29 MARCH 1940, Page 21


Spring Then and Now How very little the form of the welcome to spring has changed in the last two thousand years or so! The fact occurred to me a week or more ago as I watched the crocuses in the grass come out serenely from the vanishing carpet

of snow. Tennyson's much-quoted lines from " In Memoriam "

"Now fades the last long streak 01 snow

Now burgeons every maze of quick "

were doubtless written without any conscious thought of Horace ; and England has a climate extremely unlike Italy's ; but the lines are as nearly as may be a translation of Difjugere nives redeunt jam gramina campis arboribusque comae. A preface of snow is almost necesziary for bringing out the full flavour of spring. Cold and deciduous trees and migrant birds (which usually nest at the northernmost point of their passage) give our welcome to spring its final flourish.