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THE MARRIAGE VOW.
" Look now they come-a mingled crowd,
of bright and dark, but rapid days: Beneaih
them, like a summer cloud,
The wide world changes as ye gaze."--BRYANT. Speak it not lightly !-'tis a holy thing, A bond enduring through long distant years, When joy o'er thine abode is hovering, Or when thine eye is wet with bitterest tears, Recorded by an angel's pen on high, And must be questioned in eternity! Speak it not lightly!-though the young and gay Are thronging round thee now, with tones of mirth Let not the holy promise of to-day Fade like the clouds that with the morn had birth; But ever bright and sacred may it be, Stored in the treasure.cell of memory. Life will not prove a sunshine : there will come Dark hours for all: Oh, will ye, when the night Of sorrow gathers quickly round your home, Love as ye did in times when calm and bright Seemed the sure path ye trod, untouched by care, And in the future like the present, fair? Eyes that beam with health may yet grow dim, And cheeks of rose forget their early glow; Languor and pain assail each active limb, And lay, perchance, some worshipped beauty low; Then, when ye gaze upon the altered brow, And love as fondly, faithfully as now ? Should fortune frown on your defenseless head, Should storms o'ertake your bark on life's dark sea, Fierce tempests rend the sails so gaily spread, When hope her syren strains sang joyously; Will ye look up, though clouds your sky o'ercast And say, "together will we bide the blast.” Age with its silvery locks comes stealing on, And brings the tottering step, the furrowed cheek, The eye from whence each lustrous gleam hath gone, And pale lip, with accents low and weak; Will ye then think upon your life's gay prime, And smiling, bid love triumph over time? Speak it not lightly !--oh! beware, beware'Tis no vain promise, no unmeaning word; Lo!-men and angels lisp the faith ye swear, And by the high and holy One 'tis heard ; Oh! then kneel humbly at his altar now, And pray for strength to keep your marriage vow.
THE BIRDS OF THE BIBLE.
BY REV. H. HARBAUGH.
This Bird of the Bible is tall, slender, and has a long neck and long legs. It is said to measure about three feet from its bill to the end of its tail, about four feet from its head to its toe. It has considerable resemblance to the Stork, both in size and figure. Its plumage is ash color; and it has two large tufts of feathers that spring from the pinions of each wing; these together help to form a somewhat bushy tail, the feathers very much resembling hair, and finely curled at the end. These feathers the bird has the power of erecting or depressing at pleasure ; it was formerly custom to set them in gold, and to wear them as ornaments in caps and bonnets.
This Bird was known early by all the ancients, and it is still common in the East. “When Dr. Chandler was in Asia, about the end of August, he saw cranes flying in vast caravans, passing
high in the air, from Thrace, as he supposed, on their way to Egypt. In the end of March he saw them in Lesser Asia, busily engaged in picking up reptiles, or building their nests.
The ancient writers speak much of the crane. "In describing it,” says Goldsmith, “they have not failed to mix imagination with history. From the policy of the crane, they say, we are to look for an idea of the most perfect republic amongst ourselves; from their tenderness to their decrepid parents, which they take care to nourish, to cherish, and to support when flying, we are to learn lessons of filial piety; but in particular from their conduct in fighting with the pigmies of Ethiopia, we are to receive our maxims in the art of war. In early times, the history of Nature fell to the lot of Poets only, and certainly none could describe it so well; but it is a part of their province to embellish also ; and when this agreeable science was claimed by a more sober class of people, they were obliged to take the accounts of things as they found them; and in the present instance, fable ran down blended with truth to posterity. In these accounts, therefore, there is some foundation of truth; yet much more has been added by fancy. The crane is certainly a very social bird, and they are seldom alone. Their usual method of flying or sitting, is in flocks of fifty or sixty together; and while a part feed, the rest stand like sentinels upon duty. The fable of their supporting their aged parents, may have arisen from their strict connubial affection ; and as for their fighting with the pigmies, it may not be improbable that they have boldly withstood the invasions of monkeys coming to rob their nests.'
The crane gathers much of its food along waters, such as fish, earth-worms, snails, lizards, and various kinds of reptiles. For this purpose Providence has furnished them with long legs to wade, and long bills to fish in shallow waters. It is said, however, that corn is its favorite food. They are thus in some countries hard customers to the husbandman. In the inland parts of the continent of Europe, at the close of Autumn, they cross the country in flocks of sixty to one hundred, on their way from northern regions towards the south, and when a cornfield lies in their way they sometimes descend upon it in the night, "and the husbandman who lies down in joyful expectation, rises in the morning to see his fields entirely laid waste, by an enemy, whose march is too swift for his vengeance to overtake."
The flesh of the crane, though now not prized, was much sought after and highly relished at the tables of the ancients. Plutarch tells us that, in his day, cranes were blinded and kept in coops, where they were fattened, not only for the tables of the nobles in Greece, but also for the feasts of the great at Rome.
“In general it is a peaceful bird, both in its own society, and with respect to those of the forest. Though so large in appearance, a little falcon pursues, and often disables it. The method is, with those who are fond of hawking, to fly several hawks together against it; which the crane endeavors to avoid by flying up perpendicularly, till the air becomes too thin to support it any higher. The hawk, however, still bears it company; and though less fitted for floating in so thin a medium, yet, possessed of greater rapidity, it still gains the ascendancy. They both often rise out of sight; but soon the spectator, who keeps bis eye fixed above, perceives them, like two specks, beginning to appear: they gather on his eye for a little space, and shortly after come tumbling perpendicularly together, with great animosity, on the side of the hawk, and a loud screaming on that of the crane. Thus driven to extremity, and unable to fly, the poor animal throws itself upon its back, and, in that situation, makes a most desperate defense, till the sportsman coming up, generally puts an end to the contest with its life. It was once the barbarous custom to breed up cranes to be thus baited; and young ones were taken from the nest, to be trained up for this cruel diversion."
In flying they soar often at an enormous height; their notes being the loudest of all the birds, are often heard in the clouds when the bird itself is too high up to be seen. In these ærial regions they direct their flight together by their cries, exhorting each other either to proceed or to descend. Though themselves unseen from earth, they have a distinct sight of what lies beneath, and when hungry, a cornfield will soon draw them into sight from out the azure sky.
“Their voice, it was observed, is the loudest of all the feathered tribe; and its peculiar clangor arises from the very extraordinary length and contortion of the windpipe. In quadrupeds the windpipe is short, and the glottis, or cartilages that form the voice, are at that end of it which is next the mouth; in waterfowl, the windpipe is longer, but the cartilages that form the voice are at the other end, which lies down in their belly. By this means they have much louder voices, in proportion to their size, than any other aniffials whatever ; for the note when formed below, is reverberated through all the rings of the windpipe, till it reaches the air. But the voice of the duck or goose is nothing to be compared to that of the crane, whose windpipe is not only made in the same manner with theirs, but is above twenty times as long. Nature seems to have bestowed much pains in lengthening out this organ. From the outside it enters through the flesh into the breast-bone, which has a great cavity within to receive it. There, being thice reflected, it goes out again at the same hole, and so turns down to.the lungs, and thus enters the body a second time, The loud clangorous sound which the bird is thus enabled to produce is, when near, almost deafening; however, it is particularly serviceable to the animal itself, either during its migrations or its stay; by it the flock is encouraged in their journeys; and if, while they are feeding, which is usually performed in profound silence, they are invaded on any side, the bird that first perceives the danger, is sure to sound the alarm, and all are speedily upon the wing.'
It is to the peculiarly loud, harsh scream of the crane, that the prophet refers in Is. 38: 14. “Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter.” The language is eliptical. Taken literally it would indicate that the crane also chatters like the swallow, which is not the case. “The elipsis,” says Paxton, “may be supplied in this manner, 'As a crane, so did I scream ; as a swallow, so did I chatter.' Such a supplement is not, in this instance, forced and unnatural; for it is evidently the design of Hezekiah to say, that he expressed his grief after the manner of these two birds, and therefore suitably to each ; and he uses the verb which properly corresponds only with the last noun, to indicate this design, leaving the reader to supply the verb which corresponds with the other. It is also perfectly agreeable to the manners of the East, where sorrow is expressed sometimes in a low, interrupted voice, and anon in loud continued exclamations. The afflicted monarch, therefore, expressed his extreme grief after the manner of the Orientals, in loud screams like the crane, or in low interrupted murmurings like the swallow.” We find, too, that when grief takes the form of horror, there is a disposition to express it by chattering; and when it is poignant, it finds naturally its expression in a harsh, shrill scream!
One of the most interesting features in the habits of the crane is its migratory propensities. This bird is not a permanent inhabitant any place, or in any climate, but a sojourner in all. “He changes place like a wanderer. He spends the Autumn in Europe; he then flies off, probably to some more southern climate, to enjoy part of the winter; returns to Europe in the spring; crosses up to the north in the summer; visits those lakes that are never dry; and then comes down again to make depredations upon cultivated ground, in autumn.
The migrations of the crane indicate very correctly certain changes in the asmosphere and in the seasons; and on this account their movements were very closely watched by the ancients. A traveler says that in Lesser Asia the return of the crane and the beginning of the bees to work, are considered as a sure sign that the winter is past. When these birds disappeared it was a sure sign that the winter was at the door, and the mariner laid his frail bark snug to shore, and ventured no more out into open seas.
All this the ancients noted. “Stillingfleet has given a quotation from Aristophanes, which is quite appropriate here. The crane points out the time for sowing, when she flieth with her warning notes to Egypt. She bids the sailor hang up his rudder and take his rest, and every prudent man to provide himself with winter garments. On the other hand, the flight of these birds towards the north, proclaimed the approval of spring." They were in a certain sense the prophets of the seasons; their early arrival indicated plenty, their late return foretold scarce times.
These habits in this bird, with these remarks on them, will illustrate that affecting passage in Jer. 8: 7. "Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people know the judgment of the Lord.” This is