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expiatory sacrifices, Februalia. Many of the observations
These rains are softening the earth, and re-ascending through the trees in sap, to bring us forth the leaves again. After the woodlark has opened the new concert of the year, the thrush and chaffinch join in; the rooks set about their domestic work in the old tree tops; and wherever a warmer spot can be found under shelter, gnats and other insects are at their dizzy sport, As thick as motes in the sunny beams.
CHAUCER. In addition to the flowers of last month, we have the daffodils, that make such delicate yellow bunches in white baskets, daisies, or, as they used to spell them of old, day's eyes, the favourite flower of Chaucer--heart's ease, the sparkler-the
Persian iris-hepatica, and the perennial Adonis, an epithet that happens to be singularly applicable to the annually revived favourite of Venus. In addition to the shrubs, are the cherry-plum, the cornelian cherry, mezereons, and phily reas. The elder-tree, that should be more admired both for ils leafiness and Aower, now also puts forth its buds ; so do many other trees, if well observed; and towards the end of the month, the leaves of the gooseberry and currant bushes are peeping out of their fans.
During mild weather this month sow ten-weeks stocks and mignionette in slight hot beds, warm borders, or pots where the sun can come. And about the latter end, for the purpose of early blowing, sow the hardy kind of annuals, such as larkspur, flos Adonis, convolvulus, lupines, sweet peas, lavatera, candy-tuft, Venus's looking-glass, Venus's navelwort, &c. &c. Particular attention should always be paid to the stirring the earth of bulbous roots, and to watering plants of every description. Those who are not patient or attentive enough to give their time to it, must spend a little more in money; and if ever money is well spent upon luxury, it is upon such as draws us on to love the cheap kindness of nature. Those who pay a few shillings for a flowering shrub, will learn how to enjoy the lime-tress and the horse-chesnuts for nothing.
The farmer now grapples with earth again, and renews the friendly contest for her treasures. He ploughs up his fallows, sows beans, peas, rye, and spring wheat, sets early potatoes, drains wet lands, dresses and repairs hedges, lops trees, and plants those kinds that love a wet soil, such as poplars, alders, and willows. Here is the noblest putting in of stock for a nation, the healthiest in its pursuit, and the most truly rich and returning in its interest.
-Sturdy Mareh, with brows full sternly bent
Which on the earth he strewed as he went,
MARCH, which was the first month in antiquity, was named so by the Romans, after Mars, the god of war, because he was the father of their first prince. This, at least, is the reason given by Ovid. As to the deity's nature, March has certainly nothing in common with it; for though it affects to be very rough, it is one of the best patured months in the year, drying up the superabundant moisture of winter with its fierce winds, and thus restoring us our paths through the fields, and piping before the flowers like a bacchanal.
He sometimes, it must be confessed, as if in a fit of the spleen, hinders tue buds which he has dried from blowing; and it is allowable in the less robust part of his friends out of doors, to object to the fancy he has for coming in such a cutting manner from the east. But it may be truly said, that the oftener you meet him firmly, the less he will shake you; and the more smiles you will have from the fair months that follow him.
The animal creation now exhibit unequivocal signs of activity. The farmer in March extends the exercise of his plough; and, if fair weather continues, begins sowing barley and oats. Bats and reptiles break up their winter sleep: the little smelts or sparlings run up the softened rivers to spawn: the field-fare and woodcock return to their northern quarters; the rooks are all in motion with building and repairing their nests; hens sit; geese and ducks lay; pheasants crow; the ring-dove cooes; young lambs come tottering forth in mild weather; the throstle warbles on the top of some naked tree, as if he triumphed over the last lingering of barrenness; and, lastly, forth issues the bee with his vernal trumpet, to tell us there is news of sunshine and the flowers.
In addition to the last month's flowers, we now have the crown-imperial, the dog's-tooth violet,fritillaries, the hyacinth, narcissus (bending its face like its namesake), pilewort, scarlet ranunculus, great snow-drop, tulips, (which turned even the Dutch to enthusiasts) and violets, proverbial for their odour, which were perhaps the favourite flowers of Shakspeare. The passage at the beginning of Twelfth Night, in which he compares their scent with the passing sweetness of music is well known, and probably suggested the beautiful one in Lord Bacon's Essays, about the superiority of flowers in the open air, “ where the scent comes and goes " says he,“ like the warbling of music.” In a passage
of the Winter's Tale, Shakspeare also describes the downward look of the violet, by a comparison full of the sentiment of beauty ;-the whole of it must be copied, as it applies particularly to the month before us :
To strow him o'er and o'er.
Not like a corse : or if,—not to be buried,
The trees and shrubs now in flower, in addition to those of last month, are larches, manna ash, laurel, commonly so called, Portugal laurel, the peach tree, the scarlet-flowering maple, sea-buckthorn, and Spanish traveller's joy. .
Mignionette sown last month should now be transplanted ; ranunculuses planted; carnations potted the first week at farthest; and anemones and hyacinths defended against the wind and rain.
In the latter part of this month is the vernal equinox, when, as in the case of the autumnal equinox in September, the day and night are of equal length; and the plougher of “ the fruitless sea," as Homer calls it, has to look for terrible storms. Mothers and wives then lie awake in their beds, thinking of their far-distant sons and husbands, and perhaps looking through the windows, as the lady in the old poet says,
To see how the clouds flee :-
(To be resumed.)
THE LOUNGER'S PIC NIC.
“ Dulce est desipere in loco.”-HOR.
AURI SACRA FAMES. A divine, about to change his cure, mentioned the cir. cumstance from the pulpit. At the conclusion of the service, an old negro addressed him, and after lamenting his intended removal, asked him the occasion of it. The parson replied “ that he had a divine call.” The negro, suspecting there was some more substantial reason for the change than the one assigned, enquired, and learned that the priest gave up a living of 2001. a year for one of double that sum; on which he exclaimed " Ah, Massa! if God had called you till he was blind from 4001. to 2001. you no go, Massa !”
A HINT TO CRITICS. The following sensible advice to theatrical critics, iş recominended to the notice of such writers as mistake ill-nature for wit, and abuse for criticism: it is extracted from Cumberland's Remarks on Leigh Hunt's “ Critical Essays,” in the third number of the “ London Review :"
“ Speak sparingly and tenderly of those who are to earn their living by their labours on the stage. I approve of their being told of faults, which it would be for their interest to correct; but as I will not arraign them for defects with which nature has unalterably endowed them, I must be perfectly satisfied that correction is in their power before I move them to attempt it. As objects of our general censure they have no defence; as servants of the theatre, exhibiting themselves on a stage for our amusement, they have no fastnesses to retreat to from our attack; they are at our mercy, and discouragement partakes of persecution. Until a performer shall offend against the respect due to his audience, great l'espect and lenity are justly due to his feelings. It is happy for an actor when nature has bestowed upon him an expressive countenance, but if he has it not by nature, he cannot make it such by art. Let him not hear of privations which he cannot supply; tell him only of such errors as he is able to correct.”