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The village slept, the world was still,
The grass with dew-drops glistened;
The hearts of those that listened.
Who May-day's beauties numbered;
Will make May-night remembered. Birds are now building their nests, or laying their eggs, and their whole deportment seems altered. Little mindful of themselves at other times, they now appear as anxious parents, or wary architects; watching an intruder near their haunts with suspicion, the operation of building is suspended, and even the food for their young ones withheld; or they steal to their nests through obscure passages, or by threading or winding a way amidst the neighbouring bushes. The markings or colouring of eggs are often very variable even in the same species and nest; those with one colour, most generally retain it with only shades of distinction; but when there are blotchings or spots, they vary so much, even in the same nest, that no permanent character can be given of them: those of the house-sparrow vary as much from each other, as any bird we possess. The eggs of marine birds are particularly liable to these variations; those of the guillemot (colymbus troile) are very remarkably unlike each other. That these speckings and colourings are to answer some design, we must conclude, because they always preserve . something like a distinction through ages; and though their marks do not form a permanent character, yet the shadings of one species never wander to confound another. The plumage varies but little, and probably is the same at this hour as it originally was. The egg of the cuckoo is perhaps the smallest laid by any bird of its size, not being larger than that of a lark; and thus the little bird in whose nest it is deposited has no suspicion of the intrusion, but hatches it in conjunction with her own.
blotchings that no per the house-sparesess.
The insect tribe continue to add to their numbers; among these may be named several kinds of moths and butterflies (papilio atalanta, cardamines, ægeria, lathonia, 85c.)
A few butterflies that have passed the inclement season in the chrysalis state, are seen on the wing, early in May; soon after which the female lays her eggs singly on the leaves of nettles.--Consult T.T. for 1821, p. 153.
Other insects now observed, are 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. Nothing can afford greater amusement than to watch the members of this industrious community in their daily journies from flower to flower.--See T.T. før 1821, pp. 155, 156, for a poetical catalogue of the flowers and plants from which bees extract their honey, with illustrative notes.
This is the season of beauty in the garden; every thing in nature is young and fresh, what Gray calls * Nature's tenderest, freshest, green.' The blowing of the lilacs and laburnums may be said to be the glory of the garden and the shrubbery, delighting both the sight and the smell.
Soft tints of sweet May-morn,—when day's bright god
Bows down its head beneath the fresh’ning breeze;
Throw their soft shadows on the sunny fields;
Hang out the virgin flag of Spring, entwined
Atherstone's Last Days of Herculaneum. About the commencement of the month, the flowers of the lily of the valley (convallaria maialis) and the flowers of the chesnut tree ( fagus castanea) begin to open; the tulip tree (liriodendron tulipfera) has its leaves quite out, and the flowers of the Scotch fir, the honeysuckle, the beech, and the oak, are in full bloom.
So thine oak by some fair streamlet's side
That shared its shelter, perish in its fall.
In all the lily's bloom,
The hawthorn's boughs are.green,
Amid the ripening fields of grain, . '
In emerald brightness seen.
A night of frost, a day of wind,
Have stript the forest bare:
Nor shall that spoiling spare.
Tho' leafless, yet will shine;
As lapwing knows the vine..
Thy manlıood vigorous green;
Mid age's leafless scene. The mulberry-tree (morus nigra) puts forth its leaves. As this tree is in leaf in England generally after the silk-worm is hatched, the difficulty of obtaining it as food for this animal in the spring is evident.--See some novel information on this subject under the article SILK Worm, in Mr. Jennings's Family Cyclopedia.
The garden now affords rhubarb, green apricots, and green gooseberries, for making pies and tarts.
The orchis (orchis mascula) will now be found in moist pastures, distinguished by its broad black spotted leaves, and spike of large purple flowers; it frequently grows in patches of several yards square. Its roots afford the highly nutritious substance, the salep of the shops. The walnut (juglans regia) has its flowers in full bloom.
The banks of rills and shaded hedges are ornamented with the pretty tribe of speedwells, particularly the germander speedwell (veronica chamaedrys), the field mouse-ear (myosotis arvensis), the dove's. foot crane’s-bill (geranium molle), and the red campion (lychnis dioica): the first two of azure blue, and the last two of rose colour, intermixing their flowers with attractive variety..
The lilac (syringa vulgaris), the barberry (berberis vulgaris), and the maple (acer campestre), are now in flower. At the latter end of the month, rye (secale hybernum) is in ear; the mountain ash (sorbus aucu
paria), laburnum (cytisus laburnum), the guelder rose (viburnun opulus), clover (trifolium pratense), columbines Taquilegia vulgaris), with their singular and fantastic nectaries, the alder (rhamnus frungula), the wild chervil (choerophyllium temulum), and the wayfaring tree, or wild guelder-rose, have their flowers full blown. The various species of meadow grass are now in flower. The buttercup (ranunculus bulbosus) spreads over the meadows; the cole-seed (brassica napus) in corn-fields, bryony (brionia dioica), the arum, or cuckoo-pint, in hedges, the Tartarian honeysuckle (lonicera tartarica), and the corchorus Japonica, now show their flowers. The flowers of the garden rose begin to open.
The Rose Buv.
He saw the blooming flow'r.
'Thy rash design give o'er.'
To quell the urchin's pow'r.
My rose that bloomed the road-side near?! The amateurs of tulips are now rewarded for all their care and pains, by the splendid show this flower
· New Monthly Magaine, October 1822, p. 309.