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On April, in old kalendars, is drawn
The name of this month is before observed to have been derived from the verb aperire,” which signifies to open, because
* Vol. i. p. 407,
seeds germinate, and at this season flowers begin to blow; yet Macrobius affirms that it is derived from a Greek word signifying aphrilis, or descended
from Venus, or, born of the scum of the sea, because Romulus dedicated the month to Venus. This may be the real derivation; the former is the most natural.
“ April,” says the author of the Mirror of the Months, “is spring—the only spring month that we possess—the most juvenile of the months, and the most feminine— the sweetest month of all the year; partly because it ushers in the May, and partly for its own sake, so far as anything can be valuable without reference to any thing else. It is, to May and June, what “sweet fifteen,” in the age of woman, is to passion-striken eighteen, and perfect two-and-twenty. It is worth two Mays, because it tells tales of May in every sigh that it breathes, and every tear that it lets fall. It is the harbinger, the herald, the promise, the propnecy, the foretaste of all, the beauties that are to follow it—of all, and more— of all the delights of summer, and all the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious autumn.” It is fraught with beauties that no other month can bring before us, and “It bears a glass which shows us many more.’
Its life is one sweet alternation of smiles and sighs an' tears, and tears and sighs and smiles, till it is consummated at last in the open laughter of May.” By the same hand we are directed to observe, “what a sweet flush of new green has started up to the face of this meadow ! And the new-born daisies that stud it here and there, give it the look of an emerald sky, powdered with snowy stars. In making our way to yonder hedgerow, which divides the meadow from the little copse that lines one side of it, let us not take the shortest way, but keep religiously to the little footpath; for the young grass is as yet too tender to bear being trod upon; and the young lambs themselves, while they go cropping its crisp points, let the sweet daisies alone, as if they loved to look upon a sight as pretty and as innocent as themselves.” It is further remarked that “the great charm of this month, both in the open country and the garden, is undoubtedly the infinite green which pervades it every where, and which we had best gaze our fill at while we may, as it lasts but a little while, changing in a few weeks into an endless variety of shades and tints, that are equivalent to Vol. II.-68.
as many different colours, It is this, and the budding forth of every living member of the vegetable world, after its long winter death, that in fact constitutes the spring ; and the sight of which affects us in the manner it does, from various causes— chiefly moral and associated ones; but one of which is unquestionably physical : I mean the sight of so much tender green after the eye has been condemned to look for months and months on the mere negation of all colour, which prevails in winter in our climate. The eye feels cheered cherished, and regaled by this colour, as the tongue does by a quick and pleasant taste, after having long palated nothing but tasteless and insipid things.-This is the principal charm of spring, no doubt. But another, and one that is scarcel second to this, is, the bright flush of blossoms that prevails over and almost hides every thing else in the fruit-garden and orchard. What exquisite differences and distinctions and resemblances there are between all the various blossoms of the fruit-trees; and no less in their general effect than in their separate details | The almond-blossom, which comes first of all, and while the tree is quite bare of leaves, is of a bright blush-rose colour; and when they are fully blown, the tree, if it has been kept to a compact head, instead of being permitted to straggle, looks like one huge rose, magnified by some fairy magic, to deck the bosom of some fair giantess. The various kinds of plum follow, the blossoms of which are snow-white, and as full and clustering as those of the almond. The peach and nectarine, which are now full blown, are unlike either of the above; and their sweet effect, as if growing out of the hard bare wall, or the rough wooden paling, is | ". pretty. They are of a deep lush colour, and of a delicate bell shape, the lips, however, divided, and turning backward, to expose the interior to the cherishing sun. But perhaps the bloom that is richest and most promising in its general appearance is that of the cherry, clasping its white honours all round the long straight branches, from heel to point, and not letting a leaf or a bit of stem be seen, except the three or four leaves that come as a green finish at the extremity of each branch. The other blossoms, of the pears, and (loveliest of all) the apples, do not come in perfection till next month.”
The beauties of the seasons are a constant theme with their discoverers—the poets Spring, as the reproductive source of “light and life and love,” has the preeminence with these children of nature. The authors of “The Forest Minstrel and other poems,” William and Mary Howitt, have high claims upon reflective and imaginative minds, in return for the truth and beauty contained in an elegant volume, which cultivates the moral sense, and infuses a devotional spirit, through exqui
site description and just application. The writers have traversed “woods and wilds, and fields, and lanes, with a curious and delighted eye,” and “written not for the sake of writing,” but for the indulgence of their overflowing feelings. They are “members of the Society of Friends,” and those who are accustomed to regard individuals of that community as necessarily incapable of poetical impression, will be pleased by reading from Mr. Howitt's “Epistle Dedicatory” what he says of his own verses, and of his helpmate in the work:—
And now 'tis spring, and bards are gathering flowers;
Artists have seldom represented friends —“ of the Society of Friends,”—with É. feeling. Mr. Howitt's sketch of
imself, and her whom he found gatherin “true-love,” though they were not j perhaps “as worldlings are,” would inspire a painter, whose art could be roused by the pen, to a charming picture of youthful affection. The habit of some of the young men, in the peaceable community, maintains its character, without that extremity of the fashion of being out of
fashion, which marks the wearer as remarkably formal; while the young females of the society, still preserving the distinction prescribed by j line, dress more attractively, to the cultivated eye, than a multitude of the sex who study variety of costume. Such lovers, pictured as they are imagined from Mr. Howitt's lines, would grace a landscape, enfoliated from other stanzas in the same poem, which raise the fondest recollections of the pleasures of boyhood in spring.
Then did I gather, with a keen delight,
On a sweet, shining morning thus sent out,
But hazel catkins, and the bursting buds
And bullfinches forth flitting from the woods,
Of a new waken'd bee that pass'd; and the broods
In pleasant sun-light, their re-given time;
And the germs swelling in the red shoots of the lime.
All these were tell-tales of far brighter hours,
To every living heart a gladsome welcoming.
All Fool's DAY.
(p. 409) there is an account of the singular usage of fool-making to-day, which may be further illustrated by a few lines from an almanac of 1760:—
The first of April, some do say,
But why the people call it so,
Nor I, nor they themselves, do know.
On P. for pure merriment;
Or he that him designedly sent,
The custom of making April fools prevails all over the continent. A lady relates that the day is further marked in Provence by every body, both rich and poor, having for dinner, under some form or other, a sort of peas peculiar to the country, called pois chiches. While the convent of the Chartreux was standing, it was one of the great jokes of the day to send novices thither to ask for these peas, telling them that the fathers were obliged to give them away to any body who would come for them. So many applications were in consequence made in the course of the day for the promised bounty, that the patience of the monks was at last usually exhausted, and it was well if the
vessel carried to receive the pease was not thrown at the head of the bearer.
There is an amusing anecdote connected with the church of the convent of the Chartreux, at Provence. It was dedicated to St. John, and over the portico were colossal statues of the four evangelists, which have been thrown down and bloken to pieces, and the fragments lie scattered about. The first time Miss Plumptre with her party visited this spot, they found an old woman upon her knees before a block of stone, muttering something to herself:—when she arose up, curiosity led them to inquire, whether there was any thing particular in that
“April 1, 1695. All-Saints' parish humbly request the metal of the statue, towards the repair of their bells.”
This refers to a statue of James II. pulled down from the Exchange in consequence of lord Lumley having entered the town and declared fol a free parliament. It was an equestrian figure in copper, of the size of Charles I. at Charing-cross. The mob demolished the statue, dragged it to the quay, and cast it into the river. As the parish of All-Saints desired to turn the deposit to some account, the parish of St. Andrews petitioned for a share of the spoil, and it appears by the subjoined extract from the o books, that each was accommo
“Ordered that All-Saints have the metal belonging to the horse of the said statue, except a leg thereof, which must go towards the casting of a new bell for St. Andrew's parish.”
A print of the statue was published “on two large sheets of Genoa paper," price 5s. by Joseph Barber of Newcastle. There is an engraving from it in “Local Records, by John Sykes, bookseller, Newcastle, 1824,” a book which consists of a chronological arrangement of curious and interesting facts, and events, that have occurred exclusively in the counties of Durham and Northumberland, Newcastleupon-Tyne, and Berwick, with an obituary and anecdotes of remarkable persons. The present notice is taken from Mr. Sykes's work.