Richard Jefferies After some sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature, and the few survivors to a quasi-medieval way of life. The first part of the book, The Relapse into Barbarism, is the account by some later historian of the fall of civilization and its consequences, with a loving description of nature reclaiming England. The second part, Wild England, is an adventure set many years later in the wild landscape and society.
Richard Jefferies The Story of My Heart is an autobiography, first published in 1883, by English nature writer, essayist and journalist Richard Jefferies. It is no true autobiography, but the story of a soul's awakening. Richard Jefferies describes how, leaving aside all the preconceptions of past and future, he placed himself in the eternal Now, and allowed the Now to become his soul's only guide and source of nourishment. Thus freed from the usual blocks to awareness, Jefferies' senses became windows for his soul, through which the natural world could be seen in its true, dazzling brilliance. Jefferies describes how this vision reflected back into his consciousness an awareness of his soul's eternity, and its immense, unquenchable longing and love for what he called 'soul-life'.
Richard Jefferies Various side stories resemble fables, but the overall plot is surprisingly political: the overbearing king of the forest, a jay named Kapchack, must find some way to keep a sweltering hoard of barbarian pigeons from overrunning his kingdom.
Meanwhile, almost every animal of note beneath his command creates plans to betray him for their own personal gain.
Richard Jefferies Amaryllis at the Fair "a complete failure as a novel", yet still liked the book for its rustic characters and descriptions, which are based on Jefferies' own memories of boyhood and family life in rural Wiltshire.
Richard Jefferies The most commanding down is crowned with the grassy mound and trenches of an ancient earthwork, from whence there is a noble view of hill and plain. The inner slope of the green fosse is inclined at an angle pleasant to recline on, with the head just below the edge, in the summer sunshine. A faint sound as of a sea heard in a dream—a sibilant ‘sish, sish, ’—passes along outside, dying away and coming again as a fresh wave of the wind rushes through the bennets and the dry grass. There is the happy hum of bees—who love the hills—as they speed by laden with their golden harvest, a drowsy warmth, and the delicious odour of wild thyme. Behind the fosse sinks, and the rampart rises high and steep—two butterflies are wheeling in uncertain flight over the summit. It is only necessary to raise the head a little way, and the cool breeze refreshes the cheek—cool at this height while the plains beneath glow under the heat.
Richard Jefferies This is a novel book. Green rushes, long and thick, standing up above the edge of the ditch, told the hour of the year as distinctly as the shadow on the dial the hour of the day. Green and thick and sappy to the touch, they felt like summer, soft and elastic, as if full of life, mere rushes though they were. On the fingers they left a green scent; rushes have a separate scent of green, so, too, have ferns, very different from that of grass or leaves. Rising from brown sheaths, the tall stems enlarged a little in the middle, like classical columns, and heavy with their sap and freshness, leaned against the hawthorn sprays. From the earth they had drawn its moisture, and made the ditch dry; some of the sweetness of the air had entered into their fibres, and the rushes—the common rushes—were full of beautiful summer. The white pollen of early grasses growing on the edge was dusted from them each time the hawthorn boughs were shaken by a thrush. These lower sprays came down in among the grass, and leaves and grass-blades touched. Smooth round stems of angelica, big as a gun-barrel, hollow and strong, stood on the slope of the mound, their tiers of well-balanced branches rising like those of a tree. Such a sturdy growth pushed back the ranks of hedge parsley in full white flower, which blocked every avenue and winding bird’s-path of the bank.
Richard Jefferies It is sweet on awaking in the early morn to listen to the small bird singing on the tree. No sound of voice or flute is like to the bird's song; there is something in it distinct and separate from all other notes. The throat of woman gives forth a more perfect music, and the organ is the glory of man's soul. The bird upon the tree utters the meaning of the wind—a voice of the grass and wild flower, words of the green leaf; they speak through that slender tone. Sweetness of dew and rifts of sunshine, the dark hawthorn touched with breadths of open bud, the odour of the air, the colour of the daffodil—all that is delicious and beloved of spring-time are expressed in his song. Genius is nature, and his lay, like the sap in the bough from which he sings, rises without thought.
Richard Jefferies St. Guido ran out at the garden gate into a sandy lane, and down the lane till he came to a grassy bank. He caught hold of the bunches of grass and so pulled himself up. There was a footpath on the top which went straight in between fir-trees, and as he ran along they stood on each side of him like green walls. They were very near together, and even at the top the space between them was so narrow that the sky seemed to come down, and the clouds to be sailing but just over them, as if they would catch and tear in the fir-trees. The path was so little used that it had grown green, and as he ran he knocked dead branches out of his way. Just as he was getting tired of running he reached the end of the path, and came out into a wheat-field. The wheat did not grow very closely, and the spaces were filled with azure corn-flowers. St. Guido thought he was safe away now, so he stopped to look.
Richard Jefferies This is a adventure book. There is an old story which in respect of a modern application may bear re-telling. Once upon a time in a lonely 'coombe-botto' of the Downs, where there was neither church, chapel, nor public building of any kind, there lived a cottage-girl who had never seen anything of civilisation. A friend, however, having gone out to service in a market-town some few miles distant, she one day walked in to see her, and was shown the wonders of the place, the railway, the post-office, the hotels, and so forth. In the evening the friend accompanied her a short way on the return journey, and as they went out of the town, they passed the church.
Richard Jefferies The answer is simple enough. It is because the earth is idle one-third of the year'. He looks round a January field and sees 'not an animal in sight, not a single machine for making money, not a penny being turned'. He wishes to know, 'What would a manufacturer think of a business in which he was compelled to let his engines rest for a third of the year?' Then he falls upon the miserable Down-land because that is still more idle and still less productive. 'With all its progress', he cries, 'how little real advance has agriculture made! All because of the stubborn, idle earth'. It is a genuine cry, to be paralleled by 'Life is short, art long', and by his own wonder that 'in twelve thousand written years the world has not yet built itself a House, unfilled a Granary, nor organized itself for its own comfort', by his contempt for 'this little petty life of seventy years', and for the short sleep permitted to men.
Richard Jefferies Green rushes, long and thick, standing up above the edge of the ditch, told the hour of the year as distinctly as the shadow on the dial the hour of the day. Green and thick and sappy to the touch, they felt like summer, soft and elastic, as if full of life, mere rushes though they were. On the fingers they left a green scent; rushes have a separate scent of green, so, too, have ferns, very different to that of grass or leaves. Rising from brown sheaths, the tall stems enlarged a little in the middle, like classical columns, and heavy with their sap and freshness, leaned against the hawthorn sprays. From the earth they had drawn its moisture, and made the ditch dry; some of the sweetness of the air had entered into their fibres, and the rushes—the common rushes—were full of beautiful summer. The white pollen of early grasses growing on the edge was dusted from them each time the hawthorn boughs were shaken by a thrush. These lower sprays came down in among the grass, and leaves and grass-blades touched.
Richard Jefferies The doorway of the Jason Inn at Woolbury had nothing particular to distinguish it from the other doorways of the same extremely narrow street. There was no porch, nor could there possibly be one, for an ordinary porch would reach half across the roadway. There were no steps to go up, there was no entrance hall, no space specially provided for crowds of visitors; simply nothing but an ordinary street-door opening directly on the street, and very little, if any, broader or higher than those of the private houses adjacent.