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Other Phenomena. Saturn will be in quadrature at 30 m. past 11 in the morning of the 3d of this month; Mercury will attain his greatest elongation on the 14th ; Georgium Sidus will be in quadrature at 10 in the morning of the 22d; and Jupiter will be in opposition at a quarter past 10 in the evening of the 29th.
To the preceding Occurrences, we shall add the following poetical description of Evening, the introduction of which requires no apology:
The Naturalist's Diary
For APRIL 1828. Who has branched out, and with admirable judgment disposed, a variety of aqueducts for that immense collection of waters which float in the sky? Who distributes those pendulous floods through all the borders of the earth ? Distributes them not in dreadful cataracts, or promiscuous gluts of rain; but in kindly drops and refreshing showers, with as much regularity and economy as if they were conveyed by pipes from a conduit? TO WHOM shall we ascribe that piceness of contrivance, which now emits, now restrains them : sometimes drives their humid train to one place, sometimes to another: dispenses them to this soil in larger, to that in smaller communications : and, in a word, so manages the mighty fluid, that every spot is supplied in exact proportion to its want; none destroyed by an undistinguished deluge ?-HERVEY,
THESE questions will find a willing response in every bosom. None but an OMNIPOTENT Power could have devised the beautiful arrangement of this allfructifying fluid, and have sent the blessings of water in the shape of kindly showers to refresh the face of the earth,' and · fill all things living with plenteousness.' The alternate varieties of gentle rain and exhilarating sunshine greatly enhance the beauties of this month of promise-budding leaves, tender grass, and elegant blossoms, complete the landscape of Nature for April
The Spring Shower.
Leaving a dewy track; and see, the big drops,
Knight's Quarterly Magazine.
In this month, the business of creation seems resumed. The vital spark rekindles in dormant existences; and all things live, and move, and have their being. The earth puts on her livery, to await the call of her lord; the air breathes gently on his cheek, and conducts to his ear the warblings of the birds, and the odours of new-born herbs and flowers; the great eye of the world'sees and shines' with bright and gladdening glances; the waters teem with life; man himself feels the revivifying and all-pervading influence; and his
Spirit holds communion sweet
With the brighter spirits of the sky. The feathered tribe are now busily employed in constructing their temporary habitations, and in rearing and maintaining their young. But what admirable providence is that, observes M. Chateaubriand, which is displayed in the nests of birds ?
Who can contemplate, without emotion, this divine beneficence, which bestows ingenuity on the weak, and foresight on the careless ? No sooner have the trees expanded their first blossoms, than a thousand diminutive artisans begin their labours on every side. These convey long straws into the hole of an ancient wall, those construct buildings in the windows of a church ; others rob the horse of his hair, or carry off the wool torn by the jagged thorn from the back of the sheep. There, wood-cutters cross small twigs in the waving summit of a tree; here, spinsters collect silk upon a tbistle. A thousand palaces are reared, and every palace is a nest; each nest witnesses charming metamorphoses; first a brilliant egg, then a young one covered with down. This tender nurseling becomes fledged ; his mother instructs him by degrees to rise up on his bed. He soon acquires strength to perch on the edge of bis cradle, from which he takes the first survey of nature.
With mingled terror and transport, he drops down among his brothers and sisters, who have not yet beheld this magnificent spectacle; but, summoned by the voice of his parents, be rises a second time from bis couch; and this youthful monarch of the air, whose head is still encircled by the crown of infancy, already ventures to contemplate the undulating summits of the pines, and the abysses of verdure beneath the paternal oak. Encouraged by his mother, he trusts himself upon the branch, and, after this first step, all nature is his own. And yet, while the forcsts rejoice to see their new guést attempt his first flight through the atmosphere, an aged bird, who feels bis strength forsake him, alights beside the current: there, solitary and resigned, he patiently awaits death on the brink of the same stream where he sung bis loves, and beneath the trees which still bear his nest with bis harmonious posterity.
This is the proper place for remarking another law of Nature. In the class of small birds, the eggs are commonly painted with one of the colours of the male. The bullfinch builds in the bawthorn, the gooseberry, and other bushes of our gardens; her eggs are slate-coloured, like the plumage of her back. We recollect having once found one of these nests in a rose-bush; it resembled a shell of mother-of-pearl, containing four blue gems: a rose, bathed in the dews of morning, was suspended above it: the male bullfinch sat motionless on a neighbouring shrub, like a flower of purple and azure. These objects were reflected in the water of a stream, together with the shade of an aged walnut-tree, which served as a back-ground to the scene, and behind which appeared the ruddy tints of Aurora. In this little picture, the Almighty conveyed to us an idea of the graces with which he has decked all nature. . Among the larger birds, the law respecting the colour of the egg varies; it is guided by more important harmonies, in proportion to the vigour of the animal to which it belongs. We suspect that, in general, the egg is white among those birds the male of which has several females, or among those whose plumage has no fixed colour for the species. In the classes which frequent the waters and the forests, and build their nests, the one on the sea, the other in the summits of lofty trees, the egg is, generally, of a blueish green, and, if we may be allowed the expression, of the same tint as the elements by which it is surrounded. Certain birds, which reside on the tops of ancient towers and in deserted steeples, have eggs green, like ivy, or reddish, like the old buildings they inhabit. It is, therefore, a law, which may be considered as invariable, that the bird displays, in her egg, the livery of her loves, and the emblem of her manners and of her destinies. By the mere inspection of this brittle monument, we are enabled to tell to what tribe it belonged, what were its costume, its manners, and its habits; if it passed days of danger on the seas, or if, more happy, it led a
pastoral life; if it was tame or wild, and inhabited the mountain or the valley. The antiquary of the forests is conducted by a science mucb less equivocal than the antiquary of cities: a scathed oak, with all its mosses, proclaims much more plainly the hand that gave it existence, than a ruined column declares by what architect it was reared. Among men, tombs are the records of their history ; Nature, on the contrary, fixes her impress only upon life; she requires neither granite nor marble to perpetuate what she writes. Time has destroyed the annals of the sovereigns of Memphis on their funereal pyramids ; but has he been able to efface a single letter of the history engraved on the egg-shell of the Egyptian Ibis?
The arrival of the swallow, about the middle of this month, foretels the approach of summer. An interesting account of the cliff-swallow of America, by Lucien Buonaparte, may be seen in our last volume, p. 118.
After the swallow, the next bird that appears is the nightingale, whose praises have been chaunted by poets of every clime, and have occupied many a page in this month's Diary of our previous volumes*. In our climate, the nightingale seldom sings above six weeks, generally commencing the last week in April. That beautiful bird, the wryneck, next makes its appearance, preceding the cuckoo by a few days,whose note that tells of the advancing Spring, and its floral pleasures, is hailed with delight by every lover of Nature.
BREATHINGS of SPRING.
Ev'n as our hearts may be.
Tell that thy footsteps pass. See a pleasing poetical tribute, by Mary Howitt, in our last volume, p. 152.