, 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 with the daily atmosphere.
Coming to our own times, one must quarrel with Ruskin as taking rather the artist's view of Nature, selecting the available bits and dealing rather patronizingly with the whole; and one is tempted to charge even Emerson, as he somewhere charges Wordsworth, with not being of a temperament quite liquid and musical enough to admit the full vibration of the great harmonies.
The three human foster-children who have been taken nearest into Nature's bosom, perhaps,—an odd triad, surely, for the whimsical nursing mother to select,—are Wordsworth, Bettine Brentano, and Thoreau.
Yet what wonderful achievements have some of the fragmentary artists performed!
Some of Tennyson's wordpictures, for instance, bear al
and give place to a brighter splendor.
On the margin of some quiet swamp a myriad of bare twigs seem suddenly overspread with purple butterflies, and we know that the Rhodora is in bloom.
Wordsworth never immortalized a flower more surely than Emerson this, and it needs no weaker words; there is nothing else in which the change from nakedness to beauty is so sudden, and when you bring home the great mass of blossoms they appear all ready to flutter away again from your hands and leave you disgulated costumes.
while Nature yet evidently 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, which Emerson attributes to the note-book of Thoreau,—to-morrow, in these parts, meaning about the twentieth of May.
It belongs to the family of Orchids, a high-bred race, fastidious in habits, sensitive as to abodes.
Of the ten species named as rarest amon
the diminution in quantity.
Winter, with fewer and simpler methods, yet seems to give all her works a finish even more delicate than that of summer, working, as Emerson says of English agriculture, with a pencil, instead of a plough.
Or rather, the ploughshare is but concealed; since a pithy old English preacher has said that thme to paint our own pictures, and cease to borrow these gloomy alien tints.
One must turn eagerly every season to the few glimpses of American winter aspects: to Emerson's Snow-Storm, every word a sculpture; to the admirable storm in Margaret; to Thoreau's Winter's Walk, in the Dial; and to Lowell's First Snow-Flake.
These are frit and gallery stairs under charge of the constables, at hearing for once a discourse which they could understand,—snowballing spiritualized.
This was not one of Emerson's terrible examples,—the storm real, and the preacher only phenomenal; but this setting of snow-drifts, which in our winters lends grace to every stern rock and r