Imágenes de páginas

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 Month*, " 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 any thing 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 am' 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 gTeen has started up to the face of this meadow I 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 sbndes 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 *pring; and the sight of which affects us in

tne 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 docs 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 scarcely second to this, is, the blight 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 peculiarly pretty. They are of a deep blush 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 Forett Mirutrel 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- Th -
writers have traversed " woods and 'wilds,
and fields, and lanes, with a curious an<}
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 neces-
sarily 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 help-
mate in the work:—

And now 'tis spring, and bards are gathering flowers;

So I have cull'd you these, and with them sent
The gleanings of a nymph whom some few hours

Ago I met with—some few years I meant—
Gathering " true-love" amongst the wild-wood bowers;

You'll find some buds all with this posy blent,
If that ye know them, which some lady fair
Viewing, may haply prize, for they are wond'rous rare.

Artists have seldom represented friends —" of the Society of Friends,"—with poetical feeling. Mr. Howitt's sketch of himself, and her whom he found gathering "true-love," though they were not clad 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 re-
markably formal; while the young females
of the society, still preserving the distinc-
tion prescribed by discipline, 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 plea-
sures of boyhood in spring.

Then did I gather, with a keen delight,

All changes of the seasons, and their signs:
Then did I speed forth, at the first glad sight

Of the coy spring—of spring that archly shines
Out for a day—then goes—and then more bright

Comes laughing forth, like a gay lass that lines
A dark lash with a ray that beams and burns,
And scatters hopes and doubts, and smiles and frowns, by turns.

On a sweet, shining morning thus sent out,

Tt seem'd what man was made for, to look round

And trace tlie full brook, that, with clamorous route,
O'er fallen trees, and roots black curling, wound

Through glens, with wild brakes scatterM all about;
Where not a leaf or green blade yet was found

Springing to hide the red fern of last year,

And hemlorVN broken stems, and rustling rank grass sere.

But hazel catkins, and the bursting buds
Of the fresh willow, whisper'd " spring is coming;"

And bullfinches forth flitting from the woods,
With their rich silver voices; and the humming


Of a new waken'd bee that pass'd; and the broods

Of ever dancing gnats, again consuming,
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,

That had been, and again were on their way;
The breaking forth of green things, and of flowers,

From the eaith's oreast; from bank and quickening spray
Dews, buds, and blossoms; and in woodland bowers,

Fragrant and fresh, full many a sweet bird's lay,
Sending abroad, from the exultant spring,
To every living heart a gladsome welcoming. Howitl.

SJprtI 1. CP- 409>) tllere is an account of the sin

^T , gular usage of fool-making to-day, which

All Iools Day. mav De further illustrated by a few lines

In the first volume of the present work, from an almanac of 1760 :—

The first of April, some do say,

Is set apart for All Fool's-day;

But why the people call it so,

Nor I, nor they themselves, do know.

But on this day are people sent

On purpose for pure merriment;

And though the day is known before,

Yet frequently there is great store

Of these forgetfuls to be found,

Who're sent to fiance Moll Dixon's round;

And having tried each shop and stall,

And disappointed at them all,

At last some tell them of the cheat,

And then they hurry from the street,

And straightway home with shame they run,

And others laugh at what is done.

But 'tis a thing to be disputed,

Which is the greatest fool reputed,

The man that innocently went,

Or he that him designedly sent. Poor Robin.

The custom of making April fools pre- vessel carried to receive the pease was not

vr.ils all over the continent. A lady relates thrown at the head of the bearer.

that the day is further marked in Provence

by every body, both rich and poor, having There is an amusing anecdote connected for dinner, under some form or other, a with the church of the convent of the sort of peas peculiar to the country, Chartreux, at Provence. It was dedicatealled pou chichet. While the convent ed to St. John, and over the portico were of the Chartreux was standing, it was one colossal statues of the four evangelists, of the great jokes of the day to send which have been thrown down and bioken novices thither to ask for these peas, to pieces, and the fragments lie scattered telling them that the fathers were obliged about. The first time Miss Plumptre to give them away to any body who with her party visited this spot, they would come for them. So many applica- found an old woman upon her knees tions were in consequence made in the before a block of stone, muttering somecourse of the day for the promised bounty, thing to herself:—when she arose up, that the patience of the monks was at last curiosity led them to inquire, whether Diually exhausted, and it was well if the there was any thing particular in that

•tone; to which she replied with a deep sigh, Ah oui, e'ett tin morceau de Saint Jean, "Ah yes, 'tis a piece of Saint John." The old lady seemed to think that the saint's intercession in her beh ilf, mutilated as he was, might still be of some avail.

In Xylander's Plutarch there is a passage in Greek, relative to the " least of Fools," celebrated by the Romans, to this effect, "Why do they call the Quirinalia the Feast of Fools? Either, because they allowed this day (as Juba tells us) to those who could not ascertain their own tribes, or because they permitted those who had missed the celebration of the Fornacalia in their proper tribes, along with the rest of the people, either out of negligence, absence, or ignorance, to hold their festival apart on this day."

The Romans on the first day of April abstained from pleading causes, and the Roman ladies performed ablutions under myrtle trees, crowned themselves with its leaves, and offered sacrifices to Venus. This custom originated in a mythological story, that as Venus was drying her wetted hair by a river side, she was perceived by satyrs, whose gaze confused her:—'

But soon with myrtles she her beauties

veiled, From whence this annual custom was en



Newcastle. Extract from the Common Council Book.

"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 Lumlcy having entered tho town and declared foi 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 ■iesired 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 council books, that each was accommod.t'ed.

"Ordered that All-Saints have the metal belonging to the horse of the said statue, except a leg thereof, which roust

fo towards the casting of a Dew bell for t. Andrew's parish."

A print of the statue was published '* on two large sheets of Genoa paper," price 6*. 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 hare 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.


Mean Temperature ... 44 • 17.

aprtt 2.


On the 2d of April 1755, Severndroog castle, on the coast of Malabar, belonging to Angria, a celebrated pirate, was taken by commodore James. His relict, to commemorate her husband's heroism, and to testify her affectionate respect to his memory, erected a tower of the same name on Shooters-hill, near Blackheath, where it is a distinguished land-maik at an immense distance to the circumjacent country.

Naturalists' Calendar. Mean Temperature ... 44 • 37.

aprfl 3.

Signs Of Tiif Seasons. It is noticed on this day in the " Perennial Calendar," that the birds are now arriving daily, and forming arrangements for the hatching and nurture of their future young. The different sorts of nests of each species, adapted to the wants of each, and springing out of their respective instincts, combined with the propensity to construct, would form a curious subject of research for the natural historian. Every part of the world furnishes materials for the aerial architects: leaves and small twigs, roots and dried grass, mixed with clay, serve for the ex


tenia!; whilst moss, wool, fine hair, and form the warm internal part of these the softest animal and vegetable downs, commodious dwellings:—

Of vernal songsters—some to the holly hedge.

Nestling,repair, and to the thicket some;

Some to the rude protection of the thorn

Commit their feeble offspring: the cleft tree

Offers its kind concealment to a few,

Their food its insects, and its moss their nests:

Others apart, far in the grassy dale

Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave:

But most in woodland solitudes delight,

In unfrequented glooms or shaggy banks,

Steep, and divided by a babbling brook,

Whose murmurs soothe them all the livelong day,

When by kind duty fixed. Among the roots

Of hazel, pendent o'er the plaintive stream,

They frame the first foundation of their domes,

Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid,

And bound with clay together. Now 'tis naught

But restless hurry through the busy air,

Beat by unnumbered wings. The swallow sweeps

The slimy pool, to build the hanging house

Intent: and often from the careless back

Of herds and flocks a thousand tugging bills

Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserved,

Steal from the barn a straw; till soft and warm,

Clean and complete, their habitation grows. Thornton,

The cavern-loving wren sequestered seeks

The verdant shelter of the hollow stump,

And with congenial moss, harmless deceit,

Constructs a safe abode. On topmost boughs

The glossy raven, and the hoarsevoiced crow,

Hocked by the storm, erect their airy nests.

The ousel, lone frequenter of the grove

Of fragrant pines, in solemn depth of shade

Finds rest; or 'mid the holly's shining leaves,

A simple bush the piping thrush contents,

Though in the woodland concert he aloft

Trills from his spotted throat a powerful strain,

And scorns the humbler quire. The lark too asks

A lowly dwelling, hid beneath a turf,

Or hollow, trodden by the sinking hoof;

Songster of heaven! who to the sun such lays

Pours forth, as earth ne'er owns. Within the hedge

The sparrow lays her skystained eggs. The barn,

With eaves o'erpendant, holds the chattering tribe:

Secret the linnet seeks the tangled copse:

The white owl seeks some antique ruined wall,

Fearless of rapine; or in hollow trees,

Which age has caverned, safely courts repose:

The thievish pie, in twofold colours clad,

Roofs o'er her curious nest with firmwreathed twigs,

And sidelong forms her cautious door; she dreads

The taloned kite, or pouncing hawk; savage

Herself, with craft suspicion ever dwells. Bidlake.

Naturalists' Calenoar Mean Temperature . . . 43 • 87.

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