The Naturalist's Summer-Evening Walk

Original Text: 
Gilbert White, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, in the County of Southampton. To Which are Added, The Naturalist's Calendar; Observations on Various Parts of Nature; and Poems, New Edn. (London: White, Cochrane, and others, 1813): 69-71. Facsimile edn., intro. P. G. M. Foster, The Ray Society, no. 160 (London: The Ray Society, 1993). QH 138 S4W5 1993b Gerstein Library
3Wavers no more, long-settling to a point.
4All nature nodding seems compos'd: thick steams
5From land, from flood up-drawn, dimming the day,
7Gossamer floats, or stretch'd from blade to blade
8The wavy net-work whitens all the field.
9Push'd by the weightier atmosphere, up springs
10The ponderous Mercury, from scale to scale
12While high in air, and pois'd upon his wings
13Unseen, the soft, enamour'd wood-lark runs
14Thro' all his maze of melody; -- the brake
15Loud with the black-bird's bolder note resounds.
17Anticipates the spring, selects her mate,
18Haunts her tall nest-trees, and with sedulous care
20The plough-man inly smiles to see upturn
22With glee the gardener eyes his smoking beds:
23E'en pining sickness feels a short relief.
24The happy school-boy brings transported forth
26O'er the white paths he whirls the rolling hoop,
28Not so the museful sage: -- abroad he walks
29Contemplative, if haply he may find
30What cause controuls the tempest's rage, or whence
31Amidst the savage season winter smiles.
32For days, for weeks, prevails the placid calm.
33At length some drops prelude a change: the sun
35When all the chequer'd sky is one bright glare.
36Mutters the wind at eve: th' horizon round
37With angry aspect scowls: down rush the showers,
38And float the delug'd paths, and miry fields.


1] imprison'd winds: Aeolus, keeper of the winds in classical mythology, would imprison them at the gods' bequest. Back to Line
2] vane: weather vane. Back to Line
6] "Like a dark ceiling stand": source unidentified. Back to Line
11] the Torricellian tube: "The Barometer" (note in 1813 edn.). Back to Line
16] rook: crow. Back to Line
19] eyrie: bird of prey's nest. Back to Line
21] glebe: cultivated land. Back to Line
25] gig: whipping top. Back to Line
27] taw: small plant fibres and roots (OED sb. 3). Back to Line
34] ray refracted: light beam that is bent or deflected. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Gilbert White, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, 1789, facsimile edn. (Menston: Scolar Press, 1970); QH 138 .S4W5 1789A Gerstein Library. See original edn. (London: T. Bensley for B. White, 1789); D-10/2651 RBSC Fisher Rare Book Library. Between nos. XXIV and XXV of White's letters to Thomas Pennant.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: