FEELINGS OF THE SEASON. ( 91
series of illuminations, which, we know, will be extinguished, only that the business of another seedtime may begin
Neither, amid all its dreary features, is the natural season without its own picturesque beauty ;—nor even entirely divested of all its summer indications of a living loveliness, or all suggestions of an eternal hope. Not only hath it the peculiar beauties of old age; but it hath besides lingering traces of that beauty which old age hath not been able wholly to extinguish,—and which come finely in aid of the moral hints and religious hopes of the season.
The former—the graces which are peculiar to the season itself —exist in many a natural aspect and grotesque effect, which is striking, both for the variety it offers, and for its own intrinsic loveliness.—
" We may find it in the wintry boughs, as they cross the cold blue sky, While soft on icy pool and stream the pencilled shadows lie,— When we look upon their tracery, by the fairy frostwork bound, Whence the flitting red-breast shakes a shower of blossoms to the ground."
The white mantle which the earth occasionally puts on, with the rapidity of a spell, covering, in the course of a night, and while we have slept, the familiar forms with a sort of strangeness, that makes us feel as if we had awakened in some new and enchanted land—the fantastic forms assumed by the drifting snow—the wild and fanciful sketching of old winter upon the " frosty pane"— the icicles that depend, like stalactites, from every projection, and sparkle in the sun like jewels of the most brilliant water—and, above all, the feathery investiture of the trees above alluded to, by which their minute tracery is brought out with a richness, shaming the carving of the finest chisel—are amongst the features which exhibit the inexhaustible fertility of nature, in the production of striking and beautiful effects. Hear how one of our best poetesses, Mary Howitt, sings of these graces.—
" One silent night hath passed,—and lo ! How beautiful the earth is now! All aspect of decay is gone, The hills have put their vesture on, And clothed is the forest bough.