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THE PRINCE AND THE WIDOW.
WHEN the Cross in Spain was broken, And the Moors her sceptre swayed, In his royal town a Caliph
A fair stately palace made; Pleasant was the wide-arched mansion, With its quaintly-figured walls, And the silver-sprinkling fountains In its marble-paven halls. Arabesques filled every chamber
With a wild fantastic grace, And the Koran's golden ciphers Made a mystery of the place; Rich the tracery of each lattice,
Carven sharp with master-craft,
Weak and friendless was the widow,-
From the soil on which they stood.
It was granted, and he filled it;
And the mouldings wrought like lace- Asked the Caliph to assist him
On each tall and slender shaft.
Came through pillared courts all open
For his pleasure wished to build;
To complete it to his heart, But no bribe could tempt the widow With her little plot to part. Wearied with his vain entreaties, He at last put forth his hand, And raised up his dome of pleasure On the violated land.
While he raised it from the ground. Smiled the Prince at the entreaty,
Thinking all was done in mirth,
Raised the sack, but dropped full quickly His strange burden to the earth. "It is heavy," said the Cadi,
"And thou canst not bear the weight;
Yet 'tis but a little portion
Of the widow's whole estate.
Prince and beggar equal are.
The sharp arrow reached his conscience,
J. D. BURNS.
CREATION A CONTINUOUS WORK.
WE are accustomed to conceive of the creation of man as a dim, miraculous event, of the most ancient time, forgetting that God's scheme of managing the living world is one of perpetual creation. Had our earth been formed of an eternal adamant, subject to no vicissitudes of change through all the cycles of duration, we might, perhaps, well refer to the act of bringing it into existence as especially illustrative of creative power; but where all is changing, transitory, and incessantly dissolving away, so that nothing remains immutable but God's conception of being, which the whole universe is for ever hastening to realize, we cannot escape the conviction of his immediate, living, omnipresent, constructive agency. The truth is, we are hourly and momentarily created, and it is impossible to imagine in what respect the first act of formative power was more wonderful or glorious, or afforded any more conspicuous display of omnipotent wisdom, than that august procession of phenomena by which man, and the entire living world, are now and continually called into being.
Those material atoms which are to-day interposed between us and destruction, are recent from chaos,-they were but yesterday formless dust of the earth, corroded and pulverized rocks, or fleeting and viewless gases of the air. These, through the vast enginery of astronomic systems, whose impulses of movement spring directly from the Almighty's will, have entered a world of organic order, are wrought into new states, and made capable of nourishing the animal body. The mingled gases and mineral dust have become vital aliment. The test-miracle which the Tempter of old demanded, as evidence of Godlike power, is disclosed to the eye of science as a result of natural laws; for in the most literal sense, "stones are made bread."
THE LIVING SYSTEM A THEATRE OF CHANGE.
The body of the grown man presents to us the same unaltered aspect of form and size for long periods of time. With the exception of furrows deepening in the countenance, an adult man may seem hardly to alter for half a hundred years. But this appearance is altogether illusory; for with apparent bodily identity there has really been an active and rapid change, daily and nightly, hourly and momently-an incessant waste and renewal of all the corporeal parts. A waterfall is permanent, and may present the same aspect of identity and unchangeableness from generation to generation, but who does not know that it is certainly made up of particles in a state of swift transition; the cataract is only a form resulting from the definite course which the changing particles pursue. The flame of a lamp presents to us for a long time the same appearance, but its constancy of aspect is caused by a ceaseless change in the place and condition of the chemical atoms which carry on combustion.
Just so with man: he appears an unchanged being, endowed with permanent attributes of power and activity, but he is really only an unvarying form, whose constituent particles are for ever changing. As each part of his body is brought into action, its particles perish, and are replaced by others; and thus destruction and renovation in the vital economy are indissolubly connected, and proceed together. It is said, with reference to the casualties to which man is everywhere exposed, that "in the midst of life we are in death;" but physiologically this is a still profounder truth-we begin to die as soon as we begin to live.
Very few persons have any correct conception of the rate at which change goes on in their bodies. The average amount of matter taken into the system daily, under given circumstances, has been determined with a considerable degree of precision. From the army and navy diet-scales of France and England, which, of course, are based upon the recognized necessities of large numbers of men in active life, it is found that about 24lb avoirdupois of dry food per day are required for each individual: of this,
about three-quarters are vegetable, and the rest animal. ing a standard of 1401b as the weight of the body, the amount of oxygen consumed daily is nearly 2b, which results from breathing about 25 or 30 hogsheads of air: the quantity of water is nearly 4b for the same time.
The weight of the entire blood of a full-grown man varies from 20 to 301b; of this the lungs, in a state of health, contain about b. The heart beats, on an average, 60 or 70 times in a minute. Every beat sends forward two ounces of the fluid. It rushes on at the rate of 150 feet in a minute, the whole blood passing through the lungs every two minutes and a half, or twenty times in an hour. In periods of great exertion the rapidity with which the blood flows is much increased, so that the whole of it sometimes circulates in less than a single minute. According to these data, all the blood in the body travels through the circulatory route 600 or 700 times in a day,--a total movement through the heart of 10,000 or 12,000lb of blood in 24 hours. At the same time there escapes from the lungs nearly 2tb of carbonic acid and 1lb of watery vapour. The skin loses by perspiration 2tb of water, and there escape in other directions about 24lb of matter. In the course of a year, the amount of solid food consumed is upwards of 800b; the quantity of oxygen is about the same; and that of water, taken in various forms, is estimated at 1500lb or altogether a ton and a half of matter, solid, liquid, and gaseous, is ingested annually. We thus see that the adult of a half a century has shifted the substance of his corporeal being more than a thousand times!