He sees the wharf and shipyard, the mooring-post and crane,
The dock-bridge swinging open, the bollard and the chain:

All day the hammers ring,

All night the flare-lights fling

Their tremulous arms of welcome to the pilgrims that you bring.

Long magic hours he gazes from the Bridge's middle arch,
At the masts in thronging medley, atthe sea-hosts on the march,
Whether crowding side by side

Comes the pageant of your pride,

Or you turn your traffic seaward at the falling of the tide.

The red-sailed barges stagger where the seething vapors crawl,
The towering clippers pierce the fog beyond the dim dock wall,

And the steamers each to each

Cry out in strident speech,

And the liners hoot and bellow through the murk of Limehouse Reach.

He sees forgotten navies in their triumphs and despairs,—

King George's ships, King Charles's ships, are moored by Blackwall Stairs: The men whose boisterous breath

Acclaimed Elizabeth,

Their gusty cheering rings to him from out the doors of death.

So you drag him out and onward, so you cast him from the shore,
Till he lose the last wan glimmer of the lightship off the Nore:

To him, to him alone,

'Neath empty skies unknown,

The sea shall show her sorrows, and her joys shall be his own.

Then you call him, call him, call him, from the ultimate ends of earth, You wrench his heart with hunger for the city of his birth:

And his senses you befool,

Till in Rio or Stamboul

He hears the roar of London and the shoutings in the Pool.

And the vessel hurries homeward under sun and under stars,
She flies, all canvas crowded, or she drifts beneath bare spars,
Till the rattling cordage creak,

And the whistling block shall speak,

And the groaning yards make answer, Lo, the haven that we seek.

The squalors and the splendors that have girt you as you go,
The majesty and meanness, your sons again shall know,

While the grinding hawser slips,

And the falling anchor grips,

And they haul the huddled foresail down in London of the Ships.

From the Cotswolds, from the Chilterns, from your fountains and your


Flow down, O royal river, unpollute of earthly things:

Through the city's dust and din,

Through the city's slime and sin,

Hail us for fighting Englishmen, with all the world to win!

Then swing us to the surges, through the hurricane to grope,
With iron ills to grapple, with crush ing odds to cope:

One with your flood are we,

Blood of your blood we be,

Beating eternal measure still to the pulses of the sea.

Blackwood's Magazine.

May Byron.



It may be remembered that, in a former number of this Review,1 I have written somewhat at length upon the owl, and have expressed an opinion that there is no bird which is of so great interest in itself and which it is so important and so imperative for us to preserve. Owls apart, there is, I think, no class of birds which, in view of their high physical and mental development, of their powers of imitation, of their curiously alternating sociability and shyness, of their drolleries and their delicious aptitude, when domesticated, for fun and mischief, of their influence, through all the earlier centuries and earlier civilizations-an influence which has not quite gone by even now and here over the thoughts, the hopes and the

fears of man, is equal in interest to the crow or corvine tribe. That tribe, it should be remarked for the sake of the general reader, includes the crow itself, car

1 The Living Age. Dec. 18, 1902.

rion and hooded, the rook, the magpie, the jackdaw, the jay, and, perhaps, . the Cornish chough. Each one of these birds has noteworthy characteristics of its own, and at the head of them allas much, perhaps, above them as their genus stands above all other generastands the subject of this paper, the


The raven (Corvus corax) is the biggest, the strongest, the boldest, the most wary, the cleverest, the most amusing, the most voracious-I am afraid I must also add, by far the rarest, and that in an ever-accelerating degree of its kind. In the opinion of some of the most observant of hill-andfield naturalists, like Macgillivray and Waterton, and of some of the most recent and most strictly scientific of ornithologists, Professor Foster and Professor A. Newton, he takes his place, for reasons which they give, not only at the head of his own corvine family, but of all birds whatsoever. In other words, in their judgment-though it is impossible to record it without regret and without demur-he has dethroned

the king of birds himself, the bird of Jupiter, the royal eagle, from his immemorial pride of place.

Glance for a moment at his history. His connection with man goes back to the most dim and distant traditions of the race. He plays a characteristic part as a weather-wise bird

Imbrium divina avis imminentum

who did not always do what he ought to do, in the earliest records of the most sacred and venerable book in the world, the Bible. In a later record of the same book, he plays a part which is equally characteristic in the career of the prophet Elijah. He was placed at the head of the birds of omen, the "oscines" (os cano), as they were called: birds, that is, which by their weird and startling cries possessed the curious and enviable privilege of prescribing every detail of the public and social life-commanding this or forbidding that of the severely practical ancient Romans. He was the sacred bird of the supreme divinity of all the Teutonic and Scandinavian races, our own ancestors, of course, among them. He was the travelling companion, sometimes in person, always in effigy, of the "hardy Norseman," wherever the winds or waves could carry his adventurous bark. More than any other bird-if we include along with him his nearest ally the crow, which is in many languages confused with him he attracted the attention of Shakespeare. It is worth noting that while the swan, which

With arched neck, Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows

Her state with oary feet,

so often and so exquisitely referred to by Milton, and the "wakeful nightingale," an equal favorite of his, for the most pathetic of all reasons, that, like himself, she

Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid

Tunes her nocturnal note,

have, each of them, to be content with being mentioned only a modest ten times by Shakespeare, the swallow and the owl may pride themselves on being referred to some twenty, the dove some thirty, the eagle some forty, while the raven has the unique distinction of being mentioned over fifty times.

In the rich and wide region of fable -of books, that is, some of which have been translated into more languages, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, and have had a greater influence, alike as cause, picture, and effect, upon current morality than any other book except the Bible-the raven, as was to be expected from a bird of his marked character, takes a prominent place. In fable, the raven is among birds pretty much what the fox is among animals, the most adroit, the most knowing, the most ubiquitous among them all. In Pilpay as in Æsop, in Babrius as in Phædrus, in La Fontaine and L'Estrange as in Gay, he serves to point many a moral and adorn many a tale.

A bird whose literary history begins with Noah and with Elijah, and who gave his name to the Midianite chieftain Oreb; whose every action and cry was observed and noted down, alike by the descendants of Romulus and the ancestors of Rolf the Ganger; who occurs in every second play of Shakespeare; who forms the subject of one of the most eery poems of Edgar Allan Poe, and enlivens the pages of the Roderick Random of Smollett, of the Rookwood of Ainsworth, of the Barnaby Rudge of Dickens, is a bird whose historical and literary pre-eminence is unapproached; while, to the mind of the patriotic English naturalist, he carries with him also something of the pathetic interest which always attaches to a

lost or losing cause, to a state of things, to a phase of thought or feeling, to a people or to an individual, whether man or beast, who is slowly passing away. The raven is passing away; not yet, I am glad to say, from the world at large he is much too widespread and much too wide awake for that-nor even from the British Islands as a whole, but he is passing away from the whole of the interior districts of England, where, a generation or two ago, his solemn croak could so often be heard.

I will premise two things: first, I pretend to no strictly scientific knowledge of the subject. Science, nay, one single subdivision of one single branch of science nowadays, demands and deserves, if the study is to be fruitful of positive results, the devotion of a lifetime. But the observations-even if they should be somewhat "random and desultory"—of anyone who has loved birds with a passionate love all his life, may have some little value of their own. They may rouse a general interest in the subject which purely scientific details may fail to do. They may add to the enjoyment of country life, and they may tend, as I have good reason to hope my paper on owls has already begun to tend, towards the preservation of fascinating birds which, even if they are guilty of an occasional depredation on game or on the flock, surely do more than atone for it, by the oddities of their habits, by the beauty of their movements, and by their sonorous cries, so admirably harmonizing with those clumps of Scotch firs and those expanses of wild moorland in which they may still occasionally be found.

Secondly, my chief field of observation has, as in the case of the owls, been not the county of Middlesex in which my working life has been passed -for no wild raven has been heard or seen for many years past, or ever will,

I fear, be heard or seen again within some fifty or more miles of Londonbut the county of Dorset, a county which, with its breezy downs, its flintbestrewn uplands, its dark fir plantatations, its limpid streams, its stretches of bog and marsh and heather, its splendid coast-line, possesses nearly every variety of soil and climate suitable for bird-life. In Dorset, I may add that I have had quite exceptional opportunities, as will be seen hereafter, of studying the raven "at home." The habits of a bird so "shy and sly" as a raven can be observed at anything like close quarters only during the breeding season, when the natural affection of the parent for its young does so much to transform its shyness into familiarity and its slyness into dauntless courage.

The raven is as nearly cosmopolitan as any bird can well be. Roughly speaking, he is to be found scattered at intervals over much the greater part of the northern hemisphere-the hemisphere, that is, which contains twothirds of all the land of the world. To put it more clearly, while he is not found in South America, in Central and Southern Africa, in Australia, in New Zealand or in Polynesia, he is found over the whole of North America, over the whole of Europe, over the north of Africa and over more than three-fourths of Asia. He penetrates as far northward as land itself appears to stretch-well, that is, into the Polar circle-where he seems positively to revel in its extreme cold. He is still comparatively common in the Outer Hebrides, in the Orkney, the Shetland, and the Faroe Islands, where a price is often set upon his head. He is commoner still in Iceland and throughout Scandinavia. It is interesting to note that in nearly all the regions in which the cult of Odin once held supreme sway, and where it may well be that some lingering relics of the vanished

cult still survive, Odin's sacred bird still holds his own. He ranges throughout Russia in Europe and Russia in Asia to the remote Corea and the still more remote Kurile Islands. He gives some life, and deals, perhaps, as much death, amidst the thinly-peopled wastes of Central Asia. A much-travelled friend of mine, Mr. Robert Hayne, just returned from the Thian Shan mountains, tells me that he is the commonest of all birds there. His croak is to be heard on the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush, on the Suliman mountains and on Mount Elbruz, on the Taurus, the Caucasus, and the Lebanon, on the Balkans, the Alps and the Pyrenees, throughout the whole range of the Atlas, on Mount Sinai, and-as the dawn of history and tradition and the continuity of bird-life seem to demand-on that "huge boundary-stone" where the three empires, Russian, Turkish and Persian, still meet, Mount Ararat.

To come nearer home: on the mainland of Scotland and Ireland, in spite of incessant persecution, the raven maintains a precarious existence amongst the wild deer forests and the grander of the mountain peaks. In England, though, as I have remarked, he has vanished or is vanishing fast from the midland districts, he still breeds on many of the rifted rocks and the precipitous headlands which mark its coast-line. Till lately-I do not know whether he does so still-he bred on Flamborough and on Beachy Head, on Bolt Tail in Devonshire, and on the Freshwater Cliffs in the Isle of Wight. But he seems to cling most fondly of all to the coasts of Cornwall and of Dorset. In a walk of a moderate

length along the Cornish coast from the Lizard, I have watched three pairs of ravens busy about their nests; while in a rather longer walk along the coast of Dorset, from Whitenose Cliff to St. Alban's Head, I have known at

least four pairs of ravens rearing or trying to rear their young. Swyre Head would hardly be Swyre Head, Gad Cliff would hardly be Gad Cliff-Studland, where they are strictly preserved by its owner, would hardly be Studland-without its pair of ravens, and without also, I am glad to add, the hereditary friends or foes of the ravens, a pair of peregrine falcons.

I say they try to rear their young; for while the old birds generally take good enough care of themselves and keep just out of the range of shot, the heavy-bodied young, when at last they begin to bestir themselves, often flutter down from their nest, hidden as it is beneath an overhanging rock, on to the more accessible ledges, or even to the beach below, where they may easily be captured. The price they fetch, owing to their unique attractions as pets, from the bird dealers in Leadenhall Market, is so high-some ten or fifteen shillings each-that a brood is rarely reared in safety. But it is probable that the high price paid for the young birds may help to secure the safety of the old; for the expert cragsman, carrying his rope and his life in his hand, who is to be found at the neighboring villages of Chaldon or West Lulworth, is too much alive to his own interest to kill the goose that lays for him the golden eggs.

What is the raven like? He is highly symmetrical in form. In bearing he is grave, dignified, and sedate. No one would suspect the fun, the perennial fund of humor, conscious or unconscious-chiefly, I am convinced, the former-which lies behind. His walk is, like himself, stately and deliberate, especially when he is searching the sea-shore and prying into every nook and corner for any food which may have been thrown up upon it, never so well described as in one line of Virgil, remarkable alike for its rhythm and its alliteration:

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