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BATTLE FIELDS, OR VULTURES' SHAMBLES. 177
2. I soon perceived that my labor would be well repaid; for an old vulture was sitting on a naked prominence,' with her young about her, whom she was instructing in the arts of a vulture's life, and preparing, by her last lecture, for their final dismission to the mountains and the skies.
3. "My children," said the old vulture, "you will the less want my instructions, because you have had my practice before your eyes. You have seen me snatch from the farm the household fowl; you have seen me seize the leveret in the bush, and the kid in the pasture; you know how to fix your talons, and how to balance your flight when you are laden with your prey. But you remember the taste of more delicious food: I have often regaled you with the flesh of man."
4. "Tell us," said the young vultures, "where man may be found, and how he may be known. His flesh is surely the natural food of a vulture! Why have you never brought a man in your talons to the nest ?” "He is too bulky," said the mother. "When we find a man, we can- only tear away his flesh, and leave his bones upon the ground."
5. "Since man is so big," said the young ones, "how do you kill him? You are afraid of the wolf and of the bear. By what power are vultures superior to man? Is man more defenseless than a sheep?" "We have not the strength of man," returned the mother, "and the vulture would seldom feed upon his flesh, had not nature, that devoted him to our nourishment, infused into him a strange ferocity,' which I have never observed in any other being that feeds upon the earth.
6. "Two herds of men," continued she, "will often meet, and shake the earth with noise, and fill the air with fire. When you hear noise, and see fire, with flashes along the ground, hasten to the place with your swiftèst wing, for men are surely destroying one another: you will then find the ground smoking with blood, and covered with carcasses, of which many are mangled, for the convenience of the vulture."
7. "But when men have killed their prey," said a young vulture, "why do they not eat it? When the wolf has killed a sheep, he suffers not the vulture to touch it, till he is satisfied
1 Prom' i nence, a point jutting or standing out from the surface of something.
2 Lěv'er et, a hare in its first year. 3 Fē roc'i ty, savage wildness or fierceness; fury; cruelty.
himself. Is not man a kind of wolf?" "Man," said the mother, "is the only beast who kills that which he does not devour, and this quality makes him the greatest benefactor to our species."
8. "If men kill our prey, and lay it in our way," said the young one, “what need shall we have of laboring for ourselves?” “Because man will, sometimes," replied the mother, “remain for a long time quiet in his den. The old vultures will tell you when you are to watch his motions. When you see men in great numbers moving close together, like a flock of storks, you may conclude that they are hunting, and that you will soon revel' in human blood."
9. "But still," said the young one, "I would gladly know the reason of this mutual slaughter. I could never kill what I could not eat." "My child," said the mother, "this is a question which I can not answer, though I am reckoned the mōst subtle bird of the mountain.
10. "When I was young, I used frequently to visit the eyry' of an old vulture, who dwelt upon the Carpathian rocks. He had made many observations; he knew the places that afforded prey round his habitation, as far in every direction as the strongest wing can fly, between the rising and setting of the summer sun; and he had fed year after year on the vitals' of men.
11. "His opinion was, that men had only the appearance of animal life, being really vegetables, with a power of motion; and that as the boughs of an oak are dashed together by the storm, that swine may fatten on the falling acorns, so men are, by some unaccountable power, driven one against another till they lose their motion, that vultures may be fed.
12. "Others think they have observed something of contrivance and policy among these că'terers' of ours; and those that hover more closely around them, pretend that there is in every herd one that gives directions to the rest, and seems to be mōre eminently delighted with carnage.' What it is that entitles him
1Rěv el, to feast in a riotous and lawless manner, or with noisy merriment.
2 Subtle, (sut' 1), artful; cunning. 'Eyry, (d'rî), the place where birds of prey build their nests and hatch their young.
'Car pã thi an, a range of moun
tains in Europe, chiefly in Austria.
• Ca' ter ers, those who buy or provide food.
Carnage, (kår′ naj), the flesh of slain animals; slaughter; great destruction of lives.
to such preeminence,' we know not. He is seldom the biggest or the swiftèst; but such are his eagerness and diligence in providing and preparing food for us, that we think the leader of such human herds is entitled to our warmèst gratitude, and should be styled, THE FRIEND OF THE VULTURES!"
THE WATCHER ON THE TOWER.
63. THE WATCHER ON THE TOWER.
HAT dost thou see, lone watcher on the tower?
2. "The stars are clear above me, scarcely one Has dimmed its rays in reverence' to the sun; But yet I see on the horiʼzon's verge,
Some fair, faint streaks, as if the light would surge."
3. “And is that all, O watcher on the tower?
4. "A mist envelopes them; I can not trace
Their outline; but the day comes on apace.3
5. "We thank thee, lonely watcher on the tower;
1 Pre èm' i nence, superiority; the condition of being first in place or rank.
2 Rěv' er ence, fear mingled with respect and affection.
Surge, (sêrj), to swell; to run high like waves.
'Cope, a cover; a hood; any
thing regarded as extended over the head, as the concave or arch of the sky; a priest's cloak.
A pace', with a quick pace; quick; fast; hastily.
Am' ber, of the color of amber, which is yellowish.
"Ere, (år), before; sooner than.
6. "I hope, but can not tell. I hear a song,
7. "What doth he say-O watcher on the tower?
8. "He prophesies;-his heart is full ;-his lay
9. "We thank thee, watcher on the lonely tower,
10. "He sings of brotherhood, and joy, and peace,
11. "Well done! thou watcher on the lonely tower! Is the day breaking? dawns the happy hour? We pine to see it :-tell us, yet again,
If the broad daylight breaks upon the plain?"
12. "It breaks-it comes-the misty shadows fly :-
THE OLD FAMILY BIBLE.
64. THE OLD FAMILY BIBLE.
HOEVER has traveled among the Scottish hills and dales, can not have failed to observe the scrupulous' fidelity' of the inhabitants to the old family Bible. A mōre honorable trait of character than this can not be found; for all men, whether Christians or infidels,* are prone to put reliance in those who make the Bible their companion, the well-thumbed pages of which show the confidence their owners repose' in it.
2. A few years ago, there dwelt in Ayrshire' an ancient couple, possessed of this world's gear' sufficient to keep them independent from want or woe, and a canny daughter to bless their gray hair and tottering steps. A gallant' of a farmer became enamored" of the daughter, and she, nothing loth," consented to be his.
3. The match being every way worthy of her, the old folks gave their approval, and as they were desirous to see their child comfortably settled, the two were made one. In a few short years, the scythe of time cut down the old people, and they gave their bodies to the dust, and their souls to the Creator.
4. The young farmer, having heard much of the promised land beyond the sea, gathered together his property, and, selling such as was useless, packed up what was calculated to be of service to him at his new home. Some neighbors, having the same desire for adventure, sold off their homes and homesteads, and, with the young couple, set sail for America.
Scrupulous, (skro' pu lus), care- in the southwest part of Scotland, ful; conscientious. bordering on the sea. "Gear, goods; furniture.
2 Fi děl'i ty,loyalty; faithfulness. 3 Trait, a stroke; a touch; a marked feature or peculiarity.
Căn' ny, skillful; dexterous prudent.
* In'fi dels, unbelievers; persons who deny Christianity and the truth of the Bible.
'Gal lǎnt", a gay or fashionable man; one fond of paying attention to ladies; one who wooes; a lover.
10 En ǎm^ ored, in love with. 11 Loth, reluctant; unwilling.
6 Re põse', place, as in confidence. 'Ayrshire, (år sher), a country