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tained; but no written papers were found in his cell, to throw additional light upon the obscurity in which he had so effectually wrapped the history of his pilgrimage.

LESSON CIV.

The Mocking-Bird.

ALEXANDER Wilson,

The plumage of the mocking-bird, though none of the homeliest, has nothing gaudy or brilliant in it, and, had he nothing else to recommend him, would scarcely entitle him to notice; but his figure is well proportioned, and even handsome. The ease, elegance, and rapidity of his movements, the animation of his eye, and the intelligence he displays in listening, and laying up lessons from almost every species of the feathered creation within his hearing, are really surprising, and mark the peculiarity of his genius. To these qualities we may add that of a voice full, strong, and musical, and capable of almost every modulation, from the clear, mellow tones of the wood-thrush to the savage screams of the bald eagle.

In measure and accent, he faithfully follows his originals. In force and sweetness of expression, he greatly improves upon them. In his native groves, mounted upon the top of a tall bush or half-grown tree, in the dawn of dewy morning, while the woods are already vocal with a multitude of warblers, his admirable song rises preëminent over every competitor. The ear can listen to his music alone, to which that of all the others seems a mere accompaniment. Neither is this strain altogether imitative. His own native notes, which are easily distinguishable by such as are well acquainted with those of our various birds of song, are bold and full, and varied, seemingly, beyond all limits. They consist of short expressions of two, three, or, at the most, He sweeps

as his

as

five or six syllables, generally interspersed with imitations,
and all of them uttered with great emphasis and rapidity,
and continued, with undiminished ardor, for half an hour, or
an hour, at a time; his expanded wings and tail, glistening
with white, and the buoyant gayety of his action, arresting the
eye, as his song most irresistibly does the ear.
round with enthusiastic ecstasy; he mounts and descends,
song
swells or

dies
away, and,

my

friend Mr. Bartram has beautifully expressed it," he bounds aloft with the celerity of an arrow, as if to recover or recall his very soul, which expired in the last elevated strain.” While thus exerting himself, a bystander, destitute of sight, would suppose that the whole feathered tribes had assembled together on a trial of skill, each striving to produce his utmost effect, so perfect are his imitations. He many times deceives the sportsman, and sends him in search of birds that perhaps are not within miles of him, but whose notes he exactly imitates. Even birds themselves are frequently imposed on by this admirable mimic, and are decoyed by the fancied calls of their mates, or dive, with precipitation, into the depths of thickets, at the scream of what they suppose to be the sparrow-hawk.

The mocking-bird loses little of the power and energy of bis song by confinement. In his domesticated state, when he commences his career of song, it is impossible to stand by uninterested. He whistles for the dog : Cæsar starts up, wags his tail, and runs to meet his master. He squeaks out like a hurt chicken ; and the hen hurries about, with hanging wings and bristled feathers, clucking to protect her injured brood. The barking of the dog, the mewing of the cat, the creaking of a passing wheelbarrow, follow with great truth and rapidity. He repeats the tune taught him by his master, though of considerable length, fully and faithfully. He runs over the quiverings of the canary, and the clear whistlings of the Virginia nightingale or red-bird, with such superior execution and effect, that the mortified songsters feel their own inferiority, and become altogether silent, while he seems to triumph in their defeat, by redoubling his exertions.

This excessive fondness for variety, however, in the opinion of some, injures his song. His elevated imitations of the brown thrush are frequently interrupted by the crowing of cocks; and the warblings of the blue-bird, which he exquisitely manages, are mingled with the screaming of swallows, or the cackling of hens; amidst the simple melody of the robin, we are suddenly surprised by the shrill reiterations of the whip-poor-will; while the notes of the killdeer, blue jay, martin, baltimore, and twenty others, succeed, with such imposing reality, that we look round for the originals, and discover, with astonishment, that the sole performer, in this singular concert, is the admirable bird now before us. During this exhibition of his powers, he spreads his wings, expands his tail, and throws himself around the cage in all the ecstasy of enthusiasm, seeming not only to sing, but to dance, keeping time to the measure of his own music. Both in his native and domesticated state, during the solemn stillness of the night, as soon as the moon rises in silent majesty, he begins his delightful solo, and serenades us the livelong night with a full display of his vocal powers, making the whole neighborhood ring with his inimitable melody.

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When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possessed beyond the Muse's painting.

By turns, they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined ;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Filled with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatched her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard, apart,
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each for madness ruled the hour
Would prove his own expressive power.

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First Fear, his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewildered laid ;
And back recoiled, he knew not why,

Even at the sound himself had made.

Next, Anger rushed ; his eyes, on fire,

In lightnings owned his secret stings;
With one rude clash he struck the lyre,

And swept with hurried hand the strings.

With woful measures, wan Despair

Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled ;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air :

'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.

But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,

What was thy delighted measure ?

Still it whispered promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail. Still would her touch the strain prolong ;

And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She called on Echo still through all her song ;

And, where her sweetest theme she chose,

A soft, responsive voice was heard at every close ; And Hope, enchanted, smiled, and waved her golden hair ; And longer had she sung - but, with a frown,

Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down;

And, with a withering look,

The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast, so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe;

And, ever and anon, he beat

The doubling drum with furious heat: And though, sometimes, each dreary pause between,

Dejected Pity at his side,

Her soul-subduing voice applied, Yet still he kept his wild, unaltered mien, While each strained ball of sight seemed bursting from

his head.

Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fixed;

Sad proof of thy distressful state ! of differing themes the veering song was mixed ;

And, now, it courted Love- now, raving, called on Hate.

With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired ;
And, from her wild, sequestered seat,

In notes by distance made more sweet,
Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul ;

And, dashing soft from rocks around,

Bubbling runnels joined the sound: Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole, Or o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,

(Round a holy calm diffusing,

Love of peace and lonely musing,) In hollow murmurs died away.

But, O! how altered was its sprightlier tone, When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,

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