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Spring, bright prophet of God's eternal youth, herald forever eloquent of heaven's undying joy, has once more wrought its miracle of resurrection on the vineyards and olive-groves of Tuscany, and touched with gently-wakening fingers the myrtle and the orange in the gardens of Florence. The Apennines have put aside their snowy winding-sheet, and their untroubled faces salute with rosy gleams of promise the new day, while flowers smile upward to the serene sky amid the grass and grain fields, and fruit is swelling beneath the blossoms along the plains of Arno. ‘The Italian spring,’ writes Margaret, ‘is as good as Paradise. Days come of glorious sunshine and gently-flowing airs, that expand the heart and uplift the whole nature. The birds are twittering their first notes of love; the ground is enamelled with anemones, cowslips, and crocuses; every old wall and ruin puts on its festoon and garland; and the heavens stoop daily nearer, till the earth is folded in an embrace of fight, and her every pulse beats music:’

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