Goin’ Buggy

Image from the iPhone Wallpaper website.

FLY BITTEN.

Of all the plagues hot Summer brings,
Whether they wear legs or wings,
The little wretch that closest clings,
The thing that most your patience wings,
Is the nasty little fly.

He sticks to your flesh, he hums in your ear,
Is drowned in your milk, your tea, your beer;
You chase him away, in a trice he is here;
No goblin sprite can so quickly appear
As your plaguey, dirty fly.

Volumes of words of objurgation,
Alps on Alps of vituperation,
Alphabets of illiteration.
And hate enough to kill a nation,
For the ugly and useless fly.

They say each creature hath its use;
Not so ! rely on’t ’tis a ruse,
Invented only to confuse,
And take away the sole excuse
To leave on earth one fly!

Why didn’t old Pharaoh make a trade,
And agree, if their ghosts forever were laid,
He’d strike a good bargain as ever was made
And let every Israelite, man or maid,
Go, to rid earth of the fly!

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 29, 1871

Image from Ennirol on Flickr

MUSICAL INSECTS.

The Notes Produced by the House-Fly the Bee and the Mosquito.

Poets have frequently alluded to the “busy hum of insect life,” and its harmonious murmur adds a dreamy charm to summer’s golden days. Naturalists have afforded us much interesting information as to the means whereby these tiny morsels of creation produce distinctive sounds, and musicians have succeeded in transferring to paper the actual notes to which they give utterance. The song of birds has been often utilized by musicians, even Beethoven having so far pandered to a taste for realism as to simulate (and that in masterly fashion) the utterances of the quail, cuckoo and nightingale in his Pastoral Symphony [YouTube link]. Mendelssohn, too, has idealized insect life in his “Midsummer Night’s Dream”   [YouTube link]   music.

From researches recently made it has been discovered that the cricket’s chant consists of a perpetually-recurring series of triplets in B natural, whereas the “death watch” a series of B flats duple rhythm extending over one measure and an eighth. The female indulges in precisely the same musical outbursts one minor third lower. The whirr of the locust is produced by the action of muscles set in motion by the insect when drawing air into its breathing holes, and which contract and relax alternately a pair of drums formed of convex pieces of parchment-like skin lodged in cavities of the body.

The male grasshopper is an “animated fiddle.” Its long and narrow wings placed obliquely meet at the upper edges and form a roof-like covering. On each side of the body is a deep incision covered with a thin piece of tightly drawn skin, the two forming natural “sounding boards.” When the insect desires to exercise its musical functions, it bends the shank of one hind leg behind the thigh, and then draws the leg backward and forward across the edges and veins of the wing cover. The sound produced by the motion of its wings, the vibrations of which amount, incredible as it may appear, to nearly twenty thousand in the minute. The actual note heard is F.

The honey bee, with half the number of vibrations, causes by similar means a sound one octave lower, and the ponderous flight of the May bug originates a note an octave lower than the bee. It is interesting to add that the popular mosquito is responsible for the production of A-natural when wooing her victim in the otherwise silent watches of the summer night. — Boston Musical Herald.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jun 20, 1889

Image from www.ponderstorm.com

GRASSHOPPER GREEN.

Grasshopper Green is a comical chap,
He lives on the best of fare;
Bright little jacket and trousers and cap,
These are his summer wear.
Out in the meadow he loves to go,
Playing away in the sun,
It’s hopperty, skipperty, high and low,
Summer’s the time for fun.

Grasshopper Green has a dozen wee boys,
And as soon as their legs grow strong,
Each of them joins in his frolicsome joys,
Singing his merry song.
Under the hedge in  a happy row,
Soon as the day is begun,
It’s hopperty, skipperty, high and low,
Summer’s the time for fun.

Grasshopper Green has a quaint little house,
It’s under the hedge so gay,
Grandmother Spider, as still as a mouse,
Watches him over the way.
Gladly he’s calling the children, I know,
Out in the beautiful sun.
It’s hopperty, skipperty, high and low,
Summer’s the time for fun.

–Anonymous.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jun 28, 1900

Image from Rabbit Runn Designs website

A LITTLE INCIDENT.

The air is still, the sky is bright,
Clear flows the shining river,
Yet all around the hills are white —
The sunbeams seem to shiver.

‘Tis winter, wearing summer’s smile
And aping summer’s gladness,
Like human faces, smiling while
The heart is full of sadness.

Now from its hive creeps forth a bee,
Lured by the treacherous brightness;
It spreads its wings as if to see
They still had strength and lightness.

Away it flies, with noisy hum,
To seek a field of clover.
Poor insect; while all nature’s dumb,
A worker, though a rover.

A cloud has drifted o’er the sun,
Its radiance all obscuring,
And through the air a chill has run,
A touch of frost ensuring.

The bee has fallen, cold and dead,
Again, its wings will never
Fold o’er the purple clover’s head;
Hushed is its hum forever.

Weekly Reno Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Feb 19, 1880

Oh! the June bug’s wings are made of gauze,
The lightning bug’s of flame —
Ben Harrison has no wings at all,
But he’ll get “thar” all the same.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Aug 29, 1888

Firefly from The Lonely Firefly Literature Lesson

Two Irishmen, just landed in America, were encamped on the open plain. In the evening they retired to rest, and were soon attacked by swarms of mosquitoes.

They took refuge under the bed clothes. At last one of them ventured to peep out, and seeing a firefly, exclaimed in tones of terror:

“Mickey, it’s no use; there’s one of the craythers searchin’ for us wid a lantern.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) May 22, 1897

A Mosquito’s Meditation.

“Did anybody ever see such an ungrateful wretch?” sang a Mosquito, who had been vocalizing to the best of her ability for a good half-hour for the sole benefit of the Man who lay in his bed.

“Here I’ve been trying my best to entertain this ingrate with my choicest selections, and all the thanks I get is a cuff on the ear. Why doesn’t the fool lie still? If he had any music in his soul, he’d soon be wafted into dreamland. But, no; he must toss his arms about like a windmill — Ah! you didn’t do it that time, old fellow!

I’ll pay you for that by-and-by. You need bleeding badly, my friend; you’re in a dreadfully feverish condition. And yet, it is almost too good of me to doctor you for nothing. Where would you find any of your men-physicians who would treat you without charging you a heavy fee?

Hark! He’s snoring, as I’m alive!

Now, old chappie, I’ll have my supper.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 30, 1885

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: