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thing," said Epaminondas, on observing the astonishment of his friend, "could give me a just conception of my own insignificance, it would be the mute spectacle before me. I have read many sage discourses; but none that pointed so directly to the heart as the homily of this withered leaf." And this homily, which centuries ago spoke to the soul of the noblest warrior of his day, still appeals to the moralist of the passing hour. The aspect of nature may vary-the principle is eternally the same. Rocks, seas, and mountains may change their form and station; but the vicissitudes of the seasons are immutable. Heaviness still shrouds the brow of autumn, as when Horace deprecated its effects-an early twilight still ushers in the hour of darkness, and the yellow leaf still dangles from the tree, as when amid the woods of Attica the warrior was transformed into the moralist. But not only to the moralist, to the poet also, and to the painter, autumn is peculiarly acceptable. It is the period of the year when the mind is most adapted to receive, and the poetry of nature to yield, inspiration. Gray was so fully convinced of its effect on the intellect, that he usually chose autumn as the season of composition, and amid the shades of Maidenly church-yard his immortal elegy was suggested, improved, and concluded. Imagination

can scarcely refrain from picturing him seated on the green sward, under an old yew which still bears his initials, without experiencing a sublime elevation of the soul. Marius in tears amid the ruins of Carthage, was not a more striking spectacle than Gray musing amid the tombs of the dead. In analyzing their characters, our English bard will rise higher from the comparison. The one, with the misanthropy of a despot, wept his own fall, mingled with a transient regret for the decay of the "Ocean-Queen"-but the other sighed for the sufferings of his fellow-men, and gilt the gloomy portals of the tomb with the rays of his own sweet philosophy.

With the kindred sensibility of the poet, the painter selects autumn as affording the fullest scope for the pencil. The varied harmony of its foliagethe diversified tints of the clouds-the richness of the hawthorn blossoms-and the melancholy that pervades the general aspect of nature, present a combination of beauties that the eye vainly seeks at any other period of the year. The night landscape too is peculiarly effective; nor is there any scenic attraction equal to the full majesty of the harvestmoon, when in skirting the dark edge of the clouds she throws athwart the sky the ever-shifting hues of sublimity and softness. I remember the delight

with which in my school days I used to wander amid the ruins of Reading Abbey with a young friend, who is fast rising in celebrity as an artist. When the zenith moon streamed in a broad sheet of light through the ivied windows, the effect was indescribable; and, as W has since remarked, first inspired him with a love of nature, which now serves to elicit the highest beauties of his art.

But although Autumn may be considered the perquisite of the poet and the painter, it is not to them alone that perception of its beauties is confined. If the intellectual classes enjoy it for its mental associations, the more commonplace portion of society admire it for its natural attractions. In England, it is the season of the harvest, in France, of the vintage. The agriculturists of both countries are then busily engaged, and the fields resound with the shouts of the labourers, or the harsh grating of the heavily-laden waggons. In the beautiful region of Provence, in particular, it is the most interesting period of the year. Groupes of country girls and sun-burnt peasants are seen scattered in busy confusion among the vineyards; some dancing to the simple tunes of the province, others culling the juicy grape, while they beguile their exertions with a song. In our own country too the season of harvest is

the season of rustic jollity; and when the duty of the day is over, the young villagers dance away their labours on the green, while the elders enjoy their ale and village scandal at the neatly-sanded parlour of the ale-house. On the conclusion of the festival, a most magnificent junketing ensues, the barn is fitted up as a supper-room, and roast beef and home-brewed ale elevate the spirits of the promiscuous assemblage.

But while thus lingering with fondness on the external advantages of autumn, let me not forget the domestic comforts that he holds out. In the lonely cottage, wherein this sketch is written, they are more particularly felt, for beyond the boundary of a small plantation, in which the "last rose of summer" has but lately withered, the landscape is wildly desolate. Mountains towering in chaotic confusion above mountains, sterile moors deprived of even the stinted clothing in which summer had robed them, are the sole objects that greet the wandering eye. Autumn here reigns in all his native repulsiveness; and though he assume the aspect of grandeur, it is the grandeur of savage desolation. External nature then presents little or no attraction, and artifice must supply the deficiency. Be it so happiness is independent of time and situation; and when it draws its


"litttle all" from within, heeds not the interruption from without. Now while the twilight creeps lagging along the firmament-the parlour shutters are closed-the slumbering fire is renewed-and the legends of the country drawled out over a luxurious sofa. The wind howls against the casement, and the comforts of an autumnal fire-side are felt with renewed satisfaction. But, hark! the clock strikes eight: the village chimes are ringing out their last evening peal; and the tea, ushered in by the appropriate ceremony of candles, makes glad the heart within us. A page of Byron, Rousseau, or Scott, is read and the opinions of the party are canvassed. But one cannot always read-and, as the juniors of our circle insist that reading by candle-light is injurious, we must adopt other amusements. Epitaph-writing and verse-capping then shall go in lieu of books; and when these weary by repetition, the evening shall be concluded by the adventures of the greatest and oldest traveller of the party.

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And such are the delights of autumn, when nature fails in amusement, art holds out her resources, and this intimate connexion affords entertainment for every revolving season. Spring breathes of love and beauty, Summer continues the delusion, Autumn reminds us that joy is oft linked

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