The Natural History of Selborne

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Harper, 1843 - 398 páginas
 

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Página 18 - In the midst of this spot stood, in old times, a vast oak, with a short squat body, and huge horizontal arms extending almost to the extremity of the area. This venerable tree, surrounded with stone steps and seats above them, was the delight of old and young, and a place of much resort in summer evenings ; where the former sat in grave debate, while the latter frolicked and danced before them.
Página 175 - Faunists, as you observe, are too apt to acquiesce in bare descriptions, and a few synonyms: the reason is plain : because all that may be done at home in a man's study; but the investigation of the life and conversation of animals is a concern of much more trouble and difficulty, and is not to be attained but by the active and inquisitive, and by those that reside much in the country.
Página 20 - ... sat on. At last, when it gave way, the bird was flung from her nest; and, though her parental affection deserved a better fate, was whipped down by the twigs, which brought her dead to the ground.
Página 290 - But as he avoids heat in the summer, so, in the decline of the year, he improves the faint autumnal beams, by getting within the reflection of a...
Página 243 - For to say nothing of half the birds, and some quadrupeds, which are almost entirely supported by them, worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which 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 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...
Página 267 - ... have many modulations of voice, as appears by their aptitude to learn human sounds ; doves coo in an amorous and mournful manner, and are emblems of despairing lovers ; the woodpecker sets up a sort of loud and hearty laugh ; the fern-owl or goat-sucker, from the dusk till daybreak, serenades his mate with the clattering of castanets.
Página 186 - ... manner; and these menaces well answer the intention of intimidating; for I have known a whole village up in arms on such an occasion imagining the churchyard to be full of goblins and spectres. White owls also often scream horribly as they fly along: from this screaming probably arose the common people's imaginary species of screech-owl, which they superstitiously think attends the windows of dying persons.
Página 83 - For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Página 190 - Thus careful workmen when they build mud walls (informed at first perhaps by this little bird) raise but a moderate layer at a time, and then desist ; lest the work should become top-heavy, and so be ruined by its own weight. By this method in about ten or twelve days is formed an hemispheric nest with a small aperture towards the top, strong, compact, and warm ; and perfectly fitted for all the purposes for which it was intended.
Página 202 - July. , The progressive method by which the young are introduced into life is very amusing: first they emerge from the shaft with difficulty enough, and often fall down into the rooms below; for a day or so they are fed on the...

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