Графични страници
PDF файл

Trembling awhile they stand, and scarcely dare
To launch at once upon the untried air.
At length assur'd, they catch the favouring gale,
And leave their sordid spoils, and high in æther sail.
Lo! the bright train their radiant wings unfold,
With silver fringed and freckled o'er with gold.
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower
They, idly fluttering, live their little hour;
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All spring their age, and sun-shine all their day.
Not so the child of sorrow, wretched man,
His course with toil concludes, with pain began,
That his high destiny he might discern,
And in misfortune's school this lesson learn,-
Pleasure's the portion of the inferior kind;
But glory, virtue, Heaven for man design'd.

What atom forms of insect life appear ! And who can follow Nature's pencil here? Their wings with azure, green, and purple gloss'd, Studded with colour'd

emboss'd, Inlaid with pearl, and mark'd with various stains Of lively crimson through their dusky veins. Some shoot like living stars athwart the night, And scatter from their wings a vivid light, To guide the Indian to his tawny loves, As through the woods with cautious step he moves. See the proud giant of the beetle race; What shining arms his polish'd limbs enchase! Like some stern warrior, formidably bright, His steely sides reflect a gleaming light : On his large forehead spreading horns he wears ; And high in air the branching antlers bears : O'er many an inch extends his wide domain, And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.


Mrs. Barbauld.

47. The Cross-Crucifixion. Appears'; seems. Gen'eral; common. Express'ly; particularly Detailed' ; described. Pun'ishment ; penalty. Capt'ure ; taking. Monarchical; kingly. Adjudged'; sentenced. Originally; at first. Indis. criminately; without distinction. Dishon'ourable ; shameful. Cus'tomary; usual. Column; pillar, post. Retained'; preserved. Crim'inal ; guilty person, culprit. Transverse'; in a cross direction.

The cross appears to have been used as a very general instrument of punishment among various nations, from the earliest times of which we have any record. The “ hanging on a tree,” in Scripture, has been interpreted by many commentators as crucifixion; although, again, others have believed that the cross was unknown among the Jews till the time of Alexander Janneus, when the word "crucify” is expressly used by Josephus. In Thucydides, we read of Inarus, an African, who was crucified by the Egyptians. The similar fate of Polycrates, who suffered under the Persians, is detailed by Herodotus; who adds also, that no less than 3000 persons were condemned to the cross by Darius, after his successful siege of Babylon. Valerius Maximus makes crucifixion the common military punishment of the Carthaginians. That the Greeks adopted it is plain, from the cruel executions which Alexander ordered after the capture of Tyre, when 2000 of the captured sufferers were nailed to crosses along the seashore. With the Romans it was used under their early monarchical government, and it was the death to which Horatius was adjudged, and by which he ought to have suffered for the stern and savage murder of his sister. Though originally a punishment extending indiscriminately to every rank, it laterally, at least among the Romans, became the most dishonourable of all deaths, and was confined principally to the lowest orders, and to slaves.

Before the sufferer was exposed upon the cross, it was customary to scourge him; and the column to which our Saviour was fastened during this cruel infliction, is stated to have existed in his time in the portico of the Holy Sepulchre, and to have retained marks of the blood of our Lord. Bede places this column within the church, where we believe it is still shewn, and Gregory of Tours dilates on the miracles wrought by it. The criminal carried the instrument of his punishment, or, most probably, only the transverse part of it, to the place of execution. Here he was fastened naked

upon the cross, which occasionally was not raised from the ground till after his affixion, by cords, or more frequently by nails (and sometimes by both), driven through the hands and feet. The number of nails by which our Saviour was thus fastened, bas been a subject of very learned dispute. Nounus affirms that three only were used, both feet having been confined by the same. Nicolaus Teutanus, a physician, to whom the question of the capability of the hands to support the weight was proposed, decided in the affirmative, upon experiment.

The martyrologies are full of extraordinary relations of the length of time during which some of those condemned to the tortures of the cross have continued to endure them, before they were released by death from their pangs. St. Andrew is said to have remained alive two days; Victorinus, who was crucified with his head downwards, under the reign of Nerva, for three; and Timo

theus and Maura, no less than nine; a marvel which it is scarcely possible to exceed. Some who have been taken down while yet alive, are said to have recovered. Josephus mentions that such was the case with one out of three of liis friends, whose release he obtained from Titus.

At length, in the reign of Constantine, this horrible punishment was abolished in the Roman world. The edict of Constantine for the

suppression of the cross, is attributed to the holy vision which preceded his engagement with Maxentius; and henceforward that instrument, which had proverbially betokened infamy, was exalted on the standard, by which the warriors of the empire were wont to rally on the field of glory, and became the symbol of military honour in the Labarum.- Encyclopædia Metropolitana.

The Polar Winter.

The sun from far peeps with a sickly face,
Too weak the clouds and mighty fogs to chase;
When up the skies he shoots his rosy head,
Or in the ruddy ocean seeks his bed.
Swift rivers are with sudden ice constrain'd;
And studded wheels are on their back sustain'd
An hostry now for waggons, which before
Tall ships of burthen on their bosom bore.
The brazen caldrons with the frost are flaw'd ;
The garment, stiff with ice, at hearths is thaw'd;
With axes first they cleave the wine, and thence
By weight the solid portions they dispense.
From locks uncomb'd, and from the frozen beard,
Long icicles depend, and crackling sounds are heard.
Meantime perpetual sleet, and driving snow,
Obscure the skies, and hang on herds below.
The starving cattle perish in their stalls,
Huge oxen stand enclos'd in wintry walls


Of snow congeald; whole herds are buried there
Of mighty stags, and scarce their horns appear.
The dexterous huntsman wounds not these afar
With shafts or darts, nor makes a distant war
With dogs, nor pitches toils to stop their flight,
But close engages in unequal fight ;
And while they strive in vain to make their way
Through hills of snow, and pitifully bray,
Assaults with dint of sword, or pointed spears,
And homeward, on his back, the burthen bears.
The men to subterranean caves retire,
Secure from cold, and crowd the cheerful fire :
With trunks of elms and oaks the hearth they load,
Nor tempt the inclemency of heaven abroad.
Their jovial nights in frolic, and in play,
They pass, to drive the tedious hours away.

Dryden's Virgil.

49. Salt Mines of Cracow. Excava'tions; cavities. Entirely; completely. Extent'; distance.' Lim'its ; boundaries. Descend'ing; going down. Com'monwealth ; republic. Subterra'neous; under-ground. Pol'ity; form of government. Destina'tion ; place appointed. Opportu'nities ; occasions. Pros'pects; views. Spa'cious; roomy, large. Stag'nated ; stood still. Reflected ; thrown or bent back. Or'namented ; decorated. Immured'; imprisoned, shut up.

THESE celebrated excavations are about five miles distant from Cracow, in a small town named Wielieza, which is entirely undermined, the cavities reaching to a considerable extent beyond its limits. The length of the great mine, from east to west, is six thousand feet; its breadth, from north to south, two thousand ; and its greatest depth, eight hundred; but the veins of salt are

« ПредишнаНапред »