Friday, August 29, 2014

The Splendour of August in a Nutshell

August, from Les Très Riches Heures du
Duc de Berry (via Wikimedia Commons)

By the Limbourg brothers. 1412-6, painting on vellum, now displayed in Condé museum at Chantilly. (Falconry, gathering of harvest, and swimming, in front of the château d'Étampes.)


THERE is no month in the whole year in which nature wears a more beautiful appearance than in the month of August. Spring has many beauties, and May is a fresh and blooming month, but the charms of this time of year are enhanced by their contrast with the winter season. August has no such advantage. It comes when we remember nothing but clear skies, green fields, and sweet-smelling flowers—when the recollection of snow, and ice, and bleak winds, has faded from our minds as completely as they have disappeared from the earth—and yet what a pleasant time it is! Orchards and cornfields ring with the hum of labour; trees bend beneath the thick clusters of rich fruit which bow their branches to the ground; and the corn, piled in graceful sheaves, or waving in every light breath that sweeps above it, as if it wooed the sickle, tinges the landscape with a golden hue. A mellow softness appears to hang over the whole earth; the influence of the season seems to extend itself to the very wagon [. . .] 

Written during one of the travels of the Pickwick Club, in its literary depiction (Pickwick Papers, 1836-7) by Charles Dickens. It engraved itself on my mind during the course of reading his novel for the first time, more or less, since it appears to me to display a rare scenery-painting moment, not typical of Dickens's type of social novel.


The Pickwick Papers [Project Gutenberg]

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