Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Edinburgh

[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

HP 4 B.3 EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CLXXXII.

JULY, 1831.

Vol. XXX.

AUDUBON'S ORNITHOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY.

Jolu Wilson,

INTRODUCTION.

The present Age, which, after all, been the gradual extension of its is a very pretty and pleasant one, is study from stale books, written by feelingly alive and widely awake to men, to that book ever fresh from the manifold delights and advantages the hand of God. And the second with which the study of Natural -another yet the same-has been Science swarms, and especially that the gradual change wrought by a phibranch of it which unfolds the cha- losophical spirit in the observation, racter and habits, physical, moral, delineation, and arrangement of the and intellectual, of those most inte- facts and laws with which the science resting and admirable creatures- is conversant, and which it exhibits in Birds. It is familiar not only with the most perfect harmony and order. the shape and colour of beak, bill, Students now range for themselves, claw, talon, and plume, but with according to their capacities and the purposes for which they are de- opportunities, fields, woods, rivers, signed, and with the instincts which lakes, and seas; and proficients, no guide their use in the beautiful eco- longer confining themselves to mere nomy of all-gracious Nature., We nomenclature, enrich their works remember the time when the very with anecdotes and traits of characword Ornithology would have requi- ter, which, without departure from red interpretation in mixed com- truth, have imbued bird-biography pany; and when a naturalist was with the double charm of reality looked on as a sort of out-of-the- and romance. way but amiable monster. Now, one How we come to love the Birds of seldom meets with man, woman, Bewick, and White, and the two or child, who does not know a hawk Wilsons, and Montagu, and Mudie, from a handsaw, or even, to adopt the and Knapp, and Selby, and Swainson, more learned reading, from a heron. and Syme, and Audubon, and many shaw; a black swan is no longer er- others, so familiar with their haunts roneously considered a rara avis any and habits, their affections and their more than a black sheep; while the passions, till we feel that they are Glasgow Gander himself, no longer indeed our fellow creatures, and apocryphal, has taken his place in part of one wise and wonderful the national creed, belief in his ex- system !

If there be sermons in istence being merely blended with stones, what think ye of the hymns wonder at his magnitude, and some and psalms, matin and vesper, of the surprise perhaps among the scien- lark, who at heaven's gate sings, – tific, that he should be as yet the of the wren, who pipes her thankssole specimen of that enormous An- givings as the slant sunbeam shoots

athwart the mossy portal of the cave, The chief cause of this advance- in whose fretted roof she builds her ment of knowledge in one of its nest above the waterfall ? most delightful departments, has Ay, these, and many other blame.

VOL. XXX, NO, CLXXXII,

ser.

А

« PreviousContinue »