and only thirteen more before the first of May; while with us the song-sparrow, the bluebird, and the red-winged blackbird appear about the first of March, and a good many more by the middle of April.
This is a peculiarity of the English spring which I have never seen explained or even mentioned.
After the epigaea and the hepatica have blossomed, there is a slight pause among the wild-flowers,—these two forming a distinct prologue for their annual drama, as the brilliant witch-hazel in October brings up its separate epilogue.
The truth is, Nature attitudinizes a little, liking to make a neat finish with everything, and then to begin again with éclat. Flowers seem spontaneous things enough, but there is evidently a secret marshalling among them, that all may be brought out with due effect.
As the country-people say that so long as any snow is left on the ground more snow may be expected, for it must all vanish together at last,—so every seeker of spring-flowers has observed how
ys of beauty.
Mingled with these grow, lower, the spiraeas, white and pink, yellow touch-me-not, fresh white arrowhead, bright blue vervain and skull-cap, dull snake-head, gay monkey-flower, coarse eupatoriums, milkweeds, golden-rods, asters, thistles, and a host beside.
Beneath, the brilliant scarlet cardinal-flower begins to palisade the moist shores; and after its superb reflection has passed away from the waters, the grotesque witch-hazel flares out its narrow yellow petals amidst the October leaves, and so ends the floral year.
There is not a week during all these months when one cannot stand in the boat and wreathe garlands of blossoms from the shores.
These all crowd around the brink, and watch, day and night, the opening and closing of the water-lilies.
Meanwhile, upon the waters, our queen keeps her chosen court, nor can one of these mere land-loving blossoms touch the hem of her garment.
In truth, she bears no sister near her throne.
There is but this one species am
Something may be gained, much lost, by that perennial succession; those links, however slight, must make the floral period continuous to the imagination; while our year gives a pause and an interval to its children, and after exhausted October has effloresced into Witch-Hazel, there is an absolute reserve of blossom until the Alders wave again.
No symbol could so well represent Nature's first yielding in spring-time as this blossoming of the Alder, the drooping of the tresses of thaking the accidental cohesion, sweeps them all away.
The season reluctantly yields its reign, and over the quiet autumnal landscape everywhere, even after the glory of the trees is past, there are tints and fascinations of minor beauty.
Last October, for instance, in walking, I found myself on a little knoll, looking northward.
Overhead was a bower of climbing Waxwork, with its yellowish pods scarce disclosing their scarlet berries,— a wild Grape-vine, with its fruit withered by the frost