« ForrigeFortsett »
BY PROFESSOR MERRICK.
This process is performed by a singular organ called a NATURAL SCIENCE.
gizzard, which in its structure and mode of operation bears a strong resemblance to a common corn-mill.
• It consists of two powerful muscles of a hemispheriWho does not love the birds, with their beautiful cal shape, with their flat sides applied to each other, forms, their graceful movements, their cheerful songs, and their edges united by a strong tendon, which leaves and rich attire? What a blank in creation without a vacant space of an oval or quadrangular form between them! But they are useful as well as beautiful; and their two surfaces. These surfaces are covered by a not merely those which have been domesticated by man thick and dense horny substance, which, when the gizand appropriated exclusively to his private use—for the zard is in action, performs an office similar to that of wild bird that frequents the solitary glen, often does man mill-stones. In most birds there is also a sac, or recepimportant service, though it may be unacknowledged tacle termed the craw, in which the food is collected for and unknown. True, sometimes when the hawk picks the purpose of being dropped, in small quantities at a up a plump chicken for his supper, or the crow uproots time, into the gizzard, in proportion as the latter bethe young corn, or the robin supplies its wants from comes gradually emptied."* the cherry-tree, a curse falls upon the whole feathered The pebbles always found upon opening the gizzard tribe; still none would be willing that a law of exter- | are undoubtedly necessary to assist in triturating the mination should be passed against the birds. What, food. Thus furnished, the power of this organ is truly no birds to tell us when the spring has come, to greet wonderful. The hardest substances scarcely resist its us on a summer's morning with their merry song, to action. In experiments made by Reanmur and Spalmingle their notes with ours at the vesper hour, to flit lanzani, “balls of glass, which the bird was made to along our path, to build their nests and rear their young swallow with its food, were soon ground to powder: in the shrubs and trees around the door, to destroy the tin tubes, introduced into the stomach, were flattened, noxious insects which would otherwise prove destruc- and then bent into a variety of shapes; and it was even tive to our flowers and fruits! No, let the birds live, found that the points of needles and of lancets fixed in and let the truant boy whose destructiveness seeks exer a ball of lead, were blunted and broken off by the power cise in cruelly taking their lives without provocation, of the gizzard, while its internal coat did not appear to learn to love what is so “ beautiful and fair in nature," be in the slightest degree injured.” After the food has and direct his destructive powers against something been properly triturated, it is received into a thin muswhich contributes less to the happiness of all. cular bag, situated in the lower part of the gizzard,
Though it is not the season of birds, I propose to where it undergoes digestion. furnish a few articles on their structure, size, covering, The organs of respiration in birds are also peculiar. voice, &c., with the natural history of a few interesting The lungs themselves are not large, but there are nuspecies. This, I trust, will not be unacceptable to the merous air-cells situated in different parts of the body, fair readers of the Repository, for birds “improve upon into which the atmosphere is received from the lungs. acquaintance.”
The cavities in the bones and larger feathers are likeThe average size of birds is much less than that of wise filled with air from the same source. The lungs quadrupeds, the largest of the former not exceeding the do not expand and contract in respiration as in most medium size of the latter. Their range of size is also animals; but by a peculiar movement the air is forced less; some species of quadrupeds being but little larger through them into the air-cells, and thence back through than the smallest birds, while the largest of the feath the same organ; so that the air may be said to be breathered race appear diminutive in the presence of some of ed twice at each respiration. It is obvious that this the gigantic species of the former. Still, this range is arrangement adds much to the lightness of the bird, very wide. The ruby-throated humming bird is not and thus enables it to move with greater ease in its namore than two and a half inches in length, and its wings tive element. do not expand more than four or five inches; while the “In order that the body may be exactly balanced ostrich sometimes measures from eight to nine feet in while the bird is flying, its centre of gravity must be height, and the albatross expands its wings to not less brought precisely under the line connecting the articuthan twenty feet.
lations of the wings with the trunk; for it is at these In the structure of birds we meet with much which points that the resistance of the air causes it to be supis highly interesting, and which, in an eminent degree, | ported by the wings. When the bird is resting upon affords evidence of design, and equally exhibits the wis- its legs, the centre of gravity must, in like manner, be dom and goodness of the Creator. Most that is pecu- brought immediately over the base of support formed liar in their structure is designed to adapt them to the by the toes: it becomes necessary, therefore, to provide medium in which they move.
means for shifting the centre of gravity from one place For a number of reasons it is necessary that the head to another, according to circumstances, and to adjust of birds should be small, and on this account they are its position with considerable nicety; otherwise there not furnished with the teeth, heavy jaws, and strong would be danger of the equilibrium being destroyed, muscles of the mammalians. Being destitute of these,
* Roget. they do not masticate their food before swallowing.
BY JOHN TODD BRAME.
and the body oversetting. The principal means of The contrivance for closing the foot when the bird is effecting these adjustments consist in the motions of on perch, is beautiful for its simplicity and efficiency. the head and neck, which last is for that purpose, ren- The muscles which bend the toes are made to pass over dered exceedingly long and flexible. The number of the outer angle of the two lower joints of the leg, so cervical vertebræ is generally very considerable: in the that as these are bent the muscles are mechanically mammalia there are always seven, but in many birds tightened, thus the mere weight of the bird when at there are more than twice that number. In the swan rest, bending the joints, involuntarily closes the foot there are twenty-three, and they are joined together upon the limb on which it is perched. As the firmness by articulations, generally allowing free motions in with which the limb is grasped depends upon the force all directions; that is, laterally, as well as forward which bends the joints of the leg, the bird rests as seand backwards. This unusual degree of mobility is cure upon one leg as upon both. conferred by a peculiar mechanism, which is not met The mechanism of the eye and of the wing of the with in other vertebrated animals. A cartilage is inter- bird is also well calculated to excite the admiration of posed between each of the vertebræ, to the surfaces of all. Upon these, however, I shall not dwell; but the which these cartilages are curiously adapted; being in- | above, I trust, will be sufficient to lead the reader to closed between folds of the membrane lining the joint; exclaim with one who was accustomed to look through so that each joint is in reality double, consisting of two nature up to nature's God, “O Lord, how manifold cavities, with an intervening cartilage.
are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all; “It is to be observed, however, that in consequence of the earth is full of thy riches." the positions of the oblique processes, the upper vertebræ of the neck bend with more facility forwards than backwards; while those in the lower half of the neck
Original. bend more readily backwards: hence, in a state of re
AMBITION. pose, the neck naturally assumes a double curvature, like that of the letter S, as is well seen in the graceful form of the swan's neck. By extending the neck in a Ambitior's triumphs! how they chain the soul, straight line, the bird can, while flying, carry forwards
And seize the strong conception! how we love the centre of gravity, so as to bring it under the wings;
To contemplate the martial hosts that move and when resting on its feet, or floating on the water, | To conflict, and to read the trophied scroll it can transfer that centre backwards, so as to bring it of him who reaches glory's glittering goal; toward the middle of the body, by merely bending back
Who stands upon the starry height of fame, the neck into the curved form which has just been de
And leaves behind him an undying name. scribed; and thus the equilibrium is, under all circum- Come, votary of ambition! and unroll stances, preserved, by movements remarkable for their
The record of the past. Behold the end elegance and grace.
Of earth's aspiring sons, who would ascend “ Another advantage arising from the length and mo- Fame's rugged steep; like them thou too wilt fall! bility of the neck is, that it facilitates the application of
In vict'ry's hour, thy laureld form shall bend! the head to every part of the surface of the body.
The armless hand inscribe upon the wall Birds require this power in order that they may be en
Thy doom, and dim oblivion o'er thee fling its pall! abled to adjust their plumage, whenever it has, by any accident, become ruilled. In aquatic birds, it is necessary that every feather should be constantly anointed with an oily secretion, which preserves it from being
Original. wetted, and which is copiously provided for that pur
TO THE SNOW. pose by glands situated near the tail. The flexibility of the neck alone would have been insufficient for enabling the bird to bring its bill in contact with every Thou art come, in thy beautiful mantle of white, feather, in order to distribute this fluid equally over As spotless and pure as an angel of light; them; and there is, accordingly, a farther provision Thy step is as soft as a spirit's light tread, made for the accomplishment of this object in the mode And noiseless thy voice, as the voice of the dead. of articulation of the head with the neck.
“The great mobility of the neck also enables the bird Thou art come, and the boughs of the forest are dress’d, to employ its beak as an organ of prehension for taking In vestments as fair as those of the bless'd; its food: an object which was the more necessary, in Thou art come! and the hills and the vallies are bright, consequence of the conversion of the fore extremities And each point, like a diamond, now glitters with light. into wings, of which the structure is incompatible with any prehensile power, such as is often possessed by the Thou art gone! but a blessing behind thee remains; anterior extremity of a quadruped."*
Thou hast moisten'd the hills, the vallies and plains ;
And man, as he welcomes the spring's genial showers, * Roget
Shall see thee burst forth, in rich buds and sweet flowers.
BY MRS. BRAME.
BY DR. THOMSON
the earth: a common object is kept in view, the release THE CHRISTIAN.
of earth from the dominion of hell.
Although we are predisposed to admire unity of purpose, we cannot consistently estimate human character
without scanning the motive by which its plan is directThey are mistaken who imagine that the Christian ed. If actions are to be estimated without reference to religion is unfavorable to magnanimity. The Gospel motives, there is no difference between the lion wateris a fruitful source of true greatness. Every genuine ing his dry jaws with the blood of his victim, and believer is a specimen of the moral sublime. He stands Buonaparte surmounting the Alps. But if character before us a pattern embodying whatever is lovely, and is to be estimated by the motive of the agent, then whatever is great in human nature. His imagination where shall we find a character truly great, except it be is kept glowing by the constant presence of an object, that of the Christian? How shall we estimate a moin comparison with which, the united glories of all the tive? Not, surely, without reference to man's nature angels in heaven, would be but as the glimmering of and relations. He is a moral, rational, and immortal the glow-worm. He perceives that every word he being; he is a subject of God's government. Can that utters, every action he performs, bears itself onward to plan be approved which is founded in disregard of God's the last day, and to the eternity which must follow. laws, which overlooks the endless life that lies before All his motives, his plans, his purposes, have an end-us? Nay. Where then shall we find dignified charless sweep. He stands in the midst of a world of care acter? Shall we find it in the miser, who spends his and folly, looking steadily to the rescue of an immortal life in gathering gold which he knows not who shall soul from sin and death, and the acquisition of an eter- scatter, while he descends to the treasure of eternal nal crown.
wealth which he has heaped up for himself? In the But I have particularly in view the tendency of the warrior, who writes his name upon the scroll, to be Christian's unity of purpose, to confer magnanimity of wiped out a few days hence, while he himself descends character. It is not the performance of a few great ac to shame and everlasting contempt? In the sensualist, tions that constitutes an illustrious name. It is the who buries his soul in the sepulchre of his senses, to governing plan of the agent. How do we form an idea have a resurrection in the flames that are never quenchof an epic poem? Not by the imagery, the episodes, ed? Or shall we find it in him who pleases conscience, the diction; but by the plan, or design of the poet-the obeys God, avoids hell, gains heaven, writes his name connection of parts apparently disunited, into one har in the eternal histories, and plants bimself as a star in monious and beautiful whole. Here is shown the ge- the firmament of heaven for ever and ever? nius of the writer; here kindles the imagination of the I think I have never dwelt with greater admiration reader. Why is the cataract so full of majesty? Be- on the pages of profane history, than when contemplacause with all its currents and counter-currents, in the ting Pericles in the Pelopenesian war, contrary to the calmest hour, it heaves its mighty sheet of water to wishes and judgment of every man, woman, and child the foaming bed below. Why are we charmed at the in Athens, resolving not to march out to meet the foe, history of an illustrious warrior ? It is not his forced but to fortify the city, and wait the approach of the marches, his long campaigns, his hazardous voyages, enemy before the walls. He goes not into any assemhis hair-breadth escapes, his midnight battles, the seas bly of the people, that he may not be forced into any of blood pressed from human hearts by his footsteps, measure contrary to his own judgment; but as the pilot the thrones and sceptres crumbled by his touch, the of a vessel in the ocean, buffeted by the midnight storm, prostrate nations bowing at his nod; but the union of having arranged every thing carefully, and drawn tight all these things to the accomplishment of one object, the tackle, exercises his own skill, disregarding the the concentration of power in the hands of the victor, tears and entreaties of the terrified and sea-sick passenthat excite our admiration and astonishment. Why is gers—thus he, having shut up the city and occupied it that in this unity of purpose there is sublimity? all places, and stationed his guards, went on and folBecause it is a characteristic of the Divinity, and mind lowed his own plan ; caring little for those abhorring was formed to admire God. Look into the universe, and exclaiming against him. Although many of his that shadow of God's natural perfections. What unity, friends kept urging him by their entreaties, and many what harmony, what simplicity of machinery, to ac- of his enemies assailed him by their threats and denuncomplish a multiplicity of effects. Behold gravity, ciations, and many sang songs and scurrilous effusions pressing the humblest plant that opens its petals to the to bring him into disgrace, stigmatizing him as a cowmorning sun to the bosom of the earth, and putting ard, and as betraying the public property and honor to forth its band to bind the universe in one. Look into the enemy, yet he steadily pursued his own wise plans, providence-all events concur to a common end. Look and wrought out the salvation of the city. And yet at redemption. If the seer prophesy, if the altar bleed, the humblest son of God possesses a unity and energy if the tabernacle rise, if the temple lift its spires on of purpose surpassing that of Pericles. 'Tis not behigh; if Jesus comes, if he burst the tomb, or heal the cause he has no avarice that he does not rake together sick, or cleanse the leper-whether he lives, or dies, or the glittering dust; 'tis not because he has no propenrises, or ascends, or sends his ministers to the ends of lsions that he does not plunge into sensuality; 'tis nct
SHADOWS AND REALITIES.
because he has no ambition that he does not pluck honor || the strangeness of some of the dispensations of Provifrom the cannon's mouth, or wreath his brow with the dence, “I walked in the garden amid the roses and civic crown; 'tis not because he has no pride, that he lilies; the honey-suckle was over and about me; the rebels not against the heavens. No, no; but because inocuous shrubs down at my feet: all warmed into life he, by the grace of God, puts forth his hands and binds by the sun-shine, and watered by the dew of heaven. the passions of his deathless soul with resistless cords. The freshness of the air, and unsurpassed loveliness of "Tis not because he is unentreated and unassailed, that all around, caused me to lift my heart in thankfulness he pursues his simple plan. Friends persuade, foes to the great Jehovah. But, alas, the sad and sickening denounce; one slanders, another sneers; now he is thought, 'all must perish,' closed the scene on this decalled cowardly, now enthusiastic, now unfeeling, now lightful banquet.” hypocritical, now stultified. Earth spreads its tempta Such admonitory reflections are not uncommon, even tions all over her beautiful bosom, his own senses are among children. They are taught, and receive withavenues to temptations, his passions are allies to his out appropriating it, the simple truth, that there is a foes: all hell surrounds him with a determination to presiding Deity who made all things. And though destroy, and yet he pursues his way. No wonder that they may not understand the precise character of that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to change which comes upon the vegetable world—why the heirs of salvation. The faithful Christian is wor- the flowers fade, and the leaves wither away and diethy to be a spectacle to earth and hell and heaven. it is a sort of philosophy that disposes the heart to listen Methinks an angel might delight to leave the sapphire to the invitations of Heaven. It is a voice from the blaze of the eternal throne, to help him up the heights skies calling us home to God, alluring us to brighter
worlds. It corrects that romantic fancy, which too often subdues the nobler faculties of the mind, and keeps it
on a stretch for something great and grand in this world Original.
of sin, and tells us that, "like the poor beetle which SHADOWS AND REALITIES. we tread upon," we must come down to dust and ashes.
How fatal is that error, which leads the mind to dwell "O, ever thus from childhood's hour,
with rapture on the gay and airy associations of reckI've seen iny fondest hopes decay; I never rear'd a tree or flower,
less poets, or suffers it to be darkened by the obscurity But what 'twas sure to fade away.
they throw over their superficial ideas, I never nursd a dear gazelle,
There is no ray of light in the whole circle of man's To glad me with its soft black eye,
philosophy to dissipate the gloom. We see the sun, But when it come to know me well, And love me, it was sure to die."
and the moon, and the stars, and understand the nature
of the solar system, and the relation the planets bear to The great defect in much of the sweetest poetry of each other; Socrates defined what justice was, and celthe present day is, that while it awakens our sensibility ebrated the praises of virtue; but the knowledge of all and opens a current of feeling--while it pours a tor- this does not unfold to us our origin, or the attributes rent of softness on the heart, and shadows forth to the of the Deity. Invention loses its power in the confused imagination the bright imagery of its creation, it pre-mass of subjects, and our hopes and expectations are sents nothing safe and solid on which the mind can given up to astonishment and surprise. This is the repose, when startled at the result of its own musings. sum total of all our efforts. The above lines are given as a fair specimen of this The volume of Revelation affords the desired infordescription, every feature of which is culled from the mation, and its authority is sanctified by God himself. bowers of romance.
Here we learn the depravity of our nature, consequent From “the cradle to the grave,” the melancholy truth on the fall of man--the immortality of the soul—the is stamped upon our memory-we shall pass away. redemption of the world by the coming of Christ, and Hence the dark and undefined forebodings that loom the boundless limits of that grace which is freely offered through the distant future. The minds of men, espe- to all who repent and believe. cially that portion of them just emerging from the in How utterly insignificant and puerile do the eflusions distinct dreams of youth to the meridian of mature life, of Byron and Shelly appear, compared with the maare so generally plied with this feeble source of thought, jesty of the Scriptures. Men who were swayed by that were it not for the benevolence of a Savior, who unholy passions, or dashed about by the breakers of has condescended to instruct, and who still "careth for licentiousness—they glitter like an insect in the mornus," the works of the preacher and Christian philan-ing sun, and fall to rise no more. Go, proud one, to thropist would be barren of fruit, a forlorn hope. The the cross of your Redeemer, and learn the purport of Most High comes to the rescue, and by an exhibition his sufferings.
J. L. S. of his power, severe though it may seem to poor blind man, opens his heart to conviction, and cleanses it from the debasing sensualities to which it so fondly clings. Envy, if surrounded on all sides by the brightness
It was once remarked by a very young person, who of another's prosperity, like the scorpion, confined knew but little of "salvation by faith” in Christ, orll within a circle of fire, will sting itself to death.
LIFE AND IMMORTALITY.
whose untutor'd mind
that they are not lost for ever!-that there is some spirLIFE AND IMMORTALITY. it-land where, crowned with amaranthine garlands, they
await our coming to join them in those bowers of joy! “ There's more beyond."
And why is this? wherefore the assurance which yields WERE human life one unclouded day, in which plea- || a solace to the wounded spirit, that “there is more besure was ever supreme, the very monotony which it yond” this scene of toil and anxiety, and that this life would produce would tend to weariness, if not to pain. | is but the vestibule of the temple of existence? Is it But such is not the order of Providence. Above, but a fond fancy of my own, or does the common bearound, beneath us, change is the characteristic of all lief of humanity, and the teachings of an enlightened things. Day succeeds night-one season gives place philosophy confirm this dogma? to another—the ocean, though beautiful in its calm I look abroad to the nations of the earth, and wherevness, anon is lashed into fury by the wrath of the tem- er I make the inquiry, whether in the refined halls pest—the heavens, now serene, presently become in- of Grecian, of oriental, or Roman philosophy, or of volved in clouds and storms. But not alone in the ma- | the simple savage, terial world is change the order of the day; but man, who breasts the fury of the tempest and the storm, and
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind," brings under his subjection, so to speak, the elements I find but one and the same response. Rude though the of nature itself, is the theatre upon which changes, the conception of what that existence is to the latter, and most august and wonderful, are witnessed. In fortune, though the former may not have felt that unquestionain circumstances, in his hopes, desires, and expecta- ble conviction which arises from a fully demonstrated tions, mutation is stamped upon all. Well might the proposition, nor the higher sanction of inspired revelapoet speak of him as that
tion, yet it is not to be doubted that this belief was "pendulum betwixt a smile and tear;"
firmly rooted in the mind of both the one and the other. for there are moments when a feeling of sadness steals The savage imagined that after the soul “shook off over even the gayest heart, and like the gathering shad- this mortal coil,” it wandered in isles of beauty and ows of departing day, mellows into tenderness the gair-| light beyond the setting sun, and quaffed immortality ish beams of noon-day joy. However the busy pur- from fountains of crystal purity, beneath bowers of unsuits of gain, the vaultings of ambition, or the simpler dying fragrance. The arch imposter of the east debased delights of domestic life may enchain us to one pursuit his paradise to the level of sensual indulgence, and held until habit begets a second nature, and our course seems out to his devotees the boon of immortality amid groves still onward in this chosen routine, yet such is the law of perennial bloom, where Houris enravished the soul of our being, and such the order of Providence, that of the brave, and were ever employed in unfolding new some obstacle springs up to break the even tenor of our sources of delight. The more refined philosopher of way—to disengage the mind from the consideration of the schools, though unable to gain any clear perception the evanescent things around our path, and by a reflex of “that bourne from whence no traveler hath returninfluence to look within to that complicated and myste-ed,” yet listened with docility to the voice of the soul; rious agency which constitutes our being. For exam- and from her aspirations-from ple-we all find ourselves possessed of every thing
" The pleasing hope-the fond desirewhich can supply our wants, or gratify the more refined
The longing after immortality" tastes of wealth or intellectual refinement. No acci- which filled his breast, “reasoned well” of her destiny. dent mars our felicity-no misfortune clouds our brow– In short, all kindreds, and tongues, and nations, howour friendships are sincere and reciprocalour domes- ever diverse in their customs, or dissimilar in their inteltic joys know no diminution, and the heart luxuriates lectual or moral culture, are univocal in declaring that in all that the world calls happiness. But suddenly there is an immortality beyond the grave. And if we “a change comes over the spirit of our dream" '-a adopt that just canon of interpretation furnished us by wife-a child—some fond idol, with whom the affec. Cicero, viz., consensus omnium lex naturaæ est,” we tions of the heart were so closely entwined that it were cannot but conclude that there is a rational foundation like death to sever the link which united us to them, is for this belief. snatched from our embrace; and that animated and But leaving this argument, I turn my eye within, beauteous being, in whom life seemed to wanton in ex- | and consider the capacities of this mysterious agent. cess now lies a tenant of the tomb,
Unlike the body by which its energies are clogged and “In cold obstruction's apathy."
fettered, I find it simple and indivisible, exhibiting no No more can it soothe us in distress, or add energy appearances of decay or destruction, but possessed of in adversity. The gushing fountains of sympathy are powers too vast for finite conception. Surrounded by chilled in the coldness of the tomb; and the lone heart, present pursuits, it knows no satiety, but is ever on the stricken by the bereavement, is left to bow in agony wing for new scenes of delight, and new sources of before the irrevocable decree. Bi though death thus knowledge. It ever feels a vacuum-a desire for someinvades our peace, and gathers to his dark domain the thing which it has not, and for which it craves. Nor loved ones in whom our affections centred, yet with is this found to be the case in a part only of our spewhat force does the conviction come home to our minds II cies: it is seen alike in the simple hind, and the pol