The Natural History of Selborne: With Observations on Various Parts of Nature, and the Naturalist's Calendar

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J. Chidley, 1840 - 356 pages

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Page 81 - Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? Or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, And warmeth them in the dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, Or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, As though they were not hers...
Page 280 - Less than archangel ruined, and the excess Of glory obscured ; as when the sun, new risen, Looks through the horizontal misty air Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs.
Page 279 - July 20 inclusive, during which period the wind varied to every quarter without making any alteration in the air. The sun, at noon, looked as blank as a clouded moon, and shed a rust-coloured, ferruginous light on the ground, and floors of rooms ; but was particularly lurid and blood-coloured at rising and setting. All the time the heat was so intense, that butchers...
Page 192 - ... that in former times they have been cleft asunder. These trees, when young and flexible, were severed and held open by wedges, while ruptured children, stripped naked, were pushed through the apertures, under a persuasion that, by such a process, the poor babes would be cured of their infirmity.
Page 242 - BECAUSE we call this creature an abject reptile, we are too apt to undervalue his abilities, and depreciate his powers of instinct. Yet he is, as Mr. Pope says of his lord, " Much too wise to walk into a well...
Page 63 - Amusive birds! — say where your hid retreat When the frost rages and the tempests beat; Whence your return, by such nice instinct led, When spring, soft season, lifts her bloomy head? Such baffled searches mock men's prying pride, The God of Nature is your secret guide!
Page 110 - Part loosely wing the region, part more wise In common, ranged in figure wedge their way, Intelligent of seasons, and set forth Their airy caravan high over seas Flying, and over lands with mutual wing Easing their flight...
Page 206 - ... would proceed but lamely without them ; by boring, perforating, and loosening the soil, and rendering it pervious to rains and the fibres of plants ; by drawing straws and stalks of leaves and twigs into it ; and, most of all, by throwing up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called worm-casts, which, being their excrement, is a fine manure for grain and grass.
Page 241 - ... Providence should bestow such a profusion of days, such a seeming waste of longevity, on a reptile that appears to relish it so little as to squander more than two-thirds of its existence in a joyless stupor, and be lost to all sensation for months together in the profoundest of slumbers. While I was writing this letter, a moist and warm afternoon, with the thermometer at 50, brought forth troops of shell-snails ; and at the same juncture, the tortoise heaved up the mould and put out...
Page 152 - May, which consists, like that of the house-martin, of a crust or shell composed of dirt or mud, mixed with short pieces of straw, to render it tough and permanent ; with this difference, that whereas the shell of the martin is nearly hemispheric, that of the swallow is open at the top, and like half a deep dish : this nest is lined with fine grasses and feathers, which are often collected as they float in the air. Wonderful is the address which this adroit bird shows all day long in ascending and...

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