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MAY. “ Born in yon blaze of orient sky, Sweet May, thy radiant form unfoid :
Unclose thy blue voluptuous eye,, And wave thy shadowy locks of gold.
“ Warm with new life the glitt'ring throng, On quiv'ring fin and rustling wing,
Delighted join their votive songs, And hail the goddess of the Spring."
MAY has ever been the favourite month of poetic description, as uniting all the soft beauties of Spring with the'radiance of Summer, but this must be in more southern climes than ours ; for, with us, great part of the month is yet too chill for a perfect enjoyment of the charms of nature, and abounds with chilling blights and nipping winds.
* See note, page 14.
6. The blast that riots on the Spring's increase." The month of May is, however, on the whole, even in this country, profuse of beauties; the earth is covered with the fresh green of the grass and young corn, and adorned with flowers opening on every side. The trees put on their leafy verdure ; the hedges are rich with the fragrant bloom of the hawthorn, and the orchards display the delicate blush of the apple-blossoms.
The leafing of trees is completed in this month, beginning with the willow, poplar, and alder, and ending with the oak, beach, and ash.
The affection of the birds is also at this season highly admirable, while they hatch and rear their young; for while the patient and assiduous hen sits on her eggs, the sympathizing male takes his stand on a neighbouring bough, and to cheer her,
Ceaseless sings The tedious time away." Now are added to the insect tribes already on the wing, the great white butterfly, May-chaffer, horse-fly, moths and butterflies.
Towards the end of this month, bee-hives send forth their earlier swarms. They consist of young ones grown too numerous to
remain in their parent habitation, and sufficiently strong and vigorous to provide for themselves. One queen bee is necessary to form each colony: and wherever she flies the rest follow. Nature directs them to march in a body in quest of a new settlement, which, if left to their choice, would generally be some trunk of a tree ; but man, who converts the labours and instincts of so many animals to his own use, provides them with
secure dwelling, and repays himself with their honey.
The glow-worm shines at this period ; the females of which are without wings and luminous, the males vice versa. They extinguish their lamps, or cease to glow, between eleven and twelve at night.
The cattle are now turned out to the pastures, milk becomes more copious, and the process of cheese-making goes on in Chesh. ire, Wiltshire, Gloucester, &c.
This is a busy season to the farmer. He now weeds his crops, and looks forward to the reward of his industry and toil in the approaching season.
" Be gracious, Heaven ! for now laborous man Has done his part."
* Now genial suns and gentle breezes reign,
JUNE is in this climate what the poets represent May to be, a most lovely month. Suomer has commenced, and warm weather is established ; yet the heats rarely rise to excess ; and the trees and flowers, now in all their beauty, are frequentiy refreshed by copious showers.
One of the earliest rural employments of this month is the shearing of sheep; a business of much importance and rustic mirth, as,
rang'd in lusty rows,
rays Her smiles, sweet beaming, on her shepherd king; While the glad circle round them yield their souls To festive mirth; and wit that knows no gall."
England for many ages has been celebrated for its breed of sheep; which yield wool of various qualities, suited to different branches of woollen manufacture. The fine short fleeces of the Dorsetshire breed are employed in making the best broad cloths; while the coarser wool of Yorkshire, and the northern countries, is used in the narrow cloths; and the long thick flakes, proper for the hosiers use, are yielded by the Leicestershire and Lincolnshire breeds of this useful animal.
We are now regaled by the fragrance of clover, and the blossom of the bean.
Hedges are now in their highest beauty and fragrance. The place of the hawthorn is supplied by the flowers of the hip or dogrose : while the woodbine, or honey-suckle begins to blow, and unites with the rose to form a beautiful variety of colours, and a rich perfume.
The several species of corn come in ear and flower this month ; as do likewise nu