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Yon tiny cone of sand its soundless dance,
In that beautiful work entitled the “ British Naturalist" is the following description :-“The summer-day has its scenes of pleasure and profit in the sultry hour; for it is then that both man and beast find refreshment the grove, by the murmuring stream, or the sounding cascade, - the latter especially, as there a hot day has all the effect of a shower upon the surrounding vegetation. The water, if the fall has much altitude, falls in drops and pencils, all sides of which come in contact with the air, which evaporates a very considerable portion of their volume ; and even though the altitude be not so great as to occasion a cloud of vapour which can fall vertically upon the vegetation in a perpetual shower, the air, which descends and condenses over the falling water, hurries towards the warmer surface around in a perceptible breeze, blowing outward in all directions, and refreshing the vegetation for a space proportioned to the fall of the water. А wind may be always felt blowing out of the chasm or caldron into which the stream plunges ; but though that wind be constant, it produces a very different appearance on vegetation from that produced by the generality of permanent winds. The trees and shrubs bend from these, and are dwarfed and stunted by them ; but they extend their twigs, and are fresher in their leaves on the side next the waterfall. In such places their duration is also increased ; and a tree which has the advantage of this constant watering upon the leaves
is much less dependent upon the roots, and therefore will continue to show vigorous leaves after the trunk is much more hollowed and consumed by age. Those places that are most favourable to vegetation are also most favourable to animal life, though they may not be most healthy for man. There are no places in this country where waterfalls do not chronicle the lapse of a very considerable number of years ; and sometimes the ravine that they have worn extends miles in length,nay, there are many instances where the action of the stream can be traced for several miles, even through a ridge ; so that the cascade, which had been gradually increasing in height for the one half of its course, and diminishing for the other, has now worked down to the lowest part of the lake from which it had its origin.
“ Thus, wherever there is a cascade, we may be sure that it is an ancient thing, and that the plants and the animals have had time to accommodate themselves to it; and consequently, that where attempts have not been made to alter it by Art, it is a faithful index to Nature, at the same time that it is the collector. There are many places, where amid the dark desolation of a surface showing but heath, and where there is no sign of life but the melancholy chirp of some little bird, a cascade, with its dell, its dripping rocks, and its caverned banks, will contain a rich cabinet of botany and zoology, where a stranger would never think of looking for them. There are some British inhabitants of the wood that we have never been able to come so near to, and watch so long, as among the rugged trees by the side of a waterfall, to which we had escaped from the intense heat of the sun upon the hill above. There is then nothing of the music of the birds, for that is drowned in the thunder of the falling flood; but that and the delightful freshness, and the fragrance of the birches, of which there is usually a considerable mixture among the other trees around a waterfall, the more aged ones sweeping and waving their long dependent twigs in the stream, make ample recompense.”
There is, indeed, something delightful in the sound of falling waters,-a dreamy quietness, a murmuring unlike the din of this work-a-day world, a kind of Eastern luxury. To stretch oneself upon a bank by a flowing weir, and listen to its bubbling music, is to be in a land of poetry: the starry silver spreading around one in its arched brilliance—the motion of trees, seen but not heard—a voice calling from over the water, but lost amid the liquid thunder,—all aid the illusion, and bring before us a listening land, where every tongue seems hushed but that of the torrent. I could become a heathen if the worshipping of waters might be renewed, and float my flowery tribute upon the waves to the unseen spirit of some sparry grot or coral palace — a music-dropping cavern lighted with pointed crystals.
“ Here Melancholy, on the pale crags laid,
And now again, white-flashing on the view,
W. L. BOWLES.
Mr. Leigh Hunt, in his “ Months,” says: “ August is the month of harvest. The crops usually begin with rye and oats, proceed with wheat, and finish with peas and beans. Harvesthome is still the greatest rural holiday in England, because it concludes at once the most laborious and most lucrative of the farmer's employments, and unites repose and profit. Thank Heaven! there are and must be seasons of some repose in agricultural employments, or the countryman would work with as unceasing a madness, and contrive to be almost as diseased and unhealthy, as the citizen. But here again, and for the reasons already mentioned, our holiday-making is not
what is was. Our ancestors used to burst into an enthusiasm of joy at the end of harvest, and appear even to have mingled their previous labour with considerable merry-making, in which they imitated the equality of the earlier ages. They crowned the wheat-sheaf with flowers, they sang, they shouted, they danced ; they invited each other, or met to feast, as at Christmas, in the halls of rich houses; and what was a very amiable custom, and wise beyond the commoner wisdom that may seem to lie on the top of it, every one that had been concerned, man, woman, and child, received a little present-ribands, laces, or sweetmeats.
“ The number of flowers is now sensibly diminished. Those that flower newly are nigella, zinnias, polyanthuses, loveapples, mignonette, capsicums, Michaelmas daisies, auriculas, asters, or stars, and China asters. The additional trees and shrubs in flower are the tamarisk, altheas, Venetian sumach, pomegranates, the beautiful passion-flower, the trumpet-flower, and the virgin’s-bower, or clematis, which is such a quick and handsome climber. But the quantity of fruit is considerably multiplied, especially that of pears, peaches, apricots, and grapes. And if the little delicate wild-flowers have at last withdrawn from the hot sun, the wastes, marshes, and woods are dressed in the luxuriant attire of ferns and heaths, with all their varieties of green, purple, and gold. A piece of waste land, especially where the ground is broken up into little inequalities—as Hampstead-heath for instance is now a most bright as well as picturesque object; all the ground, which is in light, giving the sun, as it were, gold for gold. Mignonette intended to flower in the winter should now be planted in pots, and have the benefit of a warm situation ; seedlings in pots should have the morning sunshine, and annuals in pots be frequently watered.
“ In the middle of this month the young goldfinch broods appear, lapwings congregate, thistle-down floats, and birds resume their spring songs: a little afterwards flies abound in