ページの画像
PDF
ePub

By nipping winds. See how in ether floats
The light-winged mass,—then, mantling o'er the field,
Changes at once the landscape, chokes the rill,
Hoaries with white the lately verdant hill,
And silvers earth. All to thine influence yield,
Stern conqueror of blithe autumn; yearly still
Of thee, the dread avatar is revealed.

NO. III.-CLEAR FROST.
'Tis noon, the heaven is clear without a cloud;
And, on the masses of untrodden snow,
The inefficient sunbeams glance and glow:
Still is the mountain swathed in its white shroud.
But look along the lake!- hark to the bum
Of mingling crowds !-in graceful curves bow swings
The air-poised skater—Mercury without wings!
Rings the wide ice a murmur never dumb;
While over all, in fits harmonious, come
The dulcet tones which music landward flings.
There moves the ermined fair, with timid toe;
Half-pained, half-pleased: yes! all is joy and mirth,
As if, though frost could subjugate mean earth,
He had no chains to bind the spirit's flow.

NO. IV.- MOONLIGHT.
Behold the mountain peaks how sharply lined
Against the cloudless orient!-while, serene,
The silver moon, majestic as a queen,
Walks mid thin stars, whose lustre has declined.
There is no breath of wind abroad. The trees
Sleep in their stilly leaflessness; while, lost
In the pale, sparkling labyrinths of frost,
The wide world seems to slumber, and to freeze.
"Tis like enchanted fairy-land !-A chill
Steals o'er the heart, as, gazing thus on night,
Life from our lower world seems passed away:
And, in the witchery of the faint moonlight,
Silence comes down to hold perpetual sway;
So breathless is the scene—so hushed-so still!

NO. V.-VICISSITUDE.
Oh! sweetly beautiful it is to mark

The virgin, vernal snow-drop ! lifting up
Meek as a nun-the whiteness of its cup,
From earth's dead bosom, desolate and dark.
Glorious is Summer! with its rich array
Of blossomed greenery, perfume-glowing bowers,
Blue skies, and balmy airs, and fruits, and flowers,
Bright sunshine, singing birds, and endless day!
Nor glorious less brown Autumn's witchery,

[graphic]

As by her aureate trees Pomona sits,
And Ceres, as she wanders, hears by fits
The reapers' chant, beneath the mellowing sky;
But thy blasts, Winter, hymn a moral lay,
And, mocking earth, bid man's thoughts point on bigh.

NO. VI.-CONCLUSION.
All things round us preach of death; yet mirth
Swells the vain heart, darts from the careless eye,
As if we were created ne'er to die,
And had our everlasting home on earth :-
All things around us preach of death; the leaves
Drop from the forest-perish the bright flow'rs-
Shortens the day's shorn sunlight, bours on hours-
And o'er bleak, sterile fields the wild wind grieves.
Yes! all things preach of death,- we are born to die:
We are but waves along life's ocean driven:
Time is to us a brief probation given,
To fit us for a dread eternity.
Hear, ye that watch with faith's unslumbering eye,
Earth is our pilgrimage, our home is heaven!

-

We bave already observed, that water-fowl are driven from the nyarshes to the open streams in this month; the coot (Fulica atra) is one of these emigrants. In Norfolk, it breeds on those largé pieces of water called “ Broads,' and on some of them in considerable numbers. In autumn and winter, these birds make their appearance on the rivers in vast flocks; and upon an appointed day, all the boats and guns are put in requisition, and a general attack is made upon them. On the banks of the Stour, the fowlers approach them, while sitting upon the ooze, by concealing themselves bebind a screen made of bushes, wbich is placed upon a sledge, and driven before them.-Ou crossing the Stour (observe Messrs. Sheppard and Whitear) in the month of January, 1819, in a dead calm, we observed the coots floating upon the water in a semicircle. On our approach within about 200 yards, the whole body, amounting at the least calculation to several thousands, partly rose and flapped along the surface of the water, making a tremendous rushing noise. Had there been any wind, they would have risen into the air without difficulty; but there being none, they could scarcely disentangle their feet. Foxes frequent the banks of the Stour very early in the morning, to catch the wounded birds, who generally make to land, and of which there are sometimes great numbers. The larger kind of gulls often attack and devour coots. We have observed the latter, on the approach of their enemy, rush together from all quarters, and form a close, round, compact body, appearing like bees in the act of swarming. The gull kept hovering over their heads, and frequently dashed within a yard or two of them. Whenever he

flew to a distance, the coots dispersed, and again at his return flocked together; and this scene continued for more than half an hour. The coot is soon reconciled to confinement, and becomes domestic.- Linn. Trans. vol. xv, Part I, pp. 48-50.

In this most fierce and inhospitable of all months, besides the beautiful features we have noticed, we are, ever and anon, presented with momentary smiles and isolated instances of vegetable life, which come, as it were, to keep the heart from withering, amidst the despondency of this season of deadness. The Helleborus niger, or Christmas rose, expands its handsome, white chalices, undaunted by the sharpest frosts, and blooms amidst overwhelming wreaths of snow, long before that poetical and popular favourite the snowdrop dares emerge from its shrouding earth. The rosemary also blooms this month,-a plant alike esteemed and employed by our ancestors in festive and funereal ceremonies. The old chorus with which the boar's-head, garnished with rosemary, was introduced, has been rendered familiar to all ears by the pleasant pen of Geoffrey Crayon; and its use, in the decoration of coffins, has derived a melancholy interest from that of H. K. White',Mr. Bowring, in his “Specimens of the Polish Poets,' has the following beautiful poem on the subject of the · Rosemary :'

The ROSEMARY WREATH.
'It is not gold that I entreat,
I would not bave thy riches, sweet!
I supplicate no gems from thee,
I want no rivgs of brilliancy;
But give me, give me, lovely maid !
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.
When thou didst plant those flow'rets, thou
Didst pledge the wreath to bind my brow;
The wreath is woven, now convey
The wreath to me as thou didst say:
Come, give me, give me, lovely maid!
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.

1 See T.T. for 1814, p. 23. note.

It will not, cannot make thee poor;
But, lovely maid! I'll give thee more
Than its most precious price ;-I'll buy
The bargain, though thou prize it high.
But give me, give me, lovely maid!
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.
They cost thee nought, those simple flowers;
Some maids must give, with garlands, dowers:
Yet I will give a dower to thee,
And take the wreath, so give it me:-
Yes, give me, give me, lovely maid !
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.
If not for love, nor friendship's sake
A present of the wreath thou'lt make,
I'll give thee for thy garland now
The Turkish turban on my brow.
So give me, give me, lovely maid!
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.
"Twill fade ere long, the summer sky
Will blast its bloom-its flowers will die:
Though suns be cool, and winds should sleep,
Soon autumn's chill will o'er it creep.
Come, give me, give me, lovely maid !
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.
Thou wilt not stain thy virtue, maid!
No shame thy footsteps shall invade,
Though thou didst wear a wreath of truth,
And gav'st it to a faithful yonth.
So give me, give me, lovely maid !
The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head.
O is it not a praise, a bliss,
For such a trifling gift as this-
A few frail flowers that soon must die,
To find a friend-eternally!
Then give me, give me, lovely maid !

The rosemary wreath that crowns thy head. In the cheerless months of winter, when our fields are no longer attractive, and present to the eye only the melancholy aspect of decayed nature, the seashore offers to the botanist a rich field for contemplation. At all seasons, the sea-girt rocks are luxuriantly mantled with sea-weeds, and every storm scatters upon the beach some new object of his admiration.-See our last vol., p. 21, for an interesting article on the Algee, or sea-weeds, by MR. ANDREW KERR YOUNG, of Paisley, forming the first of a series of papers on Scotian Botany, for every month in the year. Consult also Drummond's First Steps to Botany, second edition.

Mild, and even sunny days, sometimes break the sullen monotony of January, which the country people look upon less with a pleased, than a foreboding eye,-denominating them weather-breeders. Whilst they are present, however, whatever consequences they may be chargeable with, they are extremely grateful. Gnats will even be seen to issue from their secret dormitories, to dance in the longwithheld rays of the sun. We have seen the leaves of the primrose shooting up vigorously beneath warm hedges at such times; and moles, feeling the ground released from its frosty bondage, begin to burrow and throw up their heaps of fresh and crumbling mould. Earth-worms also may be sometimes observed,

The WoRM.
[From the German of Overbeck.]
Thou tiny worm, that scarce can hold
Thy feet upon the frozen mould,
How void of beat, how dark and dead
Are all the fields around thee spread!
No balmy drops of summer dew
Thy mother's bosom now renew;
How rudely blows the bitter storm
That freezes thee, thou hapless worm !
And more than that, the frost hath rent
The twig o'er yonder cottage bent,
Where thou would'st oft thy travels cease,
And rest, with all the world at peace.
Upon thy now deserted bed
Thou stretchest forth thy feeble head;
To spare thy life thy only prayer,
While now thy little all they share.
And long before the morning red,
Poor hapless wormling, thou art dead!
The gracious God, that passes none,
He only knows where thou art gone.

« 前へ次へ »