Page:John James Audubon (Burroughs).djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
x
PREFACE

but he did not begin the publication of it till fourteen years after Wilson's death. Both men went directly to Nature and underwent incredible hardships in exploring the woods and marshes in quest of their material. Audubon's rambles were much wider, and extended over a much longer period of time. Wilson, too, contemplated a work upon our quadrupeds, but did not live to begin it. Audubon was blessed with good health, length of years, a devoted and self-sacrificing wife, and a buoyant, sanguine, and elastic disposition. He had the heavenly gift of enthusiasm—a passionate love for the work he set out to do. He was a natural hunter, roamer, woodsman; as unworldly as a child, and as simple and transparent. We have had better trained and more scientific ornithologists since his day, but none with his abandon and poetic fervour in the study of our birds.

Both men were famous pedestrians and often walked hundreds of miles at a stretch. They were natural explorers and voyagers.