COLLECTED BY HIS WIDOW
For permission to reprint my husband's latest Essays my sincere thanks
are due to the Editors of the following publications:-
The Fortnightly Review.
Pall Mall Gazette.
English Illustrated Magazine.
St. James's Gazette.
Magazine of Art.
Century Illustrated Magazine.
HOURS OF SPRING
NATURE AND BOOKS
THE JULY GRASS
WINDS OF HEAVEN
THE COUNTRY SUNDAY
THE COUNTRY-SIDE: SUSSEX
AMONG THE NUTS
WALKS IN THE WHEAT-FIELDS
JUST BEFORE WINTER
LOCALITY AND NATURE
FIELD WORDS AND WAYS
SOME APRIL INSECTS
THE TIME OF YEAR
MIXED DAYS OF MAY AND DECEMBER
THE MAKERS OF SUMMER
STEAM ON COUNTRY ROADS
FIELD SPORTS IN ART: THE MAMMOTH HUNTER
NATURE IN THE LOUVRE
SUMMER IN SOMERSET
AN ENGLISH DEER-PARK
MY OLD VILLAGE
HOURS OF SPRING.
It is sweet on awaking in the early morn to listen to the small bird
singing on the tree. No sound of voice or flute is like to the bird's
song; there is something in it distinct and separate from all other
notes. The throat of woman gives forth a more perfect music, and the
organ is the glory of man's soul. The bird upon the tree utters the
meaning of the wind - a voice of the grass and wild flower, words of the
green leaf; they speak through that slender tone. Sweetness of dew and
rifts of sunshine, the dark hawthorn touched with breadths of open bud,
the odour of the air, the colour of the daffodil - all that is delicious
and beloved of spring-time are expressed in his song. Genius is nature,
and his lay, like the sap in the bough from which he sings, rises without
thought. Nor is it necessary that it should be a song; a few short notes
in the sharp spring morning are sufficient to stir the heart. But
yesterday the least of them all came to a bough by my window, and in his
call I heard the sweet-briar wind rushing over the young grass. Refulgent
fall the golden rays of the sun; a minute only, the clouds cover him and
the hedge is dark. The bloom of the gorse is shut like a book; but it is
there - a few hours of warmth and the covers will fall open. The meadow is
bare, but in a little while the heart-shaped celandine leaves will come
in their accustomed place. On the pollard willows the long wands are
yellow-ruddy in the passing gleam of sunshine, the first colour of spring
appears in their bark. The delicious wind rushes among them and they bow
and rise; it touches the top of the dark pine that looks in the sun the
same now as in summer; it lifts and swings the arching trail of bramble;
it dries and crumbles the earth in its fingers; the hedge-sparrow's
feathers are fluttered as he sings on the bush.