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The Mackarel, p.261.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS taken and well known in all parts of the world. It is usually about a foot in length, or more; the body is thick, firm, and fleshy, slender towards the tail; the snout sharp, the tail forked, the back of a lovely green, beautifully speckled, or, as it were, painted with black strokes; the belly is of a silvery colour, reflecting, as well as the sides, the most elegant tints, imitating the opal and the mother of pearl. Nothing can be more interesting and pleasing to the eye than to see them, just caught, brought to shore by the fishermen, and spread, with all their radiancy, upon the pebbles of the beach, at the first rays of the rising sun; but they are no sooner taken out of their element than they die; the following lines allude to this peculiarity: 

When motionless he lies flat on the strand, 

Ah! what avails, that Nature’s skilful hand 

Had deck’d his glossy cheeks with silv’ry light, 

Mix’d to the changing hues of opal bright; 

That on his back, with sable ribbands grac’d, 

His native waves seem curiously trac’d, 

That, chas’d in purest gold, his sparkling eyes 

Reflect the moving features of the skies; 

If vital air supplies him not with breath, 

And what gives life to others, gives him death? 


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