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juices they continually suck; while many live upon and devour others of their own order. Infinite numbers spend a part of their lives in the water; others remain there entirely: the earth swarms and the air teems with multitudes too small for the human eye to observe, and too numerous for the imagination to conceive!
Entomology, like every other branch of natural history, claims it as its prerogative to demonstrate the existence and perfections of that Almighty Power which produced and govems the universe. It is one chapter in the history of creation, and naturally: leads every intelligentmind to the CREATOR; for there are no proofs of his existence more level to the apprehension of all, than those which this chapter: offers to the understanding.
In an insect, or a flower, is
: The manner in which Entomology has : too fre. quently been studied, and the extremes into wbich men, according to their different capacities and ; tastes, have fallen, have excited a derision against the science, which a proper degree of discermont would have directed against the foibles alone of those who have thus studied it. While the systems of some naturalists contain only a dry repetition of shades, colours, and shapes of different insects, without entering into the more interesting and any mated description of their manners, those of othen, as injudiciously, ascribe to them functions, and a de gree of intelligence of which they are incapable. By the former, the imagination is fatigued and disgusted with a constant repetition of the saine Images. the romantic air of the latter, the mind is led into distrust with regard to the truth of the whole narrative, and to doubt of those facts which are well established and certain. Hence the study of Entomo
logy has been deemed by many an occupation the most useless and frivolous in which the human mind can be engaged. Hence too, from a fear of prostitating their talents, many have been deterred from contemplating the wonders displayed by Nature, in a kingdom of animals the most numerous, diversified, and splendidly adorned, of any on the face of the globe; and thus have deprived themselves of views of the power and munificence of the AUTHOR OF NATURE, in some respects the most striking and interesting that can be presented to the mind of man'.
• Insects, indeed' (observe two elegant modern writers),' appear to have been Nature's favourite productions, in which, to manifest her power and skill, she has combined and concentrated almost all that is either beautiful and graceful, interesting and alluring, or curious and singular, in every other class and order of her children. To these, her valued minia. tures, she has given the most delicate touch and highest finish of her pencil. Nambers she has armed with glittering mail, which reflects a lustre like that of burnished metals; in others she lights up the dazzling radiance of polished gems. Some she has decked with what looks like liquid drops, or plates of gold and silver; or with scales or pile, which mimic the colour and emit the ray of the same precious metals. Some exhibit a rude exterior, like stones in their native state, while others represent their smooth and shining face after they have been submitted to the tool of the polisher: others, again, like so many pigmy Atlases bearing on their backs a microcosm, by the rugged and various elevations and depressions of their tuberculated crust, present to
"It does not become a reasonable man, says Aristotle, capriciously to blame the study of insects, nor to take a distaste at it, from the trouble it occasions. Nothing in Nature is mean; every thing is subline, every thing worthy of adniration.
the eye of the beholder no inapt imitation of the unequal surface of the earth, now horrid with misshapen rocks, ridges, and precipices-now swelling into hills and mountains, and now sinking into valleys, glens, and caves; while not a few are covered with branching spines, which fancy may, form into a forest of trees'.
What numbers vie with the charming offspring of Flora in various beauties! some in the delicacy and variety of their colours, colours not like those of flowers evanescent and fugitive, but fixed and durable, surviving their subject, and adorning it as much after death as they did when it was alive; others, again, in the veining and texture of their wings; and others in the rich cottony down that clothes them. To such perfection, indeed, has Nature in them carried her mimetic art, that you would declare, upon beholding some insects, that they had robbed the trees of their leaves to form for themselves artificial wings, so exactly do they resemble them in their form, substance, and vascular structure; some representing green leaves, and others those that are dry and withered. Nay, sometimes this mimicry is so exquisite, that you would mistake the whole insect for a portion
'Myriads of creatures (each too nicely small
Bare sense to reach) for our inspection call.
By far the comeliest of the bulky mass.
Creation's grandest miracles proclaim. M. BROWNE.
of the branching spray of a tree'. No mean beauty in some plants arises from the fluting and punctuation of their stems and leaves, and a similar ornament conspicuously distinguishes numerous insects, which also imitate with multiform variety, as may particularly be seen in the caterpillars of many species of the butterfly tribe (papilionide), the spines and prickles which are given as a noli me tangere armour to several vegetable productions.
• In fishes, the lucid scales of varied hue that cover and defend them are universally admired, and esteemed their peculiar omament; but place a butterfly's wing under a microscope”, that avenue to unseen glories • in new worlds, and you will discover that nature has endowed the most numerous of the insect tribes with the same privilege, multiplying in them the forms, and diversifying the colouring of this kind of clothing beyond all parallel. The rich and velvet tints of the plumage of birds are not superior to what the curious observer may discover in a variety of lepidoptera ; and those many-coloured eyes which deck so gloriously the peacock's tail are imitated with success by one of our most common butterflies".
'Hence the common names of some of the genus Mantis, the walkingleaf and walking-stick.
2 The polished glass, whose small convex
J. PHILIPS. For an account of the animalcules in water plants, see Times Telescope for 1815, p. 66; for 1819, p. 53; and potices of microscopic subjects in T.T. for 1818, p. 154; and for 1819, pp. 156, 183.
3 Their wings (all glorious to behold)
Bedropt with azure, jet, and gold,
Feathers are thought to be peculiar to birds; but insects often imitate them in their antennæ, wings, and even sometimes in the covering of their bodies.
-We admire with reason the coats of quadrupeds, whether their skins be covered with pile, or wool, or fur, yet are not perhaps aware that a vast variety of insects are clothed with all these kinds of hair, but infinitely finer and more silky in texture, more brilliant and delicate in colour, and more variously shaded, than what any other animals can pretend to. Nor has nature been lavish only in the apparel and ornament of these privileged tribes; in other respects she has been equally unsparing of her favours. To some she has given fins like those of fish, or a beak resembling that of birds; to others horns, nearly the counterparts of those of various quadrupeds. The bull, the stag, the rhinoceros, and even the hitherto vainly sought for unicorn, have in this respect many representatives amongst insects. One is armed with tusks not unlike those of the elephant ; another is bristled with spines, as the porcupine and hedge-hog with quills; a third is an armadillo in miniature; the disproportioned hind legs of the kangaroo give a most grotesque appearance to a fourth; and the threatening head of the snake is found in a fifth'.'
Nor power alone confessed in grandeur lies,
In down of ev'ry variegated die
In all their blaze of gems and pomp of dress. BROWNE. * Kirby and Spence's Etomology, vol. i, p. 7. et seq., the most pleasing and instructive book on insects that has appeared for a long time, The third volume may be shortly expected.