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and lined them with coarse hay, which is an abomi. nation to the martin, which lines its nest with the softest feathers. Having witnessed this, we waited for about ten days, by which time we supposed the sparrows would have laid their full number of eggs; and a ladder was set up, in order to inflict just retribution on them, by taking the whole. But to our surprise there were none. The hay was therefore carefully removed, that the martins, if they pleased, might retake possession; but the very next day, the nests were again filled with hay, and long bents of it hung dangling from the entrance-hole. The sparrows had, with wonderful assiduity, and as it were, with a feeling of vindictive spite, relined the nests with as much hay as they ordinarily carry to their own nests in severat days. Now it was supposed they would really lay in these nests, but no such thing,—they never did, Their only object had been to dislodge the martins, for it was found that these very sparrows had nests of their own in the waterspouts of the house, with young ones in them, at the very time, and their purpose of ousting the martins from their own nests being accomplished, the hay remained in the nests quietly all summer.

But this was not all. The poor martins, driven from the stable, came now to the house; and, as if for special protection, began to build their nests under the roof, nearly over the front door. No sooner was this intention discovered by the sparrows, than they were all in arms again. They were seen watching for hours on the tiles just above, chirping, strutting to and fro, flying down upon the martins when they came to their nests with materials, and loudly calling upon their fellow sparrows to help them to be as offensive as possible. The martins, however, rendered now more determined, persisted in their building, and so far succeeded as to prevent the sparrows getting more than a few bents of hay into their nests when complete. The martins laid their eggs; but for several times successively, the sparrows entered in their absence, and hoisted out all the eggs, which of course fell to the ground and were dashed to pieces. Provoked at this mischievous propensity of the sparrows, we had them now shot at, which had the desired effect. One or two of them were killed, and the rest took the hint, and permitted the martins to hatch and rear their young in peace.

I can remember many a time,

Up in the morning early, Up in the morn by break of day,

When summer dews hung pearly; Out in the fields what joy it was,

While the cowslip yet was bending, To see the large round moon grow dim,

And the early lark ascending! I can remember too, we rose

When the winter stars shone brightly; 'Twas an easy thing to shake off sleep,

From spirits strong and sprightly. How beautiful were those winter skies,

All frosty-bright and unclouded, And the garden-trees, like cypresses,

Looked black, in the darkness shrouded! Then the deep, deep snows were beautiful,

That fell through the long night stilly,
When behold, at morn, like a silent plain,

Lay the country wild and hilly!
And the fir-trees down by the garden side,

In their blackness towered more stately; And the lower trees were feathered with snow,

That were bare and brown so lately. And then, when the rare hoar-frost would come,

'Twas all like a dream of wonder, Where over us grew the crystal trees,

And the crystal plants grew under! The garden all was enchanted land;

All silent and without motion, Like a sudden growth of the stalactite,

Or the corallines of ocean! 'Twas all like a fairy forest then,

Where the diamond trees were growing, And within each branch the emerald green

And the ruby red were glowing. I remember many a day we spent

In the bright hay-harvest meadow; The glimmering heat of the noonday ground,

And the hazy depth of shadow. I can remember, as to-day,

The corn-field and the reaping, The rustling of the harvest-sheaves,

And the harvest-wain's upheaping : I can feel this hour as if I lay

Adown 'neath the hazel bushes. And as if we wove, for pastime wild,

Our grenadier-caps of rushes. And every flower within that field

To my memory's eye comes flitting, The chiccory-flower, like a blue cockade,

For a fairy-knight befitting.
The willow-herb by the water side,

With its fruit-like scent so mellow;
The gentian blue on the marly hill,
And the snap-dragon white and yellow.

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CHILDHOOD.

Oh, when I was a little child,

My life was full of pleasure ; I had four-and-twenty living things,

And many another treasure.

But chiefest was my sister dear,

Oh, how I loved my sister! I never played at all with joy,

If from my side I missed her.

I know where the hawthorn groweth red;

Where pink grows the way-side yarrow; I remember the wastes of woad and broom,

And the shrubs of the red rest-harrow. I know where the blue geranium grows,

And the stork's-bill small and musky; Where the rich osmunda groweth brown,

And the wormwood white and dusky.
There was a forest a-nigh our home, -

A forest so old and hoary, –
How we loved in its ancient glooms to be,

And remember its bygone story!
We sate in the shade of its mighty trees,

When the summer noon was glowing,
And heard in the depths of its undergrowth

The pebbly waters flowing.
We quenched our thirst at the forest-well;

We ate of the forest berry;
And the time we spent in the good green-wood,

Like the times of song, were merry. We had no crosses then, no cares;

We were children like yourselves then; And we danced and sang, and made us mirth,

Like the dancing moonlight elves then!

Soon as is the dawning,

Wakes the mavis and the merle ; Wakes the cuckoo on the bough;

Wakes the jay with ruddy breast ; Wakes the mother ring-dove

Brooding on her nest! Oh, the sunny summer time!

Oh, the leafy summer time! Merry is the bird's life

When the year is in its prime! Some are strong and some are weak;

Some love day and some love night :But whate'er a bird is,

Whate'er loves — it has delight, In the joyous song is sings ;

In the liquid air it cleaves; In the sunshine ; in the shower,

In the nest it weaves ! Do we wake; or do we sleep;

Go our fancies in a crowd
After many a dull care, -

Birds are singing loud!
Sing then linnet; sing then wren;

Merle and mavis sing your fill;
And thou, rapturous skylark,

Sing and soar up from the hill! Sing, oh, nightingale, and pour

Out for us sweet fancies new! Singing thus for us, birds,

We will sing of you!

BIRDS.

THE WOODPECKER.

The woodpecker green he has not his abiding Where the owls and the bats from the daylight are

hiding; Where the bright mountain-streams glide on rock

beds away,

Oh, the sunny summer time!

Oh, the leafy summer time! Merry is the bird's life,

When the year is in its prime! Birds are by the water-falls

Dashing in the rain-bow spray; Everywhere, everywhere

Light and lovely there are they ! Birds are in the forest old,

Building in each hoary tree; Birds are on the green hills;

Birds are by the sea! On the moor, and in the fen,

'Mong the whortle-berries green; In the yellow-furze-bush

There the joyous bird is seen; In the heather on the hill;

All among the mountain thyme; By the little brook-sides,

Where the sparkling waters chime; In the crag; and on the peak,

Splintered, savage, wild, and bare, There the bird with wild wing

Wheeleth through the air. Wheeleth through the breezy air,

Singing, screaming in his flight, Calling to his bird-mate,

In a troubleless delight! In the green and leafy wood,

Where the branching ferns up-curl,

The dark water-ousel may warble and play;
In the gedge of the river the reed-sparrow build ;
And the peewit among the brown clods of the field;
The sea-gull may scream on the breast of the tide ;
On the foam-crested billows the peterel may ride ;
But the woodpecker asketh nor river nor sea ;
Give him but the old forest, and old forest-tree,
And he'll leave to the proud lonely eagle the height
of the mist-shrouded precipice splintered and white;
And he 'll leave to the gorcock the heather and fern,
And the lake of the valley to woodcock and hern;
To the sky-lark he 'll leave the wild fields of the air,
The sunshine and rainbow ne'er tempted him there.
The greenwood for him is the place of his rest,
And the broad-branching tree is the home he loves

best.
Let us go to the haunt of the woodpecker green,
In those depths of the wood there is much to be seen.
There the wild-rose and wood bine weave fairy-

land bowers, And the moth-mullein grows with its pale yellow flowers;

There the hum of the bees through the noonday is Light as a breeze astir,
heard,

Stemmed with the gossamer ;
And the chirp, and the cry, and the song of the bird ; Soft as the blue eyes of a poet's child.
There up the tree-trunk, like a fly on the wall,

The very flower to take
To pick the grey moss, runs the tree-creeper small;

Into the heart, and make There the wren golden-crested, so lovely to see,

The cherished memory of all pleasant places; Hangs its delicate nest from the twigs of the tree;

Name but the light harebell, And there coos the ring-dove-oh, who would not go,

And straight is pictured well
That voice of the wood to hear, dreamy and low!

Where'er of fallen state lie lonely traces.
Yes, come to the wood—to the woodpecker's tree,
There is joy 'mong the green leaves for thee and for We vision wild sea-rocks,
me!

Where hang its clustering locks,

Waving at dizzy height o'er ocean's brink; Hark! heard ye that laughter so loud and so long?

The hermit's scoopèd cell; Again now!- it drowneth the wood-linnet's song!

The forest's sylvan well, "T is the wood pecker laughing !- the comical elf!

Where the poor wounded hart came down to drink
His soul must be merry to laugh to himself! -
And now we are nearer-speak low-be not heard ! We vision moors far-spread,

Though he 's merry at heart, he's a shy, timid bird. Where blooms the heather red,
Hark! — now he is tapping the old, hollow tree :- And hunters with their dogs lie down at noon;
One step farther on—now look upward—that 's he! Lone shepherd-boys, who keep
Oh, the exquisite bird ! — with his downward-hung On mountain-sides their sheep,
head,

Cheating the time with flowers and fancies boon.
With his richly-dyed greens—his pale yellow and red !
On the gnarled tree-trunk with its sober-toned grey,

Old slopes of pasture-ground; What a beautiful mingling of colours are they!

Old fosse, and moat, and mound, Ah, the words you have spoken have frightened the Where the mailed warrior and crusader came ;

Old walls of crumbling stone, bird

Where trails the snap-dragon ;
For by him the lowest of whispers was heard ;
Or a footfall as light as the breezes, that pass

Rise at the speaking of the Harebell's name.
Scarcely bending the flowers, he perceives on the

We see the sere turf brown, grass.

And the dry yarrow's crown The squirrel above him might chatter and chide;

Scarce raising from the stem its thick-set flowers; And the purple-winged jay scream on every side;

The pale hawkweed we see,

The blue-fowered chiccory, The great winds might blow, and the thunder might roll,

And the strong ivy-growth o'er crumbling towers. Yet the fearless wood pecker still cling to the bole;

Light Harebell, there thou art, But soon as a footstep that's human is heard,

Making a lovely part A quick terror springs to the heart of the bird !

of the old splendour of the days gone by, For man, the oppressor and tyrant, has made

Waving, if but a breeze The free harmless dwellers of nature afraid !

Pant through the chestnut trees, 'Neath the fork the branch, in the tree's hollow That on the hill-top grow broad-branched and high. bole,

Oh, when I look on thee, Has the timid woodpecker crept into his hole;

In thy fair symmetry, For there is his home in deep privacy hid,

And look on other flowers as fair beside, Like a chamber scooped into a far pyramid;

My sense is gratitude, And there is his mate, as secure as can be,

That God has been thus good, And his little young woodpeckers deep in the tree.

To scatter flowers, like common blessings, wide. And not till he thinks there is no one about, Will he come to his portal and slyly peep out; And then, when we're up at the end of the lane. We shall hear the old wood pecker laughing again.

THE SCREECH OWL.

THE HAREBELL.

(CAMPANULA ROTUNDIFOLIA.) It springeth on the heath,

The forest-tree beneath,
Like to some elfin dweller of the wild;

Pray thee, Owl, what art thou doing,
With that dolefulest tu-whoo-ing?
Dark the night is, dark and dreary,
Never a little star shines cheery;
Wild north winds come up the hollow,
And the pelting rain doth follow;
And the trees the tempest braving,
To and fro are wildly waving !

There are the red rose and the white;
And stems of lilies, strong and bright;
The leaf and tendril of the vine ;
The iris and the columbine ;
The streaky tulip, gold and jet;
The amaranth and violet;
There is the bright jonquil; the trail
Of bind-weed, chalice-like and pale ;
The crumpled poppy, brave and bold;
The pea; the pink; the marigold.

Every living thing is creeping
To its den, and silence keeping,
Saving thou, the night hallooing
With thy dismalest tu-whoo-ing!

Nought I see, so black the night is,
Black the storm, too, in its might is;
But I know there lies the forest,
Peril ever there the sorest,
Where the wild deer-stealers wander;
And the ruin lietb yonder,
Splintered tower and crumbling column,
All among the yew-trees solemn,
Where the toad and lizard clamber
Into many an ancient chamber,
And below, the black rocks under,
Like the muttering coming thunder
Lowly muttering, rolling ever,
Passes on the fordless river:-
Yet I see the black night only
Covering all, so deep and lonely!

Pr’ythee, Owl, what is 't thou 'rt saying So terrific and dismaying? Dost thou speak of loss and ruin, In that ominous tu-whoo-ing? While the tempest yet was stiller, Homeward rode the kindly miller, With his drenched meal-sacks o'er him, And his little son before him ; Dripping wet, yet loud in laughter, Rode the jolly hunters after; And sore wet, and blown and wildern, Went a huddling group of children; But each, through the tempest's pother, Got home safely to its mother ; And ere afternoon was far on, Up the mountain spurred the Baron. How can evil then betide 'em ! In their houses warm they hide 'em. In his chimney.corner smoking, Sits the miller, spite thy croaking ; And the children, snug and cozy, In their beds sleep warm and rosy i And the Baron with his lady, Plays at chess sedate and steady.

Hoot away, then, an' it cheer thee, Only I and darkness hear thee. Trusting Heaven, we 'll fear no ruin, Spite thy ominous tu-whoo-ing!

There are they grouped, in form and hue,
Flower, bud, and leaf to nature true!
Yes, although slighted and forlorn,
And oft the mark of modern scorn,
I love such pictures, and mine eye
With cold regard ne'er passed them by.
I love them most, that they present
Ever some goodly sentiment;
The virgin-mother, young and mild;
The cradle of the holy child;
Or, 'mid a visioned glory faint,
The meek brow of some martyred saint ;
And with their painters I can find
A kindred sympathy of mind.

Flowers are around me bright of hue,
The quaint, old favourites and the new,
In form and colour infinite,
Each one a creature of delight.
But with this fair array is brought
Full many a deep and holy thought,
And for me garden-beds and bowers,
Like the old pictures of the flowers,
Within their bloomy depths enshrine
Ever some sentiment divine !

L'ENVOI.

Go, little book, and to the young and kind,
Speak thou of pleasant hours and lovely things ;
Of fields and woods; of sunshine; dew and wind;
Of mountains ; valleys, and of river-springs ;
Speak thou of every little bird that sings ;
Of every bright, sweet-scented flower that blow's ;
But chiefest speak of Him whose mercy flings

Beauty and love abroad, and who bestows
Light to the sun alike, with odour to the rose.

FLOWER-PAINTINGS,
I LOVE those pictures that we see
At times in some old gallery,
Hung amid armed men of old,
And antique ladies, quaint and cold ;
'Mong furious battle-pieces, dire
With agony, and blood, and fire;-
Flower-pictures, painted long ago,

Though worn, and old, and dimmed of glow,
I love them, although art may deem
Such pictures of but light esteem.

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On beast and bird, and on our mortal race.

So, do thy gracious work; and onward fare, Leaving, like angel-guest, a blessing everywhere!

sketches of Natural History.

TO

ANNA MARY AND ALFRED WILLIAM

HOWITT, THESE SKETCHES, ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THEIR AMUSEMENT,

ARE AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED.

THESE simple and unpretending Sketches require no introduction; and yet, when title-page, contents, and dedication have been made out, an introduction 80 naturally follows, that it might be supposed a book could not be put together without one,—though the writer, as in my case, has little to say either of herself or her volume.

All, therefore, that I shall now remark is, that these Sketches were written for my own Children; and many of them at their suggestion; and that in seeing the pleasure they have derived from them, I have hoped their young contemporaries may find them equally agreeable. A few of them have al. ready appeared in some of the Juvenile Annuals, and may therefore be familiar to many of my young readers; but I trust they will pardon a reprint of what is already known, in the prospect of finding more that is new.

Nottingham, May 1834.

Amid the foaming waves thou sat'st,

And steer'dst ihy little boat;
Thy nest of rush and water-reed

So bravely set afloat.
And on it went, and safely on

That wild and stormy tide;
And there thou sat'st, a mother-bird,

Thy young ones at thy side.
Oh Coot! oh bold, adventurous Coot,

I pray thee tell to me,
The perils of that stormy voyage

That bore thee to the sea !
Hadst thou no fear, as night came down

Upon thy watery way,
Of enemies, and dangers dire

That round about thee lay?
Didst thou not see the falcon grim

Swoop down as thou passed by ?
And 'mong the waving water flags

The lurking otter lie?
The eagle's scream came wildly near,

Yet, caused it no alarm?
Nor man, who seeing thee, weak thing,

Did strive to do thee harm?
And down the foaming waterfall,

As thou wast borne along,
Hadst thou no dread? Oh daring bird,

Thou hadst a spirit strong!
Yes, thou hadst fear. But He who sees

The sparrows when they fall; He saw thee, bird, and gave thee strength

To brave thy perils all. He kept thy little ark afloat;

He watched o'er thine and thee; And safely through the foaming flood

Hath brought thee to the sea.”

SKETCHES OF NATURAL HISTORY.

THE CAMEL.

THE COOT.
On Coot! oh bold, adventurous Coot,

I pray thee tell to me,
The perils of that stormy time

That bore thee to the sea!
I saw thee on the river fair,

Within thy sedgy screen ;
Around thee grew the bulrush tall,

And reeds so strong and green.
The kingfisher came back again

To view thy fairy place ;
The stately swan sailed statelier by,

As if thy home to grace.
But soon the mountain-food came down,

And bowed the bulrush strong; And far above those tall green reeds,

The waters poured along. " And where is she, the Water-Coot,"

I cried, “ that creature good ?" But then I saw thee in thine ark,

Regardless of the flood.

CAMEL, thou art good and mild,
Might'st be guided by a child;
Thou wast made for usefulness,
Man to comfort and to bless.
Thou dost clothe him; thou dost feed;
Thou dost lend to him thy speed.
And through wilds of trackless sand,
In the hot Arabian land,
Where no rock its shadow throws;
Where no pleasant water flows;
Where the hot air is not stirred,
By the wing of singing bird,

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