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Many letters similar to the foregoing passed between those great naturalists and good men, until the muchlamented death of Mr. Hunter closed their correspondence in 1793.
Many years previously to Mr. Hunter's death he wrote to his friend Jenner, requesting him to direct his attention to the natural history of the cuckoo. This request was most willingly complied with by the latter, not only because it was made by his quondam master and great friend, but it was also quite in accordance with his own taste as an indefatigable ornithologist.
Jenner soon commenced his inquiries and investigations into the natural history of the cuckoo, by enlisting in the cause as many friends and trustworthy agents as he could procure, and after the lapse of some years he forwarded the following interesting communication to Jir. Ilunter as the result of his labours.
“ Dear Sir,
“ Having at your request, employed some of my leisure hours in attending to the natural history of the cuckoo, I beg leave to lay before you the result of my observations, with a hope that they may tend to illustrate a subject hitherto not sufficiently investigated ; and should what is here offered prove, in your opinion, deserving the attention of the Royal Society, you will do me the honour of presenting it to that learned body.
“ The first appearance of the cuckoo in Gloucestersbire, (the part of England where these observations were made,) is about the 17th of April. The song of the male, which is well known, soon proclaims its arrival. The song of the female (if the peculiar notes of which it is composed may be so called) is widely different, and has been so little at. tended to, that I believe few are acquainted with it. I know not how to convey to you a proper idea of it by comparison with the notes of other birds ; but the cry of the dab-chick bears the nearest resemblance to it.
“Unlike the generality of birls, cuckoos do not pair. When the female appears she is often attended by two or three males. From the time of her appearance, till after the middle of summer, the nests of the birds selected to receive her eggs are to be found in great abundance ; but like other migrating, she does not begin to lay till some weeks after her arrival. I never could procure an egg until after the middle of May, although probably, an earlycoming cuckoo may produce one sooner.
“The cuckoo makes choice of the nests of a great variety of small birds. I have known its eggs to be entrusted to the care of the hedge-sparrow, the water-wagtail, titlark, the yellow-hammer, the green linnet, and the whirchat. Amongst these it generally selects the three former, but shows much greater partiality to the hedge-sparrow than to any of the rest; therefore, for avoiding confusion, this bird only will be considered, in the following account, as the foster-parent to the cuckoo, except in instances which are particularly specified.
" The hedge-sparrow commonly takes up four or five days in laying her eggs. During this time (generally after she has laid one or two) the cuckoo continues to deposit her egg among the rest, leaving the future care of it entirely to the hedge-sparrow. This intrusion often occasions some discomfiture; for the old hedge-sparrow, whilst she is sit. ting, not unfrequently throws out some of her own eggs,
and sometimes injures them in such a way that they become addle ; so that it more frequently happens that only two ce three hedge-sparrows' eggs are hatched with the cuckoo's than otherwise ; but she sits the same length of time as if no foreign egg had been introduced ; the cuckoo's egg requiring no longer incubation than her own. However, I have never seen an instance where the hedge-sparrow has ever thrown out or injured the egg of the cuckoo.
“When the hedge-sparrow has sat her usual time, and disengaged the young cuckoo and some of her own offspring from the shell, . her own young ones, and any of her eggs that remained unhatched are soon turned out, the young cuckoo remaining possessor of the nest, and sole object of her future care. The young birds are not previously killed, nor are the eggs demolished, bat all are left to perish together, either entangled about the bush which contains the nest, or lying on the ground under it.
“ The early fate of the young hedge-sparrows is a cir. cumstance that has been noticed by others, but attributed to wrong causes. A variety of conjectures have been formed upon it: some have supposed the parent cuckou the author of their destruction, while others, as erroneously have pronounced them smothered by the disproportionate size of their fellow nestling. Now, the cuckvo's egg being not much larger than the hedge-sparrow's (as I shall more fully point out hereafter,) it necessarily follows that at first there can be no great difference in the size of the birds just burst from the shell. Of the fallacy of the former as. sertion also, I was some years ago convinced by having found that many cuckoos were hatched in the nests of other birds after the old had disappeared ; and by seeing the same fate then attend the nestling sparrows as during the appearance of the old cuckoo in this country, But before I proceed to the facts relating to the death of the young sparrows, it will be proper to lay before you some examples of the incubation of the egg, and the rearing of the young cuckoo, since the well-known fact has been controverted by an author who has lately written on this subject; † and since it is a fact so much out of the ordinary course of nature, it may still probably be disbelieved by others.
“EXAMPLE I.–The titlark is frequently selected by the cuckoo to take charge of its young one; but as it is a bir less familiar than many I have mentioned, its nest is not so often discovered. I have, nevertheless, had several cuckoo's eggs brought to me that were found in titlark's nests, and had one
opportunity of seeing the young cuckoo in the nest of this bird. I saw the old birds feed it repeatedly, and to satisfy myself that they were really titlarks, shot them both and found them to be so.
“EXAMPLE II.-A cuckoo laid her egg in a water-wag tail's nest in the thatch of an old cottage. The wagtail sat the usual time, and then hatched all the eggs but one ; which, with all the young ones, except the cuckoo, was turned out of the nest. The young birds, consisting of five, were found upon a rafter that projected under the thatoh, and with them was the egg not the least injured. On examining the egg, I found the young wagtail it contained quite perfect, and just in such a state as birds are when ready to be disengaged from the shell. The cuckoo was reared by the wagtails till it was nearly capable of flying, when it was killed by an accident.
“EXAMPLE III.-A hedgesparrow built her nest in a haw. thorn bush in a timber-yard. After she had laid two eggs a cuckoo dropped in a third. The sparrow continued laying as if nothing had happened, and then sat.
“June 20th, 1786. On inspecting the nest I found that the bird had hatched this morning, and that everything but the young cuckoo was thrown out under the nest. found one of the young hedgesparrows dead, and one egg by the side of the nest entangled with the coarse woody * The young cuckoo is generally hatched first.
† The Honorable Daines Barrington.
materials that formed its outside covering. On examining the egg, I found one end of the shell a little cracked, and could see that the sparrow it contained was yet alive. It was then restored to the nest, but in a few minutes it was thrown out. The egg being again suspended by the outside of the nest, was saved from breaking. To see what would happen if the cuckoo was removed, I took out the cuckoo, and placed the egg containing the hedgesparrow in the nest in its stead. The old birds, during this time, flew about the spot, showing signs of great anxiety; but when I withdrew they quickly came to the nest again. On looking into it in a quarter of an hour afterwards, I found the young one completely hatched, warm, and lively. The hedge sparrows were suffered to remain undisturbed with their new charge for three hours (during which time they paid every attention to it) when the cuckoo was again put into the nest. The old sparrows had been so much disturbed by those intrusions, that for some time they showed an unwillingness to come to it; however, at length, they came, and on examining the nest again in a few minutes, I found the young sparrow was tumbled out. It was a second time restored, but again shared the same fate.
· From these experiments, and supposing, from the feeble appearance of the young cuckoo just disengaged from the shell, that it was utterly incapable of displacing either the egg or young sparrows, I was induced to believe that the old sparrows were the only agents engaged in this seeming unnatural business ; but I afterwards clearly perceived the cause of this strange phenomenon, by discovering the young cuckoo in the act of displacing its fellow-nestlings, as the following relation will fully evince :
“June 18th, 1787. I examined the nest of the hedgesparrow, which then contained a cuckoo's and three hedgesparrow's eggs. On inspecting the day following, I found the bird had hatched, but that the nest now contained only a young cuckoo and one young hedgesparrow. The nest was placed so near the extremity of the hedge, that I could see distinctly what was going on in it; and to my astonishment, saw the young cuckoo, though so newly hatched, in the act of turning out the young hedgesparrow.
"The mode of accomplishing this was very curious. The little animal, with the assistance of its wings, contrived to get the bird upon its back, and making a lodgment for the burden by elevating its elbows, olambered backward with it up the side of the nest till it reached the top, where, rest. ing for a moment, it threw off its load with a jerk, and quite disengaged it from the nest. It remained in this situation a short time, feeling about with the extremities of its wings, as if to be convinced whether the business was properly executed, and then dropped into the nest again. With these (the extremities of its wings) I have often seen it examine, as it were an egg and nestling, before it began its ope. rations, and the nice sensibility which these parts appeared to possess seemed sufficiently to compensate for the want of sight, of which, as yet, it was destitute. I afterwards put in an egg, and this, by a similar process, was conveyed to the edge of the nest, and thrown out. These experiments I have since repeated several times, in different nests, and have always found the young cuckoo disposed to act in the
In climbing up the nest, it sometimes drops its burden, and thus is foiled in its endeavours; but after a little respite, the work is resumed, and goes on almost incessantly till it is effected. It is wonderful to see the extraordinary exertions of the young cuckoo when it is two or three days old. If a bird be put into the nest with it, that is too weighty for it to lift out, in this state it seems ever restless and uneasy. But this disposition for turning out its companions begins to decline from the time it three till it is about twelve days old, when, as far as I have hitherto seen, it ceases. Indeed, the disposition for throwing out the egg appears to cease a few days sooner; for I have frequently seen the young cuckoo, after it had been hatched nine or ten days, remove a nestling that had been placed in the nest with it, when it suffered an egg, put there
at the same time, to remain unmolested. The singularity of its shape is well adapted to these purposes ; for, different from other newly-hatched birds, its back, from the scapulæ (shoulder blades) downwards, is very broad, with a consider. able depression in the middle. This depression seems formed by nature for the design of giving a more secure lodgment to the egg of the hedge-sparrow, or its young one, when the young cuckoo is employed in removing either of them from the nest. When it is about twelve days old this cavity is quite filled up, and then the back assumes the shape of nestling birds in general.
“Having found that the old hedge-sparrow commonly throws out some of her own eggs, after the nest has received the cuckoo's, and not knowing how she might dispose of her young, if the young cuckoo was deprived of the power of dispossessing them of the nest, I made the following experiment:
* July 9th. A young cuckoo that had been hatched by a hedge-sparrow about four hours, was confined in the nest in such a manner that it could not possibly turn out the young hedge-sparrows which were hatched at the same time, though it was almost incessantly inaking attempts to effect it. The consequence was, the old birds fed the whole alike, and appeared in every respect to pay the same attention to their own young as to the young cuckoo, until the 13th, when the nest was unfortunately plundered.
“The smallness of the cuckoo's, in proportion to the size of the bird, is a circumstance that hitherto, I believe, has escaped the notice of the ornithologist. So great is the disproportion, that in general it is smaller than that of a house-sparrow; whereas the difference in the size of the birds is nearly as five to one ! I have used the term 'in general, because eggs produced at different times, by the same bird, will vary very much in size. I have found a cuckoo's egg so light that it weighed only forty-three grains, and so heavy that it weighed tifty-five grains. The colour of the cuckoo's egg is extremely variable ; some, both in ground and pencilling, very much resemble the house-spar. row's; some are indistinctly covered with bran-coloured spots; and others are marked with streaks of black, re. sembling in some measure the eggs of the yellow-hammer.
“The circumstance of the young cuckoo being destined by nature to throw out the young hedge-sparrow, seems to account for the parent cuckoo's dropping her egg in the nests of birds so small as those I have particularised. If she were to do this in the nest of a bird which produced a large egg, and consequently a large nestling, the young cuckoo would, probably, find insurmountable difficulty in solely possessing the nest, as its exertions would be anequal to the labour of turning out the young birds. Besides, though many of the larger birds might have fed the nestling cuckoo very properly, had it been committed to their charge, yet they could not have their own young to be sacrificed for the ac. commodation of the cuckoo, in such great numbers as the smaller ones, which are so much more abundant; for, though it would be a vain attempt to calculate the numbers of the nestlings destroyed by the cuckoo, yet the slightest observation would be sufficient to convince us that they must be very large.
"Hence it may be remarked that, though nature permits the young cuckoo to make this great waste, yet the animals thus destroyed are not thrown away or rendered useless. At the season when this happens, great numbers of quadru. peds and reptiles are seeking provision ; and if they tind the callow nestlings which have fallen victims to the young cuckoo, they are furnished with food well adapted to their peculiar state.
“It appears a little extraordinary that two cuckoos' egg3 should even be deposited in the same nest, as the young one produced from one of them must inevitably perish; yet I have known two instances of this kind, one of which I shall relate :
“June 27th, 1787. Two cuckoos and a heilge-sparrow were hatched in the same nest this morning; one hedge
sparrow's egg remained unhatched. In a few hours after a contest began between the two cuckoos for the possession of the nest, which continued undetermined till the next afternoon when one of them, somewhat superior in size, turned out the other, together with the young hedge-sparrow and the unhatched egg. This contest was very remarkable : the combatants alternately appeared to have the advantage, each carried the other several times nearly to the top of the nest, and then sank down again, oppressed by the weight of its burden ; till at length, after various efforts, the strongest prevailed, and was afterwards brought up (reared) by the hedge-sparrow.
“I now come to consider the principal matter that has agitated the mind of the naturalist respecting the cuckoo,
Why, like other birds, it should not build a nest, incu. bate its eggs, and rear its young?' There is, certainly, no reason to be assigned, from the formation of this bird, why, in common with others, it should not perform all these several offices, for it is in every respect perfectly formed for collecting materials and building a nest; neither its external shape nor internal structure prevent it from incubation ; nor is it by any means incapacitated from bringing food for its young: It would be useless to enumerate the various opinions of authors on this subject, from Aristotle to the present time. 'Those of the ancients appear to be either visionary or erro. neous; and the attempts of the moderns towards its investigation have been confined within very narrow limits; for they have gone but little further in their researches than to examine the constitution and structure of the bird, and having found it possessed of a capacious stomach, with a thin external covering, concluded that the pressure upon this part, in a sitting posture, prevented incubation. They have not considered that many of the birls which incubate have stomachs analogous to those of the cuckoo's. The stomach of the owl, for example, is proportionally capacious, and is almost as thinly covered with external integuments. Nor have they considered that the stomachs of the nestlings are always much distended with food; and that this very part, during the whole time of their confinement to the nest, supports, in a great degree, the weight of the whole body; whereas, in a sitting bird, it is not nearly so much pressed upon ; for the breast, in that case, fills up chiefly the cavity of the nest ; for which purpose, from its natural convexity, it is admirably well fitted.
“ These observations, I presume, may be sufficient to shew that the cuckoo is not rendered incapable of sitting through a peculiarity either in the formation or situation in the stomach.
To what cause, then, may we attribute the singularities of the cuckoo? May they not be owing to the following circumstances? The short residence this bird is allowed to make in the country where it is destined to propagate its species, and the call that nature has upon it, during that short residence, to produce a numerous progeny.
• The cuckoo's first appearance here (Gloucestershire) is about the middle of April, commonly on the 17th. Its egg is not ready for incubation for some weeks after its arrival, seldom before the middle of May. A fortnight is taken up by the sitting bird in hatching the egg. The young bird generally continues three weeks in the nest before it flies, and the foster-parents feed it more than five weeks after this period; so that, if a cuckoo should be ready with an egg inuch sooner than the time pointed out, not a single nestling, even one of the earliest, would be fit to provide for itself before its parent would be instinctively directed to seek a new residence, and be thus compelled to abandon its young one ; for the old cuckoos take their final leave of this country the first week in July.
“ Had nature allowed the cuckoo to have staid here as long as some other migratory birds, which produce a single set of young ones, (as the swift and nightingale, for exampole,) and had allowed her to have reared as large a number as any bird is capable of bringing up at one time, these might not be sufficient to have answered her purpose ; but by sending the cuckoo from one nest to another, she is re
duced to the same state as the bird whose nest we daily rob of an egg, in which case the stimulus for incubation is suspended. The cuckoo, not being subject to the common interruptions, goes on laying from the time she begins till the eve of her departure from this country ; for, although the old cuckoos, in general, take their leave the first week in July, yet I have known an instance of an egg being hatched in the nest of a hedge-sparrow so late as the 15th Among the many peculiarities of the young cackoo, there is one that shows itself very early. Long before it leaves the nest, it frequently, when irritated, assumes the manner of a bird of prey, looks furious, throws itself back, and pecks at anything presented to it with great vehemence, at the same time making a chuckling noise like a young hawk. Sometimes, when disturbed in a smaller degree, it makes a kind of hissing noise, accompanied with a heaving motion of the whole body. The growth of the cuckoo is uncommonly rapid. The chirp is plaintive, !ike that of the hedge sparrow; but the sound is not acquired from the foster. parent, as it is the same whether it be reared by the hedge. sparrow or any other bird. It never acquires the adult note during its stay in this country. There seems to be no precise time fixed for the departure of the young cuckoos; I believe they go off in succession, probably as soon as they are capable of taking care of themselves; for, althongh they stay here till they become nearly equal in plumage and size to the old cuckoo, yet in this very state the fostering care of the hedge-sparrow is not withheld from them. I have frequently seen the young cuckoo of such a size that the hedge sparrow was perched on its back or half-expanded wing, in order to gain sufficient elevation to put the food into its mouth. At this advanced age, I believe young cuckoos procure some food for themselves, like the yonng rook, for instance, which in part feeds itself, and is partly fed by the old ones, till the approach of the pairing season. If they did not go off in succession, it is probable we should see them in great numbers by the middle of August, as they are to be found in great pleuty wnen in a nestling state, they must now appear very numerous, since all of them inust have quit the nest before this time. But this is not the case ; for they are not more numerous at any season than they are in the months of May and June.
“The same instinctive impulse which directs the cuckoo to deposit her eggs in the nests of other birds, directs her young one to throw out the eggs and young of the owner of the nest. The scheme of nature would be incomplete without it; for it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the little birds destined to find succour for the cuckoo to find it also for their own young ones, after a certain period ; nor would there be room for the whole to inhabit the nest.
“Thus, sir, I have, with much pleasure, complied with your request, and laid before you such observations 33 I have hitherto been capable of making on the natural history of the cuckoo; and should they throw some light on a subject that has long remained in obscurity, I shall not think that my time has been ill-employed.
With a grateful sense of the many obligations I owe to the friendship with which you have so long honoured
“I remain, &c., EDWARD JENNER, Berkley, December 27th, 1787."
We have now exceeded the limits prescribed for our observance, but our self-imposed task is by no means complete. What we have stated in the preceding pages would merely give the uninitiated some idea of Dr. Jenner as an accomplished gentleman, who had earnestly devoted himself to the study of natural history; but the great discovery of his life, with which his name is inseparably associated, and by which he became the benefactor of mankind, and involved future generations
in a debt of gratitude which never can be repaid, has not as yet been mentioned.
It is scarcely necessary to say we mean the prophylactic power of cowpock, by the judicious propagation of which, the human race may be rendered exempt from the invasion of one of the most loathsome, malignant, and fatal diseases known to the medical world : Damely, SMALL-Pox.
A CANADIAN FESTIVAL.
Round the oak trees, round the oak trees, round the palms
and pine trunks hoary, Bearded with the moss of ages, linked in dim cathedral
arches, Gather we, as, setting seaward, sinks the sun behind the
forests; And the moon, a white-cheeked phantom, walks amid the
rosy meadows; As the first star, born of twilight, trembles overhead the
cedars, And the marsh fowl, westward flying, fleck the slow de.
creasing splendour, And the smoke plumes from our log huts, glimmer bluely,
upward flowing ;We are gathered, not in silence, for the hour hath inspi.
ration, We are gathered, not in dolour, though our hearts are
brimmed with sorrow, Sorrow for the Past behind us sorrow for the Future
coming; Ruined homes and lonely churchyards ; peace and cant
and rotting quiet, Banners flaunted, not in battle, but on courtly towers and
breezes, Swords flashed forward, not in conflict, but like faggots
bound together. Ah ! the world forgets its mission ; ah! the days are grow
ing coarser, And the clay of common natures mixes with the brighter
metal Till the earth is bronzed with meanness; and the watch
cries of our fathers Blazon hatchments, blazon tombstones ; dumb yet myriad.
voiced reproaches To the sloth that eats the Present, and the shame that waits
Dimly seaward, where the silence broodeth black across
the orient; Kingdom of a million mornings-gates that daily bloom with
sunrise, Glorious East; around whose outposts, when the fogs are
crimson shafted By the arrows of the daybreak, cocks awaken, clarion
throated ; Far away behind the billows, scarfed with vapour, maned
with lightning, Far below familiar planets, ever broadening through the
twilightThrough the sad Canadian sunsets—lies an island sphered
in ocean, Scattered o'er with flying sea mist. In her vales the green
wheat bloometh Through the curved palms of April, and the blood-red
moons of harvest; There, amid the homestead shadows, orchards riot, apples
ripen, And the mellow pears wax luscious in the bronzing winds
of Autumn. There in lonely woodland places, where the marsh-pool
fringed with rushes, Lieth like a lake of quiet, sits the solemn plumed heron. And on uplands, bramble-crested, phantom-draped, in ash
and willow, Gloom the gravestones of our fathers, motbers, brothers,
sisters, sweethearts. (Christ receive them!) From the nor'land, where the cliffs
spur back the surges, To the south that steeps its headlands in the swathes of the
Atlantic, Plenty floweth. Heavens! avenge us! we have wrongs
and recollections. At our mother's board we hungered, on our household
hearths we trembled, Strangers fattened on our labours, slipped the red-eyed
hounds of havoc, And, o'er ruined homes and altars, chased us from the land
that bore us. Earth, preserve the bones bequeathed in our sorrow to thy
keeping, In thy vast sepulchral silence, treasure their decaying
ashes. We have said “farewell” in patience, fixing eyes upon the
future. When the tumult that's approaching, though its triumph
hour be distant, Should bear witness to our vengeance. Hark! there tolls
from out the hemlocks The low chimes of prayer; how often, in the valleys of
dear Ireland, When the waggons crossed the corn folds, 'mid the sheaves
of yellow barley, Have we heard the silver vesper, breaking through our
harvest carols ? God be with it, angels watch it-Laud of Saints and Bards
and Soldiers — Cresset in the dark of Europe! garden of the Faith of Ages ! God be with it--God be with it! though our hands delve
foreign quarries, Wrenching drops of gold from granite ;-though the crown
of man's ambition Glitter on our aspirations, Ireland, we cannot forget thee! Glorious home of storm and darkness, bloom and radiance,
truth and beauty, Blessings calm thy mournful present, triumph bless thy
Let us hope : within the darkness which doth front our
straining vision, Something new is taking birth and struggling bravely to
the sunlight; Infant wailings ! yet we hear them; baby pleadings ! they
have potence. And anon shall swell to thunders; when the tender hands
grow firmer, Broader in their grasp of finger, stronger in their knitted
muscle, Fit to hurl broad bolts and upwards bear the buckler, in
whose shadow, Peoples maddened by oppression, and athirst for retribu
tion, Forest-hewers, water-bearers to the God-accursed oppressors, Shall fling down their tools and shackles, and arrayed in
triple conscience, Forward, onward, wheresoever Right is bound and Power
is rampant, Bear the creed of liberation, and the shafts that smite
Thus they sang : a group of exiles, in the low Canadian,
silence Streamed the river through the forest, with a sad unceasing
Wailing like a pining spirit; in the splendour o'er the tree
tops Eddied round the dusky eagle; and from bosks and brown
leafed jungles Shrilled the pipes of birds : slow lapsing gathered thicker
half the twilight, 'Till the grass was aisled in darkness. Then the log fires,
piles of odour, Crackled in the crisped clearing, and the smoke-wreaths
drifted nor'ward. And the flames in fans leaped upward, lapping tongues of
panting crimson, Round the huge boles of the pine trees and the branches of
the cedars, Till the foliage, glimmered golden, shaken by the misty sea
She ceased, and for sorrowful pauses, around the red ring
of the log-fire Dumb was the silence of anguish, whilst she nestled close
to her father, And hid her white face on his bosom. Then Owen moved
back in the darkness And pressed his brown hands to his eyelids : “Sing for us,
Owen !” they clamoured ; “Sing us a song of the mountains; a brave ballad, breath.
ing of heather, And stirred with the pulses of torrents.” He, laughing,
slung forward his rifte“Then let's have a chorus, my brothers; and here's to the
brave iron mountains ; Here's to the Galtees-hurrah! men, and long may they
flourish defiant !". Up through the dusk of the forest, ascended the cry of the
exiles, A cataract arching a darkness, a-roar in the span of its
“Home, sing of home, of lonely Ireland, gentle Ellen! of
our country Let us hear a grey tradition, hymned in peace above the
tree tops. Rose she up, a tender maiden, at the bidding of her
lover, Knelt beside her greyhaired father, singing, wound her
arins around him :
Now blows the white rose round our garden pales,
Now by the wicket, breathes the scented briar; Now flowers the happy lilac in the sun, Now the laburnum wakes in gusts of fire ;
But never, never shall they bloom for me.
My spurs are rusted, my coat is rent,
My plume is dank with rain ;
Are thick in my horse's mane ;
And my arm is strong and free-
And give your grasp to me;
Click, click, I'm a rapparee !
High on the uplands, the brown woods are touched
By gentle visitings of morning rain ;
Ah never, never shall they bloom for me.
Thou com'st, no more, to build below our eaves,
Long-winged swallow, for they are no more ! Poor redbreast, thou hast ceased to shrill thy heart In friendly shadows by our open door!
Ah never, never shall ye sing for me.
The mountain cavern is my home,
High up in the crystal air ;
And the brown heath smelling fair.
His troops to burn and shoot-
The midnight's made for glee;
Yes--I am a rapparee.
Dear mother, thou hast ceased at morn to pass,
By leafy lattices, to watch us sleep; Thy palms are fettered with the salt sea-weed, Thy head is rocking in unfathomed deep;
Ah never, never will thou come to me!
O home, O friends, O long familiar haunts-
, and brook, and wood, and mossy bridge ; The fisher bending by the shallow stream, The windmill whirring on the glebe-land's ridge;
Ah! never, never shall you shine for me!
Hunted from out our father's homes,
Pursued with steel and shot,
Or the gibbet be our lot.
The hated outlaw knows;
In coming days I see
Yes I'm a rapparee.
Sad are our memories, sad unbidden tears,
Deep mingled ecstacies of peace and pain, Sad are the thoughts that glimmer round our heartsThe odours of wild-flowers in falling rain,
Ah! bitter, bitter are my thoughts to me!
Good bye ! and I could say unnumbered times,
To friend, and stream, and tree--good bye, good bye ! Only remains to comfort us a while. Love, like a late light in a darkening sky,
Ah love, in sorrow, thou abidest with me.
“ Bravo! strong Owen,” they shouted, and the sorrowful
hush of the forest Was slit by their clear ringing bravoes, 'till the
shook in the grasses, And the fronds of the oak palpitated. Then one sung &
story of passion, And the soul-threaded tones of her anguish flowed forth on
the air, like a wailing :