« PreviousContinue »
And, led by kindred thought, will flee,
The path she measures.
I've seen thee bending,
With death-hnes blending,
With spring are banished.
May You Like It.
The yellow star of Bethlehem (ornithogalum luteum) in woods; the vernal squill (scilla verna) among maritime rocks; and the wood-sorrel (oxalis acetosella), are now in full flower. The leaves of the wood-sorrel abound with acid, which is extracted, and, when crystallized, forms the salt of lemons, useful for removing stains in linen. This and the wood anemoné (anemone nemorosa), now in flower, have both white blossoms, and inhabit shady woods. The elm (ulmus campestris) is in full leaf. See some beautiful lines by Lord Byron in our last volume, p. 126.
Young moles are now to be found in their nests; this is a good time, therefore, for destroying them. Weasels and stoats are great enemies to moles, and frequently get into their holes, kill the inhabitants, and take up their own abode there.
The tenants of the air are, in this month, busily employed in forming their temporary habitations, and in rearing and maintaining their offspring. For poetical illustrations, see our former volumes.
About the middle of April, the bittern (ardea stellaris) makes a hollow booming noise, during the
night in the breeding season, from its swampy rei treats.
To a WATER-FOWL.
By an American Poet.
Thy solitary way?
Thy figure floats along.
On the chafed ocean side 2
There is a Power whose care
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end ;
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'st gone, the abyss of beaven
And shall not soon depart.
He, who from zone to zone,
Will lead my steps aright. · Various kinds of insects are now seen sporting in the sun-beams,' and living their little hour. The jumping spider (aranea scenica ) is observed on garden walls; and the webs of other species of spiders are found on the bushes, palings, and outsides of houses. The iulus terrestris appears, and the death-watch
(termes pulsatorius) beats early in the month. The wood-ant (formica herculanea) now begins to con: struct its large conical nest. Little maggots, the first state of young ants, are now to be found in their nests. The shell-snail comes out in troops; the stinging-fly (conops calcitrans) and the red-ant (formica rubra) appear.
The mole-cricket (gryllus gryllotalpa) is the most remarkable of the insect tribe seen about this time. The blue flesh-fly (musca vomitoria) and the dragonfly (libellula) are frequently observed towards the end of the month. The great variegated libellula (libellula varia of Shaw), which appears, principally, towards the decline of summer, is an animal of singular beauty. The cabbage butterfly also (papilio brassica) now appears. The black slug (limex ater) abounds at this season.-See T.T. for 1821, p. 128; and on the best mode of destroying them, p. 129. The newt (lacerta aquatica) lies buried during the winter months in the mud of stagnant waters, but may now be seen crawling along the bottoms of ponds and deep ditches, seeking for its food the minute insects that frequent those stations.
River fish leave their winter retreats, and again become the prey of the angler.
In the narrow sunny plashes near,
Observe the puny piscatory swarm,
Cruising amidst the shelves and shallows warm,
Of petty plunder or minute alarm;
Upon the water's firm unruffled breast,
WHISTLECRAFT. Towards the end of the month, the song of the black-cap (motacilla atricapilla) is heard, affording
great delight to the lovers of rural harmony. He is very destructive in the garden, and is particularly fond of the Antwerp raspberry, and a ripe jargonel pear.–See T.T. for 1821, p. 122. .
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 1-) seeds for fodder, as buck-wheat, luceme, saintsoin, nd elever, &c. The young corn and springing-grass, el! however, 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. -Ön weeds, see T.T. for 1821, p. 162.
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.
In MAY 1823
1.--MAY DAY. ALL ranks, formerly, went out into the woods a maying early on the first of this month ; returning laden with boughs and garlands, and spending the remainder of the day in dancing round a May-pole. This custom is still preserved in various remote distriets of England: generally speaking, however, the
vivacity of May-day is confined to the chimneysweepers, as if in mockery, and to a few would-be morris-dancers about the country, who look foolish and beg halfpence. .
From our Huntingdonshire correspondent we have received the following information respecting the modern celebration of May-day in some provincial towns and villages. The chief remains (he remarks) of the observance of this day in our provincial towns, and villages in modern times, is in the garlands which are exhibited by the children. To a horizontal hoop two semi-hoops are affixed vertically at right, angles, forming a sort of crown, and to these are affixed flowers, ribands, handkerchiefs, necklaces, silver spoons, and whatever finery can be procured : this is suspended, at a considerable height above the road, by a rope extending across from house to house (from chimney to chimney of the lowly cottage), while the children attempt to throw their balls over it from side to side, singing, and some begging halfpence from passengers: a May-lady or doll, or larger figure, dressed up, sometimes makes an appendage in some side nook. The money thus collected is afterwards spent in a tea-drinking, with cakes, &c., when something like the following lines are said or sung by the children:
The MAY-DAY GARLAND.
The hawthorn, the cowslip, the king-cob, so gay;
And form our sweet garland- our garland of May.
And all shall be gladness, good-humour, and play ;
Beneath this gay garland—this garland of May.