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As January is the coldest, so July is the hottest month of the year. For though the direct influence of the sun is continually diminishing after the summer solstice, yet the earth and air have been so thoroughly heated, that the warmth which they retain more than compensates for a time the diminution of the solar rays. The effects of this increased temperature soon become very striking. The flowers of the former month quickly mature their seeds, shrivel, and fall; at the same time their leaves and stalks lose their verdure, and the whole plant hastens to decay. A new generation advances to supply their place, of plants which require the full influence of our summer suns to bring them to perfection, and which flourish most luxuriantly in situations and seasons when the warmth is most abundant: these are, particularly, many of the umbelliferous, as wild carrot and hemlock; the aromatic, as wild thyme; the succulent, or thick-leaved, as the whole race of sedums and cotyledons; the aquatic and marsh

plants, as bulrush, waterlily, marsh St. John's wort, sun-dew, and Lancashire asphodel; and the compound flowered, as thistle, sow-thistle, hawkweed, bluebottle (Centaurea cyanus), marygold, goldenrod, camomile, and sunflower.

The animal creation seem oppressed with languor during this hot season, and either seek the recesses of woods, or resort to pools and streams to cool their bodies and quench their thirst.

On the grassy bank
Some ruminating lie; while others stand
Half in the flood, and often bending sip
The circling surface. In the middle droops
The strong laborious ox, of honest front,
Which incomposed he shakes; and from his sides
The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
Returning still.


The insect tribe, however, are peculiarly active and vigorous in the hottest weather. These minute creatures are for the most part annual, being hatched in the spring, and dying at the approach of winter. They have, therefore, no time to lose in indolence, but must make the most of their short existence; especially as their most perfect state bears only a small proportion to the rest of their lives. All insects that live upon, or in the ground, undergo three changes, in each of which they are transformed to a totally different appearance. From the egg they first turn into caterpillars or maggots, when they crawl upon many feet, and are extremely voracious, several kinds of them doing much mischief in gardens, stripping the trees of their leaves, and sometimes devouring the herbage on the ground. This is their state in their spring. They next become aurelias or chrysalises, resembling an infant closely wrapped in swaddling clothes, being motionless, requiring no nourishment, and indeed having scarcely any appearance of life. From this state they burst forth into the perfect insect, shining in all its colours, furnished with wings, endowed with surprising activity, capable of propagating its species, and feeding for the most part on thin animal juices, or the honey of flowers. In this state they continue but a short time. The male impregnates the female, she lays her eggs,


and they both die. Those insects that have passed all their former life in water, as gnats, ephemeras, &c., no sooner undergo the last transformation than they become incapable of continuing in the water even for a few seconds.


Waked by his wariner ray, the reptile young
Come winged abroad; by the light air upborne,
Lighter, and full of soul. From every chink,
And secret corner, where they slept away
The wintry storms; or rising from their tombs,
To higher life; by myriads, forth at once,
Swarming they pour; of all the varied hues,
Their beauty-beaming parent can disclose.
Ten thousand forms! ten thousand different tribes!
People the blaze. To sunny waters some
By fatal instinct fly! where on the pool

They, sportive, wheel; or, sailing down the stream,
Are snatched immediate by the quick-eyed trout,
Or darting salmon. Thro' the greenwood glade
Some love to stray; there lodged, amused, and fed,
In the fresh leaf. Luxurious, others make
The meads their choice, and visit ev'ry flow'r,
And ev'ry latent herb: for the sweet task,
To propagate their kinds, and where to wrap,
In what soft beds, their young yet undisclos'd,
Employs their tender care. Some to the house,
The fold, and dairy, hungry, bend their flight;
Sip round the pail, or taste the curdling cheese.


The luxury of cooling shades is now peculiarly grateful; and indeed, is scarcely required in this climate longer than a few weeks at the height of summer.

Welcome, ye shades! ye bow'ry thickets, hail!
Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks!

Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!
Delicious in your shelter to the soul,
As to the hunted hart the sallying spring.


Bathing too, is a delightful amusement at this season; and happy is the swimmer, who alone is able to enjoy the full pleasure of this healthful exercise. The power of habit to improve the natural faculties is in nothing more apparent than in the art of swimming. Man, without practice, is utterly unable to support himself in the water.

In these northern countries, the season for pleasant bathing being short, few in proportion can swim at all; and to those who have acquired the art, it is a laborious and fatiguing exercise. Whereas, in the tropical countries, where from their very infancy both sexes are continually plunging into the water, they become a sort of amphibious creatures, swimming and diving with the utmost ease, and for hours together, without intermission.

The excessive heats of this period of the year cause such an evaporation from the surface of the earth and waters, that after some continuance of dry weather, large heavy clouds are formed, which at length let fall their collected liquor in extremely copious showers, which frequently beat down the full-grown corn, and sometimes deluge the country with sudden floods. Thunder and lightning generally accompany these summer storms. Lightning is a collection of electric fire drawn from the heated air and earth, and accumulated in the clouds, which at length overcharged, suddenly let go their contents in the form of broad flashes or fiery darts. These are attracted again by the earth, and often intercepted by buildings, trees, and other elevated objects, which are shattered by the shock. Thunder is the noise occasioned by the explosion, and therefore always follows the lightning; the sound travelling slower to our ears, than the light to our eyes. Just the same thing happens when a gun is fired at a distance. When we hear the thunder, therefore, all danger from that flash of lightning is over; and thunder, though so awful and tremendous to the ear, is of itself entirely harmless.

The plants which flower this month, beside those already mentioned, are the potato and hop; the meadow-sweet and graspoly (Lythrum salicaria) by the side of streams and ponds; the pimpernel, cockle, and fumitory in corn-fields; the delicate blue campanula in wastes or by road sides; and the nasturtium, jasmine, and white lily in gardens. The pure white flowers of the latter, elevated upon their tall stalk, give an agreeable sensation of coolness to the eye.

The effects of the great heat on the human body are allayed by the various wholesome fruits which this season offers. Those which are now ripe are of all others the most cooling and refreshing; as currants, gooseberries

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