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Holofernes. They met her on the way, and blessed her, and led her in triumph to Jerusalem, carrying olive-branches in their hands, and singing songs in honour of her.
By analogy we associate youth with spring, manhood with summer, and autumn with that season of life when, as Shakspeare expresses it, we are fallen into "the sere and yellow leaf :" winter we associate with age.
“ Behold, fond man!
And shuts the scene!" What can be more pathetic than the passage in Milton where he compares blind Thamyris, Tiresias, and Mæonides to the nightingale? And is there a finer instance of the application of the works of Nature to moral illustration, than where he likens the progress of crime to the lengthening shadows of the setting sun? What can be more grand than where he compares Satan to Mount Teneriffe, and to the sun in eclipse? When Blair says that men see their friends drop off like “leaves in autumn;" when Shakspeare compares the unfortunate Richard to “the evening sun," and a man of high reputation “to a tree blushing with fruit;" when he likens glory to "a circle in the water,” and the fall of Wolsey to a “ falling meteor," how affecting, and instructive too, do the subjects become!
The Epicureans illustrated their idea of happiness by asserting that a happy life was neither like a pool nor like a torrent, but like a gentle stream, that “glides smoothly and silently along." One of the odes written by Neyahualcojolt, king of Mexico-the Howel Dha of that empire-compares the tyrant Fezzomoe to a stately tree which had extended itself into many countries, and spread the shadow of
its branches over them ; but at last, eaten by the worm at its root, wasted away and fell to the earth.
Sometimes the poets draw similitudes from the phenomena of the heavens. Sophocles compares the changeableness of Menelaus's fortune to the frequent waning of the moon ;* and Heliodorus likens Chariclea, clad in a dress of poverty, to the same luminary rising among the clouds. Dryden has a fine metaphor in his play of “ All for Love," where Antony compares himself to a meteor: an idea more than once adopted by Rowe and Congreve. Haller compares reason to the moon, and revelation to the sun.
No poets draw more frequently from Nature than the sacred writers.f The fact is, there is scarcely a simile in the Scriptures that has not an immediate reference to natural objects. How beautiful is that passage in St. John where Christ says to the woman of Samaria, “ Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst.”
Most of the similes and illustrations of Ferdousee, Hafiz, Sadi, and other Oriental poets, are also drawn
* What a beautiful passage is that in the Winter's Tale, where Polyxenes, questioning the shepherd respecting the love which Florizel bears to Perdita, the shepherd replies,
“ Never did the moon So gaze upon the waters, as he'll stand
And read my daughter's eyes. + See the parable of the wasted vine in Ezekiel, ch. xix., v. 10, and of the two eagles and a vine, ch. xvii., v. 1. An admirable instance, too, occurs in Isaiah, ch. xv. The parable of the trees and the bramble is well known (Judges, ch. ix., v. 8), as is the celebrated passage in Isaiah where the glory of Assyria is compared to a cedar. In Numbers, Balaam, seeing the tents of Jacob pitched in the plains of Moab, exclaims, "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel : as the valleys are spread forth; as gardens by the river side ; as the trees of aloe which the Lord hath planted ; and as cedartrees beside the waters" (ch. xxiv., v. 5, 6).
from the natural world. Tasso, too, has scarcely one that has not a similar derivation. Thus he compares Argantes to a comet ; the fury of Solyman to a stormy ocean, seen at intervals through flashes of lightning ; and the virtues of Rinaldo to a tree bearing fruit and blossoms at the same time : Armida, recovering from a swoon, to a rose restored by the dew; the archangel Michael to a rainbow; the softening of Armida's anger to snows melting in the sun; and the sound of an army to the distant murmuring of the waves..
Milton abounds no less in references to natural objects, though he frequently illustrates his subjects by allusions to the arts and sciences. The legions of Satan he compares to the autumnal leaves that s strew the brooks of Vallambrosa ;" the rising of Pandemonium to an exhalation; the applause of the darkened angels to the sound of winds rushing from hollow rocks upon the billows; and the atoms of Chaos to the unnumbered sands of Barce or Cyrene. The countenance of Eve he likens to the first smiles of morning ; the combat of Michael and Satan to two planets rushing from their orbits and confounding the spheres: Satan to a comet ; his shield to the moon; his standard to a meteor; his frown to a thunder cloud ; and his recoil from the force of Michael to a mountain sinking in an earthquake.
Virgil, also, has perpetual allusions to the animal and vegetable world. The instances where he compares Orpheus to a nightingale; the love of Dido to the anguish of a wounded stag; and the engagement of Tarchon and Venulus to the combat of an eagle and a serpent, are exceedingly beautiful. The last is assuredly the finest of all his similes ; as the one where the ecstasy of a good man at the approach of death is compared to the music of a dying swan, is the most exquisite in Plato.
But of all writers, ancient or modern, Ossian* is the poet who may strictly be styled the Poet of Nature, since there is scarcely a single allusion that does not expressly refer to her productions. To quote instances were to quote the whole of his poetry; but the following is so exquisite that the reader will pardon its introduction : “Ullin, Fingal's bard, was there; the sweet tree of the Hill of Cona. He praised the Daughter of Snow, and Morven's high-descended chief. The Daughter of Snow overheard, and left the hall of her secret sigh. She came in all her beauty, like the moon from a cloud in the east. Loveliness was around her as light. Her steps were like the music of songs." Surely Homer has nothing in its kind superior to this.
CHYMICAL, ATMOSPHERICAL, AND VEGE
There is no animal, vegetable, or even mineral but undergoes perpetual increase or diminution of weight. They are expanded by heat, contracted by cold, or affected by the substances with which they are combined. It is no invalidation of this position that many of these changes are neither visible to the human eye, nor sensible to human touch. Gold, platina, and silver are less liable to change than any other metals ; but even their changes are frequently apparent. The ten simple earths are pot only inca.
,* The authenticity of Ossian's poems has been rightly questioned. They are, strictly, neither ancient nor modern. 'l'hey are poems grounded on oral and traditional fragments in Gaelic, blended with imitations of Homer, Virgil, Tasso, Shakspeare, and Milton; the whole being amalgamated by Macpherson with a taste, spirit, and enthusiasm worthy the aspirations of a superior genius. Homer's lliad, and even the Odyssey, were perhaps compiled and amalgamated after a similar manner. The character of Fingal is the finest in all poetry.
pable of being converted into other apparent bodies, but they are equally unsusceptible of being convert. ed into each other. They are also incombustible and infusible ; and they enter into the composition of all substances that fill up space, beginning with gems and ending with sand. Yet even these have frequent increase and diminution. Some minerals impart their virtues without losing any of their sensible weight; but they lose weight nevertheless. It is only insensible to us.
The diamond is the most unchangeable of earthly bodies when in its quarry; and yet this hardest of all bodies is a combustible subtance, and furnishes pure charcoal; and charcoal itself, the most obstinate of bodies, may yet be melted by the gas blowpipe.
The apparent changes in mineral bodies are exceedingly curious and beautiful. If nitric acid is poured on copper filings, the particles of copper will combine with those of the acid, and form a new body distinct from either. Mercury will dissolve in vapour at the common temperature of the atmosphere. Iron is burned by pure oxygen gas; and, when applied to a roll of sulphur, becomes obsequious and pulverizes. Gold and silver may be reduced to a calx, and afterward reclaimed to their primitive nature and form ; and all bodies resolve themselves by chymical analysis into earth, water, salt, sulphur, or mercury. Shells, wherever found, will ferment with acids, and burn into lime; and limestone is formed by a combination of water, carbon, and oxygen. When a limestone rock appears, therefore, we may rest assured that water once flow. ed there. Indeed, the whole form and disposition of the earth would seem to prove that it was once in a state of fluidity.
Silver is generally found combined with lead, antimony, and sulphur; copper with many substances; iron mostly with sulphuric and carbonic acids ; py