Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

He treasures up his vast designs,

And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful souls ! fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break

With blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace ;
Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will open fast,

Unfolding every hour :
The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan his ways in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make them plain.

Cowper.

26. The Bear.

Disting'uishing ; peculiar. Characteris'tics ; marks, , features. Alternately; in turn, one after another. Hollow ; concave, empty. Con'ical ; like a sugar loaf. Prom'inent; standing out from the general surface. Sel'dom ; rarely. Embrace'; clasp, hug. Squeeze ; press. Vi'olence ; force. In'stantly; immediately, at Occa'sion ; cause.

Private ; retired, secret. In'dolence; sloth, ease. Subsist'ing ; living.

once.

THE bear is a well-known quadruped of the cat kind; the distinguishing characteristics of which are, that it has six fore teeth, both above and below; those above being alternately hollow within. It has five or six grinders: the cutting teeth are single and conical; the tongue is smooth, and the nose prominent. There are several different species of the bear, which, however, are only the effect of the different climates in which they are found, and the food on which they subsist; their general characters being nearly alike.

These animals, like the cat kind, always strike with their feet, and seldom make use of their tusks in seizing their prey, but embrace them with their paws, and squeeze them against their breasts with such violence, as almost instantly to occasion their death.

The females bring forth their young by two, and soinetimes three at a time, when they immediately seek some very private retreat, lest the males should destroy their cubs. So secret are they in their abodes when suckling their young, that in America, and those countries where they most abound, the females are scarcely ever caught. After the bear has fattened itself to a great degree, it retires to its den, where it remains forty or fifty days in a state of total indolence and inactivity, subsisting entirely on the exuberance of its former flesh, from whence has arisen the vulgar error that the bear subsists at these times by licking its paws, whereas it lives entirely on the quantity of food it devoured before, and superabundant nourishment arising from thence, till again pressed by hunger, it is forced to sally forth in search of food. The retreat of the bear is generally in the cliffs of some rock, the most impervious parts of woods, or the hollows of decayed trees, which it ascends with surprising agility. The bear is, in general, a voracious animal, and many of the species are carnivorous.

Bears, like many other animals, are capable of being tamed, if taken young; but they should always be managed cautiously, as they are of a vindictive, cruel, capricious disposition, like most of the cat kind; but after arriving at maturity, they are seldom or never tamed. The voice of the bear is a kind of growl, which it never fails to utter when displeased. Numbers of these animals are killed annually in America, both on account of their flesh and skins; the former, in autumn, when the bear is fattened by feeding on acorns, and such like food, it is extremely delicate, and the fat is remarkably white and sweet; the latter is a very valuable article, and constitutes an important branch of commerce.

There are several species of this animal, the principal of which are, 1. The American black bear. This animal has a long head, with small eyes, and short round ears. The nose is long and pointed, and of a yellowish brown colour. Its limbs, like those of all the species, are strong, thick, and clumsy. Its tail is short; the feet large ; and the hair all over its body is smooth and glossy, and entirely black. 2. The Brown bear. This animal resembles the former in most of its qualities, except in size and colour, being of a brown colour, and superior to the former in size. It is, however, of a more earnivorous nature, feeding on cattle, and also carrion. 3. The White bear. This animal is a native of the frozen regions of the north, abounding in Greenland, Iceland, &c. and is the only species of animals which exceeds the rest of the genera, by being placed in a colder climate, where all other creatures degenerate in size. The length of this bear is frequently thirteen feet; it is covered all over the body with long soft hair, of a white colour, tinged in some parts with yellow. Though naturally timid, and endeavouring to fly from mankind when pursued, yet, if closely pressed, they become fierce, and act upon the offensive in a very desperate manner. They live chiefly on fish, seals, and on the carcasses of whales, though they eat any kind of flesh, or even carrion. They are very good swimmers, dive to great depths in search of fish, and sometimes encounter with young whales. When hard pressed by hunger, they will attack man, and have been known to board small vessels, and drag the men overboard in sight of their companions. In the summer season they are generally found on those large floating pieces of ice, called islands of ice, which are sometimes several miles in extent. These animals are remarkable for the strong maternal affections of the dam towards its young, and also of filial attachment of the young to the dam, which is so great, that instances have been known of their preferring death to deserting of each other. 4. The Kamschatka bear. These bears generally live in dens in the ground; they are generally less in size, and more pacific in disposition, than those of the other parts of the world. They seldom hurt mankind, unless they find them asleep, when they will lacerate some of the fleshy parts, but never devour any. They come down from the hills in great numbers, in the season when the fish enter the mouths of the rivers, and, then they catch great quantities of them, . eating only the head, though in the after part of the season, when their provision runs scarce, they will return and devour the rest of the carcases.

Wonders and Murmurs.
Strange, that the wind should be left so free
To play with a flower, or tear a tree;
To

rage or ramble where'er it will,
And, as it lists, to be fierce or still
Above and around, to breathe of life,
Or to mingle the earth and sky in strife ;
Gently to whisper, with morning light,
Yet to growl like a fettered fiend ere night ;
Or to love, and cherish, and bless, to-day,
What to-morrow it ruthlessly sends away.
Strange, that the sun should call into birth
All the fairest flowers and fruits of earth,
Then bid them perish and see them die,
While they cheer the soul and gladden the eye.
At morn, its child is the pride of spring-
At night a shrivelled and loathsome thing!
To-day, there is hope and life in its breath,
To-morrow, it shrinks to a useless death.
Strange doth it seem, that the sun should joy
To give life alone that it may destroy.
Strange, that the ocean should come and go,
With its daily and nightly ebb and flow-
To bear on its placid breast at morn,
The bark that ere night will be tempest-torn;
Or cherish it all the way it must roam,
To leave it a wreck within sight of home;
To smile, as the mariners’ toils are o'er,
Then wash the dead to his cottage door ;
And gently ripple along the strand,
To watch the widow behold him land !
But, stranger than all, that man should die
When his plans are formed, and his hopes are high:
He walks forth a lord of the earth to-day,
And the morrow beholds him a part of its clay;
He is born in sorrow and cradled in pain,
And from youth to age—it is labour in vain;

« ПредишнаНапред »