Abbildungen der Seite

Swarms of insects in this and the succeeding month burst from their egg and chrysalis state. The dragon-flies leave the water, the element where they are born and bred, and soar in the air, where they may be seen darting after smaller winged insects, their prey. The gaudy family of butterflies, the mail-covered though splendid tribe of beetles, and the curiously, mechanical fraternity of bees, everywhere intrude themselves on the notice of the naturalist. Spiders weave their geometric-formed webs on every spray; and which may be seen to reflect the prismatic colours, to entice the more readily their unwary victims. The common butterfly deposits a red fluid; and vast numbers of the insects in the air have dropt this fluid in such quantities, as to give rise to the story of a shower of red rain,

Toads, frogs, and efts may soon be seen changing from their tadpole state to their perfect form. Soon after this, the frogs instinctively leave the water, and secrete themselves on land, to avoid the notice of their natural enemies, ducks and other aquatic birds. Snakes cast their slough; and with vipers and slowworms, may be seen basking under hedges.

The dew-worm may be seen lying abroad on warm, moist mornings, or during warm rain. Snails, with their curiously-coloured spiral shells, may be seen roving about in moist weather, accompanied by their shelless congeners, wherever moisture exists or their favourite food abounds. In shallow brooks, in still parts at the edge of the stream, thé Gordius may be seen, like an animated hair, waving its slender body in all directions. - Magazine of Natural History.

Young hares or leverets, in favourable seasons, are now seen feeding near the edges of woods and copses. See T. T. for 1824, p. 159.



Moles are affected by the season: though the constant tenants of darkness, their economy in forming their abodes, and exertions in search of their food, arrest the notice of the observer. In the beginning of May, the female begins to prepare a nest, either under a bush or hedge, and not uncommonly in the open pastures, by throwing up a larger hill than usual. The water shrew may be seen diving in search of food amongst the mud in spring-water ditches.

MAY DAY; in three Sonnets.

Sweet May, who has not bailed thy smiling morn,

Beheld thy rising sun gild ether blue?

Who has not joyous brushed thy pearly dew,
Or seen it sparkle on the springing corn,

And gem the meadow flowers of varied hue;
Wbile soft the blackbird wbistled on the thorn,
The linnet blythe on slender broom-twig borne,

And warbling skylark soaring from the view ?
Thou breathest fragrance in the evening gale,

Or wben soft zephyrs fan the daisied green,
From azure violet or primrose pale ;

When glowing twilight leads the swain, unseen,
To whisper soft love's fondly tender tale,
Beneath the budding birch, whose odours scent the vale.

Such are thy sweets, dear, ever-blooming May;

And such the young deligbts that once were mine,
When youth, light-hearted, met thy morning ray,

And saw thy evening skies in splendour shine:

Then I could careless on a bank recline,
And list the woodland warbler's vesper lay;

Or for my fair a flowery chaplet twine;
Or haply by thy streamlet musing stray,

A song to frame for charms transcending thine.
Now youth is past—these joys are fled for aye;
Thy flowers are fair, thy meadows green and gay;

But I am left in age and care to pine,-
To mourn Hope's promised fairy blossoms shed,
And shudder in the storm that howls around my head.

Enough of this, I check the rising sigh;

Of Nature's law 'tis bootless to complain;
Since Heaven decrees that earthly bliss must fly,-
That man, like summer-flowers, must droop and die:

Let me such murmuring, impious thoughts restrain;
All sublunary joys still wax and wane,
Like airy meteors gliding o'er the sky;

Or like the product of the spider's loom,
Whose filmy texture mocks the gazer's eye:

Although the gathering shades of evening gloom,
Though blighted every flower that blossomed fair,

There is a hope that looks beyond the tomb,
Contemplating celestial glories there,
And flowers for ever fair in amarantbine bloom.

Edinburgh Saturday Post.

The fishes which appear in the London market in May and June, are chiefly the salmon, turbot, mackerel, doree, red mullet, and pike.

The doree (corrupted from adorée, worshipped, or probably from dorée,gilt; in allusion to its splendid colour) is said by some to be the fish out of whose mouth St. Peter took the tribute money, leaving on its sides those incontestible proofs of the identity of the fish, the marks of his finger and thumb. Others contend that the fish in question was the haddock. It is rather hard to determine the dispute; for the doree also asserts an origin of its spots of a similar nature, but of a much later date than the former. St. Christopher, in wading through an arm of the sea, having caught a fish of the kind, en passant, as an eternal memorial of the fact, left the impression on its sides to be transmitted to all posterity. In our own country it was very long before the fish attracted notice, at least as an edible one. We are indebted to that judicious actor and bon vivant, the late Mr. Quin, for adding a most delicious luxury to our table, who, overcom ing all the vulgar prejudices on account of its deformity, has effectually established its reputation. It is found on the southern shores of this kingdom. Those of the largest size are taken in the Bay of Biscay, and in the Mediterranean. Ovid has called it rarus Faber, which must have been owing to its excellence, not its scarcity. While living, the colour is very resplendent, and as if gilt, whence, according to some, the name; but Sir Joseph Banks used to say it should be adorée, and that it was the most valuable of fish, because it required no sauce. The red mullet, or surmullet, was highly esteemed by the Romans, and bore an exceedingly high price. The capricious epicures of the days of Horace, valued it in proportion to its size; not that the larger fish were more delicious, but that they were more difficult to be got. Evidence of the high price and the luxury of the age, appears from Juvenal:

The lavish slave
Six thousand pieces for a mullet gave,

A sesterce for each pound. But Apicius, a man of consular dignity, gave a still more unconscionable sum, for he did not scruple bestowing 8000 nummi, or €64..11..8, for a fish of as small a size as the mullet.-See Loudon's Magazine of Natural History, where accurate and spirited figures of these fishes are given.

[graphic][ocr errors]


(By Joanna Baillie.]
The gliding fish that takes his play

In shady nook of streamlet cool
Thinks not how waters pass away,

And summer dries the pool.
The bird beneath his leafy dome,

Who trills bis carol loud and clear,
Thinks not how soon his verdant home

The lightning's breath may sear.
Shall I, within my bridegroom's bower,

With braids of budding roses twined,
Look forward to a coming hour

When he may prove unkind?
The bee reigns in his waxen cell,

The chieftain in his stately hold:
To-morrow's earthquake,—who can tell?

May both in ruin fold. The lilac, the barberry, and the maple, are now in flower. At the latter end of the month rye is in ear; the mountain-ash, laburnum, the guelder-rose, clover, columbines, with their singular and fantastic nectaries,—the alder, the wild chervil, the wayfaring tree, or wild guelder-rose, and the elm, have their flowers full blown.

Many fine plants are in flower, both in artificial climates, and the open garden. The American tribes flower in great numbers during this month, as Magnolias, Azaleas, Vacciniums, &c.

« ZurückWeiter »