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compass and variety, is only second to the nightingale. The nightingale also sings with judgment and taste. Mr. Barrington says, that his nightingale began softly, like the ancient orators, reserving its breath to swell certain notes, which thus had a most astonishing effect. He adds, that the notes of birds which are annually imported from Asia, Africa, and America, both singly and in concert, are not to be compared to those of European birds. He has also formed a table, to exhibit the comparative merits of the British singing birds; wherein twenty being the point of perfection, he states the nightingale at nineteen; the woodlark and skylark at eighteen; the blackcap at fourteen; the titlark, linnet, goldfinch, and robin, at twelve; with some variations respecting mellowness, sprightliness, execution, &c. for which, with the proportional differences of other birds, we refer to his work.
We cannot resist the temptation to insert the following well
THE HONEY BEE.
10 their delicious task the fervent bees,
What various wonders may observers see
Through the whole frame, what beauty, what design! Blackmore
THIS important insect has been long and justly celebrated for its wonderful polity, the neatness and precision with which it constructs its cells, and the diligence with which it provides during the warmth of summer, a supply of food for the sup port of the hive during the rigours of the succeeding winter. The general history of this interesting insect has been amply detailed by various authors, as Swammerdam, Reaumur, &c. &c Among the most elaborate accounts of later times, may be mentioned that of Mr. John Hunter, which made its appearance in the Philosophical Transactions for the year 1792;
and that of M. Huber, contained in his Nouvelles Observa tions sur les Abeilles, addressed to M. Bonnet, the celebrated author of the " Contemplations de la Nature." The following a count drawr principally from Hunter and Huber.
There are three periods, observes Hunter, at which the history of the bee may commence: first, in the spring, when the queen begins to lay her eggs; in the summer, at the commencement of a new colony; or in the autumn, when they go into winter-quarters. We shall begin the particular history of the bee with the new colony, when nothing is formed. When a hive sends off a colony, it is commonly in the month of June; but that will vary according to the season, for, in a mild spring, bees sometimes swarm in the middle of May, and very often at the latter end of it. Before they come off, they commonly hang about the mouth of the hole or door of the hive for some days, as if they had not sufficient room within for such hot weather, which we believe is very much the case; for if cold or wet weather come on, they stow themselves very well, and wait for fine weather. But swarming appears to be rather an operation arising from necessity; for they do not seem to remove voluntarily, because if they have an empty space to fill, they do not swarm; therefore, by increasing the size of the hive, the swarming is prevented. This period is much longer in some than in others. For some evenings before they come off, is often heard a singular noise, a kind of ring, or sound of a small trumpet; by comparing it with the notes of a piano-forte, it seemed to be the same sound with the lower A of the treble. The swarm commonly consists of three classes; a female or females, males, and those commonly called mules, which are supposed to be of no sex, and are the labourers; the whole, about two quarts in bulk, making about six or seven thousand. It is a question that cannot easily be determined, whether this old stock sends off only young of the same season, and whether the whole of their young ones, or only a part.
As the males are entirely bred in the same season, part go off; but part must stay, and most probably it is so with the others. They commonly come off in the heat of the day, often immediately after a shower. When one goes off, they all immediately follow, and fly about, seemingly in great confusion, although there is one principle actuating the whole. They soon appear to be directed to some fixed place; such as the branch of a tree or bush, the cavities of old trees, or holes of houses leading into some hollow place; and wherever the stand is made, they immediately repair to it till they are all collected But it would seem, in some cases, that they had not fixed upon any resting-place before they come off, or, it they had, that they were either disturbed, if it was near, or