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The blade dares boldly rise, new suns beneath,
GEORG. I, L. ii. v. 329.
Honest Chaucer, between four and five hundred years ago, speaks of the spring as we speak of it now, for the revolutions of time effect no change in natural sensations. Hear his beautiful lines in the "Romaunt of the Rose:-
That it was MAY thus dreamid me,
But it would be an interminable task to quote the beautiful apostrophes which have been addressed to this regal division of the year; we will only give another extract from a Turkish address to the season:
Thou hearest the tale of the nightingale, “that the verval season approaches.” The spring has spread a bower of joy in every grove, where the almond-tree sheds its silver blossoms. Be cheerful; be full of mirth; for the spring passes soon away, it will not last.
The groves and hills are adorned with all sorts of flowers: a pavilion of roses, as the seat of pleasure, is raised in the garden. Who knows which of us will be alive when the fair season ends? Be cheerful, &c.
cessed amidst gaiet love has his and
· The edge of the bower is filled with the light of Ahmed; among the plants the fortunate tulip represents his companions. Come, O people of Mohammed! this is the season of merriment. Be cheerful, &c.'
Such is the description of May by the poets, and such its character really is, in a greater or less degree, to all who enjoy youth and health'. In some temperaments, however, the impression produced by the season is overpowering from excess of excitation, and a feeling of sadness is generated amidst gaiety and hope. Burke observes, that the passion of love has in it more of melancholy than of jollity or mirth; and it is the same with impressions made by natural objects, where these impressions are more than commonly deep. They always tend, during the highest enjoyment of them, to a pleasing melancholy. The scent of a flower, where the perception of its odour is more exquisite than usual, will do this; and the view of an unclouded evening sky, or a rich setting sun, is uniformly productive of sadness to persons of great sensibility, and even in a limited degree to others. We are seldom aware of the cause of this; but it will often take its departure from the mind, leaving a feeling of mingled admiration and devotion be
1 We take this opportunity of recurring to our old friend ROBERT Bloomfield, whose Farmer's Boy will not fail to give delight so long as the beauties of external nature continue to have any effect on the human mind, Perpetual ill-health and concomitant anxieties have prevented him, of late years, from devoting much time to poetry : his May Day with the Muses, however, affords sufficient proof that he still takes an occasional draught from the fountain of Helicon. . Speaking of his lately published poems, he says, “I have written these tales in anxiety and in a wretched state of health; and if these formidable foes have not incapacitated me, but left me free to meet the public eye with any degree of credit, that degree of credit I am sure I shall gain. These sufferings, however, have not incapacitated the poet for pleasing those who are disposed to be pleased with wild flowers and May-blossom, and such sinple things as go to form a May-day wreath; and he must be a ruthless and a heartless critic who would by rough handling doom them to fade a moment before their time.
hind'. This perhaps arises from an unconscious regret, that all we are looking at is but for a short time; that the majesty of this 'breathing world' will not be much longer for us; and we feel forcibly, though hardly conscious of it, the instability of our being. Who that is arrived at manhood can forget his youthful feelings in May ?—who can forget
The spot where spring its earliest visit paid? Such reminiscences are the food of after-life, and enlighten with a solitary ray of sunshine even the gloom of the grave into which age is tottering. But the majority of mankind have fibres too coarse to vibrate to such impressions, and May is their month of boisterous rapture and unreflecting joy. Even care corrodes the heart less during the reign of this queen of months, for it is then that the tide of being flows to its full height. And why should it not be so?
Hard his herte that loveth nought
In Mey, when al this mirth is wrought 2. The latest species of the summer birds of passage arrive about the beginning of May. Among these are the goatsucker, or fern-owl (caprimulgus Europaus), the spotted fly-catcher (muscicapa grisola), and the sedge-bird (motacilla salicaria). In this and the following month, the dotterel is in season. Some birds that are in general strangers to England, occasionally visit its shores and groves. · The most remarkable among these are the little peterel, the
1 This particular kind of feeling may be understood by the following passage:-Combien de fois, de ma fenêtre exposée au Nord, j'ai contemplé avec émotion les vastes déserts du ciel, sa voûte superbe, azurée, magnifiquement dessinée, depuis le levant bleuâtre, loin derrière le Pont-au-Change,jusqu'au couchant, dorée d'une brillante couleur aurore derrière les arbres du cours et les maisons de Chaillot! Je ne manquois pas d'employer ainsi quelques momens à la fin d'un beau jour, et souvent des larmes douces couloient silencieusement de mes yeux ravis, tandis que mon cœur, gouflé d'un sentiment inexprimable, heureux d'être et reconnoissant d'exister, offroit à l'Etre supreme un hommage pur et digne de lui.'— Vie privée de Mad. Roland.
2 See New Monthly Magazine, voliv, p. 428, N.S.
bit hatcher (in and that he in mosts, has thi
hoopoe, the green woodpecker, and the golden-crowned wren.—See our last volume, p. 155.
Our Gloucestershire correspondent remarks, that nearly the whole race of our migrating birds have been remarkably scarce this year (1822), and a very indifferent observer must have noted the small number of birundines that have been seen sporting about our pools and villages; and most of the other summer visitors have been equally rare, but have not been so manifest to general observation as these more familiar birds. The wry-neck. (jynx torquilla) has been scarcely heard in the spring, and our anthills, where they commonly feed in July and August, exhibit hardly any symptoms of their depredations. The fly-catcher (muscicapa grisola) has appeared only here and there; and that amusing perseverance in capturing their prey, which in most summers is exhibited in our gardens and courts, has this year been confined to the lonely ruin, or a few favourite sites: and even the strong-winged swift (h. apus) collected for his dashing flight around our church towers but a poor assemblage of companions. The only wandering bird we have observed, that has visited us this year in his usual number, is the ashcoloured butcher bird (lanius excubitor.) It is probable that the migrating birds in their passage to us encountered some adverse gales, and, exhausted by a long and weary flight, were unable to contend with them, and perished in the ocean. But notwithstanding the diminished number of these little creatures, the rapacity of them has been almost unequalled. Motacilla atricapilla, m. sylva, m. hippolais, and m. hortensis, have been most bold and voracious plunderers of our gardens, as, from the dryness of the season, it is probable they found but little food beyond the precincts of our inclosures. From the mildness of our winter in 1821-2, and the forwardness of the spring, birds began to breed unusually early, and the whole business of nidification and the employment of rearing their young were finished nearly a month earlier than in common years; and at the end of July and August, the season partook the character, and birds the plumage of September.
We have recorded a competition between the · nightingale and a lutanist in our last vol. p. 118-122;
we have now to mention a trial of skill between Phi-
to celebrate the Return of Spring, May 1, 1822.
. But who could go to rest?
And music charmed the breast;
To Nature's children dear,
Trills wildly in the ear.
Felt jealous of her pow'rs;
• For once I'll try late hours.'
With voice of human gladness;
That not to hear-were madness,
To join the Bird of Summer;
The silvery notes leapt from her!
So deep, so soft, so pearly,
To make her sing so clearly.