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he now saw an opportunity of putting into practice over all the others, though executed by the best artists the lessons which he had first learned from the works of then in Paris. the Italian masters. But the mother of his patron Poussin's reputation as a painter of genius was now seems to have interfered with the project, so that it was established, and it procured for him the acquaintance never accomplished; she even conceived a great dislike of many of the literary men of the time, and among towards Poussin; made his abode in her house uncom others that of the poet Marino, commonly called the fortable ; set him about various menial employments ; | Chevalier Marini. This gentleman, who was familiar and finally succeeded in exciting in him so much disgust, with all the great works of art, appreciated the merits of that he quitted the house, and set out on foot for Paris. Poussin, sought his acquaintance, and gave him an The journey was long and wearisome ; Poussin's only apartment in his house. The infirmities of Marino means of subsistence were obtained by working at his forced him to keep his bed, so that the society of Pous.. art in the different towns through which he passed; sin was a great resource to him; and Poussin also deselling small pictures in distemper at very low prices ; rived the greatest advantage from the instructive and and painting the borders and ornaments of rooms. But | animated conversation of his amiable protector, and his earnings were so inconsiderable, and his labour so from the books which they read together.
By such severe, that on reaching Paris he was seized with a dan means Poussin acquired a more complete knowledge gerous illness, the consequence of over-exertion, and of the Latin and Italian classics. He also, under bad or scanty food. This illness left him so weak, that the direction of Marino, made a number of designs for in order to restore him he was advised again to breathe the works of that poet, and particularly for his poem his native air. He therefore returned to Andelys, and of Adonis. remained in his father's family nearly a year, during To the studies of this period of his life, has been rewhich period he continued to paint in distemper, or in ferred Poussin's predilection for compositions where oil, at very low prices.
nymphs, and fairies, and bacchanals, are the subjects; It appears that at this period artists were constantly compositions in which he certainly excelled, and of moving about, earning their bread by seeking employment which Reynolds says that no painter was ever better in villages and towns, for a few days or weeks at a time. i qualified to paint, not only from his being eminently On leaving his father's house, Poussin embarked on this skilled in the knowledge of the ceremonies, customs, and wandering and painful life, sometimes occupying a habits of the ancients, but from his being so well acposition little above that of a house-painter, at other quainted with the different characters which those who times painting portraits; but rarely historical subjects. invented them gave to their allegorical figures. His great object was to amass sufficient money to take Poussin also diligently applied himself to history and him to Rome. All his hopes were for the attainment biography, transcribing and translating large portions of this object, and all his wanderings lay in the direction from different authors for his own use; and he sought of Italy. On one occasion he had actually succeeded in the conversation of learned and ingenious men, whereby getting as far as Florence, but was forced to return, to improve his taste and knowledge. probably because his purse was exhausted; and the pic When Marino returned to Rome he would have taken tures which had some value, however small, in the Poussin with him, but the principle of honesty, which country towns of France, were regarded as valueless in regulated all the actions of our artist's life, prevented Italy, at time when painting was in such perfection him from accepting this tempting offer. He was under that the best pictures only could be sold to any advan- engagements to paint some pictures, among which was tage.
one for the Goldsmiths' Company, who every year preOn his return to Paris his friend Philippe de Cham- sented a picture to the cathedral of Notre Dame. page, with whom he lodged, and who was assisting Having honourably fulfilled all his engagements, Duchesne in the ornamental painting of the Luxem- | Poussin followed his patron to Rome, and arrived there bourg Palace, introduced Poussin to his employer. in the spring of 1624 Duchesne being glad of so able and ready an assistant, employed him for some tim ; and when Poussin's services were no longer required, he again set out on the road to Rome. But this time he had not proceeded | profession, every branch of study, every kind of distinct
There is one class of dangers pertaining alike to every farther than Lyons when he was detained by an illness pursuit. 'I mean the danger in each, to him who is devoted which cost him all his little savings. Poussin afterwards to it, of over-rating its importance as compared with others, related, that having paid all, he had but one crown left and again of unduly exter:ding its province. To a man in his purse, and he upbraided Fortune, saying, " Take who has no enlarged views, no general cultivation of mind, this also!" and spent it that very erening on a supper and no familiar intercourse with the enlightened and the with a few companions, who greatly admired his gay
worthy of other classes besides his own, the result must be philosophy. A merchant of Lyons, however, supplied To apply to all questions, on all subjects, the sume prin
more or less of the several forms of narrow-mindedness. him with money, on condition that he should paint a ciples and rules of judging that are suitable to the partinumber of pictures for him. Poussin accordingly cular questions and subjects about which he is especially reinained at Lyons until he had fulfilled his undertaking, conversant ;-to bring in those subjects and questions on all and had also earned enough to take him to Paris. occasions, suitable or unsuitable, like the painter Horace
Thus compelled to defer his journey to Italy, Poussin alludes tó, who introduced a cypress tree into the picture sought employment in Paris, where, in the year 1623,
of a shipwreck ;-to regard his own particular pursuit as the the Jesuits, wishing to celebrate with splendour the
one important and absorbing interest ;-to look on all other canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier,
events, transactions, and occupations, chiefly as they minis
ter more or less to that ;-to view the present state and past determined to have a series of pictures executed, which history of the world chiefly in reference to that;—and to should embody the miracles of these their patron saints. feel a clannish attachment to the members of that particular Poussin executed six designs in distemper in as many profession or class he belongs to, as a body or class, (an days. His long practice in distemper painting gave attachment, by the bye, which is often limited to the colhim a decided superiority in readiness over the other lective class, and not accompanied with kindly feelings artists employed on the occasion, and when the pictures towards the individual members of it,) and to have more came to be exhibited, although the details had been
or less an alienation of feeling from those of other classes :neglected on account of the haste with which they had row-mindedness which is to be found, alike, in all who do
ill these, and many other such, are symptoms of that narbeen executed, they excited the greatest admiration, on
not carefully guard themselves against it, whatever may account of the grandeur of conception and elegance of be the profession or department of study of each. -- Archdesign displayed in them, and obtained the preference BISHOP WHATELY.
THE NATURAL HISTORY AND MANAGE fact to prove that seed-eating birds do eat buds, (for MENT OF CAGE-BIRDS.
instance, the house sparrow, which even in mild winters will destroy the buds of currant bushes,) he no longer maintained his first opinion. As long ago as 1799, Dr. Townson proved the bud-devouring propensities of bullfinches. In his Tracts, he gives the following account of the result of his examination of the stonsachs of two of these birds which had been shot in a cherrytree. “ Exclusively of a few grains of sand and some small pebbles, I found nothing but embryo flowers. I could discover, with the assistance of my lens, all the parts of the flowers. The mischief these two little epicures had done, and probably at one breakfast, is incredible. From the quantity of buds I found in their stomachs, each of which was composed of four or five flowers, I think they had not
eaten less than a thousand a-piece.” Mr. Knapp also speaks III.
very explicitly on this point, in his Journal of a Naturalist.
* The idea,” he says, “ that this bird selects only such buds THE BULLFINCI. (Loxia Pyrrhula, Linn.) as contain the embryo of an insect to feed on it, and thus
free us of a latent colony of caterpillars, is not correct. It It is a curions mossy cell
may confer this benefit accidentally, but not with intention. Woven with twigs and grass and hair,
The mischief effected by bullfinches is greater than comAnd 'mid the moss six nestlings dwell,
monly imagined, and the ground beneath the bush or tree Concealed by apple-blossoms fair.
on which they have been feeding is commonly strewed with “ Tis Bully's nest!" Bethia said, “ His liead of glossy jet I spy,
shattered buds, the rejectments of their banquet; and we His downy breast of softest red;
are thus deprived of a large portion of our best fruits by this Poor biru! I hear his whooping cry."
assiduous pillager, this pick-a-bud,' as the gardeners call
it, without any redeeming virtues to compensate our loss.” Though the Bullfinch, as a tenant of woods and
The thefts which are thus established against the
copses, is very generally distributed throughout Britain, and in bullfinch have made the bird well known among garother parts of Europe, yet it is perhaps more rarely seen
deners and horticulturists in those retired districts which or heard, during the greater part of the year, than any are liable to its visits; while the beauty of the bird, and other equally common bird. 'It is attached to sheltered the sweetness of its acquired song, render it equally and well-wooded districts, which it seldom leaves, unless familiar to the lovers of caged birds. It will therefore compelled by necessity to do so. The thickest and most be unnecessary to give a lengthened description of its impenetrable forests, especially the mountainous forests shape and plumage. Its thick, but compact, body is of Germany, sometimes afford it a retreat ; but small expressive of strength and energy; its head and bill woods, groves, and copses, likewise form its dwelling. I have been compared to those of the handsomest of the place, and from these it will occasionally
venture to hawks; its bright black eye to that of the prying magpie. approach our gardens, where it is accused of doing mis- It has great command of itself on the perch, and its dif. chief to fruit-trees, by destroying the buds. Let us
ferent attitudes are very elegant. The head and part take the opinion of naturalists on this point. Mr. Wood, of the throat are of a rich velvet black; the upper parts in his British Song Birds, remarks, " That bullfinches of the body deep grey; the wings and tail black, varied do destroy a tolerably large portion of the buds of our fruit- with iron-blue; the under parts of the body of a fine trees there can be no doubt; but then it is probable that vermilion, passing into white towards the tail. The Only those buds which are infested with insects are attacked; vermilion tinge is less vivid in the young than in the and if so, its services in the garden must be incalculable. old bird, and in the females is supplied by reddish grey. In confinement, it will eat any buds; but in its wild state, it will be observed that the vegetable portion is rejected, in building its nest.
Compared with other birds, the bullfinch is very late and the inclosed insect or grub is the object of its search till the latter end of April or beginning of May: the
This work is not commenced That such is the case, I have ascertained almost to a certainty, from finding that some trees are passed over without nest is composed of small branches interlaced on the the slightest injury, while others are not quitted as long outside, and lined with vegetable fibres or moss-selas a bud remains; and others, again, undergo a selection. dom, if ever, with feathers, wool, or other animal subI have repeatedly observed it examining the buds with great stances. In this are deposited from four to six eggs, care, and am convinced that it does not indiscriminately bluish white, with brown or red spots, particularly todestroy the produce of trees. It has been remarked by wards the large end. These are hatched in fifteen days. of its depredations. But this, if anything, is in favour of High trees are seldom chosen as a place for the nest : of its depredations. But this, if anything, is in favour of the largest branches of those of lower and closer growth make their choice as well as the birds, and the birds only are selected in preference, and, in very retired spots, the attack such trees as are infested by these insect pests.” shelter of a thick hedge is also a favourite nesting-place.
So much on the side of the bullfinch have we from Rennie says, that he has found these nests most comthis naturalist, and he is not solitary in his opinion, monly on the flat branch of a pine or silver fir, where being supported by the compiler of Bewick and several the bird finds such an excellent foundation for the nest, other writers; but a contrary statement is made by other that she uses very few sticks in its construction. But authorities, and is, we fear, too well substantiated to sometimes the bullfinch ventures into the immediate leave much room for doubt as to the bird's delinquency. neighbourhood of houses, building in the thickest parts In the Supplement to Cuvier's work, and in Bechstein's of the shrubbery, and carefully concealing itself throughHistory of Birds, it is distinctly stated that the bull out the season, so that it may easily escape the notice finch feeds on buds. Mudie particularizes the early of an ordinary observer. When the female is on her cherry, the plum, and such trees as have a good supply nest, the male bird frequently sits for hours together on of farinaceous matter accumulated in the buds, as the some branch in the vicinity, uttering a low plaintive especial objects of attack; also the hawthorn, birch, and note, or a more continued song, not very remarkable for even the pine tribe, where much dexterity is displayed its beauty. “ Unless you see him singing," says Wood, by the bullfinch in separating the core of the bud from "you miss the best part of the performance. But it is the scales and turpentine. "Rennie was disposed, from at all times difficult either to see or hear him, though I casual observation, to consider that insects, and not have achieved both. While singing, he puffs out his buds, were the object of search; but having positive plumage, and makes strange contortions with his head,
I have frequently watched this interesting man@uvre ; | intended they should imitate ; and in order to get a very but no sooner does the bird find himself observed, than correct songster it is desirable early to separate him he shrinks to his ordinary size, alarms his matė, and from the other birds, lest through his facility of imiwith her, flies to a distant tree, where they remain out of tation, he should spoil the tune, by intermingling with sight, but within hearing, waiting the event, and sound it the incorrect notes of other learners. These birds ing their mellow note.' The birds are very much are sucn close imitators, that if the bird-organ be someattached to each other, and to their young. The old what out of tune, the unpleasant effect is perpetuated in birds do not separate throughout the year; indeed, it their song; hence some persons consider that the good scems probable that they pair for life, though their re whistling of a person who understands music is far prétired habits prevent the fact from being certainly known. ferable as a means of instruction, to the instrument in
The lateness of the season at which the young birds question. Dr. Stanley truly observes that "no school are hatched, unimportant as it may seem, is not without can be more diligently attended by its master, and no its cause, if it is true, as supposed by most writers, that scholars more effectually trained to their own calling, than the young are fed on grain, to the exclusion of insects å seminary of bullfinches. As a general rule they are and caterpillars, the usual food of other young birds of formed into classes of about six in each, and kept in a dark this order. Were they hatched earlier in the season,
room, where food and music are administered at the same grain would scarcely be procurable. The plumage of disposed to tune up, they are naturally inclined to copy the
time; so that when the meal is ended, if the birds feel the young birds is of a dark ash colour; the wings and sounds which are so familiar to them. As soon as they tail brown, inclining to black. The males may be known begin to imitate a few notes, the light is admitted into the at first by the red tinge on the breast; and if the nest room, which still farther exhilarates their spirits and inclines has been captured with a view to depriving its inmates them to sing. In some establishments the starving system of their liberty, these only are selected. But bullfinches is adopted, and the birds are not allowed food or lighť until reared from the nest are seldom long-lived. It is im- they sing. When they have been under this course of possible fully to supply to them their natural food; and
instruction in classes for some time, they are cominitted they thus become liable to diseases which rarely affect singly to the care of boys, whose sole business it is to go on
Each boy assiduously plays his such birds as have been taken in a snare or net.
organ from morning till night, for the instruction of the Singular varieties occur in the plumage of the bull bird committed to his care, while the class-teacher goes his finch. Sometimes it is met with of an asny or of a pure regular rounds, superintending the progress of his feathered white, with dark spots on the back. Wood says, “Ipupils, and scolding or rewarding them in a manner which never heard of a specimen entirely white unvil presented they perfectly understand, and strictly in accordance with with one, about two years ago, by a friend; it was shot
the attention or the disregard they have shown to the in
structions of the monitor. This round of teaching goes on in a hedge, where it was hopping about alone.” An
unintermittingly for no less a period than nine months, by other variety is jet black, but this seems to result from
which time the bird has acquired firmness, and is less likely confinement in a dark place, and from feeding too exclu
to forget or spoil the air by leaving out passages, or giving sively on hemp-seed. This change is most noticed in
them in the wrong place. At the time of moulting, the best female birds, and is in some individuals only partial. “I instructed birds are liable to lose the recollection of their have seen one,” says Bechstein, “ in which the head and tunes, and therefore require to have them frequently repeated breast, as well as the upper and under parts of the body, at that time, otherwise all the previous labour will have were of a raven black, every other part of a dull black, been thrown away. There are celebrated schools for these with the wings and tail white; it was a very handsome land, and England, receive supplies of the little musicians.
birds at Hesse and Fulda, from whence all Germany, Holbird, rather larger than a redbreast.” Varieties in size
In some cases the birds have been taught to whistle three also occur; but these are less remarkable.
different airs, without spoiling or confusing them ; but in The
song of the bullfinch in a wild state, though low, general a simple air, with perhaps a little prelude, is as and perhaps uninteresting, is not generally considered much as they can remember. "very harsh and disagreeable,” which are the terms “These little prodigies,” says Bechstein, “would be more used by Bechstein to describe it. On the contrary, interesting and agreeable if their Hessian instructors pose those who have taken considerable pains to come within
sessed a little musical taste, but these are generally tradeshearing of it, describe the voice of the male as soft and people, employed about the house with their different
occupations and trades; and hymns, airs, and minuets of mellow, mournfully sweet, but so low that it can only be
a hundred years old, public-house songs, or some learnt heard in the close vicinity. The listener has sometimes
of their apprentices, in general compose the whole of their effected his object by lying down amongst long grass, in music.”. This shows that Bully is occasionally subjected the neighbouroood of a nest. Partially concealed by to private tuition, and does not always enjoy the adthe herbage, he remains quite still, and the birds soon vantages offered by the training establishments just rise to the top of the bushes; when, if all is perfectly spoken of. quiet, they testify no kind of alarm, but at the slightest When a tune is thoroughly learned, the birds retain motion they take wing, and are seen no more.
it for the rest of their lives; but in acquiring it at first, But the power of the bullfinch when caged, to acquire very different degrees of capacity are shown. It has been distinct tunes, is very surprising, and has made the bird remarked, that the more easily a bird acquires his lesson, the object of a considerable and lucrative trade. The the more ready he is to forget it; but when once a bird education of the bullfinch is best carried on in Germany, of comparative dulness has succeeded in acquiring his where the patience and ingenuity of the people are well task, he seldom forgets it, even while moulting. When calculated to surmount the difficulties attending the task. able to whistle perfectly, in their soft flute-like tones, In the month of June, the young ones, which are sought some favourite air, these birds are highly prized by their for in the nests of wild birds, are taken when about ten possessors, and fetch a high price. Bechstein names à days old, and brought up by a person whose care and bird-seller (Mr. Thiem of Waltershausen), near Gotha, attention to their wants render them completely docile. who sends annually to Berlin and London one or two At the end of two months they begin to whistle, but hundred piping bullfinches for sale. These fetch from their education commences earlier. The tune they are to one to several pounds each, according to their cleverness learn is played to them repeatedly on a little instrument in singing, while a wild bullfinch might be obtained for called a bird-organ, the notes of which nearly resemble two or three pence. those of a bullfinch. It has been proved that the birds The attachment shown by bullfinches for those who learn more quickly, and reniember the tune much better, have the care of them, is an additional charm in these if it is played to them at the time they receive their food, interesting birds, and it so happens that they always or immediately afterwards. It is essential that the birds express their sense of pleasure by singing the tune they should hear no other musical sounds than those it is have been taught, as well as by many endearing ways.
Dr. Stanley gives a touching instance of this in a story seed, with a very little hemp, and a moderate quantity once told by Sir William Parsons, who was himself a of green food, such as lettuce, endive, chick-weed, water, great musician, and who, when a young man, possessed cresses, &c. They sometimes fall into a state of melana piping bullfinch, which he had taught to sing “God choly, and remain silent and immoveable. Bechstein save the King." On his once going abroad, he con recommends that they be then kept from all delicacies, signed the bird to the care of his sister, with a strict and fed entirely on soaked rape-seed. At the moulting injunction to take the greatest care of it. On his return, time they should have a clove in the water, and plenty one of his first visits was to her, when she told him that of refreshing green food. the poor little bird had long been declining in health, and was at that moment very ill. Sir William, full of
WALTER AND WILLIAM. sorrow, went into the room where the cage was, and opening the door, put in his hand and spoke to the bird.
CONTEXT not always waits upon success, The dying favourite opened its eyes, shook its feathers,
And more may he enjoy who profits less.
Walter and William took (their father dead) staggered on his finger, piped "God save the King,
Jointly the trade to which they both were bred; and fell dead !
When fix'd, they married, and they quickly found, Buffon relates that bullfinches which have escaped With due success their honest labours crowned from their aviary, and have lived at liberty in the woods Few were their losses, but although a few, for a whole year, have recollected the voice of the per Walter was vex'd and somewhat peevish grew, son who reared them, and have returned to their former “ You put your trust in every pleading fool,” home. Others have been so strongly attached to their
Said he to William, and grew strange and cool.
“Brother, forbear,” he answer'd,“ take your due, masters as to die of grief, when separated from them.
Nor let my lack of caution injure you." From the same authority we learn that the bullfinch is
Half friends they parted,-better so to close, extremely sensible of any injury, and remembers the
Than longer wait to part entirely foes. persons by whom it was inflicted. An instance is given Walter had knowledge, prudence, jealous care; of a bullfinch which was thrown down, with its cage, He let no idle views his bosom share; by some of the lowest order of people, and who ever He never thought nor felt for other menafterwards went into convulsions at the sight of shabbily
“Let one mind one, and all are minded then." dressed persons, until in one of these fits it expired,
Friends he respected, and believed them just, eight months after the first accident.
But they were men, and he would no man trust;
He tried and watch'd his people day and night,Instances of the affectionate nature of these birds
The good it harm'd not; for the bad 'twas right; might be greatly multiplied. A lady who had been a He could their humours bear, nay disrespect, severe sufferer in health for many years, found in a But he could yield no pardon to neglect; tame bullfinch a constant and faithful companion. It That all about him were of him afraid, might have been supposed that the bird was conscious “ Was right,” he said, “so should we be obey'd.” of her sufferings, so unobtrusively did it remain perched These merchant maxims, much good fortune too, on her couch, attentively watching for the moment when
And ever keeping one grand point in view, her finger should be extended in token of permission to
To vast amount his once small portion drew.
William was kind and easy; he complied approach. At this welcome signal it fluttered towards
With all requests, or grieved when he denied. her with apparent joy, nestling against the pale cheek,
To please his wife he made a costly trip, and giving to the wearied invalid a momentary sensa To please his child he let a bargain slip; tion of pleasure. The accidental dropping of the cage Prone to compassion, mild with the distress'd, from a considerable height caused the death of the poor
He bore with all who poverty profess'd, bird, and deeply did the invalid feel her loss, during the
And some would he assist, nor one would he arrest. short remainder of her days.
He had some loss at sea, had debts at land,
His clerk absconded with some bills in hand, The familiarity and sagacity of the bullfinch are also
And plans so often fail'd that he no longer plann'd. illustrated by the following account, kindly furnished To a small house (his brother's) he withdrew, to us by a clerical friend. “My poor bullfinch was At easy rent—the man was not a Jew, remarkably tame and familiar. I was accustomed to open And there his losses and his cares he bore, his cage at breakfast time, and if from any cause I failed Nor found that want of wealth could make him poor. to do so, he made me understand by his actions that he No, he in fact was rich, nor could he move, considered himself badly used. When set at liberty he But he was followd by the looks of love; flew to the table, and picked up the crumbs that chanced All he had suffer'd, every former grief, to be lying upon it, or received a piece of loaf-sugar, of Made those around more studious in relief; which he was very fond, from my hand: he would also He saw a cheerful smile in every face, take food from my mouth, and sometimes he presumed so And lost all thoughts of error and disgrace. much, and was so impertinent, that I was compelled to Pleasant it was to see them in their walk drive him off. He one day observed himself reflected in Round their small garden, and to hear them taik; the polished surface of a steel lock attached to a writing Free are their children, but their love refrains case, which greatly excited his anger, and it was most From all offence-none murmurs, none complains; amusing to see how he erected his plumage, and hissed* Whether a book amused them, speech or play, defiance at his own image, and ever after, when allowed to Their looks were lively, and their hearts were gay; leave his cage, he sought this lock for the sake of quarrelling There no forced efforts for delight were made, with himself. It afterwards occurred to me to try the effect Joy came with prudence, and without parade; of a looking-glass upon him, and it was interesting to Their common comforts they had all in view, observe that when he had vented his rage, he hopped to the Light were their troubles, and their wishes few: back of the glass, and not finding the object of his search Thrift made them easy for the coming day, there, he returned to the front, evidently puzzled, and at a Religion took the dread of death away; loss to account for the deception. After this the poor
fellow A cheerful spirit still insured content, often went through his exercises before the lock and the And love smiled round them wheresoe'er they went. glass, for the edification of my friends. I kept this very
CRABBE. intelligent bird for about two years : he died of, I believe, apoplexy, in consequence of a too liberal supply of hempseed, of which he was very fond.”
It would be thought a hard government that should tax its The diseases of the bullfinch are somewhat similar to people one-tenth part of their time to be employed in its those of the cage-birds already noticed. In confinement
service; but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, their health is best ensured by keeping them to rape
by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth,
like rust, consumes faster than labour wears. Dost thou * This word best expresses the peculiar sound emitted by the bullfinch
love life? then do not squander time, for that is the stuff when he is angry or jealous.
life is made of.-FRANKLIN'S Memoirs.
REMARKABLE SOUNDS IN NATURE. usually in the early part of spring, when the wind is east
erly and nearly calm on the flats, a hollow moaning sound I.
is heard, popularly termed the “soughing of the wind," Most persons who are accustomed to attend to the and evidently proceeding from this elevated range, varied phenomena of nature, must have heard, at times, which is intersected with numberless ravines or valleys. strange sounds which they were at a loss to account Hence it probably happens that when the atmosphere is for. Any one who has sat alone in a retired dwelling in that precise state best adapted for receiving and during the stillness of a calm night, may remember to transmitting undulations of air, a breeze, not perceptible have heard, occasionally, low murmurings rising and in the flat country, gently sweeps from the summits of falling on the ear, which ignorance and superstition, or the hills, and acts the part of a blower on the sinuosian imagination uncorrected by religion or science, too ties and hollows or cloughs, as they are called, which often converts into sources of terror, instead of remem thus respond to the draught of air like enormous organbering the words of our Divine Teacher, “The wind pipes, and become for the time wind instruments on a bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound gigantic scale, producing those striking and melancholy thereof; but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither modulations so well expressed by the provincial word it goeth." John iii. 8.
soughing, derived most probably from the old Welsh We are about to call the reader's attention to a few substantive suad, a lullaby, or the verb suaw, to hush, to of the remarkable noises heard in nature, and to endea- lull, to rest; or, as Sir Walter Scott in his glossary invour as far as possible to trace them to their respective terprets it, a hollow blast or whisper. “ Hist,” exclaims Our sketch must necessarily be imperfect, one of his characters, “I hear a distant noise."
« It is but our chief object is to satisfy our young friends that the rushing of the brook over the pebbles,” said one. the unaccustomed sounds in nature startle, because they “ It is the sough of the wind among the bracken," said occur seldom, or during the night only, when the busy another. And again, when old Dousterswivel is keeping sounds of day are hushed, or being observed only in his midnight vigils near "goot Maister Mishdigoat's particular spots, they thus fall mysteriously upon the grave,” the melancholy sough of the dying wind is fitly ear.
associated with “strains of vocal music, so sad and · There are, however, many sounds audible to an atten- solemn, as if the departed spirits of the churchmen who tive ear by day, which are as difficult to explain as the had once inhabited those deserted ruins, were mourning nocturnal sounds just alluded to. The author of the the solitude and desolation to which their hallowed preJournal of a Naturalist remarks, that the purely rural, cincts had been abandoned.” littie noticed, and, indeed, local occurrence, called by the That the intensity of sound is greatly increased by country people, "hummings in the air,” is annually to night cannot be doubted, and this has been ascribed by be heard in one or two fields near his dwelling. “About Humboldt to the presence of the sun acting on the the middle of the day, perhaps from twelve o'clock till two, propagation and intensity of sounds by opposing them on a few calm sultry days in July, (he says,) we occa with currents of air of different density, and partial sionally hear, when in particular places, the humming of undulations of the atmosphere, caused by unequally apparently a large swarm of bees. It is generally in some spacious open spot that this murmuring first arrests our at
In these cases,
heating different parts of the earth. tention. As we move onward the sound becomes fainter, tions which produce the sounds are divided into two
where the air suddenly changes in density, the vibraand by degrees is no longer audible. That this sound proceeds from a collection of bees, or some such insects high in waves, and a sort of acoustic mirage is produced, in the the air, there can be no doubt; yet the musicians are invi same manner as a luminous mirage takes place from a sible. At these times a solitary insect or so may be ob- similar cause. But there are, probably, other causes served here and there, occupied in its usual employ; but connected with the presence or absence, excess or dimithis creature takes no part in our aërial orchestra."
nution of solar heat, of moisture, &c., which may opeA writer in the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, rate both in the increase and continuance of sound, objects to the opinion contained in the above quotation; while many peculiarities of place, or season, may create first, because the fact is stated as being local and par
or modify certain sounds, which being local admit only tial, heard only in one or two fields, at particular times of special explanation. of the year when the air is in a certain state, viz., calm
Captain Parry, during the intense cold experienced and sultry. In the next place, he doubts whether the in Winter Harbour, was surprised at the great distance sound is really produced by insects “high in the air;" at which the human voice could be heard: “I have;" he “ for it so happens,” he adds, “ that, in the bosom of a thick wood, where there is a space partially opened, though stiki says, “often heard people distinctly conversing, in a a very narrow and confined spot, in days precisely such as
common tone of voice, at the distance of a mile; and he describes them, ;. e., sultry, and in the middle of summer, to-day, I heard a man singing to himself as he walked when the air is calm, I have often paused to listen to á along the beach, at even a greater distance than this.” similar aërial humming, appearing to result from some un The strong tendency of sound to ascend has also a seen power close at hand, which for several years I hesitated great effect. Humboldt has remarked, that the barking not to attribute to insects, an opinion I felt compelled, of a dog has been heard when the listener was in a though reluctantly, to give up, since after the most diligent balloon at an elevation of about three miles. It has search, I could never detect the presence of any collected also been noticed, that from the ridge of the Table body sufficiently numerous to account for the effect. Many Mountain, which is 3600 feet high, and the upper part of the properties of sound have hitherto eluded the powers of which rises perpendicularly at the distance of about of science, and much that is mysterious still remains to be unravelled.”
a mile from Cape Town, every noise made below, even The writer last quoted gives another example of a
to the word of command on the parade, may be disremarkable sound, which although it is by no means of tinctly heard. common occurrence, is sufficiently frequent to be almost The ease with which sound travels over water, is generally known in the immediate neighbourhood where well known, but to what extent would scarcely be creit occurs. A map of Cheshire will show that from dited, had we not the most undoubted evidence, viz., within a short distance eastward of Macclesfield, a range that of the celebrated traveller, Dr. Clarke. He says, of hills extends in an irregular curve to the north-west,
“A remarkable circumstance occurred, which may convey forming a sort of concave screen, terminating somewhat notions of the propagation of sound over water
, greater than abruptly over the comparatively level plains of that part will, perhaps, be credited; but we can appeal to the testi
mony of those who were witnesses of the fact, for the truth of the county. In different parts of these, as well as in
of that which we now relate. By our observation of latimore elevated spots, at the various distances of from tude, we were one hundred miles from the Egyptian coast; four to six miles or more, at certain seasons of the year, I the sea was perfectly calm, with little or no swell, and