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How often have I paused on every charm !
MARCH may be compared to a spoiled child, who is of all humours; sometimes gathering his brows, pouting and looking sullen, and refusing on any account to be cheerful ; again bursting out into laughter-like sunshine, with a forehead clear and unclouded; and anon, without the least warning, breaking forth into tears, or puffing out his cheeks in rage. Our ancestors were long ago acquainted with his varying moods, and rightly christened him “ March many-weathers." Still he is a wel
come guest, and, in spite of his odd humour, he comes not empty-handed. His presence causes no small stir, for the peasants are once more called forth into the fields to labour. Again the ploughman “whistles o'er the furrowed land ;" and it is truly pleasant to watch him plodding over the heavy soil, which clings in masses to his nailed boots. You see his wellfed horses moving slowly along the brown field, and inhale the freshening odour of the new-turned earth,--you hear him singing gaily as he paces along with measured strides, while the skylark is carolling above his head, -you view the picture with delight, and if you have one particle of poetry in your soul, you think of him
“ Who walk'd in glory and in joy,
Behind his plough, upon the mountain-side.” And who has not paused in some narrow lane in this month, where the banks and borders of the dikes were lightly covered with spring-green, the most delicious of all greens ? Who has not paused in such a spot, and smelt the rich perfume that floated on the balmy air-a sweetness to be felt ? Where had that vagrant wind been revelling? It was
« The sweet south, That breathed upon a bank violets, Stealing and giving odour ;-violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes." Beautiful poetry! Immortal Shakspeare! Who but thou wouldst have made music the “food of love,” and compared its “dying fall” to a gentle wind stealing over violets? In what green lane wert thou seated when the Muse, fancywinged, pointed out the little knot of flowers from whence thou didst distil such imagery? Or did she whom thy heart loved slumber by thy side upon a bed of violets, while thou didst gaze upon her, then on the flowers, and turning thine eyes heavenward, saw a floating cloud in which thy fancy wrapt Jupiter and Juno; then glancing earthward upon that face and those blue violets, didst think of the lids of Juno's
? Oh! thou hast thrown an immortal beauty around the violet !
What delight does the first appearance of young buds bring to the heart! When we grow old, we remember the eagerness with which we anticipated spring when young-when day after day we watched the tender green dotting the hawthorn, and knew that the time was at hand when we should gather the odoriferous May and decorate our hats with it, and run shouting up the green lanes ;—when we peered into every dark hedge for the darker round substance in which were concealed the pale blue eggs of the hedge-sparrow, thrusting our hands through the entangling bushes, and caring not for the piercing thorns, so long as we obtained the tempting treasure rocked by windy March.
The drying winds of March sweep away all the plashy footmarks of February; the air is cold and refreshing both morning and evening, and there are a few hours in the middle of the day in which the sun darts down his gladdening heat from a clear sky, more cheering than sultry summer. The earth is aroused from its long slumber, and shaking off the brown robe of winter, assumes its delicious mantle of green.
“Sweet daughter of a rough and stormy sire,
Whose unshorn locks with leaves
“ From the green islands of eternal youth,
Turn, hither turn thy step,
“ More sweet than softest touch of Doric reed
And through the stormy deep
“ Thee, best beloved ! the virgin train await
The blooming wilds among,
“ With untired feet, and cull the earliest sweets
Of him the favour'd youth
That prompts their whisper'd sigh.
And silent dews that swell
The milky ear's green stem,
With warm and pleasant breath
“The great operations of Nature,” says Aikin, "during this month, seem to be to dry up the superabundant moisture of February, thereby preventing the roots and seeds from rotting in the earth, and gradually to bring forward the process of evolution in the swelling buds, while at the same time, by the wholesome severity of chilling blasts, they are kept from a premature disclosure, which would expose their tender contents to injury from the yet unsettled season. The effect is beautifully given in a simile by Shakspeare :
And like the tyrannous breathing of the north,
Checks all our buds from blowing.' “ The meļlow note of the throstle, who sits perched on the naked bough of some lofty tree, is heard from the beginning of this month; at the same time the ringdove coos in the woods. The rookery is now all in motion with the pleasing labour of building and repairing nests; and highly amusing it is to observe the tricks and artifices of the thievish tribe, some to defend, and others to plunder the materials of their new habitations.
“Some birds, which took refuge in our temperate climate from the rigour of the northern winter, now begin to leave us and return to the countries where they were bred. The redwing,