St. George's Day, and the Eve of St. Mark's. She has not, like her sister May in Germany, been transformed to a verb and made a synonyme for joy,—Deine Seele maiet den truben Herbst,—but April was believed in early ages to have been the birth-time of the world.
According to the Venerable Bede, the point was first accurately determined at a council held at Jerusalem about A. D. 200, when, after much profound discussion, it was finally decided that the world's birthday occurred on Sunday, April 8th,—that is, at the vernal equinox and the full moon.
But April is certainly the birth-time of the season, at least, if not of the planet.
Its festivals are older than Christianity, older than the memory of man. No sad associations cling to it, as to the month of June, in which month, says William of Malmesbury, kings are wont to go to war,—Quando solent reges ad arma procedere,—but it contains the Holy Week, and it is the Holy Month.
And in April Shakespeare was born, and in April
, these cheap felicities.
Sad or sinful is the life of that man who finds not the heavens bluer and the waves more musical in maturity than childhood.
Time is a severe alembic of youthful joys, no doubt; we exhaust book after book, and leave Shakespeare unopened; we grow fastidious in men and women; all the rhetoric, all the logic, we fancy we have heard before; we have seen the pictures, we have listened to the symphonies: but what has been done by all the art and literature of the world town 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 with the daily atmosphere.
Coming to our own times, one must quarrel with Ruskin as taking rather the artist's