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in creation. Find me another tree with so rich and glossy a leaf-one that looks so much like a gem of emerald when the sunbeam falls full upon its foliage, and the gentle wind steals over its branches, producing an effect which no artist could ever represent! Then, again, it has the smoothest and clearest bark in the forest ; and many a lover has cut his fair one's name upon its polished rind! There is also a sweeping grace in its drooping branches, hanging in every grand and unimaginable form. “ They make spreading trees, and noble shades, with their well-furnished and glistering leaves," says old Evelyn; and but few men understood better the beauty of trees. Our ancestors made their beds of beech-leaves ; and, on account of their lightness and loose lying together, these beds continued to be sweet for seven or eight years : they smelt also like green tea, and were doubtless very refreshing. There is also the purple beech, another beautiful ornament for parks and pleasuregrounds, which has been known to grow to the height of thirty feet.
I must not pass over the lady-like birch, with its falling flowers, that hang like waving gold from the tree in this month. Who that has ever inhaled the delicious smell arising from it after a shower, when the air around has been smothered with perfume, can ever forget the birch ? Its rich stem, too, is sometimes a perfect picture, touched with silver, brown, and yellow, which the fancy conjures into a thousand fantastic shapes. Evelyn is quite eloquent in his praises of birch-wine, which is really a refreshing beverage. The weeping-birch in particular is a beautiful tree, having a long and slender spray like the weeping-willow, and delicately-drooping foliage, which flutters in the lightest wind.
Trees are a delightful study ; and it is pleasant to be so far acquainted with them, as to be enabled to distinguish their different characters at a glance. This, as I have observed before, is not difficult in winter, when the ramifications, or forms of the branches, are so distinct; but in summer, when
they have put on their full foliage, they are more alike; and there are some kinds which bear so close a resemblance to others, as only to be recognised by a practised eye. In autumn, too, the pleasure of your walks would be increased by your being able to point out every particular tree by the rich colours of the leaves the varied hues of purple, olive, red, gold, green, and even crimson, which they at that season assume. All these tints, variously and beautifully mingled, may be seen in fine perfection in autumn at the end of a road adjoining the HalfMoon near Dulwich, not three miles from the metropolis.
I shall not dwell upon the individual features of fruittrees, which now present a splendid appearance in blossom, sheeted in snowy silver that seems crimsoned with the tints of the morning clouds ushering in the rosy-footed Aurora. Even the depths of the woods are illuminated with the white blossoms, that glitter like fallen clouds, as if the sky had scattered its floating silver in the forest. How lovely appear the cherry-blossoms, twining like wreaths of daisies around the branches with scarcely a leaf visible; and the peaches spreading along the dull wall, with a blush upon their blossoming leaves, as if half abashed to meet the sun ; while the huge almond blows above them all, like one solid flower! Perhaps the loveliest of all are the apple-blossoms : there is not a flower either in the field or garden more beautiful. They seem made up of all that is delightful in the other flowers, embodying within themselves the richest and most delicate colourings. They wear the white innocence of childhood, and the shade of a thousand blushes, from the first faint spread to the last crimson flush that steals over the face of virgin beauty,
THE SHOWER OF BLOSSOMS.
Love in a shower of blossoms came
As whether this I cannot tell
HERRICK. The chestnut has put forth its spreading leaves and flowers, which are truly beautiful all springing together; and the honeysuckles have shot out their dark leaves by the sides of the cottage-porches, which they will ere long fill with fragrance. The earth grows greener every day. The knotty bloom of the ash has a fine effect, and, when minutely examined, appears singularly beautiful: the spray is also mingled at times in spring with the remains of the last year's keys, which being mixed with the black-tipped seed look well.
~ Those who reside in the country,” says Mr. Jesse, appreciate the enjoyment of the first days of spring. Nature then puts on her most smiling aspect, and everything looks joyous ; frost and snow have disappeared, and the fields are clothed with verdure. It is impossible not to enjoy such moments. As for myself, I am never so happy as when I am strolling on the bank of some clear and beautiful stream in a fine spring-day. The scenery, the birds and flowers, all add to my pleasure. I like to see the 'glittering streamlet play,' and to hear the prattle of the purling rill,' as Thomson calls the sound made by a brook as it passes over a bed of pebbles,
· The little brook That o'er its flinty pavement sweetly sung.' “ No one appears to have appreciated the charms of the country more than Horace. In his beautiful ode in praise of a country life, he details the pleasures to be derived from it in a
manner which shows how capable he was himself of enjoying its attractions. He shows how happy the man must be who cultivates his own land, prunes and engrafts his fruit-trees, or sees his lowing cattle in some lonely vale, and stores his honey, and shears his sheep, and gathers in his own fruits. I am apt to dwell on the charms of the country, because so much of my own happiness is derived from it, and because I am persuaded that so many others might enjoy the same pleasure.
“A mere residence in the country will not be sufficient ; there must be a decided fondness for the occupation it affords. Visiting the cottages of the peasantry, and relieving their wants, is one of these.
The cultivation of flowers should not be neglected, as it is another of the resources which make a country life agreeable, and affords a pleasure which is not only inexhaustible, but is one of the most fascinating kind. To this may be added the study of natural history, which alone is sufficient to keep the mind employed, and prevent the day from becoming dull or tedious. It is a study also calculated to make us wiser and better; as the more we contemplate the works of creation, the more reason we shall have to entertain a deep sense of the Almighty power and goodness :
For God is paid when man receives, -
For Seed says, “We are affected with delightful sensations when we see the inanimate parts of the creation-the meadows, flowers, and fields, in a flourishing state. There must be some rooted melancholy at the heart, when all nature appears smiling about us, to hinder us from corresponding with the rest of the creation, and joining in the universal chorus of joy. But if meadows and trees in their cheerful verdure-if flowers in their bloom, and all the vegetable parts of the creation in their most advantageous dress, can inspire gladness in the heart, and drive
all sadness but despair, to see the rational creation happy and flourishing ought to give us a pleasure as
much superior as the latter is to the former in the scale of beings. But the pleasure is still heightened if we ourselves have been instrumental in contributing to the happiness of our fellow-creatures,-if we have helped to raise a heart drooping beneath the weight of grief, and revived that barren and dry land, where no water was, with refreshing showers of love and kindness.'
• To measure life, learn thou betimes, and know
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And when God sends a cheerful hour refrains.'
" The spring is now complete,” says Leigh Hunt.
" The winds have done their work; the shaken air, well tempered and equalised, has subsided : the genial rains, however thickly they may come, do not saturate the ground beyond the power of the sun to dry it up again. There are clear crystal mornings ; noons of blue sky and white cloud ; nights in which the growing moon seems to lie looking at the stars, like a young shepherdess at her flock !
“ Then the young green ;-this is the most apt and perfect mark of the season, the true issuing forth of the spring. The trees and bushes are putting forth their crisp fans; the lilac is loaded with bud; the meadows are thick with the bright young grass, running into sweeps of white and gold with the daisies and buttercups.
The orchards announce their riches in a shower of silver blossoms. The earth in fertile woods is spread with yellow and blue carpets of primroses, violets, and hyacinths, over which the birch-trees, like stooping nymphs, hang with their thickening hair. Lilies of the valley, stocks, columbines, lady-smocks, and the intensely red peony, which seems to anticipate the full glow of summer-time, all come out to wait upon the season, like fairies from their subterraneous