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talons grasping a leafless branch, are almost hidden by the feathers of her breast-her sleepless eye has lost something of its ferocity-and the royal bird is almost serene in her solitary state on the cliff. The gorcock unalarmed crows among the moors and mosses—the blackbird whistles in the birken shaw-and the cony erects his ears at the mouth of his burrow, and whisks away frolicsome among the whins or heather.
There is no index to the hour-neither light nor shadow-no cloud. But from the composed aspect of the bird, we may suppose it to be the hush of evening after a day of successful foray by land and sea. The imps in the eyrie have been fed, and their hungry cry will not be heard till the dawn. The mother has there taken up her watchful rest, till in darkness she may glide up to her brood, and the sire is somewhere sitting within view among the rocks,-a sentinel whose eye, and ear, and nostril are true, in exquisite fineness of sense, to their trust, and on whom rarely, and as if by a miracle, can steal the adventurous shepherd or huntsman, to wreak vengeance with his rifle on the spoiler of sheep-walk and forest chase.
Yet sometimes it chanceth that the yellow lustre of her keen, wild, fierce eye is veiled, even in daylight, by the film of sleep. Perhaps sickness has been at the heart of the dejected bird, or fever wasted her wing.
The sun may have smitten her, or the storm driven her against a rock. Then hunger and thirst, which, in pride of plumage she scorned, and which only made her fiercer on the edge of her unfed eyrie, as she whetted her beak on the flint-stone, and clutched the strong heather-stalks in her talons, as if she were anticipating prey,—quell her courage, and in famine she eyes afar off the fowls she is unable to pursue, and with one stroke strike to earth. Her flight is heavier and heavier each succeeding dayshe ventures not to cross the great glens, with or without Jochs--but flaps her way from rock to rock on the same mountain-side and finally drawn by her weakness into gradual descent, she is discovered by gray dawn far below the region of snow, assailed and insulted by the meanest carrion, and a bullet whizzing through her heart, down she topples, and soon as she is despatched by blows from the rifle-butt, the shepherd stretches out his foe's carcase on the sward, eight feet from wing to wing.
But, lo! the character of the Golden Eagle, when she has pounced, and is exulting over her prey! With her head drawn back between the crescent of her uplifted wings, which she will not fold till that prey be devoured, eye glaring cruel joy, neck.plumage bristling, tail-feathers fan-spread, and talons driven through the victim's entrails and heart, there she is new-alighted on the ledge of a precipice, and fancy hears her yell and its echo. Beak and talons, all her life-long, have had a stain of blood, for the murderess observes no Sabbath, and seldom dips them in loch or sea, except when dashing down suddenly among the terrified water-fowl from her watch-tower in the sky. The week-old fawn had left the doe's side but for a momentary race along the edge of the coppice,-a rustle and a shadow,-and the burden is borne off to the cliffs of Benevis! In an instant the small animal is dead after a short exultation-torn into pieces—and by eagles and eaglets devoured, its disgorged bones mingle with those of many other creatures, encumbering the eyrie, and strewed around it over the bloody platform on which the young demons crawl forth to enjoy the sunshine.
O for the Life of an Eagle written by bimself! It would outsell the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater; and how would it confound the critics of the Quarterly and Edinburgh Reviews! No editor but North could do justice to it in a leading article. Proudly would he, or she, write of birth and parentage. On the rock of ages he first opened his eyes to the sun, in noble instinct affronting and outstaring the light. The great glen of Scotland-hath it not been the inheritance of his ancestors for many thousand years ? No polluting mixture of ignoble blood, from intermarriages of necessity with kite, buzzard, hawk, or falcon. No, the golden eagles of GlenFalloch, surnamed the sun-starers, have formed alliances with the golden eagles of Cruachan, Benla wers, Shehallion, and Mar-Forest,—the lightning-glints, the floodfallers, the storm-wheelers, the cloud-cleavers, ever since the flood. The education of the autobiographer had not been intrusted to a private tutor. Parental eyes, beaks, and talons, provided sustenance for his infant frame; and in that capacious eyrie, year after year repaired by dry branches from the desert, parental advice was yelled into him, meet for the expansion of his instinct as wide and wonderful as the reason of earth-crawling man. What a noble naturalist did he, in a single session at the College of the Cliff, become! Of the customs, and habits, and haunts, of all inferior creatures, he speedily made himself master—those included, of man. Nor was his knowledge confined to theory, but reduced to daily practice. He kept himself in constant training-taking a flight of a hundred miles before breakfast-paying a forenoon visit to the farthest of the Hebride Isles, and returning to dinner in Glenco. In one day he has Aown to Norway on a visit to his uncle by the mother's side, and returned the next to comfort his paternal uncle, lying sick at the Head of Dee. He soon learned to despise himself for once having yelled for food, when food was none; and to sit or sail, on rock or through ether, athirst and an hungred, but mute. The virtues of patience, endurance, and fortitude, have become with him, in strict accordance with the Aristotelian moral philosophy-habits. A Peripatetic philosopher he could hardly be called-properly speaking, he belongs to the Solar School-an airy sect, who take very high ground, indulge in lofty flights, and are often lost in the clouds. Now and then a light chapter right be introduced, when he and other younkers of the blood royal took a game at high-jinks, or tourneyed in air-lists, the champions on opposite sides flying from the Perthshire and from the Argyleshire mountains, and encountering with a clash in the azure common, six thousand feet high! But the fever of love burned in his blood, and flying to the mountains of another continent, in obedience to the yell of an old oral tradition, he wooed and won his virgin-bride-a monstrous beauty, widerwinged than himself, to kill or caress, and bearing the proof of her noble nativity, in that radiant iris that belongs in perfection of fierceness but to the sun-starers, and in them is found, unimpaired by cloudiest clime, over the uttermost parts of the earth. The bridegroom and his
bride, during the honeymoon, slept on the naked rocktill they had built their eyrie beneath its cliff-canopy on the mountain-brow. When the bride was, “as eagles wish to be who love their lords,” - devoted unto her was the bridegroom, even as the cushat murmuring to his brooding mate in the central pine-grove of a forest. Tenderly did he drop from his talons, close beside her beak, the delicate spring-lamb, or the too early leveret, owing to the hurried and imprudent marriage of its parents before March, buried in a living tomb ere April's initial day. Through all thy glens, Albin ! hadst thou reason to mourn, at the bursting of the shells that queenbird had been cherishing beneath her bosom! Aloft in heaven wheeled the royal pair, from rising to setting
Among the bright-blooming heather they espied the tartan'd shepherd, or hunter creeping like a lizard, and from behind the vain shadow of a rock, watching with his rifle the flight he would fain see shorn of its beams. The flocks were thinned-and the bleating of desolate dams among the fleecy people heard from many a brae.
Poison was strewn over the glens for their destruction, but the eagle, like the lion, preys not on carcasses; and the shepherd dogs howled in agony over the carrion in which they devoured death. Ha! was not that a day of triumph to the sun-starers of Cruachan, when sky-hunting in couples, far down on the greensward before the ruired gateway of Kilchurn Castle, they saw, left all to himself in the sunshine, the infant-heir of the Campbell of Breadalbane, the child of the Lord of Glenorchy and all its streams! Four talons in an instant were in his heart. Too late were the outcries from all the turrets, for ere the castle-gates were flung open, the golden head of the noble babe was lying in gore, in the eyrie on the iron ramparts of Gleno-his blue eyes dug out-his rosy cheeks torn—and his brains dropping from beaks that revelled yelling within the skull !—Such are a few hints for Some Passages in the Life of the Golden Eagle, written by Himself,”-in one volume crown octavo-Blackwood, Edinburgh-Cadell, London.
O heavens and earth-forests and barn-yards! what a difference with a distinction between a GOLDEN EAGLE and a Green Goose! There, all neck and bottom, splayed footed, and hissing in miserable imitation of a serpent, lolling from side to side, up and down like an ill-trimmed punt, the downy gosling waddles through the green mire, and, imagining that King George the Fourth is meditating mischief against him, cackles angrily as he plunges into the pond. No swan that “on still St. Mary's lake floats double, swan and shadow," so proud as he! He prides himself on being a gander, and never forgets the lesson instilled into him by his parents soon as he chipt the shell in the nest among the nettles, that his ancestors saved the Roman Capitol. In process of time, in company with swine, he grazes on the common, and insults the Egyptians in their roving camp. Then comes the season of plucking—and this very pen bears testimony to his tortures. Out into the houseless winter is he driven-and, if he escapes being frozen into a lump of fat ice, he is crammed till his liver swells into a four-pounder-his cerebellum is cut by the cruel knife of a phrenological cook, and his remains buried with a cerement of apple sauce in the paunches of apoplectic aldermen, eating against each other at a civic feast ! Such are a few hints for “ Some Passages in the Life of a Green Goose," written by himself-in foolscap octavo-published by Hunt and Clarke, Cockaigne, and sold by all booksellers in town and country.
O beautiful and beloved Highland parish! in what district of the West I shall not say- for the wild passions of my youth, so charged with bliss and bale, have rendered thy name a sound that my soul hears at all times, even when silent and unpronounced-0 beautiful and beloved Highland Parish! in whose dashing glens my beating heart first felt the awe of solitude, and learned to commune (alas ! to what purpose ?) with the tumult of its own thoughts! The circuit of thy skies, when they were blue, "so darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,” was indeed a glorious arena spread over the mountain-tops for the combats of the great birds of prey! One wild cry or an. other was in the lift, of the hawk, or the glead, or the raven, or the eagle-or when those fiends slept, of the peaceful heron, and sea-bird by wandering boys pursued