ord Bacon delighted to begin the day must undoubtedly have been full of the roots of our little hepatica.
Its healthy sweetness belongs to the opening year, like Chaucer's poetry; and one thinks that anything more potent and voluptuous would be less enchanting—until one turns to the May-flower.
Then comes a richer fascination forlia), and the claytonia or spring-beauty.
But in England the crocus and the snowdrop-neither being probably an indigenous flower, since neither is mentioned by Chaucer—usually open before the first of March; indeed, the snowdrop was formerly known by the yet more fanciful name of Fair Maid of February.
Chaucer's daisy comes equChaucer's daisy comes equally early; and March brings daffodils, narcissi, violets, daisies, jonquils, hyacinths, and marsh-marigolds.
This is altogether in advance of our season, so far as the wild-flowers give evidence,—though snowdrops are sometimes found in February even here.
But, on the other hand, it would appear that, though a larger number of bi<
that the darling of the meadow had no more personal acquaintance with the woods than was exhibited by the preacher.
But the preachers are not much worse than the authors.
The prosaic Buckle, indeed, admits that the poets have in all time been consummate observers, and that their observations have been as valuable as those of the men of science; and yet we look even to the poets for very casual and occasional glimpses of Nature only, not for any continuous reflection of her glory.
Thus, Chaucer is perfumed with early spring; Homer resounds like the sea; in the Greek Anthology the sun always shines on the fisherman's cottage by the beach; we associate the Vishnu Purana with lakes and lotuses, Keats with nightingales in forest dim, while the long grass waving on the lonely heath is the last memorial of the fading fame of Ossian.
Of course Shakespeare's omniscience included all natural phenomena; but the rest, great or small, associate themselves with some special aspects, and not w