« הקודםהמשך »
- The blush that warms thy maiden cheek,
Thy morning eye's sequester'd tear,
And chain this subtle vision here.
“ Spots of delight, and many a day
Of summer love for me shall shine.
At sight of that fond smile of thine.
“ Come, come my love, away with me,
The morn of life is hast’ning by,
And sport us 'neath the peaceful sky."
The numberless abortive attempts which have at different times been made in this country in the composition of national and patriotic song, sufficiently evince the difficulty of that species of composition.
A patriotic song, to attain any high degree of permanent popularity, should probably be expressed in simple and perspicuous language, and depend, for its effect, rather upon sentiment than upon imagery. Campbell's magnificent song of “Ye Mariners of England,” is, indeed, a noble, but, I believe, almost a solitary exception to the truth of this remark. In the following song
Clifton has fallen into the common error of employing a species of poetical diction and ornament, which is better fitted to the ode than to this kind of composition; but its spirit is certainly animated, its language lofty and highly poetical, and its conceptions very noble. The fourth line is imitated from Smollet's Ode to Independence.
« Soul of Columbia, quenchless spirit, come!
Unroll thy standard to the sullen sky,
Rouse, rouse thy Lion heart, and fire thy Eagle eye.
“ Dost thou not hear the hum of gath'ring war;
Dost thou not know
The insidious foe
“Dost thou not hear thy tortur'd seamen's cries ?
Poor hapless souls in dreary dungeons laid;
Alas! they sink---and no kind hand to aid.
“ Thou dost, and ev'ry son of thine
Shall rest in guilty peace no more
The conflict's heat, the battle's roar.
“ Loose to the tempest let thy banner fly,
Rouse, rouse thy Lion heart and fire thy Eagle eye."
It were easy to multiply extracts, but enough have been given to show the variety and extent of Mr. Clifton's poetical talents, and to excite the regret of every one who is anxious for the literary reputation of his country, that he did not live to accomplish some greater and more finished work.
To the Editor of the Analectic Magazine.
SIR, OBSERVING in your last number an article on meteoric stones, I am induced to send you the following speculations with regard to them. My opinions are not altogether novel, but may, nevertheless, interest some of your readers, as I shall endeavour to remove at least a part of the obscurity which envelopes this very interesting subject.
The descent of these stones is one of those extraordinary phenomena which would be altogether incredible but for the most conclusive evidence, the fact, however, being certain, nothing is left to philosophers but to explain, to the best of their ability, the cause of so wonderful an occurrence. For this purpose four different hypotheses have been proposed; 1st. It has been supposed that these stones have been projected by volcanoes in the moon, beyond the sphere of her attraction, and coming within the influ
ence of the earth, have thus been brought to its surface; 2d. That they have been thrown up by volcanoes in our own planet, and have again fallen ; 3d. That they have been detached from small invisible bodies revolving round the earth at no great distance from it. Lastly, it has been thought that they are suddenly formed in the air, their component parts having previously existed in a state of such extreme rarefaction as to float in the atmosphere.
With regard to the first of these conjectures, so great a projectile force is not required to propel a body beyond the sphere of the moon's attraction as might at first be supposed; for from the diminutive size of that planet, and particularly from her having little or no atmosphere, * a power, which many known agents are capable of exerting, would be perfectly adequate to produce such an effect.t
To this hypothesis several objections might be mentioned; I shall content myself with one, because that is peculiar to it, and at the same time fatal.
If a body were to come from the moon to this earth, on approaching our planet, it would necessarily have an apparent motion from east to west of about 1,900 feet in a second, in consequence of the earth's moving at that rate in the opposite direction. But nothing of this takes place. I
As to the second conjecture, it is sufficient to say, that no volcanoes exist within many thousand miles of some of the places where these stones have fallen. Moreover, they bear no sort of resemblance to the known products of subterranean fires.
Next, with respect to the supposition that these meteoric substances are parts of larger bodies which revolve round the earth at no great distance from it; in the first place, there is no evidence that any such bodies exist. Next, if there be any such little invisible moons, they must necessarily move at so great a distance from the earth, as to be unaffected by the atmosphere; for otherwise, how great soever their velocity might be, the resistance they
* La Place. See his Astronomy, vol. 1. p. 56.
The Edinburgh reviewers, who incline to this opinion, think a force three times as great as that of a cannon ball sufficient. See their work, vol. 3. p. 400. Am. edit.
This remark was, I believe, first made by Mr. Simeon De Witt.
would experience in a very short time would bring them to the ground, by destroying their projectile motion. They certainly could not long revolve unless their distance from the earth exceeded 50 miles. Now it is demonstrable, that in no instance, at least, with which I am acquainted, have these meteoric stones fallen more than a mile or two, and in some cases their height from the earth when they began to descend could not have exceeded a few hundred yards.
By observing the soil on which these substances have fallen, and measuring the depth to which they have penetrated, their momentum on arriving at the surface of the earth may be ascertained with considerable precision. Now, the momentum of a body in motion, is as its weight multiplied by its velocity; if, therefore, the weight of such a body be considerable, (these stones, as will be seen hereafter, are very heavy,) and its momentum comparatively small, it is clear that its velocity could not have been great. But the velocity with which a body moves in descending to the eartlı, is in proportion to the space through which it has passed ;* if, therefore, when a falling body arrives at the surface of the earth, its velocity be inconsiderable, it is certain that it cannot have come from any great height. But if these meteoric stones have not fallen from some very distant place, they must, I think, have been formed in the atmosphere at the instant they began to descend, inasmuch as there is no other possible source from which they could be derived.
It only remains to be proved, then, that the momentum with which these stones fall to the earth, is, occasionally at least, inconsiderable. Two which fell near Verona weighing the one 300 lbs. the other 200, tore up the ground, but do not appear to have penetrated it at all. In the instance at Pont-de-Vesle, the stone weighed 20 lbs. and penetrated 6 inches in ploughed ground; in the case near Lucè, the stone which weighed 7 1-2 lbs. but fell upon turf, merely half buried itself. Lastly, those which fell near Bahar, in the East Indies, sunk to a depth of six inches only, in a moist soil newly worked up.
In other cases, it must be confessed that the momentum of these
* The resistance of the atmosphere must be taken into the account when absolute correrinces is required; in the present argamenino allowance for this is necessary.
bodies was much greater. Thus, the one which fell at Ensishiem penetrated 3 feet in a wheat field; in another instance which occurred in Yorkshire, the stone was found at the depth of 21 inches.* The largest mass which fell in Connecticut weighed, it is supposed, 200 lbs. and sunk 3 feet.
But this inequality merely proves that these substances fall from very different heights, and, consequently, tends to corroborate the theory of their formation in the atmosphere, for we should, à priori, infer that the concretion would take place sometimes in a more elevated, sometimes in a lower region.
As to the immediate cause of the rushing together of particles before so widely separated, I have no conjecture to offer. All we know upon the subject is, that the elements which compose these stones are taken up into the atmosphere, f where they probably float until that particular combination of circumstances takes place, which compels them to assume the concrete form; the instant this happens, the solid masses are precipitated to the earth, with a force proportioned to their size and to the height at which they have been formed.
One of the most striking peculiarities of these meteoric stones is, that they all consist of very nearly the same elements, in a similar state of combination. This curious fact, inexplicable upon any other theory, is perfectly in unison with the one which I have advocated.
One positive objection only to my doctrine have I heard, which is, that the meteors which precede the formation of these stones are visible from a great distance, so that they, at least, must be at a considerable height. This is true. The meteors themselves are probably formed in the upper regions of the atmosphere, and moving with great rapidity, gradually approach the earth, until the explosion, and consequent generation, of the stones takes place,
* The foregoing circumstances are taken from the Edinburgh Review, vol. 3. p. 288. et seq.
| Vauquelin has proved (see Tilloch's Magazine, vol. 33. p. 22, 23.) that all the component parts of these stones, with the exception of nickel, are converted into rapour in working iron ore; and if iron, silex, &c. are volatilized, there is every reason to bcliere nickel may be also reduced to an aeriform state.