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• Midst the pale fading stalks are seen
Their infants swathed in vivid green;
In the large animals, you see
That none to mischief may prevail;
Then numbers beyond numb’ring rise,
Th' astonished Farmer toils in vain,
* See the whole of this interesting poem in the Literary Gazette for March 20, 1819; the notes are in a subsequent number.
Upon these concluding lines his lordship justly observes, in a note, “it may be necessary here to come under the poet's license, otherwise vermin of all descriptions, however manifestly destructive in our gardens, ought to be permitted to lay them waste. The economy of nature throughout the minuter gradations of animal life mocks all investigation; yet Providence must undoubtedly have intended that all created beings should be fed as their instincts direct. Trees, therefore, of all kinds bear their fruits and seeds in a thousand times greater quantity than are necessary for their reproductions, and which must obviously have been intended for animal subsistence. When they grow in a wild state, innumerable tribes of birds and insects take their allotted proportions without interference, and man is contented with what remains, whatever it may be; but in the resorts of luxury he will bear no partnership. The Peaches and Nectarines on his walls bring a hundred times what would come to his · reach if they grew in the desert, yet he will not spare
one of them, but hangs his honied bottles on every branch, when wasps and other insects surround them; not, indeed, in their natural number, but multiplied by the allurements of human monopoly. In the same manner, when men congregate in large cities, and amass greater wealth than is, perhaps, consistent with a wholesome state of society, thieves and robbers abound in proportion; and the Judge at the Old Bailey, like the Gardener in the orchard, has a duty imposed upon him to keep them down.
•Cowper, in his Task, has given the rule for our conduct to the lower world in almost a word; and the latitude he allows to man's acknowledged dominion is surely amply sufficient.
The sum is this--if man's convenience, health,
As free to live, and to enjoy that life
Who in his sovereign wisdom made them all. "The whole subject of humanity to animals is so beautifully and strikingly illustrated in this admirable poem, that no parents ought to be satisfied until their children have that part of it by heart.
*Formyself, my opinion is, that we rarely succeed in a war of utter extermination against animals we proscribe; and even if we could prevail, others more mischievous than those we destroy might multiply, perhaps, from their destruction. We ought, there-. fore, to be contented to destroy the individuals or masses of them, when they grievously offend, rather than carry on a systematic war against them for their total annihilation. The destructive insects called wire-worms, particularly in lands newly broken up, devoui every thing before them; but a large flock of rooks will in half a day destroy a number of them equal, perhaps, to all the inhabitants of Great Britain'. It is thought by many well-informed persons, that the destruction of weasels, and creatures of that description, for the preservation of the game, has increased the number of the field-rat in many parts of England; an animal more dangerously destructive.' · In this month, trouts begin to rise; blood-worms appear in the water; black ants (formica nigra) are observed; the blackbird and the turkey (meleagris gallopavo) lay; and house pigeons sit. The greenfinch (loxia chloris) sings; the bat (vespertilio) is seen flitting about, and the viper uncoils itself from its winter sleep. The wheatear (sylvia onanthe), or English ortolan, again pays its annual visit, leaving England in September. They are found in great numbers about East Bourne, in Sussex, more ·
* See also an account of the ivory-billed woodpecker of Nortli America, in pp. 64-66.
than eighteen hundred dozen being annually taken in this neighbourhood. They are usually sold at sixpence a dozen.-See T.T. for 1816, p. 88.
Those birds which have passed the winter in England now take their departure for more northerly regions. The fieldfares (turdus pilaris travel to Russia, Sweden, and Norway, and even as far as Siberia. They do not arrive in France till December, when they assemble in large flocks of two or three thousand. The red-wing (turdus iliacus ), which frequents the same places, eats the same food, and is very similar in manners to the fieldfare, also takes leave of this country for the season. Soon after, the woodcock (scolopax rusticola) wings its aerial voyage to the countries bordering on the Baltic. Some other birds, as the crane and stork, formerly natives of this island, have quitted it entirely, since our cultivation and population have so rapidly increased.
The phenomena met with relative to the migration of birds, are nearly the same in North America as in Europe. In the new world, at the return of spring numerous species are seen to arrive from the South, some which continue their flight, almost without stopping, to the frigid zone, while others fix themselves during the summer, to build their nests, and bring up their young under a milder climate. In the same manner also, towards the beginning of the cold season, those species which had repaired thither in the spring are seen returning from the North, and going back to pass the winter, followed soon after by all those which had brought up their young families in the less northerly parts of the temperate zone, and which quit them in numerous flocks, when the leaves of the forest begin to fall, and the earth, stripped of its verdure, is about to be covered with frost and snow. Lastly, in both regions equally, when the birds of summer have disappeared, winter brings, to supply their place, vast hordes of those
Arctic species which love only the cold, but which, forced to quit for a short season the ice of the Pole, hasten. to return to it at the first dawn of spring.
Frogs, enlivened by the warmth of spring, rise from the bottom of ponds and ditches, where they have lain torpid during the winter. See T.T. for 1818, p. 69, and our last volume, p. 81.
The smelt (salmo eperlanus) begins to ascend rivers to spawn, when they are taken in great abundance. :: On the 20th the vernal equinox takes place, and all nature feels her renovating sway, and seems to rejoice at the retreat of winter.
The penetrative sun
Lies yet a little embryo, unperceived, - Within its crimson folds. The sallow (salix) now enlivens the hedges; the aspen (populus tremula), and the alder ( alnus betula), have their flowers full blown; the laurustinus (viburnum tinus), and the bay (laurus nobilis) begin to open their leaves. The equinoctial gales are usually most felt, both by sea and land, about this time.
beus ribiave theilus tres