« PreviousContinue »
the meanest creature may obtain the favour and regard of the Creator himself, by humble gratitude, and stedfast obedience.
THE MASQUE OF NATURE.
Who is this beautiful Virgin that approaches clothed in a robe of light green? She has a garland of flowers on her head, and flowers spring up whereever she sets her foot. The snow, which covered the fields, and the ice, which was in the rivers, melt away when she breathes upon them. The young
lambs trisk about her, and the birds warble in their little throats to welcome her coming; and when they see her, they begin to choose their mates, and to build their nests. Youths and maidens, have ye seen this beautiful Virgin ? If ye have, tell me who she is, and what is her name.
Who is this that cometh from the south, thinly clad in a light transparent garment; her breath is hot and sultry; she seeks the refreshment of the cool shade; she seeks the clear streams, the crystal brooks, to bathe her languid limbs. The brooks and rivulets fly from her, and are dried up at her approach. She cools her parched lips with berries, and the grateful acid of all fruits ; the seedy melon, the sharp apple, and the red pulp of the juicy cherry, which are poured out plentifully around her. The tanned hay-makers welcome her coming; and the sheepshearer, who clips the fleeces off his flock, with his sounding shears. When she cometh let me lie under the thick shade of a spreading beech tree,-let me walk with her in the early morning, when the dew is yet upon the grass,- , let me wander with her in the soft twilight, when the shepherd shuts his fold,
and the star of evening appears. Who is she that cometh from the south ? Youths and maidens, tell me, if you know, who is she, and what is her name?
Who is he that cometh with sober pace, stealing upon us unawares ? His garments are red with the blood of the grape, and his temples are bound with a sheaf of ripe wheat. His hair is thin and begins to fall, and the auburn is mixed with mournful grey. He shakes the brown nuts from the tree. He winds the horn, and calls the hunters to their sport. The gun sounds. The trembling partridge and the beautiful pheasant flutter, bleeding in the air, and fall dead at the sportsman's feet. Who is he that is crowned with the wheat-sheaf? Youths and maidens, tell me, if ye know, who is he, and what is his name?
Who is he that cometh from the north, clothed in furs and warm wool? He wraps his cloak close about him. His head is bald ; his beard is made of sharp icicles. He loves the blazing fire high piled upon the hearth, and the wine sparkling in the glass. He , binds skates to his feet, and skims over the frozen lakes. His breath is piercing and cold, and no little flower dares to peep above the surface of the ground, when he is by. Whatever he touches turns to ice. If he were to stroke you with his cold hand, you would be quite stiff and dead, like a piece of marble. Youths and maidens, do you see him ? He is coming fast upon us, and soon he will be here. Tell me, if you know, who he is, and what is his name?
ON THE MARTIN.
Look up, my dear (said his papa to
( little William) at those bird-nests above the chamber windows, beneath the eaves of the house. Some, you see, are just begun,—nothing but a little clay stuck against the wall. Others are half finished ; and others are quite built-close and tight-leaving nothing but a small hole for the birds to come in and go out at.
What are they? said William.
They are Martins' nests, replied his father; and there you see the owners. How busily they fly backwards and forwards, bringing clay and dirt in their bills, and laying it upon their work, forming it into shape with their bills and feet! The nests are built very