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HILL, and wood, and vale, and meadow have now put on their summer raiment. their newest dresses for the season, all bright and green, and looking more freshly and richly now than they will do when they have been darkened by a month's wear. Not that Nature has yet fully arrayed herself in her leafy robes; but although her dress will sit closer upon her, it will appear more cumbrous, and, to my fancy, less beautiful. How I love this bursting into summer this holi
day costume of the earth, standing like a nymph knee-deep in flowers, with portions of the blue sky seen through the floating folds of her green scarf! Roses are in full bloom this month, the sweetest and proudest of all Old England's flowers. What thoughts and associations flow through the mind while gazing upon these perfumed vases of beauty! We conjure up the lovely form of Eve in the garden of Eden,
"Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
Or we turn back to old Chaucer, and think of the fair Emilie rising ere it is day; and after dressing herself and binding the long hair that fell upon her shoulders with a riband, she walked into the garden, to sport and trip along "in the cool of day;" and
"At every turn she took she made a stand,
And thrust among the thorns her little hand
And perhaps a skylark may be singing high in the heaven, while we are gazing upon a rose in some quiet old garden; and how easy it will be to fancy that sound the voice of Emilie singing and carolling out "so clear!" Or we may dream a moment of Herrick and his Julia; and how the roses once met in parliament in Julia's breast, and were voted the sweetest of flowers, and, next to lovely woman, were the most beautiful of all God's works. Or learn how
"Roses at first were white,
Till they could not agree
Or they more white should be.
But being vanquisht quite,
Since which, believe the rest,
Or we are borne away by Shakspeare into the Temple Garden, and pluck a rose with Plantagenet or Somerset, and are led to muse upon the battles which were fought in honour of the roses. Or we dream of the lovely Juliet leaning from her window in the moonlight, and musing upon her Romeo's name, and thinking that
Which we call a rose
"The poetry of earth is never dead;" and thoughts and feelings that have long slumbered in the bosom are often awakened when we gaze upon a flower. It be may 66 a tone of music, summer's eve or spring”—a breath of wind, or any slight object in Nature, that will touch the heart while walking in the country, and call forth "thoughts too deep for tears." There is a spirit in the silent haunts of Nature, in the voiceless valley, and the deep and still woods, that holds a solemn communion with the soul, more powerful and impressive than all the appeals of oratory. It is in that hour when man,
Exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
The beauty of flowery fields does not always stir up the mind to a sense of delight; for there are seasons when the whole array of painted meadows looks sad, under the gloomy influence of cloudy skies. Even roses may become melancholy emblems, when we think of those whom we have loved, who were fair and beautiful, and gave a greater delight to the eye and heart than we can ever gather again from gazing upon those regal flowers.—But we will no longer pause and meditate upon the threshold; for Summer hath thrown open her green doors, and we already scent her perfumes, and hear the singing
of her birds and the falling of her waters, and feel upon our cheeks the waving of her refreshing branches.
As this is the leafy month of June, and we have prefixed a gipsy encampment to our chapter, we will occupy a few pages with a gipsy-tale.
One summer's evening, while journeying through Lincolnshire with a friend, we halted at a lonely road-side inn, which stood at least three miles from any village. We had but rarely met with a place so solitary and so truly picturesque, standing, as it did, embosomed among rugged hills, plentifully covered with old woods, which extended for miles along their summits. From the top of the highest of these was a full view of a fertile valley, spreading in all the beauty of green meadows dotted with kine and sheep; while the spire of a church towered above its surrounding elms, and the sound of the bells came softened over the deep river which flowed between the hills. The cooing of doves in the neighbouring woods, and the vesper hymn of the birds as they sang themselves to repose on the surrounding trees, mingled with the sound of the bells, and the low sighing of the wind over a thousand green branches, tempted us to linger long upon the hill-side, and then to wander on in the gathering twilight, we cared not whither.
There is a solemnity in the approach of evening among the silent scenes of Nature which we feel, but cannot well describe: the slow waving of the trees, the stealthy gliding of a fox, the rustle of an affrighted hare amid the broad fern, the whirring of a pheasant, or the slow sweeping by of the hooting owl or flitting bat, are sights and sounds that accord well with the grave hour of evening. We wandered along a dreary, grassy path, which apparently divided two immense woods, and were surprised by seeing in the distance, at an abrupt winding of the road, a strong glare of light, which shone redly through the netted foliage. While hesitating whether to proceed or return, the rich swell of mingled voices came floating on the air in
sweetest harmony. The stilly night, the darkening wood, the murmuring of a brook, and the sound of the singers, produced a startling and wild effect-a feeling of fear and pleasure. The singing ceased, and a merry peal of laughter followed the chorus: then the echoes died away in the deep woods, and all was still. As we neared the cheerful fire which illuminated the dusky scenery far around, we perceived the figures of men and women moving to and fro, or standing in dark relief before the crimson light.
Mine host had cautioned us against wandering too far, as, he said, "A gang of gipsies are encamped in the neighbourhood between the woods; and as the place is lonely, and there are some rough-looking fellows amongst them, who will have money by hook or crook, I advise you not to venture near them. Not that I have any reason to complain of their dishonesty, for they have always paid me for whatever they have purchased, and I have often visited their camps and been treated kindly; but perhaps they might not behave so well to strangers. And they have a young woman with them, very beautiful: she is a stranger, and they seem to pay her great respect; they have looked coldly on all visitors since she arrived."
My friend thanked the good old host for his advice, and giving him his card, said, "If we should by chance wander as far as the encampment, and I send another card, with an order for any liquor, do not hesitate to let the bearers have it; and as to our safety, we must trust to Providence."
Indeed we had almost forgotten our host's advice, so absorbed had our minds been in admiring the beautiful scenery; and had not our memories been refreshed by the appearance of the fire, we should have thought no more of the gipsies. The love of adventure, however, allured us onward to the camp; for my companion had a great wish to see this strange beauty who, like Maid Marian of old, had taken up her home in the merry greenwood.
There is a wild freedom in the unstudied gait of the gipsies