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In England and Scotland and it is with these countries we are here concerned - the ballad reached the height of expression in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The wanderer, singing his songs from the immemorial ages, the blind crowder and the court minstrel, became the Homers of the time, recording great and glorious deeds. After the establishment of printing, these songs, gathered from the lips of fireside crones and of men burdened with years and memories, were reduced to form and scattered as literature among the people.
For the ballad, as we are acquainted with it, we are indebted to Allan Ramsay's "Evergreen" and "Tea Table Miscellany," and to Percy's" Reliques." An inestimable service, also, to the lovers of literature of all generations, was rendered by Sir Walter Scott in his characteristic preservation of the ballads of Liddesdale" and "The Forest."
The rhythm of this form is commonly iambic, and consisted originally of lines of twelve or fourteen syllables, or, to be more accurate, of seven accents. In ordinary use the cæsural pause divides the long lines into two, one of four accents and the other of three as in the "Ballad of Chevy Chase," modern version:
5 Percy says the meaning of this line is: "That tear- known ballad, attributed by Dr. Chambers ing or pulling occasioned this spurn or kick."
to Lady Wardlaw," Sir Patrick Spens: "
In modern English versification the influence of the old ballad metre is most strongly shown by Coleridge and Wordsworth. The refrain, as previously noted in " Binnorie," is a striking characteristic of this class of literature, and has been used with effect in such poems as Mrs. Browning's " Rhyme of the Duchess May," Poe's "Raven," and others. This is a repetition of one or more words or lines with each stanza, constituting much of the tone-color and rhythmic beauty of the production. For instance, read carefully, aloud, the ballad of "The Cruel Sister," and note the change of tone-color in the waters of the bonny milldams of Binnorie with the varying experiences of the actors in the drama.
In study of the ballad, the writer of this article would commend the following reading: "Chevy Chase" (original and modern versions), "Sir Patrick Spens," and "The Battle of Otterbourne " for martial movement and simple majesty of diction; "Fair Heien of Kirkconnell " and "Burd Helen " for the beautiful record of woman's love and constancy; the ballads of " Robin Hood and Allan-a-Dale," of "Robin Hood and the Widow's Sons," and others innumerable, for the breezy, joyous life of the fields and the streams and the forests.
There is an indescribable charm in the fresh and joyous life these tales depict. There is health and strength in the air, with its sound of laughter and twanging of bows
health for the brain and for the heart. There is fresh impulse in the very thought of living, with the green boughs rustling above us and the wealth and tenderness of summer over the land.
And now, with all the gladness of these rhythmic songs in our hearts, let us shout together Long live, in memory, the old ballad days!
O" Winding River," fitting name!
So clear the stream reflects the shore,
*The Conewango receives the waters of Chautauqua Lake through "the outlet."
THE MUSIC OF NATURE.
BY C. WILLIAM REEBE.
MONG insects, sounds are produced and a giant species in that country is said to in many ways and for various rea- produce a noise as loud as the whistle of a A species of ant which makes locomotive. The Greeks enjoyed their its nest on the under side of bamboo music, the Latins detested it. Only the leaves, produces a noise by striking the leaf males sing, the females are dumb, and this with its head in a series of spasmodic taps, has given rise to the well-known Grecian and another ant, a Sumatran species, is very couplet: interesting as regards its sound-producing habit. Individuals of this species are sometimes spread over a surface of two square yards, many out of sight of the others; yet the tapping is set up at the same moment, continued exactly the same space of time, and stopped at the same instant. After the lapse of a few seconds, all recommence at the same time. The interval is always about the same duration, and each ant does not beat synchronously with every other ant, but only like those in the same group, so the independent tappings play a sort of tune, each group alike in time, but the tapping of the whole mass beginning and ending exactly at the same instant. This is doubtless a means of communication.
The organ of hearing in insects is still to be discovered in many forms, but in beetles it is situated along the sides of the abdomen, in butterflies on the sides of the thorax, while the tip of the horns or antennæ of many insects is considered to be the seat of this function. In all it is little more than a cavity over which a skin is stretched like a drum-head, which thus reacts to the vibrations. This seems to be very often" tuned," as it were, to the sounds made by the particular species in which it is found. A cricket will at times be unaffected by any sound, however loud, near it, while at the slightest "screek" or chirp of its own species, no matter how faint, it will start its little tune in all excitement.
The songs of cicadas are noted all over the world. Darwin heard them while anchored half a mile off the South American coast,
"Happy the cicadas' lives,
For they all have voiceless wives."
Any person who has entered a wood where myriads of the seventeen-year cicadas were hatching has never forgotten it. A threshing-machine, or a gigantic frog-pond is a fair comparison, and when a branch loaded with these insects is shaken, the sound rises to a shrill screech or scream. This noise is supposed-in fact is definitely known to attract the female insect, and though there may be some tender notes in it which we fail to distinguish, yet let us hope that the absence of any highly-organized auditory organ may result in reducing the effect of a steam-engine whistle to an agreeable whisper. It is thought that the vibrations are felt rather than heard in the sense that we use the word "hear," and if one has ever had a cicada "zizz" in one's hand, the electrical shocks which seem to go up the arm help the belief in this idea. To many of us the song of the cicada-softened by distance - will ever be agreeable on account of associations. When one attempts to picture a hot August day in a hay-field or along a dusty road, the drowsy "z-ing" of this insect, growing louder and more accelerated and then as gradually dying away, is a focus for the mind's eye, around which the other details instantly group themselves.
The apparatus for producing this sound is one of the most complex in all the animal kingdom. In brief, it consists of two external doors, capable of being partly opened, and three internal membranes, to one of which is attached a vibrating muscle, which,
put in motion, sets all the others vibrating not how far beyond the scale limits which in unison. affect our ears. Some creatures utter noises so shrill, so sharp, that it pains our ears to listen to them, and these are probably on the borderland of our sound-world.
We attach a great deal of importance to the fact of being educated to the appreciation of the highest class of music. We applaud our Paderewski, and year after year are awed and delighted with wonderful operatic music, yet seldom is the limitation of human perception of musical sounds thought of.
If we wish to appreciate the limits within which the human ear is capable of distinguishing sounds, we should sit down in a meadow, some hot midsummer day, and listen to the subdued, running murmur of the myriads of insects. Many are very distinct to our ears and we have little trouble in tracing them to their source. Such are crickets and grasshoppers, which fiddle and rasp their roughened hind legs against their wings. Some butterflies have the power of making a sharp crackling sound by means of hooks on the wings. The katydid, so annoying to some in its persistent ditty, so full of reminiscences to others of us, is a large, green, fiddling grasshopper.
Another sound which is typical of summer is the hum of insect wings, sometimes, as near a beehive, rising to a subdued roar. The higher, thinner song of the mosquito's wing is familiar to us, and we must remember that the varying tone of the hum of each species may be of the greatest importance to it, as a means of recognition. Many beetles have a projecting horn on the under side of the body which they can snap against another projection, and by this means call their lady-loves, literally "playing the bones," as a minstrel.
Leaving the insects and coming to the higher animals, we can take only a glance at some of the more important. Throughout all the depths of the sea, silence, as well as absolute darkness, prevails. The sun penetrates only a short distance below the surface, at most a few hundred feet, and all disturbance from storms ceases far above that depth. Where the pressure is a ton or more to the square inch, it is very evident that no sound vibration can exist. Near the surface it is otherwise. The majority of fishes have no lungs and of course no vocal chords, but certain species, such as the drumfish, are able to distend certain sacs with gas or air, or in other ways produce sounds and "grunt." One variety succeeds in producing a variety of sounds by gritting the teeth, and when the male fish is attempting to charm the female by dashing around her, spreading his fins to display his brilliant colors, this gritting of the teeth holds a prominent place in the performance, although whether the fair finny one makes her choice because she prefers a high-toned grit instead of a lower can only be imagined! But vibrations, whether of sound or only of water pressure, are easily carried near the surface, and fishes are provided with organs to receive and record them. One class of such organs has little in common with ears, as we speak of them; they are merely points on the head and body susceptible to the watery vibrations. These points are minute cavities, surrounded with tiny cilia or hairs, which connect with the ends of the nerves.
The ears of frogs and all higher animals are, like the tongue-bone and the lower jaw, derived originally from portions of gills, which the aquatic ancestors of living animals used to draw oxygen from the water. This is one of the most wonderful and interesting changes which the study of evolution has unfolded to our knowledge.
The disproportionate voices are produced
by means of an extra amount of skin on the throat which is distensible, and acts as a drum to increase the volume of sound. In certain bull-frogs which grow to be as large as the head of a man, the bellowing power is deafening and is audible for miles. In Chili a small species of frog, measuring only about an inch in length, has two internal vocal sacs which are put to a unique use. Water is very scarce where these frogs live and the polywogs have no chance to live and develop in pools as is ordinarily the case. So when the eggs are laid, they are immediately taken by the male frog and placed in these capacious sacs, which serve as nurseries for them all through their hatching and growing period of life. Although there is no water in these chambers, yet their gills grow out and are reabsorbed, just as in many ordinary tadpoles. When their legs are fully developed, they clamber up to their father's broad mouth and get their first glimpse of the great world from his lower lip. When fifteen partly developed polywogs are found in the pouches of one little frog, he looks as if he had gorged himself to bursting with tadpoles. To such curious uses may vocal organs be put.
Turtles are voiceless except at the period of laying eggs, when they acquire a voice, which even in the largest is very tiny and piping, like some very small insect rather than a two-hundred-pound tortoise. Some of the lizards utter shrill, insect-like squeaks.
Great fear of death will often cause an animal to utter sounds which are different from those produced under any other conditions. When an elephant is angry or excited his trumpeting is terribly loud and shrill, but when a mother elephant is talking to her child, while the same sonorous, metallic quality is present, yet it is wonderfully softened and modulated. A horse is a good example of what the fear of death will do. The ordinary neigh of a horse is very familiar, but in battle when mortally wounded or having lost its master and being terribly frightened, a horse will scream, and those who have heard it say it is more awful than the cries of pain of a human being.
A species of gecko, a small brilliantlycolored lizard, has the back of its tail armed with plates. These it has a habit of rubbing together, and by this means produces a shrill chirruping sound, which actually attracts crickets and grasshoppers toward the noise so that they become an easy prey to this ingenious trapper. So in color, sound, motion, and many other ways, animals act and Deer and elk often surprise one by the react upon each other, a useful and necessary peculiar sounds which they produce. An habit being perverted by an enemy, so that elk can bellow loudly, especially when fightthe death of the creature results. Yet it ing, but when members of a herd call to would never be claimed that the lizard each other, or when surprised by some unthought out this mimicking. It probably usual appearance, they whistle-a sudden, found that certain actions resulted in the sharp whistle, like the tin mouthpieces with
approach of good dinners, and in its offspring this action might be partly inherited, and each generation would perpetuate it. If it had been an intentional act, other nearly related species of lizards would imitate it, as soon as they perceived the success which attended it.
That all animals have a kind of language is nowadays admitted to be a truism, but this is more evident among mammals and birds, and, reviewing the classes of the former, we find a more or less defined ascending complexity and increased number, of varying sounds as we pass from the lower forms, kangaroos, moles, etc., to the higher herb-and-flesh-eaters, and particularly mon
Squeaks and grunts constitute the vocabulary, if we dignify it by that name, of the lower mammals. The sloths, those curious animals whose entire life is spent clinging to the under side of branches on whose leaves they feed, are unable to utter a sound. Even when being torn to pieces by some wild-cat, they offer no resistance, and emit no sound, but fold their claws around their body and submit to the inevitable.