« AnteriorContinuar »
I think of human sorrow
But as of clouds that brood Upon the bosom of the day, And the next moment pass away ; And with a trusting heart I say
Thank God, all things are good!
And when they hoot and when they shout,
Oh bush, of ivy-trees the prime,
"Twere well for us, thou rare old tree, Could we gladden the human heart like thee; Like thee and the holly, that thus make gay The lowliest cot for a winter's day!
THE stock-dove builds in the old oak wood,
The summer sun is shining
Upon a world so bright!
To minister delight.
And all their veinèd leaves ;
My spirit joy receives.
When the birds' songs I hear;
The morning doth appear !
That from the Throne flows free; Of weary pilgrims on its brink, Who, thirsting, have come down to drink; Of that unfailing Stream I think,
When earthly streams I see! I think of pain and dying,
As that which is but nought, When glorious morning, warm and bright, With all its voices of delight, From the chill darkness of the night, Like a new life, is brought.
Away to the woods with the silvery rind,
Yet on and on, o'er the springy mass, –
Oh! beautiful bird, in thy stately pride,
HARVEST.FIELD FLOWERS. Come down into the harvest-fields
This autumn morn with me; For in the pleasant autumn-fields
There 's much to hear and see; On yellow slopes of waving corn
The autumn sun shines clearly ; And 't is joy to walk, on days like this,
Among the bearded barley. Within the sunny harvest-fields
We 'll gather flowers enow; The poppy red, the marigold,
The bugles brightly blue; We'll gather the white convolvulus
That opes in the morning early; With a cluster of nuts, an ear of wheat,
And an ear of the bearded barley.
Bright over the golden fields of corn
Doth shine the autumn sky; So let's be merry while we may,
For time goes hurrying by. They took down the sickle from the wall
When morning dews shone pearly ; And the mower whets the ringing scythe
To cut the bearded barley.
The robin sings his song ;
And autumn stays not long.
They carried to-day so early, Along the lanes, with a rustling sound,
Their loads of the bearded barley.
The sea is fresh, the sea is fair,
And the sky calm overhead,
Like a king in his royal bed!
A joyful bird is he,
On the breast of the heaving sea!
And the gulls together crowd,
To the sea that is roaring loud ; And let the sea roar ever so loud,
And the winds pipe ever so high, With a wilder joy the bold sea.gull,
Sendeth forth a wilder cry, —
And he loves with the storm to sail;
And to breast the driving gale!
Like a sea-weed, to and fro;
As the gusty tempests blow.
And sails in a wild delight
Like a foam-cloud, calm and white.
But he fears not wreck nor need,
As a strong man rides his steed!
He makes on the shore his nest,
But he loveth the sea the best!
He goes 'mid surging foam;
For the sea is his truest home!
And among the frozen snow,
Will the wanton sea-gull go.
Nor those desert-regions chill;
The sea.gull hath its will! And the dead whale lies on the northern shores,
And the seal, and the sea-horse grim,
A full, merry feast for him!
As he screams in his wheeling flight:
All cometh to him aright!
Nor any his will gainsay;
That was crowned but yesterday! The Gull, notwithstanding the gormandizing and rather disgusting character given of it hy Bewick,
On the white sea-gull, the wild sea-gull,
A joyful bird is he,
In the arms of a sunny sea !
And the white gull lies asleep,
Goes merrily over the deep.
And her people stand to note,
As still as an anchored boat.
figures beautifully in his inimitable wood-cuts; giving the very spirit of wildness and freshness to his sea. side sketches.
The Gull may occasionally be found far inland, domesticated in old-fashioned gardens, where it is an indulged and amusing habitant, feeding on slugs and worms, and becoming thus a useful assistant to the gardener. In this state it seems entirely to throw off its wild native character, and assumes a sort of mock. heroic style, which is often quite ludicrous. We have seen one strutting about the straight alleys of such a garden, with the most formal, yet conscious air imaginable, glancing first to one side, then to the other, evidently aware of your notice, yet pretending to be busied about his own concerns. It was impossible to conceive that this bird, walking “ in his dig. nified way," upon his two stiff little legs, and so full of self-importance, had ever been a free, wild, winged creature, wheeling about and screaming in the storm, or riding gracefully upon the sunshiny waters. His nature had undergone a land-change; he was transformed into the patron of poodles, and the conde scending companion of an old black cat. With these creatures, belonging to the same place, he was on very friendly terms, maintaining, nevertheless, an air of superiority over them, which they permitted, either out of pure good-nature, or because their simplicity was imposed upon. They were all frequently fed from the same plate, but the quadrupeds never presumed to put in their noses till the Gull was satisfied, and to his credit it may be told, that he was not insatiable, although a reasonably voracious bird on ordinary occasions.
We saw last summer, also, a Gull well known to northern tourists, which for twenty years has inhabited one of the inner green-courts at Alnwick Castle, and has outlived two or three companions. It is an interesting bird, of a venerable appearance; but, as it has been described in books, more need not be said of it.
In one of the towers of this same Castle, also, we were shown a pair of perfect bird-skeletong, under a glass shade, the history of which is mysterious. They are the skeletons of a pair of jackdaws, which had built in one of the upper towers of the Castle, and had been found in their present state, apparently nestled together. From the account given us by the porter, an intelligent old man, they appeared not to have been discovered in any confined place, where they might have died from starvation, but by their own tower, on the open roof, as if they had been death-stricken side by side.
I cannot tell you half the sights
Of beauty you may see,
And many a shady tree.
The honey-suckles twine ;
And the dark-blue columbine.
In some dusk woodland spot;
And the wood forget-me-not.
Unscared by lawless men;
And the golden-crested wren.
The timid and the bold;
It is not to be told.
Among the leaves so green,
The brightest e'er was seen.
Without a fear of ill;
And freely drink their fill!
The merry little things;
And flirt their dripping wings.
Down from their leafy tree,
Great joy it was to me!
I've seen them nimbly, go;
A welcome kind and low.
As if, in heartsome theer, They spake unto those little things,
“ 'Tis merry living here!"
I saw that all was good,
if we would !
Beneath the old wood-shade,
Nor is, of aught, afraid.
And roots so fresh and fine, Beneath their feet, nor is there strife 'Mong them for mine and thine.
Come ye into the summer-woods ;
There entereth no annoy ; All greenly wave the chestnut leaves,
And the earth is full of joy.
There is enough for every one,
But now and then might with him be seen, And they lovingly agree;
Two other old men with look profound, We might learn a lesson, all of us,
Who peered 'mong the leaves of the mandrake green Beneath the green-wood tree!
And lightened with care the soil around.
Or he had a foe whom art must quell,
So he sent to the learned man with speed
To gather for him a mandrake-spell
. THERE once was a garden grand and old, And at night when the moon was at the full,
Ils stately walks were trodden by few; When the air was still and the stars were out, And there, in its driest and deepest mould, Came the three the mandrake root to pull,
The dark-green, poisonous mandrake grew. With the help of the ban-dog fierce and stout. That garden's lord was a leamed man,
Oh, the mandrake-root! and they listened all three, It is of an ancient time we tell, –
For awful sounds, and they spoke no word, He was grim and stern, with a visage wan,
And when the owl screeched from the hollow tree, And had books which only he could spell. They said 'twas the mandrake's groan they heard. He had been a monk in his younger days,
And words they muttered, but what none knew, They said, and travelled by land and sea,
With motion slow of hand and foot; And now, in his old, ancestral place,
Then into the cave the three withdrew,
And carried with them the mandrake root.
They all were scholars of high degree,
So they took the root of the mandrake fell, And the depth of its lake no line had found.
And cut it and carved it hideously,
And muttered it into a charmed spell.
Then who had been there, by dawn of day,
The charmed mandrake root they bore. And all along o'er its margin dank
Hung massy branches of evergreen; And the old lord up in his chamber sat,
Blessing himself, sedate and mute,
With more than gold — the mandrake root.
The reverence attached to the mandrake may be Stood goat-limbed statues of sullen lead. classed among the very oldest of superstitions, for the
Hebrews of the patriarchial ages regarded it as a The garden-beds they were long, and all
plant of potent influence. The Greeks, who held it With a tangle of flowers were overgrown; in the same estimation, called it after Circe, their cel. And each was screened with an ancient wall,
ebrated witch, and also after Atropos, the eldest of Or para pet low of mossy stone.
the three Fates. The Romans adopted the same And from every crevice and broken ledge opinions respecting it, and Pliny relates the ceremo
The harebell blue and the wall-Power sprung; nies which were used in obtaining the root. And from the wall, to the water's edge,
In the middle ages, when the traditional superstiWild masses of tendrilled creepers hung;
tions of the ancients were grafted upon the popular
ignorance, the mandrake was a powerful engine in For there was a moat outside where slept the hands of the crafty.
Deep waters with slimy moss grown o'er, It was believed that when the mandrake was taken And a wall and a tower securely kept
from the earth, it uttered a dreadful shriek; and that By a ban-dog fierce at a grated door. any human being who was presumptuous enough to This garden's lord was a scholar wise,
remove it, was suddenly struck dead. Dogs, thereA scholar wise, with a learned look ;
fore, were used for this purpose. The earth was He studied by night the starry skies,
carefully lightened, and the plant fastened to the ani. And all day long some ancient book.
mal's tail; he was then made to draw it forth, and
pay whatever penalty the demon of the plant thought There were lords hard by who lived by spoil, fit to impose upon the disturber of his rest. The pre
But he did the men of war eschew; tenders to medical skill in those days made great proThere were lowly serfs who tilled the soil, fit by the little hideous images which they fashioned But with toiling serfs he had nought to do. out of the mandrake root, and sold as charms against every kind of sickness and misfortune. They were brought over from Germany in the reign of Henry
THE HEDGE-HOG. the VIII., under the name of Abrunes, and by the Thou poor little English porcupine, help of certain pretended magical words, the know
What a harassed and weary life is thine! ledge of which the credulous obtained at a great And thou art a creature meek and mild, price, were said to increase whatever money was That wouldst not harm a sleeping child. placed near them. It was believed, also, at that time, that the mandrake was produced from the decaying
Thou scarce can'st stir from thy tree-root, flesh of malefactors hung upon the gibbet, and was
But thy foes are up in hot pursuit; to be found only in such situations. Dr. Turner, who
Thou might'st be an asp, or hornèd snake, lived in the time of Queen Elizabeth, declares, that
Thou poor little martyr of the brake! he had divers times taken up the roots of the man. Thou scarce can’st put out that nose of thine ; drake, but had never found them under the gallows; Thou can'st not show a single spine, nor of the form which the pedlars, who sold them in But the urchin-rabble are in a rout, boxes, pretended them to have been. This form was With terrier curs to hunt thee out. that of an ugly little man, with a long beard hanging
The poor Hedgehog! one would think he knew down to his feet. Gerard, the herbalist, also, who
His foes' so many, his friends so few, wrote thirty years later, used many endeavours lo
For when he comes out, he's in a fright, convince the world of the impositions practised upon And hurries again to be out of sight. them, and states, that he and his servant frequently
How unkind the world must seem to him, dug up the roots without receiving harm, or hearing any shrieks whatever.
Living under the thicket dusk and dim, The mandrake grows naturally in Spain, Portugal,
And getting his living among the roots, Italy, and the Levant, and it is also indigenous to
Of the insects small, and dry hedge-fruits. China. It was introduced into this country about How hard it must be, to be kicked about, 1564. It is a handsome plant, and would, in particu- If by chance his prickly back peep out; lar situations, be ornamental to our gardens, indepen- To be all his days misunderstood, dent of the strange, old associations connected with When he could not harm us if he would! it, which would always make it an interesting object.
He's an innocent thing, living under the blame I have seerr it, however, only in one garden, that of
That he merits not, of an evil name ; the King of the Belgians, at Claremont.
He is weak and small, - and all he needs, “It is," says Mr. Phillips, in his pleasant garden
Lies under the hedge among the weeds. companion, the Flora Historica, from which work the above historical notices of the mandrake have been
He robs not man of rest or food, principally taken, “a species of deadly nightshade,
And all that he asks is quietude ; which grows with a long taper root like the parsnip,
To be left by him, as a worthless stone, running three or four feet deep; these roots are fre
Under the dry hedge-bank alone! quently forked, which assisted to enable the old Oh, poor little English porcupine, quacks to give it the shape of a monster. This plant What a troubled and weary life is thine! does not send up a stalk, but, immediately from the I would that my pity thy fues could quell, crown of the mot arises a circle of leaves, which at For thou art ill-used, and meanest well! first stand erect, but when grown to their full size, which is about a foot in length and five inches broad, of an ovate-lanceolate shape, waved at the edges, these spread open and lie on the ground; they are
THE CUCKOO. of a dark-green, and give out a fetid smell. About the month of April the flowers come out among the
“Per! pee! pee!" says the merry Pee-Bind; leaves, each on a scape about three inches long; they
And as soon as the children hear it, are of a bell shape with a long tube, and spread out
The Cuckoo 's a-coming," they say, “ for I heard, into a five-cleft corolla. The colour is of an herba: Up in his tree the merry Pee-Bird, ceous white, but frequently has a tinge of purple. The days go on, one, two, three;
And he 'll come in three days, or near it!" The flower is succeeded by a globular soft berry, when full grown, as large as a common cherry, but And the little bird singeth “pee! pee! pee!" of a yellowish-green colour, when ripe and full of
Then on the morrow, 't is very true, pulp, intermixed with numerous reniform seeds."
They hear the note of the old Cuckoo; If any of my readers should wish to cultivate this Up in the elm-tree, through ihe day, plant of “old renown,” they should do it by sowing Just as in gone years, shouting away ; the seed in autumn, soon after it is ripe ; as the seed
“Cuckoo," the Cuckoo doth cry, kept till spring seldom produces plants. It should be
And the little boys mock him as they go by. set in a light, dry soil, and of a good depth, so that. The wood-pecker laughs to hear the strain, the root may not be chilled or obstructed ; and care And says "the old fellow is come back again; should be taken not to disturb it when it has once He sitteih again on the very same tree, obtained a considerable size.
And he talks of himself again!- he!'he! he !"