MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.
by rapid turns and quick evolutions; swifts dash round in circles; and the bank-martin moves with frequent vacillations, like a butterfly.  Most of the small birds fly by jerks, rising and falling as they advance.  Most small birds hop; but wagtails and larks walk, moving their legs alternately.  Skylarks rise and fall perpendicularly as they sing; woodlarks hang poised in the air; and titlarks rise and fall in large curves, singing in their descent.  The white-throat uses odd jerks and gesticulations over the tops of hedges and bushes.  All the duck kind waddle; divers and auks walk as if fettered, and stand erect on their tails.  Geese and cranes, and most wild fowls, move in figured flights, often changing their position.  Dabchicks, moorhens, and coots, fly erect, with their legs hanging down, and hardly make any dispatch; the reason is plain, their wings are placed too forward out of the true centre of gravity, as the legs of auks and divers are situated too backward.

REV.  GILBERT WHITE.

* * * * *

THE VILLAGE.

    Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening’s close
    Up yonder hill the village murmur rose. 
    There as I past with careless steps and slow,
    The mingling notes came softened from below;
    The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
    The sober herd that lowed to meet their young,
    The noisy geese that gabbled o’er the pool,
    The playful children just let loose from school,
    The watch-dog’s voice that bayed the whispering wind,
    And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
    These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
    And filled each pause the nightingale had made. 
    But now the sounds of population fail,
    No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
    No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread,
    For all the bloomy flush of life is fled. 
    All but yon widowed, solitary thing,
    That feebly bends beside the plashing spring: 
    She, wretched matron, forced in age, for bread,
    To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
    To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
    To seek her nightly shed, and weep till mom;
    She only left of all the harmless train,
    The sad historian of the pensive plain. 
      Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
    And still, where many a garden-flower grows wild;
    There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
    The village preacher’s modest mansion rose,
    A man he was to all the country dear,
    And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
    Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
    Nor e’er had changed, nor wished to change his place;
    Unpractised he to fawn, or seek for power,
    By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
    Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
    More skilled to raise the

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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