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The Turtle Dove, pp.142-143.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

BRINGS to the heart and mind recollections of the most pleasing kind; the name is nearly synonimous with faithfulness and unvariable affection. The male or female is so much attached to the respective mate that it is said, perhaps with more emphasis than truth, that if one dies the other will never survive: however the author of these observations was an eye witness, that a female Turtle Dove, having been unfortunately killed by a spaniel in the absence of the male, the disconsolate survivor, after having searched in vain all places where he might find his mate, came and melancholily perched upon the wonted trough, waiting patiently for her to repair there in order to get food; but after two days of unavailing expectation, he, by spontaneous abstinence, pined and died on the place. These examples are not common, and we believe that, when not domesticated, the appearance of another female in the time of coupling, sets at defiance all natural propensity to constancy, and puts an end to the much famed widowhood. The general colour of this bird is a bluish grey; the breast and neck of a kind of whitish purple, with a ringlet of beautiful white feathers with black edges about the sides of the neck. Nothing can express the sensation which is excited in a feeling mind when the tender and sweetly plaintive notes of the Turtle Dove breathe from the grove a beautiful spring evening; it is the very harmony of the heart. Dryden says, after Virgil, Ecl. I. 59. 

“Stock Doves and Turtles tell their am’rous pain, 

And from the lofty elms, of love complain.” 

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