Introduction to “The Changing Year”

Introduction to “The Changing Year”

[Third Edition.]


To the Memory of my dear Father and Mother, in loving gratitude.

“Fleetly hath pass’d the year. The seasons came
Duly as they were wont—the gentle Spring,
And the delicious Summer, and the cool,
Rich Autumn, with the nodding of the grain,
And Winter, like an old and hoary man,
Frosty and stiff—and so were chronicled.”

N. P. Willis.

In these pages

“thou shalt hear
Distant harvest carols clear;
Rustle of the reapéd corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment—hark!
’Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold:
White-plumed lilies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every flower
Pearled with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
Meagre from its celléd sleep;
And the snake, all winter-thin,
Cast on sunny bank its skin!
Freckled nest eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn tree.
When the hen-bird’s wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm:
Acorns ripe down-pattering
While the autumn breezes sing.”



These papers originally appeared in The Parents’ Review of 1916 as a series of monthly Walks. So many books have been consulted in their compilation that it is impossible to acknowledge each separately, but besides the usual authorities and those mentioned in the text I am indebted to Flower Favourites by L. Deas, to papers in The Monthly Packet, particularly for the weather proverbs, to The Teachers’ Times, and The Children’s Magazine. The four black and white illustrations are inserted by the kind permission of Messrs. Holmes, Ulverston, and the frontispiece by permission of Messrs. Cassell and Co.

In writing the papers I have usually given the earliest date for the appearance of bird, flower, etc. In the North of England this date is about ten days later than in the Southern counties, and in Scotland later still. I have included, in this new edition, a short reference to the recent discovery of the habits of the cuckoo, and the increasing presence of the Little Owl in Britain.

F. M. Haines.

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