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Nay, if ye will not obey my summons, I shall class ye with the superannuated, to whom a contemporary. writer refers in his description of Spring:
"O how delightful is the bursting spring,
When the warm blood leaps nimbly through the veins,
Of fields and groves, methinks the soul attains
And the same hand that o'er the meadow showers
To freeze thy sap and wither up thy root.”
Let those who are willing to enrol themselves in this class keep their May-day in London; for even in its murkiest precincts the penetrating voice of nature is heard and answered on that auspicious morn, with ghastly smiles and a lugubrious hilarity. To what do its festivities amount? This is the solitary jubilee of those wretched boys who climb up our dark suffocating chimneys at the risk of limb and life; whose ribbons and tinsel, and forced unnatural gambols, do but impress upon our minds, with a more painful intensity, their ordinary state of privation, suffering, and squalor. Reader! compare these rejoicings, and their heart-rending associations, with the extracts you have been perusing, and the genial, exhilarating, and
ennobling impressions with which they spontaneously connect themselves; and if (having the power to escape) you are still found within the bills of mortality, I can only say you have no right to be there, for you must be more or less than a mortal.
But what will Dr. Killjoy say? What will the world think, if a man of my religious character is seen? O, Sir, I cry your mercy. You are, perhaps, one of the saints,—one of those who make religion a matter of public form and observance between man and man, rather than a governing principle, or silent communion between your own heart and its Creator. You have no idea of devotion, except in the House of God; and give me leave to add, that even there you have very little notion, except of the House itself. You have converted the accessory into the principal; the stimulant of inspiration into the inspirer. Your spiritual conceptions are essentially material; your imagination is of brick and mortar, and has built up the type into the archetype; you know nothing of the Deity but by symbols. Has not your own poet Cowper declared that “God made the country, man the town?" and think you he is more likely to be found in a temple built by hands, than in the midst of his own glorious and imperishable works? Was this most beautiful earth and its magnificent canopy made for brutes to gaze at? Was the sun set in a blaze, that it might light oxen and sheep to the pond; or the moon hung on high for dogs to howl at? Is no celestial aspiration, no pious enthusiasm to be awakened when we "look
through Nature up to Nature's God?" You
once, believe Shakspeare, when he assures you that there are
"Sermons in stones, books in the running brooks
And good in every thing."
Well, then, since you are inexorable, let me appeal to the grave-looking gentleman by your side, with a bill of lading in one hand, Lloyd's List in the other, and moving his lips in some deep calculation to himself.
Do you mean me, Sir? I would attend you with pleasure if I thought it would give me a good appetite for my dinner; but you must know that I cannot possibly be absent from 'Change.-I am quite aware of that;-but how do you mean to manage after your death? or do you imagine that the grim king will put up his scythe in its scabbard, and walk down stairs again, if you assure him that you are positively engaged to meet your broker at four o'clock? How you must envy the statue of Charles the Second, which keeps its happy station night and day, holidays and Sundays! Why, the pauper who' scrapes the mud off the high road is less of a drudge than you, who are incessantly scraping up gold. His body is not half so much exposed to annoyance as your mind; and, when his day's labour is done, and his appetites satisfied, he falls asleep without thinking of the morrow ;-whereas your head is perpetually at work; you can hardly sleep from the fear of losing what you have got; and so far from your cravings being appeased by plenty, you are everlastingly hungering and thirsting for more.
There you are mistaken; for as soon as I have completed a plum, I mean to retire to my box in the country.
My most solvent friend, you may deceive yourself, but you cannot deceive ́me. You will no more be satisfied with one plum in your second childhood, than you were in your first;-there is but one box to which you will ever retire, and into that you will be screwed down, narrow as it is, with all your Consols and Reduced, and your villa at Mile End; ay, and your Bank-stock and Exchequer-bills into the bargain: so you may as well make holiday while you can, and follow me into the green lanes and freshsmelling groves.
But I don't want to see any trees: it was only last Wednesday week that I got down to Mile End time enough to walk round my own plantations with a lantern, when I saw ever so many; some of them twenty feet high.
Nay, then, you may well be sick of the country, and can have no possible occasion to go a-Maying.— Gentle maiden, you, at least, will not refuse me when I assure you that, whatever the ancients may have said to the contrary*, May is Love's own month. Was not Zephyr with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,"
*It was formerly considered inauspicious to marry in this month, to which Ovid alludes in his Fasti:
"Nec viduæ tædis eadem, nec virginis apta
when he became the happy father of Mirth ? "Love, whose month is ever May," is a phrase of Shakspeare's, no uninitiated investigator of the human heart; but he meant the May of the country, not the season of fashion and dissipation in London, where the young men are too much absorbed by ambition or avarice to feel any kindly expansion of the affections. Will you not join in our rural rambles?
Hark! the cuckoo calls us; and I cannot wait a moment longer. If you wish to share our festival, follow me into the warm thick-flowering meadows, or the budding copses.
WALKS IN THE GARDEN.-No. II.
But are not wholesome airs, though unperfumed
That metropolitan volcanoes make,
Whose Stygian throats breathe darkness all day long ;
And thundering loud, with his ten thousand wheels?
IN our last walk, we discovered the approach of rain from the shutting up of the Convolvulus, and Anagallis arvensis, commonly called the poor man's weather-glass;-the rain is now over; but as the clouds have not yet dispersed, we can derive no assistance from this sun-dial in ascertaining the time of the day.