ePub 版

who was travelling to Birmingham, being caught in a violent thunder-storm, took shelter under a large tree in the park. The lightning soon after struck the tree, and in its passage along it to the ground, killed this unfortunate person. Lord Aylesford afterwards humanely erected a monument upon the spot, with an inscription, warning others of the great danger to which they expose themselves by taking shelter under trees during a thunder-storm.

Instead, then, of seeking protection by retiring under a tree, hay-rick, pillar, wall, or hedge, the person should either pursue his way to the nearest house, or get to a part of the road or field which has no high object to attract the lightning towards it; and remain there until the storm has subsided. It is particularly dangerous at such times to stand near leaden spouts, iron gates, or palisadoes ; metals of all kinds having so strong an attraction for lightning, as frequently to draw it considerably out of the course which it would otherwise have taken; and it is entirely owing to this, that metallic rods and chains are useful as conductors. Excepting a house, any open space about fifty or sixty yards from a conducting body is considered as the most secure. Even within doors, there is danger of sitting near a window, fire-place, bellwire, or under the chain of a chandelier, when the lightning approaches.

How to estimate Danger in a Thunder-Storm. Most persons can distinguish between the noise of distant thunder, and of that which is near them: from the former having a deep, hollow, and ruinbling sound, continuing for several seconds; while the latter is almost a single sharp clap, or like the discharge of a platoon of musketry immediately over-head. But there are comparatively very few who are aware, that, by attending to the interval between the flash and the. report, they may accurately measure the distance of the lightning, and thereby calculate their degree of

"-ty or of danger: for it is the lightning which does

androgen gases created bhing in

the mischief; whilst the thunder is merely the sound occasioned by the air rushing in from all sides, to fill up the vacuum created by a quantity of oxygen and hydrogen gases being set on fire by the electric spark, and suddenly condensed into water, which immediately afterwards falls in rain : and the lengthened peal is the echo of the first clap, reverberated from different clouds; just as we observe the explosion of a single cannon, multiplied by surrounding hills. Light moves with such prodigious velocity, that any flash which occurs within our atmosphere reaches the eye without a sensible interval ; whereas SOUND moves so slowly, that we can easily calculate its progress, and consequently measure the distance of the lightning from whence it proceeded. It appears from accurate experiments, that SOUND moves through 1142 feet in a second of time, and of course through an English mile, or 5280 feet, in about four seconds and a half. If, then, from the instant the flash strikes our eyes, we can deliberately count four at the same Fate that the pendulum of a common clock beats, we are sure that the lightning is nearly a mile distant ; nor is it until the interval is less than two seconds, that any danger from the lightning can arise'.

From a discovery of the ingenious Dr. FRANKLIN, it is, that we have learned how to secure houses and other more elevated buildings, and ships at sea, from

* Dr. Curry on Apparent Death, p. 169, second edit. 1814. Dr. Russell has the following pretty lines addressed to a Lady fearful of Thunder :

Say, whence this sudden chill, my fair,
When thunder rattles through the air?
Why quits your blood each distant part,
And hastes to guard the lab'ring heart?
The flash that strikes the villain dead,
Is taught to spare the guiltless head :
Or, should by this the virtuous die,
"Twere but on lightning's wings to fly,
And gain with greater speed the sky,

damage by lightning; and are taught that a very small metallic conductor, if elevated above the highest part of an edifice, and connected with the earth, is capable of conveying a very large quantity of electric matter from the clouds to the earth, without noise, and leaving no signs of its having been present. An elegant modern poet, who has endeavoured to inlist imagination under the banner of science,' and has employed gnomes, sylphs, and nymphs for his machinery, has paid the following compliment to this phia losopher for this important discovery :

You led your FRANKLIN to your glazed retreats,
Your air-built castles and your silken seats;
Bade his bold arm invade the lowering sky,
And seize the tiptoe lightnings ere they fly;
O'er the young Sage your mystic mantle spread,
And wreathed the Crown Electric round bis head.
Thus, when on wanton wing intrepid LOVE
Snatched the raised lightning from the arm of JOVE;
Th' immortal sire, indulgent to his child,
Bowed his ambrosial locks, and heaven relenting smiled.

- DARWIN, The maritime plants which flower in July, are the club rush (scirpus maritimus), bearded cat's tail grass (phleum crinitum), bulbous fox tail grass (alopecurus bulbosus), the reflexed and creeping meadow grass (poa distans g maritima), the field eryngo feryngium campestre), parsley water drop-wort roenanthe pimpinelloides), smooth sea-heath (Frankenia lævis), and the golden dock (rumex maritimus); all of which are to be found in salt marshes.

On sandy shores may be seen the sea-mat weed (arundo arenaria), upright sea-lime grass selymuş arenarius), the sea lungwort (pulmonaria maritima), the sea bind-weed (convolvulus soldanella), saltwort (salsola), sea-holly (eryngium maritimum) : prickly samphire (echinophora spinosa), and the sea-lavender (statice limonium), are found on maritime rocks; and the sea pea (pisum maritimum) 'on rocky shores.

i See more on the subject of Conductors in Parkes's Chemical Essays, vol. i, p. 202 et seq.

About the iniddle or latter end of July, pilchards rclupea pilchardus) appear in vast shoals, off the Cornish coast; and prawns and lobsters are taken in this month. Prawns are found in the greatest abundance among sea-weed, and in the vicinity of rocks, at a little distance from the shore. They seldom enter the mouths of rivers, but, on the contrary, they have been caught on the surface of the sea, over thirty fathoms depth of water. Their usual mode of swiming is on their backs; but when threatened with dans ger, they throw themselves on one side, and spring backward to very considerable distances. They feed upon all the smaller kinds of marine animals, which they seize and devour with great voracity. In their turn they become the prey of numerous species of fish. The manner of taking prawns and lobsters has already been described in our last volume, p. 213. The shrimp, which is not so much esteemed as the prawn, frequents sandy sea shores in great abundance, and not unfrequently enters harbours, and even the ditches and ponds of salt marshes.

The method of pegging the lobster and crab is by driving a sharp wooden wedge between the joints of the claws, thus piercing a thin horny substance, by which operation they are wholly incapacitated from making use of those offensive weapons with which nature has armed them, being otherwise so strong and sharp, as to be capable of severing the finger of a man. These fish must undoubtedly suffer the greatest agony from pegging, as their struggles sufficiently indicate; and, on pulling out the peg previous to the boiling of the animal, a thin bloody water always follows from the wound in considerable quantities. But the lobster and crab are doomed to suffer the greatest torments; they are first pegged, and then boiled alive,

making warmed them, le of severing ffer the great

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The farmer's labours in this month are various and important. In the southern parts of the island the corn harvest commences; but August is, generally, dedicated to this grateful employment; though, in some districts, the work of the sickle is protracted till September or even October. The hay-harvest in the north is generally completed in July. 'Flax and hemp are pulled in this month.

We close this month's lucubrations with a charming • Elegy' by John Scott, of Amwell, an author who abounds in original and beautiful thoughts, expressed in the genuine language of poetry. Though included in some of the great collections of English poets, his works are not sufficiently known; they cannot, indeed, be too much admired for their delicacy of sentiment and excellent moral tendency.

Written in the Hot WEATHER, July 1757. .
Three hours from noon the passing shadow shows

The sultry breeze glides faintly o'er the plains,
The dazzling ether fierce and fiercer glows,

And human nature scarce its rage sustains. .
Now still and vacant is the dusty street,

And still and vacant all yon fields extend,
Save where those swains, oppressed with toil and beat,

The grassy harvest of the mead attend.
Lost is the lively aspect of the ground,

Low are the springs, the reedy ditches dry;'
No verdant spot in all the vale is found,

Save what yon stream's unfailing stores supply.
Where are the flowers, the garden's rich array?

Where is their beauty, where their fragrance filed?
Their stems relax, fast fall their leaves away,

They fade and mingle with their dusty bed :
All but the natives of the torrid zone,

What Afric's wilds or Peru's fields display,
Pleased with a clime that imitates their own,

They lovelier bloom beneath the parching ray.
· Where is wild Nature's heart-reviving song,

That filled in genial spring the verdant bow'rs?
Silent in gloomy woods the feathered throng

Pine through this long, long course of sultry hours.

« 上一頁繼續 »