The Natural History of Selborne
Constable and Company, 1829 - 343 pages
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able abound advance animal appear attention autumn become begin birds breed build called common continued curious discovered district doubt eggs examine fall feeding feet female fields flocks forest former four frequently frost garden ground half haunt head house-martins hundred inches insects kind known late least leave legs letter live manner March matter means mentioned middle migration month morning natural nest never night observed once particular perhaps person plants probably procured rain remarkable retire season seems seen Selborne severe short side sing snow sometimes soon sort species spring strange summer suppose swallow swifts tail taken till tion torpid trees turn usually vast village walls weather week whole wild wings winter wonder woods young
Page 65 - 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.
Page 318 - Less than archangel ruined, and the excess Of glory obscured ; as when the sun, new risen, Looks through the horizontal misty air Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs.
Page 76 - Amusive birds ! say where your hid retreat, When the frost rages and the tempests beat ? Whence your return, by such nice instinct led, When Spring, soft season, lifts her bloomy head? Such baffled searches mock man's prying pride, The God of Nature is your secret guide!
Page 217 - ... seldom failing to strip them with the nicest regularity. When these junci are thus far prepared, they must lie out on the grass to be bleached, and take the dew for some nights, and afterwards be dried in the sun.
Page 224 - Into the body of the tree a deep hole was bored with an auger, and a poor devoted shrew-mouse was thrust in alive, and plugged in, no doubt, with several quaint incantations long since forgotten. As the ceremonies necessary for such a consecration are no longer understood, all succession is at an end, and no such tree is known to subsist in the manor or hundred. As to that on the Plestor, " The late Vicar stubb'd and burnt it...
Page 236 - 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 and twigs 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...
Page 2 - 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.
Page 166 - Nothing can be more assiduous than this creature night and day in scooping the earth and forcing its great body Into the cavity; but, as the noons of that season proved unusually warm and sunny, it was continually interrupted, and called forth, by the heat in the middle of the day; and though I continued there till the 13th of November, yet the work remained unfinished.
Page 259 - There is a peculiarity belonging to ravens that must draw the attention even of the most incurious — they spend all their leisure time in striking and cuffing each other on the wing in a kind of playful skirmish; and when they move from one place to another, frequently turn on their backs with a loud croak, and seem to be falling to the ground. When this odd gesture betides them, they are scratching themselves with one foot, and thus lose the centre of gravity.
Page 4 - ... 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.