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the ravishing boblink, itself a full choir, low-roosting like the lark,
guidée du zephire,
The orchestra is in full chorus at nine. The partridge in his hazel copse listens, then sings 'Bob White !' and the mocking-bird from its cage, sweeter than the nightingale, more cackling than the goose, responds; and the daw with piteous cry, supplicates mercy for its young. The chatty brood of the barn-yard join in. Cluck! cluck ! the hen, and like a busy old woman, hastens back to the nest. Turkeys gobble; the 'gallant chanticleer,' on the high fence, crows his victory, or in a shrill voice warns his mates of the hawk; and the wood-pecker flies to a neighboring tree, and sets up a laugh.
Why do the male birds only sing? •In joy,' said a malicious Greek, ' at having silent wives.' It is the male dove only that coos ; the female sometimes coo-koos !
If you are fond of the insect performers, they are here also in full band. Our best basso is the humble-bee, in his golden corslets, making love to the tulip; our mezzo-soprano, the honey-bee, sipping the buckwheat, and shedding music from his fragrant wings. The grasshopper, alas ! who sang so cheerily to the Greeks, is now tuneless as the swan; a mere bait for a fish-hook. Ladies say the flea has a little musical sound in its step, as if walking on clacks; a hipo-ti-clinch kind of music, that predisposes to dancing. The mosquito rarely favors us with his divine adagio, being unfriendly to the mountain air. At midnight, the lone wife sits by the grate, while the spider's death-watch ticks, awaiting her loitering husband, and listening for the music of his footstep upon her door-sill ; or to console her, the merry cricket chirps, and sometimes the sober clock toddles out, and rattles his castanets. I often repose in a bower of thick interwoven trees, in the hot noon, and hear the gray-fly wind his sultry horn; or, if in a poetic mood, solitary upon the little porch, entwined with the wood-bine and jessamine, and hear,
When the ev'ning is still,
And wailing whip-poor-will:
Or by the hedges hid,
Of the katy-did.
I write without books or memory, and am obliged, as you may easily perceive, to make my own poetry.
Nor is this all the music I have in store for you. When the clapper has given its last thump to the cracked sides of the Presbyterian bell; when seated alone upon a couch, silent and meditative, of a Sunday morning, the family at prayers, the Æolian harp from a distant window, tuned by the whispering winds, will swell its wild notes softly, then to a frantic scream, then die away gently upon the
breeze. The quiring strings shall lodge, too, in the crannies of grottos and copses through the garden, and while flowers embrace your feet, fill the air with ravishing melody. I have found out, also, where the 'unseen nymph' lives in the mountains; where a whisper is heard from one alcove in the rock to another, at fifty feet. I will put Rox. in the one, and from the other you may hold a little conversation of echoes if you can, for she takes a little after Congreve's girl, who had to die before echo could catch the last word.
To give one a nicer sense of all these harmonies, five hundred dogs used, about midnight, to set up a general howl, and wake up the village. Is it pot strange that a dog in a state of nature only whines, and that barking is an acquirement he attains among men? I have read that pigs, too, though they perhaps grunt in the wild state, sleep upon moss, eat delicate food, and bathe in the clear stream; and that they fall into the filthy practice of wallowing, from their intercourse with our species. But the dogs having on one occasion woke up our chief burgess, last winter, he has had them all poisoned off with medicated sausages, and the cynical notes are now curtailed from the village choir.
I say nothing of that rural musician par eminence,' who counts the night-watches to his feathery dames. The Romans tolerated this music in their city. Lovers were warned to escape, and clients consulted their attorneys, sub galli cantu. But the Sybarite police banished all cocks, as ours dogs, out of town. I would not call the the attention of our Councils (being married men) to the subject. Nor have I said any thing of forge-hammers and anvils, so common here, and upon which Pythagoras invented the gamut; or of puffing engines and smelting furnaces. I dislike all puffing, and smelting too, unless it be the rubies on Neara's lips.
The ass, however, performing so many useful duties beside his choragic functions, in our community, cannot be respectfully omitted. He is called a bad vocalist, though some amateurs prefer him to the mule; but he is perhaps underrated. There are many notes which alone are shocking to the ear, that have in concert an agreeable harmony. The gabble of the goose is not unpleasant in the orchestra of the barn-yard, and there are many instances, no doubt, in which braying would improve harmony. If one looks close into nature, he will find nothing, not even the gargle of the frog-pond, created in vain. At Musard's, they often improve the spirit of a gallopade by the sudden clank and crash of a chain upon a hollow platform, with now and then a scream like the war-whoop of the Seminoles. It has quite a pleasurable effect upon the nerves of a Mardi gras, and gives great briskness to the dance. You have perhaps a much greater obligation, dear Geoffrey, to us scrib ... (I must not digress.) What the Italians understand, and what most other nations do not, is the harmonious composition of discordant sounds. If a general concert of nature could be formed, the crow, as well as the nightingale, would be necessary to the perfect symphony; and it is likely even the file and hand-saw might be made to discourse excellent music. But even in a solo, the ass, according to Coleridge, has his merits. He has certainly the merit of execution. He commences with a few prelusive notes, gently, as if essaying his organs, rising in a progressive swell
to enthusiasm, and then gradually dies away to a pathetic close ; an exact prototype of the best German and Italian compositions, and a living sanction of the genuine and authentic instructions of the Academie de Musique.
Long enough upon one string. When the churls are asleep, you will walk out under our' nice moon,' and think it made for yourself. Plague on the world for stealing! I found the other day where Shakspeare pilfered his pretty line:
'Fronde super viride, quàm blandè luna quiescit;'
Almost as sweet as the copy. This beauty of nature, the moon, is no where so perfect as at Pine-Hill; the silvery light falling against the hill, sloping southwardly, among the evergreen boughs, you may gather it from the piny leaves. Mothers may lap their babies in it. At your chamber-window you will sit for hours, and look out upon the ravishing scene; upon the dainty stars, faint glimmering, and ask :
"Who filled these lamps
You will see the little elves that sleep by day in the rose-buds and butter-cups, playing hide-and-seek among the shrubbery; and now and then fitting by, a ghost, wrapped in a moonlight shawl. Poor Helen! and her seducer; why can I not tell you of their unhappy loves? Here they wandered through the grove, with “knit hands,' and slept linked in each others' arms at night. Here he fell in the conflict; and here by bis grave she sat, under the unwholesome stars, and sang, and her senses raved in sweet madness as she sang. ..I have reached the utmost margin of my space, and must end. will not come, nettles and burrs will grow upon these pretty lawns, and the turtle will sit mute upon the withered bough; no music will be heard but the adder's hiss, or deadly rattle of the ratile-snake : the winter will come back, and
Good lack! what a gossip o'er knitting and tea;
Our hounds beat the swamp; we our weapons prepare :
A rustle of boughs; ha! a buck springs to sight!
But music, hound-music, bursts shrill from the swamp ;
But quickly a bullet is wing'd through his brain,
We climb the wild mountain; look well, as we tread,
A LEAF FROM FLORIDA.
BY THE AUTHOR OF 'MAJOR DART.'
About three miles west from the town of Tallahassee, is the ruin of an old Spanish fort, which in by-gone days bore the name of San Luis. Its site is a ridge of land somewhat higher than the surrounding country, bounded on three sides by a narrow stream of running water, and on a fourth descending by a gentle slope, until lost in the thick mazes of a swampy hammock at its base. The crumbled walls embrace an area of near twenty acres of ground, on which may yet be traced the narrow streets of a small village. Three or four hundred yards to the north of the principal work, and connected with it by a covered passage, is a large square redoubt, with small bastions. The ancient parapet has long since crumbled to a mere mound of earth, and borne trees of more than a century's growth, whose decayed trunks now half fill the ditch at its foot. From the remains of an old postern, a path leads down a steep bank to a small spring of clear water, which was arranged to supply the garrison, when not confined within the walls of the fort.
Various points in the vicinity of Ochlockonee river were fortified by the earliest settlers of Florida, but the discouragements attendant upon the settlement of a new country, and the untiring bostility of its treacherous inhabitants, caused them one after another to be deserted. In middle Florida, San Luis is said to be the last which resisted the power of the red men. It was strongly fortified, and admirably situated to resist an Indian attack; and long after other places in its vicinity had been yielded by their inhabitants, the garrison and people of San Luis continued to dwell in fancied security. But the Indians were determined to drive the intruders from their soil; and after much disagreement and quarrelling among themselves, they appeared in thousands in the vicinity of the fort, cutting off all communication