He wasstrongly bent to get me a woman of my own size, by whom I mightpropagate the breed: but I think I should rather have died thanundergone the disgrace of leaving a posterity to be kept in cages,like tame canary-birds, and perhaps, in time, sold about thekingdom, to persons of quality, for curiosities.
In this memorable year ’95, a curious and incongruous succession of cases had engaged his attention, ranging from his famous investigation of the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca—an inquiry which was carried out by him at the express desire of His Holiness the Pope—down to his arrest of Wilson, the notorious canary-trainer, which removed a plague-spot from the East End of London.
FROM THE POEM ENTITLED “SPRING” BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMESThe bluebird, breathing from his azure plumes The fragrance borrowed from the myrtle blooms; The thrush, poor wanderer, dropping meekly down, Clad in his remnant of autumnal brown; The oriole, drifting like a flake of fire Rent by a whirlwind from a blazing spire; The robin, jerking his spasmodic throat, Repeats imperious, his staccato note; The crack-brained bobolink courts his crazy mate, Poised on a bullrush tipsy with his weight: Nay, in his cage the lone canary sings, Feels the soft air, and spreads his idle wings.
They put out to sea to the west and found the Canary Isles, Madeira, and the Azores.
At the mouth of a hole cut in the trunk of a dragon tree, there swarmed thousands of these ingenious insects so common to all the Canary Islands, where their output is especially prized.
My Canary Bird Did we count great, O soul, to penetrate the themes of mighty books, Absorbing deep and full from thoughts, plays, speculations?