The English year. Summer, by W. Beach Thomas and A. K. Collett, with a series of reproductions in colour from the work of Sir Alfred East, Harry Becker, and Tom Mostyn, and drawings in the text by A. W. Seaby
The lines recall some of the very few lines that surpass them in giving the sense of a summer. Wordsworth was not the peer of Arnold as botanist, but the Tintern landscape is even surer than the Oxford, and more English. ' The day is come when I again repose Here under the dark sycamore, and view These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard tufts, Which, at this season, with their unripe fruits, Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves Among the woods and copses, and disturb The wild
... sturb The wild green landscape. Once again I see These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines Of sportive wood run wild ; these pastoral farms Green to the very door ; and wreaths of smoke Sent up in silence from among the trees ! ' But though we think of summer in England as 'clad in one green hue,' it is worth remembering that those who have travelled round the world, and pried into the forests of tropical regions, have found England conspicuous not only in soft scents, but in brilliance of colour. Both the joys and sorrows of English are highly coloured. What is more gorgeous than the crimson of a field of Australian clover, or the mauve of common clover, or the pink of sainfoin? You will find no such fires of colour as the mustard-field of the Eastern counties or the sham mustard or charlock that adds too much brilliance to too many fields. The JUNE ii Many country rhymes pay great honour to St. Barnabas' Day, the summer solstice under the old calendar. The most quaint and informative runs ' When St. Barnaby bright smiles night and day, Poor ragged robin blooms free in the hay.' Another traditional signpost of the ripening of the grass is the sound of the seeds in the pod of the yellow rattle ; and this is perhaps a better sign than the blooming of the ragged robin, which is often premature. An old weather couplet of the month says truly ' A leaky May and a warm June Bring on the harvest very soon.' A wet June is said to spoil the rest of the year. In Germany the St. John's wort, which has a saintly splendour of flower, is associated with St. John's Day, June 24th. Heavy thunderstorms, which kill many ground-nesting birds, and towards the end of the month a spell of north wind, are common symptoms of June weather. June ist The close season for coarse fish ends in many waters. June 24th is Midsummer's Day, the longest day, the sun rising at 3.45 a.m. and setting at 8.19 p.m. Average temperature of June 1st, 5 7 -4. Average rainfall of month, 2 "2 inches. June 1st. Sun rises 3.51 a.m. ; sets 8.5 p.m. YOUNG WRYNECKS CLIMBING THE HEDGEROW AT a particular date very early in summer the hedgerow, which was a maze of crooked twigs of quick or a tangle of many growths, begins to take on an appearance almost as if it were being crushed out upwards, from bottom to top. Then begins a race for the upper air, and the hedgerow bushes, which are always visible, which are the hedge, become mere supports, like pea-sticks, for a variety of climbing aspirants.