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The king-cup or the daisy? Where inclines
And, perched aloft, with melancholy note
The females and young of the brown, or Norway rat, now leave their holes at the sides of ponds and rivers, to which they had betaken themselves in the spring, and repair to barns, out-houses, corn-stacks, and dwellings. The males are said to remain in their holes, having laid up a winter store of acorns, beechmast, &c. It is supposed that a rat will consume half a peck of wheat in a week, which may be set, at least, at sixteen pence; and if a man has only two score quartered upon him (and well off is that farm which has so few), their board will stand the farmer in upwards of fifty shillings a week,-the rent of a good farm 2.
The woodman now repairs to the woodlands to fell coppices, underwood, and timber. The appearance of a wood with the underwood cut, or during the time of cutting, is a very pleasing sight. The fine
Hurdis's Village Curate, p. 100.
See Lawrence's New Farmer's Calendar, article Vermin.
majestic trees opened to view, which were before hidden among the general and thick mass of foliage or branches, the smaller wood, some laid up in poles, some in faggots, and some in logs; while the ground presents a soft treading of moss and leaves among the old stumps, which are for the most part covered with moss and ivy. In the spring, this carpet is enriched with the flowers of the primrose, the ox-lip, and the cowslip, the wood anemone, the hyacinth, and a variety of others; and the scene is, perhaps, diversified by the trunks of oaks stripped of their bark, and the bark laid up in piles of regular dimensions, ready to be carried away by the tanner. In places where charcoal is made, there is the additional circumstance of the heaps of wood covered over with sods, and smoking: the curls of blue smoke seen at a little distance, ascending against the wood, are very picturesque.
The farmer usually finishes his ploughing this month. Cattle and horses are taken into the farmyard; sheep are sent to the turnip-field; ant-hills are destroyed; and bees are put under shelter.
We shall close this month's Diary with the following poetical bouquet of wild flowers, which cannot fail of being acceptable to our readers in the gloomy month of November, when scarcely a flower is to be found, except by those who possess the luxury of a green-house and hot-house, a never-ending source of amusement and instruction to the juvenile botanist and admirer of the beauties of nature. The several flowers are described with a truth and delicacy that do equal credit to the refined taste and botanical knowledge of the fair author.
Fair rising from her icy couch
Wan herald of the floral year,
The snow-drop marks the spring's approach,
Ere yet the primrose groups appear,
Or peers the aurun from its spotted veil,
Or odorous violets scent the cold capricious gale.
Then, thickly strewn in woodland bowers,
From calyx pale, the freckled cowslip born,
Lo! the green thorn her silver buds
Expands to May's enliv'ning beam;
And where the slowly trickling stream
In the lone copse, or shadowy dale,
O'er vinca's3 matted leaves below
Hangs high her beauteous blossoms there;
To later Summer's fragrant breath
Clemati's feathery garlands dance;
And the weak gallium weaves its myriad fairy flowers.
Sheltering the coot's or wild-duck's nest,
And where the timid halcyon hides,
The willow-herb, in crimson drest,
Waves with arundo o'er the tides;
And there the bright nymphæa loves to lave,
Or spreads her golden orbs upon the dimpling wave.
And thou, by pain and sorrow blest,
Contrasting with the corn-flower blue,
5 Yellow lady's bed-straw.
7 Common poppy.
From the first bud, whose venturous bead
DECEMBER was called winter-monat by the Saxons; but, after they were converted to Christianity, it received the name of heligh monat, or holy month.
6. SAINT NICHOLAS.
NICHOLAS Was Bishop of Myra, in Lycia, and died about the year 392. He was of so charitable a disposition, that he portioned three young women, who were reduced in circumstances, by secretly conveying a sum of money into their father's house. A curious font is preserved in the Cathedral of Winchester, the carvings on which are applied to the life and miracles of this saint. The annual ceremony of the boy-bishop, once observed on this day, is described at length in T. T. for 1814, p. 306-30s.
*7. 1683.-ALGERNON SIDNEY BEHEADED. He was a man of most extraordinary courage, steady even to obstinacy, sincere, but of a rough and boisterous temper that could not bear contradiction. He seemed to be a Christian, but in a particular form of his own: he thought it was to be like a divine philosophy in the mind; but he was against all public worship, and every thing that looked like a church. He was stiff to all republican principles, and an enemy to every thing that looked like a mo
narchy. He had studied the history of government in all its branches beyond any man I ever knew; and had a particular way of insinuating himself into people that would hearken to his notions, and not contradict him.-Bp. Burnet.
Here SIDNEY lies, he whom perverted law
*7. 1815.-MARSHAL NEY SHOT.
Having arrived at the place of execution, a spot in the Luxembourg Garden, near the observatory, he got out of the coach, and walked up with a firm step to the detachment of veterans, who, having formed themselves into a semicircle facing the wall, were ready for the purpose. He took off his hat to them, crossed his arms, and said, Soldiers, I am innocent, I die innocent, and I appeal from this iniquitous judgment to God and to posterity.' He immediately unfolded his arms. Do your duty,' he exclaimed. The volley was fired, and he fell. Two balls struck him in the head, four in the body, and one passed through his heart.
8.-CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY.
This festival was instituted by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, because William the Conqueror's fleet, being in a storm, afterwards came safe to shore. The Council of Oxford, however, held in 1222, permitted every one to use his discretion in keeping it. 13.-SAINT LUCY.
This virgin martyr was born at Syracuse. She refused to marry a young man who paid his addresses to her, because she had determined to devote herself