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Springtime and Other Essays   By: (1848-1925)

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This ebook was transcribed by Les Bowler.

SPRINGTIME AND OTHER ESSAYS

BY SIR FRANCIS DARWIN

AUTHOR OF “RUSTIC SOUNDS” AND OTHER ESSAYS

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.

1920

All rights reserved

CONTENTS

PAGE SPRINGTIME 1 SOME NAMES OF CHARACTERS IN FICTION 15 THOMAS HEARNE, 1678–1735 29 RECOLLECTIONS 51 OLD INSTRUMENTS OF MUSIC 71 THE TRADITIONAL NAMES OF ENGLISH PLANTS 99 SIR JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER 115 A GREAT HOSPITAL 137 SIR GEORGE AIRY 161 SYDNEY SMITH 175 CHARLES DICKENS 199 A PROCESSION OF FLOWERS 201

ILLUSTRATIONS

To face page PSALTERY AND DULCIMER ( By kind permission of 72 Messrs Cornish ) MANDORE, PANDURINA, LUTE, THEORBOE, ARCHLUTE, AND 76 GUITAR THE CRWTH 79 THE TROMBA MARINA 81 VIOLA D’AMORE, CITHER VIOL, AND HURDY GURDY OR 82 ORGANISTRUM RECORDERS 84 PIBCORN OR HORN PIPE 89 CORNETTS, SERPENT, BASS HORN, OPHICLEIDE, AND 91 KEYED BUGLE

The above illustrations are all taken from “ Old English Instruments of Music ,” by the kind permission of Canon Galpin .

TO F. C. C.

SPRINGTIME {1}

“Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year.”

— Autolycus’ Song .

Governesses used to tell us that the seasons of the year each consist of three months, and of these March, April, and May make the springtime. I should like to break the symmetry, and give February to spring, which would then include February, March, April, and May. It has been said that winter is but autumn “shyly shaking hands with spring.” We will, accordingly, make winter a short link of two months—an autumnal and a vernal hand—December and January. It is a little sad for autumn to have to make room for chill November alongside of the happier months of September and October. But autumn is a season of decadence and cannot justly complain.

The autumnal flowers, which may be allowed to figure as a prelude to spring, are few in number. My favourite is lady’s tresses ( Spiranthes ), so called from the spiral twist in its inflorescence, which suggests braided hair. Gentiana amarella I should like to include, but its flowering time is from 12th August to 8th September, and summer has the stronger claim on it. Other autumnal flowers are laurustinus and ivy. If we go by the mean date nothing flowers in October or November, and in December only the Christmas rose ( Helleborus niger ) is recorded by Blomefield.

But the autumn months have a glory of their own which may vie with the brightest hues of flowers. This great and beautiful panorama begins with the yellowing of the lime leaves, which may occur as early as 17th August, but on the average is seen on 14th September... Continue reading book >>




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