« PreviousContinue »
than 86 per cent. out of pocket, || passed upon us for proof; if we be
In a sketch of the history of It is certainly useful to have an Egypt, by the learned Dr. White, appropriate word to express eve
inserted in Polwbele's Historical ry distinct idea, whether simple | Views of Devonshire, vol. I. among or compound. A want of words for some excellent remarks on the prothis purpose, and the consequent gress of civilization, the doctor, afapplication of one word to differ- ter taking it as generally admitted, ent ideas, are common defects in that the remnant of the human race languages; perhaps their greatest settled somewhere in Arabia after, imperfection; and the source of the deluge, observes, “It is now much dispute, misconception, and also impossible to trace what were false reasoning. Yet we are ever the causes which led them from suffering many such words to fall Arabia into Egypt; whether war into disuse, without introducing or conquest; or, what is most proany equivalent words.
bable, their natural disposition to There is an inconvenience too in migration." But that they should having the same verb to express an be led by war or conquest, is an abactive and a neuter sense; or rather, surdity: for the first inhabitants an awkwardness. Where there are could not go to make war upon a two verbs of the same meaning in people that did not exist, or to conthis predicament, would it not be quer an uninhabited country. It advisable, to employ one uniformly is true, they might have been drias the active, the other as the neu- ven from Arabia by war with some ter? It would increase the preci- other tribe, who wanted more room sion and perspicuity of a language; for their herds; but they would and seems worthy the attention of naturally spread themselves over writers, whose authority would be the country, as their increasing copied; but vanity or profit more numbers required greater extent of frequently guides the pen than pasture, till they reached Egypt, , utility.
without any disposition to migrate,
other than was imposed on thein by Autliors are very apt, and indeed want of room. arguers in general, to mistake as- IMPROVEMENTS IN PRINTING. sertion for proof. We are per- The Chinese are said to admire petually meeting with, “as is above the beauty of writing more than shown,” where the words should of composition ; so that an Eng. be, "as is abore asserted.” Some lishman with a Chinese taste would indeed are still bolder, and have prefer a poem of Tomkins or Langthe assurance to draw bills upon ford, to one of Pope or Dryden. the reader's-eredulity, with an “as And is not this taste growing on will hereafter be shown;" and here,us? Not only must our paper be when we come to the point, we tind woven and hot-pressed, but our . mere assertion attempted to be l types must be reformed. Not
figure must raise his head above his From his youth upwards he was much fellows, or sink his tail below them;
addicted to vices, so that it is dificult to distinguish
and was ofien guilty of forgery. a 6 or a 9 from a nought, to say
Haring some talents for irony,. nothing of the cramped form of he thereby produced many beats in his the rest. This is a real grievance;
which he usually increased but printers quietly submit to the
by blowing up the coals. whims and caprices of type-found
This rendered him so unpopular, that ers, if they be not their guides ; when he found it necessary and readers cannot help themselves.
to adopt cooling measures, The tall has lately given way to his conduct was generally accompanied his dwarf brother; and I presume
by a hiss ! it is only on account of the num- Though he sometimes proved a warm ber of the other letters of greater
friend, length than their fellows, for it is he made it a constant practice the case with twelve out of the to strike u bile ihe iron was hot, twenty-five, that these innovators regardless of the injury he nught therehy have been intimidated. Ere long,
do 10 others; no doubt, some bolder Procrustean
and when he had any matter of moment
on the anvil, tyrant will arise, and lop them all
he seldom failed to turn it to his own to his standard. When that has
advantage. been done, beware, ye Capitals !
Among the numberless instances that beware, too, ye Stops and Spaces!
might be given no doubt the beautiful uniformity of the cruelty of his disposition, of the infancy of writing will re- it need only be mentioned, vive in print, and letter will suc- ihat he was a means of banging ceed letter, equal in height, and many of the innocent family of the Bells, breadth, and distance, more regu- upon a mere idle pretence of keeping lar than a line of soldiers at a royal
them from jangling; review dressed by the completest
and that he put many bearts of steel Martinet of an adjutant, who rests
into the hottest flames, on such skill his hopes of heading,
merely (as he declarer),
to soften the obduracy of their rempers. like some of his predecessors, another South American army.
At length after passing a long life In
in the commission of these black actions, that second golden age of letters,
his fire being exhausted, it will again become a mark of dis- and his bellow's worn out, tinction to be able to read, not an
he filed off cient or foreign languages, but our to that place where only the fervid own.
ordeal of bis own forge could be INSCRIPTION ON A BLACKSMITH.
That man was born to trouble,
as the sparks fly upward. He was born in Seacoal-lane, and bred at Hammersmith:
DESCRIPTION OF THE MOCKING-BIRD.
.: From Wilson's American Ornithology. Amoxg the many novelties which nerally produces two broods in the the discovery of the western conti- season, unless robbed of her eggs, nent first brought into notice, we in whiclı case she will even build may reckon that of the mocking- and lay the third time. She is, bird, which is peculiar to the new howerer, extremely jealous of her world, and inbabits a very consi- nest, and very apt to forsake it if derable extent both of North and much disturbed. It is even assertSouth America, having been traceded by some of our bird-dealers, from the states of New England to that the old ones will actually deBrazil, and also among many of stroy the eggs, and poison the the adjacent islands. The species young, if either the one or the is, however, much more numerous other have been handled; but I in the states to the south, than in canvot give credit to this unnatuthose to the north of the river De- ral report. I know, from my own laware, being generally migratory experience' at least, that this is not in the latter, and resident, at least always their practice, and have many of them, in the former. A never witnessed a case of the kind warm climate and how country, not above-mentioned. During the pefar from the sea, seem most con- riod of incubation, neither cat, dog, genial to their nature: accordingly animal, nor man, can approach the we find the species less numerous nest without being attacked. The to the west than to the east of the cats in particular are persecuted great range of the Alleghany moun- whenever they make their appeartains in the same parallels of lati- ance, till obliged to retreat. But tude.
his whole vengeance is in an espeThere are particular situations cial manner directed against that to which this bird gives the prefer-mortal enemy of his eggs and young, ence for building his nest. A soli- | the black snake. Whenerer the tary thorn-bush, an almost impene-insidious approaches of this reptile trable thicket,an orangetree,cedar, are discovered, the male darts upon or bolly-bush, are favourite spots, it with the rapidity of an arrow, and frequently selected. It is no dexterously cluding its bite, and great objection with him, that these striking it violently and incessanthappen sometimes to be near the ly about the head, where it is very farmer's mansion-house. Always vulnerable. The snake soon beready to defend, but never over comes sensible of its danger, and anxious to conceal, liis nest, he seeks to escape; but the intrepid very often builds within a small dis- defender of his young redoubles tance of the house, and not unfre- his exertions, and unless bis antaquently in a pear or apple-tree, gonist be of great magnitude, often rarely at a greater height than six succeeds in destroying him. All pr seven feet from the ground. The its pretended powers of fascinafemale sits fourteen days, and ge- || tion avail it nothing against the rengeance of this noble bird. As the || notes, which are easily distinguishsnake's strength begins to flag, the able by such as are well acquainted mockig-bird seizes and lifts it up with those of the various song partly from the ground, beating it birds of America, are bold and full, with bis wings; and when the bu- and varied seemingly beyond all siness is completed, he returns to limits. They consist of short exthe repository of his young, mounts pressions of two, three, or at the the summit of the bush, and pours most five or six syllables, generally out a torrent of song in token of ! interspersed with imitations, and victory.
all of them uttered with great emThe plumage of the mocking- phasis and rapidity, and continued, bird, though none of the homeliest, with undiminished ardour, for half has in it nothing gaudy or brilliant; an hour or an hour at a time. His and, had he nothing else to re- expanded wings and tail glistening commend bim, would scarcely en- with white, and the buoyant gaiety title him to notice; but his figure of his action, arrest the eye, as his is well proportioned, and even song irresistibly engages the ear. handsome. The ease, elegance, He sweeps round with enthusiastic and rapidity of his movements, the ecstasy; he mounts and descends animation of his eye, and the in- as his song swells' or dies away; telligence he displays in listening and, as my friend Mr. Bartram has and laying up lessons from almost beautifully expressed it,"bebounds every species of the feathered cre- aloft with the celerity of an arrow, ation within his hearing, are really as if to recover or recal his very surprising, and mark the peculia- soul, expired in the last elevated rity of his genius. To these qua- strain.” While thus exerting himlities we may add that of a voice self, a by-stander, destitute of full, strong, musical, and capable sight, would suppose that all the of almost every modulation, from feathered tribes bad assembled tothe clear mellow notes of the wood-gether on a trial of skill, each tbrush to the savage scream of the striving to produce his utmost efbald cagle. In measure and accent fect, so perfect are his imitations. he faithfully follows his originals ; He many times deceives the sportsin force and sweetness of expres- man and sends him in search of sion he greatly improves upon birds, that are perhaps ; not within them. In his native groves, mount- miles of him, but whose notes he ed on the top of a tall bush or half- exactly imitates. Even birds themgrown tree, in the dawn of dewy selves are frequently imposed upon morning, while the woods are al- l hy this adinirable inimic, and are ready vocal with a multitude of decoyed by the fancied calls of their warblers, bis adınirable song rises mates, or dive with precipitation pre-eminent over every competi- into the depth of thickets, at what tor. The ear can listen to his mu- || they suppose to be the scream of sic alone, to which that of all the the sparrow-hawk. others seeins a mere accompani- The mocking-bird loses little of ment. Neither is this strain alto- the power and energy of his song gether imitative. His own native by continennent. In his domesticated state, when he begins his , During this exhibition of his powe strains, it is impossible to stand by ers, he spreads his wings, expands uninterested. He whistles for the his tail, and throws bimself round dog ; Cæsar starts up, wags his the cage in all the ecstasy of entail, and runs to meet his master. thiusiasm, seeming not only to sing, He squeaks out like a hurt chicken, but to dance, keeping time to the and the hen hurries about with measure of his own music. Both hanging wings and bristled fea-in his native and domesticated state, thers, clucking to protect her in- during the solemn stillness of night, jured brood. The barking of the as soon as the moon rises in silent dog, the mewing of the cat, the majesty, he begins his delightful creaking of a passing wheelbarrow, solo, and serenades us the livelong follow with great truth and rapidi- night with a full display of his voty. He repeats the tane taught cal powers,making the wholeveighbim by his master, though of con- bourhood ring with his inimitable siderable length, fully and faith- melody. fully. He runs over the quiverings A certain anonymous author, of the canary and the clear whis- speaking of the mocking-birds in tlings of the Virginia nightingale the island of Jamaica, and their or red bird, with such superior ex- practice of singing by moonlight, ecution and effect, that the morti- thus gravely philosophizes and atfied songsters feel their own infe- ||tempts to account for the habit :riority, and become altogether si- “It is not certain," says he, “whelent; while he seems to triumphther they are kept so wakeful by in their defeat by redoubling his the clearness of the light, or by exertions.
any extraordinary attention and This excessive fondness for va-vigilance at such times, for the proriety, however, in the opinion of tection of their nursery from the some, injures his song. His ex- piratical assaults of the owl and cellent imitations of the brown the night hawk. It is possible that thrush are frequently interrupted fear may operate upon them, much by the crowing of cocks; and the in the same manner as it has been warblings of the blue bird, which observed to affect some cowardly he exquisitely manages, are min-persons, who whistle stoutly in a gled with the screaming of swallows | lonesome place, while their mind and the cackling of hens : amidst is agitated by the terror of thieves the simple melody of the robin, we or hobgoblins." are suddenly surprised by the shrill If it would not seem invidious to reiterations of the whip-poor-will; || foreigners, I might here make a while the notes of the kill-deer, comparative statement between the blue jay, martin, baltimore, and powers of the mocking-bird, and twenty others succeed, with such the only bird I believe in the world imposing reality, that we look round worthy of being compared with for the originals, and discover, with bim, the European nightingale. I astonishment, that the sole per shall therefore present the reader former in this singular concert, is with the opinion of a distinguished the admirable bird now before us. 'English naturalist and curious ob