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When forth I go upon my way, a thousand toys are mine,
The clusters of dark violets, the wreaths of the wild vine ;
My jewels are the primrose pale, the bind-weed, and the rose ;
And show me any courtly gem more beautiful than those.
And then the fruit! the glowing fruit, how sweet the scent it
I love to see its crimson cheek rest on the bright green leaves !
Summer's own gift of luxury, in which the poor may share,
The wild-wood fruit my eager eye is seeking everywhere.
Oh! summer is a pleasant time, with all its sounds and sights ;
Its dewy mornings, balmy eves, and tranquil calm delights;
I sigh when first I see the leaves fall yellow on the plain,
And all the winter long I sing—sweet summer, come again.
All who are 'up with the lark' know how very truly an early summer's morn is depicted in the following lines :
With quickened step
Brown night retires : young day pours
And opens all the lawny prospect wide.
The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top
Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue, through the dusk, the smoking currents shine;
And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps awkward ; while along the forest glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
At early passenger. Music awakes
The native voice of undissembled joy;
„And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
Roused by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
His mossy cottage, where with Peace he dwells ;
And from the crowded fold, in order, drives
His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn. Summer is the hay-making season, of which the same poet, Thomson, says :
Now swarms the village o'er the jovial mead:
The rustic youth, brown with meridian toil,
Healthful and strong ; full as the summer rose
Blown by prevailing suns, the ruddy maid
Even stooping age is here; and infant-hands
Trail the long rake, or, with the fragrant load
O'eroharg’d, amid the kind oppression roll.
Wide flies the tedded grain; all in a row
Advancing broad, or wheeling round the field,
They spread the breathing harvest to the sun,
That throws refreshful round a rural smell:
Or, as they rake the green-appearing ground
And drive the dusky wave along the mead,
The russet hay-cock rises thick behind,
In order gay. While heard from dale to dale,
Waking the breeze, resounds the blended voice
Of happy labour, love, and social glee.
What a lively picture, too, he gives us of the washing of sheep in a running stream, previous to these animals being shorn of their woolly fleeces
Urg'd to the giddy brink, much is the toil,
The clamour much, of men, and boys, and dogs,
Ere the soft fearful people to the flood
Commit their woolly sides. And oft the swain,
On some impatient seizing, hurls them in :
Embolden'd then, nor hesitating more,
Fast, fast, they plunge amid the flashing wave,
And panting labour to the farthest shore.
Repeated this, till deep the well-wash'd fleece
Has drunk the flood, and from his lively haunt
The trout is banish'd by the sordid stream;
Heavy, and dripping, to the breezy brow
Slow move the harmless race : where, as they spread
Their swelling treasures to the sunny ray,
Inly disturb’d, and wondering what this wild
Outrageous tumult means, their loud complaints
The country fill; and, toss'd from rock to rock,
Incessant bleatings run around the hills. Very often the intense heat and glare of the sun in summer are so very powerful that at noon all nature languishes; the birds in the groves become silent; and nothing is heard save the chirping of the grasshoppers, and the incessant buzzing of myriads of insects.
Echo no more returns the cheerful sound
Of sharpening scythe: the mower sinking heaps
O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfum'd;
And scarce a chirping grass-hopper is heard
Thro' the dumb mead. Distressful Nature pants.
The very streams look languid from afar;
Or, thro' th' unshelter'd glade, impatient seem
To hurl into the covert of the grove.
Bryant, an American poet, says :-
It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk
The dew that lay upon the morning grass,
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. How welcome, at such a time, is a refreshing shower of rain, reviving all nature, and gladdening the parched earth.
O gentle, gentle summer rain,
Let not the silver lily pine ;
The drooping lily pine in vain
To feel that dewy touch of thine,
To drink thy freshness once again,
O gentle, gentle summer rain!
In heat the landscape quivering lies ;
The cattle pant beneath the tree;
Through parching air and purple skies
The earth looks up in vain for thee;
For thee, for thee it looks in vain,
O gentle, gentle summer rain!
Come thou, and brim the meadow streams,
And soften all the hills with mist;
O falling dew from burning dreams,
By thee shall herb and flower be kissed;
And earth shall bless thee yet again,
O gentle, gentle summer rain! *
Longfellow says of ‘Rain in Summer '
How beautiful is the rain !
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain !
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs !
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout;
Across the window pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain !
* W. C. Bennett-a modern lyrical poet.
From the neighbouring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Engulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.
In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide
Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain. After the burning heat of a summer's day, how pleasant is the cool of the evening, when
Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees
Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds
Assembled gay, a richly gorgeous train,
In all their pomp attend his setting throne.
Air, earth, and ocean smile
He dips his orb;
Now half immersed; and now a golden curve
Gives one bright glance, then totally disappears. Another poet thus describes a summer's evening :
The sinking sun is taking leave,
And sweetly gilds the edge of eve.
While huddling clouds of purple dye
Gloomy hang the western sky;
Crows crowd croaking over head,
Hastning to the woods to bed.
Cooing sits the lonely dove,
Calling home her absent love.
From the haycock's moisten'd heaps
Startled frogs take vaulting leaps ;
And along the shaven mead,
Jumping trav'llers, they proceed :
Quick the dewy grass divides,
Moistning sweet their speckled sides.
From the grass or flowret's cup,
Quick the dow-drop bounces up.
Now the blue frog creeps along,
And tbe bird's forgot his song:
Flowers now sleep within their hoods,
Daisies button into buds;
From soiling dew the butter-cup
Shuts his golden jewels up;
And the rose and woodbine they
Wait again the smiles of day.
And Dr. Watts says:
How fine has the day been, how bright was the sun,
How lovely and joyful the course that he run,
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun,
And there followed some droppings of rain!
But now the fair traveller's come to the west,
His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;
He paints the sky gay as he sinks to his rest,
And foretells a bright rising again.
It is during the summer months that
The glow-worm's lamp, by night,
Dreamy, starry, greenly bright,
Or, as Thomson expresses it-
Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge
The glow-worm lights his gem; and through the dark
A moving radiance twinkles.
The opening Autumn continues the glories that made summer so delightful; but gradually, though surely, its beauties fade into the 'sere and yellow leaf. In the meantime is completed the ingathering of such grain and fruits as are capable of being stored up for man's use.
Now o'er the corn the sturdy farmer looks,
And swells with satisfaction to behold
The plenteous harvest which repays his toil.
And all lovers of country scenery rejoice to observe
How soon the golden field abounds with sheaves ?
How soon the oat and bearded barley fall,
In frequent lines before the keen-edged scythe ?
The clattering team then comes, the swarthy hind