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CHAPTER V.

DESCRIPTIVE PIECES.

SECTION 1.

The Seasons.

Among the great blessings and wonders of the creation, may be ciassed the regularities of tiines and seasons. In. media ely after the food, the sacred promise was made to man, that seed.iime and harvesi, cold and heat, silinmer and winter, day and night, should continue to the very end of all things. Accordingly, in obedience to that promise, the rotation is constantly presenting us with some useful and agreea. ble alteration; and all the pleasing novelty of life arises from these natural changes ; nor are we less indebted to them for many of its solid comforts. It has bero frequenly the task of the moralist and poet in mark, in polished periods, the par. ticular charms and conveniences of every change ; and, in. deed, such discriminate observations upon natural variety, call. not be undelightful; since the bles ing which every month brings along with it, is a tresh insiance of the wisdom and bounty of that Providence, which regulates the glories of the year'. W« glow as we contemplate ; we feei a propensi:y to adore, whilst we enjoy In the time of seed sowing, it is the season of confidence : the grain wliich the husbandman trusts to the bosom of the earth shall, Isappily, yield its seven fold rewards Spring presents us with a scene of lively expecta. tion. That which was before sown, begins now to discover signs of successful vegetation. The labourer observes the change, and anticipates the harvest ; he watches the progress of nature, and smiles at her influence ; while the inan of cuntemplation walks forth with the evening, amidst the fra. grance of powers, and promises of plenty ; nor returns to his coitage till darkness closes the scene upon his eye.

Then cometh the harvest, when the large wish is satisfied, and the granaries of nalure are loaded with the means of life, eve . to a luxury of abundance The powers of language are unequal to the description of this happy season Il is the Carnival of nature : sun and shade, coolness and quietude, cheerfulness and melody, love and gratitude, unite to render every scene of summer delightful. -The division of light and darkness is

one of the kindest efforts of Omnipotent Wisdom. Day and night yield us contrary blessings ; and at the same time, as. sist each other, by giving fresh lustre to the delights of both. Amidst the glare of day, and bustle of life, how could we sleep i Amidst the gloom of darkness, how could we labour !

How wise, how benignant. then, is the proper division ! The hours of light are adapted to activity ; and those of dark. ness, to rest. Ere the day is passed, exercise and nature prepare us for the pillow; and by the time that the morning re. turns, we are again able to meet it with a smile. Thus, every season has a charm peculiar to itselt ; and every moment af. fords some interesting innovation.

MEL MOTH,

SECTION II.

scene.

The cateract of Niagara, in Canada, North America.

This amazing fall of water is made by the river St Lawrence, in its passage from lake Erie into the Lake Ontario. The St Lawrence is ore of the largest rivers in the world ; and yet the whole of its waters is discharged in this place, by a fall of a hundred and fifty feet perpendicular. It is not easy to bring the imagination to correspond to the greatness of the

A river extremely deep and rapid, and that serves to drain the waters of almost all North America into the Atlantic Ocean, is here poured precipitately down a ledge of rocks, that rises like a wall, across the whole bed of its stream. The river, a littie above, is near three quarters of a mile broad; and the rocks, wbere it grows narrower, are four hundred yards over. Their direction is not straight across, but hollowing inwards like a horse-shoe ; so that the catar:ct, which bends to the shape of the obstacle, rounding inwards, presents a kind of theatre the most tremendous in nature. Just in the middle of this circular wall of waters, a little island, that has braved the fury of the current, presents one of its points, and divides the stream at top into two parts ; but they unite again long before they reach the bottom. The noise of the fall is heard at the distance of several leagues ; and the fury of the waters, at the termination of their fall, is inconceivable. The dashing produces a mist that rises to the very clouds ; and which forms a most beautiful rainbow, when ihe sun shines. It will readily be supposed, that such a cataract entirely de. stroys the navigation of the stream, and yet some Indians, in their canoes, as it is said, have ventured down it with safety.

GOLDSMITH

SECTION III.

The grotto of Antiparos.

Or all the subterraneous caverns now known, the grotto of Antiparos is the most remarkable, as well for its extent, as for the beauty of its sparry incrustations. This celebrated ca. vern was first explored by one Magni, ar Italian traveller, about one hundred years ago, at Antiparos, an inconsiderable island of the Archipelago. “ Having been informed," says he, by the natives of Paros, that in the little island of Anti. paros, which lies about two miles from the former, a gigantic statue was to be secn at the mouth of a cavern in that place, it was resolved that we (the French consul and himself )should pay it a visit. In pursuance of this resolution, after we had landed on the island and walked about four miles through the midst of beautiful plains, and sloping woodlands, we at length came to a little hill, on the side of which yawned a most hor. rid cavern, tbat, by its gloom, at first struck us with terror, and almost repressed curiosity. Recovering the first surprise, however, we entered boldly ; and had not proceeded above twenty paces, when the supposed statue of the giant presented itself to our view We quickly perceived, that what the ignorant natives had been terrified at as a giant, was nothing more than a sparry concretion, formed by the water dropping from the roof of the cave, and by degrees hardening into a fig. ure, which their fears had formed into a monster. Incited by this extraordinary appearance, we were induced to proceed still further, in quest of adventures in this subterranean abode. As we proceeded, new wonders offered thermselves; the spars, formed into trees and shrubs, presented a kind of petrified grove; some white, some green, and all receding in due per. spective. They struck us with the more amazement, as we knew them to be mere productions of nature who, hitherto in solitude, had, in her playful moments, dressed the scene, as if for her own amusement.

“We had as yet seen but a few of the wonders of the place; and we were introduced only into the portico of this amazing temple. In one corner of this half illuminated recess, there appeared an opening of about three feet wide, which seemed to lead to a place totally dark, and which one of the natives assured us contained nothing more than a reservoir of water. Upon this information, we made an experiment, by throwing down some stones, which rumbling along the sides of the decent for some time, the sound seemed at last quashed in a bed of water. In order, however, to be more certain, we sent in a Levantine marriner, who, by the promise of a good reward, ventured with a Aumbeau in his hand, into this narrow aper

After continuing within it for about a quarter of an hour, turned, bearing in his hand some beautiful pieces of

white spar, which art could neither equal nor imitate. Upon being informed by him that the place was full of those beau. tiful incrustations, I ventured in once more with him, about fifty paces, anxiously and cautiously decending, by a steep and dangerous way. Finding, however, that we came to a precipice which led into a spacious ampitheatre, (if I may so call it,) still deper than any other part, we returned, and being provided with a ladder, Aambeau, and other things to expedite our descent, our whole company, man by man, ventured into the same opening; and descending one after another, we at last saw ourselves altogetlier in the most magnificent part of the cavern,"

SECTION IV.

The grotto of Antipuros continued. "Our candles being now all lighted up, and the whole place completely illuminated, never could the eye be presented with a more glitteriøg, or a more magnificent scene. The whole ronf hung with solid icicles, transparent as glass, vet solid as marble. The eye could scarcely reach the lofty and poble ceiling; the sides were regularly formed with spars; and the whole presented the idea of a magoificent theatre, illuminated with an immense profusion of lights. The floor consisted of solid marble; and, in several places, magoificent columns, throncs, al. tars, and other objects, appeared, as if nature' had designed to mock the curiosities of art. Our voices upon speaking or singing, were redoubled to an astopishing loudness; and upon the firing of a gun, the noise and reverberations were almost deafening. In the midst of this grand amphitheatre rose a concretion of about fifteen teet high, that, in some meas. ure, resembled ad altar; from which, taking the hint, we caused mass to be celebrated there. The beau. siful columos that shot up arouod the altar, appear. ed like candlesticks; and many other natural objects represented the customary ornaments of this rite.

· Below even this spacious grotto, there sec

another cavern; down which I ventured with my former mariner, and descended about fifty paces by means of a rope.

I at last arrived at a sm::|| spot of level ground, where the bottom appeared different from that of the amphitheatre, being com. posed of soft clay, yielding to the pressure, and in which I thrust a stick to ine depth of six feet. In this, however, as above, numbers of the most beaq. tiful crystals were formed; one of which, particular. ly, resembled a table. Upon our egress from this amazing cavern, we perceived a Greek inscription upon a rock at the mouth, but so obliterated by time, that we could not read it distinctly.

It seem. ed to import, that one Aptipater. in the time of Al. exander, had come hither; but whether he penetra. ted into the depths of the cavern, he does not think fit to inform 11s." This account of

so beautiful and'striking a scene,may serve to give us some idea of the subteraneous wooders of nature. GOLDSMITH

SECTION V.

Earthquake at Catanea.

One of the earthquakes most particularly descri. bed in history, is that which happened in the year 1693; the damages of which were chiefly felt in Sicily, but its motion was perceived in Germany, France, and Englaod. It extended to a circumter. ence of two thousand six hundred leagues; chiefly affecting the sca-coasts and great rivers; more per. ceivable also upon the mountains thao in the val. leys. Its motions were so rapid, that persons who lay at their length, were tossed from side to side, as upon a rolling billow. The walls were dashed from their foundations; and no fewer than fifty-four cities, with an incredible sumber of villages, were either destroyed or greatly damaged. The city of

anea, ia particular, was utterly overthrowo. A

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