Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school,
To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe,
Arch mocker, and mad Abbot of Mis-Rule!

For such thou art by day-but all night long
Thou pour'st a soft, sweet, pensive, solemn strain,
As if thou didst in this thy moonlight song
Like to the melancholy Jacques complain-
Musing on falsehood, folly, vice, and wrong,
And sighing for thy motley coat again.

RICHARD HENRY WILDE.

THE BOB-O-LINKUM.

Thou vocal sprite-thou feathered troubadour!
In pilgrim weeds through many a clime a ranger,
Com'st thou to doff thy russet suit once more,

And play in foppish trim the masking stranger? Philosophers may teach thy whereabout and nature, But, wise as all of us, perforce, must think 'em. The school-boy best hath fix'd thy nomenclature, And poets, too, must call thee “ Bob-o-linkum !"

Say, art thou long 'mid forest glooms benighted,

So glad to skim our laughing meadows over-With our gay orchards here so much delighted, It makes thee musical, thou airy rover?

Or are those buoyant notes the pilfer'd treasure

Of fairy isles, which thou hast learn'd to ravish Of all their sweetest minstrelsy at pleasure,

And, Ariel-like, again on men to lavish?

They tell sad stories of thy mad-cap freaks,

Wherever o'er the land thy pathway ranges; And even in a brace of wandering weeks,

They say alike thy song and plumage changes; These both are gay; and when the buds put forth,

And leafy June is shading rock and river,

Thou art unmatch'd, blithe warbler of the North,

While through the balmy air thy clear notes quiver.

Joyous, yet tender, was that gush of song,

Caught from the brooks, where 'mid its wild flowers smiling,

The silent prairie listens all day long,

The only captive to such sweet beguiling;

Or didst thou, flitting through the verdurous halls,

And column'd isles of western groves symphonious, Learn from the tuneful woods rare madrigals,

To make our flowering pastures here harmonious ?

Caught'st thou thy carol from Ottawa maid,

Where through the liquid fields of wild rice plashingBrushing the ears from off the burden'd blade,

Her birch canoe o'er some lone lake is flashing ? Or did the reeds of some savanna South,

Detain thee while thy northern flight pursuing, To place those melodies in thy sweet mouth,

The spice-fed winds had taught them in their wooing?

Unthrifty prodigal ! is no thought of ill

Thy ceaseless roundelay disturbing ever?
Or doth each pulse in choiring cadence still

Throb on in music till at rest forever ?
Yet now in 'wilder'd maze of concord floating,

'Twould seem that glorious hymning to prolong, Old Time, in hearing thee, might fall a-doating, And pause to listen to thy rapturous song!

CHARLES FENNO HOFFMAN.

THE OWL

High rides the moon amid the fleecy clouds,
That glisten as they float athwart her disk ;
Sweet is the glimpse that for a moment plays
Among these mouldering pinnacles; but hark
That dismal cry! it is the wailing owl,
Night long she mourns, perched in some vacant niche,
Or time-rent crevice; sometimes to the woods
She bends her silent, slowly-moving wing,
And on some leafless tree, dead of old age,
Sits watching for her prey; but should the foot
Of man intrude into her solemn shades,
Startled, he hears the fragile, breaking branch
Crash as she rises; farther in the gloom
To deeper solitude she wings her way.

Rxv. James GrAHAME. 10

EXTRACT.

FROM " JOURNAL OF A NATURALIST."

Rural sounds, the voices, the language of the wild creatures, as heard by the naturalist, belong to, and are in concord with, the country only. Our sight, our smell may perhaps be deceived for an interval by conservatories, horticultural arts, and bowers of sweets; but our hearing can in no way be beguiled by any semblance of what is heard in the grove or the field, The hum, the murmur, the medley of the mead, is peculiarly its own, admits of no imitation, and the voices of our birds convey particular intimation, and distinctly notify the various periods of the year with an accuracy as certain as they are detailed in our calendars. The season of spring is always announced as approaching by the notes of the rookery, by the jingle or wooing accents of the dark frequenters of the trees; and that time having passed away, these contentions and cadences are no longer heard. The cuckoo then comes and informs us that spring has arrived ; that he has journeyed to see us, borne by gentle gales in sunny days; that fragrant flowers are in the copse and the mead, and all things telling of gratulation and of joy ; the children mark this well-known sound, spring out, and cuckon! cuckoo ! as they gambol down the lane; the very plow-boy bids him welcome in early morn. It is hardly spring without the cuckoo's song: and, having told his tale, he has voice for no more-is silent or away. Then comes the dark, swift-winged marten, glancing through the air, that seems afraid to visit our uncertain clime; he comes, though late, and hurries through his business here eager again to depart, all day long in agitation and precipitate flight. The bland zephyrs of the spring have no charms for them ; but basking and careering in the sultry gleams of June and July, they associate in throngs, and, screaming, dash round the steeple or the ruined tower, to serenade their nesting mates; and glare and heat are in their train. When the fervor of summer ceases, this bird of the sun will depart. The evening robin, from the summit of some leafless bough or projecting point, tells us that autumn is come, and brings matured fruits, chilly airs, and sober hours; and he, the lonely minstrel that now sings, is understood by all. These four birds thus indicate a separate season, have no interference with the intelligence of the other, nor could they be transposed without the loss of all the meaning they convey, which no contrivance of art could supply; and, by long association, they have become identified with the period, and in peculiar accordance with the time.

J. L. Kxapr.

THE PATTICHAP'S NEST.

Well! in my many walks I've rarely found
A place less likely for a bird to form

Its nest; close by the rut-gulled wagon-road,
And on the almost bare foot-trodden ground,
With scarce a clump of grass to keep it warm,
Where not a thistle spreads its spears abroad,
Or prickly bush to shield it from harm's way;
And yet so snugly made, that none may spy
It out, save peradventure. You and I
Had surely passed it in our walk to-day,
Had chance not led us by it! Nay, e'en now,
Had not the old bird heard us trampling by,
And fluttered out, we had not seen it lie
Brown as the roadway side. Small bits of hay
Pluck'd from the old prop'd haystack's pleachy brow,
And withered leaves, make up its outward wall,
Which from the gnarled oak-dotterel yearly fall,
And in the old hedge-bottom rot away.

Built like an oven, through a little hole,
Scarcely admitting e'en two figures in,
Hard to discern, the bird's snug entrance win.
"Tis lined with feathers, warm as silken stole,
Softer than seats of down for painless ease,
And full of eggs scarce bigger ev'n than pease.
Here's one most delicate, with spots as small
As dust, and of a faint and pinky red.

A grasshopper's green jump might break the shells;
Yet lowing oxen pass them morn and night,
And restless sheep around them hourly stray.

A THOUGHT.

UPON OCCASION OF A RED-BREAST COMING INTO HIS CHAMBER.

JOHN CLARE

Pretty bird, how cheerfully dost thou sit and sing, and yet knowest not where thou art, nor where thou shalt make thy next meal; and at night must shroud thyself in a bush for lodging! What shame is it for me, that see before me so liberal provisions of my God, and find myself sit warm under my own roof, yet am ready to droop under a distrustful and unthankful dullness. Had I so little certainty of my harbor and

purveyance, how heartless should I be, how careful; how little list should I have to make music to thee or myself. Surely thou comest not hither without a Providence. God sent thee not so much to delight, as to shame me, but all in a conviction of my sullen unbelief, who, under more apparent means, am less cheerful and confident; reason and faith have not done so much in me, as in thee mere instinct of nature; want of foresight makes thee more merry, if not more happy here, than the foresight of better things maketh me.

O God, thy providence is not impaired by those powers thou hast given me above these brute things; let not my greater helps hinder me from a holy security and comfortable reliance on thee!

Bishop Hall, 1574 1656.

THE BIRDS OF PASSAGE.

YROM THE SWEDISH.

Behold! the birds fly

From Gauthiod's strand,
And seek with a sigh

Some far foreign land.
The sounds of their woe

With hollow winds blend :
“ Where now must we go?

Our flight whither tend ?”
'Tis thus unto heaven that their wailings ascend.

“ The Scandian shore

We leave in despair,
Our days glided o'er

So blissfully there:
We there built our nest

Among bright blooming trees ;
There rock'd us to rest

The balm-bearing breeze;
But now to far lands we must traverse the sea.

“ With rose-crown all bright

On tresses of gold,
The midsummer night

It was sweet to behold :
The calm was so deep,

So lovely the ray,
We could not then sleep,

But were tranced by the spray,
Till wakened by beams from the bright car of day.

« ZurückWeiter »