The hyacinth-root differs from the tulip-root, as the stem of the last year's flower is always found in the center of the root, and the new off-sets arise from the caudex below the bulb, but not beneath any of the concentric coats of the root, except the external one: hence Mr. Eaton, an ingenious florist of Derby, to whom I am indebted for most of the observations in this note, concludes, that the hyacinth-root does not perish annually after it has flowered like the tulip. Mr. Eaton gave me a tulip root which had been set too deep in the earth, and the caudex had elongated itself near an inch, and the new bulb was formed above the old one, and detached from it, instead of adhering to its side.
The caudex of the ranunculus, cultivated by the florists, lies above the claw-like root; in this the old root or claws die annually, like the tulip and orchis, and the new claws, which are seen above the old ones, draw down the caudex lower into the earth. The same is said to happen to Scabiosa, or Devil's bit, and some other plants, as valerian and greater plantain; the new fibrous roots rising round the caudex above the old ones, the inferior end of the root becomes stumped, as if cut off, after the old fibres are decayed, and the caudex is drawn down into the earth by these new roots. See Arum and Tulipa.]
Soft play Affection round her bosom's throne, And guards his life, forgetful of her own. So wings the wounded Deer her headlong flight, Pierced by some ambush'd archer of the night, 265 Shoots to the woodlands with her bounding fawn, And drops of blood bedew the conscious lawn; There hid in shades she shuns the cheerful day, Hangs o'er her young, and weeps her life away.
So stood Eliza on the wood-crown'd height, 270 O'er Minden's plain, spectatress of the sight, Sought with bold eye amid the bloody strife Her dearer self, the partner of her life; From hill to hill the rushing host pursued, And view'd his banner, or believed she view'd. 275 Pleased with the distant roar, with quicker tread Fast by his hand one lisping boy she led; And one fair girl amid the loud alarm Slept on her kerchief, cradled by her arm; While round her brows bright beams of Honour dart, 280 And Love's warm eddies circle round her heart
—Near and more near the intrepid Beauty press'd, Saw through the driving smoke his dancing crest, Heard the exulting shout, "they run! they run!" "Great GOD!" she cried, "He's safe! the battle's won!" 285 —A ball now hisses through the airy tides, (Some Fury wing'd it, and some Demon guides!) Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck, Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck; The red stream, issuing from her azure veins, 290 Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains.— —"Ah me!" she cried, and, sinking on the ground, Kiss'd her dear babes, regardless of the wound; "Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou Vital Urn! "Wait, gushing Life, oh, wait my Love's return!— 295 "Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams from far! "The angel, Pity, shuns the walks of war!—— "Oh, spare ye War-hounds, spare their tender age!— "On me, on me," she cried, "exhaust your rage!"— Then with weak arms her weeping babes caress'd, 300 And sighing bid them in her blood-stain'd vest. From tent to tent the impatient warrior flies, Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes; Eliza's name along the camp he calls, Eliza echoes through the canvas walls; 305 Quick through the murmuring gloom his footsteps tread, O'er groaning heaps, the dying and the dead, Vault o'er the plain, and in the tangled wood, Lo! dead Eliza weltering in her blood!— —Soon hears his listening son the welcome sounds, 310 With open arms and sparkling eyes he bounds:— "Speak low," he cries, and gives his little hand, "Eliza sleeps upon the dew-cold sand; "Poor weeping Babe with bloody fingers press'd, "And tried with pouting lips her milkless breast; 315 "Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake— "Why do you weep?—Mama will soon awake." —"She'll wake no more!" the hopeless mourner cried Upturn'd his eyes, and clasp'd his hands, and sigh'd; Stretch'd on the ground awhile entranc'd he lay, 320 And press'd warm kisses on the lifeless clay; And then unsprung with wild convulsive start, And all the Father kindled in his heart; "Oh, Heavens!" he cried, "my first rash vow forgive! "These bind to earth, for these I pray to live!"— 325 Round his chill babes he wrapp'd his crimson vest, And clasp'd them sobbing to his aching breast.
Two Harlot-Nymphs, the fair CUSCUTAS, please With labour'd negligence, and studied ease;
[Cuscuta. l. 327. Dodder. Four males, two females. This parasite plant (the seed splitting without cotyledons), protrudes a spiral body, and not endeavouring to root itself in the earth ascends the vegetables in its vicinity, spirally W.S.E. or contrary to the movement of the sun; and absorbs its nourishment by vessels apparently inserted into its supporters. It bears no leaves, except here and there a scale, very small, membranous, and close under the branch. Lin. Spec. Plant. edit. a Reichard. Vol. I. p. 352. The Rev. T. Martyn, in his elegant letters on botany, adds, that, not content with support, where it lays hold, there it draws its nourishment; and at length, in gratitude for all this, strangles its entertainer. Let. xv. A contest for air and light obtains throughout the whole vegetable world; shrubs rise above herbs; and, by precluding the air and light from them, injure or destroy them; trees suffocate or incommode shrubs; the parasite climbing plants, as Ivy, Clematis, incommode the taller trees; and other parasites, which exist without having roots on the ground, as Misletoe, Tillandsia, Epidendrum, and the mosses and funguses, incommode them all.
Some of the plants with voluble stems ascend other plants spirally east-south-west, as Humulus, Hop, Lonicera, Honey-suckle, Tamus, black Bryony, Helxine. Others turn their spiral stems west-south-east, as Convolvulus, Corn-bind, Phaseolus, Kidney-bean, Basella, Cynanche, Euphorbia, Eupatorium. The proximate or final causes of this difference have not been investigated. Other plants are furnished with tendrils for the purpose of climbing: if the tendril meets with nothing to lay hold of in its first revolution, it makes another revolution; and so on till it wraps itself quite up like a cork-screw; hence, to a careless observer, it appears to move gradually backwards and forwards, being seen sometimes pointing eastward and sometimes westward. One of the Indian grasses, Panicum arborescens, whose stem is no thicker than a goose-quill, rises as high as the tallest trees in this contest for light and air. Spec. Plant a Reichard, Vol. I. p. 161. The tops of many climbing plants are tender from their quick growth; and, when deprived of their acrimony by boiling, are an agreeable article of food. The Hop-tops are in common use. I have eaten the tops of white Bryony, Bryonia alba, and found them nearly as grateful as Asparagus, and think this plant might be profitably cultivated as an early garden-vegetable. The Tamus (called black Bryony), was less agreeable to the taste when boiled. See Galanthus.]
In the meek garb of modest worth disguised, 330 The eye averted, and the smile chastised, With sly approach they spread their dangerous charms, And round their victim wind their wiry arms. So by Scamander when LAOCOON stood, Where Troy's proud turrets glitter'd in the flood, 335 Raised high his arm, and with prophetic call To shrinking realms announced her fatal fall; Whirl'd his fierce spear with more than mortal force, And pierced the thick ribs of the echoing horse;
Two Serpent-forms incumbent on the main, 340 Lashing the white waves with redundant train, Arch'd their blue necks, and (hook their towering crests, And plough'd their foamy way with speckled breasts; Then darting fierce amid the affrighted throngs, Roll'd their red eyes, and shot their forked tongues,— 345 —Two daring Youths to guard the hoary fire Thwart their dread progress, and provoke their ire. Round sire and sons the scaly monsters roll'd, Ring above ring, in many a tangled fold, Close and more close their writhing limbs surround, 350 And fix with foamy teeth the envenom'd wound. —With brow upturn'd to heaven the holy Sage In silent agony sustains their rage; While each fond Youth, in vain, with piercing cries Bends on the tortured Sire his dying eyes. 355 "Drink deep, sweet youths" seductive VITIS cries, The maudlin tear-drop glittering in her eyes; Green leaves and purple clusters crown her head, And the tall Thyrsus stays her tottering tread. —Five hapless swains with soft assuasive smiles 360 The harlot meshes in her deathful toils; "Drink deep," she carols, as she waves in air The mantling goblet, "and forget your care."— O'er the dread feast malignant Chemia scowls, And mingles poison in the nectar'd bowls; 365 Fell Gout peeps grinning through the flimsy scene, And bloated Dropsy pants behind unseen; Wrapp'd in his robe white Lepra hides his stains, And silent Frenzy writhing bites his chains.
[Vitis. 1. 355. Vine. Five males, one female. The juice of the ripe grape is a nutritive and agreeable food, consisting chiefly of sugar and mucilage. The chemical process of fermentation converts this sugar into spirit, converts food into poison! And it has thus become the curse of the Christian world, producing more than half of our chronical diseases; which Mahomet observed, and forbade the use of it to his disciples. The Arabians invented distillation; and thus, by obtaining the spirit of fermented liquors in a less diluted slate, added to its destructive quality. A Theory of the Diabaetes and Dropsy, produced by drinking fermented or spirituous liquors, is explained in a Treatise on the inverted motions of the lymphatic system, published by Dr. Darwin. Cadell.]
So when PROMETHEUS braved the Thunderer's ire, 370 Stole from his blazing throne etherial fire, And, lantern'd in his breast, from realms of day Bore the bright treasure to his Man of clay;— High on cold Caucasus by VULCAN bound, The lean impatient Vulture fluttering round, 375 His writhing limbs in vain he twists and strains To break or loose the adamantine chains. The gluttonous bird, exulting in his pangs, Tears his swoln liver with remorseless fangs.
[Prometheus, l. 369. The antient story of Prometheus, who concealed in his bosom the fire he had stolen, and afterwards had a vulture perpetually gnawing his liver, affords so apt an allegory for the effects of drinking spirituous liquors, that one should be induced to think the art of distillation, as well as some other chemical processes (such as calcining gold), had been known in times of great antiquity, and lost again. The swallowing drams cannot be better represented in hieroglyphic language than by taking fire into one's bosom; and certain it is, that the general effect of drinking fermented or spirituous liquors is an inflamed, schirrous, or paralytic liver, with its various critical or consequential diseases, as leprous eruptions on the face, gout, dropsy, epilepsy, insanity. It is remarkable, that all the diseases from drinking spirituous or fermented liquors are liable to become hereditary, even to the third generation; gradually increasing, if the cause be continued, till the family becomes extinct.]
The gentle CYCLAMEN with dewy eye 380 Breathes o'er her lifeless babe the parting sigh; And, bending low to earth, with pious hands Inhumes her dear Departed in the sands. "Sweet Nursling! withering in thy tender hour, "Oh, sleep," She cries, "and rise a fairer flower!" 385 —So when the Plague o'er London's gasping crowds Shook her dank wing, and steer'd her murky clouds; When o'er the friendless bier no rites were read, No dirge slow-chanted, and no pall out-spread; While Death and Night piled up the naked throng, 390 And Silence drove their ebon cars along; Six lovely daughters, and their father, swept To the throng'd grave CLEONE saw, and wept;
[Cyclamen. 1. 379. Shew-bread, or Sow-bread. When the seeds are ripe, the stalk of the flower gradually twists itself spirally downwards, till it touches the ground, and forcibly penetrating the earth lodges its seeds; which are thought to receive nourishment from the parent root, as they are said not to be made to grow in any other situation.
The Trifolium subterraneum, subterraneous trefoil, is another plant, which buries its seed, the globular head of the seed penetrating the earth; which, however, in this plant may be only an attempt to conceal its seeds from the ravages of birds; for there is another trefoil, the trifolium globosum, or globular woolly-headed trefoil, which has a curious manner of concealing its seeds; the lower florets only have corols and are fertile; the upper ones wither into a kind of wool, and, forming a bead, completely conceal the fertile calyxes. Lin. Spec. Plant, a Reichard.]
Her tender mind, with meek Religion fraught, Drank all-resigned Affliction's bitter draught; 395 Alive and listening to the whisper'd groan Of others' woes, unconscious of her own!— One smiling boy, her last sweet hope, she warms Hushed on her bosom, circled in her arms,— Daughter of woe! ere morn, in vain caress'd, 400 Clung the cold Babe upon thy milkless breast, With feeble cries thy last sad aid required, Stretch'd its stiff limbs, and on thy lap expired!— —Long with wide eye-lids on her Child she gazed, And long to heaven their tearless orbs she raised; 405 Then with quick foot and throbbing heart she found Where Chartreuse open'd deep his holy ground;
[Where Chartreuse. l. 406. During the plague in London, 1665, one pit to receive the dead was dug in the Charter-house, 40 feet long, 16 feet wide, and about 20 feet deep; and in two weeks received 1114 bodies. During this dreadful calamity there were instances of mothers carrying their own children to those public graves, and of people delirious, or in despair from the loss of their friends, who threw themselves alive into these pits. Journal of the Plague-year in 1665, printed for E. Nutt, Royal-Exchange.]
Bore her last treasure through the midnight gloom, And kneeling dropp'd it in the mighty tomb; "I follow next!" the frantic mourner said, 410 And living plunged amid the festering dead.
Where vast Ontario rolls his brineless tides, And feeds the trackless forests on his sides, Fair CASSIA trembling hears the howling woods, And trusts her tawny children to the floods.—
[Rolls his brineless tide. l. 411. Some philosophers have believed that the continent of America was not raised out of the great ocean at so early a period of time as the other continents. One reason for this opinion was, because the great lakes, perhaps nearly as large as the Mediterranean Sea, consist of fresh water. And as the sea-salt seems to have its origin from the destruction of vegetable and animal bodies, washed down by rains, and carried by rivers into lakes or seas; it would seem that this source of sea-salt had not so long existed in that country. There is, however, a more satisfactory way of explaining this circumstance; which is, that the American lakes lie above the level of the ocean, and are hence perpetually desalited by the rivers which run through them; which is not the case with the Mediterranean, into which a current from the main ocean perpetually passes.]
[Caffia. l. 413. Ten males, one female. The seeds are black, the stamens gold-colour. This is one of the American fruits, which are annually thrown on the coasts of Norway; and are frequently in so recent a state as to vegetate, when properly taken care of, the fruit of the anacardium, cashew-nut; of cucurbita lagenaria, bottlegourd; of the mimosa scandens, cocoons; of the piscidia erythrina, logwood-tree; and cocoa-nuts are enumerated by Dr. Tonning. (Amaen. Acad. 149.) amongst these emigrant seeds. The fact is truly wonderful, and cannot be accounted for but by the existence of under currents in the depths of the ocean; or from vortexes of water passing from one country to another through caverns of the earth.
Sir Hans Sloane has given an account of four kinds of seeds, which are frequently thrown by the sea upon the coasts of the islands of the northern parts of Scotland. Phil. Trans. abridged, Vol. III. p. 540. which seeds are natives of the West Indies, and seem to be brought thither by the gulf-stream described below. One of these is called, by Sir H. Sloane, Phaseolus maximus perennis, which is often also thrown on the coast of Kerry in Ireland; another is called, in Jamaica, Horse-eye-bean; and a third is called Niker in Jamaica. He adds, that the Lenticula marina, or Sargosso, grows on the rocks about Jamaica, is carried by the winds and current towards the coast of Florida, and thence into the North-American ocean, where it lies very thick on the surface of the sea.
Thus a rapid current passes from the gulf of Florida to the N.E. along the coast of North-America, known to seamen by the name of the GULF-STREAM. A chart of this was published by Dr. Francklin in 1768, from the information principally of Capt. Folger. This was confirmed by the ingenious experiments of Dr. Blagden, published in 1781, who found that the water of the Gulf-stream was from six to eleven degrees warmer than the water of the sea through which it ran; which must have been occasioned by its being brought from a hotter climate. He ascribes the origin of this current to the power of the trade-winds, which, blowing always in the same direction, carry the waters of the Atlantic ocean to the westward, till they are stopped by the opposing continent on the west of the Gulf of Mexico, and are thus accumulated there, and run down the Gulf of Florida. Philos. Trans. V. 71, p. 335. Governor Pownal has given an elegant map of this Gulf-stream, tracing it from the Gulf of Florida northward as far as Cape Sable in Nova Scotia, and then across the Atlantic ocean to the coast of Africa between the Canary-islands and Senegal, increasing in breadth, as it runs, till it occupies five or six degrees of latitude. The Governor likewise ascribes this current to the force of the trade-winds protruding the waters westward, till they are opposed by the continent, and accumulated in the Gulf of Mexico. He very ingeniously observes, that a great eddy must be produced in the Atlantic ocean between this Gulf-stream and the westerly current protruded by the tropical winds, and in this eddy are found the immense fields of floating vegetables, called Saragosa weeds, and Gulf-weeds, and some light woods, which circulate in these vast eddies, or are occasionally driven out of them by the winds. Hydraulic and Nautical Observations by Governor Pownal, 1787. Other currents are mentioned by the Governor in this ingenious work, as those in the Indian Sea, northward of the line, which are ascribed to the influence of the Monsoons. It is probable, that in process of time the narrow tract of land on the west of the Gulf of Mexico may be worn away by this elevation of water dashing against it, by which this immense current would cease to exist, and a wonderful change take place in the Gulf of Mexico and West Indian islands, by the subsiding of the sea, which might probably lay all those islands int one, or join them to the continent.]
415 Cinctured with gold while ten fond brothers stand, And guard the beauty on her native land,
Soft breathes the gale, the current gently moves, And bears to Norway's coasts her infant-loves. —So the sad mother at the noon of night 420 From bloody Memphis stole her silent flight; Wrapp'd her dear babe beneath her folded vest, And clasp'd the treasure to her throbbing breast, With soothing whispers hushed its feeble cry, Pressed the soft kiss, and breathed the secret sigh.— 425 —With dauntless step she seeks the winding shore, Hears unappall'd the glimmering torrents roar; With Paper-flags a floating cradle weaves, And hides the smiling boy in Lotus-leaves; Gives her white bosom to his eager lips, 430 The salt tears mingling with the milk he sips; Waits on the reed-crown'd brink with pious guile, And trusts the scaly monsters of the Nile.—
—Erewhile majestic from his lone abode, Embassador of Heaven, the Prophet trod; 435 Wrench'd the red Scourge from proud Oppression's hands, And broke, curst Slavery! thy iron bands.
Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry, Which shook the waves and rent the sky!—
E'en now, e'en now, on yonder Western shores 440 Weeps pale Despair, and writhing Anguish roars: E'en now in Afric's groves with hideous yell Fierce SLAVERY stalks, and slips the dogs of hell; From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound, And sable nations tremble at the sound!— 445 —YE BANDS OF SENATORS! whose suffrage sways Britannia's realms, whom either Ind obeys; Who right the injured, and reward the brave, Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save! Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort, 450 Inexorable CONSCIENCE holds his court; With still small voice the plots of Guilt alarms, Bares his mask'd brow, his lifted hand disarms; But, wrapp'd in night with terrors all his own, He speaks in thunder, when the deed is done. 455 Hear him ye Senates! hear this truth sublime, "HE, WHO ALLOWS OPPRESSION, SHARES THE CRIME."
No radiant pearl, which crested Fortune wears, No gem, that twinkling hangs from Beauty's ears, Not the bright stars, which Night's blue arch adorn, 460 Nor rising suns that gild the vernal morn, Shine with such lustre as the tear, that breaks For other's woe down Virtue's manly cheeks."
Here ceased the MUSE, and dropp'd her tuneful shell, Tumultuous woes her panting bosom swell, 465 O'er her flush'd cheek her gauzy veil she throws, Folds her white arms, and bends her laurel'd brows; For human guilt awhile the Goddess sighs, And human sorrows dim celestial eyes.
Bookseller. Poetry has been called a sister-art both to Painting and to Music; I wish to know, what are the particulars of their relationship?
Poet. It has been already observed, that the principal part of the language of poetry consists of those words, which are expressive of the ideas, which we originally receive by the organ of sight; and in this it nearly indeed resembles painting; which can express itself in no other way, but by exciting the ideas or sensations belonging to the sense of vision. But besides this essential similitude in the language of the poetic pen and pencil, these two sisters resemble each other, if I may so say, in many of their habits and manners. The painter, to produce a strong effect, makes a few parts of his picture large, distinct, and luminous, and keeps the remainder in shadow, or even beneath its natural size and colour, to give eminence to the principal figure. This is similar to the common manner of poetic composition, where the subordinate characters are kept down, to elevate and give consequence to the hero or heroine of the piece.
In the south aile of the cathedral church at Lichfield, there is an antient monument of a recumbent figure; the head and neck of which lie on a roll of matting in a kind of niche or cavern in the wall; and about five feet distant horizontally in another opening or cavern in the wall are seen the feet and ankles, with some folds of garment, lying also on a matt; and though the intermediate space is a solid stone-wall, yet the imagination supplies the deficiency, and the whole figure seems to exist before our eyes. Does not this resemble one of the arts both of the painter and the poet? The former often shows a muscular arm amidst a group of figures, or an impassioned face; and, hiding the remainder of the body behind other objects, leaves the imagination to compleat it. The latter, describing a single feature or attitude in picturesque words, produces before the mind an image of the whole.
I remember seeing a print, in which was represented a shrivelled hand stretched through an iron grate, in the stone floor of a prison-yard, to reach at a mess of porrage, which affected me with more horrid ideas of the distress of the prisoner in the dungeon below, than could have been perhaps produced by an exhibition of the whole person. And in the following beautiful scenery from the Midsummer-night's dream, (in which I have taken the liberty to alter the place of a comma), the description of the swimming step and prominent belly bring the whole figure before our eyes with the distinctness of reality.
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive, And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind; Which she with pretty and with swimming gate, Following her womb, (then rich with my young squire), Would imitate, and sail upon the land.
There is a third sister-feature, which belongs both to the pictorial and poetic art; and that is the making sentiments and passions visible, as it were, to the spectator; this is done in both arts by describing or portraying the effects or changes which those sentiments or passions produce upon the body. At the end of the unaltered play of Lear, there is a beautiful example of poetic painting; the old King is introduced as dying from grief for the loss of Cordelia; at this crisis, Shakespear, conceiving the robe of the king to be held together by a clasp, represents him as only saying to an attendant courtier in a faint voice, "Pray, Sir, undo this button,—thank you, Sir," and dies. Thus by the art of the poet, the oppression at the bosom of the dying King is made visible, not described in words.
B. What are the features, in which these Sister-arts do not resemble each other?
P. The ingenious Bishop Berkeley, in his Treatise on Vision, a work of great ability, has evinced, that the colours, which we see, are only a language suggesting to our minds the ideas of solidity and extension, which we had before received by the sense of touch. Thus when we view the trunk of a tree, our eye can only acquaint us with the colours or shades; and from the previous experience of the sense of touch, these suggest to us the cylindrical form, with the prominent or depressed wrinkles on it. From hence it appears, that there is the strictest analogy between colours and sounds; as they are both but languages, which do not represent their correspondent ideas, but only suggest them to the mind from the habits or associations of previous experience. It is therefore reasonable to conclude, that the more artificial arrangements of these two languages by the poet and the painter bear a similar analogy.
But in one circumstance the Pen and the Pencil differ widely from each other, and that is the quantity of Time which they can include in their respective representations. The former can unravel a long series of events, which may constitute the history of days or years; while the latter can exhibit only the actions of a moment. The Poet is happier in describing successive scenes; the Painter in representing stationary ones: both have their advantages.
Where the passions are introduced, as the Poet, on one hand, has the power gradually to prepare the mind of his reader by previous climacteric circumstances; the Painter, on the other hand, can throw stronger illumination and distinctness on the principal moment or catastrophe of the action; besides the advantage he has in using an universal language, which can be read in an instant of time. Thus where a great number of figures are all seen together, supporting or contrasting each other, and contributing to explain or aggrandize the principal effect, we view a picture with agreeable surprize, and contemplate it with unceasing admiration. In the representation of the sacrifice of Jephtha's Daughter, a print done from a painting of Ant. Coypel, at one glance of the eye we read all the interesting passages of the last act of a well-written tragedy; so much poetry is there condensed into a moment of time.
B. Will you now oblige me with an account of the relationship between Poetry, and her other sister, Music? P. In the poetry of our language I don't think we are to look for any thing analogous to the notes of the gamut; for, except perhaps in a few exclamations or interrogations, we are at liberty to raise or sink our voice an octave or two at pleasure, without altering the sense of the words. Hence, if either poetry or prose be read in melodious tones of voice, as is done in recitativo, or in chaunting, it must depend on the speaker, not on the writer: for though words may be selected which are less harsh than others, that is, which have fewer sudden stops or abrupt consonants amongst the vowels, or with fewer sibilant letters, yet this does not constitute melody, which consists of agreeable successions of notes referrable to the gamut; or harmony, which consists of agreeable combinations of them. If the Chinese language has many words of similar articulation, which yet signify different ideas, when spoken in a higher or lower musical note, as some travellers affirm, it must be capable of much finer effect, in respect to the audible part of poetry, than any language we are acquainted with.
There is however another affinity, in which poetry and music more nearly resemble each other than has generally been understood, and that is in their measure or time. There are but two kinds of time acknowledged in modern music, which are called triple time, and common time. The former of these is divided by bars, each bar containing three crotchets, or a proportional number of their subdivisions into quavers and semiquavers. This kind of time is analogous to the measure of our heroic or iambic verse. Thus the two following couplets are each of them divided into five bars of triple time, each bar consisting of two crotchets and two quavers; nor can they be divided into bars analogous to common time without the bars interfering with some of the crotchets, so as to divide them.
3 Soft-warbling beaks in each bright blos som move, 4 And vo cal rosebuds thrill the enchanted grove,
In these lines there is a quaver and a crochet alternately in every bar, except in the last, in which the in make two semiquavers; the e is supposed by Grammarians to be cut off, which any one's ear will readily determine not to be true.
3 Life buds or breathes from Indus to the poles, 4 And the vast surface kind les, as it rolls.
In these lines there is a quaver and a crotchet alternately in the first bar; a quaver, two crotchets, and a quaver, make the second bar. In the third bar there is a quaver, a crotchet, and a rest after the crotchet, that is, after the word poles, and two quavers begin the next line. The fourth bar consists of quavers and crotchets alternately. In the last bar there is a quaver, and a rest after it, viz. after the word kindles; and then two quavers and a crotchet. You will clearly perceive the truth of this, if you prick the musical characters above mentioned under the verses.
The common time of musicians is divided into bars, each of which contains four crotchets, or a proportional number of their subdivision into quavers and semiquavers. This kind of musical time is analogous to the dactyle verses of our language, the most popular instances of which are in Mr. Anstie's Bath-Guide. In this kind of verse the bar does not begin till after the first or second syllable; and where the verse is quite complete, and written by a good ear, these first syllables added to the last complete the bar, exactly in this also corresponding with many pieces of music;
2 Yet if one may guess by the size of his calf, Sir, 4 He weighs about twenty-three stone and a half, Sir.
2 Master Mamozet's head was not finished so soon, 4 For it took up the barber a whole afternoon.
In these lines each bar consists of a crotchet, two quavers, another crotchet, and two more quavers: which are equal to four crotchets, and, like many bars of common time in music, may be subdivided into two in beating time without disturbing the measure.
The following verses from Shenftone belong likewise to common time:
2/4 A river or a sea Was to him a dish of tea, And a king dom bread and butter.
The first and second bars consist each of a crotchet, a quaver, a crotchet, a quaver, a crotchet. The third bar consists of a quaver, two crotchets, a quaver, a crotchet. The last bar is not complete without adding the letter A, which begins the first line, and then it consists of a quaver, a crotchet, a quaver, a crotchet, two quavers.
It must be observed, that the crotchets in triple time are in general played by musicians slower than those of common time, and hence minuets are generally pricked in triple time, and country dances generally in common time. So the verses above related, which are analogous to triple time, are generally read slower than those analogous to common time; and are thence generally used for graver compositions. I suppose all the different kinds of verses to be found in our odes, which have any measure at all, might be arranged under one or other of these two musical times; allowing a note or two sometimes to precede the commencement of the bar, and occasional rests, as in musical compositions: if this was attended to by those who set poetry to music, it is probable the sound and sense would oftener coincide. Whether these musical times can be applied to the lyric and heroic verses of the Greek and Latin poets, I do not pretend to determine; certain it is, that the dactyle verse of our language, when it is ended with a double rhime, much resembles the measure of Homer and Virgil, except in the length of the lines. B. Then there is no relationship between the other two of these sister-, Painting and Music?
P. There is at least a mathematical relationship, or perhaps I ought rather to have said a metaphysical relationship between them. Sir Isaac Newton has observed, that the breadths of the seven primary colours in the Sun's image refracted by a prism are proportional to the seven musical notes of the gamut, or to the intervals of the eight sounds contained in an octave, that is, proportional to the following numbers:
Sol. La. Fa. Sol. La. Mi. Fa. Sol. Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet, 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 16 10 9 16 16 9
Newton's Optics, Book I. part 2. prop. 3 and 6. Dr. Smith, in his Harmonics, has an explanatory note upon this happy discovery, as he terms it, of Newton. Sect. 4. Art. 7. From this curious coincidence, it has been proposed to produce a luminous music, confiding of successions or combinations of colours, analogous to a tune in respect to the proportions above mentioned. This might be performed by a strong light, made by means of Mr. Argand's lamps, passing through coloured glasses, and falling on a defined part of a wall, with moveable blinds before them, which might communicate with the keys of a harpsichord; and thus produce at the same time visible and audible music in unison with each other. The execution of this idea is said by Mr. Guyot to have been attempted by Father Cassel without much success. If this should be again attempted, there is another curious coincidence between sounds and colours, discovered by Dr. Darwin of Shrewsbury, and explained in a paper on what he calls Ocular Spectra, in the Philosophical Transactions, Vol. LXXVI. which might much facilitate the execution of it. In this treatise the Doctor has demonstrated, that we see certain colours, not only with greater ease and distinctness, but with relief and pleasure, after having for some time contemplated other certain colours; as green after red, or red after green; orange after blue, or blue after orange; yellow after violet, or violet after yellow. This he shews arises from the ocular spectrum of the colour last viewed coinciding with the irritation of the colour now under contemplation. Now as the pleasure we receive from the sensation of melodious notes, independent of the previous associations of agreeable ideas with them, must arise from our hearing some proportions of sounds after others more easily, distinctly, or agreeably; and as there is a coincidence between the proportions of the primary colours, and the primary sounds, if they may be so called; he argues, that the same laws must govern the sensations of both. In this circumstance, therefore, consists the sisterhood of Music and Painting; and hence they claim a right to borrow metaphors from each other; musicians to speak of the brilliancy of sounds, and the light and shade of a concerto; and painters of the harmony of colours, and the tone of a picture. Thus it was not quite so absurd, as was imagined, when the blind man asked if the colour scarlet was like the sound of a trumpet. As the coincidence or opposition of these ocular spectra, (or colours which remain in the eye after having for some time contemplated a luminous object) are more easily and more accurately ascertained, now their laws have been investigated by Dr. Darwin, than the relicts of evanescent sounds upon the ear; it is to be wished that some ingenious musician would further cultivate this curious field of science: for if visible music can be agreeably produced, it would be more easy to add sentiment to it by the representations of groves and Cupids, and sleeping nymphs amid the changing colours, than is commonly done by the words of audible music.
B. You mentioned the greater length of the verses of Homer and Virgil. Had not these poets great advantage in the superiority of their languages compared to our own?
P. It is probable, that the introduction of philosophy into a country must gradually affect the language of it; as philosophy converses in more appropriated and abstracted terms; and thus by degrees eradicates the abundance of metaphor, which is used in the more early ages of society. Otherwise, though the Greek compound words have more vowels in proportion to their consonants than the English ones, yet the modes of compounding them are less general; as may be seen by variety of instances given in the preface of the Translators, prefixed to the SYSTEM OF VEGETABLES by the Lichfield Society; which happy property of our own language rendered that translation of Linneus as expressive and as concise, perhaps more so than the original.
And in one respect, I believe, the English language serves the purpose of poetry better than the antient ones, I mean in the greater ease of producing personifications; for as our nouns have in general no genders affixed to them in prose-compositions, and in the habits of conversation, they become easily personified only by the addition of a masculine or feminine pronoun, as,
Pale Melancholy sits, and round her throws A death-like silence, and a dread repose. Pope's Abelard.
And secondly, as most of our nouns have the article a or the prefixed to them in prose-writing and in conversation, they in general become personified even by the omission of these articles; as in the bold figure of Shipwreck in Miss Seward's Elegy on Capt. Cook:
But round the steepy rocks and dangerous strand Rolls the white surf, and SHIPWRECK guards the land.
Add to this, that if the verses in our heroic poetry be shorter than those of the ancients, our words likewise are shorter; and in respect to their measure or time, which has erroneously been called melody and harmony, I doubt, from what has been said above, whether we are so much inferior as is generally believed; since many passages, which have been stolen from antient poets, have been translated into our language without losing any thing of the beauty of the versification.
B. I am glad to hear you acknowledge the thefts of the modern poets from the antient ones, whose works I suppose have been reckoned lawful plunder in all ages. But have not you borrowed epithets, phrases, and even half a line occasionally from modern poems?
P. It may be difficult to mark the exact boundary of what should be termed plagiarism: where the sentiment and expression are both borrowed without due acknowledgement, there can be no doubt;—single words, on the contrary, taken from other authors, cannot convict a writer of plagiarism; they are lawful game, wild by nature, the property of all who can capture them;—and perhaps a few common flowers of speech may be gathered, as we pass over our neighbour's inclosure, without stigmatizing us with the title of thieves; but we must not therefore plunder his cultivated fruit.
The four lines at the end of the plant Upas are imitated from Dr. Young's Night Thoughts. The line in the episode adjoined to Cassia, "The salt tear mingling with the milk he sips," is from an interesting and humane passage in Langhorne's Justice of Peace. There are probably many others, which, if I could recollect them, should here be acknowledged. As it is, like exotic plants, their mixture with the natives ones, I hope, adds beauty to my Botanic Garden:—and such as it is, Mr. Bookseller, I now leave it to you to desire the Ladies and Gentlemen to walk in; but please to apprize them, that, like the spectators at an unskilful exhibition in some village-barn, I hope they will make Good-humour one of their party; and thus theirselves supply the defects of the representation.
Now the broad Sun his golden orb unshrouds, Flames in the west, and paints the parted clouds; O'er heaven's wide arch refracted lustres flow, And bend in air the many-colour'd bow.— 5 —The tuneful Goddess on the glowing sky Fix'd in mute extacy her glistening eye; And then her lute to sweeter tones she strung, And swell'd with softer chords the Paphian song. Long ailes of Oaks return'd the silver sound, 10 And amorous Echoes talk'd along the ground; Pleas'd Lichfield listen'd from her sacred bowers, Bow'd her tall groves, and shook her stately towers.
"Nymph! not for thee the radiant day returns, Nymph! not for thee the golden solstice burns, 15 Refulgent CEREA!—at the dusky hour She seeks with pensive step the mountain-bower,
[Pleas'd Lichfield. I. 11. The scenery described at the beginning of the first part, or economy of vegetation, is taken from a botanic garden about a mile from Lichfield.
Cerea. l. 15. Cactus grandiflorus, or Cereus. Twenty males, one female. This flower is a native of Jamaica and Veracrux. It expands a most exquisitely beautiful corol, and emits a most fragrant odour for a few hours in the night, and then closes to open no more. The flower is nearly a foot in diameter; the inside of the calyx of a splendid yellow, and the numerous petals of a pure white: it begins to open about seven or eight o'clock in the evening, and closes before sun-rise in the morning. Martyn's Letters, p. 294. The Cistus labdiniferus, and many other flowers, lose their petals after having been a few hours expanded in the day-time; for in these plants the stigma is soon impregnated by the numerous anthers: in many flowers of the Cistus lubdiniferus I observed two or three of the stamens were perpetually bent into contact with the pistil.
The Nyctanthes, called Arabian Jasmine, is another flower, which expands a beautiful corol, and gives out a most delicate perfume during the night, and not in the day, in its native country, whence its name; botanical philosophers have not yet explained this wonderful property; perhaps the plant sleeps during the day as some animals do; and its odoriferous glands only emit their fragrance during the expansion of the petals; that is, during its waking hours: the Geranium triste has the same property of giving up its fragrance only in the night. The flowers of the Cucurbita lagenaria are said to close when the sun shines upon them. In our climate many flowers, as tragopogon, and hibiscus, close their flowers before the hottest part of the day comes on; and the flowers of some species of cucubalus, and Silene, viscous campion, are closed all day; but when the sun leaves them they expand, and emit a very agreeable scent; whence such plants are termed noctiflora.]
Bright as the blush of rising morn, and warms The dull cold eye of Midnight with her charms. There to the skies she lifts her pencill'd brows, 20 Opes her fair lips, and breathes her virgin vows; Eyes the white zenyth; counts the suns, that roll Their distant fires, and blaze around the Pole; Or marks where Jove directs his glittering car O'er Heaven's blue vault,—Herself a brighter star. 25 —There as soft Zephyrs sweep with pausing airs Thy snowy neck, and part thy shadowy hairs, Sweet Maid of Night! to Cynthia's sober beams Glows thy warm cheek, thy polish'd bosom gleams. In crowds around thee gaze the admiring swains, 30 And guard in silence the enchanted plains; Drop the still tear, or breathe the impassion'd sigh, And drink inebriate rapture from thine eye. Thus, when old Needwood's hoary scenes the Night Paints with blue shadow, and with milky light; 35 Where MUNDY pour'd, the listening nymphs among, Loud to the echoing vales his parting song; With measured step the Fairy Sovereign treads, Shakes her high plume, and glitters o'er the meads; Round each green holly leads her sportive train, 40 And little footsteps mark the circled plain; Each haunted rill with silver voices rings, And Night's sweet bird in livelier accents sings.
Ere the bright star, which leads the morning sky, Hangs o'er the blushing east his diamond eye, 45 The chaste TROPAEO leaves her secret bed; A saint-like glory trembles round her head;
[ Where Mundy. l. 35. Alluding to an unpublished poem by F. N. Mundy, Esq. on his leaving Needwood-Forest.
Tropaeolum. l. 45. Majus. Garden Nasturtion, or greater Indian cress. Eight males, one female. Miss E. C. Linneus first observed the Tropaeolum Majus to emit sparks or flashes in the mornings before sun-rise, during the months of June or July, and also during the twilight in the evening, but not after total darkness came on; these singular scintillations were shewn to her father and other philosophers; and Mr. Wilcke, a celebrated electrician, believed them to be electric. Lin. Spec. Plantar. p. 490. Swedish Acts for the year 1762. Pulteney's View of Linneus, p. 220. Nor is this more wonderful than that the electric eel and torpedo should give voluntary shocks of electricity; and in this plant perhaps, as in those animals, it may be a mode of defence, by which it harrasses or destroys the night-flying insects which infest it; and probably it may emit the same sparks during the day, which must be then invisible. This curious subject deserves further investigation. See Dictamnus. The ceasing to shine of this plant after twilight might induce one to conceive, that it absorbed and emitted light, like the Bolognian Phosphorus, or calcined oyster-shells, so well explained by Mr. B. Wilson, and by T. B. Beccari. Exper. on Phosphori, by B. Wilson. Dodsley. The light of the evening, at the same distance from noon, is much greater, as I have repeatedly observed, than the light of the morning: this is owing, I suppose, to the phosphorescent quality of almost all bodies, in a greater or less degree, which thus absorb light during the sun-shine, and continue to emit it again for some time afterwards, though not in such quantity as to produce apparent scintillations. The nectary of this plant grows from what is supposed to be the calyx; but this supposed calyx is coloured; and perhaps, from this circumstance of its bearing the nectary, should rather be esteemed a part of the coral. See an additional note at the end of the poem.]
Eight watchful swains along the lawns of night With amorous steps pursue the virgin light; O'er her fair form the electric lustre plays, 50 And cold she moves amid the lambent blaze. So shines the glow-fly, when the sun retires, And gems the night-air with phosphoric fires;
[So shines the glow-fly. l. 52. In Jamaica, in some seasons of the year, the fire-flies are seen in the evenings in great abundance. When they settle on the ground, the bull-frog greedily devours them; which seems to have given origin to a curious, though cruel, method of destroying these animals: if red-hot pieces of charcoal be thrown towards them in the dusk of the evening, they leap at them, and, hastily swallowing them, are burnt to death.]
Thus o'er the marsh aerial lights betray, And charm the unwary wanderer from his way. 55 So when thy King, Assyria, fierce and proud, Three human victims to his idol vow'd; Rear'd a vast pyre before the golden shrine Of sulphurous coal, and pitch-exsuding pine;— —Loud roar the flames, the iron nostrils breathe, 60 And the huge bellows pant and heave beneath; Bright and more bright the blazing deluge flows, And white with seven-fold heat the furnace glows. And now the Monarch fix'd with dread surprize Deep in the burning vault his dazzled eyes. 65 "Lo! Three unbound amid the frightful glare, Unscorch'd their sandals, and unsing'd their hair! And now a fourth with seraph-beauty bright Descends, accosts them, and outshines the light! Fierce flames innocuous, as they step, retire! 70 And slow they move amid a world of fire!" He spoke,—to Heaven his arms repentant spread, And kneeling bow'd his gem-incircled head. Two Sister-Nymphs, the fair AVENAS, lead Their fleecy squadrons on the lawns of Tweed; 75 Pass with light step his wave-worn banks along, And wake his Echoes with their silver tongue; Or touch the reed, as gentle Love inspires, In notes accordant to their chaste desires.
"Sweet ECHO! sleeps thy vocal shell, "Where this high arch o'erhangs the dell; "While Tweed with sun-reflecting streams "Chequers thy rocks with dancing beams?—
[Ovena. l. 73. Oat. The numerous families of grasses have all three males, and two females, except Anthoxanthum, which gives the grateful smell to hay, and has but two males. The herbs of this order of vegetables support the countless tribes of graminivorous animals. The seeds of the smaller kinds of grasses, as of aira, poa, briza, stipa, &c. are the sustenance of many sorts of birds. The seeds of the large grasses, as of wheat, barley, rye, oats, supply food to the human species.
It seems to have required more ingenuity to think of feeding nations of mankind with so small a seed, than with the potatoe of Mexico, or the bread-fruit of the southern islands; hence Ceres in Egypt, which was the birth-place of our European arts, was deservedly celebrated amongst their divinities, as well as Osyris, who invented the Plough.
Mr. Wahlborn observes, that as wheat, rye, and many of the grasses, and plantain, lift up their anthers on long filments, and thus expose the enclosed fecundating dust to be washed away by the rains, a scarcity of corn is produced by wet summers; hence the necessity of a careful choice of seed wheat, as that, which had not received the dust of the anthers, will not grow, though it may appear well to the eye. The straw of the oat seems to have been the first musical instrument, invented during the pastoral ages of the world, before the discovery of metals. See note on Cistus.]
"Here may no clamours harsh intrude, No brawling hound or clarion rude; 85 Here no fell beast of midnight prowl, And teach thy tortured cliffs to howl!
"Be thine to pour these vales along Some artless Shepherd's evening song; While Night's sweet bird, from yon high spray 90 Responsive, listens to his lay.
"And if, like me, some love-lorn maid "Should sing her sorrows to thy shade, "Oh, sooth her breast, ye rocks around! "With softest sympathy of sound."
95 From ozier bowers the brooding Halcyons peep, The Swans pursuing cleave the glassy deep, On hovering wings the wondering Reed-larks play, And silent Bitterns listen to the lay.— Three shepherd-swains beneath the beechen shades 100 Twine rival garlands for the tuneful maids; On each smooth bark the mystic love-knot frame, Or on white sands inscribe the favour'd name.
From Time's remotest dawn where China brings In proud succession all her Patriot-Kings; 105 O'er desert-sands, deep gulfs, and hills sublime, Extends her massy wall from clime to clime; With bells and dragons crests her Pagod-bowers, Her silken palaces, and porcelain towers; With long canals a thousand nations laves; 110 Plants all her wilds, and peoples all her waves; Slow treads fair CANNABIS the breezy strand, The distaff streams dishevell'd in her hand;
[Cannabis. l. 111. Chinese Hemp. Two houses. Five males. A new species of hemp, of which an account is given by K. Fitzgerald, Esq. in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, and which is believed to be much superior to the hemp of other countries. A few seeds of this plant were sown in England on the 4th of June, and grew to fourteen feet seven inches in height by the middle of October; they were nearly seven inches in circumference, and bore many lateral branches, and produced very white and tough fibres. At some parts of the time these plants grew nearly eleven inches in a week. Philos. Trans. Vol. LXXII. p. 46.]
Now to the left her ivory neck inclines, And leads in Paphian curves its azure lines; 115 Dark waves the fringed lid, the warm cheek glows, And the fair ear the parting locks disclose; Now to the right with airy sweep she bends, Quick join the threads, the dancing spole depends. —Five Swains attracted guard the Nymph, by turns 120 Her grace inchants them, and her beauty burns; To each She bows with sweet assuasive smile, Hears his soft vows, and turns her spole the while.
So when with light and shade, concordant strife! Stern CLOTHO weaves the chequer'd thread of life; 125 Hour after hour the growing line extends, The cradle and the coffin bound its ends;
[Paphian curves. l. 114. In his ingenious work, entitled, The Analysis of Beauty, Mr. Hogarth believes that the triangular glass, which was dedicated to Venus in her temple at Paphos, contained in it a line bending spirally round a cone with a certain degree of curviture; and that this pyramidal outline and serpentine curve constitute the principles of Grace and Beauty.]
Soft cords of silk the whirling spoles reveal, If smiling Fortune turn the giddy wheel; But if sweet Love with baby-fingers twines, 130 And wets with dewy lips the lengthening lines, Skein after skein celestial tints unfold, And all the silken tissue shines with gold.
Warm with sweet blushes bright GALANTHA glows, And prints with frolic step the melting snows;
[Galanthus. l. 133. Nivalis. Snowdrop. Six males, one female. The first flower that appears after the winter solstice. See Stillingfleet's Calendar of Flora.
Some snowdrop-roots taken up in winter, and boiled, had the insipid mucilaginous taste of the Orchis, and, if cured in the same manner, would probably make as good salep. The roots of the Hyacinth, I am informed, are equally insipid, and might be used as an article of food. Gmelin, in his History of Siberia, says the Martigon Lily makes a part of the food of that country, which is of the same natural order as the snowdrop. Some roots of Crocus, which I boiled, had a disagreeable flavour.
The difficulty of raising the Orchis from seed has, perhaps, been a principal reason of its not being cultivated in this country as an article of food. It is affirmed, by one of the Linnean school, in the Amoenit. Academ. that the seeds of Orchis will ripen, if you destroy the new bulb; and that Lily of the Valley, Convallaria, will produce many more seeds, and ripen them, if the roots be crowded in a garden-pot, so as to prevent them from producing many bulbs. Vol. VI. p. 120. It is probable either of these methods may succeed with these and other bulbous-rooted plants, as snowdrops, and might render their cultivation profitable in this climate. The root of the asphodelus ramosus, branchy asphodel, is used to feed swine in France; and starch is obtained from the alstromeria licta. Memoires d'Agricult.]
135 O'er silent floods, white hills, and glittering meads Six rival swains the playful beauty leads, Chides with her dulcet voice the tardy Spring, Bids slumbering Zephyr stretch his folded wing, Wakes the hoarse Cuckoo in his gloomy cave, 140 And calls the wondering Dormouse from his grave, Bids the mute Redbreast cheer the budding grove, And plaintive Ringdove tune her notes to love.
Spring! with thy own sweet smile, and tuneful tongue, Delighted BELLIS calls her infant throng. 145 Each on his reed astride, the Cherub-train Watch her kind looks, and circle o'er the plain; Now with young wonder touch the siding snail, Admire his eye-tipp'd horns, and painted mail; Chase with quick step, and eager arms outspread, 150 The pausing Butterfly from mead to mead;
[Bellis prolifera l. 144. Hen and chicken Daisy; in this beautiful monster not only the impletion or doubling of the petals takes place, as described in the note on Alcea; but a numerous circlet of less flowers on peduncles, or footstalks, rise from the sides of the calyx, and surround the proliferous parent. The same occurs in Calendula, marigold; in Heracium, hawk-weed; and in Scabiosa, Scabious. Phil. Botan. p. 82.]
Or twine green oziers with the fragrant gale, The azure harebel, and the primrose pale, Join hand in hand, and in procession gay Adorn with votive wreaths the shrine of May. 155 —So moves the Goddess to the Idalian groves, And leads her gold-hair'd family of Loves. These, from the flaming furnace, strong and bold Pour the red steel into the sandy mould; On tinkling anvils (with Vulcanian art), 160 Turn with hot tongs, and forge the dreadful dart; The barbed head on whirling jaspers grind, And dip the point in poison for the mind; Each polish'd shaft with snow-white plumage wing, Or strain the bow reluctant to its string. 165 Those on light pinion twine with busy hands, Or stretch from bough to bough the flowery bands;
[The fragrant Gale. l. 151. The buds of the Myrica Gale possess an agreeable aromatic fragrance, and might be worth attending to as an article of the Materia Medica. Mr. Sparman suspects, that the green wax-like substance, with which at certain times of the year the berries of the Myrica cerifera, or candle-berry Myrtle, are covered, are deposited there by insects. It is used by the inhabitants for making candles, which he says burn rather better than those made of tallow. Voyage to the Cape, V. I. 345.]
Scare the dark beetle, as he wheels on high, Or catch in silken nets the gilded fly; Call the young Zephyrs to their fragrant bowers, 170 And stay with kisses sweet the Vernal Hours. Where, as proud Maffon rises rude and bleak, And with mishapen turrets crests the Peak, Old Matlock gapes with marble jaws, beneath, And o'er fear'd Derwent bends his flinty teeth; 175 Deep in wide caves below the dangerous soil Blue sulphurs flame, imprison'd waters boil.
[Deep in wide caves. l. 175. The arguments which tend to shew that the warm springs of this country are produced from steam raised by deep subterraneous fires, and afterwards condensed between the strata of the mountains, appear to me much more conclusive, than the idea of their being warmed by chemical combinations near the surface of the earth: for, 1st, their heat has kept accurately the same perhaps for many centuries, certainly as long as we have been possessed of good thermometers; which cannot be well explained, without supposing that they are first in a boiling state. For as the heat of boiling water is 212, and that of the internal parts of the earth 48, it is easy to understand, that the steam raised from boiling water, after being condensed in some mountain, and passing from thence through a certain space of the cold earth, must be cooled always to a given degree; and it is probable the distance from the exit of the spring, to the place where the steam is condensed, might be guessed by the degree of its warmth.
2. In the dry summer of 1780, when all other springs were either dry or much diminished, those of Buxton and Matlock (as I was well informed on the spot), had suffered no diminution; which proves that the sources of these warm springs are at great depths below the surface of the earth.
3. There are numerous perpendicular fissures in the rocks of Derbyshire, in which the ores of lead and copper are found, and which pass to unknown depths; and might thence afford a passage to steam from great subterraneous fires.
4. If these waters were heated by the decomposition of pyrites, there would be some chalybeate taste or sulphureous smell in them. See note in part 1. on the existence of central fires.]
Impetuous steams in spiral colums rise Through rifted rocks, impatient for the skies; Or o'er bright seas of bubbling lavas blow, 180 As heave and toss the billowy fires below; Condensed on high, in wandering rills they glide From Maffon's dome, and burst his sparry side; Round his grey towers, and down his fringed walls, From cliff to cliff, the liquid treasure falls; 185 In beds of stalactite, bright ores among, O'er corals, shells, and crystals, winds along; Crusts the green mosses, and the tangled wood, And sparkling plunges to its parent flood. —O'er the warm wave a smiling youth presides, 190 Attunes its murmurs, its meanders guides,
(The blooming FUCUS), in her sparry coves To amorous Echo sings his secret loves, Bathes his fair forehead in the misty stream, And with sweet breath perfumes the rising steam. 195 —So, erst, an Angel o'er Bethesda's springs, Each morn descending, shook his dewy wings; And as his bright translucent form He laves, Salubrious powers enrich the troubled waves.
[Fucus.l. 191. Clandestine marriage. A species of Fucus, or of Conserva, soon appears in all basons which contain water. Dr. Priestley found that great quantities of pure dephlogisticated air were given up in water at the points of this vegetable, particularly in the sunshine, and that hence it contributed to preserve the water in reservoirs from becoming putrid. The minute divisions of the leaves of subaquatic plants, as mentioned in the note on Trapa, and of the gills of fish, seem to serve another purpose besides that of increasing their surface, which has not, I believe, been attended to, and that is to facilitate the separation of the air, which is mechanically mixed or chemically dissolved in water by their points or edges; this appears on immersing a dry hairy leaf in water fresh from a pump; innumerable globules like quicksilver appear on almost every point; for the extremities of these points attract the particles of water less forcibly than those particles attract each other; hence the contained air, whose elasticity was but just balanced by the attractive power of the surrounding particles of water to each other, finds at the point of each fibre a place where the resistance to its expansion is less; and in consequence it there expands, and becomes a bubble of air. It is easy to foresee that the rays of the sunshine, by being refracted and in part relieved by the two surfaces of these minute air-bubbles, must impart to them much more heat than to the transparent water; and thus facilitate their ascent by further expanding them; that the points of vegetables attract the particles of water less than they attract each other, is seen by the spherical form of dew-drops on the points of grass. See note on Vegetable Respiration in Part I.]
Amphibious Nymph, from Nile's prolific bed 200 Emerging TRAPA lifts her pearly head; Fair glows her virgin cheek and modest breast, A panoply of scales deforms the rest;
[Trapa, l. 200. Four males, one female. The lower leaves of this plant grow under water, and are divided into minute capillary ramifications; while the upper leaves are broad and round, and have air-bladders in their footstalks to support them above the surface of the water. As the aerial leaves of vegetables do the office of lungs, by exposing a large surface of vessels with their contained fluids to the influence of the air; so these aquatic leaves answer a similar purpose like the gills of fish; and perhaps gain from water or give to it a similar material. As the material thus necessary to life seems to abound more in air than in water, the subaquatic leaves of this plant, and of sisymbrium, coenanthe, ranunculus aquatilis, water crowfoot, and some others, are cut into fine divisions to increase the surface; whilst those above water are undivided. So the plants on high mountains have their upper leaves more divided, as pimpinella, petroselinum, and others, because here the air is thinner, and thence a larger surface of contact is required. The stream of water also passes but once along the gills of fish, as it is sooner deprived of its virtue; whereas the air is both received and ejected by the action of the lungs of land-animals. The whale seems to be an exception to the above, as he receives water and spouts it out again from an organ, which I suppose to be a respiratory one. As spring-water is nearly of the same degree of heat in all climates, the aquatic plants, which grow in rills or fountains, are found equally in the torrid, temperate, and frigid zones, as water-cress, water-parsnip, ranunculus, and many others.
In warmer climates the watery grounds are usefully cultivated, as with rice; and the roots of some aquatic plants are said to have supplied food, as the ancient Lotus in Egypt, which some have supposed to be the Nymphaea.—In Siberia the roots of the Butemus, or flowering rush, are eaten, which is well worth further enquiry, as they grow spontaneously in our ditches and rivers, which at present produce no esculent vegetables; and might thence become an article of useful cultivation. Herodotus affirms, that the Egyptian Lotus grows in the Nile, and resembles a Lily. That the natives dry it in the sun, and take the pulp out of it, which grows like the head of a poppy, and bake it for bread. Enterpe. Many grit-stones and coals, which I have seen, seem to bear an impression of the roots of the Nymphaea, which are often three or four inches thick, especially the white-flowered one.]
Her quivering fins and panting gills she hides But spreads her silver arms upon the tides; 205 Slow as she sails, her ivory neck she laves, And shakes her golden tresses o'er the waves. Charm'd round the Nymph, in circling gambols glide Four Nereid-forms, or shoot along the tide; Now all as one they rise with frolic spring, 210 And beat the wondering air on humid wing; Now all descending plunge beneath the main, And lash the foam with undulating train; Above, below, they wheel, retreat, advance, In air and ocean weave the mazy dance; 215 Bow their quick heads, and point their diamond eyes, And twinkle to the sun with ever-changing dyes.
Where Andes, crested with volcanic beams, Sheds a long line of light on Plata's streams; Opes all his springs, unlocks his golden caves, 220 And feeds and freights the immeasurable waves; Delighted OCYMA at twilight hours Calls her light car, and leaves the sultry bowers;— Love's rising ray, and Youth's seductive dye, Bloom'd on her cheek, and brighten'd in her eye; 225 Chaste, pure, and white, a zone of silver graced Her tender breast, as white, as pure, as chaste;—-
[Ocymum salinun. l. 221. Saline Basil. Class Two Powers. The Abbe Molina, in his History of Chili, translated from the Italian by the Abbe Grewvel, mentions a species of Basil, which he calls Ocymum salinum: he says it resembles the common basil, except that the stalk is round and jointed; and that though it grows 60 miles from the sea, yet every morning it is covered with saline globules, which are hard and splendid, appearing at a distance like dew; and that each plant furnishes about half an ounce of fine salt every day, which the peasants collect, and use as common salt, but esteem it superior in flavour.
As an article of diet, salt seems to act simply as a stimulus, not containing any nourishment, and is the only fossil substance which the caprice of mankind has yet taken into their stomachs along with their food; and, like all other unnatural stimuli, is not necessary to people in health, and contributes to weaken our system; though it may be useful as a medicine. It seems to be the immediate cause of the sea-scurvy, as those patients quickly recover by the use of fresh provisions; and is probably a remote cause of scrophula (which consists in the want of irritability in the absorbent vessels), and is therefore serviceable to these patients; as wine is necessary to those whose stomachs have been weakened by its use. The universality of the use of salt with our food, and in our cookery, has rendered it difficult to prove the truth of these observations. I suspect that flesh-meat cut into thin slices, either raw or boiled, might be preserved in coarse sugar or treacle; and thus a very nourishing and salutary diet might be presented to our seamen. See note on Salt-rocks, in Vol. I, Canto II. If a person unaccustomed to much salt should eat a couple of red-herrings, his insensible perspiration will be so much increased by the stimulus of the salt, that he will find it necessary in about two hours to drink a quart of water: the effects of a continued use of salt in weakening the action of the lymphatic system may hence be deduced.]
By four fond swains in playful circles drawn, On glowing wheels she tracks the moon-bright lawn, Mounts the rude cliff, unveils her blushing charms, 230 And calls the panting zephyrs to her arms. Emerged from ocean springs the vaporous air, Bathes her light limbs, uncurls her amber hair, Incrusts her beamy form with films saline, And Beauty blazes through the crystal shrine.— 235 So with pellucid studs the ice-flower gems Her rimy foliage, and her candied stems. So from his glassy horns, and pearly eyes, The diamond-beetle darts a thousand dyes; Mounts with enamel'd wings the vesper gale, 240 And wheeling shines in adamantine mail.
Thus when loud thunders o'er Gomorrah burst, And heaving earthquakes shook his realms accurst, An Angel-guest led forth the trembling Fair With shadowy hand, and warn'd the guiltless pair;
[Ice-flower. l. 235. Mesembryanthemum crystallinum.]
245 "Haste from these lands of sin, ye Righteous! fly, Speed the quick step, nor turn the lingering eye!"— —Such the command, as fabling Bards indite, When Orpheus charm'd the grisly King of Night; Sooth'd the pale phantoms with his plaintive lay, 250 And led the fair Assurgent into day.— Wide yawn'd the earth, the fiery tempest flash'd, And towns and towers in one vast ruin crash'd;— Onward they move,—-loud horror roars behind, And shrieks of Anguish bellow in the wind. 255 With many a sob, amid a thousand fears, The beauteous wanderer pours her gushing tears; Each soft connection rends her troubled breast, —She turns, unconscious of the stern behest!— "I faint!—I fall!—ah, me!—sensations chill 260 Shoot through my bones, my shuddering bosom thrill! I freeze! I freeze! just Heaven regards my fault, Numbs my cold limbs, and hardens into salt!— Not yet, not yet, your dying Love resign!— This last, last kiss receive!—no longer thine!"— 265 She said, and ceased,—her stiffen'd form He press'd, And strain'd the briny column to his breast; Printed with quivering lips the lifeless snow, And wept, and gazed the monument of woe.— So when Aeneas through the flames of Troy 270 Bore his pale fire, and led his lovely boy; With loitering step the fair Creusa stay'd, And Death involved her in eternal shade.— Oft the lone Pilgrim that his road forsakes, Marks the wide ruins, and the sulphur'd lakes; 275 On mouldering piles amid asphaltic mud Hears the hoarse bittern, where Gomorrah stood; Recalls the unhappy Pair with lifted eye, Leans on the crystal tomb, and breathes the silent sigh..
With net-wove sash and glittering gorget dress'd, 280 And scarlet robe lapell'd upon her breast, Stern ARA frowns, the measured march assumes, Trails her long lance, and nods her shadowy plumes;
[Arum. I. 281. Cuckow-pint, of the class Gynandria, or masculine ladies. The pistil, or female part of the flower, rises like a club, is covered above or clothed, as it were, by the anthers or males; and some of the species have a large scarlet blotch in the middle of every leaf.
The singular and wonderful structure of this flower has occasioned many disputes amongst botanists. See Tourniff. Malpig. Dillen. Rivin. &c. The receptacle is enlarged into a naked club, with the germs at its base; the stamens are affixed to the receptacle amidst the germs (a natural prodigy), and thus do not need the assistance of elevating filaments: hence the flower may be said to be inverted. Families of Plants translated from Linneus, p. 618.
The spadix of this plant is frequently quite white, or coloured, and the leaves liable to be streaked with white, and to have black or scarlet blotches on them. As the plant has no corol or blossom, it is probable the coloured juices in these parts of the sheath or leaves may serve the same purpose as the coloured juices in the petals of other flowers; from which I suppose the honey to be prepared. See note on Helleborus. I am informed that those tulip-roots which have a red cuticle produce red flowers. See Rubia.
When the petals of the tulip become striped with many colours, the plant loses almost half of its height; and the method of making them thus break into colours is by transplanting them into a meagre or sandy soil, _after they have previously enjoyed a richer soil: hence it appears, that the plant is weakened when the flower becomes variegated. See note on Anemone. For the acquired habits of vegetables, see Tulipa, Orchis.
The roots of the Arum are scratched up and eaten by thrushes in severe snowy seasons. White's Hist. of Selbourn, p. 43.]
While Love's soft beams illume her treacherous eyes, And Beauty lightens through the thin disguise. 285 So erst, when HERCULES, untamed by toil, Own'd the soft power of DEJANIRA'S smile;— His lion-spoils the laughing Fair demands, And gives the distaff to his awkward hands; O'er her white neck the bristly mane she throws, 290 And binds the gaping whiskers on her brows; 290 Plaits round her slender waist the shaggy vest, And clasps the velvet paws across her breast. Next with soft hands the knotted club she rears, Heaves up from earth, and on her shoulder bears. 295 Onward with loftier step the Beauty treads, 295 And trails the brinded ermine o'er the meads; Wolves, bears, and bards, forsake the affrighted groves, And grinning Satyrs tremble, as she moves.
CARYO'S sweet smile DIANTHUS proud admires, 300 And gazing burns with unallow'd desires; 300
[Dianthus. l. 299. Superbus. Proud Pink. There is a kind of pink called Fairchild's mule, which is here supposed to be produced between a Dianthus superbus, and the Garyophyllus, Clove. The Dianthus superbus emits a most fragrant odour, particularly at night. Vegetable mules supply an irrefragable argument in favour of the sexual system of botany. They are said to be numerous; and, like the mules of the animal kingdom, not always to continue their species by seed. There is an account of a curious mule from the Antirrbinum linaria, Toad-flax, in the Amoenit. Academ. V. I. No. 3. and many hybrid plants described in No. 32. The Urtica alienata is an evergreen plant, which appears to be a nettle from the male flowers, and a Pellitory (Parietaria) from the female ones and the fruit; and is hence between both. Murray, Syft. Veg. Amongst the English indigenous plants, the veronica hybrida mule Speedwel is supposed to have originated from the officinal one; and the spiked one, and the Sibthorpia Europaea to have for its parents the golden saxifrage and marsh pennywort. Pulteney's View of Linneus, p. 250. Mr. Graberg, Mr. Schreber, and Mr. Ramstrom, seem of opinion, that the internal structure or parts of fructification in mule-plants resemble the female parent; but that the habit or external structure resembles the male parent. See treatises under the above names in V. VI. Amaenit. Academic. The mule produced from a horse and the ass resembles the horse externally with his ears, main, and tail; but with the nature or manners of an ass: but the Hinnus, or creature produced from a male ass, and a mare, resembles the father externally in stature, ash-colour, and the black cross, but with the nature or manners of a horse. The breed from Spanish rams and Swedish ewes resembled the Spanish sheep in wool, stature, and external form; but was as hardy as the Swedish sheep; and the contrary of those which were produced from Swedish rams and Spanish ewes. The offspring from the male goat of Angora and the Swedish female goat had long soft camel's hair; but that from the male Swedish goat, and the female one of Angora, had no improvement of their wool. An English ram without horns, and a Swedish horned ewe, produced sheep without horns. Amoen. Academ. V. VI. p. 13.]
With sighs and sorrows her compassion moves, And wins the damsel to illicit loves. The Monster-offspring heirs the father's pride, Mask'd in the damask beauties of the bride. 305 So, when the Nightingale in eastern bowers On quivering pinion woos the Queen of flowers; Inhales her fragrance, as he hangs in air, And melts with melody the blushing fair; Half-rose, half-bird, a beauteous Monster springs, 310 Waves his thin leaves, and claps his glossy wings; Long horrent thorns his mossy legs surround, And tendril-talons root him to the ground; Green films of rind his wrinkled neck o'espread, And crimson petals crest his curled head; 315 Soft-warbling beaks in each bright blossom move, And vocal Rosebuds thrill the enchanted grove!— Admiring Evening stays her beamy star, And still Night listens from his ebon ear; While on white wings descending Houries throng, 320 And drink the floods of odour and of song.
When from his golden urn the Solstice pours O'er Afric's sable sons the sultry hours; When not a gale flits o'er her tawny hills, Save where the dry Harmattan breathes and kills;
[The dry Harmattan. l. 324. The Harmattan is a singular wind blowing from the interior parts of Africa to the Atlantic ocean, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for several days without regular periods. It is always attended with a fog or haze, so dense as to render those objects invisible which are at the distance of a quarter of a mile; the sun appears through it only about noon, and then of a dilute red, and very minute particles subside from the misty air so as to make the grass, and the skins of negroes appear whitish. The extreme dryness which attends this wind or fog, without dews, withers and quite dries the leaves of vegetables; and is said of Dr. Lind at some seasons to be fatal and malignant to mankind; probably after much preceding wet, when it may become loaded with the exhalations from putrid marshes; at other seasons it is said to check epidemic diseases, to cure fluxes, and to heal ulcers and cutaneous eruptions; which is probably effected by its yielding no moisture to the mouths of the external absorbent vessels, by which the action of the other branches of the absorbent system is increased to supply the deficiency. Account of the Harmattan. Phil. Transact. V. LXXI.
The Rev. Mr. Sterling gives an account of a darkness for six or eight hours at Detroit in America, on the 19th of October, 1762, in which the sun appeared as red as blood, and thrice its usual size: some rain falling, covered white paper with dark drops, like sulphur or dirt, which burnt like wet gunpowder, and the air had a very sulphureous smell. He supposes this to have been emitted from some distant earthquake or volcano. Philos. Trans. V. LIII. p. 63.
In many circumstances this wind seems much to resemble the dry fog which covered most parts of Europe for many weeks in the summer of 1780, which has been supposed to have had a volcanic origin, as it succeeded the violent eruption of Mount Hecla, and its neighbourhood. From the subsidence of a white powder, it seems probable that the Harmattan has a similar origin, from the unexplored mountains of Africa. Nor is it improbable, that the epidemic coughs, which occasionally traverse immense tracts of country, may be the products of volcanic eruptions; nor impossible, that at some future time contagious miasmata may be thus emitted from subterraneous furnaces, in such abundance as to contaminate the whole atmosphere, and depopulate the earth!]
325 When stretch'd in dust her gasping panthers lie, And writh'd in foamy folds her serpents die; Indignant Atlas mourns his leafless woods, And Gambia trembles for his sinking floods; Contagion stalks along the briny sand, 330 And Ocean rolls his sickening shoals to land.
[His sickening shoals. 330. Mr. Marsden relates, that in the island of Sumatra, during the November of 1775, the dry monsoons, or S.E. winds, continued so much longer than usual, that the large rivers became dry; and prodigious quantities of sea-fish, dead and dying, were seen floating for leagues on the sea, and driven on the beach by the tides. This was supposed to have been caused by the great evaporation, and the deficiency of fresh water rivers having rendered the sea too fast for its inhabitants. The season then became so sickly as to destroy great numbers of people, both foreigners and natives. Phil. Trans. V. LXXI. p. 384.]
—Fair CHUNDA smiles amid the burning waste, Her brow unturban'd, and her zone unbrac'd; Ten brother-youths with light umbrella's shade, Or fan with busy hands the panting maid; 335 Loose wave her locks, disclosing, as they break, The rising bosom and averted cheek;
[Chunda. l. 331. Chundali Borrum is the name which the natives give to this plant; it is the Hedylarum gyrans, or moving plant; its class is two brotherhoods, ten males. Its leaves are continually in spontaneous motion; some rising and others falling; and others whirling circularly by twisting their stems; this spontaneous movement of the leaves, when the air is quite still and very warm, seems to be necessary to the plant, at perpetual respiration is to animal life. A more particular account, with a good print of the Hedyfarum gyrans is given by M. Brouffonet in a paper on vegetable motions in the Histoire de l'Academie des Sciences. Ann. 1784, p. 609.
There are many other instances of spontaneous movements of the parts of vegetables. In the Marchantia polymorpha some yellow wool proceeds from the flower-bearing anthers, which moves spontaneously in the anther, while it drops its dust like atoms. Murray, Syst. Veg. See note on Collinfonia for other instances of vegetable spontaneity. Add to this, that as the sleep of animals consists in a suspension of voluntary motion, and as vegetables are likewise subject to sleep, there is reason to conclude, that the various actions of opening and closing their petals and foliage may be justly ascribed to a voluntary power: for without the faculty of volition, sleep would not have been, necessary to them.]
Clasp'd round her ivory neck with studs of gold Flows her thin vest in many a gauzy fold; O'er her light limbs the dim transparence plays, 340 And the fair form, it seems to hide, betrays.
Where leads the northern Star his lucid train High o'er the snow-clad earth, and icy main, With milky light the white horizon streams, And to the moon each sparkling mountain gleams.— 345 Slow o'er the printed snows with silent walk Huge shaggy forms across the twilight stalk; And ever and anon with hideous sound Burst the thick ribs of ice, and thunder round.— There, as old Winter slaps his hoary wing, 350 And lingering leaves his empire to the Spring, Pierced with quick shafts of silver-shooting light Fly in dark troops the dazzled imps of night—
[Burst the thick rib of ice. l. 348. The violent cracks of ice heard from the Glaciers seem to be caused by some of the snow being melted in the middle of the day; and the water thus produced running down into vallies of ice, and congealing again in a few hours, forces off by its expansion large precipices from the ice-mountains.]
"Awake, my Love!" enamour'd MUSCHUS cries, "Stretch thy fair limbs, resulgent Maid! arise; 355 Ope thy sweet eye-lids to the rising ray, And hail with ruby lips returning day. Down the white hills dissolving torrents pour, Green springs the turf, and purple blows the flower; His torpid wing the Rail exulting tries, 360 Mounts the soft gale, and wantons in the skies; Rise, let us mark how bloom the awaken'd groves, And 'mid the banks of roses hide our loves."
[Muschus. l. 353. Corallinus, or lichen rangiferinus. Coral-moss. Clandestine-marriage. This moss vegetates beneath the snow, where the degree of heat is always about 40; that is, in the middle between the freezing point, and the common heat of the earth; and is for many months of the winter the sole food of the rain-deer, who digs furrows in the snow to find it: and as the milk and flesh of this animal is almost the only sustenance which can be procured during the long winters of the higher latitudes, this moss may be said to support some millions of mankind.
The quick vegetation that occurs on the solution of the snows in high latitudes appears very astonishing; it seems to arise from two causes, 1. the long continuance of the approaching sun above the horizon; 2. the increased irritability of plants which have been long exposed to the cold. See note on Anemone.
All the water-fowl on the lakes of Siberia are said by Professor Gmelin to retreat Southwards on the commencement of the frosts, except the Rail, which sleeps buried in the snow. Account of Siberia.]
Night's tinsel beams on smooth Lock-lomond dance, Impatient AEGA views the bright expanse;— 365 In vain her eyes the parting floods explore, Wave after wave rolls freightless to the shore. —Now dim amid the distant foam she spies A rising speck,—"'tis he! 'tis he!" She cries; As with firm arms he beats the streams aside, 370 And cleaves with rising chest the tossing tide, With bended knee she prints the humid sands, Up-turns her glistening eyes, and spreads her hands; —"'Tis he, 'tis he!—My Lord, my life, my love!— Slumber, ye winds; ye billows, cease to move! 375 beneath his arms your buoyant plumage spread, Ye Swans! ye Halcyons! hover round his head!"—