Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

pine, with no shelter or protection above, and little or no foliage around. On this she places, rudely enough, a loose platform of dry twigs, without the slightest hollow, but laid flat across one another without any attempt at interweaving; and so small a quantity is brought together, that the eggs may frequently be discerned by the eye beneath, through the slight and looso accumulation. On the other hand, the Magpie, provident against depredation, if not against discovery, carefully selects the centre of some thick and thorny bush, or a tree so well fenced round with branches as to mako approach difficult. The nest is a large dome—formed, indeed, of thorny twigs, but so interlaced and accumulated as to prevent any access to the eggs, except through the small hole in the side, through which the parent bird enters. Sometimes, when the situation seems not sufficiently strong by nature, the bush is barricaded and encircled with briars and thorns in the most formidable manner, so rough, so strong, and so firmly entwined with the living branches, that even man himself, without an axe or bill, would find it a matter of pain and difficulty to get at the nest. But inside this strong fortress, which is rough, for protection, a snug chamber is constructed, of well-wrought clay, smoothly plastered, and again lined with a warm drapery of fine fibres and dry blades of grass.—P. H. Gosse.

LESSON XXVIII. THE HOURS.

The hours are viewless angels
That still go gliding by,

And bear each moment's record up
To Him who rules on high.

And we, who walk among them,

As one by one departs,
See not that they are hovering

For ever round our hearts.

Like summer bees that hover

Around the idle flowers, They gather every act and thought—

These viewless angel hours.

The poison or the nectar
The heart's deep flower-cup yields;

A sample still they gather swift,
And leave us in the fields.

But still they steal the record,

And bear it far away; Their mission flight, by day or night,

No angel power can stay.

But as we spend each moment

That God to us has given, The deed is known before His throne—

The tale is told in heaven.

These bee-like hours we see not,
Nor hear their noiseless wings;

We only know, too oft, when flown,
That they have left their stings.

So teach me, heavenly Father,

To spend each flying hour, That as they go they may not show ■

My heart apoisonod flower.

So when death brings its shadows,

The hours that linger last,
May bear my hopes on angel wings,

Unfettered by the past.—E. P. Cranch.

LESSON XXIX. VALLEYS.

Mountain ranges and hilly districts are intersected by valleys, the general arrangement of which corresponds with that of the mountains or hills among which they are situated.

Valleys are distinguished, according to their relative positions, into principal valleys, lateral valleys, and subordinate valleys. Principal valleys, are such as separate extensive parallel ranges of mountains; of this description is the Valais, or Valley of the Rhone. Lateral valleys, are valleys which intersect, and are formed by, the lateral branches of a mountain range; and subordinate valleys, are such as are formed by the spurs, or minor branches, and are usually of inferior size. When valleys are narrow, and difficult of access, they are termed ravines, dells, defiles, or passes. These narrow valleys are of most frequent occurrence among steep mountains, where the sides rise with precipitous abruptness, and often present scenes of much beauty and grandeur.

Some valleys consist of a series of basin-shaped cavities, successively rising in elevation, and separated from each other by a rocky barrier. In valleys of this description, distinct ridges, apparently formed by deposits from water, frequently occur, marking the height at which the waters formerly stood. These ridges may often be traced at parallel heights on both sides of the valley; and from the level, road-like appearance they present, have been termed jiarallel roads. They are of frequent occurrence in all mountainous districts, and are not uncommon in the Highlands of Scotland. Such are the parallel roads of Glen Eoy, Glen Ghoy, and Glen Spean.

Some valleys are basin-shaped, or of a circular form, being surrounded on all sides by a girdle of mountains, with the exception of a narrow outlet, through which the superabundant waters of the valley make their escape. Bohemia forms an example of such a valley, and consists of a single circular basin nearly 200 miles in diameter, and presenting the appearance of having been a vast lake, until a passage was forced through the Erzgebirge Mountain, and the gorge formed, through which the river Elbe at the present day flows into Saxony. Unless effected by slow degrees, and by the gradual wearing away of the mountain ridge, how fearful would be the devastating effects caused by the bursting of such a barrier, and the overflowing of such a lake!

Numerous instances also occur of mountain valleys still forming the beds of lakes, the waters, in these cases, not having yet effected their escape. Lakes of this class are met with in the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Himalaya Mountains, the Andes, &c.: and, though on a very small scale, in our own island: the tarn, or little lake, on the summit of Cader Idris, affording an example of such a mountain lake.—Zornlin.

LESSON XXX.—CONSCIENCE.

The feeling which makes us happy when we do our duty, and which condemns us when we sin, is conscience. Conscience is very faithful; it is always ready in our hearts, to tell us what we ought to do, and what we ought not to do.

Conscience trams us before we begin to do wrong. If a man were to see a little girl going towards a deep well, with nothing around it to keep her from falling in, and should tell her to take care and not go there—that would be warning her. Now conscience warns us. When we are going to do anything wrong—yes, even when we are just beginning to think of doing wrong—conscience warns us not to do it.

Conscience remonstrates while we are doing wrong. Suppose some children, walking in a garden, were to go to a tree, and get some apples which were not ripe, and which their father had forbidden them to take; and suppose that one of the children, more obedient than the rest, should stand by and say, "You had better not take those apples; it is wrong; you ought not to do it—you ought not to disobey father," this would be remonstrating. Now. conscience always remonstrates when we are doing anything wrong. We feel uneasy and unhappy while we are doing it; and we cannot help thinking all the time that it is wrong, and that we ought not to do it. This is conscience remonstrating with us, and endeavouring to keep us from sin.

Conscience reproaches us after we have done wrong, and makes us anxious, unhappy, and afraid. We are afraid that somebody saw us, or will in some way find out the wrong we have done. We are unhappy; we cannot help thinking of the sin, though we try to forget it. When we are alone, conscience reproaches us; it reminds us of our guilt, and we feel ashamed and wretched. We are afraid, too. We dare not be alone. We know that we have offended God, and committed wickedness, and our hearts sink with fear. Oh, how much better would it be for us always to do right, than

« ElőzőTovább »