Imagens das páginas

philosopher, skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians, who was called the friend of God, and knew the mind of the Almighty, names this element the first in the creation ; this is the element upon which the Spirit of God did first move, and is the chief ingredient in the creation : many philosophers have made it to comprehend all the other elements, and most allo that it is the chiefest in the mixtion of all living creatures.

The water is more productive than the earth. Nay, the earth hath no fruitfulness without showers or dews; for all the herbs, and flowers, and fruit, are produced and thrive by the water ; and the very minerals are fed by streams that run under ground, whose natural course carries them to the tops of many high mountains, as we see by several springs breaking forth on the tops of the highest hills; and this is also witnessed by the daily trial and testimony of several miners.

And it is observable, not only that there are fish, as, namely, the whale, three times as big as the mighty elephant, that is so fierce in battle, but that the mightiest feasts have been of fish. The Romans in the height of their glory have made fish the mistress of all their entertainments ; they have had music to usher in their sturgeons, lampreys, and mullets, which they would purchase at rates rather to be wondered at than believed. He that shall view the writings of Macrobius or Varro may be confirmed and informed of this, and of the incredible value of their fish and fish ponds.

But, gentlemen, I have almost lost myself, which I confess I may easily do in this philosophical discourse; I met with most of it very lately, and I hope happily, in a conference with a most learned physician, Dr. Wharton, a dear friend, that loves both me and my art of angling. But, however, I will wade no deeper into these mysterious arguments, but pass to such observations as I can manage with more pleasure, and less fear of running into error. But I must not yet forsake the waters, by whose help we have so many known advantages.

And first, to pass by the miraculous cures of our known baths, how advantageous is the sea for our daily traffic, without which we could not now subsist. How does it not only furnish us with food and physic for the bodies, but with such observations for the mind as ingenious persons would not want !

How ignorant had we been of the beauty of Florence, of the monuments, urns, and rarities that yet remain in and near unto old and new Rome, so many as it is said will take up a year's time to view, and afford to each of them but a convenient consideration ! And therefore it is not to be wondered at that so learned and devout a father as St. Jerome, after his wish to have seen Christ in the flesh, and to have heard St. Paul preach, makes his third wish to have seen Rome in her glory; and that glory is not yet all lost, for what pleasure is it to see the monuments of Livy, the choicest of the historians ; of Tully, the best of orators ; and to see the bay trees that now grow out of the very tomb of Virgil ! These, to any that love learning, must be pleasing. But what pleasure is it to a devout Christian to see there the humble house in which St. Paul was content to dwell, and to view the many rich statues that are made in honour of his memory ! nay, to see the very place in which St. Peter and he lie buried together! These are in and near to Rome. And how much more doth it please the pious curiosity of a Christian to see that place on which the blessed Saviour of the world was pleased to humble Himself, and to take our nature upon Him, and to converse with men ; to see Mount Zion, Jerusalem, and the very sepulchre of our Lord Jesus! How may it beget and heighten the zeal of a Christian to see the devotions that are daily paid to Him at that place ! Gentlemen, lest I forget myself I will stop here, and remember you, that but for my element of water, the inhabitants of this poor island must remain ignorant that such things ever were, or that any of them have yet a being.

Gentlemen, I might both enlarge and lose myself in suchlike arguments, but I must in manners break off, for I see Theobald's house. I cry for mercy for being so long, and thank

you for your patience. Auc. Sir, my pardon is easily granted you : I except against nothing that you have said ; nevertheless I must part with you at this park wall, for which I am very sorry ; but I assure you, Mr. Piscator, I now part with you full of good thoughts, not only of yourself, but your recreation. And so, gentlemen, God keep you both.



BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow-white blossoms on my head,
With brightest sunshine round me spread

Of spring's unclouded weather,
In this sequestered nook how sweet
To sit upon my orchard seat !
And flowers and birds once more to greet,

My last year's friends together.

One have I marked, the happiest guest
In all this covert of the blest:
Hail to thee, far above the rest

In joy of voice and pinion !
Thou, Linnet ! in thy green array,
Presiding spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,

And this is thy dominion.

While birds, and butterflies, and flowers
Make all one band of paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers

Art sole in thy employment;

A Life, a Presence like the air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair,

Thyself thy own enjoyment.

Amid yon tuft of hazel trees
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perched in ecstasies,

Yet seeming still to hover;
There, where the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,

That cover him all over.

My dazzled sight he oft deceives
A brother of the dancing leaves ;
Then flits, and from the cottage eaves

Pours forth his song in gushes,
As if by that exulting strain
He mocked and treated with disdain
The voiceless form he chose to feign,
While fluttering in the bushes.



A. FEW house - martins begin to appear about the 16th of April; usually some few days later than the swallow. For some time after they appear, the hirundines in general pay no attention to the business of nidification, but play and sport about. Towards the middle of May, if the weather be fine, the martin begins to think in earnest of providing a mansion for its family. The crust or shell of this nest seems to be formed of such dirt or loam as comes most readily to hand, and is tempered and wrought together with little bits of broken straws to render it tough and tenacious. As this bird often builds against a perpendicular wall without any projecting ledge under, it requires its utmost efforts to get the first foundation firmly fixed; so that it may safely carry

the superstructure. On this occasion the bird not only clings with its claws, but partly supports itself by strongly inclining its tail against the wall, making that a fulcrum ; and thus steadied, it works and plasters the materials into the face of the brick or stone. But then that this work may not, while it is soft and green, pull itself down by its own weight, the provident architect has prudence and forbearance enough not to advance her work too fast; but by building only in the morning, and by dedicating the rest of the day to food and amusement, gives it sufficient time to dry and harden. About half an inch seems to be a sufficient layer for a day. Thus careful workmen when they build mud walls (informed at first perhaps by this little bird) raise but a moderate layer at a time, and then desist ; lest the work should become topheavy, and so be ruined by its own weight. By this method in about ten or twelve days is formed a hemispheric nest with a small aperture towards the top, strong, compact, and warm, and perfectly fitted for all the purposes for which it was intended. But then nothing is more common than for the house-sparrow, as soon as the shell is finished, to seize on it as its own, to eject the owner, and to line it after its own


After so much labour is bestowed in erecting a mansion, as Nature seldom works in vain, martins will breed on for several years together in the same nest, where it happens to be well sheltered and secure from the injuries of weather. The shell or crust of the nest is a sort of rustic work full of knobs and protuberances on the outside : nor is the inside of those that I have examined smoothed with any exactness at all ; but is rendered soft and warm, and fit for incubation by a lining of small straws, grasses, and feathers ; and sometimes. by a bed of moss interwoven with wool.

« AnteriorContinuar »