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out above us, and intervene between the
eye and the sun, in all imaginable arrangements of light and shade, you have a picture never to be forgotten. Each tree, too, has its own life, its own peculiar custom, and its own manner of arranging its branches and leaves; and when, as in our wood, there are groups of many kinds, a change of pictures is attainable, each one of which you will declare, while looking at it, is the most beautiful of all, till its successor, having the claims of possession in its favour, seems to outstrip and outvie the last. What a contrast between a group of beeches and a group of firs! And, again, pass from this lady-like and ethereal-looking circle of silver-birches to that cluster of strong-boled, gnarly-branched, and ivy-clasped oaks. The tender ashes yonder are curiously different from these stormdefying elms. So we might contrast all the trees which an English wood can present, and draw attention to their varieties of beauty, and to their more marked characteristics, of which the intelligent observer will not fail to take note.
We must not forget the undergrowth of our wood. Fern and bramble vainly try to impede our progress, but offer such fields of beauty that we almost feel it a profanation to break through their unbroken masses of vegetation. The fern is in itself a noble sight. Taken singly, anything more graceful in form nature has not to offer. And look at the scene before us! Far as the eye can see-fern, fern, fern, with here and there a bunch of magnificent fox-gloves to heighten the picture, spread themselves before you.
Besides this glory of the wood there are also heath and gorse, and the welcome bilberry, and the thick white blossom of autumn primrose, the blackberry, in luxurious abundance, showing how lavish and prodigal Nature is of all her favours and blessings. Not the least attraction of a wood is its undergrowth.
And then the music of a wood! Birds of all kinds pipe among the trees. Insects of every shape and tint buzz around you as you move.
The murmurous, slumbrous surr of the trees themselves, moving all their leaves beneath the slightest breath of wind, sounds like the tide of some distant sea, its roar softened into one low, continuous undulation of sound, thrilling you with a gentle delight. Here you have a realization of the poet's musical lines, and listen to
“ The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
The murmur of innumerable bees.”
And our wood has, as all woods ought to have, foliage and shrub-hidden rivulets, which you hear, but see not. Rippling, rippling, chatting, chatting, murmuring, murmuring, as its waters run quietly or precipitously, as, rolling over pebbles, they flow on to join the larger stream which meanders through the meadow yonder, now hidden from our sight by the intervening trees. A more enjoyable thing than lying on the grass on a hot summer day, and listening to the sound of unseen waters, life has not. “And beauty born of murmuring sound shall pass into her face," says Wordsworth; and the power
of such sound to shed a
all things within its influence, only those who have experienced it can know. Then the pleasure of hunting out the hidden stream, and tracking its course by the richer and thicker foliage, the brighter and more thickly crowding flowers, which reveal, while they conceal, the waters. Such a chase is more healthbestowing, more joyous, and certainly more innocent, than any other hunting in the world.
To all the other pleasures of a day in the woods must be added that which arises from the enjoyment of sweet scents. What a stream of fragrance is incessantly flowing from yon clump of pine trees! How inexpressibly rich is the air which passes through that little cluster of bee-haunted limes! Were it not that their sweets mingle with and are softened by the various fragrances of the place, and were caught up by the cooling breeze, and scattered about, the sense could scarcely endure the luxuriance of the odours which abound. But in a wood there is
. always, even in winter, when flowers and leaves are not, a sweetness in the air which is invigorating and refreshing. In the “leafy month of June,” or in any month of summer-time, a wood is truly the proper haunt for all insects who live on sweets and delight in honey. Thus a wood is full of life, and joy, and beauty, and fragrance. The picturesque sights which you obtain at every step; the curious but always beautiful effects produced by the arrangements of the branches, and the positions of the leaves of the trees, the in-streaming of light through
the passages left open by the foliage, telling of the floods of glory whence it flows; these and a thousand nameless, but thoroughly appreciable, returns, will reward you in a wood; and a day thus spent will not
a be one of the least memorable in a life.
And what pleasant stories, romances, and poems are associated with woods! You can see the reason of all the metamorphoses which Grecian poetry has enshrined in deathless verse. Then, too, you can conjure up the spirits of Ariosto and Tasso; and the gentle muse of Spenser, who delighted in haunting a wood; and what living pictures their pages contain of their wonders, their glories, and their grandeur ! And if you have children with you, you must not omit the immortal tale of the Children in the Wood, and the tender care of the robins in their behalf. Or, if you like a higher flight, take Ruskin's eloquent and loving words on trees, and all that concerns them; and ponder on the great fact of the intense pleasure which the open eye and the open heart can receive from the most minute of the inhabitants of a wood; and we are assured that you will confess with us, that few things in this world can surpass, in its manifold treasures, its ever-varying sources of enjoyment afforded to every true lover of nature, that of spending a day in the woods.
THE SCENE OF THE FIRST FIGHT.
“On Sunday, October 23rd, was Edgehill Battle, called also Kineton Fight, near Kineton, on the south edge of Warwickshire, in which Captain Cromwell was present and did his duty, let angry Denzil say what he will. The fight was indecisive-victory claimed by both sides. Captain Cromwell told Cousin Hampden, they never would get on with a set of poor tapsters and town-apprentices people, fighting against men of honour. To cope with men of honour they must have men of religion. • Mr. Hampden answered me, it was a good notion, if it could be executed.' Oliver himself set about executing a bit of it—his share of it by and by.”
Such is the brief manner in which Mr. Carlyle notices the first fight of the Great Rebellion, the Battle of Edgehill. We had long read this, and more elaborate descriptions of the same; and on the 23rd of October, 1855, being the two-hundred-andthirteenth anniversary of the battle, we set out on our pilgrimage to the scene of action.
For persons going from Birmingham, the Great Western Railway affords ready means for the visit. We took a ticket