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various hands, and disculing variety of topics, is not to be ex. pected.
As a specimen of these Essays, we shall lay before our Readers the following; not as being of peculiar excellence, but aś introducing to their acquaintance a poet who appears not unworthy of their notice, and whose name, till now, we were Itrangers to.
• Nothing has a greater tendency to elevate and affect the heart, than the reflection upon those personages who have performed a dif. tinguished part on the theatre of life, whose actions were attended with important consequences to the world around them, or whose writings have animaced or infructed mankind. The thought thac they are now no more, that their alhes are mingled with those of the meanest and most worthless, affords a subject of contemplation, which, however melancholy, the mind, in a moment of pensiveness, may feel a secret sort of delight to indulge. " Tell her,” says Hamlet, “ that the may paint an inch thick; yet to this she must come at last.”
• When Xerxes, at the head of his numerous army, saw all his troops ranged in order before him, he burit into tears at the thought, that, in a short time, they would be sweeped from the face of the earth, and be removed to give place to those who would fill other armies, and rank under other generals.
• Something of what Xerxes felt, from the confideration that those who then were should cease to be, it is equally natural to feel from the reflection, that all who have formerly lived have ceased to live, and that nothing more remains than the memory of a very few, who have left some memorial which keeps alive their names, and the fame with which chose names are accompanied.
• But, serious as this reflection may be, it is not so deep as the thought, that eveo of those persons who were possessed of talents for diftinguishing themselves in the world, for having their memories handed down from age to age, much the greater part it is likely, from hard gecellity, or by some of the various fatal accidents of life, have been excluded from the possibility of exerring themselves, or of being useful either to those who lived in the same age, or to pofterity. Poverty in many, and “disaftrous chance" in others, have " chill'd the genial current of the soul," and numbers have been cut off by pre. mature deach in the midst of project and ambition. How many have there been in the ages that are past, how many may exift at this very moment, who, with all the talents fitted to shine in the world, to guide or to instruct it, may, by some secret misfortune, bave had their minds depressed, or the fire of their genius extinguished !
. I have bcen led into these reflections from the perural of a small volume of poems which happens now to lie before me, which, though, pofelled of very conliderable merit, and composed in this country, are, I believe, very liccle known. In a well-written preface, the reader is told, That most of them are the production of Michael Bruce: That this Michael Bruce was born in a remote village in Kino rolipire, and descended from parents remarkable for pothing but the innocence and simplicity of their lives : That, in the twenty-firit
year of his age, he was seized with a consumption, which put an end to his life.
· Nothing, methinks, has more the power of awakening benevolence, than the consideration of genius thus depressed by rituarion, suffered to pine in obscurity, and sometimes, as in the case of this unfortanate young man, to perish, it may be, for want of those comforts and conveniencies which might have fostered a delicacy of frame or of mind, ill calculated to bear the hardships which poverty lays on both. For my own part, I never pass the place (a little hamlet, kirted with a circle of old ash trees, about three miles on this side of Kinross) where Michael Bruce refided; I never look on his dwelling,-a small thatched house, distinguished from the cottages of the other inhabitants only by a fashed window at the end, instead of a lata sice, fringed with a honeysuckle plant, which the poor youth bad trained around it ;-I never find myself in that spot, but I stop my horse involuntarily; and looking on the window, which the honey. suckle has now almost covered, in the dream of the moment, I pića ture out a figure for the gentle tenant of the manfion; I wish, and my heart swells while I do so, that he were alive, and that I were a great man to have the luxory of visiting him there, and bidding him be happy.--I cannot carry my readers thither; but that they may Thare some of my feelings, I will present them with an extract from che last poem in the little volume before me, which, from its fube ject, and the manner in which it is written, cannot fail of touch. ing the heart of every one who reads it.
• A young man of genius, in a deep consumption, at the age of twenty-one, feeling himself every moment going faster to decline, is an obje&t suficiently interesting; but how much must every feeling on the occasion be heightened, when we know that this perfor posse fed so much dignity and composure of mind, as not only to contemplate his approaching fate, but even to write a poem on the subject !
• In the French language there is a much-admired poem of the Abbé de Chaulieu, wsitten in expectation of his own death, to the Marquis de la Farre, lamenting his approaching separation from his friend. Michael Bruce, who it is probable never heard of the Abbé de Chaulieu, has also wsitten a poem on his own approaching death ; with the latter part of which I shall conclude this paper.
• Now Spring retorns; but not to me returns
The vernal joy my better years have known:
And all the joys of life with health are flown,
Meagre and pale, the gholt of what I was,
And count the filent moments as they pass,
No art can flop, or in their course arreft;
Oft morning-dreams presage approaching fate ;
And morning dreams as poets tell, are true,
And bid the realms of light and life adieu.
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore,
Which mortals visit, and return no more,
Enough for me the churcb-yard's lonely mound,
And the rank grass waves o'er the cheerless ground,
When Neep fits dewy on the labourer's eyes,
When Death Tall But these weary aching eyes,
"C..E..t Art, IV. Some Obfervations relative to the Influence of Climate on • Vegetable and Animal Bodies, By Alexander Wilson, M. D. 8vo.
55. Boards." Cadell. 1780. THE principal intention of the Author of this perform. T ance, which has through accident been too long overlooked by us, is to shew the great influence which climate has on vegetables and animals. In the first of the three parts into which it is divided, he endeavours to prove, that ' a certain degree of the phlogistic principle is universally necessary to vegetation, and that " the quantity disengaged in any given district of the globe is exactly in proportion to the degree of solar and lunar influence in that district :- that the action of manure in promoting vegetation bears a certain proportion to the quantity of phlogistic matter contained in these manures; and that foffil septics' (such as calcareous earths, mild or caustic) act by promoting the putrefaction of vegetable and animal bodies, which feparates the component parts, and by that means only act as manures :'--and that the growth of plants is affected by climate, in proportion to the degree of light and perspiration which results from the sun and moon's joint influence.'.
In the second part the Author considers the human body as consisting of matter which had originally existed in a vegetable form ; and as being liable to be influenced, as vegetables are known to be, by its food and by climate. He examines into the changes thus induced, and points out some of their varieties, and the causes which produce them.
In the third part the Author extends the operation of climate, and other phyfical principles, to the mind. Here his object is, 'to trace and Thew the actual influence of climate, in changing the powers of the mind; and to attempt the investigation of those particular causes, which produce these changes, and also to point out how the predominance of the same principle is productive of the same effects on the mind as well as on the body, in the extremes of heat and cold.'
'The regular analysis of a systematical work like the present, in which theory perhaps too much preponderaces, would lead us too far. Referring the inquisitive reader to the work itself, where he will meet with some ingenious obfervations, we shall attend to the singular accounts which our Author gives, relative to the light of the moon, and its supposed influence on vegetable and animal bodies.
Treating of the causes of putrefaction, the Author affirms, that • the contact of the lunar rays very much promotes that process.' To confirm this affertion, he relates fome experiments, certainly not sufficiently numerous or diversified, made in the latitude of about eleven degrees North, on two pieces of fresh beef; one of which was exposed, during the night, to the light of a bright full moon, while the other was covered with a box which did not admit a particle of light. In the morning the covered piece shewed not the smallest sign of putretaction, wbile the other smelled strongly. By two o'clock the same day, the found piece began to smell; but that which had been exposed to the lunar rays was much further advanced in putrefadion.'
The Author adds, that facts of this kind are so generally known in these climates, that the fishermen, who are out all night, take care to prevent the rays of the moon from shining on the fish they catch; yet, notwithstanding their precautions, those taken in moon-light become putrid considerably sooner than others taken in the day-time, or when there is no moonshine.'. He observes too, that, between the tropics, it has long been a general opinion among persons concerned in the agriculture of those climates, that moon-fhine, or the contact of the lunar rays, ripens fuits, and accelerates the growth of plants.
The Author likewise produces an experiment to thew that the electric matter accelerates putrefaction in animal bodies. In the middle of winter, a small filh was divided into two equal parts, one of which was kept in an electrified state for some hours each day; while the other lay exposed to the air in the same temperature. That which had been electrified emitted a putrid smell a considerable time before the other was affected.'
We cannot subscribe to the Author's opinion that the antiseptic qualities of vegetables arise from the nitrous acid in C 3
22 Wilson's Observations on the Influence of Climate. their composition. This opinion seems principally to be founded on a misapprehension of some of Dr. Priestley's observations ; particularly of some experiments contained in his second voJume.
• Dr. Priestley Has Chewn," says the Author, that vegetable substances contain a large proportion of nitrous air, which is a modification of the nitrous acid ; and he hath also proved that animal substances (the fat excepted) contain none of this nitrous air, but a portion of fixed and inflammable.'-Elsewhere he fays, eggs contain a proportion of nitrous air; therefore resist putrefaction a considerable time longer than the fielh of granivorous fowls.'--Milk is rather less animalised than eggs, and contains rather more nitrous air.'
It might with equal propriety be said, that metals, charcoal, spirit of wine, &c. contain nitrous air, as to affirm that ic enters: into the composition of vegetables. The fact is, that all these substances contain phlogiston, which, uniting with the nitrous acid added to them, constitutes the elastic fluid called nitrous air. It is true, that animal substances likewise contain phlogiston, and yet do not, in general, furnish much nitrous air, when spirit of nitre is added to them: but there are numerous substances containing phlogiston, which, from causes more or less. obvious, or from various circumstances, will not part with it to the nitrous acid, so as to constitute nitrous air. Thus, blood, which in its crude state will not produce nitrous air, when treated with spirit of nitre, will readily furnish air of that kinds if it has been previously reduced to the state of a coal.
In the second part of this work, we meet with fome judicious observations of the Author's respecting the sea-scurvy.' He oba serves, that the antiseptic regimen, fuch as the wort recommended by Dr. Macbride, is not alone sufficient to prevent or cure this disease; but that there is another indication of cure which ought equally to be attended to ; and which consists in keeping up a due evacuation by the skin, or by perspiration, to prevent an accumulation of the putrid matter generated, and detained in the body. Dr. Lind, he observes, has given many. instances, where a moist atmosphere, conjoined with a very moderate degree of cold, has been productive of the scurvy both at sea and land : and even in the warm latitudes, and on shore, the Author adds, that among the lower classes, who live much on salt beef, and in low damp situations, where perspiration is greatly obstructed, a considerable degree of scurvy is often induced, though the inhabitants have a ready access to the vege tables of the climate. The great attention,' says the Author, 6 paid by Capt. Cook to his people, their warm cloathing, and being only one-third of their time on duty instead of one half, which is common, were most powerful afiltants to the wort, by