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and walked on in silence, hanging her head to con
VII. ceal the two bright tears which had come into her eyes. She was so sorry, so very sorry. But what! Poor little Myrtle Cottage looked very small and could she do ? . Guy had walked on to the end of shabby as she drove up in the darkness to the door. the rose-garden, and Belle had followed. Now, in- A brilliantillumination streamed from all the windows. stead of turning towards the house, he had come out Martha rubbed her elbows at the sight of the gorinto the bright-looking kitchen-garden, with its red geous equipage. Fanny came to the door, surprised, brick walls hung with their various draperies of laughing, giggling, mysterious. Everything looked lichen and mosses, and garlands of clambering fruit. much as usual, except that a large and pompousFour little paths led up to the turf carpet which had looking gentleman was sitting on the drawing-room been laid down in the centre of the garden; here a sofa, and beside him Anna, with a huge ring on her fountain plashed with a tranquil fall of waters upon fourth finger, attempting to blush as Belle came inwater; all sorts of sweet, kitchen-herbs, mint, and to the room. Belle saw that she was not wanted, thyme, and parsley, were growing along the straight- and ran up stairs to her father, who was better, and cut beds. Birds were pecking at the nets along the sitting in the arm-chair by his bedside. The poor walls ; one little sparrow, that had been drinking at old man nearly cried with delight and surprise, held the fountain, flew away as they approached. The out both his shaking hands to her, and clung tenfew bright-colored straggling flowers caught the sun-derly to the bright young daughter. Belle sat light and reflected it in sparks like the water. beside him, holding his hand, asking him a hundred
The master of this pleasant place put out his questions, kissing his wrinkled face and cheeks, and great clumsy hand, and took hold of Belle's soft telling him all that had happened. Mr. Barly, too, reluctant fingers. “Ah, Belle,” he said, “is there had news to give. The fat gentleman down stairs, no hope for me? Will there never be any chance ?” he told Belle, was no other than Anna's old admirer,
“I wish with all my heart there was a chance," the doctor, of whom mention has been made. He said poor Belle, pulling away her hand impatiently. had re-proposed the day before, and was now sitting “ Why do you wound and pain me by speaking on the sofa on probation. Fanny's prospects, too, again and again of what is far best forgotten? Dear | seemed satisfactory. “She assures me," said Mr. Mr. Griffiths, I will marry you to-morrow, if you de- Barly, “ that young Ogden is on the point of comsire it," said the girl, with a sudden impulse, turning ing forward. An old man like me, my dear, is pale and remembering all that she owed to his for- naturally anxious to see his children settled in life bearance and gentleness; “but please, please don't and comfortably provided for. I don't know who. ask it." She looked so frightened and desperate would be good enough for my Belinda. Not that that poor Guy felt that this was worse than any- awkward lout of a Griffiths. No, no; we must look thing, and sadly shook his head.
out better than that.” “Don't be afraid,” he said. “I don't want to “0, papa, if you knew how good and low kind marry you against your will, or keep you here. Yes, he is !” said Belle, with a sudden revulsion of feelyou shall go home, and I will stop here alone, and ing; but she broke off abruptly and spoke of somecut my throat, if I find I cannot bear the place with thing else. out you. I am only joking. I dare say I shall do The other maid who had already gone to bed the very well,” said Griffiths, with a sigh; and he turned night before when Belle arrived at the cottage, gave away and began stamping off in his clumsy way. a loud shriek when she went into the room next Then he suddenly stopped and looked back. Belle morning and found some one asleep in the bed. was standing in the sunshine with her face hidden Belle awoke, laughed and explained, and asked her in her hands. She was so puzzled, and sorry, and to bring up her things. hopeless, and mournful. The only thing she could “Bring 'em hup ?” said the girl. “What, all do was to cry, poor child, — and, by some instinct, them 'ampers that's come by the cart? No, miss, Griffiths guessed that she was crying; he knew it, - that's more than me and Martha have the strength his heart melted with pity. The poor fellow came for. I should crick my back if I were to attempt back trembling. “My dearest,” he said, " don't cry. for to do such a thing." What a brute I am to make you cry. Tell me any- “Hampers, — what bampers ?” Belle asked; but thing in the whole world I can do to make you when she went down she found the little passage happy."
piled with cases, flowers and game, and preserves, "If I could only do anything for you," said Belle, and some fine old port for Mr. Barly, and some roses " that would make me happier.”
for Belle. As Belinda came down stairs, in her “Then come back, my dear," said Guy, “and fresh morning dress, Anna, who had been poking don't fly away yet forever, as you threatened just about and examining the various packages, looked now. Come back and cheer up my mother, and up with offended dignity. make tea and a little sunshine for me, until — until " I think, considering that I am mistress here," some confounded fellow comes and carries you off,” said she, “these hampers should have been directed said poor Griffiths.
to me instead of to you, Belinda. Mr. Griffiths “0, that will never be. Yes ; I'll come," said strangely forgets. Indeed, I fear that you are too Belle earnestly. “I'll go home for a week and wanting in any great sense of ladylike propriety." come back ; indeed I will."
“Prunes, prism, propriety," said Belle, gayly. “ Only let me know," said Mr. Griffiths, "and my - Never mind, dear Anna; he's sent the things for mother will send the carriage for you. Shall we all of us. Mr. Griffiths certainly never meant me say a week?" he added, anxious to drive a hard to drink two dozen bottles of port wine in a week." bargain.
“ You are evading the question,” said Anna. “I "Yes," said Belinda, smiling; " I 'll write and tell have been wishing to talk to you for some time you the day.”
past, - come into the dining-room, if you please." Nothing would induce Griffiths to order the car- It seems almost impossible to believe, and yet I riage until after dinner, and it was quite late at cannot help fearing, that out of sheer spite and night when Belle got home.
| envy Anna Barly had even then determined that, if she could prevent it, Belinda should never go | the Ogdens drove up to carry Fanny off to the happy back to Castle Gardens again, but remain in the regions of Capulet Square (E. for Elysium, Anna I cottage. The sight of the pretty things which had think would have docketed the district), to Belinda been given her there, all the evidences which told of those days seemed slow, and dark and dim, and the esteem and love in which she was held, mad-almost hopeless at times. dened the foolish woman. I can give no other rea- On the day on which Belinda was to have reson for the way in which she opposed Belinda's turned there came a letter to me telling her story return to Mrs. Griffiths. “Iler duty is at home,” | plainly enough: “I must not come back, my dearsaid Anna. “I myself shall be greatly engaged est Miss Williamson," she wrote. “I am going to with Thomas," - so she had already learned to call write to Mrs. Griffiths and dear kind Dir. Guy toDr. Robinson. " Fanny also is preoccupied; Belin- morrow to tell them so. Anna does not think it is! da must remain.”
right. Papa clings to me and wants me, now that When Belle demurred, and said that for the next both my sisters are going to leave him. How often few weeks she would like to return as she had prom- I shall think of you all, - of all your goodness to me, ised, and stay until Mrs. Griffiths was suited with of the beautiful roses, and my dear little room! Du another companion, Anna's indignation rose and you think Nir. Guy would let me take one or two overpowered her dignity. Was it her sister who books as a remembrance, — Hume's History of Eng. was so oblivious of the laws of society, propriety, land, Porteus's Sermons, and Essays on Reform? modesty. Anna feared that Belinda had not re- I should like to have something to remind me of you flected upon the strange appearance her conduct all, and to look at sometimes, since they say I am must have to others, to the Ogdens, to them all. not to see you all again. Good by, and thank you What was the secret attraction which took her and Mrs. H. a thousand thousand times. — Your back? Anna said she had rather not inquire, and ever, ever affectionate BELINDA. P. S. — Mght I went on with her oration. “Unmaidenly, - not also ask for that little green volume of the Golden to be thought of, — the advice of those whose ex- Treasury which is up in the tower room?" perience might be trusted,” — does one not know This was what Guy had feared all along. Once the rigmarole by heart? When even the father, she was gone, he knew by instinct she would never who had been previously talked to, sided with his come back. I hardly know how it fared with the eldest daughter, when Thomas, who was also called poor fellow all this time. He kept out of our way, into the family conclave, nodded bis head in an and would try to escape me, but once by chance ominous manner, poor little Belinda, frightened, met him, and I was shocked by the change which shaken, undecided, almost promised that she would had come over him. I had my own opinion, as we all do as they desired; and as she promised, the thought have at times. H. and I had talked it over, — for of poor Guy's grief and wistful haggard face came old women are good for something after all, and can before her, and her poor little heart ached and sank sometimes play a sentimental part in life as well as at the thought. But not even Belinda, with all her young ones. It seemed to us impossible that courage, could resist the decision of so much expe-| Belinda should not relent to so much goodness rience, or Anna's hints or innuendoes, or, more in- and unselfishness, and come back again some day surmountable than all the rest, a sudden shyness never to go any more. We knew enough of Anna and consciousness which had come over the poor Barly to guess the part she had played, nor did we little maiden, who turned crimson with shame and despair of seeing Belinda among us once more. annoyance.
But some one must help her, she could not reach 13 Belinda had decided as she was told, - had done unassisted ; and so I told Mrs. Griffiths, who had reas her conscience bid her, — and yet there was but marked upon her son's distress and altered looks. little satisfaction in this duty accomplished. For “If you will lend us the carriage," I said, “either about half an hour she went about feeling like a H. or I will go over to Dumbleton to-morrow, and I heroine, and then without any reason or occasion, I doubt not that we shall bring her.” H. went. She it seemed to her that the mask had come off her told me about it afterwards. Anna was fortunately 1) face, that she had discovered herself to be a traitor- absent. Mr. Barly was down stairs, and H. was able ess, that she had betrayed and abandoned her kind to talk to him a little bit before Belinda came down. est friends ; she called herself a selfish, ungrateful The poor old man always thought as he was told to wretch; she wondered what Guy would think of her; think, and since his illness he was more uncertain she was out of temper, out of spirits, out of patience and broken than ever. He was dismayed when H. with herself, and the click of the blind swinging in told him in her decided way that he was probably the draft was unendurable. The complacent ex- sacrificing two people's happiness for life by his illpression of Anna's bandsome face put her teeth on timed interference. When at last Belinda came edge. When Fanny tumbled over the footstool down, she looked almost as ill as Griffiths himself. with a playful shriek, to everybody's surprise Belinda She rushed into H.'s arms with a scream of delight, burst out crying.
and eagerly asked a hundred questions. “ How Those few days were endless, slow, dull, unbear- were they all, - what were they all doing?" able, - every second brought its pang of regret and H. was very decided. Everybody was very ill discomfort and remorse. It seemed to Belinda that and wanted Belinda back. “Your father says he her ears listened, her mouth talked, her eyes looked can spare you very well," said she. “Why not come at the four walls of the cottage, at the furze on the back with me this afternoon, if only for a time? common, at the faces of her sisters, with a sort of is your duty," II. continued, in her dry way." mechanical effort. As if she were acting her daily should not leave them in this uncertainty.”. “GO, life, not living it naturally and without effort. Only my child, --- pray go," urged Mr. Barly. And at when she was with her father did she feel uncon- last Belinda consented shyly, nothing loath. strained; but even then there was an unexpressed H. began to question her when she had got her reproach in her heart like a dull pain that she could safe in the carriage, Belinda said she had not be not quiet. And so the long days lagged. Although well. She could not sleep, she said. She had had Dr. Robinson enlivened them with his presence, and bad dreams. She blushed and confessed that she
had dreamt of Gay lying dead in the kitchen-garden. I by the autumn rains ; when Freya, the goddess of She had gone about the house trying, indeed she youth and love, went forth over the earth each had tried to be cheerful and busy as usual, but she spring, while the flowers broke forth under her tread felt unhappy, ungrateful. « 0, what a foolish girl over the brown moors, and the birds weleomed her I am,” she said. All the lights were burning in the with song; when, according to Olaus Magnus, the little town, the west was glowing and reflected in Goths and South Swedes had, on the return of the river, the boats trembled and shot through the spring, a mock battle between summer and winshiny waters, and the people were out upon the ter, and “ welcomed the returning splendor of the banks, as they crossed the bridge again on their way sun with dancing and mutual feasting, rejoicing from Dumbleton. Belle was happier certainly, but that a better season for fishing and hunting was apcrying from agitation.
proached ?” To those simpler children of a simpler “ Have I made him miserable, poor fellow? O, age, in more direct contact with the daily and yearly I think I shall blame myself all my life,” said she, facts of Nature, and more dependent on them for covering her face with her hands. “O H.! H.! their bodily food and life, winter and spring were what shall I do?”
the two great facts of existence; the symbols, the H. dryly replied that she must be guided by cir- one of death, the other of life; and the battle becumstances, and when they reached Castle Gardens, tween the two — the battle of the sun with dark
er and set her down at the great gate, while ness, of winter with spring, of death with life, of beshe herself went home in the carriage.
reavement with love - lay at the root of all their It was all twilight by this time among the roses. myths and all their creeds. Surely a change has Belinda met the gate-keeper, who touched his hat come over our fancies. The seasons are little to us and told her his master was in the garden; and so now. We are nearly as comfortable in winter as in instead of going into the house she flitted away to- summer, or in spring. Nay, we have begun, of late, wards the garden, crossed the lawns, and went in to grumble at the two latter as much as at the forand out among the bowers and trellises looking for mer, and talk (and not without excuse this year), of him, - frightened by her own temerity at first, gain-the treacherous month of May, and of "summer ing courage by degrees. It was so still, so sweet, so having set in with its usual severity." We work for dark; the stars were coming out in the evening sky, the most part in cities and towns, and the seasons a meteor went flashing from east to west, a bat flew pass by us unheeded. May and June are spent by across her path; all the scent hung heavy in the air. most educated people anywhere rather than among
Twice Belinda called out timidly, “Mr. Griffiths, birds and flowers. They do not escape into the Mr. Griffiths !” but no one answered. Then she country until the elm hedges are growing black, and remembered her dream in sudden terror, and hur the song-birds silent, and the hay cut, and all the ried into the kitchen-garden to the fountain where virgin bloom of the country has passed into a sober they had parted.
and matronly ripeness, — if not into the sere and What had happened? Some one was lying on yellow leaf. Our very landscape painters, till Cresthe grass. Was this her dream ? was it Guy ? wick arose and recalled to their minds the fact that was he dead ? bad she killed bim? Belinda ran up trees were sometimes green, were wont to paint few to him, seized his hand, and called him Guy, - dear but brown autumnal scenes. As for the song of Guy; and Guy, who had fallen asleep from very birds, of which in the middle age no poet could say weariness and sadness of heart, opened his eyes to enough, our modern poets seem to be forgetting that hear himself called by the voice he loved best in the birds ever sing. world; while the sweetest eyes, full of tender tears, It was not so of old. The climate, perhaps, was were gazing anxiously into his ugly face. Ugly? more severe than now; the transition from winter Fairy tales have told us this, at least, that ugliness to spring more sudden, like that of Scandinavia and dulness do not exist for those who truly love. now. Clearage of forests and drainage of land Had she ever thought him rough, uncouth, unlova have equalized our seasons, or rather made them ble ? Ah! she had been blind in those days; she more uncertain. More broken winters are followed knew better now. As they walked back through by more broken springs; and May-day is no longer the twilight garden that night, Guy said humbly, - a marked point to be kept as a festival by all child
“I sha'n't do you any credit, Belinda; I can only like hearts. The merry month of May is merry love you."
only in stage songs. The May garlands and dances * Only !” said Belinda.
are all but gone : the borrowed plate, and the milkShe did n't finish her sentence; but he understood maids who borrowed it, gone utterly. No more very well what she meant.
does Mrs. Pepys go to lie at Woolwich, "in order to a little ayre and to gather May-dew" for her com
plexion, by Mrs. Turner's advice. “A CHARM OF BIRDS.”
The Maypole is gone likewise; and never more BY CHARLES KINGSLEY.
shall the puritan soul of a Stubbs be aroused in inIs it merely a fancy that we English, the educated dignation at seeing “ against Maie, every parish, people among us at least, are losing that love for towne, and village, assemble themselves together, spring which among our old forefathers rose almost both men, women, and children, olde and young, all to worship? That the perpetual miracle of the bud- indifferently, and goe into the woodes and groves, ding leaves and the returning song-birds awakes no hilles and mountaines, where they spend the night longer in us the astonishment which it awoke yearly in pastyme, and in the morning they returne, bringamong the dwellers in the old world; when the sun ing with them birch bowes and braunches of trees was a god who was sick to death each winter, and to deck their assembly withal. .... They have returned in spring to life and health, and glory; twentie or fourtie yoke of oxen, every oxe having a when the death of Adonis, at the autumnal equinox, sweete nosegay of flowers tyed on the tippe of his was wept over by the Syrian women, and the death hornes, and these draw home this Maypole (this of Baldur, in the colder north, by all living things, stincking idol rather) which is covered all over with even to the dripping trees, and the rocks furrowed flowers and hearbes, with two or three hundred
men, women, and children, following it with great ; manly confidence in himself and in this beloved. devotion. . . . . And then they ialto banquet and, in the true strain of the nightingale, — seast, daunce and leap about it, as the heathen peo
*Verstohlen gebt der Monti al ple did at the dedication of their idolles, whereof
Biat, triau, Blumelen.. this is a perfect pattern, or the thing itself"
Iraren Silberwölkchen führt ein Land
Rosen in. Thul, Madel im Saal. o schön Pos This, and much more, says poor Stubbe, in his i * Anatomie of Abuses,” and had, no doubt, good
tad siehst du mich, reason enough for his virtuous indignation at Mav
Tad siebist du se,
Biac, blau, Blumelein. day seandals. But people may be made dull witir
Zwei treure Herzen sah stars out being made good : and the direct and only er i konen . Thai u. 6. w. feet of putting down May games and such like was There is little sense in the words. doubtless, accord to cut off the dwellers in towns from all healthy
all healthy ing to our modern notions of Toetry: but they are eointumon with Nature, and leave them to mere like enongh to the long, plaintive notes of the metrtsottishness and brutality. Yet perhaps the May games died out, partiy, be
ingale to say all that the poet has to say, again and
again, through all his stanzas. caust the feelings which had given rise to them died.
Thus the birds were, to the medieval singers, out before improved personal comforts. Of old
Diolc, their orchestra. or rather their chorus; from the birds
their con men and women fared bardir, and slept cold, and there
and ther caught their melodies: the sounds which the were thankiu: to Almighty God for every beam of hinda sunshine which rouse them out of their long hyber-,
birds gave them ther rendered into words.
And the same bird ker-note surelt is to be traced nation : tuankiui for every flower and every bird in the early English and Scotch songs and ballads, wheb reminded them that joy was stronger than with their often meaningless refrains. suns for the sorrow, and lite tuan death. With the spring came mere pleasure of singing. not only labur, but enjoyment, —
- Binperie. O Binnorie, * In the spring the young man's fancy lightiy turned to thoughts of lose.
- With a her Hilleln and a bor lo lan.
And the birt and the broom blorarns bannie, As lads and lasses, who had been pining for each other by their winter firesides, met again, like Dapb
- She sat down belof a thorn, nis and Chloe, by shaugh and lea; and learnt to
Fine fiorers in the valles. sing from the songs of birds, and to be faithful from
And there has she her sweet babe bort.
And the green leaves they grow rarely." tbeir faithfulness
Then went out troops of fair damsels to seek spring i Or even those -- fal-la-las," and other nonsense me garlands in the forest, am Scheffel has lately sung frains, which, if they were not meant to imitate bird once more in his Frau Aventiure : and, while the notes, for what were ther meant dead leaves rattled beneath their feet, hymned Lai In the old ballads, too, one mat hear the bird Regine Arrillouse to the music of some Minne-key-note. He who wrote (and a great rhymer be singer, whose song was as the song of birds; to was). —
"As I was watisins all alade, wbom the birds were iriends, fellow-lovers, teachers,
I heard twa corbies making a mane, * mirrors of all which he felt within himself of joyful and tender, true and pure : friends to be led here
had surely the “ mane” of the corbies" in his ears after (as Walther von der Vogelweide had them
before it shaped itself into words in his mind : and fed) with crumbs upon his grave.
he had listened to many a wood-wele * who first True melody, it must be remembered, is unknown
thrummed on harp or fiddled on crowd. how in the tropice, and peculiar to the races of those
In suminer, when the shawes be sbene, temperatu climes, into wbich the song birds come in
And leaves be large and long,
It is full merry in fair forest spring. Some of the old German Minnelieder seem
To hear the fowlés song. actually copied from the songs of birds. - Tander
The wood-wele sang, and wolde not cease, adei" does not merely ask the nightingale to tell no
Sitting upon the spray;
So loud, it wakened Robin Hood tales ; it repeats, in its cadences, the nightingale's
In the greenwood where he lay." bong, as the old Minnesinger heard it when he nestled
And Shakespeare, - are not his scraps of song beneath the lime-tree with his love. They are often
saturated with these same bird notes? Where almost as inarticulate, these old singers, as the birds
the bee sucks,” “ When daisies pied," " Under the from whom they copied their poter , the thinnest
greenwood-tree." - It was a lover and his las, ebain of thought links together some birdlike re
- When daffodils begin to peer," - Ye spotted frain : but they make up for their want of logic and
snakes," have all a ring in them which was caught reflection by the depth of their passion, the perfectness of their barmony with nature.
not in the roar of London, or the babble of the The inspired
: Globe theatre, but in the woods of Charlecote, and
c Swabian, wandering in the pine-forest, listens to the blackbird's voice till it becomes his own voice : and
along the banks of Avon, from
lo be breaks out, with the very carol of the black
The ouzel-cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill ; bird,
The throstle with his pote so true
The wren with little quill; - Vogele in Tannenwald pfeifet so hell
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark, Preifet de Wald aus uud en..Wo wird mein Schatze sein?
The plain-song cuckoo gray," – Vogele im Langenwald plellet so beli !"
and all the rest of the birds of the air. And be has nothing more to say. That is his whole Why is it again, that so few of our modern songs soul for the time being; and, like a bird, he sings it are truly songful, and fit to be set to music! over and over again, and never tires.
not that the writers of them - persons often of mach Another, a Nieder-Rbeinischer, watches the moon taste and poetic imagination - have gone for the rise over the Lowenburg, and thinks upon his love inspiration to the intellect, rather than to the car within the castle hall, till be breaks out in a strange, That (as Shelley does by the skylark, and Wor sad, tender melody, — not without stateliness and worth by the cuckoo), instead of trying to sing
the birds, they only think and talk about the birds, the chaffinch, and the metallic clinking of two or and therefore however beautiful and true the three sorts of titmice. But above the tree-tops, thoughts and words may be, they are not song ? rising, hovering, sinking, the woodlark is Auting, That they have not, like the mediæval songsters, tender and low. Above the pastures outside the studied the speech of the birds, the primaval teach- skylark sings, – as he alone can sing; and close by, ers of melody, nor even melodies already extant, from the hollies rings out the blackbird's tenor, round which, as round a framework of pure music, rollicking, audacious, humorous, all but articulate. their thoughts and images might crystallize them- From the tree above him rises the treble of the selves, certain thereby of becoming musical likewise.thrush, pure as the song of angels : more pure, perThe best modern song-writers, Burns and Moore, haps, in tone, though neither so varied nor so rich, were inspired by their own old national airs; and as the song of the nightingale. And there, in the followed them, Moore at least, with a reverent fidel- next holly, is the nightingale himself: now croaking ity, which has had its full reward. They wrote like a frog; now talking aside to his wife on the nest words to music; and not, as modern poets are wont, below; and now bursting out into that song, or wrote the words first, and left others to set music to cycle of songs, in which if any man finds sorrow, the words. They were right; and we are wrong. he himself surely finds none. All the morning he As long as song is to be the expression of pure emo- will sing; and again at evening, till the small hours, tion, so long it must take its key from music, and the chill before the dawn : but if his voice which is pure emotion, untranslated as yet into the sounds melancholy at night, heard all alone, or only grosser medium of thought and speech, - often (as mocked by the ambitious black-cap, it sounds in the in the case of Mendelssohn's songs without words) bright morning that which it is, the fulness of joy not to be translated into it at all.
and love. True, our own great living poet tells us And so it may be, that in some simpler age, poets how may go back, like the old Minnesingers, to the birds
"In the topmost height of joy
His passion clasps a secret griet," of the forest, and learn of them to sing.
And little do most of them know how much there and Coleridge may have been somewhat too severe is to learn ; what variety of character, as well as when he guessed that variety of emotion, may be distinguished by the "Some night-wandering man, whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong, practised ear, in a “charm of birds” (to use the old
Or slow distemper, or neglected love southern phrase), from the wild cry of the missel
(And so, poor wretch, filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale thrush, ringing from afar in the first bright days of
Of his own sorrow), - he and such as he, March, a passage of one or two bars repeated three
First named these sounds & melancholy strain, or four times, and then another and another, clear
And many a poet echoes the conceit." and sweet, and yet defiant (for the great “storm- But that the old Greek poets were right, and had cock ” loves to sing when rain and wind is coming some grounds for the myth of Philomela, I do not on, and faces the elements as boldly as he faces dispute, though Sophocles, speaking of the nighthawk and crow) — down to the delicate warble of ingales of Colonos, certainly does not represent them the wren, who slips out of his hole in the brown as lamenting. The Elizabethan poets, however, bank, where he has huddled through the frost with when they talked of Philomel, “ her breast against wife and children, all folded in each other's arms a thorn,” were unaware that they and the Greeks like human beings, for the sake of warmth, - which, were talking of two different birds, – that our alas! does not always suffice ; for many a bunch of English Lusciola Luscinia is not Lusciola Philomela, wrens may be found, frozen and shrivelled, after which (I presume) is the Bulbul of the East. The such a winter as this last. Yet even he, sitting at true Philomel hardly enters Venetia, hardly crosses his housedoor in the low sunlight, says grace for all the Swiss Alps, ventures not into the Rhine-land mercies (as a little child once worded it in a song and Denmark, but penetrates (strangely enough) so rapid, so shrill, so loud, and yet so delicately farther into South Sweden than our own Luscinia : modulated, that you wonder at the amount of soul ranging meanwhile over all Central Europe, Persia, within that tiny body; and then stops suddenly, as and the East, even to Egypt. Whether his song be a child who has said its lesson, or got to the end of really sad, let those who have heard him say. But the sermon, gives a self-satisfied flirt of his tail, and as for our own Luscinia, who winters not in Egypt goes in again to sleep.
and Arabia, but in Morocco and Algeria, the only Character? I know not how much variety of note of his which can be mistaken for sorrow, is character there may be between birds of the same rather one of too great joy; that cry, which is his species, but between species and species the variety highest feat of art, which he cannot utter when he is endless, and is shown — as I fondly believe - in first comes to our shores, but practises carefully, the difference of their notes. Each has its own slowly, gradually, till he has it perfect by the beginspeech, inarticulate, expressing not thought but ning of June; that cry, long, repeated, loudening hereditary feeling; save a few birds who, like those and sharpening in the intensity of rising passion, little dumb darlings, the spotted flycatchers, who till it stops suddenly, exhausted at the point where have built under my bedroom window this twenty pleasure, from very keenness, turns to pain. years, seem to have absolutely nothing to say, and How different in character from his song is that accordingly have the wit to hold their tongues; and of the gallant little black-cap in the tree above him. devote the whole of their small intellect to sitting A gentleman he is of a most ancient house, perhaps on the iron rails, fitting off them a yard or two to the oldest of European singing-birds. How perfect catch a butterfly in air, and flitting back with it to must have been the special organization which has their nest.
spread, seemingly without need of alteration or imBut listen (to return to the charm of birds in provement, from Norway to the Cape of Good Hope, any sequestered woodland, on a bright forenoon in from Japan to the Azores. How many ages and June. *As you try to disentangle the medley of years must have passed since his forefathers first got sounds, the first, perhaps, which will strike your ear their black caps ? And how intense and fruitful will be the loud, harsh, monotonous, flippant song of must have been the original vitality which, after so