Alps And Sanctuaries Of Piedmont And The Canton Ticino By Samuel Butler

 -   It is easily tamed, and becomes very much
attached to its master and mistress, but it is apt to die - Page 204
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It Is Easily Tamed, And Becomes Very Much Attached To Its Master And Mistress, But It Is Apt To Die In Confinement Before Very Long.

It fights all others of its own species; it is now a rare bird, and is doomed, I fear, ere long to extinction, to the regret of all who have had the pleasure of its acquaintance.

The Italians are very fond of them, and Professor Vela told me they will even act like a house dog and set up a cry if any strangers come. The one I saw flew instantly at my finger when I put it near its cage, but I was not sure whether it did so in anger or play. I thought it liked being listened to, and as long as it chose to sing I was delighted to stay, whereas as a general rule I want singing birds to leave off. {32}

People say the nightingale's song is so beautiful; I am ashamed to own it, but I do not like it. It does not use the diatonic scale. A bird should either make no attempt to sing in tune, or it should succeed in doing so. Larks are Wordsworth, and as for canaries, I would almost sooner hear a pig having its nose ringed, or the grinding of an axe. Cuckoos are all right; they sing in tune. Rooks are lovely; they do not pretend to tune. Seagulls again, and the plaintive creatures that pity themselves on moorlands, as the plover and the curlew, or the birds that lift up their voices and cry at eventide when there is an eager air blowing upon the mountains and the last yellow in the sky is fading - I have no words with which to praise the music of these people.

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