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lage. They considered it as the presage of some sad event; and generally found, or made one to succeed it. I do not speak ludicrously; but if any person in the neighborhood died, they supposed it could not be otherwise, for the night-raven had foretold it; but if nobody happened to die, the death of a cow or a sheep gave completion to the prophecy."

It was once supposed that such sounds could not possibly be produced by so small a bird, and that it must have recourse to some external instruments or helps. The peasants believed formerly, and do still in some parts of the world, that it thrusts its bill into a reed, that serves as a pipe to swell the note beyond its natural and unaided capacity. It was also imagined by some that it produces these wonderful booming sounds by putting its head under water, and then violently blowing. Thomson the poet adopted this idea.

The quaint old poet Chaucer, in “The Wif of Bathe's Tale," showeth, not only that he believed in this respect as Thomson did after him, but also that he had firm faith in the old slander, that woman cannot keep secrets! The whole tale is so full of good old instructive sense, that we must give it entire, not so much for the sake of the bittern, as for the benefit of the reader—and among the readers, not so much for those who can keep secrets, as for those who find it difficult to restrain the impulses of that kind of communicative benevolence which is not always a blessing either to those who receive it or to those who give:

“Ovide, amonges other things smale,
Said, Mida had under his longe heres,
Growing upon his hed two asses' eres ;
The whiche vice he hid, as he beste might,
Ful subtilly from every manne's sight,
That save his wif, ther wist of it no mo;
He loved hire most, and trusted hire also ;
He praised hire, that no creature
She n'olde tellen of his disfigure.

She swore him, nay, for all the world to winne,
She n'olde do that villanie, ne sinne,
To make hire husbond han so foule a name;
She o’olde not tell it for hire owen shame.
But nathless hire thoughte that she dide,
That she so longe should a conseil hide ;
Hire thoughte it swal 80 sore about hire herte,
That nedely some word hire must asterte ;
And sith she dorst not telle it to no man,
Down to a mareis faste by she ran,
Till she came ther, bir herte was &- fire :
And as a bittore bumbleth in the mire,
She laid hire mouth unto the water doun.
Bewrey me not, thou water, with thy soun,
Quod she, to thee I tell it, and no mo,
Min husbond hath longe asses' eres two-
Now is min herte all hole," now is it out,

I might no longer kepe it out of dout.'
Now hear the poet's zealous moralizing application of the story,

which even uncourteously he maketh the woman's own mouth to speak!

“Here we may see, though we a time abide,
Yet out it moste, we can no conseil hide."

Although it requires us still further to extend this disgression, yet, in justice to the sex against whom this ungracious charge is brought, we must yet remark, that Chaucer belonged to the 14th century; and even though this weakness may have characterized the sex in that age, it does not necessarily follow that it may now still have the same application.

But to return to our bird. It is now, and has been, heretofore, well known that the bittern does not resort to any such helps as have been imagined, in order to make those astonishing sounds, but that it produces them in a perfectly natural way. In the language of an old writer: "That a bittor maketh that mugient noyse, or, as we term it, bumping, by putting its bill into a reed, as most believe, or as Bellonious and Aldrovandus conceive, by putting the same in water or mud, and after a while restraining the ayr by suddenly excluding it again, is not so easily made out." It makes the noise in the natural way.

In day-time the bittern is silent, and seldom seen, It begins its call in the evening, and is heard at intervals, booming six or eight times, and then discontinues the noise for ten or twenty minutes, when it is again renewed. This doleful call it only makes when it is in solitude, and undisturbed. Whenever its retreats are invaded, or it expects or fears the approach of an enemy, it is perfectly silent. Nor has it ever been known to boom in a domesticated state; “it continues, under the control of man, a forlorn bird, equally incapable of attachment or instruction."

Through the summer the bittern manifests great inactivity, and even indolence; it is slow and heavy-winged, and rises with great difficulty and reluctance from the earth.” However, in the latter end of autumn, in the evening, it seems to assume quite another nature, and manifests an altogether different spirit. It then rises up into the air, by a spiral ascent, until it is quite lost to the view, making a very singular noise, quite different from its former boomings. This was anciently observed, and Virgil refers to it in his first Georgic. This difference of habit which characterizes this bird at different times, has caused it, among several nations, to receive names which are directly opposite in their significance. The Latins call it stellaris, the star-reaching bird-while the Greeks, giving it a name corresponding with its more constant habits, call it oknos, or the lazy bird.

As a bird loving solitude, it is properly classed, by the prophet Isaiah, with those doleful birds which should inhabit the desolations of the land of Idumea :

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“From generation to generation it shall lie waste :
None shall pass through it for ever and ever.
But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it;

The owl also and the raven shall dwell in it.
The prophet Zephaniah speaks of this bird in connection with
the ruins of Nineveh, alluding to its song, which well accords with
the idea of ruins :

“I make Nineveh a desolation,

And dry like a wilderness ;
And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her-

All the beasts of the nations :
Both the cormorant and the bittern
Shall lodge in the upper lintels of it;

Their voice shall sing in the windows."
Several critics have supposed that some other animal must be in-
tended here, as the place of its abode is said to be dry; and also
as the bird is represented as sitting in the upper lintels, and sing-
ing in the windows, whereas the bittern is at home in wet places,
and only makes its boomings among the grass in marshes. An ex-
tract from a traveller will show, however, that all mentioned by
the prophet, and all that the habits of the bird require, are found
combined in the ruins of this doomed city. 6 Nineveh was built
upon the left shore of the Tigris, upon Assyria's side, being now
only a heap of rubbish, extending almost a league along the river.
There are abundance of vaults and caverns uninhabited; nor could
a man well conjecture whether they were the ancient habitations of
the people, or whether any houses were built upon them in former
times ; for most of the houses in Turkie are like cellars, or else but
one storie high.” Thus bitterns may sit upon the upper lintels,
and in the windows, and at the same time be only even with the
earth, and among the grass that has overgrown the ruins. Another
traveler informs us that he saw in it a "subterranean canal;" all
of which goes to show, that though parts of the ruins are dry
like a wilderness,” there are also parts where the bittern would
find a congenial home, amid wet grass, reeds, and sedges.

How often is the student of the sacred records challenged to admire the truly wonderful manner in which they constantly and increasingly confirm themselves in the light of the keenest investigations of science. When skimming skepties, going hastily over the surface, discover want of agreement, and even inconsistencies, true science, like a messenger from God, looks devoutly deeper, and discovers, beneath the apparent antagonism of the outward, the deeper basis of a grand and glorious whole. Go on, ye schools, trace still farther back the streams of divine truth, and where they seem lost amid the accumulated fragments of ages, dig still after them, and you will find them the deeper the fresher. Only do it humbly!

THERE is one kind of vice which even bad persons shun, that is ad-vice.

و

THE RUINS OF NINEVEH.

" Nineveh is laid waste : who will bemoan her ?"

Here, where these weeping willows humbly bend
Their heavy waving branches to the ground :
Where Tigris' waters, softly gliding, send
Their drowsy murmurs on the air around,
I sit, and listen to the solemn sound
Which fancy brings across the waste of years !
Before me rises many a doleful mound,

Inspiring sadness and mysterious fears,
And to my present view the long gone past appears !
'Tis Nineveh !-the city vast that sinned and wept
And sinned again, until God's patience, waiting long,
Came to an end, and the death angel swept
His mighty sickle through the guilty throng!
Then ceased the midnight revel, dance, and song;
Grim ruin squatted, toad-like, on the splendor there ;
Vile serpents crept the cursed wastes among ;

Rank weeds grew out the doors and windows where
The feet of friendship crossed-where smiled the happy fair.

I silent sit, and gaze around in solemn awe,
While o’er my spirit comes the voice of years gone by,
And see fullfiled what ancient seers foresaw,
Still hear their voices 'mid the ruins sigh!
'Tis evening !-clouds of bats from out the arches ay;
The hooting owl, the bird of death and dread,
Makes echo answer to his boding cry;

The cormorant returns, with reptiles fed,
And hollow-booming bitterns thunder dirges for the dead !

Where once through curtained window, and through latticed gator
Bright eyss, and smiles of beauty, ogled to the crowd-
There on the lintels, each one with his mate,
The doleful creatures sit and cry aloud.
Through empty halls, where wbilom dwelt the proud,
The satyrs dance beneath the moonlit sky ;
And thorns and brambles now are glory's shroud!

The raven’s croak, the screech-owl's wailing cry
Is heard where ill-concealed the slimy hissing dragons lie !

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CONFESS, FORGIVE, AND CHEER UP.

The world goes up, and the world goes down,

And the sunshine follows the rain;
And yesterday's speer, and yesterday's frown,
Can never come over again,

Sweet wife,
No, never come over again.
For woman is warm, though man be cold,

And the night will hallow the day;
Till the heart which at even was weary and old
Can rise in the morning gay,

Sweet wife,
To its work in the morning gay.

SILENT INFLUENCE NEVER DIES. A few years, a very few years, and of us two all that will be left in this earth will be a little dust, and in a few men's minds a few distant recollections of us.

Aubin. Ay, in one man there will be a recollection of your having shown him a curious book; on another's tongue there will be some faint after-taste of a very good dinner of your giving ; in another, there will survive the way you looked in your morning-gown; while in the memory of another, there will be living the tones in which you said he was a good boy. In men's minds a faint remembrance of us, and, six feet deep in the ground, a little blackness in the mould, will be all our remains in the world.

Marham. Then a little while longer, and they will have vanished; and then, ah! then there will be no trace left of our lives ever having been.

Aubin. Been what, uncle ? Not spent in vain.

Marham. I thought, Oliver, you were saying that we should be forgotten soon.

Aubin. So I did. But I did not mean that our lives would ever be unfelt ; for in this world they never will be. Babbage says, that, with every word spoken, the air vibrates, and the particles of it are altered as to their places; that the winds, north, south, east and west, are affected every time I speak; that, with my voice, the atmospheric particles in this room have their places changed, not so as to be any thing to us, but so as, ages hence, to witness to higher minds than ours what we have been saying this afternoon.

Marham. In that way, there is more truth than was intended in what came to be used as a Christian epitaph-Non omnis Moriar, I shall not, all of men, die. For so our idlest words are as lasting as the earth.

Aubin. And so are our actions, and so are our thoughts.

Marham. And more lasting than the earth they are; for by them our everlasting souls are the worse or the better.

Aubin. True. But what I mean besides is, that our influence will last as long as the earth.

Marham. Ours will!

Aubin. Yes, and so will any peasant's. Because, of course, I do not speak of the endurance of names. For they are only one or two persons in a generation, and not ten out of a whole people, who stand in the sun of life in such a way as to have their shadows lengthen down all time.

Marham. You mean, then

Aubin. That my cousins, go where they will, are living impulses in society, and of your beginning. And just as there is something of your grandfather in you, there is something of you

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