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gree of accuracy, that would certainly deceive us in the dark; or if, by any other means, the performer was concealed from us. While the only point necessary to give the voice the semblance of issuing from a distant or unusual object, is to take a nice measure of the distance itself, and of the nature of the object from which it is to be presumed to issue, and so to modulate, or inflect it as to produce the natural tone it may be supposed to possess, if thrown from such a distance or from such a form. It must be obvious, however, that the surprise resulting from the mystery of thus imitating voices and distances, must be powerfully aided in ventriloquism by the additional mystery of the artist's motionless mouth; in consequence of which we are totally incapable of referring it to himself. In hearing, as in seeing, habit is our only guide :-in both we only judge by accustomed comparisons; and we are exactly in the same manner deceived by the painter, and even allow ourselves to be deceived, in regard to objects of vision, as we are by the ventriloquist, and without such allowance, in regard to objects of sound. In respect to both senses, indeed, we often deceive ourselves in judging of the most common phænomena: and hence it is not at all to be wondered at that we should be completely imposed upon by the nice delusions of art. Thus the evening sky, begirt with goldgreen clouds at the extremity of the horizon, is often mistaken for the ocean, studded with islands; and the rumbling of a cart over pavement, or hard ground, is not unfrequently believed to be a thunder-clap in the heavens; and, under the influence of this last deception, we immediately transfer all the awfulness and magnificence of the celestial meteor to this clumsy piece of machinery, and are as alarmed as if the fiery bolt were about to descend upon us.



HAVING, in our last lecture, examined into the seat and properties of the natural voice, let us now proceed to notice the mode in which it is applied to the formation, first, of natural language, and, next, of speech or artificial language.

Natural language is the instinctive appropriation of certain tones of the natural voice, to indicate certain feelings of the sensory and with the few exceptions pointed out in our preceding lecture, every animal belonging to the three classes of mammals, birds, and amphibials, every animal possessed of lungs, is in some degree or other possessed of this kind of language. Its scope is, indeed, often very limited; but always sufficient to answer the purposes of nature. The female of every species understands the call of the male, and replies to it as intelligibly the young understands the mandates of the mother, and the mother, the petitions of the young. This amusing department of natural history was well known to the philosophers of Greece and Rome, and attentively cultivated by them: and Lucretius, in his Nature of Things, has pursued the subject not only so correctly but so copiously, that it is almost impossible, even in the pre

sent day, to add any thing of real importance to what he has already observed.

I have termed this language of nature instinctive; and that it is entitled to this character is clear; because, even among birds which possess the widest and most complicated range of natural language of all animals whatever, where two individuals of different species are bred up in the same bush, or in the same cage, or hatched and fostered by a female of a third species, each evinces and retains the note that specifically distinguishes the species to which it belongs. In the case of a goldfinch and a chaffinch this has been put directly to the proof. And it is by this native tongue, as Mr. Montague has justly observed, and not by the form or colour, that the process of pairing is achieved, and the female induced to select her paramour.*

Almost every animal of the three classes just adverted to, exhibits a different tone of voice according to the governing passion of the moment; but more especially when under the influence of grief, fear, or joy; to which, in some instances, we may add anger; but a distinct tone for anger is not so generally traced among animals as it is for the three preeeding passions.

Among quadrupeds, the elephant, horse, and dog appear to possess the greatest portion of a natural tongue. They are all gregarious, particularly the two former. In Asia, the wild elephant, and in the Ukraine, between the Don and the Nieper, the wild horse, pursue one common plan of political society, in numerous and collected troops; and are regulated by the elders of the tribe among the elephants, and by leaders chosen for this purpose among the horses and it is by a difference of voice, combined with a difference of gesture, that these superiors give orders, in the course of their travels from place to place, in pursuit of pasture, for the necessary dispositions and arrangements. Both kinds are extremely vigilant and active, and maintain their ranks and brigades with as much regularity and precision as if they were conducted by a human leader. Among the wild horses of the Ukraine, the captain-geneFal seems to be commonly appointed to his station for about four or five years; at the expiration of which time, a kind of new election takes place: every one appears to have a right to propose himself for the office, the ex-magistrate not excepted: if no new candidate offer, the latter is re-elected for the same term of time, and if he be opposed a combat succeeds, and the victor is appointed commander-in-chief.

The conduct pursued by the peaceful and amiable elephant varies in some degree from this of the wild horse; for in the travels of these animals from place to place, the troops are led on by the eldest of the tribe, thus evincing a kind of patriarchal government: the young and feeble marching in the middle, and the rear being composed of the vigorous and adult.†

The natural language of the monkey kind, notwithstanding the general resemblance of their structure to that of the human race, appears to be more confined than that of most quadrupeds; and it is well known, that they never attempt to articulate sounds. Linnéus, indeed, seems to have entertained a contrary opinion with respect to the orang-otang, and asserts that he speaks with a kind of hissing noise. Buffon, however, and

*Ornithological Dict. Introd. p. xxix.

See note to the Author's Translation of Lucretius, vol. ii. p. 376.

Daubenton, and almost every other naturalist who has attentively watched his habits, deny that he ever employs even a hissing speech. And every comparative anatomist, who has accurately examined his vocal organs, has declared him to be physically incapable of articulation, from the peculiarity of a sac or bag, in some species of the animal single, in others double, immediately connected with the upper part of the larynx, and into which the air is driven as it ascends from the lungs through the trachea, instead of being driven into the glottis, where alone it could acquire modulation and articulate sounds. From this sac or bag it afterwards passes into the mouth by a variety of small apertures or fissures, by which almost the whole of its force, and consequently of its vocal effect is lost. This peculiar conformation appears first to have been noticed by Galen, who traced it through several varieties both of the ape and monkey families; but for the most correct account of it we are indebted to professor Camper, who, in a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1779, minutely describes it as it exists in the sylvanus or pigmy, in which Tyson had overlooked it; in various other species of the ape; in the cynosurus or dog-tailed monkey; and in many others of the monkey tribe. At all adventures, the monkey has a peculiar deficiency of natural tongue; and we hence obtain an insuperable objection, had we no others, but which I have already shown, are sufficiently abundant,* to the declaration of Lord Monboddo and Linnéus that this tribe are all of the same original stock as man; and their absurd story that man himself is not unfrequently to be met with in some of the Asiatic islands, with a monkey-tail, varying in length from three or four inches to a foot, possessing as great a fluency of speech as in any part of Europe.

Marcgrave, in his history of Brazil, has amused us, with an account of a very extraordinary species of American sapajou, which Linnéus has called Beelzebub, Buffon, Ouarine, and our own countryman, Mr. Pennant, Preacher-monkey, that assemble in large groups every morning and evening, and attentively listen to a loud and long-continued harangue of one of the tribe, whom he seems to suppose a public officer or popular demagogue. Upon the authority of Marcgrave, this species has been admitted into all our books of Natural History; but there are some doubts concerning it, and the description is at least without the support of concurrent testimony.

The different accents of the dog and the horse, when under the influence of rage, desire, or exultation, are too powerful and too common not to have been noticed by almost every one. It is impossible to describe the different tones of the mastiff more precisely than in the words of the truly philosophical poet I have so lately referred to; but as it would be improper to quote him in the original before a popular audience, I must request of you to receive a feeble translation of him in its stead ;

When half enraged,
The rude Molossian mastiff, her keen teeth
Baring tremendous, with far different tone
Threats, than when roused to madness more extreme,
Or when she barks, and fills the world with roar.
Thus, when her fearless whelps, too, she with tongue
Lambent, caresses, and, with antic paw,
And tooth restrain'd, pretending still to bite,
Gambols, soft yelping tones of tender love-
Far different, then, those accents from the din
Urg'd clamorous through the mansion when alone,

*Ser. II. Lect. III. On the Varieties of the Human Race,

Or the shrill howl her trembling bosom heaves,
When, with slunk form, she waits the impending blow.*

The language of the tiger, leopard, and cat, is not so rich or diversified as that of the dog: but they have still a considerable variation in the scale of their mewings, according to the predominant passion of fear or grief: while these again differ from the accent of simple pleasure, which consists in purring, and very considerably indeed from the loud and dissonant voice of love.

The language of birds is, in almost every instance, strikingly musical, though not equally eloquent, whatever be the passion it describes. To its variety in the different tribes of the osprey, hawk, sea-gull, rook, and raven, and especially as auguring, wet or dry, stormy or serene weather, almost every naturalist has borne testimony: for each can say that

Cawing rooks and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and e'en the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charins for me.
Sounds inharmonious in themselves, and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,
And only there, please highly for their sake.

Upon the exquisitely varied tones and modulations of the singing-birds we descanted at some length in a former lecture. But the subject is as interesting as it is inexhaustible; and in the summer season of praise, when the heart of man overflows, or should overflow, with gratitude to his beneficent Creator for the return of plenteousness that meets his eye in every direction, with what animation do they join in the general carol; awakening us at the dawn, accompanying us through the day, and softening and harmonizing, and I fear not to add, spiritualizing our feelings at night-fall.

The robin, and not the lark, as commonly supposed, takes the lead,§ and seems longing for the day to unclose. His gentle voice is in sweet accordance with the feeble beams of the early twilight; and as soon as the glorious sun makes his appearance, then up mounts the lark, and pours forth his more vigorous song; a thousand warblers hear the call, and the chorus is full and complete. The leaders vary, but the carol continues. The nightingale yet protracts his nocturnal tones; and the thrush, the blackbird, and the goldfinch, from the lofty grove, the close thicket, or the blossomed orchard, intermingle their rival pretensions: while the transient but mellow burst of the cuckoo, adds a richness to the general harmony; and even the croak of the raven, and the chattering of the daw, only break into the symphony, with an occasional discord that heightens the impres

* Inritata canum quom primum magna Molossum
Mollia ricta fremunt, duros nudantia denteis,
Longe alio sonitu rabies districta minatur,
Et quom jam latrant, et vocibus omnia conplent.
At catulos blande quom lingua lambere tentant,
Aut ubi eos lactant pedibus, morsuque potentes,
Subspensis teneros imitantur dentibus haustus,
Longe alio pacto gannitu vocis adulant,

Et quom desertei baubantur in ædibus, aut quom
Plorantes fugiunt, submisso corpore, plagas.

De Rer. Nat. v. 1063.

Task, book i.

Ser. II. Lect. I. On Zoological Systems; and the distinctive characters of Animals.
See Jenner, Phil. Trans. 1824, p. 37.

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sive effect. At length the sun is no more: the unbounded concert dies away; and the season of rest returns. It returns, but not with mute silence; for the night is soothed rather than disturbed by the solitary song of the robin, now resuming his modest strain, and yielding in succession to the peeress pipe of the nightingale, and the deep-toned but expressive hoot of the owl.

The note of the wren (motacilla Troglodytes) is as slender as its form, but it is well worth noticing as being the only note of the feathered creation that is continued throughout the winter. During the season of frost and snow it is, indeed, heard to most advantage; for the fearless little songster then enters the court-yard, the stable, or the dairy, and seeks, in confidence, his food of insects or their larves. It is this that constitutes the little beggar's petition; and where is the heart so hardened as to refuse the request he then offers?

With respect to singing-birds, indeed, of all kinds, we may make this pleasing observation, that, as though chiefly intended, in the general munificence of the great Parent of the human race, to captivate mankind, they almost always reside in their vicinity, and are rarely to be found in the uninhabited parts of the earth.*

But the vocabulary of the common cock and hen, is, perhaps, the most extensive of any tribe of birds with which we are acquainted; or rather, perhaps, we are better acquainted with the extent of its range than with that of any others. The cock has its watch-word for announcing the morning, his love-speech, and his terms of defiance. The voice of the hen, when she informs her paramour that she is disburdened of an egg, and which he instantly communicates from homestead to homestead, till

*The following passage from Dr. Jenner's very admirable paper “On the Migration of Birds," has a passage so directly in accordance with these remarks, that I cannot avoid copying it from the Phil. Trans. for 1824.

"We must observe, that nature never gives one property only, to the same individual substance. Through every gradation, from the clod we tread upon to the glorious sun which animates the whole terrestrial system, we may find a vast variety of purposes for which the same body was created. If we look on the simplest vegetable, or the reptile it supports, how various, yet how important in the economy of nature, are the offices they are intended to perform! The migrating bird, I have said, is directed to this island at a certain season of the year to produce and rear its young. This appears to be the grand intention which nature has in view; but in consequence of the observation just made, its presence here may answer many secondary purposes; among these I shall notice the following. The beneficent Author of nature seems to spare no pains in cheering the heart of man with every thing that is delightful in the summer season. We may be indulged with the company of these visiters, perhaps, to heighten, by the novelty of their appearance, and pleasing variety of their notes, the native scenes. How sweetly, at the return of spring, do the notes of the cuckoo first burst upon the ear; and what apathy must that soul possess, that does not feel a soft emotion at the song of the nightingale, (srrely it must be "fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils") and how wisely is it contrived that a general stillness should prevail while this heavenly bird is pouring forth its plaintive and melodious strains,--strains that so sweetly accord with the evening hour!-Some of our foreign visiters, it may be said, are inharmonious minstrels, and rather disturb than aid the general concert. In the midst of a soft warm summer's day, when the martin is gently floating on the air, not only pleasing us with the peculiar delicacy of its note, but with the elegance of its meandering; when the blackcap is vying with the goldfinch, and the linnet with the woodlark, a dozen swifts rush from some neighbouring battlement, and set up a most discordant screaming. Yet all is perfect. The interruption is of short duration, and without it, the long continued warbling of the softer singing birds would pall and tire the listening ear with excess of melody, as the exhilarating beams of the sun, were they not at intervals intercepted by clouds, would rob the heart of the gayety they for a while inspire, and sink it into languor. There is a perfect consistency in the order in which nature seems to have directed the singing birds to fill up the day with their pleasing harmony. To an observer of those divine laws which harmonize the general order of things, there appears a design in the arrangement of this sylvan minstrelsy. It is not in the haunted meadow, nor frequented field, we are to expect the gratification of indulging ourselves in this pleasing speculation to its full extent; we must seek for it in the park, the forest, or some sequestered dell, half enclosed by the coppice or the wood."

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