The familiar birds and butterflies linger below with them, and in the upper and more sacred depths the wood-thrush chants his litany and the brown mountain butterflies hover among the scented vines. Higher yet rises the "Rattlesnake Ledge," spreading over one side of the summit a black avalanche of broken rock, now overgrown with reindeer-moss and filled with tufts of the smaller wild geranium.
Indeed, it is well demonstrated by our American ooelogist, Dr. Brewer, that the eggs of the Cat-Bird affiliate him with the Robin and the Wood-Thrush, all three being widely separated in this respect from the Red Thrush.
"I," said Naepor, "have watched him catch a butterfly and, holding it uncrushed, walk into a wood, and have seen a woodthrush flutter down to him, take the butterfly from his fingers, speed away with it to feed its young and presently return to his empty hand, as if expecting another insect, perch on his hand, peck at it and remain some time; and there is no song-bird more fearful of mankind, more aloof, more retiring, more secret than a wood-thrush."
The peaceful village lit up by the sun's level rays seemed the one bright spot in the whole landscape, the rest having been veiled in a soft tint of transparent gray. It was remarkably silent. Only the wood-thrush poured forth her serene notes, seeming miles away. No sound of lowing cattle or bleating sheep came from the pasture lands; no shout of farmer lads doing their evening chores.
When one is in a thoughtful mood, the songs of the Wood-Thrush and the Veery surpass all others on their delightful influence; and when I am strolling in the solitary pastures, it seems to me that nothing can exceed the simple melody of the Wood-Sparrow.
The clear piping of a wood-thrush rose far away, a tear started between her half-closed lashes and she might have gone to weeping silently, had her ear not caught the sound of something moving below her. Some one was coming that way, so she brushed her eyes swiftly with her handkerchief and stood upright against the tree.
Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure, as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw. There are some intervals which border the strain of the wood-thrush, to which I would migrate, wild lands where no settler has squatted; to which, methinks, I am already acclimated.
His countenance had an April pensiveness about it; you would never have guessed that he could write of owls so jocosely. His manner was such as to suggest that he could mope and weep with them. I never crossed an airy hill or broad field in Concord, without thinking of him who had been the companion of space as well as of delicacy; the lover of the wood-thrush, as well as of the Indian.
One might quote pages of rhapsody from poets and prose writers, yet to him who has not drunk of the enchantment, they would be but words; they would touch no chord that had not already been thrilled by the marvelous strain itself. My first acquaintance in the beautiful family was the wood-thrush, and the study of his charms of voice and character filled me with love for the whole bird tribe.
The season before, a red squirrel had harried the nest of a wood-thrush in this same tree, and I was apprehensive that he would serve the fly-catchers the same trick; so, as I sat with my book in a summer-house near by, I kept my loaded gun within easy reach. One egg was laid, and the next morning, as I made my daily inspection of the nest, only a fragment of its empty shell was to be found.