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their excellent songs; as, for instance, the nightingale, whose inimitable strains gladden the nocturnal hours as well as those of the day; the blackcap, next to the nightingale for the sweetness and variety of its warblings; the redstart, (the male is a very beautiful bird,) which sings pleasantly on the tops of trees, &c.; the whitethroat, whose sprightly notes from the thorny brake arrest the traveller as he passes along. The willow-wren, sedgewarbler, &c., make their appearance; also the chimney or house swallow, known by its long forked tail, and red breast.

“ Wrynecks come to raise our laughter,

And the cuckoo follows after;
Turtle doves, and whin-chats too,
April musters for review."

The wryneck is so singular in its attitudes and plumage, and has so peculiar a note, or cry, that it may easily be distinguished by those who have once heard it.

Vegetation becomes every day more and more interesting.

“I know a lane thick-set with golden broom,
Where the pale primrose and the orchis bloom;
And azure violets, lowly drooping, shed
Delicious perfume round their mossy bed;
And all the first-born blossoms of the year,
That spring uncultured, bud and flourish here:
O'tis a lovely spot! high over-head,
Gigantic oaks their lofty branches spread.”

Many and lovely are the flowers which are now exhibiting themselves in our gardens : among which may be named the jonquil, anemone, ranunculus, polyanthus, and the crown imperial.

“ Plants their flowery garlands wearing,

Trees and shrubs their blossoms bearing,
Pleasure to the senses give,
And the hope of fruit revive.”

The last half of the month.—The fox, polecat, and martin suckle their young, and begin to bring them animal food. The trog, toad, natterjack, and eft spawn, and the young are speedily hatched.

"I have kept,” says a naturalist, “ several water-efts in a jar of water ; but it is painful to observe their constant efforts to take breath, by rising every two or three minutes to the surface, so that breathing seems to be the only business of their lives, requiring more, infinitely more, labour than most other animals undergo to procure food. It is clearly impossible for them ever to sleep except upon land. Those which I kept cast off the whole of the scarf-skin (epidermis) every two or three weeks, but never the true skin, as serpents do. They also laid eggs, enveloped in a gelatinous substance somewhat like frog-spawn.

Birds now sing delightfully; and many of them are now engaged in constructing their nests,

"'Twas wisdom infinite, that first imprest

The impulse on each bird to build her nest,
And suit her nature and her wants the best.
The water-tribe select the reed and rush;
The piping blackbird, and the missel-thrush,
Prefer to fix their house upon a bush.
The sparrow delves amid the cottage eaves;
The white-throat to the thorny thicket cleaves,
And makes her dwelling-place among the leaves.
The little wren, beneath the hovel thatch,
Within her pretty home will sit and watch,
Until her warmth the downy brood shall hatch.
The sandy banks the sprightly martin please;
The rook and magpie seek the towering trees,
And love the rockings of the morning breeze,
In chinky walls the robin's eggs are found;
The lapwing seeks the spot where grubs abound,
And lays her speckled treasure on the ground.
Treat not the feather'd race with harm or ill,
Since every one subserveth to fulfil
The wise intentions of its Maker's will."

The Poetic Manual.

The notonecta, or boat-fly, is now busy in sunny days catching flies on the surface of ponds, &c., which he does while swimming with his back downwards. Mole-crickets may be seen in their respective haunts. The early cabbage-butterfly, the wall-butterfly, the angle-shades moth, the April moth, and some other lepidopterous insects, make their appearance at this time. The gardenbeetle, the catch-weed beetle, and several other beetles, abound.

Our gardens every day are unfolding fresh beauties. The double white, the yellow, and some others of the earlier tulips, are now fully opened ; but the more illustrious varieties will not blow for some weeks: this tribe is the gayest offspring of floriculture. Other flowers which now adorn our fields are the chequered daffodil, the primrose, the cowslip, and the lady-smock; also the harebell.

" With drooping bells of clearest blue,
Thou didst attract my childish view,

Almost resembling
The azure butterflies that fiew,
Where on the heath thy blossoms grew,

So lightly trembling."

BRIEF ASTRONOMICAL NOTICES,

FOR APRIL, 1847. BY MR. WILLIAM ROGERSON, of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

« 'Twas infinite benevolence, which first

Moved in the bosom of my God to bring
Creation forth, and on the vast it burst

A grand, astonishing, and brilliant thing.

G. S.

Good all, and blessed,- for no part was curst,

Worthy the puissance of great nature's King ;
And fit each bright intelligence to greet,

• My meditation of him shall be sweet.'" The Sun, the great central orb of our system, is found, from a variety of careful astronomical observations, to be more than a million times larger than the Earth, and is the source of light and heat to our globe, and all the rest of the planetary bodies that surround him. Owing to the motion of the Earth round the Sun, our year is produced ; and owing to the position of its poles with regard to that motion, the four seasons regularly succeed each other; and in consequence of the revolution of our world on its axis in twenty-four hours, we have day and night. On the 1st of this month the Sun's declination is four degrees north, when he is vertical at noon-day to all places on the globe situated in four degrees of north latitude: on the 19th day his declination is eleven degrees north; consequently, on that day, all places on the Earth which are in eleven degrees of north latitude will have the Sun directly overhead at noon-day. The Sun enters the sign Taurus, or the Bull, on the 20th in the evening.

The Sun rises at Greenwich or London on the 2d at thirty-six minutes past five, and sets at thirty-three minutes after six : on the 29th he rises at thirty-nine minutes past four, and sets at seventeen minutes after seven.

“Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad :
Silence accompanied, for beast and bird :
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her am'rous descant sung;
Silence was pleased. Now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires : Hesperus first that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent Queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw."

MILTON. The Moon rises on the 1st at half-past seven in the evening, and on the 3d at half-past nine at night : she rises on the 5th at half an hour before midnight, and on the 8th at a quarter past one in the morning : on the last-mentioned day she enters on her last quarter, and appears in the south-eastern horizon on the 9th at two o'clock in the morning. The Moon changes on the 15th, at twenty-two minutes past six in the morning; and presents her beautiful crescent, together with her unenlightened disc, in the western skies on the evening of the 16th, and sets at a quarter before nine: she sets on the 17th at six minutes before ten, on the 18th at eleven o'clock, at night; and on the 21st at twenty-three minutes before one in the morning. The Moon is half-full on the 22d; and on the 23d descends below the western horizon at a quarter before two in the morning: she sets on the 26th at three o'clock, and on the 29th at a quarter past four, in the morning. The Moon is full on the 30th, at twenty-six minutes past one in the afternoon: six hours afterwards she displays her wholly illuminated disc in the eastern horizon as the Sun descends below the western boundary of vision, to scatter radiancy on the distant regions of our globe.

MERCURY is invisible,

Venus, called “Hesperus, or Evening Star," is now the brightest of “the starry host," surpassing in this respect even Jupiter, which is also a brilliant object at this time. This beautiful planet sets on the 1st at five minutes before nine, and on the 27th at a quarter past ten, at night : on the 16th and 17th she is near the Moon.

MARS may be seen near the south-eastern horizon, about an hour before sunrise, when the air at that time is very clear: he is now distant from the Earth, and therefore not a conspicuous object: on the 10th he is in the neighbourhood of the Moon.

JUPITER appears high in the heavens early in the evenings, considerably above Venus, and at the beginning of the month sets not till after midnight: he sets at the end of the month before eleven o'clock : on the 19th he is in the vicinity of the Moon.

[merged small][graphic]

In the above engraving, figure 1 represents Jupiter and Venus with the Moon below, as they will appear on the 16th of April, at eight o'clock in the evening. Figure 2, a view of Jupiter and Venus, with the Moon nearly between them, adapted for April 17th, at eight in the evening. Figure 3, a representation of these two planets, with the Moon in the neighbourhood of Jupiter, as they will be seen on the 18th, at eight o'clock.

SATURN is invisible, being obscured by the rays of the Sun.

URANUS, and the planet beyond him, are now invisible through telescopes of the highest magnifying power, owing to the light of the Sun.

Note. On the 2d of April, 1799, P. C. Le Monnier died, aged eighty-four years. From his earliest years he devoted himself to astronomy: when a youth of sixteen, he made his first observation, which was on the opposition of Saturn. At the time of his death he had amassed a vast quantity of astronomical papers, which he could never be prevailed on to publish, but concealed them in a place which it is feared he had forgotten; so that it has been supposed they are lost to the world, unless the place should have been known to the celebrated Lagrange, who married one of his daughters in 1792.

April 7th, 1807. J. J. La Lande died, aged seventy-five years. It was necessary, under the pain of forseiting his favour and friendship, that all belonging to him should be observers and calculators. Eminently useful to astronomy by his works, his example, instruction, influence, and correspondence, he was desirous that this utility might be continued after his death; and with that view he founded a prize, to be adjudged annually by the Institute, to the best memoir, or most curious observations, on that subject.

POETRY.

THE PROMISES.

BY MRS. SIGOURNEY.
The dawn was dim with shadows.

Chill and dense
Their vapoury mantles floated, curtaining close
The glimmering east, while, bathed in heavy dews,
The folded spring-flowers slept.

With drooping heads
Two mournful women sought the garden-tomb
Where slept the Crucified. Bewildering fear
O’erpower'd their grief, as bending down they saw
The linen vestments lying, yet found not
The body of their Lord. Speechless with awe,
Enwrapp'd in shining garments, they beheld
One of the heavenly host, and heard his voice
Of question and reproof.

“Why seek ye thus
The living 'mid the dead ? 'He is not here!
Not here, but risen! Did ye not treasure up
His word of promise ?”

Terrified, they fled
Back to the twelve ; but they believed them not,
So lightly had the assurance of their Lord
To rise again been held. Yet rapidly
The feet of Peter and of John pursued
The pathway to the tomb.

What found they there?
The Master's corse with pierced hands and feet?
Nay! nay! nor lifeless form, nor angel-guest
Was there, as in remorseful shame they sought

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