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winter is past; the flowers appear upon the earth ; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.' Rightly, therefore, does this season deserve the welcome it receives on all hands. Charles Swain has thus written of this time of the
Spring ! spring! beautiful spring,
Hitherward cometh like hope on the wing-
Pleasantly looketh on streamlet and flood,
Raiseth a chorus of joy in the wood ;
Toucheth the bud, and it bursts into bloom ;
Biddeth the beautiful rise from the tomb;
Blesseth the heart like a heavenly thing !
Spring ! spring! beautiful spring!
Song sweetly saluteth the morn ;
The robin awaketh and sits on the thorn ;
Timidly warbles while yet in the east,
Twilight from duty has not been released ;
Calleth the lark that ascendeth on high,
Greeting the sun in the depth of the sky;
Telleth the talented blackbird to sing-
Welcome! oh, welcome! beautiful spring !
The Approach of Spring,' and the changes which
occur in nature as it advances are described by Thomas
Carew, a poet of the sixteenth century-
Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or calls an icy cream
Upon the silver lake, or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumb'd earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree .
The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble bee ;
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful spring.
The valleys, hills, and woods, in rich array,
Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.
Now all things smile.
And Mary Howitt says of the coming spring :-
In all the years which have been,
The spring hath green'd the bough,
The gladsome, hopeful spring-time !
Keep heart! it comes even now.
The winter time departeth;
The early flowers expand;
The blackbird and the turtle-dove
Are heard throughout the land,
Before us lies the spring-time-
Thank God, the time of mirth-
When birds are singing in the trees,
And flowers gem all the earth; The farmer is anxious that all his ploughing, sowing, and harrowing shall be over ere the well-known spring showers descend. Thomson, the poet of the Seasons,' describes how the vapours gather and sail in clouds along the sky, till, says he
Gradual sinks the breeze
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver through the closing woods,
Or rustling turn the many-twinkling leaves
Of aspen tall. Herds and flocks, and birds, long for the genial showers; the mountains, vales, and forests will look all the fresher and greener after the rain has descended; and the farmer wants to see his pastures and cornfields fertilised. At last,
The clouds consign their treasures to the fields;
And, softly shaking on the dimpled pool
Prelusive drops,.let all their moisture flow,
In large effusion, o'er the freshen'd world.
The stealing shower is scarce to patter heard,
By such as wander through the forest walks,
Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves. After these welcome showers, vegetable life is quickened; so that the meadows are soon clothed with verdure, and plants spring up in profusion on every side. The birds pour out their songs and build their nests ; while the bees in million swarms fly abroad through the soft air to gather their luscious honey from the flowers that now ‘gem the earth,' and make the fields and gardens so delightful a prospect. It was of such a time as this that Bishop Heber wrote:
Oh, green was the corn as I rode on my way,.
And bright were the dews on the blossoms of May,
And dark was the sycamore's shade to behold,
And the oak’s tender leaf was of em'rald and gold.
The thrush from his holly, the lark from his cloud,
Their chorus of rapture sung jovial and loud;
From the soft vernal sky, to the soft grassy ground,
There was beauty above me, beneath, and around.
The mild southern breeze brought a shower from the hill,
And yet, though it left me all dripping and chill,
I felt a new pleasure, as onward I sped,
To gaze where the rainbow gleamed broad over head.
In our country, spring approaches gradually, and the change in nature takes place in a corresponding degree. But in northern latitudes, this season seems to burst forth all at once, so that in a surprisingly short space of time the whole aspect of nature is altered. This sudden transformation has been thus described :
Yestreen the mountain's rugged brow
Was mantled o'er with dreary snow;
The sun set red behind the hill,
And every breath of wind was still;
But ere he rose, the southern blast
A veil o'er heaven's blue arch had cast;
Thick rolled the clouds, and genial rain
Poured the wide deluge o'er the plain.
Fair glens and verdant vales appear,
And warmth awakes the budding year.
O 'tis the touch of fairy hand
That wakes the spring of northern land !
It warms not there by slow degrees,
With changeful pulse, the uncertain breeze;
But sudden on the wondering sight
Bursts forth the beam of living light,
And instant verdure springs around,
And magic flowers bedeck the ground.
Returned from regions far away,
The red-winged throstle pours his lay;
The soaring snipe salutes the spring,
While the breeze whistles through his wing;
And, as he hails the melting snows,
The heathcock claps his wings and crows.
At length 'fairhanded spring' has run its course ; it passes away, and gives place to summer with all its glories. As this second season of the
The garlands fade that spring so lately wove ;
Each simple flower, which she had nursed in dew,
Anemones that spangled every grove,
The primrose wan, and harebell mildly blue.
No more shall violets linger in the dell,
Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till spring again shall call forth every bell,
And dress with humid hands her wreaths again. The spring-time has very often been aptly compared to man's early years.
It is during childhood and youth that we must be trained to fight the battle of life. Then the mind must be instructed ; and how necessary it is, therefore, that the young should learn and practise not only those things which will fit them for gaining the world's goods, but also that which will enable them at last to secure an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. They should learn to say, when spring returns, as Bloomfield, the poet, did
Sunshine, health, and joy,
Play round, and cheer the elevated boy.
• Another spring!' his heart exulting cries;
Another year!' with promised blessings rise !
Eternal Power, from whom those blessings flow,
Teach me still more to wonder, more to know:
Seed-time and harvest let me see again;
Wander the leaf-strewn wood, the frozen plain :
Let the first flower, corn-waving field, plain, tree,
Here round my home, still lift my soul to thee;
And let me ever, 'midst thy bounties, raise
An humble note of thankfulness and praise.'
Hurrah for the glorious Summer as it comes to fill the world with loveliness and fragrance;—the season of bright sunshine, of green waving woods, of brilliant sweet-scented flowers, and of ripe fruit; when the pleasant
hum of the industrious bee and the merry songs of the happy birds resound on all sides,
The summer! the summer! the exquisite time
Of the red rose's blush, and the nightingale's chime;
The chant of the lark, and the boom of the bee,
The season of brightness, and beauty, and glee!
It is here—it is here! it is lighting again,
With sun-braided smiles, the deep heart of the glen;
It is touching the mountain and tingeing the hill,
And dimpling the face of the low-laughing rill;
It is flooding the forest-trees richly with bloom!
And flinging gold showers in the lap of the broom !
I have heard the lark warble his hymn in the sky,
I have seen the dew-tear in the meek daisy's eye;
I have scented the breath of the fresh open'd flowers,
I have plucked a rich garland from bright hawthorn bowers;
My footsteps have been where the violet sleeps,
And where arches of eglantine hang from the steeps;
I have startled the linnet from thickets of shade,
And roused the fleet stag as he basked in the glade;
And my spirit is blithe-as a rivulet clear,
For the summer, the golden crown'd summer, is here !
And how appropriate to this time of the year are the beautiful words of the Psalmist when he says—The little hills rejoice on every side: The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with corn. They shout for joy ; they also sing.' Summer is indeed a season of gladness to everyone; and especially so to those who dwell where they can stroll, when they have leisure, amongst the verdant fields and woods. Mary Howitt describes a poor strawberry girl wandering in search of fruit, and singing in heartfelt glee
It is summer! it is summer! how beautiful it looks;
There is sunshine on the old gray hills, and sunshine on the
A singing-bird on erery bough, soft perfumes on the air,
A happy smile on each young lip, and gladness everywhere.
Oh! is it not a pleasant thing to wander through the woods,
To look upon the painted flowers, and wateh the opening buds;
Or seated in the deep cool shade at some tall ash-tree's root,
To fill my little basket with the sweet and scented fruit?