Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ally seen in March. It is found in the neighbourhood of woods, on fine and warm days, enjoying the beams of the noonday sun. Some of our most beautiful butterflies belonging to the genus Vanessa, as V. Atalanta, Io, Polychloros, and Urticæ, are seen in this month; and the Antiopa, or Camberwell beauty, has once been captured at this season.

State of the Season in 1828.-The equinoctial gales set in on the 18th of March, and continued moderately till the 25th, when the weather became more settled. The dust flew in London streets on the 4th of the same month, when the water-carts were in requisition. A blue mist on the 15th of March, and several misty mornings about the same time. In the gardens, early flowers soon showed themselves; viz., hellebore, aconite, groundsel, showdrops, &c. &c. The almond came in flower on the 3d of March, and gooseberries on the 18th. The first summer birds were the chiff.chaff and black-cap, which arrived about the 8th; the nightingale, willow-wren, redstart, and lesser field-lark, about the 14th. The lowest temperature, by Fahrenheit, was on the morning of the 26th of March, when the mercury indicated 25° at 7 A.M.; the highest point was 52° on the morning of the 12th instant, at the same hour.-Magazine of Natural History.

The Blue Bird of North America.

[From Wilson's American Ornithology.! The pleasing manners and sociable disposition of this little bird entitle him to particular notice. As one of the first messenger's of spring, bringing the charming tidings to our very doors, he bears his own recommendation always along with him, and meets with a hearty welcome from every body. Though generally accounted a bird of passage, yet so early as the middle of February, if the weather be open, he usually makes his appearance about his old

haunts, the barn, orchard, and fence-posts. Storms and deep snows sometimes succeeding, he disappears for a time; but about the middle of March is again seen, accompanied by his mate, visiting the box in the garden, or the hole in the old apple-tree, the cradle of some generations of his ancestors. It is highly pleasing to behold his courtship, his solicitude to please and to secure the favour of his beloved female. He uses the tenderest expressions, sits close by her, caresses and sings to her his most endearing warblings. When seated together, if he espies an insect delicious to her taste, he takes it up, flies with it to her, spreads his wing over her, and puts it in her mouth. If a rival makes his appearance, he quits her in a moment, attacks and pursues the intruder as be shifts from place to place, and, in tones that bespeak the jealousy of his affection, conducts him with many reproofs beyond the extremities of his territory, and returns to warble out his transports of triumph beside his beloved mate. The preliminaries being thus settled, and the spot fixed on, they begin to clean out the old nest, and rubbish of the former year, and to prepare for the reception of their future offspring. Soon after this, another sociable little pilgrim, the house-wren, also arrives from the south, and, finding such a snug birth pre-occupied, shows his spite, by watching a convenient opportunity, and, in the absence of the owner, popping in and pulling out sticks; but takes especial care to make off as fast as possible.

When winter's cold tempests and snows are no more,
Green meadows and brown-furrowed fields re-appearing,

The fishermen hauling their shad to the shore,
And cloud-cleaving geese to the lakes are a-steering;

When first the lone butterfly flits on the wing ;
When red glow the maples, so fresh and so pleasing,

O then comes the Blue-bird, the HeraLD OF SPRING! And hails with bis warblings the charms of the season.

Then loud piping frogs make the marshes to ring; 'Then warm glows the sunshine, and fine is the weather;

The blue woodland flowers just beginning to spring, And spice-wood and sassafras budding together;

O then to your gardens, ye housewives, repair ! Your walks border up, sow and plant at your leisure;

The Blue-bird will chant from his box such an air,
That all your hard toils will seem truly a pleasure.

He flits through the orchard, he visits each tree,
The red-flowering peach, and the le's sweet blossoms;

He snaps up destroyers wherever they be,
And seizes the caitiffs that lurk in their bosoms;

He drags the vile grub from the corn it devours;
The worms from their webs, where they riot and welter;

His song and bis services freely are ours, And all that he asks is, in summer a shelter.

The ploughman is pleased when he gleans in his train, Now searching the furrows, now mounting to cheer bim;

The gard'ner delights in his sweet simple strain, And leans on his spade to survey and to bear him ;

The slow lingering school-boys forget they'll be chid, While gazing intent as he warbles before 'em,

In mantle of sky-blue and bosom so red, That each little loiterer seems to adore bim.

When all the gay scenes of the summer are o'er, And autumn slow enters, so silent and sallow,

And millions of warblers that cbarmed us before Have fled in the train of the sun-seeking swallow;

The Blue-bird, forsaken, yet true to his home, Still lingers and looks for a milder to-morrow,

Till, forced by the horrors of winter to roam, He sings his adieu in a lone note of sorrow.

Wbile spring, lovely season, serene, dewy, warm, The green face of earth, and the pure blue of heaven,

Or love's native music, have influence to charm, Or sympathy's glow to our feelings is giv'n

Still dear to each bosom the Blue-bird shall be; His voice, like the thrillings of hope, is a treasure;

For, through bleakest storms, if a calm he but see, He comes to remind us of sunshine and pleasure.

[graphic][ocr errors]

APRJL. APRIL derives its name from aperire, to open, because the earth then appears to open to new productions. Taurus is the sign of this month.

Remarkable Days

In APRIL 1829.

1.-ALL OF AULD FOOLS' DAY. For an account of customs on this day, poetical jeux d'esprit, &c. see our former volumes.

The author of Indian Field Sports' records the following observance of the 1st of April in the East:'I was at Belleah during the vernal festival of the Huli, and was much gratified to see several old men dancing on the green, and throwing habbear (pink powder] over one another, with as much cheerfulness and glee as if they had been children. It is a strange coincidence that at this festival, which generally finishes about the end of March or beginning of April, that they should have the custom of making Huli fool, as we have of making April fools on the 1st of that month, by sending letters and making appointments in the names of persons who are absent from their homes, and the laugh against the fool is proportionable to the goodness of the plot.'

3.-RICHARD, Bishop. He was consecrated Bishop of Chichester in the year 1245, and died on this day in 1253. See our former volumes, and particularly T.T. for 1824, p.91.

4.-SAINT AMBROSE, Bishop of Milan, died on this day in the year 397. For an account of his writings the reader may consult Cave and Dupin.

5.-FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT. This was called Passion Sunday, as the church now began to advert to the sufferings of Christ. *5. 1815.— ERUPTION OF THE TOMBORO

MOUNTAIN IN JAVA. The most extraordinary convulsions of Vesuvius and Ætna, as they appear in the descriptions of the poet, or the more authentic accounts of the naturalist, bear no comparison in point of duration or force with this eruption in the Indian Archipelago. It extended perceptible evidences of its existence over the whole of the Molucca islands, over Java, a considerable portion of Celebes, Sumatra, and Borneo, to a distance of 1,000 statute miles from its centre, by tremulous motions and reports of explosions; while within the range of its more immediate activity, embracing a space of more than 300 miles around it, it produced the most astonishing effects, and excited the most alarming apprehensions. On Java, at the distance of more than 300 miles, it seemed to be awfully present. The sky was overcast at noonday with clouds of asbes; the sun was enveloped in an atmosphere, whose “palpable' density he was unable to penetrate: showers of ashes covered the houses, the streets, and the fields, to the depth of several inches; and, amid the darkness, explosions were heard at intervals like the report of artillery, or the peals of distant thunder. So fully did the resemblance of the noises to the reports of cannon impress the minds of some officers, that, from an apprehension of pirates on the coast, vessels were despatched to afford relief. Superstition, on the other hand, was busily at work on the minds of the natives, and they attributed the reports to an artillery of a different description from that of pirates. The first explosions were heard on the 5th of April; a fall of ashes took place on the 6th; from that day the sun became obscured, and apparently enveloped in fog till the 12th. On the 11th the explosions were tremendous, and shook the houses on the eastern part of Java. Candles were obliged to be lighted at four in the afternoon. The ground in some places was covered with ashes to the depth of eight inches. The darkness of the atmosphere, and occasional falls of volcanic ashes, continued till the 17th of April. From Sambawa, where the eruption took place, to the part of Sumatra where the sound was noticed, is a distance of 970 geographical miles, and clouds of ashes, so dense as to create utter darkness at noonday, were experienced more than 300 geographical miles from the centre of its operations. The explosions did not cease entirely on the island of Sambawa till the 15th of July. Of the whole villages of Tomboro, one only remained, containing about forty inbabitants. In Pekate, no vestige of a house was left; and twenty-six of the inbabitants,

« ZurückWeiter »