Imagens das páginas

That with sagacious sense explore
Where, provident for winter's store,
The careful rustic hides his treasured grain;
Then issues forth the sable band,
And seizing on the secret prize,
From mouth to mouth, from hand to band,
His busy task each faithful insect plies;
And often as they meet,
With scanty interval of toil,
Their burthens they repose awhile,
For rest alternate renders labour sweet.
Their travelled path their lengthened tracks betray,
And, if no varied cates they bear,
Yet ever is the portion dear,

Without whose aid the powers of life decay.
The mole-cricket (gryllus gryllotalpa) is the most
remarkable of the insect-tribe seen about this time,
The black slug (limax ater) abounds at this season.
The blue flesh-fly (musca vomitoria), and the dragon-
fly (libellula) are frequently observed towards the
end of the month. Little maggots, the first state
of young ants, are now to be found in their nests.
The great variegated libellula (libellula varia of
Shaw), which appears, principally, towards the de-
cline of summer, is an animal of singular beauty.
The cabbage butterfly also (papilio brassica) now

River fish leave their winter retreats, and again become the prey of the angler.

When with his lively ray the potent sun
Has pierced the streams, and roused the finny race,
Then, issuing cheerful, to thy sport repair ;
Chief should the western breezes curling play,
And light o’er ether bear the shadowy clouds.
High to their fount, this day, amid the hills
And woodlands warbling round, trace up the brooks :
The next, pursue their rocky channelled maze,
Down to the river, in whose ample wave
Their little naiads love to sport at large.
Just in the dubious point, where with the pool
Is mixed the trembling stream, or where it boits
Around the stone, or from the hollowed bank
Reverted plays in undulating flow,
There throw, nice judging, the delusive fly;

[ocr errors]

And as you lead it round in artful curve,
With eye attentive mark the springing game.
Strait as above the surface of the flood
They wanton rise, or urged by hunger leap,
Then fix with gentle twitch the barbed hook:
Some lightly tossing to the grassy bank,
And to the shelving shore slow dragging, some
With various hand proportioned to their force.
If yet too young, and easily deceived,
A wortbless prey scarce bends your pliant rod,
Him, piteous of his youth and the short space
He has enjoyed the vital light of Heaven,
Soft disengage, and back into the stream
The speckled captive throw. But should you lure,
From his dark haunt beneath the tangled roots
Of pendant trees, the monarch of the brook,
Behoves you then to ply your finest art:
Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly,
And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft
The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear,
At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death,
With sullen plange. At once he darts along,
Deep-struck, and runs out all the lengthened line ;
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,
The caverned bank, his old secure abode;
And flies aloft, and flounces round the pool,
Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand,
That feels bim still, yet to his furious course
Gives way, you, now retiring, following now
Across the stream, exhaust bis idle rage,
Till, floating broad upon his breathless side,
And to his fate abandoned, to the shores

You gaily drag your upresisting prize.
The spring flight of pigeons (columbæ) appears in
this month, or early in the next.

Dry weather is still acceptable to the farmer, who is employed in sowing various kinds of grain, and seeds for fodder, as buck-wheat, lucerne, saintfoin, clover, &c. The young corn and springing-grass,

ever, are materially benefited by occasional showers. The important task of weeding now begins with the farmer, and every thistle cut down,


every plant of charlock pulled up, may be said to be not only an advantage to himself, but a national benefit.


MAY is so called from Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom sacrifices were offered by the Romans on the 1st of this month; or, according to some, from respect to the senators and nobles of Rome, who were named Majores, as the following month was termed Junius, in honour of the youth of Rome.

Remarkable Days

In MAY 1820.

1.-MAY-DAY. We have now reached that period of the year which was formerly dedicated to one of the most pleasing and splendid festal rites. The observance of MAY-DAY was a custom which, until the close of the reign of James the First, alike attracted the attention of the royal and the noble, as of the vulgar class. Henry the Eighth, Elizabeth, and James, patronized and partook of its ceremonies; and, during this extended era, there was scarcely a village in the kingdom but had a May-pole, with its appropriate games and dances.

Eight masqueraders in the most grotesque dresses, consisting of Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John, the Fool, Tom the Piper, the HobbyWorse, and the Dragon, with from two to ten morrisdancers, or, in lieu of them, the same number of Robin Hood's men, in coats, hoods, and hose of green, with a painted pole in the centre, represented the most complete establishment of the May-game.

All these characters may be traced, indeed, so far back as the middle of the fifteenth century; and, accordingly, Mr. Strutt, in his interesting romance, entitled Queen-hoo Hall,' has introduced a very pleasing and accurate description of the May-games and Morris of Robin Hood, which, as written in a lively and dramatic style, and not in the least differing from what they continued to be in the youthful days of Shakspeare, and before they were broken in upon by the fanaticism of the puritans, we shall copy in this place for the entertainment of our readers.

• In the front of the pavilion, a large square was staked out, and fenced with ropes, to prevent the crowd from pressing upon the performers, and interrupting the diversion; there were also two bars at the bottom of the inclosure, through which the actors might pass and repass, as occasion required.

• Six young men first entered the square, clothed in jerkins of leather, with axes apon their shoulders like woodmen, and their heads bound with large garlands of ivy-leaves intertwined with sprigs of hawthorn. Then followed,

'Six young maidens of the village, dressed in blue kirtles, with garlands of primroses on their heads, leading a fine sleek cow decorated with ribbons of various colours, interspersed wtth flowers; and the horns of the animal were tipped with gold. These were succeeded by

• Six foresters, equipped in green tunics, with hoods and hosen of the same colour; each of them carried a bugle-horn attached to a baldrick of silk, which he sounded as he passed the barrier. After them came

* Peter Lanaret, the baron's chief falconer, who personified Robin Hood; he was attired in a bright grass-green tunic, fringed with gold; his hood and his hosen were parti-coloured, blue and white; he had a large garland of rose-buds on his head, a bow bent in his hand, a sheaf of arrows at his girdle, and

à bugle-horn depending from a baldrick of light blue tarantine, embroidered with silver; he had also a sword and a dagger, the hilts of both being richly embossed with gold.

Fabian a page, as Little John, walked at his right hand; and Cecil Cellerman the butler, as Will Stukely, at his left. These, with ten others of the jolly outlaw's attendants who followed, were habited in green garments, bearing their bows bent in their hands, and their arrows in their girdles. Then came

'Two maidens, in orange-coloured kirtles with white courtpies, strewing flowers; followed immediately by

• The Maid Marian, elegantly habited in a watchetcoloured tunic reaching to the ground; over which she wore a white linen rochet with loose sleeves, fringed with silver, and very neatly plaited; her girdle was of silver baudekin, fastened with a double bow on the left side; her long flaxen hair was divided into many ringlets, and flowed upon her shoulders; the top part of her head was covered with a net-work cawl of gold, upon which was placed a garland of silver, ornamented with blue violets. She was supported by

'Two bride-maidens, in sky-coloured rochets girt with crimson girdles, wearing garlands upon their heads of blue and white violets. After them, came

· Four other females in green courtpies, and garlands of violets and cowslips: Then

Sampson the smith, as Friar Tuck, carrying a huge quarter-staff on his shoulder; and Morris the mole-taker, who represented Much the miller's son, having a long pole with an inflated bladder attached to one end: And after them

"The May-pole, drawn by eight fine oxen, decorated with scarfs, ribbons, and flowers of divers colours; and the tips of their horns were embellished with gold. The rear was closed by

* The Hobby-horse and the Dragon.


« AnteriorContinuar »