On the opposite side I observed several little birds running along the shore, and making a piping noise. They were brown and white, and about as big as a snipe.

Mr. A. I suppose they were sand-pipers; one of the numerous family of birds that get their living by wading among the shallows, and picking up worms and insects.

W. There were a great many swallows, too, sporting upon the surface of the water, that entertained me with their motions. Sometimes they dashed into the stream; sometimes they pursued one another so quick that the eye could scarcely follow them. In one place, where a high steep sand-bank rose directly above the river, I observed many of them go in and out of holes with which the bank was bored full.

Mr. A. Those were sand-martins, the smallest of our species of swallows. They are of a mouse colour above, and white beneath. They make their nests and bring up their young in these holes, which run a great depth, and, by their situation, are secure from all plunderers.

W. I then turned homeward across the meadows, where I stopped a while to look at a large flock of starlings which kept flying about at no great distance. I could not tell at first what to make of them; for they rose all together from the ground as thick as a swarm of bees, and formed themselves into a kind of black cloud, hovering over the field. After having a short round they settled again, and presently rose again in the same manner. I dare say there were hundreds of them.

Mr. A. Perhaps so, for in the fenny countries their flocks are so numerous as to break down whole acres of reeds by settling on them.

W. I got to the high field next our house just as the sun was setting, and I stood looking at it till it was quite lost. What a glorious sight! The clouds were tinged purple, and crimson, and yellow, of all shades and hues, and the clear sky varied from blue to a fine green at the horizon. But how large the sun appears just as it sets! I think it seems twice as big as when it is overhead.

Mr. A. It does so; and you may probably have observed the same of the moon at its rising.

W. I have; but pray, what is the reason of this? Mr. A. You will scarce be able to understand this at present. What a number of new ideas this afternoon's walk has afforded you! I do not wonder that you found it amusing: it has been very instructive too. Did you see nothing of all these sights, Robert ?

R. I saw some of them, but I did not take par ticular notice of them.

Mr. A. Why not?

R. I don't know. I did not care about them, and I made the best of my way home.

Mr. A. That would have been right if you had been sent with a message; but as you only walked for amusement, it would have been wiser to have sought out as many sources of it as possible. But so it is one man walks through the world with his eyes open, and another with them shut; and upon this difference depends all the superiority of knowledge the one acquires above the other. I have known sailors who had been in all the quarters of

the world, and could tell you nothing but the signs of the public-houses they frequented in different ports, and the price and quality of the liquor; while the observing eye and inquiring mind finds matter of improvement and delight in every ramble in town or country. Do you, then, William, continue to make use of your eyes: and you, Robert, learn that eyes were given you to use. DR. AIKIN.



OUR nest hangs high on yon tall tree
With tiny cords suspended,
And few its narrow door can see,

By clustering leaves defended.
With roots and moss we wove it round,
With ivy tendrils twined it,
While all around we lichens* bound,
With down and feathers lined it.

So sly upon the hanging bough
With artful care we tied it,
No restless jay or thieving crow

With peering† look hath spied it.
The cat may look with wistful‡ eye,
Along the branches running,
But though she try, we're far too high,
And laugh at all her cunning.

When the storm blows, the pliant spray

Bends gently to its power,

The hanging leaves all fresh and gay
Keep off the pelting shower.

† Peering.] Slyly peeping.

Wistful.] Eager. The accurate meaning of the word is

* Lichens.] Mosses.

[ocr errors]

'eager to know," "inquiring."

The brood within, in merry plight,

Care not for wind or weather; Through the dark night and cheerful light They all are warm together.

And soon all strong abroad they'll go,
Their waving cradle leaving,
Their airy course from bough to bough
On tiny pinion cleaving.

And though they lie so callow* here,
In the soft nest reclining,

They'll soon appear in brighter gear,

With crowns of bright gold shining.

Oh! thus each Christian home should be
Above the earth suspended,
And built upon the heavenly tree,
By its sure shade defended.

Truth's faultless belt around it tie,

With love's strong tendrils bind it ;
And place it high, where sin's dark eye
Can ne'er look up and find it.

Built high upon that living tree,
No hand shall spoil its treasure,
Above earth's low desires 'twill be,
And all its fading pleasure.
Oh! safe will be that Christian home,
By no fierce quarrels riven,

When all within are but as one,

Their hearts and hopes in heaven.

In the bird's young how day by day
Their tender wings wax stronger,
Each plume, that is to cut their way
Through the light air, grows longer!

Callow.] Unfledged.


Thus feel the hearts in that pure home,
New graces flowing o'er them
And nearer come, each rolling sun,
To that blest land before them.

Till one by one at length they'll rise,
Their plumage all completed,
On lusty wing to seek the skies,
By shouting angels greeted.
And as before the eternal throne
To angel harps they listen,
On every one a burnish'd crown

Of living gold shall glisten.




THERE is an order of quadrupeds called Marsupial, from the Latin word marsupium, which signifies a pouch, because these animals are provided with a bag or pouch beneath the stomach, in which the mother carries her young ones for some time after their birth, and in which they continue to take shelter when tired. or alarmed, even after they are well grown and able to feed themselves. Sixty-seven species of marsupial animals have already been discovered; and of these, by far the greater number are peculiar to Australia, where forty-three species have been found, varying in bulk from the size of a mouse to that of a deer. Some marsupial quadrupeds exist in New Guinea,

« 上一页继续 »