« PreviousContinue »
PHAN TAS MA GOʻRI A, magic lantern; GYM NAS' TIC, athletic exercise.
UN' DU LA TING, waving; irregular. MO BILI TY, movableness; readiness to move.
Doc' ILE, teachable; obedient.
O PAC I TY, state of being opaque or dark.
PA THETIC, feeling; tender.
IN DOM'I TA BLE, unconquerable.
1 MOUNT PER DU, one of the high summits of the Pyrenees mountains, in Spain. The name signifies "Lost Mountain;" in allusion, probably, to its peak being lost in the clouds.
THE THREE FORMS OF NATURE.
FROM THE FRENCH OF Michelet.
1. THERE are three forms of Nature, which especially expand and elevate our souls, release her from her heavy clay and earthly limits, and send her, exulting, to sail amidst the wonders and mysteries of the Infinite. First, there is the variable Ocean of Air with its glorious banquet of light, its vapors, its twilight, and its shifting phantasmagoria of capricious creatures, coming into existence only to depart the next instant.
2. Second, there is the fixed Ocean of the Earth, its undulating and vast waves, as we see them from the tops of "earth o'er gazing mountains," the elevations which testify its antique mobility, and the sublimity of its mightier mountains, clad in eternal snows. Third, there is the Ocean of Waters, less mobile than air, less fixed than earth, bu docile, in its movements, to the celestial bodies.
3. These three things form the gamut by which the Infinite speaks to our souls. Nevertheless, let us point out some very notable differences. The Air-ocean is so mobile
that we can scarcely examine it. It deceives; it decoys; it diverts; it dissipates, and breaks up our chain of thought.
4. For an instant, it is an immense hope, the day of an infinity; anon, it is not so; all flies from before us, and our hearts are grieved, agitated, and filled with doubt. Why have I been permitted to see for a moment that immense flood of light? The memory of that brief gleaming must over abide with me, and that memory makes all things here on earth look dark.
5. The fixed Ocean of the mountains is not thus transient or fugitive; on the contrary, it stops us at every step, and imposes upon us the necessity of a very hard, though wholesome gymnastic. Contemplation here has to be bought at the price of the most violent action. Nevertheless, the opacity of the earth, like the transparency of the air, frequently deceives and bewilders us. Who can forget that, for ten years, Ramon, in vain, sought to reach Mount Perdu', though often within sight of it?
6. Great, very great, is the difference between the two elements; the earth is mute and the ocean speaks. The ocean is a voice. It speaks to the distant stars; it answers to their movements in its deep and solemn language. It speaks to the earth on the shores, replying to the echoes that reply again; by turns wailing, soothing, threatening, its deepest roar is presently succeeded by a sad, pathetic sigh.
7. And it especially addresses itself to man. It has creation's living eloquence. It is Life speaking to Life! The millions, the countless myriads of beings to which it gives birth, are its words. All these, mingled together, make the unity, the great and solemn voice of the ocean. And "what are those wild waves saying?" They are telling of Life,-of Immortality.
8. An indomitable strength is at the bottom of Nature,
how much more so at Nature's summit, the Soul! And it speaks of partnership of union. Let us accept the swift exchange which, in the individual, exists between the diverse elements; let us accept the superior Law which unites the living members of the same body-Humanity; and, still more, let us accept and respect the, supreme Law which makes us co-operate with the great Soul, associated as we are-in proportion with our powers-with the loving harmony of the world-copartners in the life of God.
2. What is said
QUESTIONS.-1. What are three great forms of Nature? of the Air-ocean? 3. How does the Ocean address itself to man?
MO NOP' O LIZ ED, engrossed.
EC CEN TRICITY, peculiarity; odd.
E MAN' CI PA TED, freed; liberated.
1 BASQUES, (basks,) an ancient and peculiar people, living on the slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains.
2 BRETON, a native of Brittany, an ancient province in France. NOR' MAN, that is, Northman, a name given to the ancient inhabitants of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, and, afterward to their descendants who settled in the north of France.
THE WHALE AND THE WHALER.
FROM THE FRENCH OF MICHELET.
1. WHо opened up to men the great distant navigation? Who revealed the ocean, and marked out its zones and its liquid highways? Who discovered the secrets of the globe? The Whale and the Whaler! And all this before Colum
bus and the famous gold-seekers, who have monopolized all the glory, found again, with much outcry about their discovery, what had so long before been discovered by the
2. That crossing of the ocean, which was so boastfully celebrated in the fifteenth century, had often been made, not only by the narrow passage between Iceland and Greenland, but, also, by the open sea; for the Basques' went to Newfoundland. The smallest danger was the mere voyage; for these men, who went to the very end of the then known world, to challenge the whale to single combat, to steer right away into the Northern Sea, to attack the mighty monster, amid darkness and storms, with the dense fog all around, and the foaming waves below, those who could do this, were not the men to shrink from the ordinary dangers of the voyage. 3. Noble warfare! Great school of courage! That fishery was not then; as it is now, an easy war to wage, made from a distance, and with a potently murderous machine. No; the fisher then struck with his own strong hand, impelled and guided by his own fearless heart, and he risked life to take life. The men of that day killed but few whales; but they gained infinitely in maritime ability, in patience, in sagacity, and in intrepidity. They brought back less of oil; but more, far more of glory.
4. Every nation has its own peculiar genius. We recognize each by its own style of procedure. There are a hundred forms of courage, and these graduated varieties formed. as it were, another heroic game. At the North, the Scandinavian, the rude race from Norway to Flanders, had their sanguine fury. At the South, the wild burst, the gay daring, the clear-headed excitement, that impelled, at once, and guided them over the world. In the center, the silent and patient firmness of the Breton', who yet, in the hour of danger,
could display a quite sublime eccentricity. And, lastly, the Norinan wariness, considerately courageous; daring all, but daring all for success. Such was the beauty of man, in that sovereign manifestation of human courage.
5. We owe a vast deal to the whale. But for it, the fishers would still have hugged the shore; for, almost every edible fish seeks the shore and the river.
It was the whale
that emancipated them, and led them afar. It led them onward, and onward still, until they found it, after having almost unconsciously passed from one world to the other. Greenland did not seduce them; it was not the land that they sought; but the sea, and the tracks of the whale. 6. The ocean at large is its home, and especially the broad and open sea. Each species has its especial preference for this or that latitude, -for a certain zone of water, more or less cold. And it was that preference which traced out the great divisions of the Atlantic. The tribe of inferior whales, that have a dorsal fin, are to be found in the warmest and in the coldest seas,—under the line and in the polar seas.
7. In the great intermediate region, the fierce Cachalot inclines toward the south, devastating the warm waters. On the contrary, the Free Whale fears the warm waters, should rather say, that they did, formerly, fear them,—they have become so scarce. They are never found in the warm southern current; it is that fact that led to the current being noticed, and thence to the discovery of the true course from America to Europe. From Europe to America, the trade winds will serve us.
8. If the Free Whale has a perfect horror of the warm waters, and can not pass the equator, it is clear that he can not double the southern end of America. How happens it, then, that when he is wounded on one side of America, in