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The stock-doves together begin to coo
I often have heard talk of you, but ne'er saw you
And there you're standing sentinel at the hornetcastle-door!
Those far-away countries quite to his mind,
So he's come again to see what he can do
Well, what a size you are! just like a great waspking!
What a solemn buzz you make, now you 're upon the
With sucking the small birds' eggs, coo-coo!" The black-bird, and throstle, and loud missel-cock, They sing altogether, the Cuckoo to mock; “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!"
"Cuckoo" the Cuckoo shouts still,
"I care not for you, let you rave as you will!" "Cuckoo" the Cuckoo doth cry,
And the little boys mock him as they go by. "Hark! hark!" sings the chiff-chaff, "hark! hark!" says the lark,
And the white-throats and buntings all twitter "hark! hark!"
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. Sentinello! here I am again! Well! how the little angry wretch doth stamp and raise his head,
Bless our lives! why that egg-sucker's come back And flirt his wings, and seem to say, “Come here — again!"
"Cuckoo!" the Cuckoo shouts still,
"I shall taste of your eggs, let you rave as you will!"
The wren and the hedge-sparrow hear it anon,
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 at ye?
See where the testy fellow goes whiz into the hole. And brings out from the hollow tree his fellows in a shoal.
I'll sting you dead!"
No, thank you, fierce Sir Hornet, — that's not at all inviting;
"Cuckoo" the Cuckoo doth cry,
And the little boys mock him as they go by.
But what a pair of shears the rascal has for biting!
Sure the Cuckoo's come back, what else can be the See, how he bites! but it is tough, and again he matter?
The pyes and the jays are all making a clatter!"
Hark! hark!" says the woodcock, “I hear him
Shouting up in the elm-tree, the comical elf!"
Ho! ho! we soon shall have the whole of his vin
With a hurry and a scurry, all flying in our face.
So it's just as well to take the hint, and retreat into
Shouting loudly as ever, that self-same Cuckoo!" "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
Let him shout as he listeth-- he comes over sea-
And see what all the colony of hornets is about.
I have no spite against him, my soul's not so narrow, As they fly now in the sunshine, now in shadow of
I leave all such whims to the tomtit and "Cuckoo!" the Cuckoo shouts still,
And yet they're noble insects! their bodies red and
"You may all hold your peace, I shall do as I will!"
And large almost as little birds, how richly toned and
And these old woods, so full of trees, all hollow and decayed,
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 watchlow! ful eyes,
Ay, and mighty grand besides, in your suit of red They may build their paper-nests, and issue for supplics
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.
The ore within the mountain mine Requireth none to grow;
Nor doth it need the lotus-flower To make the river flow.
The clouds might give abundant rain; The nightly dews might fall, And the herb that keepeth life in man Might yet have drunk them all.
Then wherefore, wherefore were they made,
Springing in valleys green and low, And on the mountains high, And in the silent wilderness
Where no man passes by?
Our outward life requires them notThen wherefore had they birth ?— To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth;
To comfort man-to whisper hope, Whene'er his faith is dim,
For who so careth for the flowers Will much more care for him!
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,
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.
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 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
And with up-turned trunk didst browse,
Tell me, creature, in what place, Thou, the Noah of thy race, Wast preserved when death was sent Like a raging element, Like a whirlwind passing by,In the twinkling of an eye, Leaving mother earth forlorn Of her mighty eldest-born;Turning all her life to stone With one universal groan! In what cavern drear and dark, Elephant, hast thou thine ark? Dost thou in thy memory hold Record of that tale untold? If thou do, I pray thee tell, It were worth the knowing well.
Elephant, so old and vast,
Thou art solemn, wise and good;
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, The greenest trees and stateliest Grow all the isle around.
Low bend the branches In the water bright,
Up comes the swan sailing,
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; And o'er their palace-waters
Ye went, a gallant show, And Surrey and his Geraldine, Beheld ye sailing slow.
Tell me, Swan, I pray thee,
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, Sometime ye were driven
By the winter wild; From where the ermine hunters, On their far journeys go; From where the rein-deer sledges speed Over the wastes of snow;
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.