Abbildungen der Seite
[graphic][merged small]



bees, in good summers, thrive well in my outlet, where the echoes are very strong: for this village is another Anathoth, a place of responses or echoes. Besides, it does not appear from experiment that bees are in any way capable of being affected by sounds: for I have often tried my own with a large speaking-trumpet held close to their hives, and with such an exertion of voice as would have hailed a ship at the distance of a mile, and still these insects pursued their various employments undisturbed, and without showing the least sensibility or resentment.

Some time since its discovery this echo is become totally silent, though the object, or hop-kiln, remains: nor is there any mystery in this defect; for the field between is planted as a hop-garden, and the voice of the speaker is totally absorbed and lost among the poles and entangled foliage of the hops. And when the poles are removed in autumn the disappointment is the same; because a tall quick-set hedge, nurtured up for the purpose of shelter to the hop-ground, interrupts the repercussion of the voice: so that till those obstructions are removed no more of its garrulity can be expected.

Should any gentleman of fortune think an echo in his park or outlet a pleasing incident, he might build one at little or no expense. For whenever he had occasion for a new barn, stable, dog kennel, or the like structure, it would be only needful to erect this building on the gentle declivity of a hill, with a

like rising opposite to it, at a few hundred yards distance; and perhaps success might be the easier insured could some canal, lake, or stream, intervene. From a seat at the centrum phonicum he and his friends might amuse themselves sometimes of an evening with the prattle of this loquacious nymph; of whose complacency and decent reserve more may be said than can with truth of every individual of her sex; since she is “always ready with her vocal response, but never intrusive:

quæ nec reticere loquenti, Nec prior ipsa loqui didicit resonabilis echo.”

The classic reader will, I trust, pardon the following lovely quotation, so finely describing echoes, and so poetically accounting for their causes :

“Quæ benè quom videas, rationem reddere possis

Tute tibi atque aliis, quo pacto per loca sola
Saxa pareis formas verborum ex ordine reddant,
Palanteis comites quom monteis inter opacos
Quærimus, et magnâ disperos voce ciemus.
Sex etiam, aut septem loca vidi reddere voces
Unam quom jaceres: ita colles collibus ipsis
Verba repulsantes iterabant dicta referre.
Hæc loca capripedes Satyros Nymphasque tenere
Finitimi fingunt, et Faunos esse loquuntur;
Quorum noctivago strepitu, ludoque jocanti
Adfirmant volgo taciturna silentia rumpi,
Chordarumque sonos fieri, dulceisque querelas,
Tibia quas fundit digitis pulsata canentum :
Et genus agricolûm latè sentiscere, quom Pan
Pinea semiferi capitis velamina quassans,
Unco sæpe labro calamos percurrit hianteis,
Fistula silvestrem ne cesset fundere musam.”

(LUCRETIUS, lib. iv. l. 576.)

“This shows thee why, whilst men, through caves and groves
Call their lost friends, or mourn unhappy loves,
The pitying rocks, the groaning caves return
Their sad complaints again, and seem to mourn:
This all observe, and I myself have known
Both rocks and hills return six words for one:
The dancing words from hill to hill rebound,
They all receive, and all restore the sound :
The vulgar and the neighbours think, and tell,
That there the Nymphs, and Fauns, and Satyrs dwell:
And that their wanton sport, their loud delight,
Breaks through the quiet silence of the night :
Their music's softest airs fill all the plains,
And mighty Pan delights the list'ning swains :
The goat-faced Pan, whose flocks securely feed;
With long-hung lip he blows his oaten reed :
The horned, the half-beast god, when brisk and gay,
With pine-leaves crowned, provokes the swains to play.”

(CREECH's Translation.) SELBORNE, Feb. 12, 1778.



AMONG the many singularities attending those amusing birds, the swifts, I am now confirmed in the opinion that we have every year the same number of pairs invariably; at least the result of my inquiry has been exactly the same for a long time past. The swallows and martins are so numerous, and so widely distributed over the village, that it is hardly possible to re-count them; while the swifts, though they do not all build in the church, yet so frequently haunt

« ZurückWeiter »