ing-primrose to open suddenly, no cistus to drop its petals; but the May-flower knows the hour, and becomes more fragrant in the darkness, sootent and voluptuous would be less enchanting—until one turns to the May-flower.
Then comes a richer fascination for the senses.
To pick the May-flower is like following in the footsteps of some spendthrift army which has scattered the contents of its treasure-chest among beds ofin Worcester on the seventeenth, and in Danvers on the twelfth.
The May-flower is usually as early, though the more gradual expansion of theI have noted, for five or six years together, as found always before May-Day, and therefore properly to be assigned to April.
The list inclurepresent the aboriginal epoch of our history: the bloodroot and the May-flower are older than the white man, older perchance than the red mat.
Hepatica may be bad, but Liverleaf is worse.
The pretty name of May-flower is not so popular, after all, as that of Trailing-Arbutus, wh
centre for all this divergent splendor is always that one drooping dome upon one chosen tree.
This he helped to build in May, confiscating cotton as if he were an army provost-marshal, and singing many songs, with his mouth full of plunder; and thftly to himself very often, in a fancied seclusion?
When other birds are cheerily out-of-doors, on some bright morning in May or June, one will often discover a solitary Cat-Bird sitting concealed in the middle of a dense bush, and twittering busilquaver, and their manner a mere caricature of that inexpressible military smartness with which they held up their heads in May.
Yet I cannot really find anything sad even in November.
When I think of the thrilling beauty of the season past, the never give.
The catkins already formed on the alder, quite prepared to droop into April's beauty,—the white edges of the May-flower's petals, already visible through the bud, show in advance that winter is but a slight and temporary retardation of
d their little contribution to the spring is done.
Then many eyes watch for the opening of the May-flower, day by day, and a few for the Hepatica.
So marked and fantastic are the local preference
There are certain localities, near by, where the Hepatica is all but white, and others where the May-flower is sumptuous in pink; yet it is not traceable to wet or dry, sun or shadow, and no agriculedges of woods, and prolongs its shy career from about the tenth of April until almost the end of May.
A week farther into April, and the Bloodroot opens,—a name of guilt, and a type of innocence.rrival of this coterie is yet nearly simultaneous, and they may all be expected hereabouts before May-day at the very latest.
After all, in spite of the croakers, this festival could not have been my prefers it to any other combination in her wardrobe.
Another constant ornament of the end of May is the large pink Lady's-Slipper, or Moccason-Flower, the Cypripedium not due till to-morrow, whi
on its bosom, as a mother reposes with her baby at her breast.
The same security of life pervades every woody shrub: the alder and the birch have their catkins all ready for the first day of spring, and the sweet-fern has even now filled with fragrance its folded blossom.
Winter is no such solid bar between season and season as we fancy, but only a slight check and interruption: one may at any time produce these March blossoms by bringing the buds into the warm house; and the petals of the May-flower sometimes show their pink and white edges in autumn.
But every grass-blade and flower-stalk is a mausoleum of vanished summer, itself crumbling to dust, never to rise again.
Each child of June, scarce distinguishable in November against the background of moss and rocks and bushes, is brought into final prominence in December by the white snow which imbeds it. The fragile flakes collapse and fall back around it, but retain their inexorable hold.
Thus delicate is the action of Nature,