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presents implicitly one half of Italy, and a winter night one half of the world beside. After the lapse of half a year, all at once there strikes upon the heart something more beautiful than Italy, where the Sun sets so much earlier in summer time than it does in Sweden; and what is that? It is the longest day, with the rich freight that it carries in its bosom, and leading by the hand the early dawn, blushing with rosy light, and melodious with the caroling of larks at one o'clock in the morning. Before two, that is, at sun rise, all the flowers are glittering, and the forests are gleaming with the mighty light. The warm Sun threatens with no storm, nor thunder showers, for both are rare in Sweden. That a longest day like this, bearing such a cornucopia of sunshine, of cloudless ether, of, buds and bells, of blossoms and of leisure, should pass away more rapidly than the shortest, is not difficult to suppose. At eight o'clock in the evening, the Sun is now burning more gently over the half-closed sleepy flowers; about nine he has mitigated his rays, and is beheld bathing, as it were naked, in the blue depths of heaven : about ten, the tepid Sun, now sunk to the horizon, is still shedding a sullen glow upon the cottages and window frames; every thing reposes in profoundest silence and sleep: the birds even are all slumbering in the golden summits of the woods; and, at last, the solitary Sun himself sets, like a moon, amidst the universal quiet of nature. Coolness comes, and a few stars. The night-violet and gilly-flowers open, and breathe out their powerful odours. To the north, from the eternal morning of the pole, exhales, as it were, a golden dawn. A few brief, warm hours, and, all at once starts up the morning Sun in his freshness; then, again, begin pleasure and morning in their pomp of radiance!
The month of April is a very interesting one to the ornithologist, as, at this period, most of our migrating birds return from their travels, and we recog
nise in the grove and the hedgerow the voices of many of our old acquaintances, which we as much expect to hear about this time, as if an appointment were made for that purpose; and we greet them as the harbingers of a delightful season. A person well conversant with birds will know them as certainly by their voice, or flight, as if the creature were in his hand; but the parus tribe (tom tits), in the spring, have such a variety of notes, that they at times surprise, and occasion a disappointment: we hear an unusual note, and creep with caution to observe the stranger it proceeds from, and at length perceive our old acquaintance searching with his usual activity the lichens of an old apple-tree. All these birds (parus major, and p. ater in particular) will often acquire or compound a note not common to each other, seem delighted with it for a day, and then we hear it no more. The larger tom tit (p. major) has two particular calls which he uses in the spring and autumn, so invariable, that they are become familiar to every gardener; and no spring passes without our hearing the singularly harsh notes of this beautiful bird.
The arrival of the swallow, about the middle of the month, foretels the approach of summer. The next bird that appears, is the motacilla luscinia, or nightingale. To this charming songster our nine published volumes' are full of elegant tributes; and yet can we never tire of the pleasing theme.
Ye warbling chanters of the wood,
That fill the eares with nature's laies,
By weaker accents, what's your praise
SIR H. WOTTON.
See particularly T. T. for 1822, pp. 116-122, an account of the abundance of nightingales in Persia and the East, some elegant verses by Hafiz, and Crashaw's translation of Strada's beautiful poem on the contest of the nightingale with the musician. .
To H. C. Upon Occusion of leaving his Countrye, and Sweetnesse of his Verse.
Englands sweete nightingale! what frights thee so,
As over sea to make thee take thy flight,
And there him with thy heavenly songs delight?
With her, for winter's dread, to flye away?
That when, as she returneth, thou shouldst stay?
Returne with her; and thou like tidings bring:
When once men see thee come, what will they say?
Come, feare thou not the cage, but loyall be,
HENRY CONSTABLE. From the time of Homer to the present day, the poets have ever considered the nightingale as a melancholy bird: we have before (T. T. for 1815, p. 139, 140, and for 1821, p. 118) combated this opinion, and have, we think, sufficiently proved that it is entirely erroneous. To the authorities formerly adduced in support of our observations, we add the following. The first is from one of our early bards, who were good judges of nature's music, and admirable sketchers of her ever beautiful scenery; the second is from a great political character, now consigned to the grave, whose elegant taste and classical acquirements are admitted by all parties.
The chearful birds
. Vallans, Tule of Two Swannes. The following Letter of the Hon. C.J. Fox, while it confirms the accurate description of the poet, will also serve to show Mr. F.'s fondness for literary inquiries, and for works of imagination and poetry. His letters are filled with complaints of the inter
ruptions to his studies that arose from politics, while he speaks with delight and complacency of whole days devoted to Euripides and Virgil.
• Dear GREY,
In defence of my opinion about the nightingales, I find Chaucer, who of all poets seems to have been the fondest of the singing of birds, calls it a merry note; and, though Theocritus mentions nightingales six or seven times, he never mentions their note as plaintive or melancholy. It is true he does not call it any where merry, as Chaucer does; but by mentioning it with the song of the blackbird, and as answering it, he seems to imply that it was a cheerful note. Sophocles is against us; but even he says, lamenting Itys, and the comparison of her to Electra is rather as to perseverance by day and night, than as to sorrow. At all events, a tragic poet is not half so good authority in this question as Theocritus and Chaucer. I cannot light upon the passage in the Odyssey, where Penelope's restlessness is compared to the nightingale; but I am sure that it is only as to restlessness and watchfulness that he makes the comparison. If you will read the last twelve books of the Odyssey, you will certainly find it, and I am sure you will be paid for your hunt, whether you find it or not. The passage in Chaucer is in the Flower and Leaf, p. 99. The one [ par. ticularly allude to in Theocritus, is in his Epigrams, I think in the fourth. Dryden has transferred the word merry to the goldfinch, in the Flower and the Leaf; in deference, may be, to the vulgar error; but pray read his description of the nightingale there : it is quite delightful, I am afraid I like these researches as much better than those that relate to Shaftesbury, Sunderland, &c, as I do those better than attending the House of Commons.
*C. J. Fox. Although we bear willing testimony to the transcendant powers of our heavenly musician, the nightingale, may we not suppose that her chaunt acquires an adventitious charm from its being unaccompanied by the notes of any other bird, and from its being generally heard in the still season of night? The bard of Avon, with whom, however, we do not entirely agree in this case, goes still further: he says,
The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
That beautiful little bird, the wryneck (jynx torquilla) makes its appearance about the middle of the month, preceding the cuckoo by a few days. The well-known cry of the cuculus canorus is heard soon after the wryneck, and ceases the latter end of June: its stay is short, the old cuckoos being said to quit this country about the end of June; but it is more probable that its departure is delayed till about the end of August. All, however, do not leave England, as well-authenticated instances have recently occurred of cuckoos, like swallows, being found in a state of torpidity.
The other summer birds of passage which arrive this month, make their appearance in the following order: the ring-ousel (turdus torquatus), the red-start (motacilla phoenicurus), frequenting oid walls and ruinous edifices; the yellow wren (motacilla trochilus), the swift, the white-throat (motacilla sylva), the grasshopper lark (alauda trivialis), the smallest of the lark kind; and, lastly, the willow wren, which frequents hedges and shrubberies, and feeds on insects, in search of which it is continually running úp and down small branches of trees. The house-wren destroys many pernicious insects. The stone-curlew, or great plover, arrives about this time. For some observations on the sleep of birds, see T.T. for 1821, p. 121.
The author of the “ Widow's Tale, and other Poems,'has vividly sketched the beauties of this delightful month in a charming little poem, entitled • The April Day,' which, even without the date of * 20th, 1820,' would, from its freshness and accuracy, have suggested the supposition that it was from actual observation. No heedless or unskilful eye could have cąught the marks and tokens, which must have been noted down at the minute they occurred.
All day the low-hung clouds have dropt
Their garnered fulness down;
Hill, valley, grove, and town.