Page images
PDF
EPUB

interesting bird breeding with us have water, or in the air; and flocks of lapbeen met with, though rarely. It is, wings, distinguished by their pied livery, however, to be regarded as an occasional driven from the moorlands and waste visitor only. Its habits and manners re- lands of the interior, to the southern mind us of the parrot; like the parrot, shores, cover the fallow lands like rooks though its toes are not two before and searching for worms or larvæ, or aptwo behind, it clings in any posture with proach the marshes along the beach, the greatest ease, and is active in the eager for such food as may be here obextreme; its bill consists of two man- tained. But why attempt to number the dibles arched, so as to cross each other, birds, which at this season haunt our and that not always on the same side; shores, and draw their sustenance from the seeds of the fir constitute its princi- the prolific waters ? pal food, and to obtain them it inserts Where are the reptile tribes of our the point of its bill between the scales of island at this season? Not one is to be the fir-cones, and by an adroit late- seen. No, the beautiful snake is torpid ral movement of the cross mandibles, in its retreat; the viper is quiet in its wrenches open the scale, and disengages hole; the frog lies buried in the mud of the seed, which it seizes at the same the marsh or pool; and so does the water moment. Apple and pear trees some- newt, (triton,) and the toad; and the times suffer to a trifling extent, from the lizard in his burrow, in the brake, depredations of flocks of this bird; but or coppice. The food on which these more so on the continent than in our reptiles live is not now within their island. Its visits here are rare, and in reach, were they even active and vigorinconsiderable numbers, except occasion- ous; and their cold blood, never much ally ; for, as is the case with many of exceeding that of the atmospheric our visitors, it sometimes makes its ap- temperature, loses the requisite stimulus pearance in large flocks, and then for of warmth with the decline of summer ; several winters is to be looked for in vain. when, as if aware of the torpidity to be It is, however, one of our earliest visit- undergone, as the means of their preservors; for it breeds in the pine forests of ation, they each retire to their appointed Germany, Sweden, and Poland, during dormitory. How wonderful, how mysthe first months of the spring; and it is terious is that instinct, which the great very remarkable, that in the year 1821, Creator has imparted ! Every creature, as Mr. Selby informs us, this island according to its organization and conwas visited, even as early as the month comitant mode of life, habits, and food, of June, by immense flocks of these according to its animal necessities, is birds, which spread themselves through guided and impelled by an irresistible the country, and were to be seen where- influence. It reasons not, it dreams not ever fir trees were abundant. The of the why and wherefore; it refers not greater part of the flock, as proved by effects to causes ; it is not made wiser the numbers killed, consisted of old fe- by experience; it acts as all its species do males and young birds of the year; their and ever did, and unconscious of the course was northward, as they were seen part it plays in the economy of nature, in the fir tracts of the north of Scotland fulfils its destiny, and contributes its in September after they had disappeared quota to maintain the balance of creafrom the districts south of the Tweed. tion. To man is appointed another line The appearance of a crossbill in Janu- of duties, for him are reserved other ary gives us reason to suppose that it springs of motives and actions : his is a will stay and breed with us.

reasoning soul; and hence between him How thronged are the open lands, near and the most sagacious, or apparently the shore, with various species of the sagacious brute, is a wide gulf, not to be feathered race; wild fowl of all colours, filled up. driven from the inland parts to the mouth But where are the insects ? many in a of rivers, and to bogs and estuaries of the larva state lie buried in the ground; sea, where nature provides them an un- many, unhatched in the egg, wait for failing banquet, when the lakes and spring to emerge devouring caterpillars ; marshes are locked up with frost. Cur many in the chrysalis state sleep torpid lews and whimbrels are sailing on their till the returning warmth shall bid them long and pointed wings; gulls are wheel break forth from their mummy-like ening in easy undulations, and settling and velope, and expand their wings upon the rising, at home, on the land, on the breeze. But some are now alert; the transient sunshine has roused whole, health, and the animation which exercise hosts of gnats, (cuculices, and tipulidæ ;) produces, you will not repent that you they are dancing as if in the exuberance have left the fireside for a season to look of pleasure; in a few hours they will all at nature in “her least attractive dress." be gone, each hastening to its conceal. But what is the severity of this season, ment; but to-morrow's sun will call in our climate, to that of the ice-bound them forth again, should to-morrow be a regions of the north, where genial winter's day. The naked twigs and branches enable

“ Winter holds his unrejoicing court;

And through his airy hall the loud misrule us now to look for the eggs of such in.

Of driving tempest is for ever heard ! sects as deposit them in order upon the There the grim tyrant meditates his wrath, smooth bark, to which they are attached

Arms his fierce winds with all-subduing frost;

Moulds his fierce hail, and treasures up his by a sort of glue or gummy excretion,

snows, which unites them to it securely. Here

With which he now oppresses half the world.

There, undissolving from the first of time, are the eggs of the lackey moth, and Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky; others may soon be found; but here And icy mountains, high on mountains piled, again observe the beautiful operations of

Seem, to the shivering sailor, from afar

Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds. instinct; no insect deposits her eggs on Projected huge and horrid, o'er the surge any tree but that, the leaves or bark of Alps frown on Alps; or hideous rushing down,

As if old chaos was again returned, which is ordained to form the pro- Wide rend the deep, and shake the solid pole. per food of the caterpillar progeny,

Ocean itself no longer can resist when hatched. She makes no mistake,

The binding fury; but in all its rage

of tempest, taken by the boundless frost, for a mistake would be fatal to the con- Is many a fathom to the bottom chained, tinuance of her race, and she is not left

And bid to roar no more-a bleak expanse

Shagg’d o'er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and void to choice in such a matter ; but is in

Of every life, that from the dreary months stinct-directed in all she does, and acts,

Flies conscious southward."-THOMSON. as far as she is concerned, without the slightest idea of the future. What shall we say of the vegetable

THE SCRIPTURES. world; does it lie dead ? Not so; the sap is already beginning to circulate in The inspired Scriptures derive their the roots, secured from the cold in the singular unity, not only from all the bosom of the genial earth ; stilly, in- doctrines forming one vast and everdeed, is the work of restoration, the during system of truth, but from all the commencement of the functions of vital rays of heavenly light converging upon ity, but it is sure ; nay, it has already one glorious and Divine Person who is made great progress, and some of our

the sum and the centre of the whole hardier plants look cheerfully. The cat- dispensation : “ To Him give all the kins of the hazel are beginning to un- prophets witness.” Whatever may be fold; and the daisy “glints forth, scarce

their theme in the first instance, it terreared above its parent earth ;" the red minates and rests at last upon the advent, dead nettle, the white dead nettle, the of the promised Deliverer. Whether they primrose, the grounsel, and chickweed sing of judgment or of mercy, they are adorn each sunny bank; the mezereon

carried forward to the great King, who and hepatica are about to flower, and the shall break in pieces his enemies with snowdrop is already through the ground. a rod of iron, but who shall rule over The mosses are green and vigorous, and his subjects with the sceptre of rights the lichen tints, with its many hues, the eousness and peace. To Him give all old gnarled trunks of trees, and the timethe apostles witness. Their lives were worn stones of ruined towers, over which spent in proclaiming His salvation; their the ivy, ever verdant, throws a wreath blood was shed in confirmation of his as if to hide the progress of decay, or faithfulness and truth. To Him give all show that for nature man himself la- | his disciples witness in all ages of the bours, even when he ministers to his own world. To Him the true Church gives power or glory.

witness, acknowledging his omniscience, Surely a winter's walk in January is to foreshow the trials that were to befali not destitute of interest. Reader, try it believers, and his almightiness to resfor yourself, using your eyes, (availing cue them from all dangers, confessing yourself of a pocket miscroscope,) and that he is the First and the Last, and that using your ears, to catch every sound; in his hand are the keys of life and of and when you return with the glow of death.-Douglas.

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

ENGLISH HISTORY.

ELIZABETH.

for a man that he bear the yoke in his

youth.' Elizabeth, though a female of Queen Mary died between six and the highest rank, had been bowed down seven o'clock in the morning of Novem- as heavily as the meanest of her subjects; ber 17, 1558. The council assembled she learned wisdom and caution from her the parliament then sitting, and at noon sufferings. The efforts made for her deElizabeth was proclaimed queen. This struction in the late reign are well dechange was received with more than com- scribed by bishop Aylmer:

" What mon rejoicing ; such was the state of af- assemblies and councils, what examinafairs at that time, and such the apprehen- tions and wrackings of poor men were sions entertained of still severer persecu- there, to find out the knife that should tions, and deeper national disgrace from cut her throat ! What gaping among the policy lately pursued. The most many lords of the clergy, to see the day bigoted of the Papists expected that their wherein they might wash their goodly cruel proceedings would be stopped; but white rochets in her innocent blood ! though it was believed that Elizabeth was But though man may plot, he cannot favourably disposed to the Reformation, execute his designs, nless the Lord peryet she had conformed to the church of mit. The time was come when Popery Rome, and they still hoped that Popery was to be humbled; Elizabeth was the would predominate. Her early measures main instrument chosen to effect this. were such as to keep both parties in sus- On receiving intelligence of her sister's pense as to the course she would pursue. death, Elizabeth immediately appointed Elizabeth was at Hatfield when her

as her counsellors, thirteen who had been sister died. She was then in her twenty- thus employed by the late Queen; but fifth year, highly gifted with natural abil she joined eight Protestants to them: ities, which had been cultivated by study. among these was Sir William Cecil, who But the course of instruction most bene- was her principal adviser from the first. ficial, both to her subjects and herself, He communicated to her the intelligence was the severe sufferings she experienced of her sister's decease, he was employed during her sister's reign. The poet has to prepare the address she delivered to well said, “Sweet are the uses of adver- the council, and the first minute of busisity," and the same sentiment has been ness requiring immediate attention, still expressed by a writer of Divine au- in existence, is in Cecil's hand-writing. thority, who has declared that“ it is good On November 23, the queen removed

2

с

same manner.

to the Charter-house, near London, at- was at war with France, and consequently tended by more than a thousand of the in a state of hostility to Scotland. The nobility and gentry, with many ladies. Spanish alliance had been very

disadvanRobert Dudley, afterwards Earl of Lei- tageous to England ; but there was no cester, rode next to her as master of reason to suppose that Philip would long the horse. When approaching the metro- continue on good terms with Elizabeth, polis, she was met by the principal cler- unless she consented to marry him, which, gy, and others, all of whom she received he having been her sister's husband, with much affability, excepting Bonner : would be a more objectionable measure from that ecclesiastical butcher she turned than the union of her father with Cathewith expressions of disgust. Her decided rine of Arragon, while another Spanish disapproval of persecution was shown on match would be hateful to the nation. the day after her arrival, when, on learn- | The Pope and all the European powers ing that Sir Ambrose Jermyn, a magis- under papal influence would become her trate of Suffolk, had stopped the proceed- open enemies, as soon as she ventured to ings against the Protestants in his neigh- show a decided inclination to favour the bourhood, a letter of thanks was sent to reformation. Public affairs were in the him, in the queen's name, expressing utmost disorder : the treasury empty ; her wish that others would act in the no adequate preparations to meet the at

But the desire of the tacks of enemies; trade in a languishing Popish prelates continue the persecu- state ; the people suffering severely from tions was openly declared. At the fune- the effects of recent famine and pestiral of queen Mary, on December 13, lence; and the nation in debt to the amount Jewel relates, that bishop White spoke in of four millions, a sum in those days alstrong terms against the return of the most incredible. exiles for religion, declaring that it would Nor was Elizabeth free from other and be a good deed if any would slay them! still more serious causes for disquiet. His discourse was thoroughly popish, and Those of her subjects who were attached in strict accordance with his text, “I to the Reformation, considered her mopraised the dead more than the living,” ther's union with Henry viii. to have Eccles. iv. 2. But he was only directed been valid, and her title good; upon their not to leave his own house for å time. principles Henry's marriage with Cathe

On November 28, the queen pro- rine of Arragon was altogether unlawful, ceeded to the Tower, entering it with as the Pope had no power to do away the very different sensations from those which laws of God; thus it was void from the beoppressed her when last within those ginning, so that no question need be entergloomy walls. The words of Psalm cvii. tained as to the regularity of the divorce. are very descriptive of God's merciful But, on the other hand, the Papists both dealings with her: “ He brought them at home and abroad considered that Henout of darkness and the shadow of death, ry's marriage with Catherine was valid, and brake their bands in sunder.” A few and the divorce unlawful, so that Ann days afterwards, she removed to Westmin- Boleyn's marriage was, in this view, null ster, where she kept the festival of Christ and void from the beginning; therefore mas, on which day she withdrew from the Elizabeth was illegitimate, and had no public service when the host was to be claim to the English throne. This had raised as an object to be worshipped. also been declared during her father's These removals were made by public reign; but though the act had not been processions, in which the people displayed repealed, he restored her to the succesgreat joy. Elizabeth was of a goodly sion, by the will he was empowered to presence, and conducted herself so as to make. Under these circumstances, Papists win and to retain the general favour. From at home, as well as foreign powers, con, the beginning to the end of her reign, sidered that Mary, queen of Scots, had she ever manifested a desire to possess the the right to be queen of England. Francis affections of her people. On every occa- 1. of France was the only Popish monarch sion she endeavoured to act so as to se- who had recognized the legitimacy of cure popularity, and she succeeded. She Elizabeth ; but his successors disallowed did not seek self-gratification as her pri- it. Even her brother had given priority mary object ; or, rather, she was best to the family of the duchess of Suffolk, pleased when she pleased her people. which caused some to consider the sur

The position of Elizabeth on her ac- viving sisters of Lady Jane Grey as cession was full of difficulty. The nation having claims to the throne,

[ocr errors]

The desire of the most bigoted Papists, | death : the Romish prelates refused to to set aside Elizabeth, and place upon officiate; but at length Oglethorpe, bishop the English throne Mary of Scotland, of Carlisle, was prevailed upon to perform then married to the dauphin of France, the ceremony, which was conducted appeared without delay. Some practices agreeably to the Roman pontifical, except of this nature, in which the brothers of that the elevation of the mass was omitted. cardinal Pole were implicated, were This shows how opposed the bigoted Pamade known to the council as early as pists were to the government of ElizaNovember 22. Soon afterwards the dis- beth, though as yet she had given no deposition of the French government was cided proofs of an intention to favour the shown, by the title of queen of England Reformation. But during the procession being openly given to Mary, as well as from the Tower, she showed her deterthat of queen of Scotland. Her husband mination that the English Bible should also assumed the royal arms of England be set forth again. In Cheapside a paas a part of his armorial bearings, in de- geant was exhibited, representing Time fiance of all the rules of heraldry, thereby leading Truth from a cave where she had showing his design to claim the English been hidden. She had an English Bible throne. At their marriage, before the in her hand, inscribed “the Word of death of queen Mary, they did not in Truth,” which was presented to the any way mention the title of England; but queen. Elizabeth received the book and within two months after Mary's decease, pressed it to her heart, returning thanks, a grant to lord Flemming was made by and declaring that she would often read the dauphin and dauphiness of France, over that book. The general character under the title of “King and Queen of of the pageants of that day was much suEngland, Scotland, and Ireland.” Sub-perior to those usually exhibited. They sequently the officers of court publicly were comparatively free from heathenism announced and addressed Mary Stuart as and popish superstition, while many inade queen of England. It is important to direct reference to those doctrines of truth keep these facts in view ; for they show whereby alone monarchs can reign with that from the very beginning of her reign, safety and satisfaction. But the queen Elizabeth was placed in a situation of would not proceed so rapidly as the Prodanger by the pretensions of Mary, who testants wished. On the following day, a never formally relinquished them. This gentleman presented a petition, alluding explains the subsequent proceedings be- to the liberation of prisoners at a corotween these two queens. It was impos- nation, requesting that some other prisonsible for Elizabeth to act in a friendly ers, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and manner towards such a pretender to her John, with one Paul, might be released; throne. The Pope at once showed Eliza- the queen smiled, but answered that it beth the danger of her position, by de- was needful first to inquire whether they claring that as illegitimate, she had no wished to be set at liberty. right to the crown of England ; that it Doubtless it would have been far more belonged to him to settle the succession; satisfactory, as well as more gratifying to that if Elizabeth would submit to his de- every lover of the truth, had Elizabeth cision, he would treat her with fatherly at once decidedly expressed her sentiaffection and favour!

ments in favour of true religion. But had tasted that “the tender mercies of there is too much reason to apprehend the wicked are cruel;" she desired to have that her heart was convinced, rather than no more of the mercies of the Pope. changed. Though she never would have

On January 12, 1559, the queen re- acted with blind bigotry like her sister, turned to the Tower preparatory to her yet she seems to have been a Protestant coronation ; from thence she proceeded quite as much from circumstances as from on the 14th in a car richly adorned, in inclination. The Reformation under her solemn procession to Westminster, the never proceeded so far as under Edward order usually observed before a coro- She would probably, if left to hernation. On the following day, she was self, have adopted a course still more crowned in Westminster Abbey. Con- modified, half way between her father siderable difficulty had been experienced and brother. But the nation demanded in finding a prelate to place the crown more, and she could not refuse to go farupon her head, without which her right ther than probably her own inclination to the throne would have been doubted dictated. Doubtless all this was overby many. Several sees were vacant by ruled for good, and we cannot but admire

But the queen

VI.

« PreviousContinue »