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Her song oft waked the soul to gentle joys,
Though slow and pensive now the moments roll,
YBARSLEY. In the course of this month all nature begins, as it were, to prepare for its revivification. God, as the Psalmist expresses it, renews the face of the earth;' and animate and inanimate nature seem to vie with each other in opening the way to spring. About the 4th or 5th, the woodlark (alauda arborea), one of our earliest and sweetest songsters, renews his note; a week after, rooks begin to pair; the thrush sings; and the yellow-hammer is heard. The chaffinch sings; and the redbreast continues to warble. Turkey-cocks strut and gobble. Partridges (tetrao perdix) begin to pair; the house-pigeon has
1 On a Robin's making its Nest in a WATERING-POT in MR. S
What kind fate has brought thee hither,
Armed with deadly bow and quiver ?
Nor cruel bird of prey distress thee;
But Martha's care shall watch and bless thee. .
young; field crickets open their holes; missel thrushes couple; and wood owls hoot ;-gnats play about, and insects swarm under sunny hedges; the stonecurlew (otis oedicnemus) clamours; and frogs (rana temporaria) croak. These latter, in Holstein, have been termed, by a recent traveller, the nightingales of that country. To a person coming at once from England (says Dr. E. D. Clarke), the appearance is new and strange; but that which offered the greatest novelty to our party, was the loud and incessant. chorus of myriads_of frogs, the whole way from Lubeck to Eutin. To call it croaking, would be to convey a very erroneous idea of it, because it is really harmonious; and we gave to these reptiles the name of Holstein nightingales. Those who have not heard it, would hardly believe it possible for any number of frogs to produce such a powerful and predominating clamour. The effect of it, however, is certainly not unpleasing, especially after sun-set,
When thou warblest o'er thy brood,
The gathered crumbs to thee she'll carry;
But with that infant brood may'st tarry.
Of ecstasy, that oft has thrilled
And Martha's heart with rapture filled.
To charın the woodland wild and rude ;
The song of fervent gratitude.
Again shall drive thee from the plain,
And haste thee to her care again.
Where thou may'st be safe and blest;
Need disturb thy gentle breast.
when all the rest of animated nature is silent, and seems to be at rest. The noise of any one of them, singly, as we sometimes heard it near the road, was, as usual, disagreeable, and might be compared to the loudest quacking of a duck; but when, as it generally happened, tens of thousands, nay millions, sang together, it was a choral vibration, varied only by cadences of sound, something like those produced upon musical glasses, and it accorded with the uniformity, which twilight cast over the woods and waters,
By the latter end of February, the raven (corpus corax) bas generally laid its eggs, and begun to sit. Moles (talpa europeus) commence their subterraneous operations. See T.T. for 1814, p. 49, and T.T. for 1818, p. 43.
About this time, the green woodpecker (picus viridis) is heard in the woods, making a loud noise. More formidable in strength and magnitude, and at the head of the whole class of these birds, stands the ivory-billed woodpecker (picus principalis) of North America. He may be called the king or chief of his tribe; and nature seems to have designed him a distinguished characteristic in the superb carmine crest, and bill of polished ivory, with which she has ornamented him. His eye is brilliant and daring, and his whole frame so admirably adapted for his mode of life, and method of proeuring subsistence, as to impress on the mind of the examiner the most reverential ideas of the Creator. His manners have also a dignity in them superior to the common herd of woodpeckers. Trees, shrubbery, orchards, rails, fence-posts, and old prostrate logs, are alike interesting to those, in their humble and indefatigable search for prey; but the royal hunter now before us scorns the humility of such situations, and seeks the most towering trees of the forest, seeming particularly attached to those prodigious cypress swamps whose crowded giant sons stretch their bare and
blasted or moss-hung arms midway to the skies. In these almost inaccessible recesses, amid ruinous piles of impending timber, his trumpet-like note and loud strokes resound through the solitary savage wilds, of which he seems the sole lord and inhabitant. Wherever he frequents he l'eaves numerous monuments of his industry behind him. We there see enormous pine-trees, with cart-loads of bark lying around their roots, and chips of the trunk itself, in such quantities as to suggest the idea that half a dozen of axe-men had been at work there for the whole morning. The body of the tree is also disfigured with such numerous and so large excavations, that one can hardly conceive it possible for the whole to be the work of a woodpecker. With such strength, and an apparatus so powerful, what havoc might he not commit, if numerous, on the most useful of our forest trees; and yet, with all these appearances, and much of vulgar prejudice against him, it may fairly be questioned whether he is at all injurious, or, at least, whether his exertions do not contribute most powerfully to the protection of our timber. Examine closely the tree where he has been at work, and you will soon perceive that it is neither from motives of mischief or amusement that he slices off the bark, or digs his way into the trunk; for the sound and healthy tree is not the object of his attention. The diseased, infested with insects, and hastening to putrefaction, are his favourites; there the deadly crawling enemy have formed a lodgement, between the bark and tender wood, to drink up the very vital part of the tree. It is the ravages of these vermin which the intelligent proprietor of the forest deplores as the sole perpetrators of the destruction of his timber. Would it be believed that the larvæ of an insect, or fly, no longer than a grain of rice, should silently, and in one season, destroy some thousand acres of pine-trees, many of them from two
to three feet in diameter, and a hundred and fifty feet high? Yet, whoever passes along the high road from Georgetown to Charleston, in South Carolina, about twenty miles from the former place, can have striking and melancholy proofs of this fact. In some places the whole woods, as far as you can see around you, are dead, stripped of the bark, their wintry. looking arms and bare trunks bleaching įn the sun, and tumbling in ruins before every blast, presenting a frightful picture of desolation !"
The flowers of the crocus (crocus vernus) appear, before their leaves are grown to their full length; the barrren strawberry (fragraria sterilis); the laurustinus (viburnum tinus); and the yew-tree (taxus baccata), are in flower. The elder-tree (sambucus nigra) begins to put forth its flower-buds, and the catkins of the hazel are very conspicuous in the hedges. The gooseberry bush (ribes grossularia) and the red currant fribes rubrum) show their young leaves about the end of the month. The hepatica ( anemone hepatica), unless the weather be severe, gives brilliance to the garden with its bright pink flowers; and the hounds-tongue (cynoglossum) with its more modest flowers of pink or light blue. Many plants appear above ground in February, but few flowers, except the snowdrop, are to be found. This icicle changed into a flower' is sometimes fully opened from the beginning of the month.
The husbandman is now eager to commence the work of ploughing, which important business is finished in this month, if the weather permit.
Pheasant-shooting usually terminates about the 1st, andepartridge-shooting about the 15th, of this month.
* See Mr. Wilson's American Ornithology, in nine folio volumes, with beautiful coloured plates ; a truly national work, but the result of indi. vidual labour and risk. Á few copies only have reached this country.
2 See a Sonnet to the Yew-Tree in our last volume, p. 56.