Imágenes de página

account of the various kinds of wheat; and p. 150 for a description of the grasses.

Gooseberries and currants now begin to ripen; these are attended by

**** The blushing strawberries,
Which lurk, close-shrouded from high-looking eyes,

Showing that sweetness low and hidden lies. The hay-harvest commences about the end of the month, in the southern and midland parts of the kingdom. About this time, also, bird's cease their notes.

The rural ceremony of sheep-shearing usually takes place in Jụne, and was formerly celebrated with much innocent pastime. A dinner was provided with music and songs, and a shepherd-king was elected, an office always conferred upon the individual whose flock had produced the earliest lamb. The dinner is thus enjoined by the rustic muse of Tusser :

Wife make us a dinner, spare flesh neịther corne,

Make wafers and cakes, for our sheepe must be shorne :
At sheep-shearing, neighbours none other things crave,

But good cheare and welcome, like neighbours to have. But it is from Drayton that we derive the most minute account of the festival; who in the fourteenth song of his Poly-Olbion, and still more at large in his ninth Eclogue, has given a most pleasing picture of this rural holy-day:

When the new-washed Aock from the river's side,
Coming as white as January's snow,
The ram with nosegays bears his horns in pride,
And no less brave the bell-wether doth go.
After their fair flocks in a lusty rout,
Come the gay swains with hag-pipes strongly blown,
And busied, though this solemn sport about,
Yet bad each one an eye unto his own.
And by the antient statutes of the field,
He that his flocks the earliest lamb should bring,
(As it fell out then, Rowland's charge to yield)
Always for that year was the shepherd's king.
And soon preparing for the shepherd's board,
Upon a green that curiously was squared,

With country cates being plentifully stored;
And 'gainst their coming handsomely prepared.
New whig, with water from the clearest stream,
Green plumbs, and wildings, cherries chief of feast,
Fresh cheese, and dowsets, curds, and clouted cream,
Spiced syllibubs, and cyder of the best :
And to the same down solemnly they sit,
In the fresh shadow of their summer bowers,
With sundry sweets them every way to fit,
The neighb'ring vale despoiled of her flowers.
When now, at last, as liked the shepherd's king,
(At whose command they all obedient were)
Was pointed, who the roundelay should sing,

And who again the under-song should bear. Shakspeare, also, in his Winter's Tale, has presented us not only with a list of the good things necessary for a sheep-shearing feast, but he describes likewise the attentions which were due, on this occasion, from the hostess, or Shepherd's Queen.

. Let me see,' says the clown, 'what I am to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound of sugar; five pound of currants ; rice- What will this sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath made me four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers : three-man song-men all,' and very good ones; but they are most of them means' and bases: but one Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must have saffron to colour the warden pies; mace,---dates,-none; that's out of my note: nutmegs, seven; a race, or two, of ginger : but that I may beg ;---four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o' the sun.'

The culinary articles in this detail are somewhat more expensive than those enumerated by Drayton; and Mr. Stevens, in a note on this passage of the Winter's Tale, observes that ' the expence attending these festivities appears to have afforded matter of

2 By means are meant tenors.

Singers of catches in three parts.

complaint. Thus, in Questions of profitable and pleasant Concernings, &c. 1594: 'If it be a sheepshearing feast, maister Baily can entertain you with his bill of reckonings to his maister of three sheapheard's wages, spent on fresh cates, besides spices

and saffron pottage. : One material part of the welcome with which the visitors to this feast were received, consisted in the distribution of various flowers suited to the ages of -the respective visitors. A custom somewhat allied to this, that of scattering flowers on the streams at shearing time, has been 'long observed in the southwest of England, and is thus alluded to as an antient rite by Dyer, in his beautifully descriptive poem entitled The Fleece:

With light fantastic toe, the nymphs
Thither assembled, thither ev'ry swain;
And o'er the dimpled'stream a thousand flowers,
Pale lilies, roses, violets and pinks,
Mixt with the greens of burnet, mint and thyme,
And trefoil, sprinkled with their sportive arms.
Such custom holds along the irriguous vales,
From Wrekin's brow to'rocky Dólvoryn,

Sabrina's early haunt." The foHowing plants are generally seen in flower about the end of June: goat's beard (tragopogon pratense), deadlý nightshade (atropa belladonna), meadow-sweet spiræa ulmaria), the day-lily (hemerocallis flava), the holy-oak (alcea rosa), and the jasmine (jasminum officinale).

'Twas midnight-through the lattice, wreathed
With woodbine, many a perfume breathed
From plants that wake when others sleep,
From timid JASMIne buds that keep
Their odour to themselves all day,
But, when the sun-light dies away,
Let the delicious secret out .

To every breeze that roams about. LALLA ROOKH.
The maritime plants which flower this month are,

Dr. Drake's Shakspeare and his Times, vol. i, p. 181, et seq. See also a sweepwashing described in our last volume, p. 153.

the sea-barley (hordeum maritimum), sulphur-wort (pucedanum officinale), and loose sedge (carex distans), in salt marshes; the sea-plantain (plantago maritima),among rocks on the sea-coast; and slenderleaved buffonia buffonia tenuifolia), and the tassel pond-weed (ruppia maritima), in salt water ditches. To these may be added, the common alkanet (anchusa officinalis), the narrow-leaved pepperwort (lepidum ruderale), and the Roman nettle (urtica pilulifera), in sea wastes; the black saltwort (glaux maritima), on muddy shores; the seachickweed (arenaria peploides), and the common sea-rocket (bunias cakile), on sandy shores; and the perfoliate cabbage (brassica orientalis) among maritime rocks. .

The trees, particularly the laurels and evergreens, now make their second or midsummer shoots, the younger and lighter shades of which form a variety and contrast to the darker and yellow colours of the first shoots.

The innumerable species of insects that are called into life by the heat in this month, afford a never, failing source of amusement and instruction to the admirer of Nature's minutest works. Many of these are only discoverable by the microscope', and are eminently worthy of our observation.

JULY, THIS word is derived from the Latin, Julius, the surname of C. Cæsar, the dictator, who was born in it. Mark Anthony first gave to this month the name of July, which was before called Quintilis, as being the fifth month in the year, in the old Roman calendar established by Romulus..

'For a variety of pleasing experiments with the microscope, we refer to our last volume, pp. 156, 103. See also Mr. Samouelle's Entomologist's Useful Compendium, pp. 323-307, for much curious information on the subject.

Bemarkable Days

In JULY 1820. 2.- VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. · This festival was first instituted by Pope Urban VI, in commemoration of that remarkable journey which the Mother of our Lord took into the mountains of Judæa, in order to visit the mother of St. John the Baptist.

3.-DOG-DAYS BEGIN. These are a certain number of days before and after the heliacal rising of Canicula, or the dog-star, in the morning. The dog-days in our modern Almanacks occupy the time from July 3d to August 11th; the name being applied now, as it was formerly, to the hottest time of the year.

4.-TRANSLATION OF SAINT MARTIN. This day was appointed to commemorate the removal or translation of St. Martin's body from one tomb to another much more noble and magnificent; an honour conferred upon the deceased saint by Perpetuus, one of his successors in the see of Tours. His festival is celebrated on the 11th of November, which see.

7.-THOMAS A BECKET. This haughty prelate was born in London, in the year 1119, and was the son of Gilbert, a merchant, and Matilda, a Saracen lady, who is said to have fallen in love with him when he was a prisoner to her father in Jerusalem. Thomas received the first part. of his education at Merton Abbey in Surrey, whence he went to Oxford, and afterwards studied at Paris. In 1159, he made a campaign with King Henry to Toulouse, having in his own pay 1200 horse, besides a retinue of 700 knights or gentlemen. For further particulars respecting Becket we refer to T. T. for 1814, pp. 166-172, and T. T. for 1815, p. 220.

« AnteriorContinuar »