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SILK is the production of a caterpillar, and constitutes the covering in which it envelops itself when it changes from the larva state to that of the chrysalis. From the latter inanimate condition it emerges as a moth, and having laid its eggs, it soon dies.
The cocoon, or web of the silk-worm, is an oval ball of silk, which it has spun out of a substance secreted in its own body. The shades of the silk vary from the palest straw-colour to deep yellow. In a state of nature the silk-worms form their cocoons upon the mulberry-tree itself, where they shine like golden fruits amidst the leaves; but the colder climates of Europe will not allow of their being reared in the open air. They are, in consequence, kept in warm but airy rooms, and fed with mulberry-leaves till they are fully grown. They change their skin several times while they are in the caterpillar-state; at length they become so full of the silky matter, that it gives them a yellowish tinge: they then cease to eat. At this indication of their approaching change, twigs are
placed over them upon little stages of wicker-work, on which they immediately begin to form their webs. When these are finished, the downy matter on the outside, called floss, is taken off, and the cocoons are thrown into warm water, to dissolve the glutinous particles which had caused the silk to adhere the ends of the threads being found, several are joined together and wound upon a reel; this is called raw-silk. It next undergoes an operation to cleanse it, and render it more supple, after which it is twisted into threads of different degrees of fineness, as required by the weaver; in this state it is called thrown-silk. The excellence of silk, as a material for dress, consists in its strength, lightness, lustre, and its being capable of taking the finest dyes. Silk may be made into substances varying in thickness, from the finest transparent gauze to the richest velvets and brocades. Our manufacturers are supplied with silk chiefly from China, Persia, and Italy. France is the most northern climate in which silk is produced in any quantity.
WHAT prodigies can Power Divine perform
Familiar with th' effect, we slight the cause,
And, in the constancy of nature's course,
See nought to wonder at. Should God again,
How would the world admire! But speaks it less
All we behold is miracle: but, seen
So duly, all is miracle in vain.
Where now the vital energy that moved,
While summer was, the pure and subtile lymph,
A cold stagnation on the intestine tide.
But, let the months go round, a few short months,
From death to plenty, and from death to life,
That make so gay the solitary place,
He sets the bright procession on its way,
He marks the bounds, which winter may not pass,
And, ere one flow'ry season fades and dies,
Who wore the platted thorns with bleeding brows,
But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain,
Their balmy odours, and imparts their hues,
How little music, though so powerful in its influence on the feelings, either springs from, or is dependent upon, intellect, appears from the fact, that some of the most exquisite effusions of this art have had their origin among the simplest and most uncultivated people; nor can all that taste and science bring afterwards to the task do more, in general, than diversify, by new combinations, those first wild strains of gaiety or passion into which nature had infused her original inspiration. In Greece, the sweetness of the ancient music had already been lost, when all the other arts were but on their way to perfection; and from the account given by Giraldus Cambrensis of the Irish harpers of the twelfth century, it may be inferred that the melodies of the country, at the earlier period of which we are speaking, was in some degree like the first music of the infant age of Greece, and partook of the freshness of that morning of mind and hope, which was then awakening around them. With respect to the structure of the ancient Irish harp, there does not appear to have