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Here spreading flocks adorn the plain!
31. The Cassowary. Begin'ning ; commencement. Inclu'ding; taking in. Vi'olet ; reddish blue. Protu'berances; swellings. Resem'bling; like. Cal’lous ; hard. Percep'tible; visible. Concealed'; hidden. Extend'ing; reaching. Dan'gerous ; hurtful, perilous. Weap'ons ; Terror ; fear. Swift'ness ; velocity. Indiscrim'inately; without distinction. Predilection ; preference. Assert'; declare. Vis'ible ; apparent.
THE Cassowary is a large singular bird found in the island of Java, and several parts of Africa. From the bill to the claws it measures about five feet and a half, from the beginning of the neck to the top of the head is one foot and a half; and the longest toe, including the claw, is five inches in length.
The neck of this bird is of a dull violet colour. About the middle of the fore part of the neck there are two protuberances, resembling the gills of a cock, but partly of a blue colour. The fore part of the breast is covered with a bard, callous skin, and is destitute of feathers. The thighs and legs are very strong, thick, and straight, covered with scales of various shapes, and feathered. It has three toes armed with strong black claws. The wing is so small as to be hardly perceptible, and is partly concealed under the feathers of the back. In all other birds the feathers in the wings and tail are different from those of any other part
of the body, and which serve only for a covering, but in the cassowary all the feathers of its body are of one kind, and have the same external col
Those feathers are mostly double, and consist of two long shafts proceeding from one stem or socket, and are very unequal in their lengths, some being fourteen inches long, and others not three. The beards of these feathers being very long, as thick as horse hair, and not divided into fibres. Many parts of the head and neck of this bird are so thinly covered with feathers, that the skin is plainly seen. Each wing, when stript of its feathers, is only three inches long, the extremity being armed with five prickles, the longest being eleven inches in length, and a quarter of an inch in diameter at the root. They are hollow from their roots to the points, bend very flexibly, and contain that light substance found in all quills.
The head of this bird is moreover armed with a kind of natural helmet, extending from the base of the bill to near half way over the head. It is of a hard, horny substance, formed by the elevation of the skull bone, and consists of several plates, one over the other, like the horns of an ox.
Thus formed by nature, and armed with dangerous weapons, it is no wonder if it inspire the beholder with terror, having the head of a warrior, the eye of a lion, armament of a porcupine, and the swiftness of a courser. It eats indiscriminately of every thing that comes in its way, without any seeming predilection for any particular sort of fond. The Dutch naturalists assert that it swallows not only glass, iron, and stones, but even burning coals, without receiving the least injury. The food passes so quickly through the intestines of this creature, that even the
it swallows are voided whole without the least visible alteration, owing to the shortness of the alimentary canal. Were this bird as hostile in its disposition as it is formidable in appearance, it might prove a very destructive creature, not only to the feathered race, but to the brute creation, and even to man himself; but this is by no means the case; to this power of doing mischief nature has furnished it with a mild, amicable, disposition. It never attacks any other creature, and when attacked itself, if it cannot escape from its pursuers, instead of using its bill and claws, which might prove dangerous weapons, it only runs against its adversary, beats him down, and slightly tramples upon him with its feet.
This bird is a native of the southern part of India beyond the Ganges. Its eggs are of a greyish ash-colour, marked with
and measure fifteen inches in circumference, one way; and twelve inches the other.—Dict. of Nat. Hist.
Approach of the Christian Army to Jerusalem. Now from the golden east the zephyrs borne, Proclaimed with balmy gales the approach of morn; And fair Aurora deck'd her radiant head With roses cropt from Eden's flowery bed ; When from the sounding camp was heard afar The noise of troops preparing for the war: To this succeeds the trumpet's loud alarms, And rouse, with shriller notes, the host to arms. With holy zeal their swelling hearts abound, And their wing'd footsteps scarcely print the ground. When now the sun ascends the ethereal way, And strikes the dusty field with warmer ray; Behold, Jerusalem in prospect lies ! Behold, Jerusalem salutes their eyes !
At once a thousand tongues repeat the name,
At first, transported with the pleasing sight,
32. The Condor. Rapa'cious; ravenous, plundering. Exceeds'; goes beyond. Mag'nitude; size, bulk. Fero'city ; fierceness. Disposi'tion; nature. Destructive ; injurious, hurtful. Da'ring ; bold. Expand'ed ; stretched out. Talons ; claws. Facility ; ease. Surprising ; wonderful. Appetite; craving for food.
Devoured' ; eaten up. Intim'idated; frightened ; alarmed. Approach' ; advance. Rely'ing; depending. Pierce ; penetrate.
The condor is a vast rapacious bird, and a native of South America. Some naturalists refer it to the vulture kind, while others make it a variety of the eagle: it, however, exceeds both these tribes in magnitude, strength, swiftness of flight, and ferocity of disposition. It is the most formidable of all rapacious birds, most destructive in its ravages, and the most daring in its approaches. The size of it, when full grown, is eighteen feet across the wings when expanded. It has been known to carry away a deer or a young calf in its talons with the same facility that an eagle does a hare or a rabbit. The large expansion of its wings, added to its surprising strength, gives it a velocity of fight superior to that of any other bird whatever. Its appetite is so ravenous that the body of an ox has been devoured at one meal by two condors only. The condor is not intimidated at the approach of any animal, not even at man himself, relying upon its own superior strength, and the destructive weapons, its bill and claws, the latter of which will at once pierce through the hide of an ox. This bird inhabits rocky and mountainous places, from whence it will often make excursions to the sea shore in quest of food, when finding a deficiency in its native mountains. The vast expansion of its wings requires too much room to permit it to be an inhabitant of the forest. It is also found in those desolate and deserted plains, the deserts of Pachomac, where nature appears in its most disconsolate form. These dreary regions afford no road to the wayward passenger, being the abode of the prowling panther and the venemous serpent, and rendered still more dreadful by the presence of the fierce and terrible condor.
We select the following account of this astonishing bird from P. Feuillée, as being the most circumstantial and authentic. “ In the valley of Ilo, in Peru, I discovered a condor perched on a high rock before me: I approached within musquet shot, and fired; but as my piece was only charged with swan shot, the lead was not able