Feb. 1. Dull day with slight drizzle of rain in the morning but bright and mild in the afternoon.
2. Candlemas day. Wil and stormy.
3. It says in today’s Chronicle that at Dover a Blackbird’s nest with two eggs has been found at Edenbridge a Hedge-sparrow with four eggs and at Elmstead, a robin’s with five eggs.
7. Picked some Dog’s Mercury in flowers, This is the first to blossom of all the wild herbaceous plants, Daisies and Groundsel excepted.
8, There was a thunder-storm today, with showers of rain, hail and sleet.
9, Snow-storm in the night, this morning we looked out on a white landscape, this is the first deep snow we have had this winter. i swept a space free on the lawn and strewed it with bread and rice: Crowds of birds came. I counted eight Tits at one time on the cocoa-nut and the tripod of sticks supporting it. There were some terrible battles among the Tits this morning. One tiny Blue-cap took possession of the cocoa-nut sitting down in the middle of it and bidding defiance to all the others. It was very funny to see him squatting in the shell, sparring and hissing at a Great Tit who came at him with open wings and beak. There was a partial eclipse of the moon visible this morning at 5:57 a.m. At 8 oclock in the evening there was a beautiful rainbow-coloured halo round the moon, unusually bright and distinct.
10. Rain and wind from the South-west; rapid thaw
12. I visited the violet wood again today, the Lords and Ladies are quite up above the ground now, and the Violet roots are sending up little green trumpets of new leaves. The ground in the wood is covered with tiny seedlings of the Moschatel. I gathered some Gorse blossom on my way home. The Elm trees are just breaking into blossom, and the Willows are showing their downy white catkins–very small as yet.
13. Snowing all day.
14. Saint Valentine’s Day. Sharp frost and bright sunshine.
To a Mouse
“Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle.
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An’ fellow mortal!
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t.
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s win’s ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.
That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld.
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear” – Robert Burns
“Now the North wind ceases; The warm South-west awakes,
The heavens are out in fleeces And earth’s green banner shakes.” – Geo. Meredith