Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

SIGHT. 
181 
illustration. Shells, besides their brilliant tints, have curved 
or spiral forms, and many, like pecten and scalaria, are 
fluted or crenated. Some have coloured bands regularly 
arranged ; others exhibit in their lips the most dainty pink 
or violet. A few are delicately transparent ; they taper to 
the finest point, and astonish us by the minuteness and 
elegance of their workmanship: these depend for effect 
mainly upon form, symmetry, and variety. Oyster-shells, 
on the contrary, are both dull and shapeless. Butterflies 
have lovely colours and graceful forms : they flit easily from 
flower to flower, and chase one another in rhythmical curves. 
Some add lustre to their other attractions, while many are 
remarkable for the extraordinary purity and marvellous 
shading of their hues. Several beetles are burnished like 
gold, though their forms are ungainly and heavy. But birds 
bear away the palm of beauty from all competitors—indeed, 
their highly-developed «esthetic tastes are shown alike in their 
form, their colour, and their song. The bird-of-paradise has 
an exquisite shape, soft and plumy feathers, marvellous har¬ 
mony and delicacy of colour, and perfect symmetry combined 
with freedom from stiffness. The last-named charge may 
perhaps be urged against the lyre-bird, which is faultless in 
all other respects. The peacock and the argus-pheasant at 
once occur to the readers of Mr. Darwin. The humming:- 
birds have every beauty under heaven, except song : the 
amethyst, ruby, and sapphire of their throats are absolutely 
unsurpassed in art or nature. Even the less showy birds, 
like the heron, the swan, and the plover, show exquisite 
varieties of form. The dove has delicate colour and a grace-
        

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