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First hymn they the Father
The day in his hotness,
NOON IN A BRAZILIAN FOREST.
COWPER has selected “The Winter Walk at Noon” for one of the books of his charming Task ; and as nihil quod tetigit non ornavit, so he has sketched a beautiful picture :
Upon the southern side of the slant hills,
But how different from such a scene is a tropical noon-a noon in Guiana or Brazil, for example. There, too, an almost death-like quietude reigns, but it is a quietude induced by the furnace-like heat of the vertical sun, whose rays pour down with a direct fierceness, from which there is no shadow except actually beneath some thick tree, such as the mango, whose dense and dark foliage affords an absolutely impenetrable umbrella in the brightest glare. Such, too, is the smooth-barked manga-beira, a tree of vast bulk, with a widespreading head of dense foliage, beneath which, when the sun strikes mercilessly on every other spot, all is coolness and repose. The birds are all silent, sitting with panting beaks in the thickest foliage; no tramp or voice of beast is heard, for these are sleeping in their coverts. Ever and anon the seed-capsule of some forest-tree bursts with a report like that of a musket, and the scattered seeds are heard pattering among the leaves, and then all relapses into silence again. Great butterflies, with
, wings of refulgent azure, almost too dazzling to look upon, flap lazily athwart the glade or alight on the glorious flowers. Little bright-eyed lizards, clad in panoply that glitters in the sun, creep about the parasites of the great trees, or rustle the herbage, and start at the sounds themselves have made.
Hark! There is the toll of a distant bell. Two or three minutes pass—another toll! A like interval, then another toll. Surely it is the passing bell of some convent, announcing the departure of a soul. No such thing; it is the note of a bird. It is the campanero or bell-bird of the Amazona gentle little creature, much like a snow-white pigeon, with a sort of fleshy horn on its forehead, three inches high. This appendage is black, clothed with a few scattered white feathers, and being hollow and communicating with the palate, it can be inflated at will. The solemn clear bell-note, uttered at regular intervals by the bird, is believed to be connected with this structure. Be this as it may, the silvery sound, heard only in the depth of the forest, and scarcely ever except at midday, when other voices are mute, falls upon the ear of the traveller with a thrilling and romantic effect. The jealously recluse habits of the bird have thrown an air of mystery over its economy, which heightens the interest with which it is invested.
P. H. Gosse,
OUR LADIES OF SORROW.
WHAT is it the sisters 1 are? What is it that they do?
Let me describe their form, and their presence ; if form it were that still fluctuated in its outline; or presence it were that for ever advanced to the front, or for ever receded amongst shades.
The eldest of the three is named Mater Lachrymarum, Our Lady of Tears. She it is that night and day raves and moans, calling for vanished faces. She stood in Rama, where a voice was heard of lamentation,-Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted. She it was that stood in Bethlehem on the night when Herod's sword swept its nurseries of Innocents, and the little feet were stiffened for ever, which, heard at times as they tottered along floors overhead, woke pulses of love in household hearts that were not unmarked in heaven.
Her eyes are sweet and subtle, wild and sleepy, by turns; oftentimes rising to the clouds, oftentimes challenging the heavens.
a diadem round her head. And I knew by childish memories that she could go abroad upon the winds when she heard that sobbing of litanies, or the thundering of organs, and when she beheld the mustering of summer clouds. This sister, the elder