Imágenes de página

the Spanish sovereigns, from Charles usal of the Annals, or to drop them at V.of the Austrian to Charles III. of the the threshold. We would, however, Bourbon race. Lord_Hervey has strongly recommend all who desire to made notorious George II 's ignorance appreciate Spanish art, never to forand dislike of art. Among the many get that she owes all her beauty and noble and kingly qualities of his grand- inspiration to Spanish nature and son, we fear a love and appreciation of Spanish religion. Remember this, o art may not be reckoned; and although, holyday tourist along the Andalusian in his intercourse with men of genius, coast, or more adventurous explorer George IV. was gracious and gene- of Castile and Estremadura, and you rous, what can be said in favour of will not be disappointed with her his taste and discernment? The productions. Mr Stirling has not previous life of William IV., the ma- contented himself with doing ample ture age at which he ascended the justice to the great painters, and throne, and the troublous character of slurring over the comparatively unhis reign, explain why art received known artists, whose merits are in but slight countenance from the court advance of their fame, but has emof the frank and noble-hearted Sailor braced in his careful view the long Prince; but we turn with hope to the line of Spanish artists who have future. The recent proceedings in fourished or faded in the course of the Court of Chancery have made nearly eight hundred years; and he public a fact, already known to many, has accomplished this difficult task, that her Majesty wields with skilful not in the plodding spirit of a Dryashand a graceful graver, and the dust, or with the curt dulness of a Christmas plays acted at Windsor are catalogue-monger, but with the disa satisfactory proof that English art criminating good taste of an accomand genius are not exiled from Eng- plished English gentleman, and in a land's palaces. The professors, then, style at once racy and rhetorical. of that art which Velasquez and There are whole pages in the AnRubens, Murillo and Vandyck prac- nals as full of picturesque beauty a3 tised, shall yet see that the Crown of the scenes or events they describe, England is not only in ancient legal and of melody, as an Andalusian phrase, “the Fountain of Honour," summer's eve; indeed, the vigorous but that it loves to direct its grateful fancy and genial humour of the streams in their honoured direction. author have, on some few occasions, Free was the intercourse, unfettered led him to stray from those strict the conversation, independent the rela- rules of sidòs, which we are old-fations, between Titian and Charles V., shioned enough to wish always obVelasquez and Philip IV.; let us hope served. But where the charms and that Buckingham Palace and Windsor merits are so great, and so many, and Castle, will yet witness a revival of the defects so few and so small, we those palmy days of English art, may safely leave the discovery of the when Inigo Jones, and Vandyck, and latter to the critical reader, and Cowley, Waller, and Ben Jonson, shed satisfy our conscience by expressing a lustre on the art-loving court of Eng- a hope that, when Mr Stirling next land!

appears in the character of author-a The extracts we have given from period not remote, we sincerely trust Mr Stirling's work will have suffi- -he will have discarded those few ciently shown the scope of the scentless flowers from his literary garAnnals, and the spirit and style in den, and present us with a bouquetwhich they are written. There is no tedious, inflexible, though often un

“ Full of sweet buds and roses, manageable leading idea, or theory of

A box where sweets compacted lie.” art, running through these lively But if he never again put pen to paper, volumes. In the introduction, what- in these annals of the artists of Spain ever is to be said on the philosophy of he has given to the reading public a Spanish barefully collected, and work which, for utility of design, pathe

enceforward left at tience of research, and grace of lan

n the conclusions of guage, merits and has won the highest With him in his per- honours of authorship.

[ocr errors]


What was the Dodo? When was assured that of such of our readers as the Dodo? Where is the Dodo? are admit that Zoroaster must have had a all questions, the first more especially, mother of some sort, very few really which it is fully more easy to ask remember now-a-days that her name than answer. Whoever has looked was Dodo. There were no baptismal through books on natural history—for registers in those times; or, if such exexample, that noted but now scarce isted, they were doubtless consumed in instructor of our early youth, the the great fire”—a sort of periodical, it Three Hundred Animals-must have may be providential, mode of shortening observed a somewhat ungainly crea- the record, which seems to occur from ture, with a huge curved bill, a short time to time in all civilised countries. ish neck, scarcely any wings, a plumy But while the creature in question, tuft upon the back-considerably on -we mean the feathered biped-has the off-side, though pretending to be been continuously presented to view a tail, -and a very shapeless body, in those “ vain repetitions ” which extraordinarily large and round about unfortunately form the mass of our the hinder end. This anomalous ani- information in all would-be popular mal being covered with feathers, and works on natural history, we had having, in addition to the other attri. actually long been at a stand-still in butes above referred to, only two relation to its essential attributes-the legs, has been, we think justly, re- few competent authorities who had garded as a bird, and has accordingly given out their opinion upon this, as been named the Dodo. But why many thought, stereotyped absurdity, it should be so named is another of being so disagreed among themselves the many mysterious questions, which as to make confusion worse require to be considered in the history founded. The case, indeed, seemed of this unaccountable creature. No desperate ; and had it not been that one alleges, nor can we conceive it we always entertained a particular possible, that it claims kindred with regard for old Clusius, (of whom byeither of the only two human beings and-by,) and could not get over the we ever heard of who bore the name : fact that a Dodo's head existed in the “And after him (Adino the Eznite) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and a was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Dodo's foot in the British Museum, Ahohite, one of the three mighty men London, we would willingly have inwith David, when they defied the dulged the thought that the entire Philistines that were there gathered Dodo was itself a dream. But, shaktogether to battle, and the men of ing off the cowardly indolence which Israel were gone away." Our only would seek to shirk the investigation other human Dodo belonged to the of so great a question, let us now infair sex, and was the mother of the quire into a piece of ornithological famous Zoroaster, who flourished in biography, which seemed so singularly the days of Darius Hystaspes, and to combine the familiar with the fabubrought back the Persians to their lous. Thanks to an accomplished ancient fire-worship, from the adora- and persevering naturalist of our own tion of the twinkling stars. The day-one of the most successful and name appears to have been dropped assiduous inquirers of the younger by both families, as if they were some- generation—we have now all the facts, what ashamed of it; and we feel and most of the fancies, laid before us


The Dodo and its Kindred ; or, the History, Affinities, and Osteology of the Dodo, Solitaire, and other Extinct Birds of the Islands Mauritius, Rodriguez, and Bourbon. By H. E. STRICKLAND, M.A. F.G.S., F.R.G.S., President of the Ashmolean Society, &c., and A. G. MELVILLE, M.D., Edinburgh, M.R.C.S. One vol., royal quarto: London, 1848. VOL. LXV.-NO. CCCXCIX.


in a splendid royal quarto volume, extinct. We say utterly, because just published, with numerous plates, neither proof nor vestige of their exdevoted to the history and illustration istence elsewhere has been at any of the “Dodo and its Kindred." It time afforded ; and the comparatively was, in truth, the latter term that small extent, and now peopled state cheered our heart, and led us again of the islands in question, (where towards a subject which had pre- they are no longer known,) make the viously produced the greatest despon- continuous and unobserved existence dency; for we had always, though of these birds, so conspicuous in size most erroneously, fancied that the and slow of foot, impossible. great misformed lout of our Three Now, it is this recent and total Hundred Animals was all alone in the extinction which renders the subject wide world, unable to provide for one of more than ordinary interest. himself, (and so, fortunately, without Death is an admitted law of nature, in a family,) and had never, in truth, respect to the individuals of all species. had either predecessors or posterity. Geology, " dragging at each remove a Mr Strickland, however, has brought lengthened chain," has shown how, at together the dispecta membra of a fa- different and distant eras, innumerable mily group, showing not only fathers tribes have perished and been supand mothers, sisters and brothers, but planted, or at least replaced, by other cousins, and kindred of all degrees. groups of species, entire races, better Their sedate and somewhat sedentary fitted for the great climatic and other mode of life is probably to be accounted physical changes, which our earth’s for, not so much by their early habits surface has undergone from time to as their latter end. Their legs are time. How these changes were short, their wings scarcely existant, brought about, many, with more or but they are prodigiously large and less success, (generally less,) have tried heavy in the hinder-quarters; and to say. Organic remains--that is, the organs of flight would have been but fossilised remnants of ancient speciesa vain thing for safety, as they could sometimes indicate a long continuance not, in such wooded countries as these of existence, generation after generacreatures inhabited, have been made tion living in tranquillity, and finally commensurate with the uplifting of sinking in a quiet grave; while other such solid bulk, placed so far behind examples show a sudden and violent that centre of gravity where other death, in tortuous and excited action, wings are worked. We can now sit as if they had been almost instantanedown in Mr Strickland's company, to ously overwhelmed and destroyed by discuss the subject, not only tran- some great catastrophe. quilly, but with a degree of cheerful- Several local extinctions of elseness which we have not felt for many where existing species are known a day : thanks to his kindly considera- to naturalists—such as those of the tion of the Dodo and “its kindred." beaver, the bear, and the wolf, which

The geographical reader will re- no longer occur in Great Britain, member that to the eastward of the though historically known, as well as great, and to ourselves nearly unknown, organically proved by recent remains, island of Madagascar, there lies a to have lived and died among us. small group of islands of volcanic Their extinction was slow and graorigin, which, though not exactly con- dual, and resulted entirely from the tiguous among themselves, are yet inroads which the human race—that nearer to each other than to the greater is, the increase of population, and island just named, and which is inter- the progress of agriculture and composed between them and the coast of merce-necessarily made upon their Southern Africa. They are named numbers, which thus became “ few Rodriguez, Bourbon, and Mauritius, by degrees, and beautifully less." or the Isle of France. There is proof The beaver might have carried on that not fewer than four distinct business well enough, in his own quiet species of large-bodied, short-winged way, although frequently incommoded birds, of the Dodo type, were their by the love of peltry on the part of a inhabitants in comparatively recent hat-wearing people; but it is clear times, and have now become utterly that no man with a small family, and a few respectable farm - servants, prietors were to yield to the clamour could either permit a large and hungry of the Anti-Game-Law League, the wolf to be continually peeping at mid- red grouse or moor -game might cease night through the key-hole of the to be, as they occur nowhere else on nursery, or allow a brawny bruin the known earth save in Britain and to snuff too frequently under the the Emerald Isle. kitchen door, (after having hugged The geographical distribution of the watch-dog to death,) when the animals, in general, has been made serving-maids were at supper. The conformable to laws which we cannot extirpation, then, of at least two of fathom. A mysterious relationship those quondam British species became exists between certain organic struca work of necessity and mercy, and tures and those districts of the might have been tolerated even on a earth's surface which they inhabit Sunday between sermons—especially Certain extensive groups, in both the as naturalists have it still in their animal and vegetable kingdom, are power to study the habits of similar found to be restricted to particular wild beasts, by no means yet extinct, continents, and their neighbouring in the neighbouring countries of islands. Of some the distribution France and Germany:

is very extensive, while others are But the death of the Dodo and its totally unknown except within a limitkindred is a more affecting fact, as ed space, such as some solitary isle, involving the extinction of an entire

“ Placed far amid the melancholy main." race, root and branch, and proving that death is a law of the species, as

“In the present state of science,” says well as of the individuals which com- Mr Strickland,“ we must be content to pose it,-although the life of the one

admit the existence of this law, without is so much more prolonged than that being able to enunciate its preamble. It of the other that we can seldom ob- depends on soil and climate ; for we

does not imply that organic distribution tain any positive proof of its extinc- often find a perfect identity of these tion, except by the observance of conditions in opposite hemispheres, and geological eras. Certain other still in remote continents, whose fauna and existing species, well known to natu- floræ are almost wholly diverse. It does ralists, may be said to be, as it were, not imply that allied but distinct organjust hovering on the brink of destruc- isms have been adduced, by generation or tion. One of the largest and most spontaneous development, from the same remarkable of herbivorous animals-original stock; for (to pass over other species of wild cattle, the aurochs or objections) we find detached volcanic European bison (B. priscus)-exists islets, which have been ejected from benow only in the forest of Bialowicksa, neath the ocean, (such as the Galapagos, from whence the Emperor of Russia forms allied to those of the nearest con

for instance,) inhabited by terrestrial has recently transmitted a living pair tinent, though hundreds of miles distant, to the Zoological Society of London. and evidently never connected with them. Several kinds of birds are also evi- But this fact mayindicate that the Creator, dently on their last legs. For example, in forming new organisms to discharge a singular species of parrot, (Nestor the functions required from time to time productus,) with the termination of by the ever vacillating balance of nature, the upper mandible much attenuated, has thought fit to preserve the regularity peculiar to Phipps's Island, near Nor- of the system by modifying the types of folk Island, has recently ceased to ex- structure already established in the adjaist there in the wild state, and is now

cent localities, rather than to proceed known as a living species only from per saltum by introducing forms of more

foreign aspect." a few surviving specimens kept in cages, and which refuse to breed." The In conformity with this relation burrowing parrot from New Zealand is between geographical distribution and already on the road to ruin; and more organic structure, it has been ascerthan one species of that singular and tained that a small portion of the inwingless bird, called Apteryx, also digenous animals and plants of the from the last-named island, may be islands of Rodriguez, Bourbon, and placed in the same category. Even the Isle of France, are either allied to in our own country, if the landed pro- or identical with the productions of continental Africa, a larger portion a Portuguese, who named the latter with those of Madagascar, while cer- after himself; while he called the fortain species are altogether peculiar to mer Cerne, a term applied by Pliny the insular group above named. to an island in another quarter. Of

“ And as these three islands form a de. this Cerne nothing definite was ascertached cluster, as compared to other lands, tained till the year 1598, when the so do we find in them a peculiar

group of Dutch, under Jacob Cornelius Neck, birds, specifically different in each island, finding it uninhabited, took possession, yet allied together in their general cha- and changed its name to Mauritius. racters, and remarkably isolated from any In the narrative of the voyage, of known forms in other parts of the which there are several accounts in world. These birds were of large size and different tongues, we find the followgrotesque proportions, the wings too short ing notice :and feeble for flight, the plumage loose and decomposed, and the general aspect

“ This island, besides being very fertile suggestive of gigantic immaturity. Their in terrestrial products, feeds vast numbers history is as remarkable as their origin. of birds, such as turtle doves, which occur About two centuries ago, their native isles in such plenty that three of our men were first colonised by man, by whom sometimes captured one hundred and fifty these strange creatures were speedily ex

in half a day, and might easily have terminated. So rapid and so complete

taken more by hand, or killed them with was their extinction, that the vague de- sticks, if we had not been overloaded with seriptions given of them by early naviga- the burden of them. Grey parrots are tors were long regarded as fabulous or

also common there, and other birds, beexaggerated; and these birds, almost con

sides a large kind bigger than our swans, temporaries of our great-grandfathers, with large heads, half of which is covered became associated in the minds of many

with skin like a hood. These birds want persons with the griffin and the phenix wings, in place of which are three or four of mythological antiquity.”

thickish feathers. The tail consists of a

few slender curved feathers of a gray The aim and object of Mr Strick- colour. We called them Walckrogel, land's work is to vindicate the honesty for this reason, that, the longer they were of the rude voyagers of the seven- boiled, the tougher and more uneatable teenth century ; to collect together the they became. Their stomachs, however, scattered evidence regarding the Dodo and breasts, were easy to masticate. Anand its kindred; to describe and de- other reason for the name was that we pict the few anatomical fragments had an abundance of turtle doves, of a which are still extant of those lost much sweeter and more agreeable flaspecies ; to invite scientific travellers vour.”—De Bry’s India Orientalis,(1601,) to further and more minute research; pars v. p. 7. and to infer, from the authentic data These walckvogel were the birds soon now in hand, the probable rank and afterwards called Dodos. The descripposition of these creatures in the scale tion given by Clusius, in his Exotica, of nature. We think he has achieved (1605,) is chiefly taken from one of his object very admirably, and has the published accounts of Van Neck's produced one of the best and most voyage; but he adds the following interesting monographs with which it notice, as from personal observais our fortune to be acquainted.

tion:So far as we can see, the extension “ After I had written down the history of man's more immediate influence and of this bird as well as I could, I happened agency is the sole cause of the dis- to see in the house of Peter Pauwius, appearance of species in modern times Professor of Medicine in the University —at least we have no proof that any of Leyden, a leg cut off at the knee, and of these species have perished by what recently brought from the Mauritius. It can be called a catastrophe : this is was not very long, but rather exceeded well exemplified by what we now four inches from the knee to the bend of know of the Dodo and its kindred.

the foot. Its thickness, however, was The islands of Mauritius and Bour- great, being nearly four inches in circumbon were discovered in the sixteenth rous scales, which in front were wider and

ference; and it was covered with numecentury, (authorities differ as to the yellow, but smaller and dusky behind. precise period, which they vary from The upper part of the toes was also fur1502 to 1545,) by Pedro Mascaregnas, nished with single broad scales, while the

« AnteriorContinuar »