ePub 版

grasses are painted with wonderful deli the so-called patrons of art imagine that cacy and accuracy. We have heard it nothing more is to be heard of art and called a pre-Raphaelite picture; but we artists until the next opening. There is should like to learn what pre-Raphaelite such a higgledy-piggledy collection of all artist ever attempted any thiug in this sorts of pictures in every conceivable style. There is a small sea piece, by Dr. style and every possible size, of all sorts Ruggles, representing the wreck of the of subjects; high, low, serious, grim, comSan Francisco, after she had been deserted ic, historical, animals, fruits, landscapes, by her passengers and crew, which has portraits, miniatures, and full lengths, much merit, particularly as the work of high toned, and low toned, that it is a an amateur. The motion of the waves, sheer impossibility for one pair of eyes to and the details of the wreck, are repre see them all and form any just idea of sented with remarkable accuracy; for their merits. Such an exhibition is like there are very few of our painters who a concert where all sorts of music, in all give any proofs in their pictures of ever sorts of keys, are played on all sorts of having looked upon the ocean. We have instruments, without the slightest conseen a picture of this same scene, with nection with each other. To look at a the Three Bells lying by, and the yards picture properly so as to be able to appreplaced on the after-parts of the mast. R. ciate the design of the artist, provided W. Hubbard has a sober little landscape, he have any, it is necessary to look at it called “New England Hill Scenery,” by itself, from the point of view which which, without any brilliant pretensions, the artist intended; to imbue the mind is a very excellent picture, evidently the with its sentiment, and adapt the eye to production of an intelligent student of its tone. But how can this be done in a nature.

gallery of four hundred new paintings As compared with last years' exhibi all differing from each other? How is it tion there is very little change in the possible to pass from a Shegogueian general look of the galleries, but there group of infants in pink frocks to a are fewer pictures, by some fifty, the Huntingtonian scripture piece full of number now is but 398; it has been dark purple tints, and enjoy the beauties usually above 400; there are no archi of both ? or, after filling the eye with light tectural drawings nor designs, and but from one of Church's sunsets, to pass on few water-colors. There is oneencouraging to Cropsey's cold and rigid Bay of Genoa; fact connected with the Academy, it is or from Mrs. Spencer's laughing infant the last exhibition that will ever be held to Ilicks's solemn Bishop? Such rapid in the present building, which has been and violent contrasts cause people to sold, leaving the Academy some fifty form rash and unjust opinions of artists thousand dollars profit; and we hope that whose pictures look entirely different in when they erect a new building they will their studios from what they do in the make some changes in their constitution Academy. If there were a gallery conand adapt their institution to the existing stantly open, artists might send their state of art in this country. What they works whenever they were finished, and most need is a perpetual exhibition, for the public could then look on one picture these annual shows are very absurd in at a time, and not be compelled, as they an artistic view, and can only be allow are now, to take in at one rapid glance ed on the score of profit. They create a a view of every thing that has been pro temporary excitement which subsides duced by all the artists of the city dubefore the exhibition is half over, and ring the year.

DEATH OF KIT NORTH. AS $ we are closing up the last sentences of our Monthly, we learn that the great Hierarch of Magazinists, Chris

topher North, is dead. As the greatest of our tribe, and as the man who did most to elevate the character and render popular Magazine Literature, he is entitled, from us especially, the youngest adventurer among Monthlies, to one melodious tear, at least. John Wilson, the comparatively unknown baptismal name of the worldrenowned Christopber North, tho slashing reviewer, tho genial essayist, the sturdy moralist, the boon companion, the hearty lovor of Nature, the stubborn Tory, the gentle poet, the rollicking satirist, the learned critic, the wise teacher, the author of the Trials of Margaret Lindsay and of the Noctes Ambrosianæ, the companion and friend of Scott, of llogg, of Wordsworth, and Magiun, has followed his illustrious friends, and, like them, left us the wiser and the happier for having dwelt among us. Trusty Christopher is dead, and it will be long before the world shall see another like him. We have the heart to say more if we had the space, but we must defer to another time tho expression of the feelings which the death of one of the most brilliant authors of our time has caused.


A Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.






flowers were the Earth's Thus, even now, travellers tell us occafirst-born progeny ; they sprang sionally, a wondrous tale of barren islands out of her bosom and crowned her with being covered with luxuriant forests, and verdure and beauty. The plains covered of naked rocks being clothed with rich themselves with waving grasses, and the verdure. We have learned how Nature mountains with majestic forests ; the proceeds, even in our day, to let the grass silvery willow and the lofty poplar bent grow, and the herb and the tree yielding over the banks of rivers, and repeated fruit, on spots where before all was in their trembling, murmuring leaves, sterility, or the elements alone reigned the gentle ripple and the low purling supremely. of the stream. The Ocean, also, had its For every now and then we hear of yvoods and its prairies in the depth of some new land, fresh from the hands of its abysses; purple Algae were suspended the Creator, and destined for ages so disin festoons from the sides of its rocks, tant that human knowledge cannot foreand gigantic fucus rose from the bottom see them. Lava streams that have flown of the sea and danced upon the dark green from restless craters, begin at last to cool,

Cedars and pines, with their and life takes possession of them. Thus sombre pyramids, formed dark borders in the still hot lava of Mt. Etna the Inaround the white fields of eternal snow dian fig is planted largely by the Sicilians, and dazzling glaciers. IIumble mosses to render those desolate regions capable and lowly lichens covered the gray gran of cultivation. It strikes its strong, wellite of the North, and offered, in the midst armed creepers into the fissures of the of unbroken winter, warmth and food to "black, fiery mass, and soon extends roots the reindeer of the Laplander, whilst the into every crevice of the rock. Slowly, palm tree of the South, in its lofty ma but with ever increasing force, the tender jesty, defied the burning sun of the fragile fibre then bursts the large blocks. tropics, and gave shade and luscious fruit asunder, and finally covers them with in abundance.

fertile soil and a luxuriant vegetation. So much Revelation itself bas told us. At other times vast tracts of sea-bottom The rest is left to that innate thirst of are dyked in and drained; a thousand vaknowledge, the gratification of which is rieties of mosses gradually fill it up, and the highest of all earthly enjoyments. form by their unceasing labor a rich vegeStill, we are not quite left to ourselves, table mould for plants of larger growth. for aid is promised us, even now, from on Or truly new lands are suddenly seen to. high. “Go into a field of flowers,” said claim a place upon our globe. An earththe Lord to Ezra, “where no house is quake shakes a continent and' upheavés built, and there I will come and talk with the mighty ocean, until cities crumble thee." And who has not felt the truth into ruins and the proud ships of man are of good old Cowley's quaint verse : ingulfed in the bottomless depths of the

sea. "If we could open and intend our eye,

But the earthquake rolls away, the We all, like Moses, would espy

storm rages itself to rest, the angry bilE'en in a bush the radiant Delty."

lows subside, and the holy calm, which is. VOL. 111.-36


the habitual mood of Nature, is restored rain, frost and snow. In these urns they as if it had never been broken. Only, treasure up their minute dustlike seeds, where yesterday the ocean's mighty swell until they ripen ; a small lid which has passed freely, there to-day an island has until then been held back by elastic risen from the bosom of the deep. Vast threads, now suddenly rises, and as from rocky masses suddenly raise their bare a miniature mortar they shoot forth little heads above the boiling waters and greet yellow balls, which cover the ground the heavens above. Such was the origin around them. And thus they work on, of Stromboli, of St. Helena, and of Tris quiet, unobserved and unthanked. Dressed tan d'Acunha. Or the busy host of co in the plainest garb of Nature, growing rals, after having built for a thousand more slowly than any other plant on years the high ramparts of their marvel earth, they work unceasingly, until as their lous rings, at last rise to a level with the last and greatest sacrifice, they have to surface; they die, having done their duty dig their own graves! For Providence in all the great household of Nature, and has given them a powerful oxalic acid, bequeathe to man a low, flat, circular which eats its way slowly into the rock; island which now first beholds the sweet water and other moisture is caught in the light of day, above the dark waves of the minute indentations, it is heated and

Then come other hosts of busy frozen, until it rends the crumbling stone servants of the Almighty, to do their into fragments, and thus aids in forming duty. A soft, silky, network of gay, a soil. Centuries often pass, and generbright colors, hides after a few days the ations after generations of these humble nakedness of the rock. It is a moss of bondslaves perform their cruel duty, bethe simplest plants we know : nothing fore the eye can see a real change. but simple cells and wondrously short Now, however, comes a faint but clear lived. They die and disappear, leaving tinge of green. It is a mere film still, but apparently no perceptible trace behind visible to the naked eye, and showing them ; still, they have not lived and la the higher and more luxuriant forms of bored in vain. A delicate, faint tinge, graceful mosses, mixed with fungi which little more, is left behind, and in that interpose their tiny globes and miniature mere shadows of things gone by lies the umbrellas. They come, we know not germ of a future, mighty growth. Years whence, for the slightest crevice in the pass, and the shadow grows darker; the bare rock suffices to arrest some of the spots begin to run together, and then fol invisible germs which are constantly floatlow countless hosts of lichens, a kind of ing in the air, and affords them a home. humble mosses, which the great and pious They yield nothing in industry and perLinnæus touchingly called the bondslaves severance to their humble predecessors; of Nature, because they are chained to hardy little laborers in the same great the rock on which they grow, and, after work, they seem to delight in the clouds death, are buried in the soil which they and storms of a wintry season, when all make and improve for others only. Little other verdure fades. They find a home, ugly, blackish-brown or pale-white plants and live and thrive with equal contentas they are, but niggardly supported by ment in the burning cinders of volcanic the thin air of mountain tops, they show islands, like Ascension Island, on which us that there are rich garments and hum they formed the first green crust after it ble wealth and poverty among plants as had risen from the ocean, and on the temwell as among men.

The lowliest and pest-beaten boulders of Norwegian granhumblest of plants, these lichens become, ite, which they cover with a scarlet coathowever, the most useful servants of Na ing, weil known as the violet stone and ture, which here in an equal degree as in full of rich, sweet perfume. As they the other works of the Almighty, afford wither and die, minute layers of soil are innumerable proofs that, throughout crea formed, one after another, until grasses tion, the grandest and most complicated and herbs can find a foothold: shrubs with ends are obtained by the employment of their hardy roots now begin to interlace the simplest means. These tiny, faintly the loose fragments of earth and to bind colored cups live, truly aerial plants, on the very stones to a more permanent the most sterile rock, without a particle structure. The ground grows richer and of mould or soil beneath them, nourished richer, until at last the tree springs from alone by invisible moisture in the atmos the soil, and, where onco the ocean and phere. Modestly choosing the most ex the tempest alone beat on the bare rock, posed situations, they spread line by line, there we see now the lordly monarch of inch by inch, and push up the little urns the forest raise its lofty crown, and under which crown their short stems, amidst its rich foliage shelter bird and beast

Man may

from the spray and the storm. Soon all' consist each only of a single cell, although is fertile meadow, tangled thicket and in varied and often most elegant forms, wide-spreading forest. Nor is this always with a brilliant display of bright color. and necessarily a slow, painful progress. The first germ of a plant, then, has alThe bold navigator Boussingault witness ready a life-for it seeds, works and proed once, in the south of this continent, one duces. It takes all its nutriment from of those stupendous earthquakes which without. How, we know not, for although seem to rend the the very foundations of plants have no table hanging at their our globe. Mountains rose and plains gates with a surly No admittance; alwere changed into lakes. Huge masses though they work, on the contrary, before of porphyry were scattered over fertile

every body's eyes, unfortunately human fields and covered all vegetation, changing eyes are not strong enough to discern the bright prairie into a scene of utter the mysterious process that is going on in desolation. Ten short years later the their minute chambers. Even armed with great captain was again on the same spot. the most powerful microscope, we cannot But what a change! The bare wild penetrate the mystery, and know not yet masses were covered with a young luxu by what incomprehensible instinct these riant grove of locusts, and a thousand cat diminutive cells, all unaided, pick up and tle were grazing on the hills.

select their food and arrange the new mateThus we are taught how Nature pro rial so as to present us at last with a perceeds, in our day, from the green matter fect double of the graceful palm, the gathering on our ponds to the giant tree of queenly Victoria or the gigantic Baobab. the forest. But if we turn to the individ It heightens the wonder that all this ual plant-how little do we as yet know power lies in a seed minute enough to be of its simple structure! Who can solve wafted invisibly by a breath of air. And the mystery that pervades its silent yet yet it must be endowed with most subtle ever-active life? There is something in and varied gifts, so that out of the same the very

stillness of that unknown power food plants are enabled to form the thouwhich awes and subdues us.

sand rare substances they produce : now forcibly obstruct the path of a grow bringing forth nutritious and agreeable ing twig, but it turns quietly aside and food for man, now yielding materials most moves patiently, irresistibly on, in its ap valuable to the arts of life, and now minpointed way.

Wood and iron-even pow istering to the vilest wants of degenerate erful steam—they all obey him and be man and arming him with deadly poison. come the crouching slaves of his intellect. But these little cells are not consumers But the life of the lowest of plants defies only; they live and work not for the day him. He may extinguish it, to be sure ; merely, but for the future also. An almost but to make use of a living plant, he must invisible point in the cell begins to swell obey it, study its wants and tendencies, and to increase, as it consumes first the and mould, in fact, his own proud will to colorless fluid, then the soft substance, the humblest grass that grows at his feet. and at last even the tissue of the outer Thus we have learned the biography of walls of the cell, until-already at this plants, a few events of which are not early stage of vegetable life~death ensues, without interest even to the general ob and out of death comes new life. The old

cell dies, giving birth indeed, as a mother, When on old walls and damp palings, to other cells, and thus gradually building or in glasses in which we have left soft up the full-grown plant. The young ones water standing for several days in summer, leave their former home, after an equally we find a' delicate. bright-green and al mysterious design, according to the posimost velvety coat-then we have before tion they are hereafter to occupy in the us the first beginning of all vegetation. structure of the plant, and the function What we see is a number of small round they are destined to perform. cells, and one of these delicate cells, a Here is the great turning point in the little globe as large as the thousandth history of vegetable life.

All plants part of an inch, is the beginning of every consist of cells of the same kind and of plant in creation. These cells are the the same round or oblong form--but the living stones of which this great temple arrangement and the subsequent shape of Nature is built. Each minute cell, of these cells differ in each variety of moreover, is an independent plant, vege- plants. The finger of the Almighty tating as a living organism and having a writes on the transparent walls of these life of its own. There are whole races of microscopic cells as momentous words as plants, like the Algae and the common those that appeared in flames on the gor-mould forming on decaying matter, which geous walls of the Syrian palace. Only


[ocr errors]

one feature of this wonderful design is · giant plant are buoyed up and finally permanent and common to all: no cell enabled to float on the surface, covering produces more than two others; of these the waves with an immense carpet of veronly one is again productive, and dies dure. And thus, with unerring reguafter it has performed its duty. The larity, which, in an almost endless vaother remains within, grows harder and riety of forms, still maintains those great thicker, until it can expand no longer; laws of Nature that betoken the will the thickening substance coats the inner of the Most High, these same cells have walls, fills up the interior, and thus gives been formed, not only in the parent strength and firmness to the beautiful plant for its next successor, but during structure. In some plants this develop thousands of generations; and that on ment of new cells goes on slowly ; in all parts of the earth, in the same way, others with truly marvellous rapidity, as the same shape! Well may we, then, with in one of the fungi, which forms two a distinguished German botanist, look thousand visible cells in a single minute ! upon the vegetable world as the rich altar

But the minute, delicate form would be cloth in the temple of God where we worbut short-lived, and fall an easy prey to ship the beautful and the sublime, bethe first rude breath of air, if Nature did cause it is Iis handiwork. not here also instil the great lesson, that Plants live, then, and feed. Little do Union is Strength. That wondrous chem we commonly think, little do we therefore ical laboratory, contained in the myste know of the way in which they live and rious seclusion of each cell, produces next feed. We see animals take their food a current which permeates the walls, and openly and grossly, in the most conglues cell to cell, so that, hardly developed, spicuous and eminent part of their body; it cannot move from the spot, and, though they tear and swallow, ruminate or masprovided with life and strength for long ticate. We ourselves do something in generations, it is still, like Prometheus, that line. But delicate plants hide the bound for ever on the rock of the adjoin coarse process of nutrition under ground, ing cell. At the extremities of plants or within the close walls of each tiny this glue hardens into a thick varnish ; it cell. There, with wondrous art, and is this material which gives density and never resting day or night, summer or mechanical strength to the so-called woody winter, they draw a few simple elements, fibres;

it forms the bark of trees and mainly water, from air and soil, and by covers the plum with a coating of wax. their own power and labor, live upon It appears like a viscid layer on the leaves

them not only, but draw all the material of water-plants, which are thus made necessary for an almost unlimited growth, slippery to the touch and impermeable to until the smallest seed has upreared water, or as a blue powder on our cab gigantic masses of wood and foliage, and bage, which can be wholly immersed the grain of mustard has grown into a without being wetted. Only here and tree, in whose branches the fowls of there, but even in the hardest and fullest heaven have their habitation. Each little cells, tubes of a spiral form are left open. microscopic cell is its own busy chemist, Some are mere small jail windows, im dissolving all it needs, even small particles perceptible to the naked eye, and only of silica, in water, and changing it into lately discovered; but they always meet, food and new substances. The material in unfailing regularity, with a similar tiny we know, and the fact that it is introlookout from the neighbor, so that Nature duced—but then we stand again at the evidently does not seem to approve of threshold of that mystery with which solitary confinement. Others are larger, Nature surrounds all first beginnings. and serve as air-passages; for nature, a The night of the cell, where this strange good architect, knows the necessity of process is going on, is the same as that in ventilation, and provides for it in the which the grain has to be buried, in order humblest of lowly mosses with as much to rise once more to light as a tender care as in the lofty dome of the Universe. blade. We are again taught that the In aquatic plants, moreover, these saine knowledge of first causes belongs to Him tubes render them buoyant, as in one of alone, who allows the eye of man to see the huge fucui that grow from the bottom final causes only, and even those, as yet, of the ocean. All along the immense merely through a glass, dimly. stem, which reaches from the vast deep The general process of feeding, in a up to the light of day, little vessels oc plant, as far as known, is simply this: cur, filled with air, and it is by these The universal and indispensable nutrient tiny balloons, thus continued from story substances, and, at the same time, that by to story, that the enormous leaves of the means of which all the rest are conveyed

« 上一頁繼續 »