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PROVIDENCE:-HAPPINESS OF ANIMALS,
The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence. In a spring noon, or a summer evening, on whichever side we turn our eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon our view. “The insect youth are on the wing." Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy, and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties.
A bee amongst the flowers in spring, is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment: so busy and so pleased : yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half-domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and, under every variety of constitution, gratified by the offices which the Author of their nature has assigned to them.
But the atmosphere is not the only scene of their enjoyment. Plants are covered with little insects, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but this is a state of gratification. What else should fix them so closely to the operation, and so
PROVIDENCE:HAPPINESS OF ANIMALS.
long? Other species are running about, with an alacrity in their motions, which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these sprightly natures.
If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy, that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it, all conduce to show their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side, in a calm evening, upon a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather, very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water.
When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the act of bounding into the air, from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this : if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what there is no reason to doubt, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view!
ALLAN CUNNINGII A M.
BORN, 1784; DIED, 1842. Principal Works.—Sir Marmaduke Maxwell, The Mermaid of
Galloway, The Legend of Richard Faulder, Songs of Scotland.
THE MOTHER'S CALL.
COME, sweet ones, come to the fields with me,
go hunt from bud to bloom
PROVIDENCE:-MIGRATION OF BIRDS.
WHILE one part of the creation daily publishes, in the same places, the praise of the Creator, another portion travels to relate his wonders to the whole earth. Couriers traverse the air, glide in the waters, and speed their course across mountains and valleys. These, arriving on the wings of the Spring, enliven its nights with their songs, build their nests among its flowers, and, disappearing with the zephyrs, follow their moveable country from climate to climate; those repair to the habitation of man; as travellers from distant climes, they claim the rights of ancient hospitality
Each follows his inclination in the choice of a host; the Redbreast applies at the cottage: the Swallow knocks at the palace : this daughter of a king still seems attached to grandeur, but to grandeur, melancholy like her fate; she passes the summer amid the ruins of Versailles, and the winter among those of Thebes. Scarcely has she disappeared, when we behold a colony advancing upon the winds of the north, to supply the place of the travellers to the south, that no vacancy may be left in our fields. In a hoary day of autumn, when the north-east wind blows over the plains, and the woods are losing the last remains of their foliage, a numerous troop of wild ducks, all ranged in a line, traverse in silence a melan
PROVIDENCE :-MIGRATION OF BIRDS.
clioly sky. If they perceive, while aloft in the air, some Gothic castle surrounded by marshes and by forests, it is there they prepare to descend: they wait till night, making long evolutions over the woods. Soon as the vapours of the eve enshroud the valley, with outstretched neck and whirring wing, they sud denly alight on the waters, which resound with their noise. A general cry, succeeded by profound silence, rises from all the marshes. Guided by a faint light, which, perhaps, gleams through the narrow window of a tower, the travellers approach its walls, favoured by the reeds and by the darkness. There, clapping their wings and screaming amid the murmur of the winds and of the rain, they salute the habitation of mar
Among these travellers from the north, there are some who habituate themselves to our manners, and refuse to return to their native land Most of them, however, leave us after a residence of some months : they are attached to the winds and the storms, which tarnish the polish of the waves, and deliver to them that prey which would escape them in transparent waters; they love unknown retreats, and make the circuit of the globe, by a round of solitudes.
It is not always in troops that these birds visit our habitations. Sometimes two beauteous strangers, white as snow, arrive with the frosts; they descend in the midst of a heath, in an open place, where it is impossible to approach them without being perceived; after resting a few hours, they again soar above the clouds. You hasten to the spot from which