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gregates into which we find formphicable changes, and
nal radiant forces, undergoes inexplicable changes, and the same dust which we find forming the diamond, aggregates into the lordly tree, — blends to produce the graceful, scented, and richly painted flower,-and combines to yield the luxury of fruit.
5. It quickens with yet undiscovered energies ; it moves with life. Dust and vital force combine ; blood and bone, nerve and muscle, result from the combination. Forces which we cannot, by the utmost refinements of our philosophy, detect, direct the whole, and from the same dust which formed the rock and grew in the tree is produced a living and a breathing thing, capable of receiving a Divine illumination, of bearing in its new state the gladness and the glory of a Soul.
6. These considerations lead us to reflect on the amount of our knowledge. We are led to ask ourselves, What do we know? We know that the world with all its variety is composed of certain material atoms, which, although presented to us in a great variety of forms, do not in all probability differ very essentially from one another.
7. We know that those atoms obey certain conditions which appear to be dependent upon the influences of motion, gravitation, heat, light, electricity, and chemical force. These powers are only known to us by their effects; we only detect their action by their operation upon matter; and although we regard the several phenomena which we have discovered as the manifestations of different principles, it is possible they may be but modifications of some one universal power, of which these are but a few of its modes of action.
8. Animals and vegetables are composed principally of four elementary principles, - oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon. The animal, perishing and dwindling by decomposition into the most simple forms of matter, mingling with the atmosphere as mere gas, gradually becomes part of the growing plant, and by like changes
vegetable organism progresses onward to form a portion of the animal structure.
9. A plant exposed to the action of natural or artificial decomposition passes into air, leaving but a few grains of solid matter behind it. An animal, in like manner, is resolved into “ thin air.” Muscle and blood and bones, having undergone the change, are found to have escaped as gases, leaving only a pinch of dust which belongs to the more stable mineral world.
10. Our dependency on the atmosphere is therefore evident. We derive our substance from it; we are, after death, resolved into it again. We are reälly but fleeting shadows. Animal and vegetable forms are little more than consolidated masses of the atmosphere. The sublime conceptions of the most gifted bard cannot rival the beauty of this, the highest and the truest poetry of science!
LXXIII. — THE EXPLOIT OF HECTOR.
In the twelfth Book of Homer's Iliad, the Trojans, led by Hector, are represented as assailing the rampart built for the protection of the Grecian fleet. The description of Hector forcing the gates is bold and impressive, and we know of no translation of the passage, which is superior to that by Cowper, which we present. Hector is called Priameian (pri-am-e'yan), as being the son of Priam. By the “son of Saturn" is meant Jupiter or Jove, the principal god of the heathen mythology.
See in Index, RAMPART, TRANSVERSE, COWPER, HOMÉR.
Such was the poise in which the battle hung
Rush on! break through the Grecian rampart! hurl At once devouring flames into the fleet!”
Such was his exhortation. They, his voice All hearing, with close-ordered ranks, direct Bore on the bărrier, and up-swarming showed On the high battlement their glittering spears.
But Hector seized a stone; of ample base,
As in one hand with ease the shepherd bears
In leaped the godlike hero at the breach,
Ascend the rampart ; they his voice obeyed;
LXXIV. – THE RETURN OF RAVENSWOOD.
Scott's tragical story of " The Bride of Lammermoor” is founded almost literally on facts in the lives of Lord Rutherford (here called Ravenswood) and Janet Dalrymple (Lucy Ashton). These two solemnly plight their faith to each other to marry; and, as a pledge of their troth they break a piece of gold together. Lucy's mother, imperious and self-willed, finding a rich suitor for her daughter, urges her to write a letter of dismissal to Ravenswood, & poor though high-spirited nobleman, and consent to a union with Bucklaw. Lucy, driven to despair, at length yields, in the absence of Ravenswood, to the threats and entreaties of her mother. The marriage day has come. Bucklaw, the bridegroom, and Craigengelt, his parasite, Bide-the-bent, the clergyman, Lucy's parents and brother, are present. The marriage contract has been signed by all the parties except Lucy. The pen is placed in her hand, and just as she signs she hears the hasty tramp of a horse at the gate. “ He is come!” she exclaims, with a faint shriek, and drops the pen. The following extract commences with the entrance of the returning Ravenswood on the scene.
See in Index, ERE, MACHINATION, NOTHING, PARENT, STREW WEARY, WILLFUL or WILFUL, Scott.
Delivery. Few scenes more impressive than this, or better adapted to expressive reading, can be found in modern fiction. It presents a mixture of the narrative and dramatic styles. The dialogue should be read in tones appropriate to the characters and to the passions by which they are moved. A rare opportunity is here offered for the reader to show his powers of personation.
1. HARDLY had Miss Ashton dropped the pen, when the door of the apartment flew open, and the Master of Ravenswood entered the apartment. Lockhard and another domestic, who had in vain attempted to oppose his passage through the gallery or antechamber, were seen standing on the threshold transfixed with surprise, which was instantly communicated to the whole party in the state-room.
2. The surprise of Colonel Douglas Ashton was mingled with resentment; that of Bucklaw with haughty and affected indifference; the rest, even Lady Ashton herself, showed signs of fear, and Lucy seemed stiffened to stone by this unexpected apparition. Apparition it might well be termed, for Ravenswood had more the appearance of one returned from the dead than of a living visitor.
3. He planted himself fully in the middle of the apartment opposite to the table at which Lucy was seated, on whom, as if she had been alone in her chamber, he bent his eyes with a mingled expression of deep grief and deliberate indignation. His dark-colored riding cloak, displaced from one shoulder, hung around one side of his person in the ample folds of the Spanish mantle. The rest of his rich dress was travel-soiled, and deranged by hard riding. He had a sword by his side, and pistols in his belt.
4. His slouched hat, which he had not removed at entrance, gave an additional gloom to his dark features, which, wasted by sorrow, and marked by the ghastly look communicated by long illness, added to a countenance naturally somewhat stern and wild a fierce and even savage expression. The matted and disheveled locks of hair which escaped from under his hat, together with his fixed and unmoved posture, made his head more resemble that of a marble bust than that of a living man. He said not a single word, and there was a deep silence in the company for more than two minutes.
5. It was broken by Lady Ashton, who in that space partly recovered her natural audacity. She demanded to know the cause of this unauthorized intrusion." That is a question, madam,” said her son, " which I have the best right to ask, - and I must request of the Master of Ravenswood to follow me, where he can answer it at leisure.”