Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

parts, occupied by water, where they will acquire a horizontal stratification, and, by certain mineral opera tions, be afterwards consolidated into stone; such a body, in the course of ages, must acquire a surface every where at right-angles to the direction of gravity, and consequently more or less approximating to a spheroid of equilibrium. The natural history of the earth gives considerable countenance to these suppositions, and seems to furnish us with a very rational explanation of the ellipticity or spheroidal form belonging to the earth, and to the planets which are known to revolve about an axis. The distribution of the solid materials in the interior of the earth will very much affect the nature of this solid; and the manner in which the figure is acquired must probably prevent the approximation from ever being entirely complete. The distribution, however, of the materials, at any considerable distance below the surface, must remain to us for ever unknown; we have no means of examination, except by the measurement of degrees, the experiments on pendulums, or from observations made on the deviation of the plumbline from the perpendicular similar to what has just been described as

having taken place at Schehallien. These latter observations ought to be repeated on different mountains, the interior construction of which can be ascertained; but the most eligible method which has ever yet been suggested, is that of making observations on the large Pyramid of Ghizeh, in Egypt, the materials of which, as well as its exact figure, being known, would render observations made on it particularly desirable; especially as they would afford certain data, and reduce the calculations, which are now extremely complicated, to almost nothing. This method was recommended by Dr C. Hutton, in his last paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of London; when that veteran declared, that if ill health and old age did not prevent him, he would make a journey to Egypt, entirely for that purpose "On the whole, the facts known from observation agree in general with the theory; but there are, in the expression of that theory, so many quantities which are yet inde. terminate, that a perfect coincidence of the two cannot be strictly affirmed; in fact, the business is not yet completed; something further still remains for future philosophers to accomplish."

Pericles.-A Sonnet.

He is the pride of Athens! he has fought
First in her battles; he has rear'd her fanes,
Restor❜d her laws, struck off her galling chains,
And gain'd the glory his ambition sought.
Yet say not he is happy; see him stand

By yonder lifeless form, and on his cheek
Mark the big tear in silent language speak,
As the gay flowers drop sadly from his hand.
They fall upon his last-his youngest child,-
Him on whose sunny face he lov'd to gaze,
Watching how merrily his youthful days
Were dancing on whilst all around him smil'd ;-
But he has died ;-look on the warrior's brow,
In the fond father's heart there is no Athens now!

H. G. B.

As our military and naval officers are many of them quite competent to the undertaking, and as Great Britain always affords facilities for such experiments, may we not entertain hopes, that, before long, some gentleman, finding himself near the spot, will make the necessary observations, and immortalize his name by determining the deviation of the plumb-line, caused by the Great Pyramid; for, together with this, its dimensions and figure, and the specific gravity of the materials of which it is constructed, would afford sufficient data for the solution of the intricate but very useful problem.

SKETCHES FROM NATURE.

April 1818.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

THOUGH I had no desire to stay long at H-, yet I did not expect to have left it quite so soon: left it, however, I have, and after another little journey, I have arrived here in safety, and supplied with materials sufficient to furnish another letter of travelling adventures.

But to give you something like a regular narrative, I must begin where my last letter left off. With a fixed determination to perform my duty in a conscientious manner, and with my father's strong warnings against “eye service" deeply impressed upon my mind, I joined my companions in labour; and, along with them, began the toils and duties of that station of life in which Providence has placed me. At every interval of labour, every breathing-time, I stole a few cautious scrutinizing glances at my companions, anxious to observe them, but fearful of being myself observed. They were all like strangers to me, and most of them strangers to one another also; the greater part about middle age, and none so young as myself. They appeared to be well acquainted with that world which was so new to me; and nothing surprised me more, than the easy and unembarrassed manner with which they talked to each other, though, till that very day, they had perhaps never met. Some of them accosted me in different ways, as their several inclinations led them; one speaking upon any indifferent subject; another upon the proper cultivation of this or the other species of plant; a third, gaily, but I thought cruelly and officiously, bantering me, asking how long I had left my mother, and if I was not well " speaned" yet? I shrunk from their familiarity, and plied my work with a sick heart. One young man, apparently about two or three years older than myself, perceived my distress, spoke to me kindly, and endeavoured, by talking upon agreeable and diverting subjects, to turn my mind from its melancholy musings, and he partly succeeded. In a short time I be

came considerably attached to him; and the more so, because I found in him a considerable similarity of taste. At our leisure hours we read and talked about our favourite authors; and though he had much less need of me than I had of him, he was evidently pleased with my company. In this manner time passed slowly on; the day employed in my common occupation, working along with the rest, and thinking on other scenes, and dearer friends; the evening spent in reading, talking with my only companion, or hearing him play a few tunes upon his fiddle, which he often did when he perceived me more than commonly inclined to sadness; and well he knew how to wake a strain concordant with my feelings, and lead my mind away from itself, by the associations stirred by plaintive measures, till the grief which I continued to feel became in itself a pleasure. Meanwhile the weather, which had been unsteady, became worse and worse; the wind blew from the northeast with the most bitter keenness, bearing along, at short intervals, thick drifting showers of snow and sleet. Often, during the showers, we cowered under the feeble shelter of the thin leafless beech-hedges, looking wistfully out for the re-appearance of blue-sky, and shivering till we were unable to speak; and always at the "fair blinks" working as fast as possible, to acquire some warmth. Many a thought of the comfortable fire-side of home did these chill blasts awake in my mind, while I was trembling at the very heart; but these I kept to myself, as I imagined it would be altogether disgraceful for me to appear overcome with cold, like a child. After some days of such weather, the wind shifted into the south-west, the skies cleared, the sun shone out bright and warm, and the little birds began to sing their joyful notes. I felt the renovating influence, and my heart at one time danced with delight, at another melted away in tender recollections of that home whence the wind was now blowing, whose whisperings seemed to me like the voice of a friend.

[blocks in formation]

The fields wi' the crimson-tipt gowans begemm'd,

An' skirted wi' hawthorn, sae snawy,

I'll maybe thae sweet scenes o' youth see nae mair,

But aye till the cauld han' o' death shuts my e'e,

Where'er I may wander, where'er I may dwell,

Dear, dear shall their memory be ever

to me.

sae green;

Where I've watch'd the wee nestlings a' gaping for food,

To frighten or herrie them laith wad I been:The green spongy mosses, where lightsomely waves The tufted grass, white as the swan's downy breast;

Or the Crane-burn, that twisting, an'
boiling, an' wild,
Foaming bursts o'er the Linn frae the
hill's woody crest :-
The thick branchy trees where I've nestled
mysel',

An' gaz'd at the scud o' the fast-driv
ing rain,
There swinging an' rock'd in the wild
raving blast,-
But now thae young days o' delight
are a' gane:

[blocks in formation]

While its dark berry nods to the whispering gale; The plantings where often I've daunert my lane

do'es' wail:

66

In the gloamin', an' listen'd the cushy- yond C; and as it was considerably better in every respect than that at H- > it appeared to me the most prudent course to accept it. Accordingly I again packed up my little trunk, keeping out a small bundle for immediate use, till it should come to me; seized my gude aik stick" and my umbrella, and prepared for my departure. Though I had been little more than a fortnight at H—, yet I felt something like grief or regret at leaving it; particularly when my only companion shook hands with me affectionately, and kindly wished me all manner of success and happiness. I assure you I felt considerably at parting with him, and setting out on a new journey, alone as before, to mingle again amongst utter strangers,-Englishmen, too, a nation for which, from my boyhood, I have felt no small dislike: and now to be really going into England, and with the prospect of making my residence there for some time! it

Now, you must not be severe in your criticisms upon my poor verses; I cannot help it that they are not better, for they are the best I could produce, and they are true representations, both of the natural scenery of my dear home, and the warm feelings of my heart.

A few days after the change of the wind, and the agreeable alteration of weather which followed, I got the offer of a situation some miles be

seemed to me as if I were labouring under some strange delusion, which I had not the power to dispel. Often, in my early youth, while I read the history of "Wallace wight," have I cried with grief and bitter hatred at the "Southrons," and wished for power to avenge his murder upon them, often longed for a day when the savage butcheries and wanton devastations committed after the battle of Culloden would be requited:-and now to feel myself actually going to England, to live amongst Englishmen! I thought upon it again and again, and wondered how I would behave when there.

There was besides another circumstance which tended to wake feelings of a peculiar kind in this journey: for above twenty miles I was exactly retracing the road which I had lately come; so that I knew myself approaching nearer home every step, yet knew that my journey would not lead me there. I cannot describe to you how strange it seemed, to be travelling the very road which led homewards, yet with the unavoidable conviction in my mind that I would not reach it: I felt as one feels in a dream, when something is just within his reach could he make the slightest exertion; but he sees the object of his ardent wishes glide gradually away from his grasp, with the consciousness that a slight effort on his part would be sufficient to obtain it, yet feels an utter inability of making even that slight effort. Thus I drew gradually nearer and nearer home, yet knew, at the same time, that I was drawing nearer the place where I must leave the road which leads home, unless, indeed, I should continue it, as I could do, longed to do, yet would not do.

each other. To this he very willingly agreed, so on we went together. He was in person about my own height, but considerably stouter, and apparently three or four years older, and, from the paleness of his countenance, seemed to have been less exposed to the action of the sun and the weather. When we reached the village, and, after making inquiries, left the Droad, and took that leading to L, I proposed having something to eat and drink, as I had not taken any refreshment since morning, and had since then walked upwards of twenty miles; he told me plainly that he could not afford it, as he had but one sixpence left, and that he did not dare to break upon it till he knew where he would get a bed, and what it would cost him. I offered the poor fellow a share of a bottle of porter, and some bread and cheese, which he accepted very thankfully. After eating and drinking a little, he became quite lively and happy, and sung me two or three songs while we rested ourselves. One of them was of a Jacobite character, and apparently not very old; it was so concordant with my feelings in some respects, that I was desirous to possess it, got him to repeat it over slowly, while I wrote it down with my pencil, and here I send you a copy of it.

A little before I reached that dreaded place of separation, I saw a young man sitting by the roadside a little before me, as if resting himself. He rose as I came forward, and accosted me very civilly with a " Here's a fine day." I answered, that it was indeed a very good day for travelling; he immediately asked me if I could direct him the way to L-? I told him that I was acquainted with it, but was intending to go there myself that night, and that if he was going there, we might accompany

[blocks in formation]

The plaided warrior's dying groan, An' his pitiless e'e grew red an' keen,

While he sternly cheer'd his ruffians on. Then ride ye north, or ride ye south, For the length o' a day, nought wad ye seen

But the ruin'd wa's a' bluidy stain'd

Where the hames o' the luckless brave had been ;

Then Scotia's targe sank frae her arm,

Her gude braid sword was broke in twa,

The tapmost flower o' her thistle droop'd,

An' the last o' the Stuarts was driven awa.

Now she maun sit like a widow'd dame, In lonely wastes wi' slaughter red,

picked up a little flinty pebble from the Scottish side,-drew my breath long and deep, and,quivering through every limb, withdrew my feet from the soil of my dear native land, which it had never before quitted, and to which I felt as if firmly rooted. As we were then too deeply wrapped in thought for engaging in conversation, little more passed between my comrade and me till we came in view of Netherby-hall, when our attention was immediately drawn to it, no less by the recollections it awakened, as the scene of the song of "Young Lochinvar," than by its uncommonly beautiful situation. Without the least recollection that the whole is only a fiction of the poet's fancy, we

But the day may come when the light o' endeavoured with great care to ascer

her e'e

Nae crown to grace her joyless brow,
Her freedom lost, her glory fled.
The howlet screams in the empty ha's,
An' flaps his wing owre the chair o'
her kings;
In courts that rang wi' the warrior's tread,
The long grass waves, an' the nettle
springs.

Sair, sair, abune the bluidy graves,

Wi' heavy heart she makes her mane, Where lie her best an' bravest sons,

Wha bled for her rights, but bled in

vain.

An' aye when she lifts her wae-bent head
Out owre the wide an' the weltering

sea,

She takes a lang an' a wistful gaze,
But the sails o' her Charlie nae mair
glad her e'e.

Shall kindle again as it did of yore, When "Wallace wight" led her warriors

on,

An' "the Bruce" her bluidy lion bore:
An' her spreading thistle bauld an' free
Its armed head may uplift again :
An' the race o' her Stuarts wear the

crown,

An' yet in their father's ha' may reign.

we cross

When we found ourselves well refreshed, we set out on our journey again, my lively companion much improved in spirits, and keeping me from indulging in gloomy reveries. Some miles below Led the Eby a very fine romantic bridge, or rather two bridges, one upon the other, occasioned by the exceeding depth of the craggy banks between which the river is confined, and boils, and wheels, and foams, and thunders through with great beauty and grandeur. My companion beguiled the way with many a song and many a merry tale, till at length we came where the road is crossed by a small stream, not so large as the stream of your little spring-well, but which is said to be the boundary between Scotland and England. On approaching it, all our mirth instantly vanished;-we looked at the small stream-into England-back into Scotland-around on its hills, and glens, and green fields, and waving hazels and brushwood, then on each other, but spoke not a word. I placed a foot on each side of the stream,pulled a small tuft of grass, and

66

as

tain where the young hero had crossed
the river; and we saw him, in the heat
of our awakened imaginations, dash
into the E, burst through its
wooded banks, and sweep across
"Cannabie lee" like a falcon, bear-
and ballads of a similar tendency kept
ing off his prey in triumph. Tales
the E, and entered L-
us in conversation till we recrossed
-just
gloamin'" displayed its finest
shade, neither light nor dark, but
that dusky greyness so favourable to
calm and solemn contemplation. I
had, however, another thing to en-
gage my attention,-quarters for the
night were to be sought, which I
procured after a good deal of trouble,
occasioned by a fair in the town,
which had filled nearly all the houses
of public entertainment. I then part-
ed with my fellow-traveller, after an
agreement to meet next morning,
and continue our journey together.
In the house where I stopped I met
with a doctor and a painter, two
very singular characters in various
points of view, but both distinguish-
ed for cordial good fellowship over
the "barley-bree," and warm-heart-
ed genuine kindness. If it were in
my power to relate to you their con-
versation, and describe the peculi-
arities of their behaviour, it would
make ample amends for the weari-
some dullness of this letter. I have
never seen a pair of such frank, kind,
eccentric men. The doctor, in par-
ticular, is a delightful oddity; but
all that I could say about him must
be reserved till I have the pleasure

« AnteriorContinuar »