by ways and bird notes

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: TANGLE-LEAF PAPERS. I. In the season of nest-building, which is also the season of song-singing, the by-ways of American rural districts offer many attractions to the student of nature, and especially to the student who hopes to turn his discoveries to account in any field of art. Of mere descriptive matter, so far as it may go in literature, and of mere conventionalization, so far as decorative drawing and painting are concerned, the most that was ever possible has, probably, already been done ; but the higher forms of art, which we have agreed to call creative, must get the germs of all new combinations from the suggestions of nature. I often have thought that even criticism in our country would have more virility in it if the critics had more time and more inclination to study nature outside of cities and greenhouses. How can Wordsworth be studied with true critical insight by one who but vaguely remembers the outlines of the woods and fields, the shady lanes, and the fine aerial effects of hilly landscape ? When one with open eyes and ears goes out into the unshorn ways of nature in the creative season—spring—the fine fervor at work in birds, and trees, and plants, in the air, the earth, and the water, is so manifest that one cannot doubt that some subtle element of originality is easily obtainable therefrom by infection. Of course one must be susceptible to the most delicate shades of influence in order to get the values of nature. Even the photograph is to be caught on no plate save the most sensitive. The other day, when I told a friend that I had discovered that the mocking-bird never tries to imitate the cooing of a dove, he said, " Why, every one knew that long ago."— " Show me the record," I demanded ; but he could not. " Well, what good can come of your disco... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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