Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

to the 26th of July, inclusive, and therefore embraced a period of 24 days; and eight of these observar tions were made when the comet was on the meridian, and consequently in the most favourable position for the purpose. The observations were doubtless continued subsequently to the 26th, but, as these are not included in the printed list, we are unable to specify either their number or the results. Those above stated, however, are sufficient to give the elements of the orbit with considerable accuracy. These are the following: viz. Peribelion distance

0.36247 Inclination of the orbit

80° 7' 41" Longitude of the ascending node 9$. 3 53 40 Longitude of the perihelion

20 48 Passage of perihelion, June 28th

11h 38m. 32s. For a variety of interesting particulars relative to these wandering bodies, we must refer to the volume of TIME's TELESCOPB for 1817,

[ocr errors]

9

The Naturalist's Diary

For MARCH 1820.

The winter's past,
Behold the singing of the birds is now,
Season benign; the joyous race prepare
Their native melody, and warbling airs
Are heard in ev'ry grove: the flowers appear,
Earth's smiling offspring, and the beauteous meads
Are clothed in pleasant green. Now fruitfiil trees
Put forth their tender buds, that soon shall swell
With rich nectareous juice, and woo thy hand

To pluck their ripened sweets. The superabundant moisture of the earth being dried up, the process of vegetation is gradually brought on; those trees which, in the last month, were budding, now begin to put forth their leaves; and the various appearances of nature announce the approach of SPRING,

As Spring parades her new domain,
Love, beauty, pleasure, bold her train ;
Her footsteps wake the flowers beneath,
That start, and blush, and sweetly breathe :
Her gales on nimble pinions rove,
And shake to foliage every grove;
Her voice, in dell and thicket heard,
Cheers on the nest and mother bird ;
The ice-locked streams, as if they felt
Her touch, to liquid diamond melt;
The lambs around her bleat and play-
The serpent Alings his slough away,
And shines in orient colours dight,
A flexile ray of living light.
Nature nnbinds her wintry shroud
(As the soft supsline melts the cloud),
With infant gambols sports along,
Bounds into youth, and soars in song.
The Morn impearls her locks with dew;
Noon spreads a sky of boundless blue;
The rainbow spans the evening scene;
The night is silent and serene,
Save when her lonely minstrel wrings
The heart with sweetness while he sings.

MONTGOMERY.

The melody of birds now gradually swells upon the ear. The throstle (turdus musicus), second only to the nightingale in song, charms us with the sweetness and variety of its lays. The linnet and the goldfinch join the general concert in this month, and the golden-crowned wren (motacilla regulus) begins its song. The lark also must not be forgotten. The melody of this little creature continues during the whole of the summer. It is chiefly, however, in the morning and evening that its strains are heard; and as it chaunts its mellow notes on the wing, it is the peculiar favourite of every person who has taste to relish the beauties of nature at the most tranquil seasons of the day, particularly at dawn.-See some interesting particulars of this bird in T.T. for 1817, p. 76, and the “ Captive Lark,” in our last volume, p. 79.

H

In this month, rooks build and repair their nests. Rooks, crows, and pigeons, but the first in particular, it has been proved, are by no means so detrimental to the farmer as is generally imagined, though many of them still commit great havoc among these birds, and use every means in their power to frighten them away'. A pleasing little poem on this subject has been privately printed and circulated among his friends, by its noble author, LORD ERSKINB, in whose distinguished life one of the most brilliant features is, his long exerted zeal in the cause of the suffering animal creation. The poem was occasioned by his lordship's having, at the instance of his bailiff in Sussex, complained to a neighbour of his rookery, the only one in that part of the country; but having been afterwards convinced of the utility of rooks, he countermanded his complaint, and wrote the “ FARMER's Vision," from which the following lines are extracted.

Know, then, since man's disastrous fall,
He still, though sovereign lord of all,
Must share, by the Supreme decree,
With creatures of the land and sea,
Whatever lands or seas produce,
The gifts of Heaven for common use:
Though Man subdues the stubborn soil,
Their portion is not therefore spoil;
What are their rights, their instincts prove,
Beyond whose bounds they cannot move,
But all the ample range within
Became their own by Adam's sin;
From thence arose a deadly sting,
Intixed in every living thing:
But Heaven, its mercy still to show,
Palsied this else descructive foe,
By forging an unbounded chain
Of dying and of life again-
First the mute plants enjoy their hour,
They live in the consummate flower,

[ocr errors]

! See T. T. for 1816, pp. 86, 87,

Midst the pale fading stalks are seen
Their infants swathed in vivid green;
In this perfumed and painted bed
The smaller animals are bred,
Where myriads fill their countless span,
Unseen by any art of man,
Whilst still in the ascending line
New beings rise by power divine ;
But all their mortal nature feel
As turns the quick revolving wheel;
Yet when in heaps the largest die,
No rank corruption taints the sky;
The putrid mass restores the gronnd
Till vital heat in Death's cold arms is found
Here runs out the mysterious clue,
And the great course begins anew.

[ocr errors]

In the large animals, you see
And own a wise economy,
Their strength, their gifts, distinctly prove
A system of protecting Love;
Without their aids, Man's boundless sway
You feel would languish and decay ;
Plain lesson sure, that others bear
Like stations in paternal care,
With powers all weighed in nicest scale,
That none to mischief may prevail;
Nor could the soil its produce yield,
Tho' Coke himself prepared the field,
But for the never-ceasing round,
In which both life and death are found:
But chief when tilth is first begun,
Earth meets the Air and blessed Sun,
Then numbers beyond numb’ring rise,
Some skim the earth, some scour the skies ;
Th’ astonished Farmer toils in vain,
Each hour destroys his ripening grain,
But Providence beholds the scene,
And other beings step between,-
Yet let pot man presumne to know
Their course, nor dare to strike the blow;
Blind as the mole he snares, shall he,
Murmuring at the Supreme decree,
At random breaks that mighty chain,
No link of which is made in vain ?1

1

See the whole of this interesting poem in the Literary Gazette for March 20, 1819; the notes are in a subsequent number.

Upon these concluding lines his lordship justly observes, in a note, “it may be necessary here to come under the poet's license, otherwise vermin of all descriptions, however manifestly destructive in our gardens, ought to be permitted to lay them waste. The economy of nature throughout the minuter gradations of animal life mocks all investigation; yet Providence must undoubtedly have intended that all created beings should be fed as their instincts direct. Trees, therefore, of all kinds bear their fruits and seeds in a thousand times greater quantity than are necessary for their reproductions, and which must obviously have been intended for animal subsistence. When they grow in a wild state, innumerable tribes of birds and insects take their allotted proportions without interference, and man is contented with what remains, whatever it may be; but in the resorts of luxury he will bear no partnership. The Peaches and Nectarines on his walls bring a hundred times what would come to his reach if they grew in the desert, yet he will not spare one of them, but hangs his honied bottles on every branch, when wasps and other insects surround them; not, indeed, in their natural number, but multiplied by the allurements of human monopoly.In the same manner, when men congregate in large cities, and amass greater wealth than is, perhaps, consistent with a wholesome state of society, thieves and robbers abound in proportion; and the Judge at the Old Bailey, like the Gardener in the orchard, has a duty imposed upon him to keep them down.

Cowper, in his Task, has given the rule for our conduct to the lower world in almost a word; and the latitude he allows to man's acknowledged dominion is surely amply sufficient.

The sum is this if man's convenience, health,
Or safety interfere, his rights and claims
Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs,
Else they are all the meanest things that are

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »