« ПретходнаНастави »
4. What at a little distance is seemingly a tree stump proves, on examination, to be a broken section of the body of some prostrate pine petrified. Every circle or year's growth is easily discernible, so that the exact duration of the tree's existence may be determined.
5. Next we view the partially-excavated trunk of a large pine, lying in an inclined position. Here we see a mass of solid stone, in the form of a fallen tree, some seven feet in diameter — every fissure in the bark and knot plainly indicated, as in that of a tree fallen by the woodman's ax; while around, thickly strewn upon the ground, are numerous fragments, similar to the chips and broken pieces of wood that are scattered by the wood-cutter in preparing a tree to be cut into logs for the mill.
6. Striking the stony mass before us with a piece of petrified wood, it gives back a metallic sound very different from the dull thud produced by striking a rock against a wooden log. So are to be seen many smaller trees, as we call these peculiar rocks, varying only in size and length; all, however, having the same incline and same general position — north and south.
7. Occasionally a peculiarity is noticeable, such as being divided into sections of various lengths, ranging from three to seven feet; yet so slight are the fissures that separate these sections that at a very short distance they have the appearance of being one solid log.
8. Another peculiarity in one tree is its dark color. The general color of the stone logs is a grayish white. This tree is to all appearances a tree of stone-coal, and the proprietor assures us that it burns equally as well as the best quality of that article.
9. The largest of these wonders so far found measures eleven feet in diameter, and is excavated to view for a distance of sixty-eight feet, though doubtless it penetrates the hillside many feet further.
10. The space within the inclosure is cleared of underbrush, and contains very many beautiful shade trees of live-oak, young pines, and several other varieties peculiar to this locality. Here, indeed, is a field for the geologist; not only in this particular place, but the whole range of mountains offers many attractive subjects for analysis.
XL.—THE KING'S PICTURE.
1. The king from the council chamber
Came weary and sore of heart;
And spake to him apart:
Hypocrites, cowards and knaves !
Chief slave in a realm of slaves !
Gracious, and wise, and good;
And the beauty of womanhood.
That thither, when I retire,
And warm it with sacred fire."
3. So the artist painted the picture,
And it hung in the palace hall;
Had garnished the stately wall.
Gazed on it with rapt delight,
And baffled his questioning sight.
4. For the form was his supplest courtier's,
Perfect in every limb;
Who filled the flagons for him ;
His parchments early and late;
Who sang at the palace gate.
With a fitting tremulous grace,
He had kissed in the market-place;
As a rose with a shimmer of dew,
Queen Ethelyn, good and true.
“ This truth that the picture tells
Some hint of the Highest dwells;
For the place where the veil is thin,
The form of the God within."
XLI.-AN END OF ALL PERFECTION. 1. I have seen man in the glory of his days, and tho pride of his strength. He was built like the tall cedar that lifts its head above the forest trees; like the strong oak that strikes its root deeply into the earth. He feared no danger; he felt no sickness; he wondered that any should groan or sigh at pain.
2. His mind was vigorous, like his body; he was perplexed at no intricacy; he was daunted at no difficulty ; into hidden things he searched ; and what was crooked he made straight.
3. He went forth fearlessly upon the face of the mighty deep; he surveyed the nations of the earth; he measured the distances of the stars, and called them by their names; he gloried in the extent of his knowledge; in the vigor of his understanding, and strove to search even into what the Almighty had concealed.
4. And when I looked on him, I said, “What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties ! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a God!”
5. I returned ; his look was no more lofty, nor his step proud. His broken frame was like some ruined tower; his hairs were white and scattered; and his eye gazed vacantly upon what was passing around him.
6. The vigor of his intellect was wasted, and of all that he had gained by study, nothing remained. He feared when there was no danger, and when there was no sorrow he wept. His memory was decayed and treacherous, and showed him only broken images of the glory that was departed.
7. His house to him was like a strange land, and his friends were counted as his enemies; and he thought himself strong and healthful, while his foot tottered on the verge of the grave. He said of his son, “He is my brother;" of his daughter, “I know her not;" and he inquired what was his own name.
8. And one who supported his last steps, and ministered to his many wants, said to me, as I looked on the melancholy scene, “Let thine heart receive instruction, for thou hast seen an end of all earthly perfection.”
9. I have seen a beautiful female treading the first stages of youth, and entering joyfully into the pleasures of life. The glance of her eye was variable and sweet, and on her cheek trembled something like the first blush of the morning; her lips moved, and there was harmony; and when she floated in the dance, her light form, like the aspen, seemed to move with every breeze.
10. I returned, but she was not in the dance. I sought her in the gay circle of her companions, but found her not. Her eye sparkled not there; the music of her voice was silent; she rejoiced on earth no more. I saw a train, sable and slow-paced, who bore sadly to an open grave what once was animated and beautiful.
11. They paused as they approached, and a voice broke the awful silence: “Mingle ashes with ashes, and dust with its original dust. To the earth whence it was taken, consign we the body of our sister.” They covered her with the damp soil and the clods of the valley; and the worms crowded into her silent abode.
12. Yet one sad mourner lingered to cast himself upon the grave; and as he wept, he said, “ There is no beauty, nor grace, nor loveliness, that continueth in man; for this is the end of all his glory and perfection.”
13. I have seen an infant with a fair brow, and a frame like polished ivory. Its limbs were pliant in its sports; it rejoiced, and again it wept; but whether its glowing cheek dimpled with smiles, or its blue eye was brilliant with tears, still I said to my heart, “It is beautiful.” It was like the first pure blossom which some cherished plant had shot forth, whose cup is filled with a dewdrop, and whose head reclines upon its parent stem.
14. I again saw this child, when the lamp of reason first dawned in its mind. Its soul was gentle and peace ful; its eye sparkled with joy as it looked round on this good and pleasant world. It ran swiftly in the ways of