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To know all this, to feel all this, and to receive the joy which flows from so rich a source, you must also have something of the poet's faith,—the faith which was his when he
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths ;
Enjoys the air it breathes.
Their thoughts I cannot measure:-
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
To catch the breezy air;
That there was pleasure there.” But this ineffable condition cannot subsist long. All things in the world change, and, by a gracious law, we change too. So now, in a different mood, we look around for objects of interest, and find them everywhere ready for our use. The one now nearest our hand is a bed of moss; we pluck a bit, and while admiring its exquisite beauty we recall Ruskin's appreciative words upon this gem of creation. How eloquently the artist author writes on such a theme ! “Lichens and mosses (though these last in their luxuriance are deep and rich as herbage, yet both for the most part humblest of the green things that live) how of these? Meek creatures! the first mercy of the earth, veiling with hushed softness its dintless rocks,—creatures full of pity, covering with strange and tender honour the scarred disgrace of ruin, laying quiet fingers on the trembling stones to teach them to rest. No words that I know of will say what these mosses are.
None are delicate enough, none perfect enough, none rich enough. How is one to tell of the rounded bosses of furred and beaming green, the starred divisions of rubied bloom, finefilmed, as if the rock spirits could spin porphyry as we do glass, the traceries of intricate silver, and fringes of amber, lustrous, arborescent, burnished through every fibre into fitful brightness and glossy traverses of silken change, yet all subdued and pensive, and framed for simplest, sweetest offices of grace? They will not be gathered like the flowers for chaplet or love-token; but of these the wild bird will make its nest and the wearied child his pillow.”
And now, up again, and away! any where; across the fields, over the stile, into the lane, rambling for the mere delight of rambling; or resting for the mere delight of resting. Stopping for each wayside whim, and having a talk with each wayside flower that attracts your eye.
Then on again "to fresh fields and pastures new;" and you will find that in any ordinary ramble may be crowded such scenes and such pleasures as we have feebly attempted to describe; the exact record, so far as words can make it exact, of many a desultory ramble which we have made: and similar scenes may be found in any part of our beautiful land; and every one in whom the sense of the beautiful is at all present, may find, wherever he may be, as much pleasure in a Desultory Ramble.
A DAY IN THE WOODS.
To our minds, and we trust to many others, one of the most delightful places in which to spend a summer-day is a wood. We know all that can be said about the claims of the sea-side, with its glorious views and its rich bracing air; the beauty of the vessels gliding along full sail on their missions of civilization and intercourse; the unutterable music of its thunder bass, with the unceasing roll of its mighty waters; the far-spreading horizon, with the broad arc of heaven circling it from end to end, and the wonderful tints of the ever-varying clouds overhead : we know the rapture it is to be
“ The children sporting on the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.” Yet a day in the woods has charms, and pleasures, and rewards which are not be obtained even in the favourable circumstances of the sea-side. We also knowfew more thoroughly—the ineffable bliss procurable by a day on the hills. It is an ecstasy merely to bare your forehead, and let the mountain wind lovingly kiss it.
The air is finer and more subtle, and makes your blood flow more freely and vigorously through your veins; and every motion becomes more elastic and every sense more keen, the pulse beats more joyously, and the nerves throb with a truer
sensation of life. You seem to be, and we believe you really are, getting nearer heaven as you mount, and the full taste of a purer life is yours. Hills always appear to us as so many sacred altars set up by the hand of God Himself to evoke veneration and love from the grateful climber out of the lowly valleys of the world. Then there is the far-stretching and many-featured champaign, with its beauty and culture, uniting the works of nature and of man, exhausting the power of vision to take in the wide expanse, and note its numerous and various beauties. We know all this; and we know the reward there is in any
and all communications with nature; from the little ramble down a violet-scented lane to a climb on the everlasting hills; yet we say, that a day in the woods has a charm-nay, a thousand charms—of its own, which will amply recompense all who thus employ a few hours of leisure.
It matters not where or what the wood is; its size is of little consequence, so that it be large enough to give you the idea of a perfect "contiguity of shade” and indefiniteness of extent. It should, however, contain a good variety of trees, and have grassy circles of clear
where you can repose, broad view of the sky. Given these few matters, and the wood will do, whether it be in sunny Devon, in orchard-loving Worcester, in bleak Stafford, in sylvan Warwick, or, in short, in any of the counties of the United Kingdom. In all you will get beauty and variety enough to make your day one to be written in golden letters in your calendar of notable
and get a
days. From the first entrance to the final departure you will have sufficient to keep your eyes and mind employed, and to amply reward them for their toil.
We are in our wood now; and just look up at the picturesque disposal of those myriad branches, and the graceful play of those innumerable leaves! Every tint that the mind can conceive, and numbers which no human colour can transfer to canvass, meet the eye. All these varieties are so graduated, mingle and combine so harmoniously together, that not a tint is out of place, not a colour overdone, not a hue that you deem it possible to spare ; and yet, if a sudden gust
а of wind took away any number of them, the picture would still seem as complete and perfectly harmonious as before. And with the variety of tint mark also the multiplicity of forms. No two leaves are exactly alike, and yet each tree has its own leaf of a distinctive and classifying character. Take one from each tree within reaching distance, and note the great distinguishing features of each. But various as they are in outward form, and marked as their differences are, all fulfil the same functions, and all are beautiful. A more delightful study than that of the foliage of trees we know not, except, perlaps, the study of flowers. Every part of a leaf is worthy of our closest examination; its regular system of delicate veins all radiating from one central stem, which might be called the leaf's backbone, and from these still finer veins radiate in perfect order. Than the skeleton of a vine-leaf a lovelier object nature does not offer to our gaze. And as the leaves spread