Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

FEBRUARY

which lie at its base, and is the finest | The little park is a fine expanse, comterrace of the kind in the kingdom. On prising nearly five hundred acres round the east side of the castle, are the private the east and north sides of the castle. apartments of her majesty and the royal Windsor great park adjoins the south gardens, comprising about two acres. side of the town, at one period consisting The drawing-room, audience-chamber, of four thousand acres, and was fourteen ball-room, and the Waterloo chamber, miles in circumference, but George i. are superbly decorated. St. George's- set apart more than a thousand acres for hall, the banqueting-room of the knights the formation of experimental farms, and of the Garter, is two hundred feet in other purposes connected with agricullength, with an arched ceiling divided ture.

F. into compartments and panels, in which are nearly seven hundred shields, emblazoned with the arms of the knights APPEARANCES OF NATURE. down to the present time. In the lower ward, the principal object of interest is St. George's chapel, which is justly re « THAT man," said Cowper," who can garded as one of the finest buildings of derive no gratification from a view of the kind in the kingdom. The roof and nature, even under the disadvantage of the nave are painted with armorial bear-| her most ordinary dress, will have no ings, and the whole highly enriched, so eyes to admire her in any," This remark that it now presents one of the best is especially applicable to the present examples of the capability of English month, which may be regarded as the architecture for the reception of splendid most cheerless of the year. February colouring and gilding. The round tower, may be divided into three parts: the or keep, was originally built by the cele- commencement, before the severity of brated William of Wykeham, the archi- winter has passed; the middle, when tect employed by Edward 111. It stands thaws give a rawness to the atmosphere; on an artificial mound, and is the most and the close, when the wintry season conspicuous object in the palace. The merges into spring: In this progressive apartments of the constable of the castle, change we witness that beautiful adaptawho commands its garrison, magazine of tion of means to ends which are everyarms, etc., are contained within its pre- where displayed in the works of nature. cincts. In ancient times, the custody of A sudden alteration from the coldness of distinguished state prisoners was intrusted winter to the mildness of spring would to his care, among whom were John, be injurious in its effects on both the king of France, David of Scotland, the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and earls of Surrey, of Lauderdale, and hence a gradual and beneficial change Lindsay, and the marshal de Belleisle. has been ordained. A fine view is enjoyed from the battle A general characteristic of the month ments of this tower, of the Thames, the is, the prevalence of fogs and damps, lands, farm-houses, towns, and villages especially if a thaw takes place after a of the country round, forming a pano- continued frost. When we had real winrama, which, for beauty and magnifi- ter, the clear, sharp, dry air saluted us cence, is almost unparalleled. The ex- by day, and the lofty sky appeared by tent of the view will be perhaps ima- night glittering with stars, or irradiated gined, when it is stated that it comprises by the placid moon. But now, our walls parts of twelve counties - Middlesex, are wet and cold, our rooms and drawers Essex, Hertford, Bedford, Buckingham, are damp, while clothes, books, and papers Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Ħamp are unpleasant to the touch. The doors shire, Surrey, Sussex, and Kent. A poet stick, the streets are covered with muddy says.

pools, and the half-thawed ice and snow

penetrate our boots. The houses look " Oft from the Castle's northern terrace high

melancholy and desolate, the water drops Mine eyes have gazed upon the plain below, Where Windsor and scholastic Eton lie,

from the trees, the grass is soft and sinks And father Thames glides through with easy flow.

at every step, while the gravel walk reThen Thought, with noiseless, yet with rapid sembles a saturated sponge. Cold, raw

wings, Would bear me backward to the former ages;

weather is, however, occasionally varied And Fancy, with her bright imaginings,

by milder days. Would raise the men embalm'd in history's pages, Monarchs and poets, warriors, priests, and learn “But February's suns uncertain shine, ed sages."

For rain and frost alternately combine

To stop the plough, with sudden wintry storms.,.. copses, plantations, and small woods are And, often, fearful violence the month deforms."

interspersed, having a dislike to those Clare, in his “Shepherd's Calendar,"open, exposed tracts for which the skygraphically describes the return of more lark exhibits a preference. It is a sweet genial weather:

songster, for while it has neither the " The snow has left the cottage top;

power nor variety of its relation, it has The thatch-moss grows in brighter green; a superior tone of voice, and the plaintive The eaves in quick succession drop, Where grinning icicles have been,

melody of its song-which is second only Pit-patting with a pleasant noise

to that of the nightingale-combines to In tubs set by the cottage door ;

make it a general favourite. It may often While ducks and geese, with happy joys, Plunge in the yard-pond, brimming o'er.

be perceived, wheeling in eddying circles,

for " The sun peeps through the window-pane; Which children mark with laughing eye:

“ High in air, and poised upon its wings, And in the wet street steal again,

Unseen, the soft, enamour'd woodlark'sings.” To tell each other spring is nigh: Then, as young hope the past recalls,

The green woodpecker may be obIn playing groups they often draw,

served winging its way from spot to spot, To build beside the sunny walls Their spring-time huts of sticks or straw.

in short, laboured, and undulating mo

tions, uttering, at particular seasons, its " And oft in pleasure's dreams they hie Round homesteads by the village side,

short cry of “Whit, whit, whit.” Or it Scratching the hedge-row mosses by,

may be seen settling on tree in search Where painted pooty shells abide ; Mistaking oft the ivy-spray

of food, commencing generally below the For leaves that come with budding spring,

largest branch, and as it proceeds upAnd, wond'ring in their search for play, wards, tapping the wood, or pecking Why birds delay to build and sing.

holes in the bark in search of insects. “ The mavis thrush with wild delight,

It now sings, and its music is valued Upon the orchard's dripping tree, Mutters, to see the day so bright,

from the absence of the “soul-enlivening Fragments of young Hope's poesy:

lays" which are heard through the sumAnd oft dame stops her buzzing wheel To hear the robin's note once more,

mer months. Who tootles while he pecks his meal

There, too, is that mischievous looking From sweet-briar hips beside the door.” little creature, the tomtit, with its bluish When at length the sun has gained | blue on its crown, which has originated

white forehead, and stripe of Prussiansufficient power to dissipate the accumulated frost and ice, the rains descend,

the name of blue-cap. But though it and, continuing through successive days,

looks so saucy, much ignorance has been cause brooks to break through the little

displayed in reference to its habits, and barriers that would oppose their course,

several experienced observers believe and rivers to overflow their banks and

that it effects more good than harm. Mr. cover the plains and valleys with their Selby says that he is convinced that the

trifling injury sustained by the abrasion waters.

of a few flower-buds is more than com“Sudden from the hills, O'er rocks and woods, in broad brown cataracts,

pensated by the destruction of innumerA thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once;

able larvæ and eggs of the insect tribes, And, where they rush, the wide-resounding plain which are usually deposited in or about Is left one slimy waste."

those essential parts of fructification, and The mariner feels the necessity of prevent their attaining maturity. Its vakeeping “an eye to the wind'ard,” to ried and grotesque positions when on the “look out for squalls," or his situation branches of trees in search of food are often would be perilous. When the frail highly amusing. During the earlier part bark is searching for whales, the breaking of the month it may often be seen in the up of the ice in after months, frequently farmyard and among outhouses, picking occasions the most imminent danger, and up seeds, and, if possible, scraps of meat. the cool and skilful conduct of the sailors Bullfinches, which have been in the is essential to the safety of the craft. gardens during the severe parts of the

The woodlark, one of our earliest winter, are well-deserving attention. When songsters, is often to be heard at the be- they first appeared they were fearless, ginning of the month. It is, however, but having once heard the report of a by no means so plentiful a species as the gun presented for their destruction, they skylark, and in some parts of the country become timid and fly off at the approach is never seen. It will be generally ob- of danger. In its wild state, the bullfinch served in hedge-bound meadows, cul has no song, but utters a peculiar cry, tivated lands, and other places where resembling a low whistle, which can be

even

easily recognised at a considerable dis- of plants—the snowdrop, which, with tance. The male bird is as large as the her peerless sisters, displays herself, in the hen, but is flatter at the top of the head, most dreary part of the year, and neighand is easily distinguished from her by bours greet one another with the saying, the vividness of the lovely scarlet or “ Winter will soon be over-I saw crimson on the breast, and the feathers on snowdrop in the hedge to-day."* the crown of the head; those encompass There, too, the common daisy (bellis ing the bill are of a brighter black. When perennis) the “wee modest crimsonthe birds are young, however, the dis- tipped flower," that delights us in infancy tinction is by no means so apparent, from and age, is also opening to the sun. A the want of the full development of the hundred pleasing associations are sugcolours.

gested as we see it again for the first The little wren is secured by spe- time, nor do we hesitate to walk abroad cial privileges; it frequents our gardens in search of our favourite. The snowy and approaches close to our doors. white petals contrast with the golden tuft How silently it hops along the hedges, of tubular florets in the centre, as it rears and creeps mouse-like through the un its head above the green grass. Nor is derwood, while, if it take wing for a the protection afforded against injury short distance, its smallness and colour unworthy of observation, for on the apprevent our seeing it again. Such is the proach night the "pinky lashes" are respect entertained for this little favourite, folded together, and thus preserved from that the most inveterate bird's-nesters the effects of rain. leave the wren undisturbed, regarding an And now, if you approach the wood, attack upon its nest as a serious offence. when the shades of night have gathered It favours us during the month with its round, the thick and gnarled trunk of lively and sometimes pleasing strain, and that old oak will afford a suitable situa

tion for your observations. But hark! When icicles hang dripping from the rock,

that is the report of a gun which has Pipes his perennial lay.”

doubtless brought some unsuspecting The missel-thrush sings before the end pheasant into the lawless hands of the of the month, and frequently may be ob- like cry, succeeded by another and an

poacher. Again, that suppressed childserved perched on the top of some lofty other, caused by some poor puss having tree, while his voice is occasionally heard been caught by a snare, while the crackwhen on the wing. From giving his

ling of sticks and the voices of men dissong both before and during the occurrence of wind and rain, the appellation to the shelter of that furze bush, lest they

tinctly heard approaching, urge a retreat of "storm-cock” has been given him. should think you an informer; and an Birds now pair, wood-owls hoot, turkey- encounter with armed men in a wood at cocks gobble as they display their beau- night would be anything but satisfactory. ties to their admiring hens; partridges Leaving the wood by that gap near the choose their mates, the raven begins to elm, you may walk along towards the lay towards the end of this month, the road. But listen a moment, for that pigeon feeds its young, and moles are quick, sharp bark tells that a fox is near, busy in the earth.

and the increased rustling of the under• There is a worm, that disagreeable wood indicates his approach. What an creature, which spoils the grass and air of cunning is there in that broad head, walks ;-kill or throw it away,” is often sharp srout, and flat white forehead, and said. Though unsightly to the eye, and as he skulks away by the hedge the grey apparently small and despicable, the num- of his breast and belly are hid, and the ber of worms renders them very useful. yellowish red or brown of his back and They draw sticks and twigs into the fine bushy tail, tipped with white, are ground, rendering it pervious to the rain, displayed. But the hounds are to be and to the creeping roots of fibrous plants ; brought to-morrow, and many a hard run and their efficiency is by no means con will he have if he escape at all. In no temptible in throwing up a fine soil to country in the world is the sport of foxthe surface, for by their instrumentality hunting so much followed as in England, a barren field has often been converted into a fruitful pasture.

* The yellow hellebore accompanies, and someOne of the first signs of returning ing agreeablyits bright sulphur with the deep orange

times even anticipates the maid of February, mixspring is, the appearance of that robin yellow of the spring crocus

and excitement pervades the feelings of

“ Through each toilsome day all when the approach of the hounds is

With smiling brow the ploughman cleaves his way,

Draws his fresh parallels, and widening still, discovered. The old people seem to re Treads slow the heavy dale, or climbs the hill; gain some of their juvenile spirit, labour- Strong on the wing his busy followers play,

Where writhing earth-worms meet the unwelcome ing men throw down their tools to follow

day; in close pursuit, stopping occasionally to Till all is changed, and hill and level down open a gate for a huntsman, while the Assume a livery of sober brown." younger ones run on foot for miles across the country to see the sport, and if pos

In some parts of the country : sible, by some turn of the pursued, to be The husbandmen resume their wonted toil, “in at the death.” Undoubtedly much Yoke their strong steers, and plough the yielding of the excitement connected with the

soil.” chase is occasioned by the sagacity and On a cold morning, though the wind wiliness of the fox, and the innumerable makes the casement rattle, the labourer stratagems he employs to escape his has been at his work for some time. The hundred enemies. For instance, he will thresher, in particular, attracts attention ; run along a brook for a considerable for though much of his labour has been distance in order to take off the scent, as superseded by a threshing machine, some Robert Bruce did, when pursued by the is reserved for the wintry employment of blood hounds of his enemies. Or he will the poor. If you had approached the make for a field, where there are sheep, barn two hours ago, you would have and as they, alarmed by his presence, heard stroke succeeding stroke and he run together for mutual protection, Rey- will continue his laborious occupation nard immediately dashes into the midst through the tedious hours of the day. of the flock, and then takes off at right That humble cottage at the end of the angles from the part of the field at which village, with its neat white-washed front, he entered. The sheep by their con- protected his weary head last night; fusion hinder the dogs, and running over and this morning a light might be perthe track destroy the scent, so that the ceived at the window, and the fire's pack is often detained some time. We flickering flame would display the cheerare, however, no patrons of the sport; a ful hearth; the few articles of domestic better state of mind and heart than that use neatly arranged in their places, and now commonly displayed, will have other the floor is clean ; while the most interestpleasures, which, unlike those of the ing object of all, the stalwart workman, chase, are not objectionable.

is preparing for the labours of the day.

The honest English labourer is truly one "Now prudent gard'ners seize the happy time,

who demands our kindliest sympathy: To dig and trench, and prune for shoots to climb, Inspect their borders, mark the silent birth His lot has been hard, and you would Of plants, successive, from the teeming earth, Watch the young nurslings with parental care,

not anticipate much fruit from so barrenAnd hope for 'growing weather all the year.” looking a stem. But judge not hastily.

Notice him as he sallies forth, in his coarse The farmer's occupations during this but comfortable attire, with his basket on month are numerous. In frosty weather his shoulder, and a little keg of beer in the grass land is covered with soil which his hand. Nothing unnecessary is worn; was obtained from the hedges, dykes, that cotton handkerchief which encircles and mounds, which have been pared his throat displays much cleanliness and away: This soil serves well for manure, neatness; the patch in his short frock greatly improving the ground. The has been carefully put on, and his heavy beasts and sheep which are sprinkled iron-soled boots are well suited for the over the fields to gain what little food purpose for which they are required. they can, now require some hay; but That candid, manly countenance,

if atthe majority of the former are in the tentively examined, deprives you of any straw yards, fattening for the market. suspicions you might have entertained. The hedgers and ditchers are at work; Converse with him, he replies with confihedges are stocked up, and fields thrown dence, yet deference; speak to him of together; the farm-roads are repaired; his employments, he will answer with while countless numbers of the members promptitude; joke with him, and he of the feathered race crowd round the will enjoy your mirth. He would instack yards and barns in search of food. jure none-though, if insulted, he would Bloomfield says, in his description of the defend himself with honest indignation. ploughman's task :

He is grateful for kindness, and will ap

preciate a generous act. Though un- , and conduct, opposed both to unlimited lettered, he will receive and respect good despotism and licentious democracy. All advice; although rough he is unpreju- authority now remained with the Jacobin diced; and while inclined to consider party. Marat, one of Robespierre's asthe rich as selfish-he is open to con sociates, was assassinated by Charlotte viction. He is liberal in his treatment of Corday, soon after which, a period ex, friends, though his provident disposition pressively called the "reign of terror" is often displayed. Unblessed by intel- began. But the mind revolts from the lectual acquirements, he is often free scenes that followed. Any one who from that gross immorality which appears wishes to see them delineated with horso commonly in connexion with those ribly graphic effect, may turn to the “hotbeds of vice,” the large towns of the pages of Alison and Cobbett. Atheism, empire-and happy is he in the ex- murder, and robbery were predominant. change! But what is his lot? From the No one was safe from the guillotine. When age of seven or eight his duties begin, for the cowardly undisciplined refuse, sent the necessities of the family require that to the army, fled before the enemy, the each child should contribute to his own commander was denounced, sent to Paris, maintenance as soon as he is able; and and put to death. Such was the fate of having thus commenced his labours, Houchard, the general who had comwill continue as long as life, health, and pelled the allies to leave the siege of Dunwork last. His hours are long, his work kirk. If any one had been noted using heavy, and rarely, alas ! very rarely, is a hasty expression, or if he were suspected his pittance adequate.

of having wealth, or were opposed to the It is true, that our agricultural popu- present order, or rather disorder, he was lation presents affecting proofs of human denounced, at the caprice of any one in depravity. But let not the reader con power, carried before the revolutionary demn the failings he observes, if he make tribunal, and ordered to the guillotine. no effort for their diminution. Our duty Throughout the land, tribunals, or rather to ourselves, to one another, and to God, small committees, of the same character demands that endeavours should be made were established, estimated, at one time, for the reduction of existing evils; and to have been fifty thousand in number, we should remember that we are morally under the direction of men who were responsible for the occasion of much sin, paid half a crown each day for their atif exertions are not made to lessen and tendance. There were many thousands of remove the aggregate. Nor is this to these so-called judges, men of the worst be done by the elaboration of theories, and most profligate description. Every but by individual, devout, and persever- one trembled, and distrusted his neighing, efforts. The principle should be bour. The poor queen was treated with maintained which has encouraged men, brutality, and subjected to the most atroin the most trying circumstances, to cious false accusations, in October she renewed exertions, to regard nothing as was condemned, and guillotined. The completed, as long as anything remains young dauphin was placed under the care to be done.

F. S. W. of a shoemaker, who by every species of

insult and ill treatment, destroyed the

health of the poor child : he sunk into a ENGLISH HISTORY.

state of imbecility, and died in the fol

lowing year. The princess royal was In Paris, the reign of anarchy pro- eventually released, being exchanged for ceeded, during 1793. The revolutionary some of the republican deputies seized leaders were occupied in destroying each by Dumourier. The duke of Orleans, other; at the head of them was the hor- who had so actively promoted the worst rible Robespierre. A revolutionary tri scenes of the revolution, was now exebunal was formed, which controlled the cuted. His sons, the eldest of whom is convention. The more moderate of the the present king of France, had previrepublican leaders, called the Girondists, ously escaped; they went forth to wander were driven from power, and mostly over the face of the earth. To the eldest, guillotined. In October, twenty of these “sweet were the uses of adversity;" were executed in one day. They were having had to earn his bread, and expedestitute of religious truth, but were men riencing what it is to want, he learned of comparatively enlightened minds, in- truths which probably he would not otherclined to be moderate in their principles wise have known. Thus he became fitted

« AnteriorContinuar »