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A new version of an old proverb. So, in ‘Grange's Garden,' 4to, 1577,

“ Content yourself as well as I,

Let reason rule your minde,
As cuckoldes come by destinie,

So cuckowes sing by kinde."

KingfisHER (Alcedo ispida). " It was formerly believed that during the time the halcyon or kingfisher was engaged in hatching her eggs, the water, in kindness to her, remained so smooth and calm that the mariner might venture on the sea with the happy certainty of not being exposed to storms or tempests; this period was therefore called by Pliny and Aristotle the halcyon days.' “Expect St. Martin's summer, halcyon days."

Henry VI., Part I. It was also supposed that the dead bird, carefully balanced and suspended by a single thread, would always turn its beak towards that point of the compass from which the wind blew. Kent, in 'King Lear,' speaks of rogues who

“ Turn their halcyon beaks

With every gale and vary of their masters.”
And after Shakespeare, Marlowe, in his 'Jew of Malta,' says:

“ But how pow stands the wind ?
Into what corner peers my halcyon's bill ?"

SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica). “The swallow follows not summer more willingly than we your lordship, nor more willingly leavés winter, such summer birds are men.”

Timon of Athens, Act iii. Scene 6.
" Swallows have built
In Cleopatra's sails their bests; the augurs
Say, they know not, they cannot tell, look grimly,
And dare not speak their knowledge.”

Antony and Cleopatra, Act iv. Scene 10.
" And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way and run like swallows on the plain.”

Tilus Andronicus, Act ii, Scene 2. Those who have watched the swallows upon a dull day, skimming low along the ground, and seeming almost to touch it, although flying with speed as undiminished as if high in air, will readily see the aptness of this simile. Again,

" As swift as swallow flies.

Id. Act iv. Scene 2.

It is difficult to calculate or limit the speed which can be produced by the effort of a wing's vibration. We may nevertheless ascertain with tolerable accuracy the rate of a bird's flight as follows:--If we note the number of seconds which are occupied by a bird in passing between two fixed points in its line of Alight, and measure the distance between these points, we resolve the question to a simple “rule of three" sum, inasmuch as knowing the number of yards flown in a certain number of seconds we can ascertain the distance traversed in 3600 seconds, or an hour, and thus obtain the rate of speed per hour, supposing, of course, the speed to be uniform.

In this way the flight of the common swallow has been computed at 90 miles, while that of the swift has been conjectured to be nearly 180 miles per hour. “ True hope is swift and Aies with swallow's wings.”

Richard III., Act v. Scene 2.

The swallow, although one of the earliest, is not always the first of our spring ornaments to appear. There are

“ Daffodils
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty."

Winter's Tale, Act iv. Scene 3.

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MARTIN (Hirundo urbica).

“ This guest of summer,
The temple-baunting martlet does approve,
By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly bere; no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coigne of vantage but this bird
Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle.
Where they most breed and haunt I have observed
The air is delicate.”

Macbeth, Act i. Scene 6.

Sir Joshua Reynolds was struck with the beauty of this brief colloquy before the Castle of Macbeth, and he observes on it: “ This

short dialogue between Duncan and Banquo, while they are approaching the gates of Macbeth's castle, has always appeared to me a striking instance of what, in painting, is termed repose. Their conversation very naturally turns upon the beauties of its situation and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlets' nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks that where those birds most breed and haunt the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so necessary to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds."

“ but like the martlet
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.”

Merchant of Venice, Act ii. Scene 9.

PIGEON (Columba livia).*
“O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly

To seal love's bonds new made, than they are wont
To keep obliged faith unforfeited.”

Merchant of Venice, Act ii. Scene 6. “ Enter a Clown with a basket and two pigeons.

“ News, news from heaven! Marcus the post is come.
Sirrab, whal tidings ? bare you any letters ?

Titus Andronicus, Act iv. Scene 3.

The practice of using pigeons as letter-carriers, here alluded to by Shakespeare, is of very ancient date. The old historian Diodorus Siculus informs us that above two thousand years ago they were employed for this purpose; and about five hundred years since relays of carrier pigeons formed part of a telegraphic system, adopted by the Turks. “Regular chains of posts were established, consisting of high towers between thirty and forty miles asunder, provided with pigeons, and sentinels stood there constantly on the watch, to secure the intelligence communicated by the birds as they arrived, and to pass it

* No particular species being referred to by Shakespeare, we give the scientific Dame of that from which our domestic pigeons are believed to be descended.

on by means of others. The note was written on a thin slip of paper, enclosed in a very small gold box, almost as thin as the paper itself, suspended to the neck of the bird; the hour of arrival and departure were marked at each successive tower, and for greater security a duplicate was always despatched two hours after the first. The despatches were, however, not always enclosed in gold, but merely in paper, in which case, to prevent the letters being defaced by damp, the legs of the pigeon were first bathed in vinegar, with a view to keep them cool, so that they might not settle to drink, or wash themselves on the way, which in that hot climate they were often doing."

Formerly it was not an uncommon thing to send a pair of doves or pigeons as a present.

“I have brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here.”

Titus Andronicus, Act iv. Scene 4.

Justice Shallow, in ordering dinner showed his appreciation of pigeons as well as of other good cheer. He says:

“Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legged hens; a joint of mutton; and any pretty little tiny kickshaws; tell William cook.”

Henry IV., Part I., Act v. Scene 2.

The attachment of pigeons for their young is well known:

“ As pigeons feed their young."

As You Like It, Act i. Scene 2.

“ Add as pigeons bill so wedlock would be nibbling."

Id., Act iii. Scene 3.

“This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons peas."

Love's Labour Lost, Act v. Scene 1.


Kingsbury, Middlesex.

(To be continued).

Ornithological Notes from Shetland. By H. L. SAXBY, M.D.

(Continued froin Zool. S. S. 479.)

JUNE, 1866. Whitetailed Eagle.--I have just been informed that whitetailed eagles hatched very early this month.

Hooded Crow.–After a gale, hooded crows may be seen upon the shores in large numbers, busily searching among the drifted weed. Sometimes they carry a large root some distance inland, and, resting it in a quiet spot, spend half an hour in picking out the shells which are concealed among the crevices.

Twile.-Twites are doing great damage in the gardens: this is partly owing to the dryness of the season, for at present scarcely any of their favourite food, the seed-leaves of cruciferous plants, has appeared above ground except in cultivated spots.

Land Rail.—The first land rails were heard on the 3rd of June. (Wind S.E.)

Swallow.A few swallows also appeared on the 3rd, and remained with us about a week.

Yellowhammer.-On the 4th (wind S.E.) a yellowhammer visited the garden.

Snipe.- I am not sure when the first snipes' eggs were found, but on the 3rd I met with many of the birds in the marshes where they breed. It is at this season that their peculiar drumming or bleating sound is most constantly heard, and there seems to be good reason for the belief that it is produced by the male alone: a snipe which I shot some years ago almost in the very act, and I never had the cruel curiosity to kill another in the breeding season, was certainly a male. Soon after I commenced walking through the marshes several birds were wheeling about in the air, some at a great height, and for perhaps the hundredth time I sat down to watch thein, as they circled, in all directions, now bigh, now low, but each one evidently preferring to keep above its own particular portion of ground, where, judging from former experience, I felt sure the nest must be. After a considerable height had been attained, a sudden descent followed, during which the bleating was heard and the wings were kept rigidly extended, or perhaps vibrating in a manner so slight as to be imperceptible: this lasted for three or four seconds; then the bird ruse for about eight seconds, when another descent was made, and after the same move



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