The Pheasant, pp.130-131.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

THE name of this bird implies that he was originally a native of the banks of the river Phasis in Armenia; how and when he emigrated and began to haunt our groves, is unknown. The colour of this half domesticated fowl is very beautiful, uniting the brightness of deep yellow gold to the finest tints of ruby and turquoise, with reflections of green; the whole being set off by several spots of shining black; but, as in every other kind of well painted birds, nature has, for some wise purposes yet unknown to us, denied the female that admirable beauty of plumage. The pheasant lives in the woods which he leaves at dusk to perambulate corn fields and other sequestered places, where he feeds, with his females, upon acorns, berries, grains, and seeds of plants, but chiefly on ants’ eggs, of which he is particularly fond. His flesh is justly accounted better meat than any of the domestic or wild fowls, as it unites the delicacy of the common chicken to a peculiar taste of its own. The female lays eighteen or twenty eggs once a year, in the wild state, and it is in vain that we have attempted to domesticate this bird entirely, as he never will remain confined, and, if he ever breed in confinement, is very careless of his brood. This beautiful bird is elegantly described in the following passage:- 

See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs, 

And mounts exulting on triumphant wings; 

Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound, 

Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground; 

Ah! what avails his glossy, varying dyes; 

His purple crest, his scarlet circled eyes, 

The vivid green bis shining plumes unfold, 

His painted wings and breast that fames with gold! 

———————————————————–POPE’S WINDSOR FOREST. 

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