« ПретходнаНастави »
Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst | Some such resemblances, methinks, I find Of our last evening's talk in this thy dream,
Taste this, and be henceforth among the
Thyself a goddess; not to earth confined,
But with addition strange; yet be not
Evil into the mind of God or Man
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
That wont to be more cheerful and serene
And let us to our fresh employments rise, Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers,
That open now their choicest bosomed smells,
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store."
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she
But silently a gentle tear let fall
Two other precious drops, that ready stood, Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse,
And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
So all was cleared, and to the field they
But first, from under shady arborous roof
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
All what we affirm, or what deny, and Lowly they bowed adoring; and began call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Ill matching words and deeds long past or
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
More tunable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness;-and they thus began:
HYMN TO THE CREATOR.
66 These are thy glorious works, Parent of good!
Almighty! Thine this universal frame, Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
"Air, and ye elements! the eldest birth
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these Till the Sun paint your fleecy skirts with heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
In these thy lowest works; yet these de- Whether to deck with clouds the unclare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
"Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of
Angels! for ye behold him, and with songs
"Fairest of stars! last in the train of Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling Morn
With thy bright circlet,-praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime. 'Thou Sun! of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
"Join voices, all ye living souls! Ye birds, That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend, Bear on your wings, and in your notes, his praise.
'Ye that in waters glide, and ye that
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep!
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
"Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and, if the night
66 Moon! that now meet'st the orient Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, sun, now fliest,
With the fixed stars,-fixed in their orb that flies;
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!" So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
And ye five other wandering fires! that Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted
In mystic dance, not without song, resound His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers.
MILTON'S Paradise Lost.
BEAUTIFUL are the heralds
That stand at Nature's door, Crying, "O traveller, enter in, And taste the Master's store!" One or the other always crying
In the voice of the summer hours,
"Enter," they cry, to a kingly feast,
And music for the ear:
Upon the threshold fall,
And pay the tribute of thy praise 'To Him who gives thee all.""
So some kneel down and enter
Then backward rolls the wondrous screen
THE LLANOS OF SOUTH AMERICA.
IN South America the features of Nature are traced on a gigantic scale. Mountains, forests, rivers, plains, there appear in far more colossal dimensions than in our part of the world. Many a branch of the Amazon surpasses the Danube in size. In the boundless primitive forests of Guiana more than one Great Britain could find room. The Alps would seem but of moderate elevation if placed beside the towering Andes; and the plains of Northern Germany and Holland are utterly insignificant when compared with the Llanos of Venezuela and New Grenada, which cover a surface of more than 250,000 square miles.
Nothing can be more remarkable than the contrast which these immeasurable plains present at various seasons of the year-now parched by a long-continued drought, and now covered with the most luxuriant vegetation. When, day after day, the sun, rising and setting in a cloudless sky, pours his vertical rays upon the thirsty Llanos, the calcined grass-plains present the monotonous aspect of an interminable waste. Like the ocean, their limits melt in the hazy distance with those of the horizon; but here the resemblance ceases, for no refreshing breeze wafts coolness over the desert, and comforts the drooping spirits of the wanderer.
In the wintry solitudes of Siberia the skin of the reindeer affords protection to man against the extreme cold; but in these sultry plains there is no refuge from the burning sun above, and the heat reflected from the glowing soil, save where, at vast intervals, small clumps of the Mauritia palm afford a scanty shade. The water-pools which nourished this beneficent tree have long since disappeared; and the marks of the previous rainy season, still visible on the tall reeds that spring from the marshy ground, serve only to mock the thirst of the exhausted traveller. The long-legged jabiru and the scarlet ibis have forsaken the dried-up swamp, which no longer affords them any subsistence; and only here and there a solitary Caracara falcon lingers on the spot, as if meditating on the vicissitudes of the season. Yet even now the parched savannah has some refreshment to bestow, as Nature— which in the East Indian forests fills the pitcher-plant with a grateful liquid, and in the waterless Kalahari in South Africa, causes many juicy roots to thrive under the surface of the desert -here also displays her bounty; for the globular melon-cactus, which flourishes on the driest soil, and sometimes measures a foot in diameter, conceals a juicy pulp under its tough and prickly skin. Guided by an admirable instinct, the wary mule strikes off with his fore-feet the long, sharp thorns of this remarkable plant, the emblem of good nature under a rough exterior, and then cautiously approaches his lips to sip the refreshing juice. Yet, drinking from these living sources is not unattended with danger, and mules are often met with that have been lamed by the formidable prickles of the cactus. The wild horse and ox of the savannah, not gifted with the same sagacity, roam about a prey to hunger and burning thirst, the latter hoarsely bellowing, the former snuffing up the air with outstretched neck, to discover by its moisture the neighbourhood of some pool that may have resisted the general drought.
As in the arctic regions the intense cold during winter retards pulsation, or even suspends the operations of life, so in the Llanos the long continuance of drought causes a similar stagnation in animated nature. The thinly scattered trees and shrubs do not,
indeed, cast their foliage, but the grayish yellow of their leaves announces that vegetation is suspended. Buried in the clay of the dried-up pools, the alligator and the water-boa lie plunged in a deep summer sleep, like the bear of the North in his long winter slumber; and many animals which, at other times, are found roaming over the Llanos-such as the peccary, and the timid deer of the savannah-have left the parched plains and migrated to the forest or the river. The large maneless puma, and the spotted jaguar, following their prey to less arid regions, are now no longer seen in their former hunting-grounds; and the Indian has also disappeared with the stag he pursued with his poisoned arrows. In Siberia, the reindeer and the migratory birds are scared away by winter; here life is banished and suspended by an intolerable heat.
Sometimes the ravages of fire are added to complete the image of death on the parched savannah.
"We had not yet penetrated far into the plain," says Sir Robert Schomburgh, "when we saw to the south-east high columns of smoke ascending to the skies, the sure signs of a savannah fire, and at the same time the Indians anxiously pressed us to speed on, as the burning torrent would most likely roll in our direction. Although at first we were inclined to consider their fears exaggerated, yet the next half hour served to convince us of the extreme peril of our situation. In whatever direction we gazed, we nowhere saw a darker patch in the grass-plain announcing the refuge of a water-pool; we could already distinguish the flames of the advancing column, already hear the bursting and crackling of the reeds, when fortunately the sharp eye of the Indians discovered some small eminences before us, only sparingly covered with a low vegetation, and to these we now careered as if Death himself was behind us. Half a minute later and I should never have lived to relate our adventures. With beating hearts we saw the sea of fire rolling its devouring billows towards us: the suffocating smoke, striking in our faces, forced us to turn our backs upon the advancing conflagration, and to await the dreadful decision with the resignation of helpless despair.