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pp. 36-39, we subjoin a poetical description of the tremendous icebergs of Greeenland, with remarks on some other singular phenomena of the arctic regions.
O'er rocks, seas, islands, promontories spread,
MONTGOMERY'S GREENLAND. Dense fogs, which frequently brood over the sea and land, are among the atmospheric phenomena of the Arctic Regions; their effect is often such as not only to render the needle's motion sluggish, but sometimes even wholly to arrest its activity. This occurred to Capt. Fox, in 1631, when on a voyage to discover the north-west passage : at Nottingham Island (in Hudson's Bay), he found that the needle had lost its power. One of these thick fogs and its singular effects is thus beautifully described by Mr. Montgomery:
The Sun retires,
An early traveller to the Arctic Regions, of the name of James, thus describes the severity of the climate of Greenland. We made,' says he three differences of the cold, all according to the places. In our house, in the woods, and in the open air, upon the ice in going to our ship. For the last it would be sometimes so estreme that it was not indurable; no clothes were proof against it; no motion could resist it. It would moreover so freeze the hair on our eyelids, that we could not see; and I verily believe it would have stifled a man in a few hours. We did daily find by experience that the cold in the woods would freeze our faces or any part of our flesh that was bare. Our house on the outside was covered three parts with snow, and on the inside frozen and hanged with icicles. The clothes on
our beds would be covered with hoar frost, which in this little habitation was not far from the fire. The cook's tubs, wherein he did water the meat, standing about a yard from the fire, and which he did all day ply with melted snow water; yet in the night season, whilst he slept but one watch, would they be firm frozen to the very bottom. And therefore was he fain to water his meat in a brass kettle adjoining to the fire; and I have many times both seen and felt, by putting my hand into it, that side which was next the fire was very warm, and the other side an inch frozen. The surgeon, who had hung his bottle of syrups and other liquid things as conveniently as he could to preserve them, had them all frozen. Our vinegar, oil, and sack, which we had in a small cask in the house, were all firmly frozen.'
If the earth, however, in this climate is terrific, the heavens often present to the eye a beautiful appearance. “Those citadels of light, perhaps our future home,' which decorate the firmament, and which so eloquently declare the glory of God,'shine here with peculiar splendour and in infinite number. Refraction, also, that variation which the rays of light suffer in passing through mediums of different densities, and which causes the heavenly bodies to appear at a greater height than they really are, occasions, likewise, an appearance in the sun and moon, rarely assumed by them in lower latitudes. By reason of this influence, they sometimes appear of an oval figure near the horizon; for the under side being more refracted than the upper, the perpendicular diameter is less than the horizontal one, which is not affected by refraction.
The moon is watching in the sky; the stars
Where, poised as in the centre of a sphere,
In antient times, purgations had the name
Varro tells us, that all filth, or dirt, in the antient Sabine language was called Februa ; from whence that word was afterwards applied to religious purgations or cleansings.
2 We are informed by Livy, that after the expulsion of the kings, as there were some public sacrifical duties that had been usually performed by the reigning king, the Romans were obliged to institute a priest with that name, who was therefore called Rex Sacrificulus, but (to avoid a bad omen) he was to be subject to the Pontifex Maximus. The Flamen Dialis was the priest of Jupiter. Wool was much used in expiatory sacrifices, to wipe up the blood, &c.
In which the tombs were also purified
In FEBRUARY 1820. 2.- PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
. MARY. This festival is of high antiquity, and the antient christians observed it by using a great number of lights; in remembrance, as it is supposed, of our blessed Saviour's being declared by Simeon to be a light to lighten the Gentiles; hence the name of Candlemas Day. It is also called ' Christ's Presentation,' the Holiday of Saint Simeon,' and, in the north of England, the · Wives' Feast-DaySee T. T. for 1814, p. 28, and for 1815, p. 43, and
"The Romans had a notion, that the ghosts of such persons, as had not been buried with proper rites and ceremonies, hovered about their graves, and thereby occasioned an unhealthy or pestilential air; there. fore the festival called feralia, for quieting the manes of the dead, was observed in this month.
Our poet here enumerates several, who thonght they were puri. tied from the guilt of shedding innocent blood by certain ceremonious ablutions; and then justly censures the credulity of such as can suppose that any external rites can cleanse men from corrupt and wicked actions, which are formed in the mind; a remark, that breatbes more the spirit and genius of christianity than of paganism.