Page:John James Audubon (Burroughs).djvu/169

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V.

As a youth Audubon was an unwilling student of books; as a merchant and mill owner in Kentucky he was an unwilling man of business, but during his whole career, at all times and in all places, he was more than a willing student of ornithology—he was an eager and enthusiastic one. He brought to the pursuit of the birds, and to the study of open air life generally, the keen delight of the sportsman, united to the ardour of the artist moved by beautiful forms.

He was not in the first instance a man of science, like Cuvier, or Agassiz, or Darwin—a man seeking exact knowledge; but he was an artist and a back-woodsman, seeking adventure, seeking the gratification of his tastes, and to put on record his love of the birds. He was the artist of the birds before he was their historian; the writing of their biogra-