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Unsheathes his wings, and through the woods and
glades Scatters a marvellous splendour. On he wheels, Blazing by fits, as from excess of joy, Each gush of light a gush of ecstacy; Nor unaccompanied; thousands that fling A radiance all their own, not of the day, Thousands as bright as he, from dusk till dawn, Soaring, descending.
Oft have I met This shining race, when in the Tusculan groves My path no longer glimmered; oft among Those trees, religious once and always green, That yet dream out their stories of old Rome Over the Alban lake; oft met and hailed, Where the precipitate Anio thunders down, And through the surging mist a poet's house (So some aver, and who would not believe ?) Reveals itself.-Yet cannot I forget Him*, who rejoiced me in those walks at eve, My earliest, pleasantest; who dwells unseen, And in our northern clime, when all is still, Nightly keeps watch, nightly in bush or brake His lonely lamp rekindling. Unlike theirs, His, if less dazzling, through the darkness knows No intermission; sending forth its ray Through the green leaves, a ray serene and clear As virtue's own.
tegument intellectual subdivided satisfactorily element impermeable convexity anticipate mandible perception
variations organization industry superstition
analogous constructing imagination Of all the classes of animals, that of birds is the most strongly marked, and that in which the species have the greatest resemblance, and which is separated from all the others by a wider interval. This fact, however, renders it more difficult to subdivide them.
These subdivisions are grounded, as in the mammalia, on the organs of food, and of prehension, that is, the beak and toes.
One is struck first with the palmated feet, that is, when the toes are united by membranes, a character which distinguishes all the swimming birds. The position of these feet behind; the length of the sternum; the neck often longer than the legs, to reach downward; the plumage close, shining, impermeable to water, agree with the feet in constituting the web-footed fowls good swimmers.
In other birds, which also have frequently some small webs to the feet, at least between the external toes, we observe elevated tarsi, legs denuded of feathers towards the base, a tall stature, in one word, all arrangements necessary for fording in shallow water, for the purpose of seeking their food. Such, indeed, is the regimen of the greater number of these; and although some of them live on dry land, they are named waders, or gralle.
Amongst the truly terrestrial birds, the gallinacea have, like our domestic poultry, a heavy carriage, a short flight, the beak moderate, with the upper mandible vaulted, the nostrils swelling out, and partly covered by a soft scale, and almost always the edges of the toes indented, with short membranes between the bases of those before. They live principally on grain.
The birds of prey have the beak crooked, with the point sharp, and bent towards the base; and the nostrils pierced in a membrane, which invests all the base of the beak : the feet are armed with strong nails. They live on flesh, and pursue other birds; hence they have generally a powerful flight. The greater number have, moreover, a small web between the external toes.
The passerine birds include many more species than all the other families; but their organization is so analogous, that they cannnot be separated, although they vary greatly in size and strength. Their two external toes are united at the base, and sometimes part of the way up their length.
Each of these orders subdivides into families and genera, principally by the conformation of the beak.
Birds are, in general, covered with feathers, a sort of tegument the best adapted to protect them from the effects of the rapid variations of temperature to which their movements expose them. The air cavities which occupy the interior of their body, and which even occupy the place of marrow in the bones, augment their specific lightness.
Sight is extremely perfect in birds, and they have the peculiar faculty of seeing objects near or distant equally well. The means by which this is effected are not satisfactorily explained, though a power of changing the convexity of the eye is probably the proximate cause. Like all other physical peculiarities, it is admirably adapted to the mode of existence of the class; a quick and perfect sight of objects and perception of distances are necessary to the rapidity of their movements and the securing of their prey to birds. All the genera, except the owls, see a single object but with one eye.
The situation of these organs, however, enables them to take in a much larger field of view, than animals whose eyes look straight before them.
Every one knows the varied industry employed by birds in constructing their nests, and the tender care they take of their eggs and of their young: this is the principal part of their instinct. For the rest of their qualities, their rapid passage through the different regions of the air, and the lively and continued action of this element upon them, enable them to anticipate the variations of the atmosphere in a manner of which we can have no idea, and from which has been attributed to them, from all antiquity, by superstition, the power of announcing future events. They are not without memory or imagination, for they dream; and every one knows with what facility they may be tamed, may be made to perform different operations, and retain airs and words.
Bahr-el-Abiad physical tropical
intersected incomparable Mahometans irrigation aromatics
geographical vegetating antiquity EGYPT is one of the most singular countries in the world, not only from its geographical position, but its physical conformation. It consists entirely of the valley of the Nile, which, taking its rise in the mountains of Abyssinia, after traversing for 600 leagues the arid deserts of Africa, and receiving the tributary waters of the Bahr-el-Abiad, precipitates itself by the cataracts of Sennaar into the