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double its weight in a day: and the dragon-fly more than three times its weight in an hour. The leech weighs only a. scruple ; but when gorged, two drachms. The leech never eats; and the house cricket never drinks : while the roughette bat drinks so copiously of the juice of the palm-tree, that it becomes intoxicated; when it is easily caught. If we recur to vegetables, we find similitudes equally extraordinary. The sunflower imbibes and perspires, in one day and night, sixteen times more than a man of moderate growth and firm constitution.
EQUAL weights always imply equal quantities, let the relative dimensions be ever so disproportionate. A column of air from the earth to the upper regions of the atmosphere is equal, in weight, to a column of water of thirty-three feet; . and to a column of mercury of twenty-nine inches and a half. On a knowledge of this is constructed the barometer. Some substances have no sensible weight; as caloric, light, electricity, the magnetic fluid, and the effluence of flowers. Next to these are animalcules of infusion ; some of which are so small, that two hundred of them are contained in a space, occupied by the minutest grain of sand. Then we may proceed to visible seeds; thence to invisible ones ; contrasting them, at the same time, with the vegetables they respectively produce.
Cesalpini first compared the seeds of plants to the eggs of animals a. Their relative increase in weight, from their embryos to perfect animals and plants, has never been ascertained in a general way : but Desaguliers found the root of a turnip to be 438,000 times heavier than its seed: and Mons. du Petit Thouars exhibited an onion to the Royal Society of
Vid. de Plantis, Romæ, 1603, 4to. ; also Appendix ad Libros de Plantis, 4to, Florence, 1583.
France, which weighed three pounds seven ounces. Calculating the weight of the seeds, and the periods of their respective growths, a result was found, that the onion gained three times its original weight, every minute, and the turnip seven !
If we calculate the height of Trajan's column, and the dome of St. Peter's, we find they do not reach so high as the rocks of Dover: while Solomon's temple was not higher than a sugar maple-tree. If we proceed to length, there is no work of art longer than the wall of China : but Nature has one mineral (gold), one single ounce of which is capable of being extended to a distance, not less than 13,000 miles. It may be beaten into 159,092 times its original space; and to a thinness of 172'5oo part of an inch.
An attentive investigator observes little or no monotony in Nature. Day succeeds to morning ; evening to noon; and night to evening: summer to spring, and winter to autumn. Even the sea itself changes frequently in the course of a day. When the sun shines, its colour is cerulean ; when it gleams through a mist, it is yellow; and as the clouds pass over, it not unfrequently assumes the tintings of the clouds themselves. The same uniformity may be observed throughout the whole of Nature; even the glaciers of the Grisons presenting varied aspects, though clad in perpetual snow. At dawn of day they.appear saffron; at noon their whiteness is that of excess ; and as the sun sinks in the west, the lakes become as yellow as burnished gold: while their convex and peaked summits reflect, with softened lustre, the matchless tintings of an evening sky. Hence Virgil applies the epithet purpureum a to the sea; and not unfrequently to mountains : while Statiusb colours the a Georg. iv. 373.
b Theb. iii. 440.
earth with the splendour of Aurora. The effect is beautifully alluded to by Mallet. The sun
- glorious from amidst
These alternations cause a perpetual variety in the same objects. Hence the frequent interchanges, which exhibit themselves in a mountainous country, give it a decided advantage over open and campaign regions ; since the degrees of light and shade, as the hills and valleys incline towards each other, are blended, reflected, and contrasted, in a thousand different ways. These contrasted scenes are perpetually exhibited in Italy, in Sicily, among the Carpathian mountains, and, more particularly, among the vales and lakes of Switzerland. At Spitzbergen the scenery is composed of bleak rocks and mountains: icebergs fill the valleys; and the whole is most romantically contrasted with the whiteness of the snow and the green colour of the ice a. The voyager is never weary of gazing. The total want of contrast, on the other hand, fatigues a traveller over the Steppes of Asia, the Pampas of Buenos Ayres and Chaco, the Savannahs of North America, the Llanos of Varinas and Caraccas b, and the deserts of Africa, almost as much as the actual distances themselves.
The ancients, ignorant of the magnetic powers of the needle, were able to travel over deserts only by night : when the sun appeared, therefore, they were obliged to halt. Quintius Curtius, in describing the deserts of Bactria “, says,
" A similar scene is described, as having been exhibited in one of the icebergs, in Amsterdam Island, by D'Auvergne.
b The only desert in America is that in the low part of Peru, stretching to the Pacific. It is not very broad, but in length it is 440 leagues.
c Lib. iv. c. 7.
that a great part of them were covered with barren sands, parched by heat; affording nourishment for neither men, beasts, nor vegetables. When the wind blew from the Pontic Sea, they swept before them immense quantities of sand, which, when heaped together, appeared like mountains. All tracks of former travellers were thus totally obliterated. The only resource left, therefore, was to travel by night, guiding their course by the direction of the stars. Silius Italicus thus describes the journey of Hannibal's ambassadors to the temple of Jupiter Ammon, situated in the deserts of Lybia.
Ad finem coeli medio tenduntur ab ore
Fibon Lucan, whose description of the march of Cato, over the deserts, is, unquestionably, the finest portion of the Pharsalia, adds a circumstance, that must have considerably augmented the difficulties of the march.
Qui nullas vidêre domos, vidêre ruinas;
At the North Cape, Acerbi felt as if all the cares of life had vanished; worldly pursuits assumed the character of
a Pharsal. ix. v. 404.
dreams; the forms and energies of animated Nature seemed to fade ; and the earth appeared as if it were susceptible of being analysed into its original elements. Naturalists behold with delight, bees entering the cups of flowers, and robbing them of their nectar ; the anxious solicitude with which ewes permit lambs to draw milk from their udders; and the affection of turtles, sitting under a leafy canopy with their mates. In the northern regions no objects like these present themselves. There is nothing which can remind the traveller of Cashmere, of Circassia, the valleys of Madagascar, or the perfumed shores of Arabia Felix. A solemn magnificence, an interminable space, wearing the aspect of infinity, characterise the scene. The billows dash in awful grandeur against rocks, coeval with the globe ; marine birds, wild in character, and dissonant in language, skim along their girdles ; the moon sheds her solemn lustre on their dark and frowning pyramids; the stars glow with burnished brilliancy; and the Aurora Borealis adds terrific interest to the melancholy majesty of the scene. And yet, magnificent as these scenes assuredly are, the nerves chill in their contemplation ; the heart sinks with sullen melancholy; and the soul deepens into an awful sadness : for man stands in the midst an alien and alone.
What contrasted pictures to these are presented from the Monthenon, near the city of Lausanne! To the north stands the chateau de Beaulieu, immortalised by the residence of Neckar and his celebrated daughter, when escaped from the intrigues and tumults of Paris. There, too, is seen a weeping willow, standing in a garden, planted by the taste of the illustrious Gibbon. To the east rise three mountains covered with snow, and towering to a height of more than 10,000 feet : Clarens, the beautiful Clarens, lying below, with the chateau de Chillon on one side, and the small town of Villeneuve on the other. Pursuing the curve of the lake, the Rhone is beheld issuing, as it were, from the womb of a