Abbildungen der Seite

He added, however, that for twenty-two years be bad paid particular attention to this circumstance; and, except twice, always observed that the wind blew from the eastward at the beginning of May. No one who has regularly noticed the progress of vegetation in the vernal months, but can remember how often they have had to witness the withering effects of the east wind on the tender plants, flowers, and shoots of this season: its parching effects on the garden, and its hurtful consequences to the young barley in the fields, are frequent complaints. These easterly winds, too, are very often attended by a blue mist, called, by those living to the westward of the metropolis, · London smoke;' and though it is well known, that the fuliginous vapour of this great city extends, like the train of a comet, to the distance of fifty miles, yet that blue mist or haze, which is known to be so extensive, cannot be occasioned by such a local circumstance. But from the want of simultaneous meteorological observations at numerous distant stations, we have not sufficient data on which to form a rational opinion, as to the prevalence of either the east wind or the blue mist. The latter is called a blight, and many people imagine that the aphides are wafted through the air by this same mist; because the depredations of these insects become visible at the time, or soon afterwards : but with such winds we have commonly a clear sky; in course, the sun's heat is intense, and this it is which calls forth myriads of insects from their autumnal and hybernal retreats.'

In a recent number of the 'Edinburgh Journal of Science, Mr. Samuel Marshall states it to be highly probable, that the only periodical wind which we have in this island, that from the north-east, which prevails, generally, from about the middle of April to the 7th or 8th of May, and sometimes longer, may be thus accounted for. In Sweden and Norway the face of the country is covered with snow to the middle of May, or longer. This frozen covering, which has been formed during winter, grows gradually shallower to the 15th or 16th of May, or until

the sun has acquired 17° or 18° of north declinatión; while, on the other hand, the valleys and mountains of England have received an accession of temperature of 24° or 25o. On this account, when the temperature of Sweden and Norway is cooled down by snow to 32', that of Britain is 24° or 25° higher than that of the preceding countries. Because, while the ground is covered with snow, the rays of the syn are incapable of heating the air above 32° (the freezing point). For this reason the air of England is 24° or 25o more heated than that of the before-mentioned countries. The air of Sweden and Norway will then, of course, by the laws of comparative specific gravities, displace that of England; and, from the relative situation of those countries with this country, will produce a north-east wind. This current is, in com. mon, stronger by day than by night, because the variation of temperature in the air of Great Britain is at that time the greatest, being frequently from 500 to 60° about noon, and sinking to 320 in the night.

If the season be at all favourable, there is something particularly revivifying and pleasant in this period of the year—a gaiety and mirthfulness of which all God's creatures more or less partake. A thousand joyous feelings are associated with the smell of hawthorn, and the sight of the bright green trees, and the sound of the notes of the sweet singing birds; and the daisies and cowslips spangle the surface of the grassy fields, and the playful butterflies wanton in the glittering sunbeams.

When apple-trees in blossoms are,

And cherries of a silken white;
And king-cups deck the meadows fair,

And daffodils in brooks delight;
When golden wall-flow'r blooms around,
And purple violets 'scent the ground,
And lilac 'gins to show her bloom
We then may say the May is come.
When bappy shepherds tell their tale

Under the tender leafy tree;
And all adown the grassy vale

The mocking cuckoo chanteth free;
And philomel, with liquid throat,
Doth pour the welcome, warbling note,
That had been all the winter dumb-
We then may say the May is come.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

When fishes leap in silver stream,

And tender corņ is springing high,
And banks are warm with sunny beam,

And twitt'ring swallows cleave the sky,
And forest bees are humming near,
And cowslips in boys' hats appear,
And maids do wear the meadow's bloom-
We then may say the May is come.



The Carp How pleasant is the return of spring! When nature revives and smiles again, the pastures are clothed afresh with living green, the trees put on their new attire, and appear fine and beautiful: flowers adorn the face of the meadows, and afford a pleasing variety of colour and fragrance; they mingle their odoriferous sweets, perfume the circumambient air, and refresh and regale us.

Advancing Spring profusely spreads around
Flowers of all hues, with sweetest fragrance stored.
Where'er she treads, Love gladdens every plain;.
Delight, on tip-toe, bears the lucid train;
Sweet Hope, with conscious brow, before her flies,

Anticipating wealth from summer skies. Now the animate and inanimate parts of the creation rejoice together in one chorus: all join in songs of praise to the bountiful Creator and universal Lord. Gladness inspires the breast of the feathered tribes, and with thanksgiving hymns they offer a tribute of gratitude to Him who gives them their meat in its season. Those birds and reptiles which had slept all the winter, revive, and welcome the approach of summer. The corn grows and flourishes, and the trees bud and blossom, giving us animating prospects of ensuing plenty.

A thousand hues flush o'er the fragrant earth,
Or tinge the infant germs of every tree

That burst with life. This is the season when all things smile and are glad; and from viewing the whole delightful scene, one would be ready to imagine that the curse pronounced on the earth for Adam's disobedience was removed, and there was rising up a new creation.Wood's Germs of Thought.


[By D. L. Richardson.)
The brightly beaming Spring at length is seen,
And all things breathe of joy. The infant year
Hath burst the barriers time and tempest rear;
And, clothed in vernal beauty, smiles serene
The quick-reviving earth. Though long hath been
The trance of Nature on the naked bier,
Where ruthless Winter mocked her slumbers drear,
And rent with iron hand her robes of green,
The spell is sweetly broken! Glossy trees,
Resplendent meads, and variegated flowers,
Gleam in the sun, and tremble in the breeze!
And now with dreaming eye the Poet sees
Fair shapes of pleasure haunt romantic bowers,
And laughing streamlets chase the flying hours !

London Weekly Review. The latest species of the summer birds of passage arrive about the beginning of May. Among these are the goatsucker, or fern-owl, the spotted flycatcher, and the sedge bird. In this and the following month, the dotterel is in season. Birds are still occupied in building their pests or laying their eggs. The parental care of birds at this period, in hatching and rearing their young, can never be sufficiently admired.

Eyes of Birds.-Birds flying in the air, and meeting with many

obstacles, as branches and leaves of trees, require to have their eyes sometimes as flat as possible for protection; but sometimes as round as possible, that they may see the small objects (flies and other insects) which they are chasing through the air, and which they pursue with the most unerring certainty. This could only be accomplished by giving them a power of suddenly changing the form of their eyes. Accordingly, there is a set of bard scales placed on the outer coat of their eye, round the place where the light enters; and over these scales are drawn the muscles or fibres by which motion is communicated; so that, by acting with these muscles, the bird can press the scales, and squeeze the natural magnifier of the eye into a round shape when it wishes to follow an insect through the air, and can relax the scales, in order to flatten the eye again when it would see a distant object, or move safely through leaves and twigs. This power of altering the shape of the eye is possessed by birds of prey in a very remarkable degree. They can see the smallest objects close to them, and can yet discern larger bodies at vast distances, as a carcass stretched upon the plain, or a dying fish afloat on the water. A singular provision is made for keeping the surface of the bird's eye clean, for wiping the glass of the instrament, as it were, and also for protecting it, while rapidly flying through the air and through thickets, without hindering the sight. Birds are, for these purposes, furnished with a third eyelid, a fine membrane or skin, wbieh is constantly moved very rapidly over the eyeball by two muscles placed in the back of the eye. One of the muscles ends in a loop, the other in a string which goes through the loop, and is fixed in the corner of the membrane, to pull it backward and forward.

Birds on their branches hymeneals sing,
The pastured meads with bridal echoes ring;
Bathed in soft dew, and fanned by western winds,
Each field its bosom to the gale unbinds;
The blade dares boldly rise, new suns beneath,
The tender vine puts forth her flexile wreath,
And, freed from southern blast and northern shower,
Spreads without fear each blossom, leaf, and flower.

Sotheby's Virgil.
Some beautiful reflections on the music of nature
will be found in T.T. for 1828, p. 128.
The lily of the valley now opens her snowy bells,

, and the flowers of the chestnut-tree begin to unfold; the tulip-tree has its leaves quite out; and the flowers of the Scotch fir, the beech, the oak, and the honey


« ZurückWeiter »