« VorigeDoorgaan »
From the Athenæum.
A CHILD'S GRAVE AT FLORENCE.
A. A. E. C., BORN JULY, 1848; DIED NOVEMBER, 1849.
BY ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Op English blood-of Tuscan birth,
What country should we give her ? Instead of any on the earth,
The civic heavens receive her. And here among the English tombs,
In Tuscan ground we lay her,
Our English words of prayer.
By months, not years, is reckoned :
Alone to see a second,
Her little face still played in-
Had had no time for fading.
No wonder we should call her;
Was but a little taller.
As Dante, in abhorrence
The lilies of bis Florence.
Who perfumed with pure blossom
Upon a mother's bosom
Our speech not worth assuming ;
And mimicked the gnat's humming.
For tongues celestial, fitter!
To catch Heaven's jasper-glitter.
Behind the cloud that hid them :“Let little children come to me,
And do not thou forbid them."
And gently here have laid her ;
The flowers that should o'erspread her. We should bring pansies, quick with Spring,
Rose, violet, daffodilly-
White lilies for our LILY.
Glad, grateful attestations
With calm renunciations.
Should leave the place too earthy,
Because we are not worthy!”
The gardens in the frost are ;
Remembering we have lost her.
To miss the July shining ;
When God speaks of res ng!
Thou God, the Self-Existent !
We catch up wild at parting saints,
And feel thy Heaven too distant.
Has ruffled all our vestore:
We beat with frantic gesture.
The outer life is chilly.
Till next year for our LILY?
My leaping, dimpled treasureAt every word I write like these,
Clasped close with stronger pressure ! Too well my own heart understands
At every word, beats fullerMy little feet, my little hands,
And hair of Lily's color! But God gives patience-Love learns strength :
And Faith remembers promise-,
On other hopes gone from us.
Through struggle made more glorious :
Renouncing, yet victorious. Arms empty of her child she lifts
With spirit unbereaven : “God will not all take back his gifts,
My Luy's mine in Heaven.
Not given to another!"
The souls of child and mother.
Our love was well divided:
Its anguish stayed where I did.
And give her all the sweetness ! To us - the empty room and cot ;
To her--the Heaven's completeness, “ To us-the grave; to her—the rows,
The mystic palm-trees spring in ; To us the silence in the house ;
To her-the choral singing ! "For her-to gladden in God's view ;
For ns-to hope and bear on : Grow, Lily, in thy garden new,
Beside the Rose of Sharon !
In love more calm than this is :
Remind thee of our kisses!
These human tears now falling; Till, after a few patient years,
One Home shall take us all in :
Not mother, and not father!-
The natural mists shall gather,
In old Correggio's fashion,
For Death's ANNUNCIATION."
From the North British Review.
HUMBOLDT'S ASPECTS OF NATURE IN DIFFERENT LANDS.
Aspects of Nature, in Different Lands and Different Climates, with Scientific Elu
cidations. By Alexander von HUMBOLDT. Translated by Mrs. Sabine. In 2 vols. 12mo. Pp. 650.*
When we contemplate the natural world in the regions of civilization, where her forms in our own fatherland, as seen from different have, to a certain extent, been modified by stations on its surface, and at different sea- art, and her creations placed in contrast with sons of the revolving year, it presents to us those of man, she still wears a new aspect, but a single aspect, however diversified be its often startling by its novelty, and overforms, and however varied its phenomena powering by its grandeur. To the fur-clad Like the race which occupies it, the scenery dweller among ice and snow, the aspects of within each horizon has its family likeness, nature in the temperate and torrid zones must and the landscape from each spot its indivi- be signally pleasing. The rich and luxuridual features, while the general picture of ous productions of a genial and fervid climate, hill and dale, and heath and forest, have and the gay coloring of its spring and its their similitude in the character and costume autumn, must form å striking contrast with of the people. During the daily and annual the scanty supplies of a frozen soil, and the revolutions of our globe, the sun sheds his sober tints of a stunted vegetation; and the varying lights and hues over the more per- serf or the savage who has prostrated himmanent and solid forms of nature, and car- self before a petty tyrant, in his ball of wood ries in his train those disturbing elements or of clay; or the worshiper who has knelt which give an interest to each passing hour, on the sea-shore, or offered incense in the and invest the seasons with all the variety cavern or in the bush, must stand appalled which characterizes them. The external | before the magnificent temples of Christian world may thus lose for a while its normal or of Pagan opulence, and amidst the “cloudaspect—what is fixed may for an instant be capped towers and gorgeous palaces ” of displaced, and what is stable subverted; but civilization. Nor is the aspect of the arctic amid all the new and returning conditions of zone less curious and interesting to the souththe year, whether the god of day gives or ern eye. On her regions of eternal snow, withdraws his light-whether the firmament which the summer sun is unable even to thaw, smiles in azure or frowns in gloom--whether the tracts of commerce and the footprints of the lightning plays in its summer gleams, or
travel are unseen.
The shadow of man and rages in its fiery course--whether vegetation of beast alone variegates the winding-sheet dazzles with its youthful green, or charms of vegetable life; mountains of fire, and with its tint of age, or droops under the plains of sulphur, stand in curious juxtapohoary covering of winter-under all these sition to precipices of ice and accumulations expressive phases of its life, nature presents of snow, and from the glacier margin of the to us but one aspect characteristic of the la- ocean are detached the gigantic icebergs, titude under which we live, and the climate which, drifting to the southern seas, and to which we belong.
raising only their heads above the waves, The inhabitant of so limited a domain, often threaten the tempest-driven mariner even if he has surveyed it in all its relations, with destruction. To these singular aspects has no adequate idea of the new and strik of arctic nature we may add one still more ing aspects in which nature shows herself in singular—the one long day of light, and the other lands, and under other climates. Even one long night of darkness, which alternately
cheer and depress its short-lived and appa* [The authorship of this erudite and instructive article be *afely assigned to Sir David BREWSTER.-Ed.]
rently miserable population.
The inhabitants, both of the old and new | is engraven on walls of stone, in characters world, who occupy populous cultivated which long bafiled his ingenuity ; but the plains, are no less startled with nature's as- geologist and the naturalist have at last depect, when they enter the lofty regions of ciphered them. He whose power is infinite the Himalaya and the Andes, or cast their could have called the earth into being in the eye over the trackless deserts of Africa, or very instant which preceded the creation of the elevated plateaus of Central Asia and man; but that power has been exercised America, or the Patagonian desert of shin-through other agencies, and in conformity gle, or the grassy Llanos of Orinoco and Ve- with material laws; and long cycles of years nezuela, or the endless forests of the Ama- have thus been required to prepare the earth
The phases of the material world are for the reception of beings intellectual and there altogether new. Even the European, immortal. To read that history, to study whose horizon is a circle, and the shepherd these antiquities, and to contemplate with of the Landes, who is elevated on stilts in or- wonder and awe the subterranean aspects of der to watch his flocks, would stand aghast nature, is a privilege which none who un. in the boundless desert of Sahara, which no derstand it will renounce, and a duty which foliage colors, and no moisture bedews; none who enter upon it will decline. and the crystal or the chamois hunter of the The aspects of nature around us, and Alps, who has paced the flanks of Mont above us, and beneath us, while they are a Blanc, or the peasant who slumbers at its never-ending source of instruction and enbase, would view with mute admiration the joyment, cannot fail to prepare the mind for peaks of Dwalaghiri or Pinchincha ; while nobler studies, and for higher destinies. the naturalist, who had been amused with the eruptions of Vesuvius and of Ætna, There is, doubtless, no living philosopher would stand unnerved beside the outbursts who could conduct us, with the same safety of Catopaxi or Hirouæa.
and interest as Baron Humboldt,* Nor are these striking aspects of nature these wonderful fields of the material world. confined to the structure of the inorganic With his own eye he has seen the grand pheworld ; they are displayed to us with no infe- nomena which he records. He has trodden rior interest in the diversified phenomena of the deserts and the Llanos of the far west; animal and of vegetable existence. Although he has climbed its volcanic cones, and organic life is universally distributed through- breathed the vapors which they exhale; he out the earth, the ocean, and the air, yet has swept over its cataracts, and threaded under different latitudes it exhibits very op- its forests; and with the profound knowposite aspects. The vital functions are nearly ledge of a naturalist and a philosopher, he suspended in the gelid regions of the poles, has described what he saw with all the prewhere man is almost driven into hybernation cision of truth, and with all the eloquence of like the brutes; while in the zones of the poetry. tropics we recognize the high pulse and the In the work which we have placed at the florid plethora of a rank and luxuriant exist head of this article, its author" has sought
Within the vessels that heat has ex- to indicate the unfailing influence of exterpanded, the sap of life flows with a more nal nature on the feelings, the moral dispogenial current, and the noble forms of mam- sitions, and the destinies of man,” and viewmiferous life bound with a light and elastic ing the “soothing influence of the contemstep over the thick carpet of flowers which plation of nature, as peculiarly precious to nature annually weaves under a tropical sun those who are oppressed with the cares or and a cloudless sky.
the sorrows of life,” he dedicates his work But it is not merely on the surface of the more especially to them, and invites them, earth, and within the aqueous and aerial while “ escaping from the stormy waves of oceans which cover it, that nature displays | life,' to follow him in spirit to the recesses her most interesting phases. Everything of the primæval forests, over the boundless that we see around us—the soil and its pro- surface of the steppe, and to the higher ductions—the jungle and its denizens—the ridges of the Andes." Enjoying, “in his ocean and its life, are all of modern origin. eightieth year, the satisfaction of completing Man himself, as the representative of his a third edition of his work, and remoulding race, is but an upstart in the chronicle of time. The primaval antiquities of our
* See our reviews of his k'osmos, in No. vii., and planet, and the recor of ancient life, lie of his Researches in Central Asia, in No. xi. of this buried in the crypts beneath us. Its history work.
it entirely afresh, to meet the requirements these desolate plains neither dew nor rain of the present time,” he “hopes that these descends; and except in the Oases, to which volumes may tend to inspire and cherish a malefactors were sent in the later times of love for the study of nature, by bringing to the Cæsars, vegetable life is wholly extinct. gether, in a small space, the results of care- Herds of antelopes, and swift-footed ostrichful observation, on the most varied subjects, es, roam through these vast regions; and by showing the importance of exact nume- though the verdant shores of the watered rical data, and the use to be made of them Oases are frequented by nomadic tribes, the by well-considered arrangement and compa African desert must be regarded as uninhabrison, and by opposing the dogmatic half-itable by man. Bordering nations cross it knowledge and arrogant scepticism, which periodically, by routes which have been unhave long too much prevailed in what are changed for thousands of years, and by the called the higher circles of society."* aid of the camel, the ship of the deseri, the
In the first volume of his work, Baron adventurous merchant is enabled to cross it Humboldt treats of the steppes and deserts from Tafilet to Timbuctoo, and from Moorof the earth—of the calaracis of the Orinoco, zouk to Bornou. The extent of these vast and of the nocturnal life in animals in the plains, lying partly within, and partly in the primæval forests; and in the second, he dis- vicinity, of the tropics, is three times as great cusses the physiognomy of plants, describes as that of the Mediterranean Sea. the structure and mode of action of volcanoes The most extensive, if not the loftiest in different parts of the globe, treats of the steppes, on the surface of the globe, occur in vital force, and concludes with a description the temperate zone, on the platcau of Central of the plateau of Caxamarca, the ancient Asia, which lies between the gold mountains capital of the Inca Atahualpa, and the first of the Altai and the Kuenlun. They extend view of the Pacific Ocean from the crest of from the Chinese wall to beyond the celestial The Andes. These different treatises, as we mountains, and toward the sea of Aral, may call them, are concise and popular, for through a length of many thousand miles. the perusal of the general reader, and are About thirty years after his journey to South followed by copious annotations and addi- America, our author visited an extentof 2800 tions, for the use of those who wish to in- miles of these Asiatic steppes. Sometimes vestigate more profoundly and extensively hilly, and sometimes interrupted by dispersed the subjects to which they relate.
groups of pine forests, they exhibit a far more The widely extended, and apparently in- varied vegetation than those of the new terminable plains, which have received the world. The finest parts of these plains, inname of steppes, deserts, Llanos, pampas, habited by pastoral tribes, are adorned with prairies, and barrens, present themselves to flowering herbaceous plants of great height; the traveler under all the zones into which and while the traveler is driving in his Tartar our globe has been divided ; but in each they carriage over their pathless surface, the thickly have a peculiar physiognomy, depending on crowded plants bend before the wheels, and diversity of soil, of climate, and of elevation such is their height, that he is obliged to rise above the sea. The heaths in the north of up and look around him, to see the direction Europe, with their purple blossoms, rich in in which to move. “Some of the Asiatic honey, extending from the point of Jutland steppes are grassy plains; others are covered to the mouth of the Scheldt, are regarded with succulent evergreen articulated soda by our author as true steppes, though their plants; and many glisten from a distance extent is small, when compared with the with flakes of exuded salt, which cover the Llanos or pampas of South America, or the clayey soil, not unlike in appearance to fresh prairies of the Missouri, or the barrens of the fallen snow." Coppermine river, on which the shaggy buf- Dividing the very ancient civilization of falo and the musk ox range in countless Thibet and Hindostan from the rude nations herds.
of Northern Asia, these Mongolian and TarThe desert plains in the interior of Africa tarian steppes have, in various ways, exercised are parts of a sea of sand, separating fertile an important influence on the changeful desregions, or enclosing them like islands. On tinies of man. “Compressing the population
toward the South, they have tended, more * This observation is entirely inapplicable to the than the Himalaya, or the snowy mountains "higher circles of society” in England.
| The Indians sometimes kill from 600 to 700 of Sirinagur and Ghorka, to impede the inbuffaloes in a few days, by driving the wild herds tercourse of nations, and to place permanent into artificial enclosures.
limits to the extension of milder manners, and
of artistic and intellectual cultivation in Nor- of animal life; "a development limited only thern Asia.”
by their mutual pressure, and similar to that
of vegetable life in the forests of the Orinoco, “ But in the history of the past,” says our au- where the Hymenæa and the gigantic laurel thor, “it is not alone as an opposing barrier that are never exposed to the destructive hand of we must regard the plains of Central Asia. More than once they have proved the source from which man, but only to the pressure of the luxuriant devastation has spread over distant lands. The climbers which twine around their massive pastoral nations of these steppes-Moguls, Getæ, trunks. Agoutis, small spotted antelopes,
, Alani, and Usuni—have shaken the world. As cuirassed armadilloes, which, like rats, startle in the course of past ages, early intellectual cul- the hare in its subterranean holes, herds of ture has come, like the cheering light of the sun, lazy chiguires, beautifully striped viverræ, from the East, so at a later period, from the same direction, barbaric rudeness has threatened to large maneless lion, spotted jaguars (often
which poison the air with their odor, the overspread and involve Europe in darkness. A brown pastoral race, of Tukiuish or Turkish de called tigers), strong enough to drag away a scent—the Hiongnu, dwelling in tents of skins, in- young bull after killing him ;—these, and habited the elevated steppes of Gobi. Long ter- many other forms of animal life, wander rible to the Chinese power, a part of this tribe was through the treeless plains.” driven back into Central Asia. The shock or impulse thus given passed from nation to nation, " Thus, almost exclusively inhabited by these until it reached the ancient land of the Finns, near
wild animals, the steppe would offer little attracthe Ural mountains. From thence Huns, Avari, tion or means of subsistence to those nomadic Ghazares, and various admixtures of "Asiatic native hordes, who, like the Asiatics of Hindostan, races, broke forth. Armies of Huns appeared prefer vegetable nutriment, if it were not for the successively on the Volga, in Pannonia. on the occasional presence of single individuals of the Marne, and on the Po, desolating those fair and fan palm, the mauritia. The benefits of this lifefertile fields, which, since the time of Antenor, supporting tree are widely celebrated; it alone, civilized man had adorned with successive monu
from the mouth of the Orinoco to north of the ments. Thus went rom Mongolian deserts Sierra de Imataca, feeds the unsubdued natives of a deadly blast, which withered, on Cisalpine the Guaranis. When this people were more nuground, the tender, long-cherished flower of art!" merous, and lived in closer contiguity, not only did -Vol. i. p. 6.
they support their huts on the cut trunks of palm
trees, as pillars, on which rested a scaffolding The great steppe of South America displays forming the floor, but they also, it is said, twined itself to the traveler's eye when he looks from the leaf-stalks of the mauritia cords and mats, southward, on quitting the mountain valleys which, skillfully interwoven and suspended from of Caraccas. It occupies a space of 256,000 when the Delta is overflowed, to live in the trees
stem to stem, enabled them in the rainy season, English square miles, stretching from the like the apes. The floor of these raised cottages coast chain of the Caraccas to the forests of is partly covered with a coating of damp clay, on Guiana, and from the snowy mountains of which the women make fires for household purMerida to the great Delta at the mouth of poses, the flames appearing at night to be susthe Orinoco. To the south-west a branch is pended high in air. The Guaranis still owe the prolonged to the unvisited sources of the preservation of their physical, and perhaps also Guaviare, and the lonely mountains to which their moral independence, to the half-submerged the excited fancy of the Spanish soldiery gave and rapid step, and to their elevated dwellings in the name of Paramo de la Suma Paz—the the trees--a habitation never likely to be chosen seat of perfect peace. The Pampas of Buenos from motives of religious enthusiasm by an Ayres are of such extent, “that while their American Stylites. But the mauritia affords lo northern margin is bordered by palm trees, the Guaranis not merely a secure dwelling-place, their southern extremity is almost continually but also various kinds of food. Before the flower covered with ice. In these grassy plains, sheath, and only at that period of vegetable meta
of the rich palm tree breaks through its tender troops of dogs, descended from those intro
morphosis, the pith of the stem of the tree conduced by the colonists, have become com
tains a meal resembling sago, which, like the pletely wild. They live socially, inhabiting farina of the jatropho root, is dried in thin breadsubterranean hollows, in which they hide their like slices. The fermented juice of the tree forms young, and often attacking man with a blood- the sweet, intoxicating palm wine of the Guaranis. thirsty rage. When the society becomes too The scaly fruits, which reseinble in their appearnumerous, some families migrate and form
ance reddish tir cones, afford, like the plaintain
and almost all tropical fruits, a different kind of new colonies.” The absence of human inhabitants from the their saccharine substance is fully developed,
nutriment according, as they are eaten, after South American steppes has given free scope or in their earlier or more farinaceous state. for the development of the most varied forms | Thus, in the lowest stage of man’s intellectual