Puslapio vaizdai
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You simply had to while away
The bloodless hours on foot or sleigh

Without a local Bruin.

Penguins you had, I hear, and seals;

Exhumed some interesting flora;
And startled in her stately reels

The aboriginal Aurora;
But never once there hove in sight

(His hairy shoulders with a bunch on)
The terror of the Arctic night,
Requesting you to stay and fight,

Or constitute his luncheon.

That is the true explorer's note,

The contest of the bo's'un versus
(He grips his monster by the throat)

A slightly pinked Polaris ursus;
Schooled in a host of such affairs,

Stamped deep by many a writer's penmark,
I tell you that a Pole sans bears
Is Hamlet played to listless chairs

Without the Prince of Denmark.

Punch.

THE SETTING DOWN OF BIRDS' SONGS. .

In the correspondence which has tling, the sounds which he hears. If lately appeared in the Spectator on he can carry the sounds in his head, he the subject of the call of the cuckoo, must either be a sufficiently skilled writer signing himself “L. E. C.," musician to know what the notes and makes a remark which is certainly intervals are which he has heard, or correct as regards most attempts to he must go to a piano or some other set down the notes of birds' songs on instrument to find out the notes and paper. He gives instances of three write them down. Then, as regards triple calls which he has noticed as dis- the piano, he will find not only that tinct from the cuckoo's ordinary double the tone and quality of the notes are call, but he adds that the intervals not the same as the bird's, which is which he describes are by no means in- natural enough seeing that the bird variably true. Every one will agree sings or pipes, and the piano's sound is who has tried to perform that very del- wire struck by a hammer; but also, the icate and difficult thing,-to write down uotes which he hears often do not cora bird's song as he hears it. It is respond with the notes of our scale; not one difficulty, but three or four. they are slightly flat or slightly sharp, There is the difficulty, to begin with, and the intervals are just as often dif. of hearing correctly; it is not every- ferent. Perhaps the nearest way, body who has the ear to carry in his though it is not easy, to come to the head, or even to reproduce by whis- actual notes as they are heard is the method which Mr. J. E. Harting de- Or take another sequence of notes; it scribes in his “Birds of Middlesex." is the sequence by which Mr. J. V. He used to have a short wooden pipe, Stewart in his “Birds of Donegal" demade with two or three stops, which scribes the delicate little cadences of could be shortened or lengthened at the willow-wren, that singing ripple will. By this means, he tells us, he down the scale which rings from the could imitate the call of many birds breaking buds of May. “Its song, if it on his one whistle, and he found it deserves that name, consists of ten very useful when he wished to decoy whistling notes; the latter are very soft birds near him. But there must be a and run into one another." He gives talent in finding such a pipe or get- the notes as descending from E ten ting it made; probably others have notes down to C, in the key of C; but tried pipes following Mr. Harting's how many who have heard the willowplan, and have succeeded only in ob- wren would describe the cadence as taining dismal squeaks unlike any being so regular as that? It is a pity sound made by any bird whatever. that so few attempts have been made

One of the easiest of bird-calls to to get a representative collection of imitate is the curlew's; perhaps, in- English birds' songs and phrases jotted deed, it is the easiest of all; almost down on paper. A comparison beany one with a little practice can get tween a dozen or so of such collections it fairly accurately, though it takes would be one of the most interesting more than a little practice to be able studies possible; and it would not only to whistle one of those wild birds be the comparison of the pitch and indown from his flight over moorland terval chosen by the different writers water to circle within a few yards of which would be interesting, but a comthe call. But how many people who parison of the phrasings which they can call a curlew could be certain, took down from the every-day song of when out of hearing of the bird, of such varying and individual singers as pitching on the right note to begin blackbirds. Blackbirds invent phrases with, or of whistling the right interval? for themselves. The writer six years Of course the curlew's note varies in ago, in a boat on a Sussex pond, heard pitch and in interval, but Mr. Hart- a blackbird morning after morning sing ing gives it as G sharp to C, and no the same sequence of notes, a most doubt that is right as the entral, usual original piece of music which he has pitch and interval. It sounds perfectly remembered ever since. He has never absurd on the piano; so does another heard any blackbird sing it elsewhere; cry, the green plover's, which Mr. but this year on a morning in June, on Harting makes out to be a minim on that same pond, from the same part of B sliding off to a quaver on B flat and the wood above it, he heard the same then a crotchet on the E above,-the sequence. It may have been the same third ledger line. But if you try to bird, for blackbirds are very local and whistle those notes, you begin to hear attached to the same spot, as you may the right call. Another queer sequence prove by watching a pied blackbird, or on the piano is the yellowhammer's one in any way easily distinguished, monotonous little run; it runs seven year after year. Or if it was not the quavers on D and then jumps to two same bird that sung the old sequence, crotchets, F, E. Would most people, it may have been a descendant. who know the sound of the yellow- Some of the birds' calls have been hammer's song very well indeed, pitch taken down in their names. Cuckoo is on D as the note on which he begins? one of the obvious call-names, though

most people pronounce the name differently from the call; they speak of "cook-oo," while the bird calls "cukk00." Peewit is another call-name, though it does not give the call with accuracy. Butterbump, or bootherboomp, is a name which used to belong to the bittern eighty or a hundred years ago, when bitterns used to boom in the Lincolnshire fens; of late years, when bitterns have visited the fen country, they have generally been shot. Chiff-chaff is as good an imitative name as any; the veriest Cockney would know and remember a chiffchaff's note if he heard it once tumbling among the twigs in the wind. 'Chiff-chaff is an indisputably right name, because the soft "ch" is one of the few consonant sounds which can be heard and reproduced with certainty from a bird's call or song; and the sound "aff," perhaps, is another which is nearly the same in the bird's note as in the human voice. You get it again in "yaffle," or "yaffingale," which is a country name imitated from the jubilant laugh of the green woodpecker. But it is easy to see how differently the consonants are heard when you find the chaffinch's sharp, single note bringing it two country names, twink and spink. Eve-churr, again, names the bird at once; more prettily perhaps than nightjar, though both are good; eve-jar is a variant. Curlew looks as if it ought to be a name imitated from the cry, but the French courlieu, like the old French corlieus, a courier, probably goes back to currere and levis, one who runs lightly. Other birdnames are not imitative, but descriptive, or occasionally a mixture, as haychat, stonechat, whinchat, corn-crake is an alternative for the landrail. But reel-bird, for the grasshopper warbler, is purely descriptive; though the whirring sound which the bird makes at dusk is very like the running of a fisherman's reel with a light check.

Phrases and sentences imitating characteristic birds' songs go back to the beginnings of the language. Thomas Nash has one of the earliest lines in the poetry of spring, of a garden village:

In every street these tunes our ears do greet,

Cuckoo, jugjug, pu-we, to-witta-woo.

The nightingale and the owl are plain enough; but is "pu-we" the peewit, or possibly the thrush? The thrush sings two or three phrases very clearly. "Chip Joey" is one; in Buckinghamshire the villagers used to say it meant rain coming. "Billee knew it; he knew it, he knew it," is another; Tennyson brought the note into "The Throstle." The yellowhammer has a very old country song, "A-little-bit-of-bread-andno-chee-eese," one of those monotones which carry the full meaning of afternoons of high summer. The wryneck's cry comes with the cuckoo's, a cry of May mornings; you cannot find the right consonant for it, but "Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear," is something near it. Perhaps the most elaborate imitation is French; Audubon heard it from a peasant of the nightingale, and it may not be too old to set down again:

Le bon Dieu m'a donné une femme

Que j'ai tant, tant, tant, tant battue Que s'il m'en donne une autre

Je ne la batterais plus, plus, plus,

plus,

Qu'un petit, qu'un petit, qu'un petit!

The oldest of all can only be guessed at. But possibly it belongs to the woodpigeon, and it has variants. One is "Take two sheep, David"; but that is clearly derived from the much older "Tak' two coos, tak' two." How did David get into the song? It used to be David among the children of a Hertfordshire village many years ago. But

"Tak' two coos,” which seems to be a phrase belonging to every part of England, comes down from the time very

The Spectator.

far off. Perhaps Walton's milk-maid knew it; perhaps Piers Plowman heard it “in a May morning on Malvern hills."

THE REFORMS. BY MR. S. H. SWINNY, M, A., Editor of the Positivist Review It is probable that the Reforms have men, he produces a scheme which, if both gained and lost by the consider- it does not go very far, at least goes able time which has elapsed since the entirely in the right direction. It is cerpresent Government came into office. tainly a case of “better late than After ten years of reaction, a Liberal pever." Government regained power. Every- By this delay, the reception of the where, among the workers-at home, in reforms in some quarters has been imSouth Africa, in Ireland—there were proved. Where men had ceased to hope hopes that a new era had dawned; and for any reform, even the smallest and not least in India, when it became most shadowy advance is welcomedknown that the destinies of that coun- how much more a substantial improvetry were to be entrusted to that great ment in the political position of the Inapostle of freedom, John Morley. The dians. But while some, sick with Liberal Ministry was formed, and the hope deferred, are full of gratitude, country in January, 1906, gave them others have passed the stage at which the greatest majority which any Eng- gratitude is possible. They have defilish Government had enjoyed for gen- nitely separated themselves from the erations. But in India year followed existing order, and are not to be recyear, and except for a change in the onciled. Thus the delay in the Rename of the Secretary of State, and form has greatly minimized its power the bitterness that follows disappoint- for good. Even much wider changes ment, there was nothing to tell the peo- would not restore the old era of good ple of India that a Liberal Government will, the old faith in peaceful and conwas in power. It seemed the triumph of stitutional progress. that specious pretence the removal of There is one great improvement in India from the sphere of party-which the actual Reform compared with the means that India is to be eternally original suggestions of the Indian Govgoverned by an autonomous bureau- ernment. The Advisory Council of cracy, the serene continuity of whose Notables has disappeared. As forerule shall never be disturbed by a shadowed, it would not have adebreath of popular sympathy. And quately represented the classes most while the people of India were grow. interested in politics, and it would aling sick with hope deferred, Lord Mor- most certainly have been reactionary. ley, so his apologists declared, was On the other hand, the popular represtudying the Indian question, and pain- sentation on Legislative and Executive fully realizing the greatness of his bur- Councils is increased. In the Provinden. And now at last when even his cial Legislative Councils, the official warmest friends had given up hope, majority is actually to disappear, the when those Indian leaders who had numbers to be increased, and the proexpressed their trust in him, had cedure amended. The Council of the thereby lost the confidence of great Lower Provinces, to take one instance, numbers among their fellow-country- will consist of forty-six members of whom twenty will be elected in place semblies will be less of Councils and of twenty of whom seven are elected. more of Parliaments; and in such bod. It will be seen, therefore, that the pro- ies there is a tendency to jealously portion of elected members is in- guard privileges already obtained and creased. So is the proportion of non- to desire to extend them, in which alofficial members sitting by nomination, most unconsciously all the non-official and some of these will represent inter- members of the new Councils will ests which will not necessarily support sooner or later share. Moreover, the the Government. But it is evident farcical procedure in the Viceroy's that this is a very different thing to Council by which most of the elected a popular majority. It will be a gain members spoke first and one after the that the official members will have to other, will now disappear. Amendconciliate non-official support, and re- ments may be moved to the Budget, frain from measures which rouse the and there is little doubt that whatever antagonism of all sections of the com- their numbers the wishes of the popumunity. But in ordinary times and lar leaders will receive more attention. with ordinary prudence, the Govern- But the late leader of the Liberal ment will be able to get suficient sup- party, Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, port from the non-official members to wisely said in speaking of Ireland:be secure of a majority. Much, in fact, will turn on the skill

If an instalment of representative

control were offered to Ireland, or any of the popular leaders, their power of

administrative improvement he would conciliating minorities and holding advise the Nationalists thankfully to their own followers together. There accept it, provided it was consistent will be much danger that the imme- and led up to their larger policy-but diate effect of the Reform will be to he repeated, it must be consistent and increase the differences between rival

lead up to the larger policy. To se

administration

cure good communities. The Government may

thing, but good government could yield to the temptation to tread in the

never be a substitute for government footsteps of Sir Bamfylde Fuller and

by the people themselves. openly bid for the support of the Mahomedans, by promising them pref- Judged by this test, the Reform ini. erential treatment. And the Mahome, tiated by Viscount Morley should be dans may yield to the temptation of accepted by the Indians-not of course separating themselves from the mass as a satisfaction of their demandsof their countrymen with whose inter- but as an instalment which in making ests their own are ultimately bound the Councils more representative of up. It is for the true leaders of the the Indian people, may well pave the people, whether Mahomedan or Hindu, way for making them truly representato show their patriotism by a policy of tive. conciliation which will put an end to But if the Indians accept this Rethese intestine feuds. Many, perhaps form with gratitude, they must not the majority, of Anglo-Indian adminis- let that gratitude blind them to legittrators have always been ashamed of imate causes of discontent. The Parsuch a policy; and recent events must tition of Bengal still remains; their have taught even the most reckless fellow-countrymen are still in prison how much easier it is to provoke such without trial or opportunity of deantagonisms than to allay them. fence; the drain of wealth still contin

Something will be gained by the ues. Assuredly, India has need of the mere increase in size. The new as- patriotism of every one of her sons.

The Hindustan Review.

was

one

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