EARLY on a pleasant day 

In the poet's month of May, 

Field and forest looked so fair, 

So refreshing was the air, 

That, in spite of morning dew, 

Forth I walked where tangling grew 

Many a thorn and breezy bush; 

When the redbreast and the thrush 

Gayly raised their early lay, 

Thankful for returning day. 

Every thicket, bush, and tree 

Swelled the grateful harmony; 

As it mildly swept along, 

Echo seemed to catch the song: 

But the plain was wide and clear 

Echo never whispered near. 

From a neighboring mocking-bird 

Came the answering notes I heard. 

Soft and low the song began: 

I scarcely caught it as it ran 

Through the melancholy trill 

Of the plaintive whippoorwill, 

Through the ringdove's gentle wail —

Chattering jay and whistling quail, 

Sparrow's twitter, catbird's cry, 

Redbird's whistle, robin's sigh; 

Blackbird, bluebird, swallow, lark, 

Each his native note might mark. 

Oft he tried the lesson o'er, 

Each time louder than before. 

Burst at length the finished song; 

Loud and clear it poured along; 

All the choir in silence heard. 

Hushed before this wondrous bird, 

All transported and amazed, 

Scarcely breathing, long I gazed. 

Now it reached the loudest swell; 

Lower, lower, now it fell, 

Lower, lower, lower still; 

Scarce it sounded o'er the rill. 

Now the warbler ceased to sing; 

Then he spread his russet wing, 

And I saw him take his flight 

Other regions to delight. 

J. R. Drake. 



 Mocking Bird

IN the picture can be seen a pair of these wonderful birds, and their peculiar shaped nest, much resembling that of the swallow. Their power of imitation is something astonishing, and many amusing stories are related of their mischievous pranks. 

Mr. Wilson, in describing the habits of this most wonderful of all the feathered tribe, says: "He whistles for the dog; Caesar starts up, wags his tail, and runs to meet his master. He squeaks out like a hurt chicken, and the hen hurries about with hanging wings and bristled feathers, clucking, to protect her injured brood. The barking of the dog, the mewing of the cat, the creaking of the passing wheelbarrow, follow with great truth and rapidity. He even repeats the tune taught him by his master, though of considerable length, fully and faithfully." 

Besides having the power of imitation, the mocking-bird has a song of his own, which rivals that of the nightingale in mellowness, modulations and gradations, extent of compass, and brilliancy 

of execution. Indeed, some who have heard both, regard the song of the mocking-bird as far sweeter and more enjoyable than that of the far-famed songster of the moonlight night. 



ONCE there was a boy who was a good marks-man with a stone, or a sling-shot, or a bow-and-arrow, or a cross-bow, or an air gun, or anything he took aim with. So he went about all day, aiming at everything he saw. 

Near by where he lived was a little bird who had a nest and five young ones. So many large mouths in small heads, always open wide for food, kept her hard at work. From dawn to dark she flew here and there, over fields and woods and roads, getting worms, and flies, and bugs, and seeds, and such things as she knew were good for her young birds. It was a great wonder what lots of food those five small things could eat. What she brought each day would have filled that nest full up to the top, yet they ate it all and asked for more before daylight next morning. Though it was such hard work, she was glad to do it, and went on day after day, always flying off with a gay chirp, and back, with a bit of some kind of food—and though she did not eat much herself except what stuck to her bill after she had fed them, yet she never let them want; not even the smallest and weakest of them. The little fellow could not ask as loudly as the others, yet she always fed him first. 

One day, when she had picked up a worm, and perched a minute on the wall before flying to her nest, the good marksman saw her, and, of course, aimed at her, and hit her in the side. She was much hurt and in great pain, yet she fluttered and limped, and dragged herself to the foot of the tree where her nest was, but she could not fly up to her nest, for the wing was broken. She chirped a little and the young ones heard her, and as they were hungry, they chirped back loudly, and she knew all their voices, even the weak note of the smallest of all; but she could not come up to them, not even tell them why she did not come. And when she heard the call of the small one, she tried again to rise, but only one of her wings would move, and that just turned her over on the broken wing in a droll way. I think the boy would have laughed if he had seen her stumble over. All the rest of that day the little mother lay there, and when she chirped, her children answered, and when they chirped, she answered, only when the good marksman chanced to pass by; then she kept quite still. But her voice grew fainter and weaker, and late in the day the young ones could not hear it any more, but she could still hear them. 

Some time in the night the mother-bird died, and in the morning she lay there quite cold and stiff, with her dim eyes still turned up to the nest where her young ones were dying of hunger. But they did not die so soon. All day long they slept, until their hunger waked them up, and then called until they were so tired they fell asleep again. 

And the next night was very cold, and they missed their mother's warm breast, and before day-dawn they 'all died one after another, excepting the smallest, which was lowest down in the nest, and in the morning he pushed up his head and opened his yellow mouth to be fed; but there was no one to feed him, and so he died, too, at last, with his mouth wide open and empty. And so, the good marksman had killed six birds with one shot—the 

mother and her five young ones. Do you not 

think he must be a proud boy ? Should you not like to do the same? If you know him, please read this little tale to him. He may like to hear it.   

Joseph Kirkland, 

in St. Nicholas.