Compare Chaucer's feeling respecting birds (from Canace's falcon, to the nightingale, singing "Domine labia"—to the Lord of Love) with the usual modern British sentiments on this subject. Or even Cowley's:—
"What prince's choir of music can excel
That which within this shade does dwell.
To which we nothing pay, or give,
They, like all other poets, live
Without reward, or thanks for their obliging pains!
'Tis well if they became not prey."
Yes; it is better than well; particularly since the seed sown by the wayside has been protected by the peculiar appropriation of part of the church rates in our country parishes. See the remonstrance from a "Country Parson", in the Times of June 4th (or 5th; the letter is dated June 3rd, 1862):—
"I have heard at a vestry meeting a good deal of higgling over a few shillings' outlay in cleaning the church; but I have never heard any dissatisfaction expressed on account of the part of the rate which is invested in fifty or 100 dozens of birds' heads."