Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE BLUE BIRD.

BY THE EDITOR.

Je prayeth well, who loveth well,

Both man and bird and beast.-COLERIDGE. LOOK out for the Blue-bird! Before this number of the Guardian reaches our readers he will have arrived from the “sweet south” and set up his caroling around our dwellings.

It is our Blue-bird of which we speak. There is another Blue-bird, quite different in its babits and ways from ours. Goldsmith has given us an account of it. He says “it lives in the highest part of the Alps, and even these choose the most craggy rocks and the most frightful precipices for its residence.” It is caught with great difficulty, and he who is so fortunate as to take one finds in it a great treasure, as it is highly valued even in its own country, and much more when carried to foreign lands, on account of its beauty and song. “It not only whistles in the most delightful manner, but speaks with an articulate, distinct voice, and will speak and whistle at the word of command.”

This is all very pretty, we must confess; and if Switzerland were our country, and the Alps were our mountains, and this Swiss Blue-bird had been heard in and around the home of our childhood, we might be in a position to contrast it more favorably with our own Blue-bird. We agree with the learned, who tell us that much depends upon the stand-point from which a thing is viewed; and whilst we endeavor to make all allowance for our owu prejudice, we cannot consent that a single plume or beauty of our Blue-bird be cast into the shade by this rival of the Alps."

Our Blue-bird is so well-known to our readers that it is scarcely necessary to describe it; yet, as this little notice may fall under the eye of the wuinitiated, we may as well say as by the lips of another, “it is six inches and three quarters long; the wings are remarkably full and broad, and a dusky black at the tips; the whole upper parts are rich sky-blue, with purple reflections; the under parts are chestnut color and white." This is precisely our bird, as we plainly see, now that our attention is called to the several features which characterize it. To us it has always been simply “the Blue-bird," and we never thought of it except as a wholeone thing of beauty.

One thing which gives the Blue-bird the advantage in our affections is, that he is one of the first, if not the very first of musical birds wbich greets us in the spring. How delightful, even early as February, on some mild morning to hear bim break the long stillness of winter with his friendly whistling around our home. "0, the Blue-bird has come !" is the welcome sentence with which bis advent is greeted from the cheerful hearts of the children. He is not long idle, but is at once “seen with bis mate reconnoitering the leaf in the garden, and the hole in the appletree, the cradle of some generations of his ancestors. They then begin

to clean out the old nest, and to prepare for the reception of their future offspring."* · He is a great favorite with the country people ; and it seems as if he reciprocated their partiality, for he loves the farm-houses. This love is no doubt in part induced by the “ snug little summer-bouse" which the farmer furnishes for him “rent free” near his own dwelling The intelligent farmer loves our bird not only for his pleasant song, but also because he does much for his garden and fruit-trees by destroying the injurious insects which infest them. He is fond of all kinds of small bly, and especially delights in beetles and spiders. In the fall

, when these are not so plenty, or perhaps not so young and tender, he turns his aitention to "berries, fruits, and seeds."

of his musical talents and peculiarities a close observer says, "the asual spring and summer song of this bird, is a soft, agreeable and oftrepeated warble, uttered with open quivering wings, and is extremely pleasing. Towards fall

, his song changes to a single plaintive note, as he passes over the yellow and many-colored woods; and its melancholy air recalls to our mind the approaching decay of the face of nature. Even after the trees are stripped of their leaves, he still lingers over his native fields, as if loath to leave them. Indeed he appears scarcely ever totally to forsake us, as with every return of mild and open weather, we hear his plaintive note amidst the fields, or in the air, seeming to deplore the devastation of winter."

Thus our bird lives in pleasant sympathy with man, beginning the spring with us in cheerfulness and hope, and softening down our own feelings when, in a more sober mood, grave autumn greets us “over the yellow plain." Never shall we forget this friendly bird. Its spring-strain will ever belong to that music of early life which is still heard in many a sweet chime deep in the cells of memory. As often as it comes, the harbinger of spring, even unto gray hairs will it call to mind that happy season of childhood, and that "sweet home” of early life, the pleasant recollection of which amid all changes doth not change, and which, like the song of our Blue-bird, is liveliest and loveliest at the coming in of every new scene of innocent and cheerful joy. The pleasure which its early warblings afford us, not only reminds us of the deep truth, that to the pure all things are pure, but also that the echoes of life's earliest and purest joys, as memory preserves them, are ever among our richest eatthly treasures. Blessed are they who have hearts full of them.

[ocr errors]

* It is to us a pleasing coincidence, that at the moment we had written this sert:nor, the first one of the season suddenly set up his carroting in a most joyous strain near the house. We take this to mean that we have his approbation to wbat we have said of him. Sing on --long live the Blue-bird !

TRUE.—Sir Walter Scott declared that these four lines, by Robert Burns, were worth a thousand romances :

Had we never lov'd sae kindly-
Had we never lov'd sae blindly-
Never met- or never parted-
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

BOOK NOTICES.

Herzog's Real Encyclopedia, translated; with additions from other sources by Dr.

Bomberger. Part VIII. Philadelphia : Lindsay & Blakiston, 1859.

The eighth Part of this valuable work, which has come to hand, finishes the litter D, and extends nearly through the letter E “ Perseverance removes mountaips," is a proverb of which we are always reminded, as one part after another of this formidable work comes finished forth. Fow, perhaps, have an idea of what an amount of manuscript is devoured in a single number of 128 closely printed pages, anıl all this is furnished at the low price of 50 cents ! We have before spoken of th- intrinsic value of this Enclyclopedia, and would only express the hope that a discerning public may not fail to reward the Translator and Publishers for their labor and care, by at once subscribing for the work; for we are sure that by so doing they will benefit themselves more than those who are furnishing them with so much valuable matter at so low a price. The whole work is to be finished in three large volumes, six Parts making a volume. Should it run over that number, which we are inclined to think will be the case, the purchasers will only gain the more thereby.

THE JEWESSES.

FONTANES asked Chateaubriand, "if he could assign a reason why the women of the Jewish race were so much handsomer than the men ?” to which Chateaubriand gave the following poetical and Christian reply: “The Jewesses," he said, "have escaped the curses which alighted upon their fathers, husbands and sons. Not a Jewess was to be seen among the crowd of Priests and rabble who insulted the Son of God, scourged bim, crowned him with thorns, and subjected him to ignominy and the agony of the cross. The women of Judea believed in the Saviour, and assisted and soo: hed him under afflictious. A woman of Bethany poured on his head precious ointment, which she kept in a vase of alabaster. The sinner anointed his feet with perfamed oil, and wiped them with her hair. Christ, on his part, extended his mercy to the Jewesses. He raised from the dead the son of the widow of Nain, and Martha's brother, Lazarus. He cured Simon's mother-in-law, and the woman who touched the hem of his garment. To the Samaritan woman he was a spring of living water, and a compassionate judge to the woman in adultery. The danghters of Jerusalem wept over him; the holy women accompanied him to Calvary, brought balm and spices, and weeping, sought him at the sepulchre. "Woman, why weepest thou ?" His first appearance, aiter his resurrection, was to Mary Magdalene. He said to her, “Mary." At the sound of his voice Mary Magdalene's eyes were opened, and she answered : “Master.” The reflection of some very beautiful ray must have rested on the brow of the Jewesses.

[blocks in formation]

"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the House of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools : for they consider not that they do evil.

" Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be basty to utter anything before God: for God is in Heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore, let thy words be few.”

SOLOMON CHESTERFIELD has written a book-but mind, we do not say that it is worth anything !-in which he proposes to instruct us in regard to our hebavior in company. He professes to teach us how we ought to act in parlors and at parties; but he entirely omits those lessons which pertain to proper behavior at church, a matter, in our judgment, of more importance than those which he discusses. We do not blame him for this omission, but are rather glad that he has not undertaken it; for, being an infidel himself, he would no doubt have made sorry work of it.

Had he written on this subject we fear his book would have pleased us even less than the one he has written.

This field being as yet open, we are inclined to cultivate it a little, hy offering a brief chapter on good manners in church, calling to our help the words of Solomon, which we have placed under our caption.

In these words the wise man instructs us in reference to our deportment when going to the house of God, and our conduct whilst there.

On the way, we are to “ keep our feet”-that is, to observe that walk and deportment which corresponds with the solemn errand on which we are going. When we are there, we are not to "offer the sacrifice of fools "—that is, do as those do who feel no responsibility for their acts, and have no proper sense of what belongs to God and His worship.

It is not strange that the sacred witness should make this a matter worthy of concern, and give instruction in relation to it. Proper conduct is a matter of importance in all places; and, of course, most of all in the house of God.

Our spirit and deportment must always correspond with the place and circnmstances in which we are. Sorrow does not belong to a marriage scene, nor joy to a funeral. Tears belong not to a festival, nor laughter to a feast. Every thing is beautiful in its place. We must “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." There is both beauty and religion in observing always a deportment, and manifesting a spirit, in harmony with the place, and the time. Out of place all things are wrong.

It is on this principle that the wise man requires a certain kind of deportment to be observed by us, even in the way of the house of God. We go not to our worldly work and business—we go not to visit a friend—we go not to a lecture or place of innocent amusement—there. fore, we go not as we go to such places. This ought not only to be felt by us, but it ought to be seen by others. There need be no hanging of head as though we were going to suffer the penalty of a crime, but there ought to be that devout humility, that cheerful gravity, and decency of demeanor which we feel at once belongs to those who are going into the presence of God to confess their sins, to hear Him speak, and praise Him for His love.

This feeling ought to increase as we approach, and actually enter the courts of the Lord. If we “keep our feet” on the way, much more when we enter. The Jews, as they went up, sung “songs of degrees,” which increased in solemn beauty and devotion as they came nearer the place where His honor dwelt.

No light conversation, no worldly feeling, no vanity of spirit, no frivolous deportment should be carried up to the door of the sanctuary. It will not be done by the considerate, sincere and earnest worshipper.

Highly improper, therefore, is it to linger at the doors, or in the vestibule, or outer court of the sanctuary. This is even considered a mark of rudeness at the place of a lecture, or at a hall of public amusement. At a church it is still more out of place. It is always unpleasant to those entering; and makes an unfavorable impression, especially on the minds of strangers, not only in regard to the persons who indulge in the habit, but in regard also to the congregation where it is done.

Persons who indulge in this rude habit, show that their first and ruling desire is not to worship, but to see a friend, to attend to business which belongs not to the place, or to herd rudely with the rude. Such persons show that they are not hastening with holy desire and sacred joy into the blessed presence of God; but that, with reluctant steps, and delay of heart, they only enter when they must—and then often more or less to disturb the worship which has already commenced.

Officers of the church, by kiod remonstrance with thoughtless persons who may indulge in the habit, ought to avoid the offence, or discourage it when it has in any measure begun to exist. By a judicious exercise of that parental authority which piety and their office give them, they can easily prevent thoughtless persons from falling in these rude and improper ways. By these means will they do much toward promoting a proper reverence for the house and the worship of God, and abating a custom which even the native good sense of the world regards as disreputable to a congregation where it is allowed.

The manner of entering a sanctuary is not a matter of indifference. The devout worshipper enters devoutly, and moves to his seat with humble decorum. He thinks of the place instead of gazing over those that

« ZurückWeiter »