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And those dark woods, that screen their giant sides,
III. When the evening star sinks gradually behind the hill; and when, rising from among clouds, the moon has thrown her solemn mantle over all nature; who is there with soul, so abject and depraved, that does not elevate his thoughts to heaven, and deify its architect? The soul acknowledges the powers of poetry; and while the various orbs are advancing with silent rapidity through the repose of night, how often do we recur to the sublime descriptions of the sacred writers !-In Milton, we behold one of the archangels leading his radiant files, nightly, through the confines of heaven, dazzling the moon with their splendour ;-and in the Apocalypse' a woman, wear
ing twelve stars upon her head, as a crown; while the sun and the moon are standing at her feet. In one passage of the Paradise Lost, we behold Satan steering his course among the constellations; and pursuing his voyage through the kingdom of Chaos, and the vast regions of space, while a bridge is thrown over the infinite void. In the Revelations a great burning star falls and embitters the third part of the waters):--in another passage a star falls from heaven to whom are given the keys of .hell’; then at the sound of an angel other stars fall”; the sun, and moon, are smitten and darkened, as, was. threatened to Egypt in the days of Ezekiel,5 to Babylon in those of Isaiah, and as written to precede the "second coming of the Christian Messiah.? Then, reverting to' the description of the Evangelist, we behold a picture of the new Jerusalem :-walls of jasper ; gates of pearl; streets of transparent gold; walls with emeralds, sapphires, beryls, and ame thysts ;-all illumined with a light, far surpassing that of the sun.
IV. . AUTUMN,—the most solemnand affecting season of the year,--succeeds: and the soul, dissolving, as it were, into a spirit of melancholy enthusiasm, acknowledges that silent pathos, which governs without subduing the heart. For Nature, as it were, robes herself in a
soft sonata. These are the moments, which affect us more than all the harmony of Italy, or all the melody of Scotland ;-moments, in which we appear almost to emulate the gods in happiness.
CHAPTER IV. - Perpetual changes glide on in eternal continuity. Plants spring up spontaneously among the ruins of conflagrated cities ;-vallies rise to mountains ;mountains sink to vallies ;-the ending of Summer is the beginning of Autumn; and in the womb of Winter are secreted the embryos of Spring Flowers acquire new colours, as they expand; red changes to blue; blue to yellow; yellow to white; and white to purple. The ocean leaves a sandy shore and gains upon a rocky one': where once it rolled with violence now bloom innumerable flowers : and fields, formerly waving with harvests, now vegetate with marine plants and fossils. · Shells from a slimy liquid harden into pearls ; from pearls they crumble into dust. The chrysalis, as some one has elegantly observed, is the cradle of the butterfly, at the very moment, that it becomes the tomb of the caterpillar. “ Change is the great Lord of the universe," says Feltham”; “and time is the agent, which brings all things under his dominion.” Em
1 A great portion of the Coromandel coast was gradually formed by the retirement of the sea ; and the lower districts of Bengal have also the samé origin.
? In his Resolves ;--a neglected book, which, with all its quaintness, is : worth a thousand ingots of gold. Vide also Spenser: Faerie Queene. b.rii.
Change, one of the great Laws of the Universe. 207 pires, like men, move also in funeral procession ; and systems of philosophy, with the exception of those relating to morals and geometry, have experienced a similar fate; from Zoroaster to Aristotle; from Pythagoras to Bacon; from Des Cartes to Newton.
Islands have immerged out of the bosom of the sea'; whole continents. have, on the contrary, been torn aşunder; rocks have been shattered into precipices; and cities melted into lakes: while the largest monument of human industry and pride constitutes a tomb!
There have not been wanting some even to suppose, that mountains may lose at one time, and recover what they lost at another, either after the manner of vegetables, or by the operation of internal volcanoes.. Ælian says, that it was the general opinion, in his time, that Mounts Parnassus, Olympus, and Etna, had much diminished in size; and it is an undoubted fact, that one of the Downs, in the Isle of Wight, has decreașed in heigḥt within the knowledge of many persons in that island. On the other hand, Euripides calls Etna “ the mother of mountains”;” and the epithet is applied with singular felicity, if we may credit the assertion of Kircher, that the quantity of matter, expectorated by that mountain, exceeds twenty times the original size of its own bulk?! The birch tree, in a similar manner, bleeds, when deeply wounded, so copiously, that the matter is said to equal the weight of the whole tree and root.
1 In 1707 a new island rose out of the sea near Santorine, with several volcanic explosions of great violence. Payne's Geographical Extracts, p. 252:-and what is still more curious, an island, which was thrown up in 1783 at a little distance from Iceland, in 1785 totally disappeared. · Theophrastus-in Philo. p. 513. Moote Victoria - the most beautiful of her children."
The shepherds of Abruzzo drive their flocks to the plains of Apulia in winter, as they did in the days of Horace and Varro; but what a mighty change has time effected in the general aspect of the country! “Change is indeed the Lord of the universe.” Such is the fate of the earth; such the fate of vegetables ; such the fate of animals; and such the fortune of towns, cities, countries, and empires !
In many parts of Egypt, Syria, and the East, little is. there to relieve the eye, but ruined towns and villages, lying likeskeletons of large animals. Where is GAZNA? - once the capital of a mighty empire? In vain do we
· Kircher :-Mund: v. i. 202. Borellus of Pisa having visited Mount Eina in 1669, in order to analize the matter expectorated, calculated that if it had been extended in length and breadth upon the surface of the terraqueous part of the Globe, it would, taking 1000 paces to a mile, have more than four times covered the earth. Burnett, ij. 82. Dion Cassius says, that the ashes from Vesuvius, during the eruption in the reign of Titus Vespasian, were carried over the Mediterraneau not only jnto Egypt, hut into Syria-Lib. lxvi. Signor Reeupero calculated, that the lowest lavă of Mount Etna must have issued from that mountain upwards of 14,000 years ago. Brydone relates, that a Sicilian writer of credit, Sigror Massa, had visited a bed of lava at Catania eight years after the eruption of 1669, and that in many places i was still warm.
* Travels, Sicily and Malta, p. 81.