Puslapio vaizdai

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 hunch 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.



In the correspondence which has lately appeared in the Spectator on the subject of the call of the cuckoo, a writer signing himself "L. E. C.," makes a remark which is certainly correct as regards most attempts to set down the notes of birds' songs on paper. He gives instances of three triple calls which he has noticed as distinct from the cuckoo's ordinary double call, but he adds that the intervals which he describes are by no means invariably true. Every one will agree who has tried to perform that very delicate and difficult thing,-to write down a bird's song as he hears it. It is not one difficulty, but three or four. There is the difficulty, to begin with, of hearing correctly; it is not everybody who has the ear to carry in his head, or even to reproduce by whis

tling, the sounds which he hears. If he can carry the sounds in his head, he must either be a sufficiently skilled musician to know what the notes and intervals are which he has heard, or he must go to a piano or some other instrument to find out the notes and write them down. Then, as regards the piano, he will find not only that the tone and quality of the notes are not the same as the bird's, which is natural enough seeing that the bird sings or pipes, and the piano's sound is wire struck by a hammer; but also, the notes which he hears often do not correspond with the notes of our scale; they are slightly flat or slightly sharp, and the intervals are just as often different. Perhaps the nearest way, though it is not easy, to come to the actual notes as they are heard is the

method which Mr. J. E. Harting describes in his "Birds of Middlesex." He used to have a short wooden pipe, made with two or three stops, which could be shortened or lengthened at will. By this means, he tells us, he could imitate the call of many birds on his one whistle, and he found it very useful when he wished to decoy birds near him. But there must be a talent in finding such a pipe or getting it made; probably others have tried pipes following Mr. Harting's plan, and have succeeded only in obtaining dismal squeaks unlike any sound made by any bird whatever.

One of the easiest of bird-calls to imitate is the curlew's; perhaps, indeed, it is the easiest of all; almost any one with a little practice can get it fairly accurately, though it takes more than a little practice to be able to whistle one of those wild birds down from his flight over moorland water to circle within a few yards of the call. But how many people who can call a curlew could be certain, when out of hearing of the bird, of pitching on the right note to begin with, or of whistling the right interval? Of course the curlew's note varies in pitch and in interval, but Mr. Harting gives it as G sharp to C, and no doubt that is right as the central, usual pitch and interval. It sounds perfectly absurd on the piano; so does another cry, the green plover's, which Mr. Harting makes out to be a minim on B sliding off to a quaver on B flat and then a crotchet on the E above, the third ledger line. But if you try to whistle those notes, you begin to hear the right call. Another queer sequence on the piano is the yellowhammer's monotonous little run; it runs seven quavers on D and then jumps to two crotchets, F, E. Would most people, who know the sound of the yellowhammer's song very well indeed, pitch on D as the note on which he begins?

Or take another sequence of notes; it is the sequence by which Mr. J. V. Stewart in his "Birds of Donegal" describes the delicate little cadences of the willow-wren, that singing ripple down the scale which rings from the breaking buds of May. "Its song, if it deserves that name, consists of ten whistling notes; the latter are very soft and run into one another." He gives the notes as descending from E ten notes down to C, in the key of C; but how many who have heard the willowwren would describe the cadence as being so regular as that? It is a pity that so few attempts have been made to get a representative collection of English birds' songs and phrases jotted down on paper. A comparison between a dozen or so of such collections would be one of the most interesting studies possible; and it would not only be the comparison of the pitch and interval chosen by the different writers which would be interesting, but a comparison of the phrasings which they took down from the every-day song of such varying and individual singers as blackbirds. Blackbirds invent phrases for themselves. The writer six years ago, in a boat on a Sussex pond, heard a blackbird morning after morning sing the same sequence of notes, a most original piece of music which he has remembered ever since. He has never heard any blackbird sing it elsewhere; but this year on a morning in June, on that same pond, from the same part of the wood above it, he heard the same sequence. It may have been the same bird, for blackbirds are very local and attached to the same spot, as you may prove by watching a pied blackbird, or one in any way easily distinguished, year after year. Or if it was not the same bird that sung the old sequence, it may have been a descendant.

Some of the birds' calls have been taken down in their names. Cuckoo is 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,


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.


BY MR. S. H. SWINNY, M. A., It is probable that the Reforms have both gained and lost by the considerable time which has elapsed since the present Government came into office. After ten years of reaction, a Liberal Government regained power. Everywhere, among the workers at home, in South Africa, in Ireland-there were hopes that a new era had dawned; and not least in India, when it became known that the destinies of that country were to be entrusted to that great apostle of freedom, John Morley. The Liberal Ministry was formed, and the country in January, 1906, gave them the greatest majority which any English Government had enjoyed for generations. But in India year followed year, and except for a change in the name of the Secretary of State, and the bitterness that follows disappointment, there was nothing to tell the people of India that a Liberal Government was in power. It seemed the triumph of that specious pretence the removal of India from the sphere of party-which means that India is to be eternally governed by an autonomous bureaucracy, the serene continuity of whose rule shall never be disturbed by a breath of popular sympathy. And while the people of India were growing sick with hope deferred, Lord Morley, so his apologists declared, was studying the Indian question, and painfully realizing the greatness of his burden. And now at last when even his warmest friends had given up hope, when those Indian leaders who had expressed their trust in him, had thereby lost the confidence of great numbers among their fellow-country

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

Editor of the Positivist Review

men, he produces a scheme which, if it does not go very far, at least goes entirely in the right direction. It is certainly a case of "better late than never."

By this delay, the reception of the reforms in some quarters has been improved. Where men had ceased to hope for any reform, even the smallest and most shadowy advance is welcomedhow much more a substantial improvement in the political position of the Indians. But while some, sick with hope deferred, are full of gratitude, others have passed the stage at which gratitude is possible. They have definitely separated themselves from the existing order, and are not to be reconciled. Thus the delay in the Reform has greatly minimized its power for good. Even much wider changes would not restore the old era of good will, the old faith in peaceful and constitutional progress.

There is one great improvement in the actual Reform compared with the original suggestions of the Indian Government. The Advisory Council of Notables has disappeared. As foreshadowed, it would not have adequately represented the classes most interested in politics, and it would almost certainly have been reactionary. On the other hand, the popular representation on Legislative and Executive Councils is increased. In the Provincial Legislative Councils, the official majority is actually to disappear, the numbers to be increased, and the procedure amended. The Council of the Lower Provinces, to take one instance, will consist of forty-six members of

whom twenty will be elected in place of twenty of whom seven are elected. It will be seen, therefore, that the proportion of elected members is increased. So is the proportion of nonofficial members sitting by nomination, and some of these will represent interests which will not necessarily support the Government. But it is evident that this is a very different thing to a popular majority. It will be a gain that the official members will have to conciliate non-official support, and refrain from measures which rouse the antagonism of all sections of the community. But in ordinary times and with ordinary prudence, the Government will be able to get sufficient support from the non-official members to be secure of a majority.

Much, in fact, will turn on the skill of the popular leaders, their power of conciliating minorities and holding their own followers together. There will be much danger that the immediate effect of the Reform will be to increase the differences between rival communities. The Government may yield to the temptation to tread in the footsteps of Sir Bamfylde Fuller and openly bid for the support of the Mahomedans, by promising them preferential treatment. And the Mahomedans may yield to the temptation of separating themselves from the mass of their countrymen with whose interests their own are ultimately bound up. It is for the true leaders of the people, whether Mahomedan or Hindu, to show their patriotism by a policy of conciliation which will put an end to these intestine feuds. Many, perhaps the majority, of Anglo-Indian administrators have always been ashamed of such a policy; and recent events must have taught even the most reckless how much easier it is to provoke such antagonisms than to allay them. Something will be gained by the mere increase in size. The new asThe Hindustan Review.

semblies will be less of Councils and more of Parliaments; and in such bodies there is a tendency to jealously guard privileges already obtained and to desire to extend them, in which almost unconsciously all the non-official members of the new Councils will sooner or later share. Moreover, the farcical procedure in the Viceroy's Council by which most of the elected members spoke first and one after the other, will now disappear. Amendments may be moved to the Budget, and there is little doubt that whatever their numbers the wishes of the popular leaders will receive more attention. But the late leader of the Liberal party, Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, wisely said in speaking of Ireland:

If an instalment of representative control were offered to Ireland, or any administrative improvement he would advise the Nationalists thankfully to accept it, provided it was consistent and led up to their larger policy-but he repeated, it must be consistent and lead up to the larger policy. To secure good administration was one thing, but good government could never be a substitute for government by the people themselves.

Judged by this test, the Reform initiated by Viscount Morley should be accepted by the Indians-not of course as a satisfaction of their demandsbut as an instalment which in making the Councils more representative of the Indian people, may well pave the way for making them truly representative.

But if the Indians accept this Reform with gratitude, they must not let that gratitude blind them to legitimate causes of discontent. The Partition of Bengal still remains; their fellow-countrymen are still in prison without trial or opportunity of defence; the drain of wealth still continues. Assuredly, India has need of the patriotism of every one of her sons.

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