Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/177

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avenues. This is the time of year, when the great trees stand girt to the feet with bluebells or rise from feathery undulations of fern, to visit those vestiges of our English forests which are scattered over the country, chiefly from the Midlands to the Channel. The majority of them are now enclosed within park wall or fence, but are none the less survivals of the old England of the smokeless skies and the merry greenwood, when

In the boyhood of the year,
Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
Rode through the coverts of the deer,

or when again, in Sherwood's glades,

The wood-wele sange and wode not cease,
Sittynge upon a spraye,
So loude he wakened Robin Hood,
On the greenswarde where he laye.

The " woodwele" is of course the Green Woodpecker. A forester born, he wears the lincoln-green, and his jocund shout rings full and mellow on the ear in every well-timbered district, whether it be amongst the great hedge-row elms of Warwickshire, the noble beeches of Buckinghamshire or the sturdy oaks which love so well the clay soil of the Weald. Such oaks, which may well have seen their prime in Shakespeare's day, still cast their shade upon the windings of the placid Avon.