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MAY, BEAUTIFUL MAY!
“Rosy-footed May,” as it
has been poetically called, is
one of the most charming, if

not the most charming, months in
the year. On this account, we have chosen
to usher in with its buds and blossoms, its haw-
thorn-flowers, its scents and sunshine, our New
SERIES of the ENGLISHWOMAN'S DOMESTIC MAGAZINE. In
this delightful month

"One bonndless blush, one white empurpled shower

Of mingled blossoms" adorns our meadows, hedges, orchards, and gardens, and gives promise of the rich harvest of various fruits and flowers which

we may hope to enjoy in the coming seasons of Nature's luxuriance. Indeed, we take May, on the present occasion, to be figuratively prophetic of the shower of mingled blossoms” with which we trust the literature of our own pages will “ blush" every month in the year, even although "gloomy December” may touch, with withering hand, all

things else beside. May, lovely May ! we hail thee, with all thy blessed bounteousness, and regard thee as a frontier province standing between spring and summer, and participating in the beauties, the sweets, the riches of both. Thou art the fifth month of the year, and, some say, receivedst thy name from the Roman Romulus, out of respect to his nobles and senators, who were called majores. Others, however, affirm that thou wert designated after Maia, the mother of Mercury, and the brightest of the Pleiades. It mattereth little, however, after whom thou wert called, as, without dispute, thou art the Goddess of Spring, and must, according to Peacham, be drawn with a "sweet and amiable

countenance, clad in a robe of white and green, and einbroidered with daffodils, hawthorns, and · blue-bottles.” But we must reluctantly bid thee adieu, to speak of the customs which“ merry England" has, from time immemorial, celebrated on thy opening day.

In England, the First of May has, in rural districts especially, been always held as a day or festivity. May-poles of great height, and profusely adorned with garlands, were wont to be generally—we had almost said universally-erected in honour of that day; and round them the peasantry would dance and make merry for hours together. Even in London this was the case.

“Amidst the area wide they took their stand,

Where the tall May-pole once o'erlooked the Strand." This was a little way to the east of Somerset House. These were the light-hcarted, hilarious, and sociable times, when even the priests joined with the people, and went in procession, on the May morning, to some adjoining wood, where the much-prized pole was cut down and borne

songs in

triumphantly into the city. Not only the priests and the people, however, but the Kings and Queens of England, threw aside their cares on May-day, and entered into the innocent enjoyments of rustic life. Did not Henry VIII. ride a-maying from Greenwich to Shooter's Hill, with his Queen Catharine, accompanied by many lords and ladies? But every man, according to old John Stowe, would "walk into the sweet meadows and green woods, there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the harmony of birds praising God in their kind." As the birds in their way, so the poets in theirs. They, too, have poured for prayerful gratitude for the month of May, and have, at the same time, rejoiced in the goodness of that All-Creative Being who, on the wide field of Nature, has spread around them the countless delights of

* Beauteous May, that dost inspire

Mirth, and youth, and warm desire."
Listen to their songs.
Spring,

And, after they have shown their pride,
Now the lusty Spring is seen ;

Like you, awhile, they glide

Into the grave.
Golden yellow, gaudy blue,

HERRICK.
Daintily invite the view.
Everywhere, on every green,

Song, on May Morning.
Roses blushing as they blow,
And enticing men to pull;

Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Lilies whiter than the snow,

Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her Woodbines of sweet honey full

The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
All Love's emblems, and all cry,

The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose..
Ladies, if not plucked, we die.

Hail, bounteous May! thou dost inspire

Mirth, and youth, and warm desire.
BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER, 1576_-1625.

Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
To Daffodils.

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.

Thus we salute thee with our early song, Fair daffodils, we weep to see

And welcome thee, and wish thee long. You haste away so soon;

MILTON, 1608-1674.
As yet, the early-rising sun
Has not attained his noon.

Song to May.
Stay, stay,
Until the hastening day

MAY! Queen of Blossoms,
Has run

And fulfilling flowers,
But to the even song;

With what pretty music
And, having prayed together, we

Shall we charm the hours?
Will go with you along.

Wilt thou have pipe and reed,

Blown in the open mead,
We have short time to stay as you,

Or to the lute give heed
We have as short a spring,

In the green bowers ?
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you or anything.

Thou hast no need of us,
We die

Or pipe or wire,
As your hours do; and dry

That hast the golden bee
Away,

Ripened with fire;
Like to the summer's rain,

And many thousands more
Or as the pearls of morning dew,

Songsters that thee adore,
Ne'er to be found again.

Filling earth's grassy floor

With new desire.
HERRICK, 1591-1674.
To Blossoms.

Thou hast thy mighty herds,

Tame and free livers ;
Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,

Doubt not, thy music too,
Why do ye fall so fast ?

In the deep rivers ;
Your date is not so past

And the whole plumy flight,
But you may stay yet here awhile,

Warbling the day and night,
To blush and gently smile,

Up at the gates of light,
And go at last.

See, the lark quivers.
What! were ye born to be

When, with the jacinth,
An hour or half's delight,

Coy fountains are tressed,
And so to bid good-night?

And for the mournful bird 'Tis pity Nature brought ye forth

Green woods are dressed, Merely to show your worth,

That did for Tereus pine; And lose you quite.

Then shall our songs be thine,
But you are lovely leaves, where we

To whoin our hearts incline:
May read how soon things have

May, be thou blessed!
Their end, though ne'er so brave;

LORD THURLOW, 1732-1826.

To the Cuckoo.
Hail! beauteous stranger of the grove,

Thou messenger of spring!
Now heaven repairs thy rural seat,

And woods thy welcome sing.
Soon as the daisy decks the green

Thy certain voice we hear.
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,

Or mark the rolling year?
Delightful visitant! with thee

I hail the time of flowers,
And hear the sound of music sweet

From birds among the bowers.
The schoolboy, wandering thro' the wood

To pull the primrose gay,
Starts, thy most curious voice to hear,

And imitates thy lay.
What time the pea puts on the bloom

Thou fliest thy vocal vale-
An annual guest in other lands,

Another spring to hail.
Oh, could I Ay, I'd fly with thee !

We'd make, with joyful wing,
Our annual visit o'er the globe,
Attendants on the spring.

JOHN LOGAN, 1748-1788.

To the Cuckoo.
O BLITHE new-comer, I have heard,

I hear thee, and rejoice.
O Cuckoo ! shall I call thee bird,

Or but a wandering voice?
While I am lying on the grass,

Thy twofold shout I hear;
From hill to hill it seems to pass,

At once far off and near.
Though babbling only to the vale

Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale

Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, darling of the spring!

Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing-

A voice, a mystery-
The same that in my schoolboy days

I listened to; that cry,
Which made me look a thousand ways,

In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee, did I often rove

Through woods and on the green ;
And thou wert still a hope, a love-

Still longed for, never seen. And I can listen to thee yet

Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget

That golden time again.
O blessed bird I the earth we pace

Again appears to be
An unsubstantial faery place
That is fit home for thee.

WORDSWOETH, 1770—1830.

May.
I FEEL a newer life in every gale;

The winds, that fan the flowers,
And with their welcome breathings fill the sail,

Tell of serener hours-
Of hours that glide unfelt away
Beneath the sky of May.
The spirit of the gentle South-wind calls,

From his blue throne of air,
And where his whispering voice in music falls,

Beauty is budding there;
The bright ones of the valley break
Their slumbers and awake.
The waving verdure rolls along the plain,

And the wide forest weaves-
To welcome back its playful mates again

A canopy of leaves;
And from its darkening shadow floats
A gush of trembling notes.
Fairer and brighter spreads the reign of May:

The tresses of the woods With the light dallying of the West wind play;

And the full-brimming floods,
As gladly to their goal they run,
Hail the returning sun.

J. G. PERCIVAL, 1795-1856.
Summer Longings.
An' my heart is weary waiting —

Waiting for the May-
Waiting for the pleasant rambles
Where the fragrant hawthorn-brambles,
With the woodbine alternating,

Scent the dewy way.
Ah! my heart is weary waiting-

Waiting for the May.
Ah! my heart is sick with longing-

Longing for the May-
Longing to escape from study
To the young face, fair and ruddy,
And the thousand charms belonging

To the summer's day;
Ah! my heart is sick with longing-

Longing for the May.
Ahl my heart is sore with sighing-

Sighing for the May-
Sighing for their sure returning,
When the summer beams are burning,
Hopes and flowers that, dead or dying,

All the winter lay.
Ah! my heart is sore with sighing-

Sighing for the May.
Ah! my heart is pained with throbbing-

Throbbing for the May-
Throbbing for the sea-side billows,
Or the water-wooing willows;
Where, in laughing and in sobbing,

Glide the streams away,
Ah! my heart, my heart is throbbing-

Throbbing for the May.
Waiting-sad, dejected, weary-

Waiting for the May;
Spring goes by with wasted warnings,
Moonlit evenings, sunbright mornings;
Summer comes, yet dark and dreary

Life still ebbs away;
Man is ever weary, weary-
Waiting for the May.

DENNIS MCCARTHY, BORN 1810.

THE BOOK OF THE MONTH.

The Mill on the Floss. By George Eliot,

Author of " Adam Bede." The appearance of “Adam Bede," some twelve months since, was hailed by the readers of fiction as proclaiming the advent of a new, fresh, and powerful writer. The book excited an absorbing interest in the minds of the subscribers to the circulating-library, whose voracity for fiction is only paralleled by that of the Esquimaux for blubber and train-oil

, and whose wants are met by caterers chief among whom is the magnate Mudie. Very natural was it, that a book which had so deeply affected the emotions of the novel-reader should also stir his curiosity. On concluding the final chapter, the delighted novel-reader turned once more to the commencement of the book, and fastened upon its uitle-page. After some reflection, a spirit of hardy scepticism came over this typical representative of his class--and, out of his gratitude, he began to doubt the sex of the author. Notwithstanding the very masculine christian and surname placed upon the title-page, it was considered that certain traits of style betokened the hand of a lady. “Jane Eyre " immediately recurred to the mind of the sceptic, and the transformation of Currer Bell into Charlotte Brontë was deemed a sufficiently good precedent for a similar change in this instance. Unfortunately, the feminine equivalent for George Eliot was not forthcoming

at this stage. But, after some short epistolary skirmishing in the newspapers, it appeared that the author was really a lady-a Miss Evans; and, although George Eliot is again placed on the title-page of “The Mill on the Floss," all its readers—with the exception of a few illogical individuals who are said to consider the workmanship too good for a woman-will agree in assigning its creation to a feminine brain.

The novel opens with a dialogue between Mr. Tulliver and his wife, wherein the male member makes known to his better half his resolution about Tom, his son. Mr. Tulliver is the owner of Doricote Mill, standing on the “Floss"-a broad, navigable river, which "hurries on, between its green banks, to the sea.” “I mean to put him to a downright good school at midsummer," says Mr. Tulliver. “The two years at th' academy 'ud ha' done well enough, if I'd meant to make a miller and farmer of him; for he's had a fine sight more schoolin' nor I ever got : all the schoolin' my father ever paid for was a bit o' birch at one end and th' alphabet at th' other. But I should like Tom to be a bit of a scholard, so as he might be up to the tricks o' them fellows as talk fine and write with a flourish. It 'ud be a help to me wi' these law-snits, and arbitrations, and things. I wouldn't make a down-right lawyer o' the lad-I should be sorry for him to be a raskill."

Thus speaks Mr. Tulliver, farmer and miller, apparently prosperous, but, in reality, sunk in embarrassment, through always being at law.

Mr. Tulliver has a special hatred for lawyers --they are never spoken of but as "raskills

the agents of Satan; and in giving his boy, Tom, a "scholard's education, it is with the view of making him a match for these wily gentry. We are presently introduced to Tom Túlliver and Maggie--the son and daughter of the miller. A considerable portion of the first volume is taken up in laying bare the minds of this boy and girl. Maggie is a wayward, impulsive, fretful, passionate, sensitive girl. Tom is a strong, practical, unromantic, domineering boy; and, in depicting their early characters, the authoress has made Tom, the boy, father to the man; and Maggie, the child, is but a foreshadowing of Maggie, the woman.

The father insists on putting, his son to a better school than that which he is in at present, for the reasons above given. Mrs. Tulliver consents, after suggesting that she should "kill a couple o fowl, and have th' aunts and uncles to dinner, next week, so that they may hear what sister Glegg and sister Pullet have got to say about it.".

The portrait of Mrs. Tulliver is sketched, at this point, in a few powerful touches.

The three sisters of Mrs. Tulliver are drawn with remarkable force, but all their characters are so hard and disagreeable, that one feels the want of some relief. So uninviting are these three representatives of the awful “ Dodson family," that one seeks to believe that, unlike all the rest of the book, they are unnatural creations. They are all vulgar, selfish, and narrow-minded. Mrs. Glegg, the eldest of the Dodson girls, is a bitter being, the wife of a " wool-stapler, retired from active business for the purpose of enjoying himself through the rest of his life.” Mrs. Pullet is a tearful woman with a passion for tidiness and order. Mrs. Deane is a swarthy woman, of a sour disposition. One of these ladies has a daughter, Lucy Deane, a neat, pretty, amiable girl, and a most striking contrast to the daughter of Mr. Tulliver, Maggie, who is chiefly remarkable for her tall, graceful form, dark, heavy locks, and brown skin.

After some domestic deliberations, Mr. Tulliver sends Tom for his “first half” to the Rev. Mr. Stelling, a well-sized, broad-chested man, not yet thirty, with flaxen bair standing erect, and large, lightish-grey eyes, which were always very wide open. He had a sonorous bass voice, and an air of defiant self-confidence, inclining to brazenness. He had entered on his career with great vigour, and intended to make a considerable impression on his fellow-men. In short, Mr. Stelling meant to rise in his profession, and to rise by merit, clearly, since he had no interest beyond what might be promised by a problematical relationship to a great lawyer who had not yet become a Lord Chancellor. A clergyman who has such vigorous intentions naturally gets a little into debt at starting

it is not to be expected that he will live in the Guest, “whose diamond ring, attar of roses, and mengre style of a man who means to be a poor air of nonchalant leisure at twelve o'clock in eurate all his life. Under the direction of this the day, are the graceful and odoriferous result worthy divine, Tom Tulliver's practical mind of the largest oil-mill and the most extensive is plonged into all the awful miseries of Latin wharf in St. Oggs." grammar and Euclid, these being the Rev. Mr. Poor Maggie! Her whole heart belongs to Stelling's text-books for making a sound scholar. Philip Wakem; but Stephen has been fasciHe believes in no other sort of training for a nated by her magnificent form and powerful boy. After some time, Tom finds a slight intellect. The young man forsakes Lucy diversion in his toilsome studies in the advent Deane for Maggie. Maggie's wild, impulsive of a new pupil, Philip Makem, the son of nature betrays her into what will appear to Lawyer Wakem, old Mr. Tulliver's enemy. most readers a cruel piece of treachery towards The boy Philip is a hump-back, but is endowed her cousin. Hardly has she realized the extent with a fine and sensitive nature. The lad has or nature of her feelings towards Stephen the perception of an artist, the soul of a poet. Guest, when this bold and disloyal lover rows Tom's feelings on first seeing this poor youth away with her out to sea in a boat. He deare graphically detailed. He had a vague notion clares his passion; but honour and duty are that the deformity of Wakem's son had sume not dead in Maggie's breast. She spurns the relation to the lawyer's rascality, of which he offer of his hand, and, with an angry resishad so often heard his father talk with hot tance, demands to be taken back. She returns, emphasis; and he felt, too, a half-admitted fear but her absence has been remarked; the town of him, as probably a spiteful fellow, who, not

of St. Oggs

scandalized, and unhappy Magbeing able to fight you, had cunning ways of gie is sacrificed on the altar of social propriety. doing you a mischief by the sly.

The bitter reproaches of Tom cut like a whip; So far there is very little complication of his words are awful in their intensity of scorn. plot-indeed, the first volume is chiefly a col- The catastrophe approaches: the old mill is lection of portraits, with a slight variation of swept away by an inundation; Maggie and incident, of, more properly speaking, it is a Tom seek to escape in a boat; the frail craft chain of events. But troubles for the house of is borne along the dark flood; but, just as the Tulliver are at hand.

sight of some tall, strong honses revives hope We should have liked to have quoted a series in their breasts, death, in a most horrible of brigbt, freshly-painted portraits from this shape, starts up before them. The boat is novel. Our limited space forbids this. We driven against some immense fragments of must proceed, rather, to give our readers a wooden machinery, which are being, driven slight notion of the plot. The miller has lost along with the boiling current. Brother and his great law-suit, and his ruin is impending. sister are clasped in each other's arms as the Lawyer Wakem has been the chief instrument boat is driven beneath the black water, and, in bringing the affair to a termination so disas- when it reappears, keel upwards, both havo trous to Nir. Tulliver. The violent struggle gone down in an embrace never to be parted. which ensues in the mind of the miller is de- Although the “Mill on the Floss" may be scribed with a minuteness and a power truly set down as inferior to "Adam Bede," it dismarvellous. Mr. Tulliver must now become plays no evidence of diminished powers in its the agent of his hated neighbour, the "raskill" author. In some quarters, surprise has been Wakem. He determines to serve him like an expressed that George Eliot—or Miss Evanshonest man, but, in the overwhelming force of could have produced so grand a piece of litehis malice, he makes his son inscribe, at his rary workmanship within a year after the pubdictation, a terrible curse in the family Bible. lication of her Adam Bede." But it surely And so the Tullivers set out on their journey must have escaped these people, that such a book through the valley of humiliation. A long and as that could never have been written without weary journey it is, but the Tulliver family are vast preparation. A goodly pile of MS. must stout of heart, and both Tom and his father are have been the forerunner of this first work. resolved to remove the disgrace of debt by The order of publication is not necessarily the years of manful energy. Time goes by. Maggie order of composition. Did not Charlotte is now seventeen. Her form has developed into Brontë's "Professor" appear as a posthumous queenly proportions. Long intervals of silent, work? And is it not known that this was the solitary self-communing have given her mind very novel which the lamented lady sent to an unusual fervour and intensity. The de- almost every publisher in the United Kingdom formed youth, Philip, has been abroad, and has without finding one willing to produce it to now coine home; and the childish gratitude of the public? And was not “ Jane Eyre,” the the maiden for his gentle sympathy with her first novel published, in reality written subsehis ripened into love for the son of her father's quently to this last-issued work? enemy and master. She has stolen interviews We believe the “Mill on the Floss" to be with her lover in the Red Deeps, an exhausted inferior to “ Adam Bede," merely because it stone-quarry. Discovery, awaits the lovers, was written partly, if not totally, before however. Tom, who combines all the decision “Adam Bede. To our mind, the comparaand inflexibility of the Dodson nature with the tively crude sketches of the Dodson family hard, practical character of his father, suspects were the first efforts of the author in that his sister, and, on extracting a confession from marvellous, minute, and daring style of wordber, forces her to spurn her lover, whom he painting which resulted in the more mellow eruelly insults. There is another pair of lovers and harmonious characters of Mr. and Mrs. in the shape of Lucy Deane and Mr. Stephen | Poyser, &c.

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