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A Myrtle sprig, for the tried and the true,
Is offering meet;
At the conqueror's feet:
Is faded and gone!
Now shadowed and flown!
Like the odorous spell
From joys we loved well!
The gift which last,
The loved one which passed !
And to pride belong;
Or plaintive song:
I shall still live to thee, in the Violet1! The russet-brown dress of the hedges is now spotted with green, preparatory to their assuming the complete vesture of Spring.--The leaves of the lilac begin to peep from beneath their winter clothing, and gooseberry and currant trees display their verdant foliage and pretty, green blossoms. The yew-tree, also, opens its blossoms.
The melody of birds now swells upon the ear. The throstle, second only to the nightingale in song, charms us with the sweetness and variety of its lays.
Consult also our last volume, pp. 76-79, for poetical and prose illustrations of this interesting flower.
The linnet and the goldfinch join the general concert in this month, and the golden-crowned
wren begins its song. The lark also must not be forgotten.
The morning lark, the messenger of day,
To a SKYLARK.
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
Mount, daring warbler! that love-prompted strain
Thrids not the less the bosom of the plain!
A privacy of glorious light is thine,
Of barmony, with rapture more divine;
WORDSWORTH. Some pleasing poetical and prose sketches of the lark are inserted in our last volume, pp. 130-132.
We cannot notice the feathered songsters of our fields and woods without referring (for the sake of our London friends) to Mr. Sweet's Aviary at Chelsea. . This gentleman having directed his attention to taming and keeping the musical genus Sylvia, has, by diligent observation and appropriate management, actually changed inost species of this family from annual to perennial songsters. We visited his collection in March 1828, and saw, with surprise, his interesting choristers, and heard from them the familiar strains of midsummer. A little room with a fire-place serves as an aviary; in this there are two large cages, which
contain the nightingale, white-throat, lesser whitethroat, pettichaps, wheat-ear, whin-chat, stone chat, redstart, black-cap, willow-wren, and some other birds. All these beautiful emigrants live healthily and happily together, partake of nearly the same kind of food, sing in season and out of season, and, in this artificial captivity, even gain new powers of song and new social propensities. Some time back, an old whin-chat adopted for his own, fed, and nursed up a nest of young redstarts; and Mr. Sweet is of opinion, that any or all of them may be so treated as to breed in such aviaries. Their whole history, treatment, &c., is particularly interesting, and is fully detailed in Mr. Sweet's work, The British Warblers, with coloured plates, recently published. We know not a more interesting amusement than an aviary of such songsters. Their appearance, in a suitably large and warm apartment, gives no idea of cruel imprisonment. Paired, as they may be, and ranging among living plants, as myrtle and orange trees, in or under which they will build and breed, they present no scene of pitiable infringement of liberty, nor of suffering captivity. On the contrary, to see them on a wintry day, while the storm rises in the blackened east, all comfortably joyous, and safe from the chilling blast, gives a sensation of the purest satisfaction to the benevolent heart, while their songs of gladness sound like those of grateful thanks to their kind protectors.-Magazine of Natural History.
If the weather be mild, the rich hyacinth, the noble descendant of the modest harebell—the sweet narcissus, delicately pale, and some of the early Lulips, are now in bloom. The peach and the nectarine begin to show their elegant blossoms.
In this month, black ants are observed. M. Hanhart, in a Memoir on Ants, describes a curious battle which he saw take place between two species of ants, the one the formica rufa, and the other a little black ant, which he does not name. In other respects there is nothing new on this subject, this kind of combat having been described in detail, and in a very interesting manner, by M.Huber. M. Hanbart saw these insects approach. in armies composed of their respective swarms, and advancing towards each other in the greatest order. The formiea rufa marched with one in front, on a line from nine to twelve feet in length, flanked by several corps in square masses, composed of from twenty to sixty individuals. The second species (little blacks), forming an army much more numerous, marched to meet the enemy, on a very extended line, and from one to three individuals abreast. They left a detachment at the foot of their hillock, to defend it against any unlooked for attack. The rest of the army marched to the battle, with its right wing supported by a solid corps of several hundred individuals, and the left wing supported by a similar body of more than a thousand. These groups advanced in the greatest order, and without changing their positions. The two lateral corps took po part in the principal action. That of the right wing made a halt, and formed an army of reserve; while the corps which marched in column on the left wing maneuvred so as to turn the hostile army, and advanced with a hurried march to the hillock of the formica rufa, and took it by assault. The two armies attacked each other, and fought a long time without breaking their lines. At length disorder appeared in various points, and the combat was maintained in detached groups; and after a bloody battle, which continued from three to four hours, the formica rufa were put to flight, and forced to abandon their two hillocks, and go off to establish themselves at some other point with the remains of their army. The most interesting part of this exhibition, says M. Hanhart, was to see these insects reciprocally making prisoners, and transporting their own wounded to their hillocks. Their devotedness to the wounded was carried so far, that the formica rufa, in conveying them to their nests,
allowed themselves to be killed by the little blacks, without any resistance, rather than abandon their precious charge. From the observations of M. Huber, it is known, that when an ant-hillock is taken by the enemy, the vanquished are reduced to slavery, and employed in the interior labours of their habitation. Some curious anecdotes of the bee will be found in our last volume, pp. 74, 163.
The black-bird and the turkey lay; and house pigeons sit. The greenfinch sings; the bat is seen flitting about; and the viper uncoils itself from its winter sleep. The wheatear, or English ortolan, again pays its annual visit, leaving England in September. Those birds wbich have passed the winter in England now take their departure for more northerly regions; as the fieldfare, the red-wing, and the woodcock.
The general or great flow of sap in most trees takes place in this month; this is preparatory to the expanding of the leaves, and ceases when they are out. The sap, in trees, is the substance by which they are nourished; and, in that respect, resembles the chyle in the human system. This nutritive substance is collected by the roots with those fibres which form their terminations, and which, with a degree of address which seems almost sentient, travel in every direction, and with unerring skill, to seek those substances in the soil best qualified to supply the nourishment which it is their business to convey. The juice, or sap, thus extracted from the soil, is drawn up the tree by the efforts of vegetation; each branch, and each leaf, serving, by its demand for nourishment, as a kind of forcing-pump, to suck the juice up to the topmost shoot, to extend it to all the branches, and, in a healthy tree, to the extremi of each shoot. The roots, in other words, are the providers of the aliment; the branches, shoots, and leaves, are the appetite of the tree, which induce it