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The stock-doves together begin to coo
Those far-away countries quite to his mind,
· The black-bird, and throstle, and loud missel-cock,. They sing altogether, the Cuckoo to mock;
I often have heard talk of you, but ne'er saw you before,
And there you're standing sentinel at the hornetcastle-door!
Well, what a size you are! just like a great waspking!
What a solemn buzz you make, now you're upon the wing!
"What want we with him? let him stay over sea!" My word! I do not wonder that people fear your Sings the bold, piping reed-sparrow, "want him? not we!"
So! so!--Don't be so angry! Why do you come at me With a swoop and with a hum,-Is't a crime to look
See where the testy fellow goes whiz into the hole, And brings out from the hollow tree his fellows in a shoal.
Hark! what an awful, hollow boom! How fierce they come! I'd rather
Just quietly step back, and stand from them a little farther.
There, now, the hornet-host is retreating to its den, And so, good Mr. Sentinel-lo! here I am again! Well! how the little angry wretch doth stamp and raise his head,
And flirt his wings, and seem to say, “Come here —
I'll sting you dead!"
No, thank you, fierce Sir Hornet, - that's not at all inviting;
But what a pair of shears the rascal has for biting! What a pair of monstrous shears to carry at his head! If wasp or fly come in their gripe, that moment they are dead!
There! bite in two the whip-lash, as we poke it at your chin!
Sure the Cuckoo's come back, what else can be the See, how he bites! but it is tough, and again he matter?
Ho! ho! we soon shall have the whole of his vin dictive race,
With a hurry and a scurry, all flying in our face. To potter in a Hornet's nest, is a proverb old and good,
So it's just as well to take the hint, and retreat into the wood.
"Well, well," says the wild duck," what is it to us; Oh! here behind this hazel-bush we safely may look I've no spite 'gainst the Cuckoo; why make such a fuss?
Let him shout as he listeth- he comes over sea —
"You may all hold your peace, I shall do as I will!" "Cuckoo" the Cuckoo doth cry,
And the little boys mock him as they go by.
And see what all the colony of hornets is about. Why what a furious troop it is, how fierce they seem to be.
As they fly now in the sunshine, now in shadow of
And yet they 're noble insects! their bodies red and yellow,
And large almost as little birds, how richly toned and mellow.
And these old woods, so full of trees, all hollow and
Must be a perfect paradise, for the hornet legions made.
So, there at last I've found you, my famous old fel- Secure from village lads, and from gardener's watch. low!
Ay, and mighty grand besides, in your suit of red They may build their paper-nests, and issue for sup plics
The Hornet is an insect that every one has heard of, because the fearful effects of its sting and its fierceness are proverbial; but it is by no means common in many parts of the country. In the midland counties hornets are often talked of, but rarely seen. We have lived in several of the midland counties, and seen a good deal of them, but never saw a hornet there. Since coming to reside in Surrey, we have found plenty of them. They come buzzing into the house, and are almost as common in the garden as wasps themselves, devouring the fruits above-mentioned, and also as voracious of the green, tender bark of the dahlia, as ants are of the juice of the yucca. They peel the young branches with their nippers or shears, as a rabbit peels a young tree; and wasps, and the great blue-bottle and other flies follow in their train, and suck its juice greedily. In common, too, with the wasps, which by their side appear very diminutive insects, they gorge themselves so with the pulp of fruit as to drop heavily on the earth on being suddenly disturbed, and are then easily destroyed. They frequently make their nests in the thatch of cottages and outbuildings, where it is difficult to destroy them, as in such situations, neither fire, sulphur, nor gunpowder can be used, and producing large swarms there, they are dangerous and devouring neighbours.
On Bookham Common, a pleasant wide tract, overgrown with trees, principally oaks, and resembling a forest with its fern and green turfy glades, much more than a common, we found two nests within a
few yards of each other, in two hollow trees, where the sentinel, and indeed the whole swarms, behaved themselves as above represented. Whether three of
these insects are sufficient to kill a horse, as the old country saying avers, is doubtful; but, from their size, the irritability of their nature, and the appearance of their stings, they are very formidable creatures indeed.
THE USE OF FLOWERS.
GOD might have bade the earth bring forth
The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
We might have had enough, enough
And yet have had no flowers.
Nor doth it need the lotus-flower
The clouds might give abundant rain;
Then wherefore, wherefore were they made,
Upspringing day and night:-
And on the mountains high, And in the silent wilderness
Where no man passes by?
Our outward life requires them not-
To beautify the earth;
To comfort man-to whisper hope,
On a splintered bough sits the Carrion-crow,
It is on the top of an ancient oak
You may see its branches splintered and bare;
The old oak trunk is gnarled and grey,
And the tawny owl and the noisy daw,
In many a hollow and many a flaw;
By night or by day, were you there about,
You might see them creep in, or see them creep out.
And there, on the top of that ancient oak,
The words of his croaking I fain would know;
He says, and he's merry as he can be,—
Where the hound lies dead by the forest-pool.
"His master he knows not where he lies,
"And the miller last week he killed his mare,-
"The mare was blind, and lame, and thin,
"And there bleats a lamb by the thundering linn,
"All day long he moans and calls,
"His little heart doth pine away,
"He'll have the first peck at his black eye,
While the trees are leafless;
While the fields are bare,
Spring up here and there.
Opes its paly gold,
Buttercups are bright;
Somewhere 'mong the frozen grass
Peeps the Daisy white.
Little hardy flowers
Like to children poor, Playing in their sturdy health By their mother's door; Purple with the north-wind,
Yet alert and bold, Fearing not and caring not,
Though they be a-cold! What to them is weather!
What are stormy showers! Buttercups and Daisies
Are these human flowers! He who gave them hardship And a life of care,
Gave them likewise hardy strength
Welcome yellow buttercups,
Visioned, a delight!
THE TITMOUSE, OR BLUE-CAP.
THE merry Titmouse is a comical fellow;
And he, like his betters of noble old blood,
Perhaps in the ark might be taken offence,-
Only this is quite true,-let them meet as they may, Having quarrelled long since, they would quarrel to
But we'll leave them to settle this ancient affair, And now look at his nest, made with exquisite care, Of lichen, and moss, and the soft downy feather, And the web of the spider to keep it together.
Is a brick out of place by your window ?-don't send
For the poor little Titmouse has made it his own.
How he twists, how he turns with a harlequin grace!
He can't lift a feather without a grimace;
See his round, burly head, that is like a Friar Tuck,
Oh, no!-make him welcome, as welcome can be!
But to keep her eggs warm, and be neighbourly too! Oh, what! did you say that the Titmouse was stealing,
That he ate your pear-buds while he shammed to be reeling;
And nipped off the apricot-bloom in his fun? -
Be not rash, though he light on your apricot-bough,-
Now look at the apricot bud,—is it gone?
Not the apricot bud,-but the grub that was in it!— You may thank him, he does you a service each minute.
Then love the poor Titmouse, and welcome him too,
I LOVE the sunshine everywhere,—
In wood and field and glen;
I love it in the busy haunts
Of town-imprisoned men.
I love it when it streameth in
And casts the chequered casement shade
I love it where the children lie
I love it on the breezy sea,
To glance on sail and oar, While the great waves, like molten glass, Come leaping to the shore.
I love it on the mountain-tops,
Where lies the thawless snow, And half a kingdom, bathed in light, Lies stretching out below.
And when it shines in forest-glades, Hidden, and green, and cool, Through mossy boughs and veined leaves, How is it beautful!
How beautiful on little stream,
When sun and shade at play, Make silvery meshes, while the brook Goes singing on its way.
How beautiful, where dragon-flies
Are wondrous to behold,
How beautiful, on harvest slopes,
Where yellow shocks stand high!
Like kindness or like mirth, Upon a human countenance,
Is sunshine on the earth! Upon the earth; upon the sea;
And through the crystal air, Or piled-up cloud; the gracious sun Is glorious everywhere!
And with up-turned trunk didst browse,
On the reed-palm's lowest boughs;
Tell me, creature, in what place,
Like a whirlwind passing by,-
It were worth the knowing well.
Elephant, so old and vast,
Thou art solemn, wise and good;
Elephant, if thou hadst been
In thy good, great heart is blent!
THE WILD SWAN.
FAIR flows the river,
Smoothly gliding on; Green grow the bulrushes
Around the stately swan.
What an isle of beauty
The noble bird hath formed,
In the water bright,
Now he lies at rest,
Strong, and glad, and free!
How pleasant it must be! Like a gleam of sunshine
In shadow passing on,Like a wreath of snow, thou art, Wild and graceful swan! Thick grow the flowers
'Neath the chestnut shade; Green grow the bulrushes
Where thy nest is made: Lovely ye, and loving, too,
The mother bird and thee, Watching o'er your cygnet brood, Beneath the river tree. Kings made laws a-many,
Laws both stern and strong, In the days of olden time,
You to keep from wrong;
Ye went, a gallant show,
From some far, lone place?
True Alfred's care and pain, Or, riding out among his men,
Good King Canute the Dane? No, from 'mid the icebergs,
Through long ages piled,
By the winter wild;
On their far journeys go;
From northern wildernesses,
Wild, and lone, and drear, Ice-lakes, cold and gleaming,
Ye have hastened here. The pleasant streams of England
Your homeward flight have stayed, And here among the bulrushes Your English nest is made.