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remains unchanged, has agreed to return to
her home, in the darker regions.

This explanation being given, the little
king, resuming the form of a nightingale,
flies out of the mouth of the speaker, who at
once resolves himself into a number of eagles.
In this transformation there is nothing supernatural.
The inhabitants of tlie brighter
regions of the sun are endowed with such a
strong imagination, aud with such a subtle
frame, that the latter is completely under
the rule of the former, which arranges every
material particle at pleasure. What can be
more natural?

By following the course of the eagles,
Cyrano at last finds himself in the Land of
Birds, which is situated in the darker part of
the sun. Here he is made prisoner by the;
feathered inhabitants, and tried, as a member;
of the human race, so long notorious for its
cruelty to birds. The strong opinion
entertained in this country of the inferiority of
man, allows the author an opportunity of;
indulging in that species of cynicism which
afterwards found its most odious expression
in Gulliver's description of the Yahoos.
"If man," says a philosophical bird, " was an
animal only a little more similar to ourselves,
something might be said. But nothing could
be more dissimilar; and he is, besides, the
ugliest of creatures,—a beast without a
natural coat, a plucked bird; in a word, a
chimera, formed by an amalgamation of every
species of being, and alike repugnant to them
all.  Man, forsooth!  A creature so foolish
and so vain, as to persuade himself that we
were made for his use! Man, who, with his
penetrating intellect, cannot distinguish
between sugar and arsenic, and who will
swallow hemlock, which his acute judgment
has made him take for parsley!  Man,
who contends that reasoning cannot be
carried on without the aid of the senses, and
who, nevertheless, has senses weaker, slower,
and more fallacious than those of any creature
whatever!  Man, in fine, whom Nature,
in her universality, has created as a monster,
and into whom she has, moreover, infused the
ambition of ruling all other animals!"

At the suggestion of a friendly magpie,
who recollects the savoury cheeses she used
to eat when dwelling in the habitations of
man, Cyrano attempts to persuade his judges
that he is an ape. He is at once consigned
to the care of certain officers, who are
required to examine into the truth of this
allegation. A number of birds, with
nutshells on their heads, go through all sorts of
fantastic antics in his presence, and at last
disappear altogether, without giving any
explanation of their eccentricities. When
the trial is resumed, their object becomes
but too evident. The officers report that
various tricks have been played before the
prisoner, which he would certainly have
imitated if he had been an ape; but, that
as he did not imitate them, he is clearly
not above the condition of humanity. After
much pleading, he is condemned to be
devoured by insects, and, on arriving at the
place of execution, is held fast to a tree by
four herons, who twist their long necks about
his arms and legs. However, just at the
critical moment, two turtle-doves bring the
welcome news of a pardon, and he is carried
into the presence of the king on the back of a
white ostrich. A parrot, whom he once set
at liberty in France, and in whose presence
he has often maintained the opinion that
birds were rational beings, has recognised
him, and has reported these favourable facts
to the king. Hence, life and liberty are
immediately accorded. The government of the
birds is altogether of a mild character. The
royal dignity popularly assigned to the eagle
is a mere human blunder. The most pacific
birds are alone entrusted with the sovereign
power, and, during the period of Cyrano's
visit, the reigning monarch is a dove.

When he quits the land of birds, the book
completely changes its character. He finds
himself, in the first place, in a wood of talking
trees, sprung from an acorn, which, ages
before, was brought by an eagle from Dodona,
and hears an origin of love which may
remind the erudite of the theory assigned to
Aristophanes in the Symposium of Plato.
Then he comes to five fountains, which represent
the five senses, and supply three rivers,
called, Memory, Judgment, and Imagination,
evidently after the division of Bacon.
There is also a land of philosophers; for the
choicer spirits of humanity have their appointed
residences in the sun; and the newest
arrival is that of M. Descartes.

An ingenious tale of wonder has thus
degenerated into a frigid allegory; hence the
reader is not sorry when the travels of
Cyrano abruptly terminate with his introduction
to the great thinker of France.

Now ready, in Twenty-eight pages, stitched, Price Fourpence, THE HOUSHOLD WORDS ALMANAC FOR THE YEAR 1857.

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