« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
descendants of William and Anne. A second alliance against France was rendered necessary by the intrigues of Louis to secure the crown of Spain for his grandson. War had however scarcely commenced, when the death of William occurred. His constitution, never robust, had been broken by toil and anxiety; and a fall from his horse hastened his end. He expired, March 8, 1702, in the fifty-second year
of his age.
Let the young go out, in these hours, under the descending sun of the year, into the fields of nature. Their hearts are now ardent with hope-with the hope of fame, of honour, or of happiness; and in the long perspective which is before them, their imagination creates a world where all may be enjoyed. Let the scenes which they now may witness moderate, but not extinguish their ambition: while they see the yearly desolation of nature, let them see it as the emblem of mortal hope: while they feel the disproportion between the powers they possess and the time they are to be employed, let them carry their ambitious eye beyond the world ; and while, in these sacred solitudes, a voice in their own bosoms corresponds to the voice of decaying nature, let them take that high decision which becomes those who feel themselves the inhabitants of a greater world, and who look to a being incapable of decay.
Let the busy and the active go out, and pause for a time amid the scenes which surround them, and learn the high lesson which nature teaches in the hours of its fall. They are now ardent with all the desires of mortality; and fame, and interest, and pleasure, are displaying to them their shadowy promises : and, in the vulgar race of life, many weak and many worthless passions are too naturally engendered. Let them withdraw themselves for a time from the agitations of the world; let them mark the desolation of suminer, and listen to the winds of winter, which begin to murmur above their heads. It is a scene which, with all its power, has yet
no reproach; it tells them, that such is also the fate to which they must come; that the pulse of passion must one day beat low; that the illusions of time must pass; and “that the spirit must return to Him who gave it.” It reminds them, with gentle voice, of that innocence in which life was begun, and for which no prosperity of vice can make any compen. sation; and that angel who is one day to stand upon the earth, and to “swear that time shall be no more, to whisper to them, amid the hollow winds of the year, what manner of men they ought to be who must meet that decisive hour.
There is an eventide in human life, a season when the eye becomes dim, and the strength decays, and when the winter of age begins to shed upon the human head its prophetic snow. It is the season of life to which the present is most analogous; and much it becomes, and much it would profit, you to mark the instructions which the season brings. The spring and the summer of your days are gone, and with them, not only the joys they knew, but many of the friends who
gave them. You have entered upon the autumn of your being, and whatever may have been the profusion of your spring, or the warm intemperance of your summer, there is yet a season of stillness and of solitude which the beneficence of heaven affords you, in which you may meditate upon the past and the future, and prepare yourselves for the mighty change which you are soon to undergo.
If it be thus you have the wisdom to use the decaying season of nature, it brings with it consolations more valuable than all the enjoyments of former days. In the long retrospect of your journey, you have seen every day the shades of the evening fall, and every year the clouds of winter gather. But you have seen, also, every succeeding day, the morning arise in its brightness, and in every succeeding year, the spring return to renovate the winter of nature. you may understand the magnificent language of Heavenit mingles its voice with that of revelation-it summons you, in these hours when the leaves fall and the winter is gathering, to that evening study which the mercy of Heaven has provided in the book of salvation; and while the shadowy valley opens which leads to the abode of death, it speaks of
It is now
that hand which can comfort and can save, and which can conduct to those “green pastures and those still waters," where there is an eternal spring for the children of God.Alison.
Having noticed the external relations between land and sea, we may briefly refer to the waters of the continents; whether as oceanic waters they flow to the sea, or as continental inland waters do not immediately attain that goal. If we glance from the borders of the great oceanic basins into the continents beyond, and consider the share of these, connected with them by means of tributary waters, it strikes us that the largest of the oceans includes proportionately the smallest portion of continent within its basin, the Atlantic Ocean the largest; the middle station being occupied by the Arctic and Indian oceans, in nearly equal portions. In accordance with this, the number of streams and rivers which convey the oceanic influences into continents is greatest in the basin of the Atlantic Ocean, and smallest in that of the Pacific. Europe, Africa, and the Austral continent belong to two, America to three, and Asia to all four of the great oceanic basins; and as the whole space of the Sahara is destitute of lengthened water-courses, and indeed, for the most part, destitute of water, Europe claims by its land-waters the greatest share comparatively in the basin of the Atlantic Ocean. The advantage possessed by Asia, in belonging to the four oceans, is considerably lessened by its large share of the Arctic Ocean, with all its unfavourable natural influences; by its very subordinate participation in the Atlantic Ocean; and by its possession of a vast continental space, the waters of which are shut in from the ocean. This large interior basin of the Old World enters by the tributary streams of the Caspian far into the east of Europe, and in this part could be united with the open sea only by violent
A bove 310,000 square miles belong to this con
tinental basin, while in the New World inland waters are only found in small districts; as, for example, the Desaguadero flowing out of the Lake of Titicaca in the high plain of Peru. Whether the Australian continent contains inland basins is yet undetermined, although we may conclude such to be the case, from indications of various kinds. If we compare the rivers of the different divisions of the earth with one another, we find that America is distinguished by a gigantic network of waters; Africa by scarcity of water; Asia by the alternation of abundance and poverty of waters on a grand scale, and by the possession of the largest inland basin in the world, while Europe is less remarkable for the size of its water-courses, than for their manifold ramification in all directions. The rivers of South America predominate in the tropical lowland, and in the rainy season unite into an intricate network. South America is the land of natural bifurcations; a peculiarity which, even without the torrents of tropical rain, it derives from the Casiquiera, already mentioned. The south part of North America possesses a gigantic river system, and the north part contains the most extensive and magnificent system of lakes on the earth. Rivers, uniform in character and unfarourable to intercourse, water the south of Africa; the north is riverless, with the exception of the one great river, flowing into the Mediterranean Sea, the great artery of Egyptian civilisation, and a few smaller streams in the high land of Barbary: Asia is the country of double rivers, of inland lakes and streams, and of riverless deserts, standing in contrast with the parallel rivers of the south-east, and the inagnificent river-net of the level north. Europe possesses a share in the continental basin of Asia, but its portion is less shut in; it has no riverless deserts, like Africa or Asia ; it possesses in the north a rich belt of lakes, though less magnificent than that of North America ; and its vertical structure permits the water to flow off in all directions, brings the basins of various arms of the sea into easy artificial connexion, and favours the most complete development of different river basins.
The science which treats of the phenomena of light and vision is called optics, and according to this science bodies are divided into luminous and non-luminous. Luminous bodies are those which possess in themselves the property of radiating light; non-luminous bodies are those which are visible only by reflected light. The sun, the fixed stars, and the flame of a candle are luminous bodies; such an object as a house or a tree is non-luminous. The moon, and the planets belonging to the solar system, only reflect the light of the sun, and though luminous to us, are in themselves non-luminous bodies. A single line of light is called a ray, the rays of light being called luminous rays, in contradistinction to those of heat which are termed thermal rays. Substances that allow the rays of light to pass through them are termed transparent; those that do not are called
opaque. Air, water, and glass, are transparent bodies; wood and iron, and the metals generally, are opaque. No body, however, possesses perfect transparency, or opacity, for glass only transmits a portion of the rays that fall on its surface; and the densest metals, when beaten into thin leaves, allow some of the light to pass. Bodies that transmit light imperfectly, such as horn and oil-silk, are termed translucent.
Two different theories have been put forth to explain the phenomena of light, called respectively the emanation and undulatory theories. The first is that of Sir Isaac Newton; the second, which is the one generally received at present, was originated by Descartes. According to the first hypothesis, light consists of inconceivably minute particles which radiate in every direction from the luminous source, and by falling on the optic nerve, produce the sensation of sight, in a similar manner to that in which the odoriferous particles of flowers by contact with the olfactory nerve excite the sensation of smell
. According to the undulatory theory, the phenomena of light are caused by the wave-like motion of what is called the luminiferous ether—a substance supposed to be diffused through all space. The sensation of