud behind
To tranquilize a nation's mind,
Save that sweet Bud which strews the way,

Blest Hope', to an eternal day.
The gannets or Soland geese (pelicanus bassanus)
resort in March to the Hebrides, and other rocky
isles of North Britain, to make their nests and lay


[ocr errors]

their eggs.

Much amusement may be derived in this month, as well as in the last, from watching the progress of worms, insects, &c. from torpidity to life, particularly on the edges or banks of ponds.-See T.T. for 1817, p. 53.

Spes tutissima cælis,

Towards the close of the month, bees (apis mellifica) venture out of their hives. For a full account of this interesting insect we refer the reader to our four first volumes.

Thou cheerful Bee! come, freely come,

And travel round my woodbine bow'r,
Delight me with thy wandering bum,
And rouse me from my musing hour:

Oh! try no more yon tedious fields,
Come taste the sweets my garden yields;
The treasure of each blooming mine,

The bud--the blossom all are thine!
And careless of this noontide heat,

I'll follow as thy ramble guides,
To watch thee, pause and chafe thy feet,
And sweep them o'er thy downy sides;

Then in a flower's bell nestling lie,
And all thy busiest ardour ply;
Then o'er the

stem, though fair it grow,
With touch rejecting, glance and gy.
O Nature kind! O labourer wise!

That roam'st along the summer ray,
Glean'st ev'ry bliss thy life supplies,
And meet’st prepared thy wintry day;

Go-envied go-with crowded gates,
The hive thy rich return awaits;
Bear home thy store in triumph gay,

And shame each idler on thy way! In the latter end of March, chickens run about; a brimstone-coloured butterfly (papilio rhamni) appears; black beetles fly about in the evening; and bats issue from their places of concealment. Roach and dace float near the surface of the water, and sport about in pursuit of insects. Daffodils are in flower; peas appear above ground; the sea-kale (crambe maritima), a vegetable somewhat similar to, but more delicate than, asparagus, now begins to sprout. The male blossoms of the yew-tree expand and discharge their farina. Sparrows are busily employed in forming their nests. Young lambs are yeaned this month.

If the season be dry, the stone-picker is sent


« PoprzedniaDalej »