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How simply and beautifully true to nature is this musical picture. We behold the tranquil lake-scenery of the source of the Yarrow as clearly as Ruysdael or Nasmyth-the names may be mingled-could have impressed it on the eye of flesh. It is meet and right that ghouls who can only see beauties in the carcasses on which they subsist, should revile the old man eloquent, who, like the swan of the Egyptians, sings sweeter the more he advances in years, and will charm thousands yet unborn, long after his maligners “ doubly dying" have gone down

To the vile dust from whence they sprung,

Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung. He needs not our humble vindication ; but we shall, we trust, be pardoned for suffering a word of honest disgust to escape, by way of safety-valve, before we attempt to introduce our friends to our swannery. A swannery! How

many

who have neither stream nor pool keep one-in the provinces especially, where it is treason to hint a doubt as to the overpowering talent of the stunted genius loci, which said local genius, however, instinctively stays among his idolaters, wisely thinking that his glazed earthenware would not have much chance with true metal, in the collision of the great London stream.

These swanneries must have been in the mind of Linnæus, when he profanely placed the bird of Leda among the Anseres.

This leads us to the high place the swan has always held among poets, whatever the situation assigned to it by zoologists may have been. Sacred to Apollo, it has been celebrated as the bird of the muses in almost all languages from Homer and Callimachus, whose musical lines make the notes of the swans that flew singing sweetly round Delos absolutely audible, to him who wrote yesterday. In Retzsch's exquisite designs, illustrative of “ Pegasus 'im Joch*-not the only ethereal creature doomed to drag the basest materials amid the barking of curs and hissing of geese—the lake surrounding the lonely island whereon the altar to Schiller is erected, is sacred to him and the swans alone. Venus and her son claimed the bird as well as Apollo:

See the chariot at hand here of Love,

Wherein my lady rideth !
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,

* Pegasus in harness. April.-VOL, LXVII, NO. CCLXVIII.

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And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty

Unto her beauty;
And enamourd, do wish, so they might

But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,

Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.
Well they might.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow

Before rude bands have tonch'd it ?
Have you mark'd but the fall o' the snow I just

Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
Have you felt the wool of the bever?, , fi
Or swan's down ever?

Mod dial;
Or have smelt o' the bud of the briar?
Or the nard in the fire ?

and ol!"
Or have tasted the bag of the bee ?

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ா : O, so white! O, so soft! O, so sweet is she l*; Rare Ben! But we must be zoological,

Let us examine the bony frame-work of a swan. What an admirable piece of animated ship-building it is! How the ribs rise from the broad and keeled sternum to support the lengthened pelvis and the broad back which form a goodly solid deck for the young cygnets to rest on under the elevated, arched, and sail-like wings of the parent ;t and how the twenty-five vertebræ of the neck rise into a noble ornamental prow, crowned with the graceful head. How skilfully are the oary legs and feet fitted-just where their strokes would be best brought to bear for the purpose of putting the living galley in motion! It is a work worthy of the great artificer.

The species of this elegant genus are now well defined, and we proceed to notice them.

1. The Elk, Hooper, or Whistling Swan, Cygnus ferus of Linnæus, Cygnus musicus of 'Bechstein.

This pure white-plumaged swan, with the exception of a slight buff tinge on the upper part of the head, has the anterior part of the bill black and depressed, but it is squared at the base, and yellow, which last hue is extended forward along cach edge of the upper mandible, beyond the opening of the nostrils, which are black. Yellow also occupies the space between the base of the upper mandible and the eye, and colours the posterior portion of the lower mandible. There is no caruncle or“ berry," as the Swanherds call it. The iris of the eye is brown, and the feet are black.

When a fine male hooper is stretched out, he will measure, neck and all, about five feet, and the expanded wings eight feet from tip to tip. The female is not so large, and her neck is more slender. It should be borne in mind, however, that the hoopers vary much in weight. Colonel Hawker, in the winter of 1838, killed them from thirteen to twenty-one pounds: they have been known to weigh twenty-four.

Our islands only see the hooper as a winter visiter from the north. Its summer retreats are Iceland, Scandinavia, and the inhospitable re

"“ Underwoods. A Celebration of Charis. Her Triumph."—Horsley has married these bright verses to rich harmony,

† See vol. L., p. 464.

gious within the arctic circle. As they fly in wedge-like figure, uttering their repeated cry of “ hoop, hoop” in concert, their united notes fall not unmusically on the ear of the wayfarer below.

The Icelander, who hears in their loud clarions the knell of winter, and hails the shining aërial band as the heralds of summer, compares their joint melody to the notes of a viol.

The wind-instrument which produces these sounds, is a curious piece of animal mechanism. The cylindrical tracheal tube passes down the neck, and then descends between the forks of the merrythought to the level of the keel of the breast-bone, which is double; and this windpipe, after traversing nearly the whole length of the keel between the two plates, is doubled back as it were upon itself, and passing forwards, upwards, and backwards again, ends in a vertical divaricating bone, whence two long bronchial tubes diverge, each into their respective lobe of the lungs. In short, our winged musician carries a Frenchhorn in his chest, but it is not quite so melodious as Puzzi's. In the females and young males, the windpipe is not inserted so deeply.

Like its congeners, the hooper feeds on water-plants and insects; but the vegetable diet greatly prevails. Leaves, flags, rushes, and other spoils of the marshy Flora form his ample nest; and his loves are generally blessed with six or seven whitish eggs, each some four inches and a half long, and about two inches and three-quarters broad, washed with a yellowish green tinge.

The hooper breeds in captivity, soon becomes reconciled to a state of half-domestication, and is now far from uncommon on our ornamental sheets of water. He is a bird of high courage, and fights stoutly pro aris et focis.

On a glorious half-spring, half-summer morning, a little family of newly-hatched cygnets were basking in their greyish downy coats on the banks of one of the islands in the gardens of the Zoological Society, drinking in the rays at every pore, with half-closed eyes and outstretched legs, their delicately transparent webs expanded to the genial sun. The parents complacently rowed guard near them in all the enjoyment of honest family pride; and the happy little ones were so close to the deep water, that their forms were reflected therein as in a mirror. Suddenly a carrion crow made a dash at one of the cygnets. The enraged father seized the felon on the instant with his bill

. In vain the surprised crow struggled and buffeted to escape from the living vice which firmly grasped him; the old hooper's blood was up, he dragged his enemy into the water, and held him under it till he was drowned. When the swan loosed his hold, an inanimate lump of flesh and feathers floated to the surface, and as he spurned the black mass for the last time, he looked in his snowy robe like some good but indignant'spirit trampling the evil one.

Colonel Hawker relates, that on one occasion when he knocked down eight of these swans at one shot, the old male was only winged, and when he found himself overtaken by the colonel's man, Read, the brave bird turned round and made a regular charge at him.

2. Mr. Yarrell first drew the attention of zoologists to Bewick's Swan Cygnus Bewickii, which had previously passed undistinguished from the hooper, from which, however, it differs in being considerably smaller, as well as in other points.

This wild swan has also a convoluted trachea, which enters the hollow keel of the sternum, but its disposition varies from that observed in the hooper. When the windpipe, which is of equal diameter throughout, arrives at the end of the keel, it gradually inclines upwards and outwards, passing into a cavity of the sternum destined for its reception, changes its direction from the vertical to the horizontal, and when it reaches within half an inch of the posterior edge, is reflected back, after describing a considerable curve, till it again arrives at the keel, which it once more traverses in a line immediately above its first portion, and then passes out under the merrythought: bere turning first in an upward, and afterwards in a backward direction, it enters the body in order to be attached to the lungs.

The sound produced from this convoluted pipe in captivity, is a low, deep-toned whistle, repeated only once. Such a note was uttered by those in the possession of Mr. Sinclaire, principally at the migratory periods, March and September ; but Mr. John Blackwall gires a very different account of the clangour of a wild flock of twenty-nine, as they were flying, in December, over Crumpsall, not above fifty yards from the surface of the earth. ". They flew in a line, taking a northerly direction; and their loud calls, for ihey were very clamorous when on the wing, might be heard to a considerable distance."

An adult bird measures rather more than four feet in length, and is pure white, with the base of the bill orange yellow (lemon colour in a bird of the second winter.) The iris is dark, and the legs and feet are black.

This species, according to M. Temminck, breeds in Iceland in the month of May. Captain Lyon describes the nest, if indeed the bird noticed by him was a Cygnus Bewickii, and not one of the American species, as built of moss-peat, and nearly six feet long, by four feet and three-quarters wide. On the outside it was two feet in height, and the diameter of the cavity was a foot and a half—a roomy cradle. The eggs were brownish white, slightly clouded with a darker tinta Temminck states that the colour of the eggs, which are six or seven in number, is vellowish brown.

When on the water, Bewick's Swan is more anserine in its appearance than the hooper; but on land it shows itself to greater advantage. It is a mild, inoffensive bird in disposition, living amicably with the other water-fowl with which it may be associated in its captivity, and never tyrannizing over such as are inferior to it in size and strength. Mr. Blackwall tells a story, pregnant with proof that it has warm feelings, and is capable of the strongest attachment.

The twenty-nine, whose loud calls Mr. Blackwall noticed, alighted, he tells us, on an extensive reservoir near Middleton, belonging to Messrs. Burton and Sons, calico-printers. There they were shot at, and one of them was so severely wounded in its wing, that it was disabled. The stricken bird was left behind by the herd, but it was not wholly abandoned ; one faithful swan continued to fly about the spot for hours after the rest had departed, uttering almost incessantly its mournful cry. This was on the 10th of December. Mr. Blackwall thus continues his parrative: “In consequence of the protracted disturbance caused by the

per. severing efforts of Messrs. Burton's workmen to secure its unfortunate

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companion, it was at last, however, compelled to withdraw, and was not seen again till the 23d of March, when a swan, supposed to be the same individual, made its appearance in the neighbourhood, few several times round the reservoir in lofty circles, and ultimately descended to the wounded bird, with which, after a cordial greeting, it immediately paired. The newly-arrived swan, which proved to be a male bird, soon became accustomed to the presence of strangers; and when I saw it on the 4th of April, was even more familiar than its captive mate. - As these birds were strongly attached to each other, and seemed to be perfectly reconciled to their situation, which, in many respects, was an exceedingly favourable one, there was every reason to believe that a brood would be obtained from them. This expectation, however, was not destined to be realized. On the 13th of April, the male swan, alarmed by some strange dogs which found their way to the reservoir, took flight, and did not return; and on the 5th of September, in the same year, the female bird, whose injured wing had recovered its original vigour, quitted the scene of its misfortunes, and was seen no more. mitt i ribaretyisti ir

Doubtless she joined her lover in regions where calico-printers and strange dogs areri unknown;' and it looks as if he had said to her, “ There is no peace or comfort to be had here, though the people are kind after their fashion. I must be off, or I shall be worried as fair game; you'll soon be well, and know where to find me.”

3. Another species, the Polish Swan, Cygnus immutabilis, has been added to those previously ascertained by the acuteness of Mr. Yarrell, who describes the adult bird as having the bill of a reddish-orange; the nail, lateral margins, and base of the upper mandible, black; the black tubercle or berry at the base of the bill, of small size, even in an old male; the elongated openings of the nostrils not reaching the black colour at the base of the bill, on each side, but entirely sursounded by the orange-colour of that organ; the irides of the eyes, brown; the head, neck, and the whole of the plumage, pure white; the legs, toes, and intervening membranes, slate-gray,

The same zoologist states the measurement of the Polish swan to be fifty-seven inches from the point of the bill to the end of the tail ; and says, that the food and habits closely resemble those of the mute swan, Cygnus olor, whose organ of voice he found that of Cygnus immutabilis to resemble. Considerable differences, however, exist between the heads of the two species.

But whence the specific name immutabilis ? Unlike those of the other swans, the cygnets of this species are white, and no change takes place in the colour of the plumage after its sortie from the eggshell.

Mr. Yarrell remarks, that during the severe weather of 1838, several herds* of this species were seen pursuing a southern course along the line of our north-east coast from Scotland to the mouth of the Thames, and several specimens were obtained. He exhibited, at a meeting of the Zoological Society, one of four which were shot on the Medway, near Snodland church, where a herd of thirty, and several smaller companies were seen.

* Herd is the technical term for a flock of swans.

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