Imatges de pÓgina
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A hand's breadth hence leaps up, laughs out as an angel

crowned A strong full fountain of flowers overflowing above and

around. The boughs and the blossoms in triumph salute with adoring

mirth The womb that bare them, the glad green mother, the sun

bright earth. Downward sweeping, as song subsides into silence, none May hear what sound is the word's they speak to the brooding

sun.

None that hearken may hear; man may but pass and adore, And humble his heart in thanksgiving for joy that is now no

more.

And sudden, afront and ahead of him, joy is alive and aflame On the shrine whose incense is given of the godhead, again the

same.

Pale and pure as a maiden secluded in secret and cherished

with fear, One sweet glad hawthorn smiles as it shrinks under shelter,

screened By two strong brethren whose bounteous blossom outsoars it,

year after year, While earth still cleaves to the live spring's breast as a

babe unweaned. Never was amaranth fairer in fields where heroes of old found

rest, Never was asphodel sweeter; but here they endure not long, Though ever the sight that salutes them again and adores

them awhile is blest, And the heart is a hymn, and the sense is a soul, and the

soul is a song. Alone on a dyke's trenched edge, and afar from the blossom-,

ing wildwood's verge, Laughs and lightens a sister, triumphant in love-lit pride; Clothed round with the sun, and inviolate; her blossoms exult

as the springtide surge, When the wind and the dawn enkindle the snows of the

shoreward tide.

Hardly the worship of old that rejoiced as it knelt in the

vision Shown of the God new-born whose breath is the spirit of

spring Hailed ever with love more strong and defiant of death's deri

sion A joy more perfect than here we mourn for as May takes

wing. Time gives it and takes it again and restores it; the glory,

the wonder, The triumph of lustrous blossom that makes of the steep

sweet bank

One visible marvel of music inaudible, over and under,
Attuned as in heaven, pass hence and return for the sun to

thank,
The stars and the sun give thanks for the glory bestowed and

beholden,
For the gladness they give and rejoice in, the night and the

dawn and the day;
But nought they behold when the world is aflower and the

season is golden
Makes answer as meet and as sweet as the flower that itself
is May.

A. C. Siinburne.
The Athenaeum.

THE ORNITHOLOGY OF TENNYSON.

ern

Readers of Tennyson must have ob- ace to his "History of British Birds:"" served that the poet was an ardent -“The habits of the bird during the bird-lover; but the completeness of his breeding season, at the two periods of acquaintance with bird-life is recog. migration and in winter; its mode of nized perhaps only by the few.

In

flight and of progression on the ground, these days of “higher education" poets in the trees, or on the water; its song and writers have to beware of small and its various call and alarm notes; inaccuracies,-neither poetic license nor its food and its mode of procuring it imagination's lofty flight will serve as at different seasons of the year; its a safeguard from the hawk-eyed mod- migrations, the dates of arrival and de

critic who goes about seeking parture, the routes it chooses, and the whom he may detect. To-day Wolfe winter quarters it selects; and above would scarcely have ventured to intro- all, every particular respecting its duce his

breeding, when it begins to build, how

many broods it rears in the season, the Struggling moonbeam's misty light.

place it selects in which to build its

nest, the material it uses for the purin face of the fact that Mr. Nasmyth,

pose, the number of eggs it lays, the with incisive scientific accuracy, in

variation in their color, size and shape, forms us on the authority of that un.

-all these particulars are the real hisimpeachable witness, the Nautical Al

tory of a bird.” manac, that upon January 16th, 1809,

The poet falls into no common errors, the moon was scarcely a day old and

for him the swallow and the martin practically invisible! It is easy to err;

are distinct. Twice the situation in perhaps after all Keats's nightingale

which the latter build their nests is rewas only a humble sedge-warbler; most

ferred to: nightingales are. But in Tennyson's ornithology no flaws can be detected, Roof-haunting martins warm their He reveals in hundred delicate

eggs, touches his knowledge of bird-life, his

andfull acquaintance with all those points which Seebohm summarizes in the pref

The martin-haunted eaves.

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The May-fly is torn by the swallow,

the sparrow speared by the shrike, And the whole little wood where I sit

is a world of plunder and prey,

sings Maud's disconsolate lover, defining with scientific accuracy

no less than with alliterative charm, the feeding habits of the swallow and the cruelty of the butcher-bird.

One small fact impressed itself sufficiently upon the poet's mind to deserve repeated notice.

As careful robins eye the delver's toil

The protective coloring of both birds and eggs is a subject which increasingly occupies the attention of ornithol. ogists and oologists. Upon their plumage depends the very existence of many birds and the survival of their young in that race which is to the fit. test. No better example of protective plumage could have been given than that of the ptarmigan. This bird, which in British latitudes is to be found chiefly in the Highlands and mountainous districts of the North, so closely resembles, when clothed in its summer plumage, the boulder-strewn hillsides 'which it frequents, that its detection is almost impossible. But with the approach of winter and the consequent covering of the hills with a mantle of snow, the ptarmigan changes his appearance. His sober hues are gradually replaced by snowy plumage, and as a pure white bird he defies his enemies. But if this transformation

occurs twice in “Geraint and Enid," first in describing the keen glance with which Geraint scanned his bride-elect in her faded silk, and secondly the still keener scrutiny of her face after his harsh words. The feeding habits of the robin are here expressed in one brief line. Any one who cares to watch one of these pretty little creatures perched near the gardener as he turns up the soil can testify to the bright-eyed watchfulness, head on one

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(resembling as it does the adaptability No nightingale delighteth to prolong to climatic changes of the Arctic hare

Her low preamble all alone

More than my soul to hear her echo'd and the ermine) takes place too early

song in the season before the ground is Throb thro' the ribbed stone. snow-covered, the ptarmigan becomes an easy prey to the sportsman.

One cannot but think that the poet But what of the nightingale? How

must have seen these little combatants does Tennyson write of this bird to as he took his daily walk:whom poets have sung in all ages? It is the symbol used throughout the love

As the thistle shakes

When three gray linnets wrangle for passages in "Harold.”

the seed.

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From the woods

The sparrow's chirrup on the roof. Came voices of the well-contented doves,

And oft I heard the tender dove The lark could scarce get out his notes In firry woods making moan.

for joy But shook his song together as he The building rook 'ill call from the near'd

windy tall elm tree His happy home the ground. To left And the tufted plover pipe, along the and right

fallow lea. The cuckoo told his name to all the bills,

A blot in Heaven, the Raven, Aying The mellow ouzel fluted in the elm,

high, The red-cap whistled; and the nightin- Croaked.

gale Sang loud, as tho' he were the bird of The swamp, where hums the dropping day.

snipe.

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Of old sang Horace in his bantering vein

That every age gives birth to yet a worse;

It was the time when a slow-ripened curse
Brake on the ancient world, and men were fain
To veil with laughter hearts which heaved in pain.

But the new era entered to reverse
That heartless presage, and our England knows

A law more fruitful. In her Abbey fane,
Where she has gathered under one proud roof

The rich memorials of her growing state,
Among the noble dead in serried rows

That line the sacred walls, all laureate,
Stand the three Cannings, as a double proof
That a great sire may boast a son as great.

Robert F. Horton.

Good Words.

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