"As shadowy April's suns and showers would pass,
And summer's wild profusion plenteous grew, Hiding the spring flowers in long weeds and grass,
What meads and copses would I wander through! When on the water ope'd the lily-buds,
And fine long purples shadowed in the lake! When purple bugles peeped in the woods
'Neath darkest shades that boughs and leaves could make.
"The ragged-robins by the spinney lake,
And flag-flower bunches deeper down the flood, And snugly hiding 'neath a feather'd brake,
Full many a blue-bell flower and cuckoo-bud; And old-man's-beard, that wreathed along the hedge
Its oddly rude, misshapen, tawny flowers, And prickly burs that crowd the leaves of sedge,
Have claimed my pleasing search for hours and hours."
AS soon as the oak-leaves have burst their ruddy sheaths and flutter their pale green pennants in the balmy air, and the spring buds laugh through their split sides into joyous flowers, we know that summer is at hand. The seasons glide into each other noiselessly, and no one can tell where one commences and the other fades away; but we all acknowledge that summer has come when the woodlands are clothed with verdure, and the sun has penetrated the shady dingles and awakened the flowers in the bleak moorland. Spring has built up the tender foliage, and summer crowns it with flowers. The fragrant May stretches far away over hill and dale, its snowy petals sometimes blushing with beauty. The grass of the meadows waves to and fro in gentle billows, waiting for the scythe of the husbandman. The corn is bursting into ear, "The green herbs Stir in the summer's breath; a thousand flowers By the road-side and the borders of the brook Nod gaily to each other; glossy leaves Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew Were on them yet."
The fisherman has noted the embroidery which has made gay the banks of his favourite stream. Out of the depths of the river the broad flat leaves of the Water-Lily have arisen, and spread their glossy surfaces to the sun. The buds have started up between them. The arrow-head looks defiantly above them all, nay, even frowns at the stately Bulrush and stalwart Reed-mace, which kisses the bank as if afraid of the moving waters. By-and-bye the yellow stars will shine side by side with the long purples, and the snowy petals of the Aquatic Ranunculus will emulate the snow-flakes which fell into the streamlet when January frowned upon its gambols. The river seems to rejoice in its fringe of glory, and goes lazily onward to its stepmother the sea. The old highway seems sunburnt, and proud too of its road-side beauties. The fields entice, the woodlands allure us, the moorland invites us, the swelled torrent of the hill-side is less threaten-' ing. It is summer-time. Let us leave the close-built town, and wander among the flowers: