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sheep are unfolded, the cattle sent to their pastures, the laden wains pass along the winding and picturesque roads, and people begin the labours of the fields."

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"Loud is the summer's busy song,

The smallest breeze can find a tongue,
While insects of each tiny size
Grow teasing with their melodies,
Till noon burns with its blistering breath
A round, and day dies still as death.
The busy noise of man and brute
Is on a sudden lost and mute;
Even the brook that leaps along
Seems weary of its bubbling song,
And so soft its waters creep,
Tired silence sinks in sounder sleep.
The cricket on its banks is dumb;
The very flies forget to hum;

And, save the waggon rocking round,
The landscape sleeps without a sound.
The breeze is stopt, the lazy bough
Hath not a leaf that dances now;

The totter-grass upon the hill,

And spider's webs, are standing still.
The feathers dropt from moorhen's wing,
Which to the water's surface cling,

Are steadfast, and as heavy seem

As stones beneath them in the stream:
Hawkweed and groundsel's fanning downs
Unruffled keep their seedy crowns;

And in the oven-heated air

Not one light thing is floating there,
Save that to the earnest eye
The restless heat seems twittering by.
Noon swoons beneath the heat it made,
And flowers e'en wither in the shade,
Until the sun slopes in the west,
Like weary traveller, glad to rest,
On pillowed clouds of many hues;
Then Nature's voice its joys renews,

And chequer'd field and grassy plain
Hum with their summer songs again,
A requiem to the day's decline,
Whose setting sunbeams coolly shine,
As welcome to day's feeble powers
As falling dews to thirsty flowers."


It is an agreeable sight to see cattle, during the heat of the day in summer, retire to the middle of ponds, or into rivers, where they can stand and enjoy the coolness of the water more secure from the annoyance of flies. There they ruminate and solace themselves, some standing belly-deep, while others only venture up to the middle of their legs: they seem to wear also at such times a knowing look ;-one possesses the gravity of a judge; while another has something lighter in its countenance, more like the thoughtlessness of youth. The cows remind you of serious old age, the calves are restless as boys, and the sleek oxen appear as contented as well-fed aldermen after a civic feast. Objects like these have not escaped the keen glances of some of our first landscape-painters, and the groupings of cattle, with their shadows upon the water, have often been selected as the finest portions of their pictures. Besides, they are the poetry of still-life, and sometimes stand in such pictorial positions as to render the scene imperfect without their presence, finely breaking the dense shadows of the overhanging trees, which sleep upon the silvery surface. Gisborne has described such a scene very naturally in his "Forest Walks."

"Behold yon pool, by unexhausted springs

Still nurtured, draw the multitude that graze
The plains adjacent! On the bank, worn bare
And printed with ten thousand steps, the colts
In shifting groups combine, or, to the brink
Descending, dip their pasterns in the wave.
Bolder, the horned tribes, far from the shore,
Immerge their chests; and while the hungry swarm
Now soars aloof, now resolute descends,

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Each in his place, save when some wearied beast
The pressure of the crowd no longer brooks,

Or in mere vagrant mood her station quits
Restless ; or some intruder from afar

Flying o'er hill and plain the gadfly's sting,
(For still the dreaded hum she hears, and shakes
The air with iterated lowings,) spies

The watery gleam. With wildly tossing head,
And tail projecting far, and maddening gait,

She plunges in, and breaks the ranks and spreads
Confusion, till constrain'd at length she stops."

July," says Leigh Hunt, "is so called after Julius Cæsar, who contrived to divide his names between months and dynasties, and among his better deeds of ambition reformed the calendar. The heat is greatest in July on account of its previous duration. The reason why it is less so in August is, that the days are then much shorter, and the influence of the sun has been gradually diminishing. The farmer is still occupied in getting the productions of the earth into his garners; but those who can avoid labour enjoy as much rest and shade as possible. There is a sense of heat and quiet all over Nature. The birds are silent; the little brooks are dried up; the earth is chapped parching; the shadows of the trees are particularly grateful, heavy and still; the oaks, which are freshest because latest in leaf, form noble clumpy canopies, looking, as you lie under them, of a strong and emulous green against the sky. The traveller delights to cut across the country through the fields and the leafy lanes, where nevertheless the flints sparkle with heat. The active and air-cutting swallows, now beginning to assemble for migration, seek their prey about the shady places, where the insects, though of differently compounded natures, fleshless and bloodless,' seem to get for coolness, as they do at other times for warmth. The sound of insects is also the only audible thing now, increasing rather than lessening the sense of

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quiet by its gentle contrast.

The bee now and then sweeps

across the ear with his gravest tone. The gnats 'their murmuring small trumpets sounden wide;' and here and there the little musician of the grass touches forth his tricksy note.

'The poetry of earth is never dead.

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,

And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run

From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead :
That is the grasshopper's.'

"The fruits begin to abound, and are more noticed in proportion to the necessity for them occasioned by the summer heat. The strawberries are in their greatest quantity and perfection; and currants, gooseberries, and raspberries have a world of juice for us, prepared, as it were, in so many crowds of little bottles, in which the sunshine has turned the dews of April into wine. The strawberry lurks about under a beautiful leaf; currants are also extremely beautiful-a handsome bunch looks like pearls or rubies, and an imitation of it would make a most graceful ear-ring. We have seen it, when held lightly by fair fingers, present as lovely a drop and piece of contrast as any holding hand in a picture of Titian."

What a pleasure is bathing during this month! To plunge into a cool river and play with the waves; to leap, as it were, into another climate-liquid fields which the summer heat only renders more delightful! Water too is the element of poetry. Listen to Milton: how sweetly he calls up the riverspirit!

"Sabrina fair,

Listen where thou art sitting

Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting

The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair ;

Listen for dear honour's sake,

Goddess of the silver lake!

By the rushy-fringed bank,

Where grows the willow and the osier dank,

My sliding chariot stays,

Thick set with agate and the azure sheen
Of turkis blue, and emerald green,

That in the channel strays;
Whilst from off the waters fleet

Thus I set my printless feet

O'er the cowslip's velvet head,

That bends not as I tread."

How delightful to wander on the banks of rivers, and dream of the old poets who have peopled even the waters with beautiful beings of their own creating-creatures that dwell in the cool river-beds, combing their golden hair and singing wild songs, only ascending now and then to the surface to pluck the lovely lotus to braid their shining tresses! I was once asked of what use such poetry was. I might perhaps have replied by questioning the utility of pleasant thoughts and fancies of every description.

Sturm in his Reflections says, "Come, and let us enjoy those pleasures which are only tasted by the wise. The pure light of the sun invites us into the fields, where an innocent and refined joy awaits us. Let us walk into some flowery valley, and sing a hymn of praise to our Creator.

"See the breath of the zephyr gently playing upon yon hawthorn-bush, where the little songsters are hopping from bough to bough, their sprightly eyes beaming joy, and their soft melody warbling harmonious love! Ye tufted groves, ye valleys and ye mountains, so peculiarly favoured with the gifts of summer, how your view gratifies and delights the pure soul! Your attractions owe nothing to art, and they are more excellent than the proudest beauties of the garden. The yellow grain waves luxuriant, and invites the sickle of the joyful reaper. The trees crowned with leaves overshadow the hills and the glens; the birds rejoice in their existence; they sing their pleasures, and every note pours forth rapturous joy. Each

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