Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Her sympathizing lover takes his stand
High on th' opponent bank, and ceaseless sighs
The tedious time away; or else sopplies
Her place a moment, while she sudden fits
To pick the scanty meal. Th’appointed time,
With pious toil fulfilled, the callow young,
Warmed and expanded into perfect life,
Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
A helpless family, demanding food
With constant clamour. O what passions then,
What melting sentiments of kindly care,
On the new parents seize! A vay they fly
Affectionate, and undesiring bear
The most delicious morsel to their young;
Which equally distributed, again
The search begins. Even so, a gentle pair,
By fortune supk, but formed of generous mould,
And charmed with cares beyond the vulgar breast,
In some lone cot amid the distant woods,
Sustained alone by providential Heaven,
Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train,
Check their own appetites, and give them all.

Nor toil alone they scorn: exalting love,
By the great FATHER of the SPRING inspired,
Gives instant courage to the fearful race
And to the simple, art. With stealthy wing,
Should some rude foot their woody haunts molest,
Amid a neiglabouring bush they silent drop,
And whirring thence, as if alarmed, deceive
Th’unfeeling school-boy. Hence, around the bead
Of wandering swain, the white-winged plover wheels
Her sounding flight, and then directly on
In lovg excursion skims the level lawn,
To tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck hence
O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless waste
The heath-hen flutters, pious fraud ! to lead
The hot pursuing spaniel far astray.

Be not the Muse ashamed here to bemoan Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man Inhuman canght, and in the narrow cage From liberty confined, and boundless air. Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull, Ragged, and all its brightiug lustre lost; Nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes, Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the bough. O then, ye friends of love and love-taught song, Spare the soft tribes, this barbarous art forbear; If on your bosom innocence can win, Music engage, or piety persuade.

3

About the middle of this month, the bittern (ardea stellaris) makes a hollow. booming noise during the night in the breeding season, from its swampy retreats. Towards the end of the month, the blackcap (motacilla atricapilla), called, in Norfolk, the mocknightingale, begins its song.

The progress of vegetation is general and rapid in this month.

Hail, Source of Being ! Universal Soul
Of Heaven and Earth! Essential Presence, hail!
To Thee I bend the kvee; to Thee my thoughts,
Continual, climb; who, with a master hand,
Hast the great whole into perfection touched.
By Thee the various vegetative tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy net, and clad with leaves,
Draw the live ether, and imbibe the dew:
By Thee disposed into congenial soils,
Stands each attractive plant, and sucks and swells
The juicy tide; a twiping mass of tubes.
At Thy command the vernal sun awakes
The torpid sap, detruded to the root
By wintry winds; that now in fluent dance,
And lively fermentation, mounting, spreads

All this innumerous-coloured scene of things, The blossoms of trees now present to the eye a most agreeable spectacle, particularly in those counties which abound with orchards. The blackthorn (prus nus spinosa) is the first that puts forth its flowers; a host of others follow, among which may be named the ash (fraxinus excelsior), ground-ivy (glecoma hederacea), the box-tree (buxus sempervirens), the peartree (pýrus communis), the apricot, the peach, nectarine, the wild and garden cherry, and the plum; gooseberry and currant trees'; the hawthorn (crategus oxycantha), the apple tree (pyrus malus sativus), and the sycamore (acer pseudo-platanus).

Now from the town
Buried in smoke, and sleep, and noisome damps,
Qft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling drops

* See these all described at length in our last volume.

From the bent bush, as thro' the verdant maze
Of sweet-briar hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend
Some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains,
And see the country, far-diffused around,
One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower

Of mingled blossoms. The elm (ulmus campestris), the beech (fagus sylvatica), and the larch (pinus-larix rubra), are now in full leaf. That magnificent and beautiful tree, the horse-chesnut (hippocastanum), now displays its honours of fine green leaves and its handsome spikes pyramidal of white and red flowers. It is quite the glory of forest trees.

Many and lovely are the flowers which are showered, in profusion, from the lap of April: among them may be named the jonquil, anemoné, ranunculus, polyanthus, and the crown-imperial. Other flowers which adorn our fields, at this time, are the checquered daffodil (fritillaria meleagris); the primrose; the cowslip (primula veris); the lady-smock (cardamine pratensis), and the hare-bell (hyacinthus non scriptus). The yellow star of Bethlehem (ornithogalum luteum) in woods; the vernal squill (scilla verna) among maritime rocks; and the wood sorrel (oxalis acetosella), are now in full flower.

Various kinds of insects are now seen "sporting in the sun-beams,' and living their little hour. The jumping spider (aranea scenica) is seen on garden walls; and the webs of other species of spiders 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.

From their wint'ry cells,
The summer's genial warmth impels
The busy ants-a countless train,

L

That with sagacious sense explore
Where, provident for winter's store,
The careful rustic hides his treasured grain;
Then issues forth the sable band,
And seizing on the secret prize,
From mouth to mouth, from band to band,
His busy task each faithful insect plies;
And often as they meet,
With scanty interval of toil,
Their burthens they repose awhile,
For rest alternate renders labour sweet.
Their travelled path their lengthened tracks betray,
And, if no varied cates they bear,
Yet ever is the portion dear,

Without whose aid the powers of life decay. 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 vomitorio), 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.

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

When with his lively ray the potent sun
Has pierced the streams, and roused the finny race,
Then, issuing cheerful, to thy sport repair ;
Chief should the western breezes curling play,
And light o’er ether bear the shadowy clouds.
High to their fount, this day, amid the hills
And woodlands warbling round, trace up the brooks:
The next, pursue their rocky channelled maze,
Down to the river, in whose ample wave
Their little naiads love to sport at large.
Just in the dubions point, where with the pool
Is mixed the trembling stream, or where it boils
Around the stone, or from the hollowed bank
Reverted plays in undulating flow,
There throw, nice judging, the delusive fly;

And as you lead it round in artful curve,
With eye attentive mark the springing game.
Strait as above the surface of the flood
They wanton rise, or urged by hunger leap,
Then fix with gentle twitch the harbed hook:
Some lightly tossing to the grassy bank,
And to the shelving shore slow dragging, some
With various hand proportioned to their force.
If yet too young, and easily deceived,
A worthless prey scarce bends your pliant rod,
Him, piteous of his youth and the short space
He has enjoyed the vital light of Heaven,
Soft disengage, and back into the stream
The speckled captive throw. But should you lure,
From his dark haunt beneath the tangled roots
Of pendant trees, the monarch of the brook,
Beboves you then to ply your finest art:
Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly,
And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft
The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear.
At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death,
With sullen plange. At once he darts along,
Deep-struck, and runs out all the lengthened line;
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,
The caverned bank, his old secure abode;
And Alies aloft, and flounces round the pool,
Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand,
That feels bim still, yet to his furious course
Giyes way, you, now retiring, following now
Across the stream, exhaust his idle rage,
Till, floating broad upon his breathless side,
And to his fate abandoned, to the shores

You gaily drag your unresisting prize. 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,

« PoprzedniaDalej »