The insect tribes continue to add to their numbers ; among these may be named several kinds of moths and butterflies (papilio atalanta, cardamines, ægeria, &c.), field-crickets (gryllus campestris), the chaffer or may-bug (scarabæus melolontha), and the forest-fly (hippobosca equina), which so much annoys horses and cattle. The female wasp (vespa vulgaris) appears at the latter end of the month. About this time bees send forth their early swarms; and the female glow-worm (lampyris noctiluca) is seen on dry banks, about woods, pastures, and hedgeways, exhibiting, as soon as the dusk of the evening commences, the most vivid and beautiful phosphoric splendour, in form of a round spot of considerable size. The male is smaller than the female, and is provided both with wings and wing-sheaths: it is but rarely seen ; and it seems, even at present, not very clearly determined whether it be luminous or not. The splendour exhibited by the female in this species, is probably ordained for the purpose of attracting the male :

The chilling night-dews fall; away, retire;
For see, the glow-worm lights her am'rous fire !
Thus, ere night's veil had half obscured the sky,
Th’ impatient damsel hung her lamp on high :
True to the signal, by love's meteor led,
Leander hastened to his Hero's bed. WHITE.

In again naming the butterfly, we cannot forbear to copy some exquisite stanzas of an anonymous poet :

When, bursting forth to life and light,

The offspring of enraptured May,
The butterfly, on pinions bright,

Launched in full splendour on the day;
Unconscious of a mother's care,

No infant wretchedness it knew;
But, as she felt the vernal air,

At once to full perfection grew.
Her slender form, ethereal, light,

Her velvet-textured wings unfold,
With all the rainbow's colours bright,

And dropt with sputs of burnished gold,

About the commencement of the month the flowers of the lily of the valley (convallaria maialis) and the chesnut tree (fagus castanea) begin to open ; the tulip tree (liriodendron tulipfera) hath its leaves quite out, and the flowers of the oak (quercus robur), the Scotch fir (pinus sylvestris), the honeysuckle, and the beech, are in full bloom." Towards the middle, the flowers of the white thorn are quite out, and the mulberry tree (morus nigra) puts forth its leaves ; the walnut (juglans regia) hath its flowers in full bloom; the powers of the garden rose also begin to open. The lilac (syringå vulgaris), the barberry (berberis vulgaris), and the maple (acer campestre), are also in flower. At the latter end of the month, rye (secale hybernum) is in ear; the mountain ash (sorbus aucuparia), laburnum (cytisus laburnum), the guelder rose (viburnum opulus), clover (trifolium pratense), columbines (aquilegia vulgaris), the alder (rhamnus frangula), and the wild chervil (choerophyllium temulum), have their flowers full blown.

The germander (veronica chamædrys) is seen in hedges, and various species of meadow-grass are now in Aower. Hearts-ease (viola tricolor) in corn-fields; the butter-cup (ranunculus bulbosus) spread over the meadows; the cole-seed (brassica napus) in cornfields, bryony (brionia dioica), and the arum or cuckoo.pint, in hedges, now show their flowers.

In this and in the succeeding month, nothing so much attracts our attention as the order of succes

Trembling 'awbile, with joy she stood,

And felt the Sun's enliv'ning ray,
Drank from the skies the vital food,

And wondered at her pluinage gay:
And balanced oft her broidered wings,

Thro' fields of air prepared to sail;
Then on her vent'rous journey springs,

And foats along the rising gale.. · These flowers do not tinge the butter, as erroneously supposed, with its rich yellow colour, at this season; for the cows will not touch them.

[ocr errors]

sion, and infinite variety of powers. Some admirable reflections upon this subject we subjoin, in the language of an interesting and eloquent writer on Natural History!: The attentive observer will perceive that every plant upon earth appears in its appointed order. The God of Seasons, the God of Beauty and Excellence, hath exactly determined the time when this flower shall unfold its leaves, that spread its glowing beauties to the Sun, and a third hang down its drooping head, and, withered, “resign its sunny robes.” A few weeks ago we first saw the snowdrop rise in lowly clusters from the ground. Long before the trees venture to unfold their leaves, and while Winter yet ventures to maintain his dreary reign, it displays its milk-white flow'rets to the eye :

First leader of the flowery race aspires,
And foremost catches the Sun's genial fires,
Mid frosts and snows triumphant dares appear,
Mingles the seasons, and leads on the year.

TICKELL. • Next appears the crocus, too timid yet to resist the impetuosity of the winds. With this comes the fragrant violet, the expressive emblem of that retiring goodness, which, with unostentatious hand, contributes silently to the happiness of all around. The polyanthus, too, with countless colours, and the auricula, inestimable for the exquisite richness of its powdered tints, demand the skilful culture of the florist. These, with many others which grow in foreign countries, upon the mountains, may be called, without impropriety, the vanguard of the flowery host.

"These beauteous children of Nature do not appear all at once, but in the most enchanting regularity of succession. Each month displays the beauties peculiar to itself. Soon succeeds the tulip, the transient glory of the garden ; the anemone, encircled at the bottom with a spreading robę, and rounded, at the

: The Contemplative Philosopher. ,

top, into a beautiful dome; and the ranunculus, which displays all the magnificence of foliage, and charms the eye with such a brilliant assemblage of colours. Nor lingers behind the rose, the favourite flower of poets, which glows with its own vivid tints, and diffuses around its aromatic sweets; while the carnation, as if centering in itself the perfection of every flower, attracts the wanderer by that lustre and variety of hues, and that fragrancy of scent, which entitle it to a kind of pre-eminence over the most beautiful of the painted tribes. But, not to proceed with the later flowers of the year, I will conclude my observations on this head with Thomson's picturesque recapitulation :

At once arrayed
In all the colours of the flushing year,
By nature's swift and secret-working hand,
The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
With lavish fragance.
Along these blushing borders, bright with dew,
And in yon mingled wilderness of flowers,
Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace ;
Throws out the snowdrop and the crocus first;
The daisy, primrose, violet darkly blue,
And polyanthus of unnumbered dyes;
The yellow wall-flower, stained with iron-brown ; ;
And lavish stock that scents the garden.round;
From the soft wing of vernal breezes shed,
Anemonies; auriculas, enriched
With shining meal. o'er all their velvet leaves;
And full ranunculus of glowing red.
Then comes the tulip race, where Beauty plays
Her idle freaks; from family diffused
To family, as flies the father-dust,
The varied colours run; and, while they break
On the charmed eye, th’exulting florist marks,
With secret pride, the wonders of his hand. :
No gradual bloom is wanting ; from the bud,
First-born of Spring, to Summer's musky tribes :
Nor hyacinth, of purest virgin white,
Low bent, and blushing inward ; nor jonquil's
Oft potent fragrance ; nor Narcissus fair,
As o'er the fabled fountain hanging still;
Nor broad carnations, nor gay-spotted pinks ;

Nor, showered from every bush, the damask-rose:
Infinite varieties, delicacies, smells,
With hues on hues expression cannot paint,

The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom.' What an inexhaustible source of grateful admiration does this regular succession of flowers present ! What manifest displays of Divine Wisdom and ever aetive Goodness! Were all the flowers of the different seasons to bloom together in one gay assemblage, we should sometimes be overpowered with profusion, and at other times lament a total privation. Scarce should we be able to discern one half of their innumerable beauties, when the eye, with unspeakable regret, would witness their decay. But while its proper time and place is allotted to every kind of flower, This delightful succession enables us to contemplate them with greater convenience and exactness. We can often repeat the pleasing examination, enjoy all their beauties at our leisure, and form a more intimate acquaintance with them. This wise arrangement of Providence affords us another inestimable advantage. We not only view the various kinds of flowers as they flourish in the most beautiful perfection, but we become less sensible, on this account, of their transient duration. The early flowers flourish awhile, and wither; but a variety of new kinds is constantly springing up, to prolong the beauty of the garden, and, as it were, to perpetuate our pleasure.

The infinite variety of flowers is not less a subject of admiration than their regular succession, and equally evinces, consummate wisdom and design.Had there been an exact uniformity in the structure, form, and colour, the fragrancy and other properties of flowers, that uniformity would have become fatiguing, and we should soon have languished for the charms of novelty. Or, if the snmmer were to be productive of no other flowers than what adorn the spring, we should not only become weary of conemplating them, but neglect to bestow upon them

« ElőzőTovább »