"The scarlet pimpernel creeps here and there.
Amid the corn the crimson poppies blush, Still on the brooks gleam water-lilies rare,
And purple loosestrife, and the flowering rush Still honeysuckle blooms perfume the gale
Where bryony-leaves adorn the hedgerows green, Where peep the scabious and the campion pale,
With trumpet like convolvulus between; The blue campanula, and chickory wild,
And yellow toadflax variegate the plain, And with a thankful heart and sense beguiled
We look upon the fields of ripening grain."
No longer can we point to field and hedgerow crowned with
"One boundless blush, one white empurpled shower Of mingled blossoms."
The reign of summer is at an end, and there follows, as Shirley Hibberd puts it, "the sweet, melancholy, soothing, plaintive autumn,'like the quiet cadences of a hushed heart.'" You may hear the chirp of the robin, but the sweet-songed birds of spring are silent. The bright-eyed flowers are drooping, and in their stead the ruddy haws, golden crabs, and scarlet hips peep forth as they lose the shelter of the dropping leaves. Seeds are ripening. The woods are starred with golden red, and are full of the tall foliage and pods of bygone flowers. The hedgerows are choked with nettles, mints, and other labiate flowers. The larger flowers are all of a golden or purple hue. The hawkweeds stud the wayside, the harebell swings to and fro, and the autumnal crocus blooms in the meadow. By the river-side the willow herbs still linger. The large ox-eye daisy nods to us from the parched ground. The rich pheasant's-eye glances brilliantly from the ripening corn, and we may find the thread-like spurrey and the wild mignonette. As we approach the ruined wall, we shall find that "Here the dull nightshade hangs her deadly fruit; On hills of dust the henbane's faded green And pencilled flower of sickly hue is seen."
The mountain and moorland are somewhat gayer, and the visitor to the sea-shore will find a world of flowers yet in bloom. The ferns are in all their graceful luxuriance, and though some of the grasses are withered, others yet bend their laden panicles to the wind.
"A blade of silverhair grass nodding slowly In the soft wind, the thistle's purple crown, The ferns, the rushes tall, and mosses lowly,"
alone adorn the landscape of a late autumn day