« 上一頁繼續 »
plentiful gardens and thriving crops, stud the prospect everywhere. The bee goes about with a business-like hum, and the butterfly, on fluttering wings, wantons on his whimsical way among the bean-fields. The peasants working on the soil look up with wistful eyes, and repose for a moment from their labour as we wander along. All speaks of a gentle government and a prosperous community; though I cannot help moralizing, as we draw near to Ghent, on the mutability of all human things, and reflecting how matters are altered since Charles the Fifth wittily boasted he could put all Paris in his glove (Ghent.) Dickens.
RAILWAYS-Labours and Costs of.
The great pyramid of Egypt was, according to Diodorus Siculus, constructed by three hundred thousand; according to Herodotus, by one hundred thousand men. It required for its execution twenty years, and the labour expended on it has been estimated as equivalent to lifting 15,733,000,000 (fifteen thousand seven hundred and thirty-three millions) of cubic feet of stone one foot high. Now, in the same measure, the labour expended in constructing the Southern division only of the present London and North-western Railway, if it be reduced to one common denomination, the result is 25,000,000,000 (twenty-five thousand millions) of cubic feet of similar material lifted to the same height, being 9,267,000,000 (nine thousand two hundred and sixty-seven millions) of cubic feet more than was lifted for the pyramid; and yet the English work was performed by about 20,000 men only, in less than five years. Again, it has been calculated by Mr. Lecount, that the quantity of earth moved in the single division (112 miles in length) of the railway in question, would be sufficient to make a footpath a foot high and a yard broad round the whole circumference of the earth! the cost of this division of the railway in penny-pieces being sufficient to form a copper kerb or edge to it. Supposing, therefore, the same proportionate quantity of earth to be moved in the 7,150 miles of railway sanctioned by Parliament at the commencement of 1848, our engineers, within about fifteen years, would, in the construction of our railways alone, have removed earth sufficient to girdle the globe with a road one foot high and one hundred and ninety-one feet broad! Sir F. B. Head. RAIN-Philosophy of.
To understand the philosophy of this beautiful and often sublime phenomenon, so often witnessed since the creation of the world, and essential to the very existence of plants and
animals, a few facts derived from observation and a long train of experiments must be remembered. 1. Were the atmosphere everywhere, at all times, at a uniform temperature, we should never have rain, or hail, or snow: the water absorbed by it in evaporation from the sea and the earth's surface would descend in an imperceptible vapour, or cease to be absorbed by the air when it was once fully saturated. 2. The absorbing power of the atmosphere, and consequently its capability to retain humidity, is proportionably greater in warm than in cold air. 3. The air near the surface of the earth is warmer than it is in the region of the clouds. The higher we ascend from the earth, the colder do we find the atmosphere. Hence the perpetual snow on very high mountains in the hottest climate. Now, when, from continued evaporation, the air is highly saturated with vapour, though, if it be invisible and the sky cloudless, if its temperature be suddenly reduced by cold currents descending from above, or rushing from a higher to a lower latitude, its capacity to retain moisture is diminished, clouds are 1 formed, and the result is rain. Air condenses as it cools, and, like a sponge filled with water and compressed, pours out the water which its diminished capacity cannot hold. singular, yet how simple, the philosophy of Who but Omniscience could have rain! devised such an admirable arrangement for watering the earth?
The hollow winds begin to blow;
The walls are damp, the ditches smell, Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel. Hark! how the chairs and tables crack, Old Betty's joints are on the rack; Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry; The distant hills are seeming nigh. How restless are the snorting swine,The busy flies disturb the kine; Low o'er the grass the swallow wings; The cricket too, how sharp he sings; Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws, Sits, wiping o'er her whisker'd jaws. Through the clear stream the fishes rise, And nimbly catch th' incautious flies; The glow-worms, numerous and bright, Illumed the dewy dell last night. At dusk, the squalid toad was seen, Hopping and crawling o'er the green; The whirling wind the dust obeys, And in the rapid eddy plays; The fog has changed his yellow vest, And in a russet coat is dress'd. Though June, the air is cold and still; The mellow blackbird's voice is shrill. My dog, so alter'd in his taste, Quits mutton-bones on grass to feast; And see yon rooks, how odd their flight, They imitate the gliding kite, And seem precipitate to fall,
As if they felt the piercing ball.
Twill surely rain; I see, with sorrow,
RAINBOW-a Divine Sign.
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one rascal less in the world.
RASHNESS-akin to Valour.
That's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion. Shakspeare.
READING-Social Benefits of.
When the business of the day is over, how many men does the evening hour find comfortably seated in their easy-chairs, reading to themselves, or to some fair friend, or happy group! In how many pleasant homes, while the ladies are seated at their morning employ. ments, or amusements, or whatever they may please to call them, does some glad creature read aloud, in a voice full of music, and marked by the sweetest emotions of a young pure heart, a lay of our mighty bards, or a story of one of our most cunning interweavers of the truth of nature with the splendour of fiction, or follow the wonderful recitals of our travellers, naturalists, and philosophical spirits, into every region of earth or mind! Publishers may tell us "poetry don't sell;" critics may cry "poetry is a drug;" thereby making it so with the frivolous and unreflecting, who are the multitude; but we will venture to say, that at no period were there ever more books read by that part of our population most qualified to draw delight and good from read
ing; and when we enter mechanics' libraries,
and see them filled with simple, quiet, earnest men, and find such men now sitting on stiles in the country, deeper sunk into the very marrow and spirit of a well-handled volume, where we used to meet them in riotous and reckless mischief, we are proud and happy to look forward to that wide and formerly waste field, over which literature is extending its triumphs, and to see the beneficent consequences that will follow to the whole community. William How. READING-Choice of Books in.
Young reader-you, whose hearts are open, whose understandings are not yet hardened, and whose feelings are neither exhausted nor encrusted with the world, take from me a better rule than any professors of criticism will teach you! Would you know whether the tendency of a book is good or evil, examine in what state of mind you lay it down. Has it induced you to suspect that what you have been accustomed to think unlawful, may after all be innocent, and that may be harmless which you have hitherto been taught to think dan
gerous? Has it tended to make you dissatisfied and impatient under the control of others, and | disposed you to relax in that self-government without which both the laws of God and man tell us there can be no virtue, and consequently no happiness? Has it attempted to abate your admiration and reverence for what is great and good, and to diminish in you the love of your country and your fellow-creatures? Has it addressed itself to your pride, your vanity, your selfishness, or any of your evil propensities? Has it defiled the imagination with what is loathsome, and shocked the heart with what is monstrous ? Has it disturbed the sense of right and wrong which the Creator has implanted in the human soul? If so, if you have felt that such were the effects that it was intended to produce, throw the book in the fire, whatever name it may bear on the title-page! Throw it in the fire, young man, though it should have been the gift of a friend; young lady, away with the whole set, though it should be the prominent furniture in the rosewood bookcase. Southey.
For general improvement, a man should read whatever his immediate inclination prompts him to; though, to be sure, if a man has a science to learn, he must regularly and resolutely advance. What we read with inclination makes a stronger impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention, so there is but half to begins to read in the middle of a book, and be employed on what we read. If a man
feels an inclination to go on, let him not quit it to go to the beginning. He may, perhaps, not feel again the inclination. Johnson. READING-Different Kinds of.
Keep your view of men and things extensive, and depend upon it that a mixed knowledge is not a superficial one. As far as it goes, the views that it gives are true; but he who reads deeply in one class of writers only, gets views which are almost sure to be perverted, and which are not only narrow, but false. Adjust your proposed amount of reading to your time and inclination,-this is perfectly free to every man; but whether that amount be large or small, let it be varied in its kind, and widely varied. If I have a coufident opinion on any one point connected with the improvement of the human mind, it is on this. Dr. Arnold.
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.
Lady M. W. Montages.
The mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections, and draw curious conclusions as it goes along; the habitude of which made Pliny the younger affirm that he never read a book so bad but he drew some profit from it.
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Bacon.
To read without reflecting, is like eating without digesting.
READING Proper System of.
A proper and judicious system of reading is of the highest importance. Two things are necessary in perusing the mental labours of others; namely, not to read too much, and to pay great attention to the nature of what you do read. Many persons peruse books for the express and avowed purpose of consuming time; and this class of readers forms by far the majority of what are termed the reading public; others, again, read with the laudable anxiety of being made wiser; and when this object is not attained, the disappointment may generally be attributed, either to the habit of reading too much, or of paying insufficient attention to what falls under their notice. Blakey.
Toy with your books, and, as the various fits
To lean, for ever cramps the vital parts,
If I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me through life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss, and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading. I speak of it, of course,
only as a worldly advantage, and not in the slightest degree as superseding or derogating from the higher office and surer and stronger panoply of religious principles-but as a taste, an instrument and a mode of pleasurable gratification. Give a man this taste, and the means of gratifying it, and you can hardly fail of making a happy man, unless, indeed, you put into his hands a most perverse selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society in every period of historywith the wisest, the wittiest-with the tenderest, the bravest, and the purest characters who have adorned humanity. You make him a denizen of all nations-a contemporary of all ages. The world has been created for him. It is hardly possible but the character should take a higher and better tone from the constant habit of associating in thought with a class of thinkers, to say the least of it, above the average of humanity. It is morally impossible but that the manners should take a tinge of good breeding and civilization from having constantly before one's eyes the way in which the best-bred and the best-informed men have talked and conducted themselves in their intercourse with each other. There is a gentle, but perfectly irresistible coercion in a habit of reading well directed, over the whole tenor of a man's character and conduct, which is not the less effectual because it works insensibly, and because it is really the last thing he dreams of. It civilizes the conduct of men, and suffers them not to remain barbarous. Sir John Herschel.
It is manifest that all government of action is to be obtained by knowledge, and knowledge, best, by gathering many knowledges, which is reading. Sir Philip Sidney.
He picked something out of everything he read. Pliny.
He who will not reason, is a bigot; he who cannot, is a fool; and he who dares not, is a slave. Byron.
When a man has not a good reason for doing a thing, he has one good reason for Sir Walter Scott. letting it alone.
When reason, like the skilful charioteer, Can break the fiery passions with the bit, And, spite of their licentious sallies, keep The radiant track of glory; passions then