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BIRDS FROM A CITY ROOF I laid down my book and listened. It was only the choking gurgle of a broken rain-pipe outside: then it was the ripple and swish of a meadow stream. To make out the voices of redwings and marsh-wrens in the rasping notes of the city sparrows behind the shutter required much more imagination. But I did it. I wanted to hear, and the splash of the water helped me. The sounds of wind and water are the same everywhere.... more...

HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT FOR "BIRD DAY" In the spring of 1894 the writer's attention was attracted to the interest of the children in that part of their nature study which related to birds. Their descriptions of the appearance and habits of the birds they had observed were given with evident pleasure. They had a strong desire to tell what they had seen, not in the spirit of rivalry, but with the wish of adding to the knowledge of a subject in... more...

I THE YOUNG MAN AND THE WORLD Be honest with the world and the world will be honest with you. This is the fundamental truth of all real prosperity and happiness. For the purposes of every man's daily affairs, all other maxims are to this central verity as the branches of a tree to its rooted trunk. The world will be honest with you whether you are honest with it or not. You cannot trick it—remember that. If you try it, the world will... more...

Consciously or unconsciously we are influenced by the characters we admire. A book that exerts a deep as well as a wide influence must produce changes in the reader's way of thinking, and excite him to activity; the world for him can never be quite the same that it was before. Such books have an important part in moulding the character of a people. It is because the books represented in this volume have been doing just that for many years that... more...

Is there anything whereof it may be said,See, this is new!It hath been already of old time,Which was before us.There is no remembrance of former things;Neither shall there be any remembranceOf things that are to comeWith those that shall come after. In these days, when all things and memories of the past are at length become not only subservient to, but submerged by, the matters and needs of the immediate present, those paths of knowledge that... more...


Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. —Edgar Poe.   golden censer swings in the Temple of Life, making holy its halls and grateful its corridors. This fountain of our well-being is Duty. There is little true pleasure in the world which does not flow, either directly or remotely, from its depths. It shall be the object of this volume to point... more...

CHAPTER I Olive. A long, wide, and smoothly macadamized road stretched itself from the considerable town of Glenford onward and northward toward a gap in the distant mountains. It did not run through a level country, but rose and fell as if it had been a line of seaweed upon the long swells of the ocean. Upon elevated points upon this road, farm lands and forests could be seen extending in every direction. But there was nothing in the landscape... more...

THE CURTAIN LIFTED. Pride of city is natural to men, in all times, if they live or have lived in a metropolis noted for dignity or prowess. Cæsar boasted of his native Rome; Lycurgus of Sparta; Virgil of Andes; Demosthenes of Athens; Archimedes of Syracuse; and Paul of Tarsus. I should suspect a man of base-heartedness who carried about with him no feeling of complacency in regard to the place of his residence; who gloried not in its arts,... more...

THE APPEAL If there is any virtue in advertisements—and a journalist should be the last person to say that there is not—the American nation is rapidly reaching a state of physical efficiency of which the world has probably not seen the like since Sparta. In all the American newspapers and all the American monthlies are innumerable illustrated announcements of "physical-culture specialists," who guarantee to make all the organs of the... more...

THE DAFFODILS By William Wordsworth I wandered lonely as a cloudThat floats on high o’er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,—A host of golden daffodilsBeside the lake, beneath the trees,Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shineAnd twinkle on the Milky Way,They stretched in never-ending lineAlong the margin of a bay:Ten thousand saw I, at a glance,Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.... more...