Puslapio vaizdai


The broad, extended boughs still please him best;
Beneath their bending skirts he hangs his nest;
There his sweet mate, secure from every harm,
Broods o'er her spotted store, and wraps them warm;
Lists to the noontide hum of busy bees,

Her partner's mellow song, the brook, the brecze;
These day by day the lonely hours deceive,
From dewy morn to slow descending eve.

Two weeks elapsed, behold! a helpless crew
Claim all her care, and her affection too;
On wings of love the assiduous nurses fly;
Flowers, leaves, and boughs abundant food supply.
Glad chants her guardian as abroad he goes,
And waving breezes rock them to repose."


11. The finches, which are the smallest of the perchers, are, for the most part, excellent songsters. In this numerous family are found the weaver birds, celebrated for their curious hive-shaped nests, the buntings, and snowbirds, the latter visiting us in winter only from the frozen regions of the north, the indigo-bird, the hawfinch, groundfinch, our common Canary bird, and the American yellow-bird, known also as the thistle-finch or goldfinch.

"I love to see the little goldfinch pluck

The seed from thistle's tuft, and twit, and twit;
And then, in some gay bower of blossoms perched,
Trim his gay suit, and pay us with a song:

I would not hold him prisoner for the world."

12. In the same group is found the English chaffinch, which has been described

"As brisk, as merry, and as loved a bird

As any in the fields and woodlands heard."

Here are also found the cross-bills, the linnets, and many others that are often called sparrows, among which are the song. sparrow and the well-known chipping-bird. In this goodly company we also place the English skylark:

"Shrill-voiced and lond, the messenger of morn,
Ere yet the shadows fly, he, mounted, sings
Amid the dawning clouds."

"Type of the wise, who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of heaven and home."

13. The horn-bills and plantain-eaters are mostly birds of


large size, confined to Africa, India, and the adjacent islands. Among the plantain-eaters are several species of the touracos, which have great brilliancy of plumage, elegance of form, and grace of motion. It has been said of the violet plantaineater, that "while other birds are pretty, handsome, splendid, gorgeous, beautiful, the coloring of the plantain-eater is truly regal." The engraved picture of this bird, without its color ing, conveys a very inadequate' idea of its beauty.

1 TEN-ANTS, inhabitants.

2 Cox'-00MB, a fop; a vain, showy fellow. 3 LO-QUÃO'-I-TY, talkativeness.

4 VO-RA'-CIOUS, greedy for eating; hungry.

15 E-LAPS'ED, passed by. ..

6 AS-SID'-U-OUS, attentive; careful.
7 IN-AD'-E-QUATE, insufficient; imperfect.


THE SNOWBIRD (Fringilla Hyemalis).

1. THE well-known snowbird is one of our visitants from the frozen regions of the north, coming even from beyond the arctic circle, and spreading over the United States in small flocks at the beginning of winter. At first they hover around the borders of woods; but as the weather sets in colder, they approach the farm-houses and villages in diligent search of food.

2. Their increased activity on such occasions is generally a sure prognostic1 of a storm. On the first indications of spring many of them set out on their return to the north, while others first visit high ranges of mountains, where they build their nests and rear their young previous to their departure. The plumage of the snowbird undergoes2 considerable changes. The snow-bunting is a bird somewhat similar to this, but has more pointed wings. The following lines to the snowbird contain both poetic and moral beauty:


3. "Oh! what will become of thee, poor little bird?

The muttering storm in the distance is heard;

The rough winds are waking, the clouds growing black,
They'll soon scatter snow-flakes all over thy back!


From what sunny clime hast thou wandered away?
And what art thou doing this cold winter day?


"I'm picking the gum from the old peach-tree;
The storm doesn't trouble me. Chee, dee, dee.'

"But what makes thee seem so unconscious of care?
The brown earth is frozen, the branches are bare:
And how canst thou be so light-hearted and free,
As if danger and suffering thou never should'st see,
When no place is near for thy evening nest,
No leaf for thy screen,3 for thy bosom no rest?
"Because the same hand is a shelter to me,

That took off the summer leaves. Chee, dee, dee.'

5. "But man feels a burden of care and of grief,

While plucking the cluster and binding the sheaf.
In the summer we faint, in the winter we're chilled,
With ever a void that is yet to be filled.
We take from the ocean, the earth, and the air,
Yet all their rich gifts do not silence our care.

"A very small portion sufficient will be,
If sweetened with gratitude. Chee, dee, dee.'

"I thank thee, bright monitor; what thou hast taught
Will oft be the theme of the happiest thought;
We look at the clouds; while the birds have an eye
To Him who reigns over them, changeless and high.
And now,
little hero, just tell me thy name,
That I may be sure whence my oracle came.
"Because, in all weather, I'm merry and free,
They call me the Winter King. Chee, dee, dee.'

7. "But soon there'll be ice weighing down the light bough, On which thou art flitting so playfully now;

And though there's a vesture' well fitted and warm,
Protecting the rest of thy delicate form,
What, then, wilt thou do with thy little bare feet,
To save them from pain, 'mid the frost and the sleet?

"I can draw them right up in my feathers, you see,
To warm them, and fly away.
Chee, dee, dee.""


1 PROG-NOS'-TIC, a sign by which a future 6 MON'-I-TOR, one who warns of faults or inevent may be known. forms of duties.

2 UN-DER-GOES', passes through.

7 THEME, subject.

3 SCREEN, that which shelters from danger. 8 ŎR'-A-CLE, a wise saying of great author.


9 VEST'-URE, garment.

4 BUR'-DEN, load; weight.

5 Voin, want; longing.



1. "OF all our sparrows, the song-sparrow, or melodious finch, is the most numerous, the most generally diffused over the United States, and by far the earliest, sweetest, and most lasting songster. It is the first singing bird of spring, taking pre

cedence1 even of the bluebird, and it often remains until the depth of winter. The notes or chant of its song are short, but very sweet, resembling the beginning of the canary's song. It usually builds its nest on the ground, under a tuft of grass. As far south as Louisiana it rears three broods in one season; and, unlike most other birds, it builds a new nest for each."-WILSON. It is usually found in company with the chipping-bird, and birds of that class. It seems to represent, in America, the house-sparrow of Europe, but is less bold and crafty than the latter bird. The following tribute to the song-sparrow is full of sentiment and beauty:




THE SONG-SPARROW (Fringilla Melodia).


"Joy fills the vale;

With joy ecstatic2 quivers every wing,
As floats thy note upon the genial' gale,
Sweet bird of spring!

"The violet

Awakens at thy song, and peers from out
Its fragrant nook, as if the season yet
Remained in doubt;

"While from the rock

The columbine its crimson bell suspends,
That careless vibrates, as its slender stalk
The zephyr bends.


"Say! when the blast

Of winter swept our whitened plains-what clime,

What sunnier realms thou charmedst, and how was past
The joyous time?










"Did the green isles

Detain thee long? or, 'mid the palmy groves
Of the bright south, where nature ever smiles,
Didst sing thy loves?

"Oh, well I know

Why thou art here thus soon, and why the bowers
So near the sun have lesser charms than now
Our land of flowers:

"Thou art returned

On a glad errand-to rebuild thy nest,
And fan anew the gentle fire that burned
Within thy breast!

"And thy wild strain,

Poured on the gale, is love's transporting voice-
That, calling on the plumy' choirs again,
Bids them rejoice.

"Nor calls alone

To enjoy, but bids improve the fleeting hour-
Bids all that ever heard love's witching tone,
Or felt his power.

"The poet, too,

It soft invokes to touch the trembling wire ;10
Yet ah! how few its sounds shall list, how few
His song admire!

"But thy sweet lay,

Thou darling of the spring! no ear disdains;
Thy sage instructress, Nature, says, 'Be gay!'
And prompts thy strains.11

"Oh, if I knew

Like thee to sing-like thee the heart to fire--
Youth should enchanted throng, and beauty sue
To hear my lyre. 12

"Oft as the year

In gloom is wrapped, thy exile I shall mourn-
Oft as the spring returns, shall hail sincere
Thy glad return."

1 PRE-CED'-ENCE, the act or state of being| first.

2 EC-STAT'-1¤, delightful beyond measure.

3 GE-NI-AL, enlivening; cheerful.

4 PEERS, peeps forth.

5 VI'-BRATES, moves to and fro.

6 ZEPH'-YR, a soft mild breeze.


PLUM'-Y, feathered.

8 CHOIR (kwire), singers.

9 IN-VOKE', call upon.

10 WIRE, here used for stringed instrument of music.

11 STRAINS, Songs.

12 LYRE, a kind of harp.

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