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“ The ears are filled the fields are white;
The constant harvest-moon is bright.
change of seasons, the month of harvest. The crops usually begin with rye and oats, proceed with wheat, and finish with
peas and beans.
“Harvest Home" is still the greatest rural holiday in England ; and if you will refer to my "Intellectual Reading Book” you will find the subject well illustrated. Our ancestors were more enthusiastic about it than we are, although they had corn a great deal lower than fifty shillings a quarter. They were more grateful than are to the “Giver of the harvests.” They made merry
their hearts unto the Lord. They crowned the wheat-sheaves with flowers; they sung, they shouted, they danced; they invited each other, or met at feasts, as at Christmas, in the halls of rich houses; and what was a very amiable custom, and wise beyond the commoner wisdom that may seem to be on the top of it, every one that had been concerned (man, woman, and child,) received a little present-ribbons, laces, or sweetmeats.
If we now look abroad on nature, we shall find that the whole face of nature has undergone a considerable change since last month. The rich green of the corn-fields has turned to a pale yellow, or a rich gold colour, more conspicuously on account of the contrast it now offers to the lines, patches, and masses of green with which it every where lies in contact, in form of intersecting hedge-rows, intervening meadows, and bounding masses of forest.
There are some singular phenomena connected with this month, among which is the “mirage,” of which it will be not out of place to say a few words to my young friends. As the heat of the day increases, during the hot days of this month the land-wind, which, during the night, is steady near the shore when the weather is serene and settled, subsides to a calm; the surface of the water in the offing becomes as smooth as glass, and the vessels “loom out” as if they were lifted into the air ; masts and sails that were not before visible come into sight without approaching any nearer in distance; and some of the air-suspended vessels, throw their whole inverted reflections upon the water as if two ships (the counterpart of each other) were suspended keel by keel, or supported on the top of the masts. Sometimes also a ship, which, in reality, is wholly hidden by the convexity of the sea, will appear in the air in an inverted position; sometimes a second ship will be formed immediately over the first, but always reversed with respect to it; and these will sometimes be in contact, sometimes at some distance from each other, and sometimes the lower ship that has the keel uppermost will seem as if only a part of her masts and sails were above the horizon. In particular states of the atmosphere, coasts and cast?es, and even considerable portions of scenery, which are without the range of the sea's margin, will appear inverted in the air.
All these appearances, though to the unreflecting they appear prodigies, are modifications of that very simple cause by which the moon shines, or one sees one's face in a mirror, and they are indications that the air where they take place is very much loaded by vapour, so much so, that though not so collected into masses as to be in a state of haze or fog, it is probably as abundant in quantity within an equal space, and thus forms an invisible mirror, from which the images are reflected. The same thing, in principle, happens every morning and evening. The refraction of the atmosphere (that is, its power of bending the rays of light), brings the sun into sight before it actually comes to the horizon, retains it: after it is aetually below, and occasions the twilight which both precedes and follows the actual presence of the sun.
These refractive powers are always the greater the more completely that the atmosphere is loaded with moisture, and the more free that it is from agitation by the winds, the action of which prevents the formation of the image, in the same manner that a lake does not reflect the scenery on its banks when the breeze ruffles its surface, or that one cannot see the reflection of one's face in a piece of black broad cloth, or velvet, in the same way as in a smoothly-varnished panel.
The formation of these curious images does not take place when the process
of evaporation is the most rapid, because the ascent of the particles of water in a state of vapour at such times prevents the formation of the image, by producing a certain tremulous motion in the air, which has much the same effect as wind. Evaporation always occasions an indistinctness even in direct vision, and in those fine summer days when there is a flickering play along the tops of the different elevations, as if there was a spirit walking the earth, of which the motion could be seen but not the form, the outlines of