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Launceston Castle, or Dunheved. LAUNCESTON CASTLE, OR DUNHEVED. here again fails; the main mass of the

Ir cannot be ascertained at what time foliage of the forest does continue on to this castle was built: it is admitted that the late period which none of it can surit was not later than A.D. 900. Leland | vive. Not so in the case of human says, “The hill on which stands the beings. The great majority of them are keep-aturreted building, elevated above not appointed to reach what we are acthe rest, by means of some mount or customed to regard as the late autumn tumulus on which it rests—is large and of life; and therefore young persons are of a terrible height, and the arc (the to be earnestly warned against calculatkeep) of it having three wards, is the ing on that as even a probability. On strongest, but not the biggest I ever saw the field of life, there are a thousand in England." The principal entrance to things in operation to anticipate time; this castle is on the north-east. The then let not young persons amuse themwhole keep, according to Dr. Borlase, is selves with flattering lies, and say, "We ninety-three feet in diameter, and con- may, probably, live so far as to the term sists of three wards. The ancient name of eighty.” But some of them may, of this place was Dunheved, the swelling perhaps, truly say, “We do not much hill; it is now called Launceston, de- think about such calculations in any way; rived, it is supposed, from Lan-cester- it is enough, for the present, that we are ton, or Church-castle-town. The ruins youthful and blooming; there is no fadnow remaining of the castle cover a con- ing, nor signs of its approach.” Well, siderable extent of ground.

so have many felt, and perhaps said, in answer to grave admonitions, who, before the recent fall of the leaf, have withered and died ; and so, before the

fading of next autumn, will many more, We allow ourselves to miscalculate now gay and blooming. But, without the appropriate season for fading. Our insisting on these threatening possibiliimagination places it in old age most de- ties of premature decline, to a reflective lusively. The period to be accounted, mind, the constant inevitable progress in a general collective calculation, as the toward fading would appear very much proper term of mortality, cannot rightly related to it: there is daily less and less of be placed beyond such a stage in life as that intermediate space remaining which a large proportion of men do attain, but is all that there can be between us and not exceed. The comparison of the leaves death. One has sometimes looked upon

OCTOBER, 1840.


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the flowers of the meadow which the finement in a great measure to a spot; a mower's scythe was to invade the next strange and mighty disseverment, as it day-perfect life and beauty, as yet; but were, from the man's own early youthful to the mind they have seemed already self. In some instances there is a last fading, through the anticipation. If we decline into an utterly withered state of turn to those who are a good way, or existence—imbecility wholly of body and quite far advanced in life, they can tell mind. The final point is that of the how rapidly that vernal season passed fallen leaves—to be reduced to dust; away, how much it looks, in the review, and thus, in so many ways, is the text like an absolute preternatural fleetness of verified. It will, perhaps, be said, this time; as to their now more advanced is a most gloomy view of human life; period, there are many palpable intima- why exhibit it at such width, and darken tions in their experience, to remind them it with so many aggravations of shade, of the truth of the text. Even those who as if to cloud the little sunshine which are ranked as the middle aged, have glimmers on our lot? We answer, nomuch that speaks to them in a serious thing worth is that sunshine that will not warning voice. They are most of them pierce radiantly through this cloud. No sensible, by their consciousness, as well complacency, no cheerfulness, no delight as by the record of years, that one grand is worth having, that cannot be enjoyed season of their terrestrial existence is together with the contemplation of this gone by. Let them think on what they view of our mortal condition. Such an feel to be gone:-freshness of life; exhibition! is it truth? is it fact? and vernal prime; overflowing spirits; is it truth and fact, bearing irresistibly elastic bounding vigour ; insuppressible on our own concern ? then the endeaactivity ; quick ever-varying emotion; vour to be happy by escaping from the delightful unfolding of the faculties; the view and thought of it, would be a thing sense of more and more power of both incomparably more gloomy to behold body and spirit; the prospect as if life than all that this exhibition presents ; were entire before them, and all over- because that would betray the want, the spread with brightness and fair colours ! neglect, the rejection of the grand source, This is gone! And this change is not a against the gloom of our mortal state and little towards the fading. Those poign- destiny. antly feel it to be so, who look back with To an enlightened beholder of mansadness, or with vain fretfulness to think kind, it is not then being all under the it cannot be recalled. But there are doom to fade, and be dissolved, and still more decided indications of decay. vanish; it is not that that strikes him as Some, indeed, as we observed, remain the deepest gloom of the scene; no, but considerably stationary; but as to the their being thoughtless of this condition ; majority, there are circumstances that their not seeking the true and all-powerwill not let them forget whereabouts they ful consolation under it; their not earnare in life ; feelings of positive infirmity; estly looking and aiming toward that diminished power of exertion; grey glorious state, into which they may hairs ; failure of sight; besetting pains; emerge from this fading and perishing apprehensive caution against harm and existence. The melancholy thing, by eminconvenience ; often what are called phasis, is, that beings under such a doom, nervous affections ; slight injuries to the should disregard that grand counterbody far less easily repaired. All this is vailing economy of the Divine benea great progress in the fading, and the ficence, in which “life and immortality appearance partakes of, and indicates the are brought to light,” in which the Lord decline, not so perceptible to the person of life has himself submitted to the lot himself, or to constant associates, but of mortals, in order to redeem them to strikingly apparent to acquaintance who the prospect of another life, where there see one another after long absence. From shall be no fading, decline, nor dissoluthis stage, there is a very rapid descent tion. Let us not then absurdly turn toward complete old age, with its accu- from the view, because it is grave and mulated privations and oppressions ; gloomy; but dwell upon it often and ingreat general prostration of strength, tently, for the great purpose of exciting often of settled disorders, operating with our spirits to a victory over the vanity of habitual grievance; loss of memory;

our present condition, to gain from it, furrows marking the countenance ; great through the aid of the Divine Spirit

, a suffering by little inconveniences; con- mighty impulse toward a state of ever



living, ever-blooming existence beyond | among the sedges of the swamp, wheel. the sky. A man who feels this, would ing, and chattering, and settling, ere they accept no substitute consolation against sank to sleep; at last they fixed their the gloomy character of this mortal life ; time; morning rose,-no swallows were not the highest health ; not the most visible, or, but a few stragglers; night exuberant spirits ; nor early youth itself, came, but the reed beds were deserted. if it were possible for that to be renewed. The place of our summer visitors begins, No, far rather let me fade, let me lan- however, to be occupied by a race of guish, let me feel that mortality is upon hardy natives of the north ; driven from ine, and that the terrestrial scene is dark- the frozen lakes and morasses of the ening around me, but with this inspira- polar circle, they wing their way to more tion of faith and hope, this rising energy, temperate latitudes; not, indeed, for the which is already carrying me out of an purpose of incubation; not to build their existence which is all frailty, into one of nests and rear their broods with us, but vigour, and power, and perpetuity.- for the sake of food, which our inlets, Foster.

marshes, and lakes, our hedgerows and copses supply in abundance. Wild ducks, of various species, are thronging towards

our shores; and the snipe is scattered By a Naturalist.

over our boggy meadows and waste lands.

But though our island is subject to so The sear and yellow" leaves of au- great a flux and reflux of the feathered tumn are fast falling from the trees, and race, still there are many species which the approach of winter has already pro- are stationary with us throughout the duced a decided influence on the tribes year. Flocks of rooks, intermingled with of earth and air. The bat is no longer starlings, blacken the fallows in search of to be seen as evening draws o'er all her the buried larvæ of coleopterous, or winggradual dusky veil," in chase of his in- sheathed insects. Troops of sparrows sect prey, wheeling on flickering wings, collect around the barns, and the clear and ever uttering his shrill cry of ex- song of the robin is heard at our window. ultation. The mole has ceased to throw It will be interesting to inquire into up mounds of earth, dotting the level the general character of our birds of meads with mimic hills; he is driving passage, in order to ascertain, if possible, his levels deeper from the suface. The the law which compels their flight. hedgehog is preparing his hybernaculum, In the first place, then, our summer his winter dwelling-place, among the visitors, the swallow, nightingale, blackroots of some old tree, or at the bottom cap, redstart, goatsucker, and cuckoo, are of the tangled thicket. The little dor- all insectivorous, that is, they feed on mouse has retired to his snug retreat; insects and caterpillars, which cannot be the squirrel is hoarding up his stores of procured, (at least in sufficient abundance winter food; the frog has left the sedgy for themselves and their young,) exmargin of the pond, bury himself cept during summer; and though many deep beneath the mud. The noonday birds, (the nightingale and swift, for exsun ceases to invite the snake to bask in ample,) depart before that season is the beams; the lithe reptile has hid him- ended, we should rather be inclined to self in some secure retreat, till spring attribute their early flight to a regular shall rouse him to renewed activity. failure, at that peculiar season, of the inThe flies that have buzzed about our sects upon which they subsist, than to any rooms, and in the windows, have almost constitutional incapability of enduring all disappeared, and the few that yet lin- our climate for a longer period. It is ger about, are dull and torpid.

true, however, that causes, as yet unIf we look among the feathered race, known, may also operate. we miss many of our favourites. Als In the second place, our winter visitors our summer birds of passage have left us are of three kinds.

1. Berry feed. for a warmer climate. The swift and ers, such as the waxwing, redwing, fieldthe nightingale led the way; the black- fare, and others: these visit the copses, cap, and the redstart, and the white- the hedges, and the woods. 2. Ver throat, and the wheatear, followed; the mivorous, that is, such as live swallows, as loth to depart, continued aquatic larve and worms, which they long to gather, night after night, in grope for in the slimy mud, by means of flocks of countless thousands, to roost their long and slender beaks, constituted

on summer

as feelers ; to these they add mi- The robin, (Sylvia rubicula,) whose nute aquatic plants, and soft freshwater lively and varied strain cheers the winter snails ; such are the snipe and the cur- season, is, at one time of the year, insectlew. 3. True aquatic birds, some of | ivorous, at another, granivorous. The which feed on fishes, on molluscous ani- great work of incubation, and of rearing mals, on aquatic plants, the produce of the callow brood, is carried on in or lakes, marshes, and inlets of the sea; chards, copses, or thickets, the softer others on grain, young corn, and grasses. winged insects and caterpillars constitutSuch are the anatide, or duck tribe. ing, at that time, the sole subsistence, None of our summer birds of passage both of the parents and their nestlings. ever voluntarily stay with us during At this season of the year, they are shy and the winter: many of our winter visitors, retired, and their voice of song is silent; on the contrary, are identical with species but soon as the summer is ended, -soon permanent with us, and whose numbers as the trees begin to lose their richlyare increased by hordes driven from more tinted livery,

the redbreast “pays to northern districts. We may notice, as trusted man his annual visit.” The inexamples of this fact, the thrush and the sects have disappeared, and now begins lark, which are respectively joined in his change of diet: occasionally, it is winter by flocks of brethren from the true, he pulls an unhappy worm out of north.

its hole, and transfers it to his crop; and If, however, none of our

the gardener, while turning up the soil birds of passage stay with us during with his spade, is sure of the company of winter, we have, at least, many closely the redbreast, with his sharp inquisitive allied to them in habits and manners, eyes, intent on every stroke ; and if the which brave our seasons, and live during spade be left for a moment, there is he the severest seasons. Hence it is worth perched upon the handle, on the look-out while to inquire, What is the nature of for prey: still he does not refuse grains their food, and how they acquire it. Let and seeds; and, as the severities of winter us first take the hedge-sparrow, (Accen- render other food impossible to be obtor modularis,) one of the feeble-billed in- tained, he subsists on such diet entirely: sectivorous tribe (Sylviade.) Itis indeed then the table crumbs attract his slentrue, that the summer food of this bird der feet;" and, welcome wherever he consists of insects; and insects, no doubt, enters, whether in hall or cottage, he form part of its winter diet: it is a bird, becomes the familiar guest of man; till as is well known, which is ever skulking spring returning, calls him back to the in thick garden hedges, and similar thicket to meet his foreign friends. places, where it finds the larvæ of insects Such, then, are a few of the zoological adhering to the stems, or among the fis- features, characteristic of the present sures of the bark; but still insects are month. But let us now go forth into the not all that it takes, for grains and seeds fields, and from what we may observe in are also added : and it is not a little sin- our ramble, endeavour to gain some ingular, that the gizzard of this bird, and struction and improvement. Observe of an allied species, the accentor alpinus, these birds scattered over the field in should approach, as Cuvier informs us, quest of food; you would, at first, susmore closely to the structure of that or- pect them to be rooks, or crows; and, gan in granivorous birds, than is usually indeed, they do belong to the genus found in the sylviade. That elegant Corvus ; but you will see, by their little bird, the golden-crested wren, party-coloured plumage, that they are feeds, we suspect, in a similar manner. distinct from both those well-known

The creeper (Certhia familiaris) ap- species. The flock consists of the hoodpears, on the contrary, to be strictly in- ed, or Royston crow, (Corvus cornix,) sectivorous; and its feet and tail are pecu

and it is the only example of the genus, liarly modified with a view to fit it ex- which is one of our migratory birds. pressly for the search of its food, which The hooded crow (so called from the consists, in winter, of larvæ and tor- neck and back being of a grey colour, pid insects, concealed in the crevices while the head is hooded with black, of the bark of trees, or covered by moss which is also the colour of the wings and or lichen. Hence it may be observed tail) visits England in October ; but on creeping spirally round and round the the northern and western parts of Scottrunk, with singular activity, busy in the land, it is indigenous, remaining there search.

throughout the year, and breeding. It makes its nest in tall trees, among the they abound, it has been inferred, that precipices of rocks, or the cliffs which our winter visitors, of this species, come overhang the sea, as the locality may from Sweden, Norway, and other counrender most convenient: the nest is tries of northern Europe, a fact which, formed of sticks, and lined with soft as Mr. Selby observes, is almost proved, materials: the eggs are four or five in by the circumstance of their generally number. During the breeding season, arriving with the first flight of woodthese birds are very destructive, both to cocks, which birds always take advantthe eggs and

young of the red grouse of age of a north-eastern breeze for their the moorlands; and, like the raven, they journey. will attack young lambs, or weakly sheep. Look over head: high in the air a They also resort for food to the seashore, flock of wild geese are sailing along on where shellfish, and other marine ani- vigorous pinions, and in two lines conmals, are greedily devoured, together verging to a point, so as to form two with whatever animal matter, in a state sides of an acute triangle: sometimes, of decomposition, may be thrown ashore however, they sail in single file, formby the tide. Mr. Selby states, that he ing one long line, and sometimes they has repeatedly observed one of these change from one figure to the other. birds soar up to a considerable height | The species is most probably the bean in the air, with a cockle, or mussel in its goose, (Anser ferus ;) but this is not bill, and then drop it upon the rock, in the origin of our domestic goose, which order to obtain the included mollusk. is, undoubtedly, descended from the Such an act, indeed, seems to infer an grey-lag wild goose (Anser palustris.) instinct bordering upon intelligence, and According to the testimony of the older to imply a notion of power, and of writers on ornithology, the latter bird cause, and effect : it surprises us, be- was once very abundant in Britain, being cause we scarcely expect it in a bird ; a permanent resident, and breeding in our but in forming a correct estimate of the extensive fenny districts; but since the principles leading to remarkable actions draining of their accustomed haunts, and among animals of the lower orders, it the increased population of the country, must be remembered, that every action they have nearly deserted our island, seems to imply the same; yet that, as and are only to be occasionally met with may be proved, the appearance is not in the winter in small flocks. On the always to be trusted. The beaver, who contrary, the bean goose is very comconstructs his dam and cabin, and who mon, during the winter, arriving from labours, with the rest of the community, its northern breeding places, in flocks,

common work for the general during the month of October. Their good, seems, in all this, to have a know- name, “bean goose,” is said to have reledge of cause and effect, of power and ference to the peculiar form of the nail

but the beaver is among the most terminating the upper mandible of the unintelligent of animals, and is only di- beak; but it may refer to their predilecrected, by that mysterious guide and im- tion for beans, peas, and other legumipulse, implanted by the Creator in its nous seeds, which they seek with eagervery nature, which, for want of a better ness. term, we call instinct: in the same way The bean goose, and indeed the observthe bird builds her nest, the bee her ation is applicable to all the species, is cells; and so the crow may be led by in- remarkable for its shyness and vigilance; stinct, without any effort of reasoning, the sense of hearing is very acute; it is to soar with a hard shell, and drop it on very difficult for a person, however disthe rock, in order to break it into pieces. guised, or however cautious he may be,

Toreturn from this digression. Though to approach a flock of these birds while the hooded crow is thus indigenous in feeding; sentinels, occasionally relieved, Scotland, strange to say, it is only a tem- are always on the watch, to give notice of porary visitant to our southern portion approaching danger, which they do on of the island, departing from our shores the slightest suspicion, by a cry of alarm, on the return of spring; during its stay, and in a moment the whole flock are on it frequents extensive downs, and the the wing; up they soar, and away they borders of the sea, feeding like the rest fly, with a power and celerity, surprising of its genus. As, however, there is no to those who are only accustomed to the visible diminution of the numbers of domestic goose, which flies seldom, and those in the districts of Scotland, where heavily. The bean goose flies at a great

in a


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