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The GUIDING STAR. [By the late Edward Knight, Esq. of Drury Lane Theatre.]
What is yon gem, so chaste and fair,
Exalted thus so high?
The sense to charm.
From ev'ry harm.
Whose rays invite me on?
And still would charm.
In verdant Spring, the breeze which gently blew
Literary Souvenir, 1828. Such is the melancholy picture of the poet; but let us not stop here:-let us consider winter as a season of recollection and of hope. It is in winter
that we should endeavour to enjoy the recollected pleasures of summer,--and delight ourselves with the memory of the warmth of colouring, beauty of appearance, and verdurous clothing of the festival scenes that have just passed from us; and let us hope that we may be permitted again to luxuriate in the golden light, the beautiful flowers, and the delicious music of birds, that ever characterise this pleasure-fraught season.—Again, winter is the season of domestic delights-of sociality-of fireside enjoyments—of twilight musing-of that mild melancholy, which whispers us of the coming winter of our lives, mixed with the cheerful hope that we yet have some delicious days of summer dreaming to enjoy and call our's, ere the May of our lives falls into
the sere and yellow leaf,' and its autumn dies in the lap of winter. To the inhabitant of the southern countries—to the Frenchman, who is never happy but when at his door, or out of it--to the Spaniard, who loves his noon-siesta under olive shades, and the light bolero and lively click of the castanet at evening on the warm sun-burnt grass around his dwelling-to the water-surrounded and fieldless Venetian, with his wind-admitting lattices, and cold, damp fireless halls, it is, indeed, adrerie season;' but to the ENGLISHMAN, with his sea-coal fire, his home-born happiness, his house-worthiness, his cleanliness, his comfort, and his free consolations, it is the most enjoying period of the year.
The evergreen trees with their beautiful cones, such as firs and pines, are now particularly observed and valued.
Fair towering there on either side,
The Last Autumn.
The different species of everlasting flowers, so pleasing an ornament to our parlours in winter, and indeed during the whole year, also attract our attention. The oak, the beech, and the hornbeam, in part retain their leaves: while other trees are entirely denuded of their beautiful dress, their 'leafy honours being strewed in the dust, and returned to their parent earth; yet some attractions are still left as a promise of future beauty. The scarlet berries of the common holly, and the Pyracanthus, with its bunches of fiery berries on its dark green thorny sprays, solicit our attention—while numerous tribes of mosses will afford sufficient amusement and occupation for the inquiring botanist.
The migration of oranges into England takes place about this time. See our last volume, pp. 380-385.
The water-hen, or moor-hen, is shaped somewhat like the coot (see p. 348) but smaller. These birds are often seen about our rivers; they strike with their bills like the common hen, and in the spring have a shrill call. Their flesh is extremely wellflavoured.
The insect-swarms, which delighted us with their ceaseless hum, their varied tints, and beautiful forms, during the summer and autumnal months, are retired to their winter quarters, and remain in a state of torpidity, till awakened by the enlivening warmth of spring.–See T.T. for 1826, p. 321, 322, and T.T. for 1827, p. 390, on the dormant state of spiders and crickets.
Towards the end of the month, woodcocks and snipes become the prey of the fowler.
We have now arrived at the close of our sixteenth year's record of natural appearances, and have again traversed the circle of the seasons:-certainly with no small gratification to ourselves, and we trust with profit and amusement to our readers: we must conclude our winter's day, retire to our hybernaculum, and lay up stores for another season, when we again hope to meet our friends in health and happiness, and more than ever disposed to admire the beauties and the wonders of creation,-and to accompany us in our annual survey and contemplation of these attractive objects: until then, kind readers and contributors, farewell!
Time! Time! in thy triumphal flight
How all life's phantoms fleet away!
Fame's meteor beam-and Fancy's ray;
Rolling its stormy waves afar,
The broken wrecks of Fortune's war.