Obrazy na stronie
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BY PROFESSOR MERRICK.

BIRDS-DRESS.

VOICE.

Original.

a tough horny substance, formed into a hollow cylinNATURAL SCIENCE.

der—a disposition of the materials best calculated for resisting flexion. The upper part, or vane, consists of two rows of flattened filaments, arranged on opposite

sides of the stem, with their edges in the direction in Birds are beautifully attired. Of them it may be which the greatest force is to be resisted. This gives said, as of the lilies, that though “they spin not, yet even them sufficient strength to prevent their bending upSolomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of ward, when the air is beaten by the wing in the act of these." Still, there is no sacrifice of comfort for mere fying. But these filaments, which are arranged with show. Their covering is peculiarly adapted to the pur- their flat surfaces in contact, are found to adhere to poses for which it was designed. It is warm and light. one another with considerable tenacity. Attempt to Feathers are, in an eminent degree, non-conductors of separate them, and, if the feather be large, it will be caloric, or heat, and are so constructed and arranged as seen that they are held together by no glutinous matter, to confine a large quantity of air near the body, which but by an immense number of minute fibrils, arranged is an excellent protection from the extremes of temper. along the upper edge of the filament like a fringe, and ature. And what lighter than a feather? How beau- so constructed as to catch upon and clasp those with tifully adapted for the clothing of an animal destined | which they come in contact. By the aid of the microto move in so rare a medium as the air! Birds that scope, the same contrivance is seen in the smaller feathremain in high latitudes through the year, are much ers. In some few species the feathers are not furnished more warmly clad than those that migrate to warmer with fibrils, but such birds are not fitted for flight. The regions. In addition to ordinary feathers, they are cov- ostrich is an example. ered with a fine, soft down, in which they defy the fiercest blast of a northern winter. Aquatic birds are Birds are remarkable for their strength of voice. also covered with a very thick coat of feathers and Though, as a class, much smaller than the mammadown, which, when anointed with an oily secretion co-lians, they can be heard at a far greater distance. This piously provided by glands near the tail, effectually great power of producing sound is the result of their preserve them from becoming wetted, though in the peculiar organization. The throat is large and strong, water for days together.

the lungs capacious, and connected with numerous In the color of their dress, birds present a greater di- other air vessels, and the whole arrangement such as versity than is found in any other class of animals. to enable the bird to force the air from its body with Here may be found every shade, from the snowy great velocity. And what a pleasing variety of sound white of the swan, to the coal black of the raven. is produced by the different species. Harsh and soft, The liveliest colors are seen in the tropical regions. shrill and grave, gay and plaintive, are the notes that But in all climates, as is meet, the female, and the mingle in the general pæan. Several kinds of birds young of both sexes, are generally “arrayed in mod readily imitate the voice and notes of others, and some est apparel”-much less showy than that of the adult few the tones of the human voice, and the voice of other male.

animals. The most celebrated of these is the AmeriMost birds molt or change their dress at least once can mocking-bird, (Turdus polyglottus,) which imitates a year—many twice. Some, in this change, undergo a the notes of nearly every other bird with such perfecgreat metamorphosis. The fire-wing blackbird, for ex- tion as to deceive the most practiced ear. The powers ample, before his migration to the south, lays aside his of the parrot, in imitating the human voice, are well glossy black coat, with his bright red epaulets, for the known. plain garb of the female, from which he cannot then be easily distinguished. But though some few have In birds sight is by far the most extensive and acute their summer and winter dress, with them there is no of the senses. On this they chiefly depend in discover“change of fashion." Nor is there occasion; for their ing their food. The kite, when soaring at an immense dress is most beautifully adapted to their form, habits, elevation, perceives upon the earth the object of his and “circumstances in life.” The blustering and gar- prey, though as diminutive as a field-mouse, or sparrulous jay would certainly appear quite “out of fix” row. The swallow discovers the tiny insect upon in the modest attire of the ground pigeon, or dove, which it feeds when darting through the air with the while the latter, in the gaudy plumage of the jay, velocity of an arrow. The sense of hearing is also would be about as appropriately clad, as a blushing quite acute—that of smell less so than among quadrucountry lass decked in the tinsel of a city belle. And peds. The supposed acuteness of this latter sense in what is appropriate one year is equally so the next. carnivorous birds, especially in those that feed on car

In the structure of the feather there is very striking rion, has been most clearly proved by Mr. Audobon to evidence of design. Take the large feathers in the be erroneous. The organs of taste and touch are very wing. In these it is important that the qualities of imperfectly developed in this class of animals, and aplightness and strength should be in a high degree com-pear to afford them but little service. bined—a thing by no means common. We find the In their habits and instincts, birds are as remarkable lower end, or the quill part of the feather, composed of l as in their organical structure. On these subjects a

THE SENSES.

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NIDIFICATION.

volume might be filled with the wonders of science. I often knotted, and in some places divide into two or A few remarks, however, must suffice for this place. three branches. These will be confined to the nidification and migra The nest is generally built by the female. In some tion of birds, and their powers of imitation.

species the male assists; and in the case of the most

common species of wren, (Troglodytes fulvus,) the In making their nests, each species has its own plan, | latter often completes his habitation even before he has no two constructing them just alike. But with the selected his mate. same species there is a remarkable degree of uniformi Some birds lay but a single egg in a season-others ty. The robin of Europe builds its nest like the robin fifty or more; indeed, the most common species of our of this continent—the young like the old, and undoubt-|| domestic poultry, “those victims," as Buffon remarks, edly those of the present day like those that nestled in |" which are multiplied without trouble, and sacrificed the trees of paradise. Most birds place their nests without regret,” often furnish us with several hundred upon trees—some build upon the naked rock—others in a year. The period of incubation varies from ten burrow deep in the ground—some seek the barn or de to between thirty and forty days. During this time, serted dwelling, while others conceal their nests among and while the young need their protecting care, most the rushes and flags of marshes and fresh water pools, birds seem, in a great measure, to lose their natural where they often float upon the surface of the water. shyness. The murre allows itself to be seized by the In constructing their nests, some act the mason, some hand, or killed on the spot, rather than forsake its eggs the carpenter, some the weaver, and some the tailor. Nor young. The ostrich, however, is said to be an exThe clift swallow is among the most skillful of the ception; and it is supposed that reference is made to first class. It “conceals its warm and feathered nest this fact in the passage in Job, which states that “she in a receptacle of agglutinated mud, resembling a nar- | leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in row-necked purse, or retort.” The nests of the barn the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, swallow, martin, and phebe, are examples of ornithal or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardenmasonry familiar to all. The crow works after buted against her young ones, as though they were not one "order" of architecture, and that is the log-cabin || hers." But with all birds, order, of which he gives but a rude specimen. He is “The young dismissed, to wander earth or air, but a poor carpenter at the best. The woodpecker far There stops the instinct, and there ends the care." exceeds him both in industry and skill. The latter || And here must end our brief remarks upon this suboften provides a place for its nest by gouging out aject, to give room for a few—and our limits require spacious apartment in solid wood, with no other instru- that they should be very few—upon ment than his wedge-shaped bill. The chimney swallow combines the mason and the carpenter. But the But few birds spend their summer and winter months most skillful artisans are found among the weavers and in the same place. Most prefer a more northern clitailors. Who has not admired the beautiful nest of mate in summer than in winter. Change of temperathe Baltimore oriole, or hang-bird, suspended from the ture, however, is not the only cause that impels birds depending boughs of the elm, or willow? Still more to change their place of residence. Some perform ingeniously constructed is the nest of the orchard ori long journeys in quest of food, and others, far remote ole. This is composed chiefly of a species of tough from their ordinary place of residence, seek a place of grass, "formed into a sort of plaited purse, but little safety for rearing their young. In their modes and inferior to a course straw bonnet. The artificial labor habits of traveling, they present a great diversity. bestowed is so apparent, that Wilson humorously adds, Most perform their journey through the air, some in that on showing it to a matron of his acquaintance, part upon land, and some almost entirely upon the wabetwixt joke and earnest, she asked if he thought itter. Some, could not be taught to darn stockings." The nests so

“Ranged in figure, wedge their way, highly prized by the Chinese for soups, are woven of

and set forth gelatinous fibres, the material for which is provided by Their airy caravan, high over seas the mouth and stomach. Of the tailor birds, the Syl Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing, via sutoria of India, and a species of the same genus

Easing their flight," found in Italy, are the most remarkable. The former pursuing their course with an order and precision truly prepares a receptacle for its nest by sewing together, surprising; while others dash along in utter confusion. with thread, or fibres of bark, the edges of several | Some collect in countless numbers, others pursue their leaves at the end of some pendulous branch, where its journey alone. Some travel by day, some by night, eggs and young are safe from the voracity of the ser- and others both by day and night. Some, by long and pents and apes. According to Kirby, the Sylvia of toilsome flights, accomplish their journey in a few Italy unites the leaves of the sedges, or reeds, by real days, rarely stopping for food or rest; while others loistitches. In the edge of each leaf, she makes, proba- ter by the way for months, regaling themselves upon bly with her beak, minute apertures, through which the abundant supply of food which He who “feedeth she contrives to pass one or more cords formed of spi-| them” has provided for their accommodation. The alder's web. These threads are not very long, but are most unerring certainty with which birds accomplish

MIGRATION.

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this part of their destiny, is well calculated to excite

Original. our admiration. But

SCENES AT SEA. “Who bade them thus, Columbus-like, explore

On a charming autumnal morning, in company with Heavens not their own, and worlds unknown before ? an aged mother, on a visit to the land of her fathers, I Who calls the council, states the certain day placed my foot on the deck of a splendid New York Who forms the phalanx, and who points out the way ?”

packet ship bound for the Old World. The first evenHe who made them to show forth his praise; for bying on ship-board can never be erased from memory. his “wisdom” alone "they stretch their wings toward the sky was cloudless and serene—the setting sun had the south."

left a mellow tinge over the receding coast-the images POWERS OF IMITATION.

of a thousand stars reflected from the surface of the The facility with which several species of birds imi- sleeping deep, while the mantle of night spread a pentate sounds was noticed when speaking of their voice; sive but pleasant gloom around us. Alone, on the starand examples will be given when describing the spe-board quarter, till the midnight hour had passed, I recies there referred to. “The imitative actions and pas- mained with my eyes immovably fixed upon the Sandy siveness of some small birds,” says Nuttall, “such as Hook light-house till its last lingering ray fell upon goldfinches, linnets, and canaries, are, however, quite my vision; then I felt that I was on the sea, the deep as curious as their expression of sound. A Sieur Ro- | blue sea, but still under the protection of Him who man exhibited in England some of these birds, one of hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, which simulated death, and was held up by the tail or and meted out the heaven with a span. How numerclaw without showing any active signs of life. Aous and how thrilling the reflections awakened in the second balanced itself on the head, with its claws in imagination by a luminous point, which, in the darkthe air. A third imitated a milk-maid going to market, ness of the night, appears at intervals above the agitawith pails on its shoulders. A fourth mimicked a Ve-ted waves that lave the shores of home. netian girl looking out at a window. A fifth acted the The pleasant weather and the smooth sea were not soldier, and mounted guard as a sentinel. The sixth of long continuance. A calm, however agreeable for was a cannonier, with a cap on its head, a firelock on a short time, soon becomes tiresome. Anxiety to reach its shoulder, and with a match in its claw discharged a the port of destination overcomes the love of ease and small cannon. The same bird also acted as if wound the fear of danger. Before sunset, the third day out, ed, was wheeled in a little barrow, as it were, to the all hands at work, adjusting the ropes, spars, and other hospital, after which it flew away before the company. | fixings of the ship, the playful gambols of the porpoisThe seventh turned a kind of wind-mill; and the last || es around us, and the dark heavy clouds floating in the bird stood amidst a discharge of small fireworks, with. | atmosphere, portended the approaching blow. With out showing any sign of fear.”

the wind came on an unusual roll of the ship; and its A similar exhibition, according to the same author, constant companion, to a landsman, sea-sickness, seized in which twenty-four canary birds were the actors, was upon me, producing sensations altogether indescribaalso shown in London in 1820, by a Frenchman named ble, and equally unpleasant. If I stood still, it seemed Dujou. One of these suffered itself to be shot at, and, an incubus was upon me—if I moved, I was in danfalling down, as if dead, was put into a little wheelbar- ger of measuring my length upon the deck—if I cast row and conveyed away by one of its comrades. my eye on the agitated ocean, it appeared as if all the

apothecary shops in the world had cast their ipecac upon its heaving surges. Matters growing worse and

worse on deck, after a desperate effort I got below. OUR ACTIONS.

But our pleasant cabin was now a vast hospital, cooks, The only things in which we can be said to have waiters, and stewards, acting the physician, attending any property, are our actions. Our thoughts may be and administering with all the kindness of the most bad, yet produce no poison, they may be good, yet pro- skillful sons of the healing art. “Drink a little moreduce no fruit. Our riches may be taken from us by let it have its way—all over by and by—try to sleep, misfortune, our reputation by malice, our spirits by and be composed,” were their most common prescripcalamity, our health by disease, our friends by death. tions, and, if followed, would prove the most efficacious. But our actions must follow us beyond the grave; with Under their kind and skillful treatment, the war of the respect to them alone, we cannot say that we shall | elements having ceased, health was soon restored. Seacarry nothing with us when we die, neither that we sickness always proves a blessing in disguise—an evil shall go naked out of the world. Our actions must that good may come. It has no remedy but patient clothe us with an immortality, lothsome or glorious; endurance and heart-felt cheerfulness. these are the only title-deeds of which we cannot be disinherited; they will have their full weight in the At an unexpected moment, while comfortably seated balance of eternity, when everything else is as noth- | in the cabin, a seaman's voice from the maintop, “a ing; and their value will be confirmed and established wreck to windward!” fell like lead upon my ears, proby those two sure and sateless destroyers of all other ducing a train of emotions that words cannot describe. things—Time--and Death.

On board all was excitement. I knew not where to

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A WRECK.

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look, or what to do. A ship in distress on the wide || The peremptory commands of the officers, and the ocean! What feeling in the heart could remain un. || prompt "ay, ay, sir!" of the faithful sailors, soon touched amidst the scene! Our noble vessel seemed brought our gallant ship to “scud under bare poles.” in agony as she dashed wildly through the mountain But before this necessary preparation for a “blow" waves to lend deliverance to suffering humanity. Our was through, some of the sails were torn in ribbons, worthy officers, and their efficient crew, exerted every and several of the spars riven, by the resistless storm. nerve to relieve, if possible, the distressed. In a few |A steady hand was placed at the helm-every tar stood minutes we were close on to the wreck. It was the at his post, ready and willing to do his duty. The shattered hull of a brig, water-logged, and abandoned.ship, tossed like a feather, dashed fearlessly through I gazed upon it, tossing heavily upon the tumultuous | the foam-encrested water. While the storm was raging, deep, with painful and thrilling interest. It was a mel and the waves, mountain high, were rolling, numerous ancholy sight, and it has left an imperishable and sea birds could be seen, poised on the tip of the spray, mournful recollection upon the soul. Her masts shat- or sailing in the clouds. How homeless and desolate, tered-her helm lashed—her rigging torn, and her under such circumstances, the appearance of these lone deck swept clear—not a trace was left by which any dwellers upon the deep! To greet their flight, and for information concerning her could be obtained. She a moment to follow their rapid wing over the restless had evidently drifted for several days. But the waves deep, was a sight of abiding and pathetic interest. that broke over her, and the water that gushed in and Surely, if God watched over these frail wanderers, out of her hatches, indicated that her ill-fated hull amidst the raging tempest, how great the security of would soon sink. What became of the poor crew, man, the master-piece of creation! The special provwhen the wreck-making billow came over them, is left idence of God-unwavering reliance upon his almighty for conjecture. They may have been rescued, or they arm—was a stronghold-a place of perfect peace, when may have gone down amidst the howling of the tem- | surrounded by the perils of the ocean. The thick pest. All we can say is, she left port, encountered a darkness of the night that succeeded this tempestuous storm, and was lost. How many are the perils of the day, occasionally illumined by the lurid glare of the sea, and the dangers of those that go in ships, and lightning's flash—the phosphorescent gleam of the dwell upon the great waters!

troubled ocean, lashed into fury by the increasing gale, Kind reader, we have left our moorings—our all-im- greatly magnified the sublimity of the storm. It was portant voyage on the sea of time is progressing. a sleepless and solemn night—two hundred souls on Have we a safe conveyance? Are we guided by the board—our frail bark struggling with the mighty ocean chart and compass of the Gospel? Have we Jesus in its untried strength. The parting of a rope—the with us in the ship? If we are safe, and our pros-failure of a bolt-the springing of a timber, may let in pects fair, we may behold, on the tempestuous ocean the waters, and all is gone. Our track was over our of time, while our sheet anchor is Christ, and our des- grave, and at any moment we were all liable to sink tination the realm of endless glory, innumerable moral into it, without a coffin or a shroud—the deep wide shipwrecks, and souls perishing—immortal hopes de- ocean grave yawned beneath ready to receive us. stroy ed. Signals of distress are waving over a lost Though the sea wrought, and was tempestuous, and world—agonizing cries for deliverance, in one accumu- deep called unto deep, all was well—in the hand of lated wail, come upon us from millions of undying Omnipotence we were safe. Such a tempest, and persouls. Shall we, with pious zeal, and holy haste, man fect security amidst all its appalling dangers, impress the Gospel ship, and send the life-boat of mercy to upon the mind the power and goodness of Jehovah in their rescue? Let our influence, our prayers, and our their fairest lustre and brightest glory. Dreadful must efforts swell the spreading sails of the Gospel ship, that be the insensibility and ingratitude of the heart that speedily she may find her way to every clime, and give would not most humbly acknowledge, and devoutly salvation to a perishing world.

adore that Being whose invisible but omnipotent hand

guided our frail vessel in safety, and at whose word During a few days, favored with a fair wind, sailing

“The gamboling storm under close-reefed topsails, we made rapid headway,

Came crouching at his feet." expecting shortly to gaze upon the green hills of the Emerald isle, and the lofty mountains of Wales. But No sooner had the wind abated, the waves yet rollere this pleasing sight could be realized, we had to ex- | ing tremendously, than we were called to witness a perience a severe gale. How often are human hopes funeral. The insatiate archer, waiting only for the fallacious, and our most cherished expectations sadly nod of Omnipotence, lodged his arrow in the heart of disappointed. A storm at sea has been often described ; an only son of his mother, and she was a widow. but fully to realize its awful grandeur, and sublime ter-The corpse was neatly clad in the usual habiliments rors, we must hear the howling tempest, see the tre- of a watery grave, wrapped in sail-cloth, with a weight mendous swells, and feel the dashing spray. The wind at the feet. It was borne aloft by two sailors, laid on a roared fiercely, and the rain fell in torrents—the pas | board on the larboard bulwark, and after appropriate sengers, with few exceptions, were below-every thing religious exercise, was cast into the unfathomed depths appeared in the habiliments of gloom and sadness.ll of the ocean grave, to rest till the clangor of the arcb

A STORM.

DEATH ON BOARD.

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on,

BY WILLIAM BAXTER.

angel's trump shall bid the earth and sea give up their | Anon, we call thee, as thou fliest
dead. As the body fell, a few bubbles arose, but as Sailor of upper deeps, and ship of heaven;
quickly for ever fled, leaving no trace, no fond memo- But the resemblance holds in this alone,
rial to designate the place of sepulchre:

That thou by winds invisible art driven.
“But the sea-bird's wail, and the stormy gale,
And the roar of ocean wave,

Roll on, dark cloud, thy destiny fulfill,
Sang deep and long the funeral song,

No finite power thy onward flight can stay;
O'er the infant's trackless grave."

Tis God alone can scatter thee at will, The burial was a solemn and affecting scene; but, Or by his counsel guide thee on thy way. M. alas! how soon did mirth and thoughtlessness succeed. The human heart is the same on sea as on land. The impression, produced by the late terrific tempest and the

Original. death on board, resembled the snow-flake falling upon

ON HOPE. the flinty rock-it passed away, and no mark was left.

On the twentieth day out, our noble ship was introduced into her transatlantic home, in the “Prince's

AXGELIC beam! thou cheer'st the heart Dock, Liverpool.” Thus safely moored, our perils

With radiance, heaven-born and divine; o'er, the scene irresistibly led my mind to contemplate

0, cling to me! let us not part; the triumphant landing of the Christian voyager on

But closer let thy tendrils twine the shores of blissful immortality. On our left was

Around me let them, clust'ring, cling, moored an East Indiaman, just arrived-her bulwarks

To strengthen, 'mid the storms of life; stove-her masts in shivers—her sails and rigging rent

And round me may thy golden wing in fragments. She barely made her port. Christian

Be spread, in nature's dying strife! friend, how shall our voyage on life's tempestuous

Bereft of thee, each scene would fade ocean end? Shall an entrance be ministered to you

Life's pathway then would cheerless beabundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord

Its brightest sunshine turn to shadeand Savior Jesus Christ? Or will you, as by fire, make the heavenly port? Now spread your canvass,

To billows change my smoothest sea.

Dark blighting cares would fill the breast, and catch the celestial breeze-aim at high attainments

Smiles ne'er would lighten up the eye, in usefulness and holiness. Then, in full trim, will

Nought check fierce passion's stern control. you bid farewell to the shores of time; and amidst the

Our cherish'd wish would be to die bursting halleluiahs of the ransomed hosts that have

Το
pass

from this cold clime away, crossed the flood and gone before, will you, first in

And leave each dark deserted scene, song, and nearest the throne for ever dwell.

To wake in an unclouded day,
“ Then firmly let us grasp the helm,

And view again its smile serene.
Though loud the billows roar;
And soon, our toils and dangers past,

Hope, that blest feeling, gift divine,
Our anchor we shall safely cast,

A precious gem to mortals giv'n;
On Canaan's happy shore."

It radiant in God's courts shall shine,
B. W. C.

Undimm'd amid the joys of heaven.

HYMN.
Wur those fears? behold, 'tis Jesus

Holds the helm and guides the ship
Spread the sails, and catch the breezes

Sent to waft us through the deep.

Original.

TO A CLOUD.
Cloud! that careerest through the trackless air,

How dark and all-mysterious art thou!
Thy very lightnings, with their vivid glare,

Deepen the gloom that rests upon thy brow. Who can reveal the secrets of thy womb

Who tell what thunders in thy bosom sleepAnd who the forms that thou wilt yet assume,

As, changing still, thou cleav’st the airy deep? E'en Fancy's self, grown weary in the flight,

That boldly would thy mysteries unfold, Furls its tired wing, and like a bird at night,

Sinks down to rest—thy secrets still untold. We hear thy thunders bursting from afar,

And see, athwart thy breast, thy lightning's gleam; And then, we deem the elements at war,

But gore and death are wanting to the dream.

Though the shore we hope to land on,

Only by report is known,
Yet we freely all abandon,

Led by that report alone.
Render'd safe by his protection,

We shall pass the wat'ry waste-
Trusting to his wise direction,

We shall gain the port at last!
0, what pleasures there await us!

There the tempests cease to roar;
There it is that those who hate us
Can molest our peace no more.

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