« PreviousContinue »
BY J. H, HANAFORD.
learned hy another; and whole nations have Let us, then, endeavor to follow in their sunk from a condition of improvement to steps; and each, according to his means one of ignorance and barbarity, sometimes and ability, try to imitate their glorious in a very few years. But no such dreadful example; despising difficulties, grasping at catastrophe is now to be feared.
opportunities, and steadily pursuing some Those who come after us will not only honest and manly aim.
We shall soon surpass their predecessors. The find, that the obstacles which oppose our existing arts will be improved, science will progress sink into the dust before a firm be carried to new heights, and the great and resolute step; and that the pleasures heritage of useful knowledge will go down and benefits of knowledge are within the unimpaired and augmented. But it is all reach of all who seek it. to be shared out anew; and it is for each person to say what part he will gain in the glorious patrimony.
When the rich man is called from the possession of his treasures, he divides them TO A SPRING BIRD. as he will among his children and heirs. But an equal Providence deals not so with the living treasures of the mind. There are children just growing up in the bosom
Say, lovely, pretty warbler, say, of obscurity, in town and in country, who
Why hast thou perched so high ? have inherited nothing but poverty and
Why sing so sweetly, frisk so gay, health, who will, in a few years, be striving
'Mid winds and threatning sky? in stern contention with the great intellects of the land.
What cheering tidings dost thou bring Our system of free schools has opened From southern climes remote, a straight way from the threshold of every Where reigns a verdant, joyous spring, abode, however humble, in the village or And balmy breezes float ? in the city, to the high places of usefulness, influence, and honor. And it is left
Amid those spicy forests green, for each, by the cultivation of every talent; What carols hailed the day? by watching, with an eagle's eye, for every What novel, comely forms were seen, chance of improvement; by bounding for- Adorned in bright array ? ward, like a greyhound, at the most distant glimpse of honorable opportunity; by What stranger ones, lone bird, were there, grappling, as with hooks of steel, to the
To join in songs of praise ? prize, when it is won; by redeeming time,
What varied voices filled the air, defying temptation, and scorning sensual
As rose those matin lays > pleasure, to make himself useful,
honored, and happy. Our whole country is a great and speak
Why hast thou left so far behind
Thy mate and kindred dear, ing illustration of what may be done by native force of mind, without advantages,
To brave so soon the chilling wind, but starting up under strong excitement,
And snows, and hail, and tempests drear! into a new and successful action. What man can start in life, with so few opportu
Yet welcome here, thou joyous bird, nities as our country started with, in the Loved harbinger of flowers; race of independence ? Over whose private Oft let thy tuneful voice be heard, prospects can there hang a cloud as dark And cheer these lonely hours. as that which brooded over the cause of America ? Who can have less to encour- As nature wakes at dawn of day, age, and more to appal and dishearten And morning tints appear, him, than the sages and chieftains of the Then upward raise thy sweetest lay, Revolution ?
And ever linger near.
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON.
born in I my
Josiana, about the year 1782. He was ideas were suficiently formed to enable ma
of French descent, and his parents pos- to estimate the difference between the sessed that happy nature which dis- azure tints of the sky and the emerald posed them to encourage the indication of hue of the bright foliage, I felt that an ingenius and talent that they early per- timacy with them, not of friendship mereceived in the mind of their son.
ly, but bordering on frenzy, must accomIn the preface to the first edition of his pany my steps through life. And now, Ornithology, from which we make extracts, more than ever, am I persuaded of the Mr. Audubon has himself beautifully de- power of those early impressions. They scribed his early life, and the parental care laid such hold of me, that when removed which was instrumental in leading him to from the woods, the prairies, and the brooks, acquire such a deep love of nature. or shut up from the view of the wide At
. When I had hardly learned to walk, lantic, I experienced none of those pleasand to articulate those first words always ures most congenial to my mind. so endearing to parents, the productions “My father generally accompanied my of nature that lay spread all around were steps, procured birds and flowers for me, constantly pointed out to me. They soon and pointed out the elegant movements of
“I grew up,
the former, the beauty and softness of sketches annually, and for a long time, at their plumage, the manifestations of their my request, they made bonfires on the anpleasure or their sense of danger, and the niversary of my birthday.” always perfect forms and splendid attire of
In his sixteenth year, young,
Audubon the latter. He would speak of the de- was sent to France, to pursue his educaparture and return of birds with the sea- tion. While there, he attended schools of son, describe their haunts, and, more won- | natural history and the arts, and took lesderful than all, their change of livery; thus sons in drawing from the celebrated David. exciting me to study them, and to raise Although he prosecuted his studies zealmy mind toward their great Creator. ously, his heart still panted for the spark
" A vivid pleasure shone upon those ling streams of his native land of groves.' days of my early youth, attended with a He returned in his eighteenth year, with calmness of feeling that seldom failed to an ardor for the woods, and soon comrivet my attention for hours, while I gazed menced a collection of drawings, which with ecstacy upon the pearly and shining have since swelled into a series of mageggs, as they lay embedded in the softest nificent volumes—“The Birds of Amerdown, or among dried leaves and twigs, or ica.” These designs were begun on the were exposed upon the burning sand, or farm given him by his father, situated near weather-beaten rock of our Atlantic shore. Philadelphia, on the banks of the SchuylI was taught to look upon them as flowers kill. yet in the bud.
There, amid its fine woodlands, its exand my wishes
with tensive fields, its hills crowned with evermy form. I was fervently desirous of be
upon his simple and coming acquainted with nature. I wished agreeable objects, and pursued his ramto possess all the productions of nature, bles, from the first faint streaks of day but I wished life with them. This was until late in the evening, when, wet with impossible. Then, what was to be done? dew, and laden with feathered captives, I turned to my father, and made known he returned to the quiet enjoyment of the to him my disappointment and anxiety. fire-side. There, too, he was married, and He produced a book of Illustrations. A was fortunate in choosing one who animanew life ran in my veins. I turned over ted his courage amid vicissitudes, and in the leaves with avidity, and, although what prosperity appreciated the grounds and I saw was not what I longed for, it gave measures of his success. me a desire to copy nature. To nature I For many years the necessities of life went, and tried to imitate her.
drove him into commercial enterprises, “How sorely disappointed did I feel, for which proved unsuccessful. His love for many years, when I saw that my produc- the fields and flowers, the forests and their tions were worse than those which I ven- winged inhabitants, unfitted him for trade. tured to regard as bad in the book given His chief gratification was derived from me by my father. My pencil gave birth observation and study. His friends strove to a family of cripples. So maimed were to wean him from his favorite pursuits, and most of them, that they more nearly re- he was compelled to struggle against the sembled the mangled corpses on a field of wishes of all, except his wife and children. battle, than the objects which I had in- They alone encouraged him, and were wiltended them to represent.
ling to sink or swim with the beloved hus“ These difficulties and disappointments band and father. At length he gave himirritated me, but never for a moment de- self entirely to observation and study of stroyed the desire of obtaining perfect the feathered inhabitants of the forest. representations of nature. The worse my He undertook long and tedious jourdrawings were, the more beautiful did I neys; he ransacked the woods, the lakes, see the originals. To have been torn from the prairies, and the shores of the Atlanthe study, would have been as death to tic; he spent years away from his family, me. My time was entirely occupied with “ Yet, will you believe it,” says he, "I it. I produced hundreds of these rude had no other object in view than simply
to enjoy the sight of nature. Never for a | Humboldt, Wilson, Roscoe, and Swainson, moment did I conceive the hope of becom- soon recognized his lofty claim; learned ing, in any degree, useful to my fellow societies extended to him the warm and beings, until I accidentally formed an ac- willing hand of friendship; houses of the quaintance with Charles Lucien Bonaparte, nobility were opened to him; and wherever at Philadelphia, on the 5th of April, he went, the solitary American woodsman, 1824.”
whose talents were so little appreciated It was soon afterward that Bonaparte, but a few years before, that he was rejected having examined Audubon's large collec- after being proposed by Lucien Bonaparte tion of beautiful drawings, and observed as a member of the Lyceum of Natural his extensive knowledge of birds, said to History, in Philadelphia, was now receivhim, “Do you know that you are a great ing the homage of the most distinguished man ?" In reply, Mr. Audubon asked him men of science in the old world. his intention in making such a remark. Before the close of 1830, his first vol
Sir,” answered Bonaparte, “ I consider ume of the “ Birds of America" was isyou the greatest ornithologist in the world.” | sued. It was received with enthusiastic He then suggested to him the importance applause ; royal names headed the subof collecting and offering to the public the scription list, and one hundred and seventytreasures which he had amassed during five volumes were sold at a thousand dolhis wild journeyings.
lars each. In the mean time, (April, 1829) This idea seemed like a beam of new Audubon returned to America, to explore light to Audubon's mind, and added fresh anew the woods of the middle and southinterest to his employment. For weeks ern States. and months he brooded over the kindling The winter and spring of 1832 he passed thought. He went westward to extend the in Florida and in Charleston. Early the number and variety of his drawings, with ensuing summer he bent his steps northa view of preparing for a visit to Europe, ward, and explored the forests of Maine, and the publication of his works. When New Brunswick, the shores of the Bay of far away from the haunts of man, in the Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and depths of forest solitude, happy days and the coast of Labrador. Returning as the nights of pleasant dreams attended him.
cold season approached, he visited NewOnly two years passed after his first in- foundland and Nova Scotia, and, rejoining terview with Lucien Bonaparte, in Phila- his family, proceeded to Charleston, where delphia, before Audubon sailed for Eng- he spent the winter in the preparation of land. He arrived at Liverpool in 1826. his drawings and the accompanying deDespondency and doubt seemed now to scriptions. In the following spring, after come upon him. There was not a known nearly three years spent in travel and refriend to whom he could apply in all the search, he sailed again for England. nation. And he imagined, in the simpli- In 1834 the second volume of his works city of his heart, that every individual to was published. The three following years whom he was about to present his subject were passed in exploring Florida and Texas. might possess talents far superior to his | A vessel was placed at his disposal by the own. For two days he traversed the streets government of the United States, to aid of Liverpool, looking in vain for a single him in this noble enterprise. At the close glance of sympathy.
of this period he published the fourth and There are kind and generous hearts last volume of plates, and the fifth volume everywhere, and men of noble faculties to of descriptions.
The whole work comdiscern the beautiful and true; and it was prises four hundred and thirty-five plates, not long before Audubon's works procured containing more than one thousand figures, him a generous reception from the most from the Bird of Washington to the tiny distinguished men of science and letters. Humming Bird, all represented of the size, In a short time he was the admired by all color, and attitude of life. admirers.
In 1839, having returned for the last Men of genius and honor, such as Cuvier, 1 time to his native country, and established
himself with his family at his beautiful He used to say that he had no faith in residence on the banks of the Hudson, near genius ; that a man could make himself New York city, he commenced the repub- what he pleased by labor, and, by using lication in this country of the “ Birds of every moment of time, the mind might be America,” in seven large octavo volumes, kept improving to the end of life.
Look which were completed in 1844.
at facts, and trust for yourself ; meditate Before the expiration of this period, and reason,” he would say, “it is thus a however, he began to prepare for the press man should educate himself.” the “Quadrupeds of America.” In this It was his object to learn everything work he was assisted by the Rev. John from the prime teacher-Nature. His Bachman, D. D. Accompanied by his sons, glowing style, as well as his extensive Victor Gifford, and John Woodhouse, he knowledge, was the fruit of his own exexplored the reedy swamps of our southern periences. He never wrote for the press shores, traversed forest and prairie, making until after the age at which most authors drawings and writing descriptions of quad- have established their reputation. His farupeds. The first volume of “Quadru- cility for ready writing, he said, was acpeds” appeared in New York in 1846. This quired by keeping a journal, in which he work, consisting, we believe, of five vol recorded the events and reflections of each umes, has recently been concluded, and is day—a practice worthy the example of no less interesting and valuable than the every one. works of his earlier life.
For some years past his health had been Well might the great naturalist felici- failing, and he was rarely seen beyond the tate himself upon the completion of his limits of his beautiful residence. On the gigantic task. He had spent nearly half twenty-seventh of January, 1851, he died, a century “amid the tall grass of the far- full of years, and illustrious with the most extended prairies of the west, in the solemn desirable glory. He has indissolubly linked forests of the north, on the heights of the himself with the undying loveliness of namidland mountains, by the shores of the ture, and thus left behind a monument of boundless ocean, and on the bosom of our unending fame. vast bays, lakes, and rivers, searching for things hidden, since the creation of this wondrous world, from all but the Indian who has roamed in the gorgeous but melancholy wilderness.”
A FANCY FOR A MAY-DAY. Speaking of the enjoyment of home after retiring from a vocation in which he had spent a long life, so earnestly, faithfully QUEEN:and triumphantly, he says, "Once more LOVE has come to rule the earth, surrounded by all the members of my
See, all nature loves her rule ; family, enjoying the countenance of nu
Buds are bursting into birth, merous friends who have never deserted
Lilies kiss the lightsome pool. me, and possessing a competent share of all that can render life agreeable, I look up
ATTENDANTS :with gratitude to the Supreme Being, and feel that I am happy."
Glad we hail the joyous day, At the age of sixty, Audubon possessed
Harbinger of summer's joy ; the sprightliness and vigor of a young
Winter flees from earth away-
Pleasures true know no alloy.
BY C. MORLEY,
Chirping crickets tell their bliss, itation. "These made him beloved by all Happiness is everywherewho knew him.
Who can tell me why is this?