Imagini ale paginilor

the whole feathered tribes had assembled together on a trial of skill, each striving to produce his utmost effect; so perfect are his imitations. He many times deceives the sportsman, and sends him in search of birds that perhaps are not within miles of him, but whose notes he exactly imitates. Even birds themselves are frequently imposed on by this admirable mimic, and are decoyed by the fancied calls of their mates, or dive, with precipitation, into the depths of thickets, at the scream of what they suppose to be the sparrow-hawk.

The mocking-bird loses little of the power and energy of his song by confinement. In his domesticated state, when he commences his career of song, it is impossible to stand by uninterested. He whistles for the dog; Cæsar starts up, wags his tail, and runs to meet his master. He squeaks out like a hurt chicken; and the hen hurries about, with hanging wings and bristled feathers, clucking to protect her injured brood. The barking of the dog, the mewing of the cat, the creaking of a passing wheelbarrow, follow with great truth and rapidity. He repeats the tune taught him by his master, though of considerable length, fully and faithfully. He runs over the quiverings of the canary, and the clear whistlings of the Virginia nightingale or red-bird, with such superior execution and effect, that the mortified songsters feel their own inferiority and become altogether silent, while he seems to triumph in their defeat, by redoubling his exertions.

This excessive fondness for variety, however, in the opinion of some, injures his song. His elevated imitations of the brown thrush are frequently interrupted by the crowing of cocks: and the warblings of the blue-bird, which he exquisitely manages, are mingled with the screaming of swallows, or the cackling of hens; amid the simple melody of the robin, we are suddenly surprised by the shrill reiterations of the whip-poor-will; while the notes of the killdeer, blue jay, martin, baltimore, and twenty others, succeed, with such imposing reality, that we look round for the originals, and discover, with astonishment, that the sole performer in this singular concert, is the admirable bird now before us.

During this exhibition of his powers, he spreads his wings, expands his tail, and throws himself around the cage in all the ecstasy of enthusiasm, seeming not only to sing, but to dance,

keeping time to the measure of his own music. Both in his native and domesticated state, during the solemn stillness of the night, as soon as the moon rises in silent majesty, he begins his delightful solo, and serenades us, the livelong night, with a full display of his vocal powers, making the whole neighborhood ring with his inimitable melody.




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 does n't trouble me. Pee, 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, for thy bosom no rest?
"Because the same hand is a shelter for me,
That took off the summer leaves. Pee, dee, dee."

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. Pee, 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. Pee, dee, dee."

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. Pee, dee, dee."




VIOLET, violet, sparkling with dew,
Down in the meadow-land wild, where you grew,
How did you come by the beautiful blue

With which your soft petals unfold?

And how do you hold up your tender, young head,
When rude, sweeping winds rush along o'er your bed,
And dark, gloomy clouds ranging over you, shed
Their waters so heavy and cold?

No one has nursed you, or watched you an hour,
Or found you a place in the garden or bower;
And they cannot yield me so lovely a flower,
As here I have found at my feet!
Speak, my sweet violet, answer, and tell,
How you have grown up, and flourished so well,
And look so contented where lonely you dwell,
And we thus by accident meet?

"The same careful hand," the violet said,
"That holds up the firmament, holds up my head;
And He, who with azure the skies overspread,
Has painted the violet blue.

He sprinkles the stars out above me by night,
And sends down the sunbeams, at morning, with light
To make my new coronet sparkling and bright,
When formed of a drop of his dew.

"I've naught to fear from the black, heavy cloud, Or the breath of the tempest that comes strong and loud,

When, born in the lowland, and far from the crowd,
I know, and I live but for One.
He soon forms a mantle, about me to cast,
Of long, silken grass, till the rain and the blast,
And all that seemed threatening, have harmlessly passed,
As the clouds scud before the warm sun!"

Miss H. F. GOULD.




I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude, with which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of forThose disasters, which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character, that, at times, it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching, than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding, with unshrinking firmness, the bitterest blast of adversity.

As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs; so is it beautifully ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the mere dependent and ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the drooping head, and binding up the broken heart.

I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him a blooming family, knit together in the strongest affection. "I can wish you no better lot," said he, with enthusiasm, "than to have a wife and children. If you are prosperous, there they are to share your prosperity; if otherwise, there they are to comfort you." And, indeed, I have observed that a married man, falling into misfortune, is more apt to retrieve his situation in the world than a single one; partly, because he is more

stimulated to exertion by the necessities of the helpless and beloved beings who depend upon him for subsistence; but chiefly, because his spirits are soothed and relieved by domestic endearments, and his self-respect is kept alive by finding, that though all abroad is darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little world of love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas a single man is apt to run to waste and self-neglect; to fancy himself lonely and abandoned; and his heart to fall to ruin, like some deserted mansion, for want of an inhabitant.

These observations call to mind a little domestic story, of which I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, had married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She had, it is true, no fortune; but that of my friend was ample, and he delighted in the anticipation of indulging her in every elegant pursuit, and administering to those delicate tastes and fancies, that spread a kind of witchery about the sex. "Her life," said he, "shall be like a fairy tale."

The very difference in their characters produced a harmonious combination: he was of a romantic, and somewhat serious cast; she was all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute rapture, with which he would gaze upon her in company, of which her sprightly powers made her the delight; and how, in the midst of applause, her eye would still turn to him, as if there alone she sought favor and acceptance. When leaning on his arm, her slender form contrasted finely with his tall, manly person. The fond, confiding air, with which she looked up to him, seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant pride and cherishing tenderness, as if he doted on his lovely burden for its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward, on the flowery path of early and well suited marriage, with a fairer prospect of felicity.

It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have embarked his property in large speculations; and he had not been married many months, when, by a succession of sudden disasters, it was swept from him, and he found himself reduced almost to penury. For a time, he kept his situation to himself, and went about with a haggard countenance, and a breaking heart. His life was but a protracted agony; and what rendered it more insupportable was, the necessity of keeping up a smile

« ÎnapoiContinuă »