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than night. This takes place again in September. The former is called the vernal, the latter the autumnal equinux,
April. April weather has become a proverbial expression for a mixture of the bright and gloomy: The pleasantness of its sunshiny days, with the delightful view of bursting blossoms and newly-opened flowers, is une. qualled; but they are frequently overcast with clouds, and chilled by rough wintry 'blasts.
April generally begins with raw unpleasant weaiher, the influence of the equinoctial storms still in some degree prevailing : but its changes of warm gleams of sunshine and gentle show. ers have the most powerful effects in hastening that universal springing of the vegetable tribes, whence the season of spring derives its appellation.
Early in the month; that welcome guest and harbinger of summer, the swallow, returns. The chimney,
house swallow, known by its long forked tail and red breast, is first seen, and as this bird lives on insects, its appearance is a certain proof that some of that minute tribe of animals are come abroad from their winter retreats.
Birds are now busied in pairing, and building their nests, and the groves resound with
all their various melody. The nightingale, that most enchanting of songsters, is heard soon after the arrival of the swallow. "He sings by day as well as by night, but in the , day-time his voice is drowned among the multitude of performers; in the evening it is heard' alone : whence arises the common opi. nion, that the nightingale sings only by night.
Another of the most striking events of this month is the renewal of the note of the cuckow, which is generally heard about the middle of April. This circumstance has commanded attention in all countries; and several rustic sayings, and the names of several plants, which flower at this time, are derived from it.
*The arrival of the cuckow is regularly pre-, ceded some days by that of the wryneck, a small bird, singular in its attitudes and plumage, and which has a peculiar note or cry, easily distinguished by those who have once heard it. Oiher birds, which are seen among us only in the warmer months, as the redstart, whiteshroat, and yellow wagtail, appear in April
A considerable number of plants flower this month, and, with the blussoms of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, form a very agreeable sight, as well on account of their beauty, as of the promise they give of future benefits.
May. May has ever been the favourite month of the year in poetical description; but the praises so lavishly bestowed upon it, took their rise from climates more southern than
In such, it really unites all the soft beauties of spring with the brightness of summer; and bas warmth enough to cheer and invigorate, without overpowering. With us, great part of the month is yet too chill, for a perfect enjoyment of the charms of nature; and frequent injury is done to the flowers and young fruits during its course, by blights and nipping winds.
The month of May, is on the whole, how. ever, even in this country, sufficiently profuse of beauties. The earth is covered with the freshest green of the grass and young corn, and adorned with numerous flowers opening on every side. The trees put on their leafy verdure; the hedges are rich in fragrance from the snowy bloom of the hawthorn; and the orchards display the delicate blush of the apple-blossoms.
All this scene of beauty and fertility is sometimes dreadfully ravaged by the blights, which peculiarly occur in this month. The mischief is done chiefly by innumerable swarms of very small insects, which are brought by the north-east winds,
The leafing of trees is commonly completed in this month. It begins with the water kinds, such as the willow, poplar, and aider, and ends wiih the oak, beech, and ash. These are sonetinies very thin of foliage, even at the close of May.
Birdi hatch and rear their young principally during this month. The patience and assiduity of the female during the task of sit. ting upon her eggs, canoot be too much admired; nor should the conjugal affection of the male be forgotten, who sings to his mato and often relieves her fatigues by supplying her place : and nothing can exceed the paternal tenderness of both, when the young are brought to light.
Towards the end of May the bee-hives send forth their earlier swarms: these colonies consist of the young progeny, now grown too nuinerous to remain in their parent habitation, and sufficiently strong and vigorous to provide for themselves. One queen bee is neces. sary 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 hollow trunk of a tree.. but man, who converts the labours and instincts of so many animals to his own use, provides them with a more secure dwelling, and repays him. self with their honey.
June, June is the most lovely month of the year. Summer has commenced, and warm weather is established ; yet the heats rarely rise to ex. cess, or interrupt the enjoyment of those pleasures, which'the scetes of Nature, at this period, afford. The trees are in their fullest dress; and a profusion of flowers is every where scattered around,
One of the earliest rural employments of this month is the shearing of sheep; a business of much importance in various parts of the kingdom, where wool is one of the most valuable products. England has for many ages been celebrated for its breeds of sheep; which yield wool of various qualities, suited to different branches of the woollen manufactuse; the downs of Dorset shire, and other southern and western counties in England, feed sheep, the fine short fleeces of which are employed in making the best broad cloaths: the coarser wool of Yorkshire and the northern counties is used in the narrow cloths: the large Leicestershire and Lincolnshire sheep are clothed with long thick flakes proper for the hosiers' use; and every other kind is valuable for some particular purpose.
In the hedges, the place of the hawthorn is supplied by the flowers of the hip, or dogrose, the different hues of which, from a deep