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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,
Lay the country wild and hilly!
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.
With its fruit-like scent so mellow;
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.
A forest so old and hoary, –
And remember its bygone story!
When the summer noon was glowing,
The pebbly waters flowing.
We ate of the forest berry;
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
Birds are singing loud!
Merle and mavis sing your fill;
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!
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
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;
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,
Stemmed with the gossamer ;
The very flower to take
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
Where'er of fallen state lie lonely traces.
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
Though he 's merry at heart, he's a shy, timid bird. Where blooms the heather red,
Cheating the time with flowers and fancies boon.
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 ;
Rise at the speaking of the Harebell's name.
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.
(CAMPANULA ROTUNDIFOLIA.) It springeth on the heath,
The forest-tree beneath,
Pray thee, Owl, what art thou doing,
There are the red rose and the white;
Every living thing is creeping
Nought I see, so black the night is,
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,
Flowers are around me bright of hue,
Go, little book, and to the young and kind,
Beauty and love abroad, and who bestows
Though worn, and old, and dimmed of glow,
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.
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;
So bravely set afloat.
That wild and stormy tide;
Thy young ones at thy side.
I pray thee tell to me,
That bore thee to the sea !
Upon thy watery way,
That round about thee lay?
Swoop down as thou passed by ?
The lurking otter lie?
Yet, caused it no alarm?
Did strive to do thee harm?
As thou wast borne along,
Thou hadst a spirit strong!
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.
I pray thee tell to me,
That bore thee to the sea!
Within thy sedgy screen ;
And reeds so strong and green.
To view thy fairy place ;
As if thy home to grace.
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,