Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

1. When does the swallow arrive in our country?

2. How long does she remain with us?
3. Where is she supposed to winter?
4. Where does she build her nest?
5. What constitutes her food ?

6. Why do we hear her twittering with gladness?

7. Repeat the kind wishes in verse 3rd.

8. Illustrate the two last lines of verse 4th.

9. Does the swallow not come here to build a nest, and rear its young?

10. Is it true that each bird comes back to its own nest?

11. Why are we sure that summer and winter, seed-time and harvest shall al

ways be ?

LESSONS TO BE DERIVED FROM BIRDS.

G. W. DOANE. The swan which is domesticated is termed the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor); yet it is respecting this bird that the fable became current, that it foretold its own death, and sung with peculiar sweetness at its approach. Thus Shakspeare:

“I will play the swan,

And die in music." But, although the voice of the swan is but little noticed, the bird is not really mute as its name would imply; the notes are soft and low, and are described by Yarrell as “plaintive, and with little variety, but not disagreeable." What is that, mother?

The lark my child !
The morn has but just looked out, and smiled,
When he starts from his humble grassy nest,
And is up and away with the dew on his breast,
And a hymn in his heart to yon pure bright sphere,
To warble it out in his Maker's ear.

Ever, my child! be thy morn's first lays
Tuned, like the lark's, to thy Maker's praise.

What is that, mother?

The dove, my son !
And that low, sweet voice, like a widow's moan,
Is flowing out from her gentle breast,
Constant and pure by that lonely nest,
As the wave is poured from some crystal urn,
For her constant dear one's quick return.

Ever, my son, be thou like the dove

In friendship as faithful, as constant in love.
What is that, mother?

The eagle, boy!
Proudly careering his course of joy,
Firm on his own mountain vigour relying,
Breasting the dark storm, the red bolt defying.
His wing on the wind, and his eye on the sun,
He swerves not a hair, but bears onward, right on.

Boy! may the eagle's flight ever be thine,

Onward and upward, true to the line.
What is that, mother?

The swan, my love!
He is floating down from his native grove

No loved one, now, no nestling nigh,
He is floating down by himself to die;
Death darkens his eye, and unplumes his wings,
Yet the sweetest song is the last he sings.

Live so, my love, that when death shall come,

Swan-like and sweet, it may waft thee home. 1. What does the lark do the moment 8. Name to me the king of birds. he leaves his nest ?

9. Describe him in his flight. 2. In what way should each of you imi. 10. What lesson does the eagle give you tate the lark?

all ? 3. As what has the dove been ever re- 11. What bird is said to sing for the garded by mankind ?

first time just before its death? 4. Who will quote me Matt. x. 16? 12. What does Mr. Yarrell say about

5. What does the low sweet voice of the the swan singing ? dove resemble ?

13. What do you understand by “dying 6. For whom is she ever calling? like the swan?

7. What lesson should you all learn 14. Who only can use the triumphant from the dove?

words of 1 Cor. xv. 55, at their death?

TO A WATERFOWL.

C. BRYANT. “Let us paint a summer in the Arctic regions. It is very short_but short as it is, it sees the birth of thousands of most interesting beings, and every islet and every promontory is thronged by a dense population. As if by magic, the snows of winter have dissolved, and coarse herbage has covered the land. Every small pool, every lake, every inlet, is garlanded with vegetation. Driving onwards from the south, (our temperate latitudes), arrive myriads of wild-fowl, water birds of various species, scoter ducks, widgeons, eider ducks, king ducks, pochards, etc., and also several species of wading birds. The work of incubation now commences. The ground is converted into a city of nests, rarely intruded upon by the foot of man. Here myriads of wild-fowl are reared. The water supplies them with food, and the reeds bend over their nests. But the summer is, as we have said, short. It passes not into winter by the transition of a mellowed autumn. As it sprang almost of a sudden out of winter, so it retires; but the wild birds, instinct-taught, anticipate the time when river and lake, pond and inlet, will be locked up with ice. Their young are fledged, strong on the wing, and now they commence their southern journey, not to seek a breeding home, bnt open lakes, open creeks, and seas wherein the ice-floe is never witnessed, and from which they may derive their sustenance.”-Tract Society's Monthly Volume.

WHITHER, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkiy painted on the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink

On the chafed ocean's side?

There is a power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast-
The desert and illimitable air-

Lone-wandering, but not lost.

C

All day' thy wings have fanned
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere :
Yet, stoop not, weary, to the welcome land

Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,

Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given

And shall not soon depart.

He, who from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,

Will lead my steps aright. 1. At what time in the day did the poet guides the actions of irrational creatures ? see this waterfowl?

6. What does the adjective weary agree 2. The rosy depths of what?

with? 3. Could a fowler injure it—and why 7. Where would the waterfowl find rest? not?

8. Explain these words “the abyss of 4. Name the places it might be seeking heaven hath swallowed up thy form." for its nest.

9. What important lesson had the poet 5. What call you the principle which learned from the wild-fowl ?

A PSALM OF LIFE.

LONGPELLOW. NO POET (says the Rev. G. Gilfillan), has more beautifully expressed the depth of his conviction, that life is an earnest reality, a something with eternal issues and dependencies; that this earth is no scene of revelry, or market of sale, but an arena of contest, and a hall of doom. This is the inspiration of his Psalm of Life, than which we ha things finer, in moral tone, since those odes by wh the m of Israel tuned their march across the wilderness, and to which the fiery pillar seemed to listen with complacency, and to glow out a deeper crimson in silent praise. To man's now wilder, more straggling, but still God-guided and hopeful progress towards a land of fairer promise, LONGFELLOW's Psalm is a noble accompaniment.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

“Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;
“ Dust thou art, to dust returnest”

Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow

Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act--act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o'er-head!
Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let, us then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.
1. Are the events of life really what they on the footstool?
appear at first sight to be?

7. Farther daily on what way? 2. What are afflictions designed to ac- 8. To what does every beat of the heart complish if we will only learn?

bring us nearer ? 3. Of what two parts does man consist ! 9. What must we be in the battle of life?

4. Which part was formed of the dust of 10. Name the enemies we meet with in the ground, and must return to it!

this conflict. 5. What is not the end or design of life? 11. Repeat the noble resolution expres6. For what purpose, then, are we placed sed in the last verse.

BERNARDO AND ALPHONSO.

LOCKHART. BERNARD DEL CARPIO, son of Donna Ximena, (the sister of Alonzo or Alphonso the Chaste), and of Don Sancho Count Saldana, is supposed to have the interview here described in the ballad, with the king, after the treacherous execution, or rather murder, of Bernardo's father by Alphonso. The period is contemporaneous with that of Charlemagne, A.D. 768. With some good ten of his chosen men, Bernardo hath appear'd Before them all in the Palace hall, the lying King to beard ; With cap in hand and eye on ground, he came in reverend guise, But ever and anon he frown'd, and flame broke from his eyes.

“A curse upon thee,” cries the King, “who com'st unbid to me; But what from traitor's blood should spring, save traitors like to thee? His sire, Lords, had a traitor's heart; perchance our Champion brave May think it were a pious part to share Don Sancho's grave.” “Whoever told this tale--the King hath rashness to repeat,' Cries Bernard, “Here my gage I Aling before The Liar's feet! No treason was in Sancho's blood, no stain in mine doth lieBelow the throne what knight will own the coward calumny? “ The blood that I like water shed, when Roland did advance, By secret traitors hired and led, to make us slaves of France ;The life of King Alphonso I saved at Roncesval, — Your words, Lord King, are recompense abundant for it all. “ Your horse was down-your hope was flown-I saw the falchion

shine, That soon had drank your royal blood, had I not ventured mine; But memory soon of service done deserteth the ingrate, And ye’ve thank'd the son, for life and crown, by the father's bloody fate. “Ye swore upon your kingly faith, to set Don Sancho free, But, shame upon your paltering breath, the light he ne'er did see ; He died in dungeon cold and dim, by Alphonso's base decree, And visage blind, and stiffen'd limb, were all they gave to me. “The king that swerveth from his word hath stain'd his purple black, No Spanish Lord will draw the sword behind a liar's back: But noble vengeance shall be mine, an open hate I'll showThe King hath injur'd Carpio's line, and Bernard is his foe.” “Seize-seize him!”— loud the King doth scream

." There are a thousand hereLet his foul blood this instant stream—What caitiffs do you fear? Seize-seize the traitor!”—But not one to move a finger dareth,Bernardo standeth by the throne, and calm his sword he bareth. He drew the falchion from the sheath, and held it up on high, And all the hall was still as death: cries Bernard, “Here am I, And here is the sword that owns no lord, excepting Heaven and me; Fain would I know who dares his point-King, Condé, or Grandee!”

Then to his mouth the horn he drew—(it hung below his cloak)-
His ten true men the signal knew, and through the ring they broke;
With helm on head, and blade in hand, the knights the circle brake,
And back the lordlings 'gan to stand, and the false king to quake.

“Ha! Bernard,” quoth Alphonso, “what means this warlike guise ?
Ye know full well I jested-ye know your worth I prize."
But Bernard turn'd upon his heel, and smiling pass'd away-
Long rued Alphonso and his realm the jesting of that day.

1 Roncesvalles (French Roncevaux), a frontier village of Spain, in a gorge of the Pyrenees. Here, it is traditionally said, that the rear-guard of Charlemagne's army, under Roland or Orlando, was defeated and destroyed in 778, and that Roland himself fell by the hand of Bernardo del Carpio.

« PredošláPokračovať »