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That with sagacious sense explore
Without whose aid the powers of life decay. The mole-cricket (gryllus gryllotalpa) is the most remarkable of the insect-tribe seen about this time. The black slug (limax ater) abounds at this season. The blue flesh-fly (musca vomitoria), and the dragonfly (libellula) are frequently observed towards the end of the month. Little maggots, the first state of young ants, are now to be found in their nests. The great variegated libellula (libellula varia of Shaw), which appears, principally, towards the decline of summer, is an animal of singular beauty. The cabbage butterfly also (papilio brassica) now appears.
River fish leave their winter retreats, and again become the prey of the angler.
When with his lively ray the potent sup
And as you lead it round in artful curve,
You gaily drag your upresisting prize. The spring flight of pigeons (columbæ) appears in this month, or early in the next.
Dry weather is still acceptable to the farmer, who is employed in sowing various kinds of grain, and seeds for fodder, as buck-wheat, lucerne, saintfoin, clover, &c. The young corn and springing-grass, however, are materially benefited by occasional showers. The important task of weeding now begins with the farmer, and every thistle cut down,
every plant of charlock pulled up, may be said to be not only an advantage to himself, but a national benefit.
MAY is so called from Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom sacrifices were offered by the Romans on the 1st of this month; or, according to some, from respect to the senators and nobles of Rome, who were named Majores, as the following month was termed Junius, in honour of the youth of Rome.
In MAY 1820.
1.-MAY-DAY. We have now reached that period of the year which was formerly dedicated to one of the most pleasing and splendid festal rites. The observance of MAY-DAY was a custom which, until the close of the reign of James the First, alike attracted the attention of the royal and the noble, as of the vulgar class. Henry, the Eighth, Elizabeth, and James, patronized and partook of its ceremonies; and, during this extended era, there was scarcely a village in the kingdom but had a May-pole, with its appropriate games and dances.
Eight masqueraders in the most grotesque dresses, consisting of Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John, the Fool, Tom the Piper, the HobbyHorse, and the Dragon, with from two to ten morrisdancers, or, in lieu of them, the same number of Robin Hood's men, in coats, hoods, and hose of green, with a painted pole in the centre, represented the most complete establishment of the May-game.
: All these characters may be traced, indeed, so far back as the middle of the fifteenth century; and, accordingly, Mr. Strutt, in his interesting romance, entitled Queen-hoo Hall,' has introduced a very pleasing and accurate description of the May-games and Morris of Robin Hood, which, as written in a lively and dramatic style, and not in the least differing from what they continued to be in the youthful days of Shakspeare, and before they were broken in upon by the fanaticism of the puritans, we shall copy in this place for the entertainment of our readers.
In the front of the pavilion, a large square was staked out, and fenced with ropes, to prevent the crowd from pressing upon the performers, and interrupting the diversion; there were also two bars at
the bottom of the inclosure, through which the actors · might pass and repass, as occasion required.
Six young men first entered the square, clothed in jerkins of leather, with axes upon their shoulders like woodmen, and their heads bound with large garlands of ivy-leaves intertwined with sprigs of hawthorn. Then followed, ; .
• Six young maidens of the village, dressed in blue kirtles, with garlands of primroses on their heads, leading a fine sleek cow decorated with ribbons of various colours, interspersed wtth flowers; and the horns of the animal were tipped with gold. These were succeeded by:
* Six foresters, equipped in green tunics, with hoods and hosen of the same colour; each of them carried a bugle-horn attached to a baldrick of silk, which he sounded as he passed the barrier. After": them came
• Peter Lanaret, the baron's chief falconer, who personified Robin Hood; he was attired in a bright grass-green tunic, fringed with gold; his hood and his hosen were parti-coloured, blue and white; he had a large garland of rose-buds on his head, a bowbent in his hand, a sheaf of arrows at his girdle, and
á bugle-horn depending from a baldrick of light blue tarantine, embroidered with silver; he had also a sword and a dagger, the hilts of both being richly embossed with gold.
• Fabian a page, as Little John, walked at his right hand; and Cecil Cellerman the butler, as Will Stukely, at his left. These, with ten others of the jolly outlaw's attendants who followed, were habited in green garments, bearing their bows bent in their hands, and their arrows in their girdles. Then came
“Two maidens, in orange-coloured kirtles with white courtpies, strewing flowers; followed immediately by
• The Maid Marian, elegantly habited in a watchetcoloured tunic reaching to the ground; over which she wore a white linen rochet with loose sleeves, fringed with silver, and very neatly plaited; her girdle was of silver baudekin, fastened with a double bow on the left side; her long flaxen hair was divided into many ringlets, and flowed upon her shoulders; the top part of her head was covered with a net-work cawl of gold, upon which was placed a garland of silver, ornamented with blue violets. She was supported by
"Two bride-maidens, in sky-coloured rochets girt with crimson girdles, wearing garlands upon their heads of blue and white violets. After them, came
. Four other females in green courtpies, and garlands of violets and cowslips: Then . Sampson the smith, as Friar Tuck, carrying a huge quarter-staff on his shoulder; and Morris the mole-taker, who represented Much the miller's son, having a long pole with an inflated bladder attached to one end: And after them
The May-pole, drawn by eight fine oxen, decorated with scarfs, ribbons, and flowers of divers colours; and the tips of their horns were embellished with gold. The rear was closed by
* The Hobby-horse and the Dragon.