Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Describe their kings and rulers. Describe the ancient kind of Egyptian writing. How have the records of the Egyptian kings been preserved? Name some of the nations that have conquered Egypt. What rush formerly grew on the banks of the Nile? For what purpose was it used? How did the ancient Egyptians preserve the bodies of their dead? What is a "mummy?” What wood was used in making the coffins? Describe the pyramids. For what purpose are they supposed to have been built? Name the chief wild animals of Egypt. What is remarkable about the ibis? What are the chief objects of agriculture in Egypt? Name the chief fruits that are cultivated. What great work has recently been carried out in Egypt?

THE LAST TREE OF BABYLON.

“At the distance of a few paces only to the northnorth-east of this mass of walls and piers, the internal spaces of which are still filled with earth and rubbish, is the famous single tree, which the natives call · Athelo, and maintain to have been flourishing in ancient Babylon. This tree is of a kind perfectly unknown to these parts. It is certainly of a very great age, as its trunk, which appears to have been of considerable girth, now presents only a bare and decayed half or longitudinal section, yet the few branches which still sprout out from its venerable top are perfectly green.”Travels in Mesopotamia, by J. S. Buckingham.

1. There stands a lonely tree on Shinar's mount

No kindred stem the far-spread desert rears;
Scant are its leaves, forspent the juicy fount,
Which fed its being through unnumber'd years:
Last of a splendid race that here have stood,
It throws an awful charm o'er ruin's solitude.

2. Lone tree! thou bear'st a venerable form

Shrunk, yet majestic in thy late decay--
For not the havoc of the ruthless storm,
Nor simoom's blight thus wears thy trunk away;
But Time's light wing, through ages long gone past,

Hath gently swept thy side and wasted thee at last! 3. Empires have risen-flourished-moulder'd down

And nameless myriads closed life's fleeting dream,
Since thou the peerless garden's height didst crown,
Which hung in splendour o'er Euphrates' stream:
Fountains, and groves, and palaces, were here,
And fragrance fillid the breeze, and verdure deck'd
the

year.
4. Here queenly steps in beauty's pride have trod:

Hence Babel's king his boastful survey took,
When to his trembling ear the voice of God
Denouncing woes to come, his spirit shook-
But all this grace and pomp hath passed away,

'Tis now the wondrous story of a distant day.
5. How wide and far these tracks of chaos spread,

Beyond the circuit of the lab'ring eye!
Where the proud queen of nations rais'd her head,
But shapeless wrecks and scenes of horror lie:
Glorious and beautiful no more! her face

Is darkly hid in desolation's stern embrace. 6. Sole living remnant of Chaldæa's pride!

Reluctant thou dost wear the garb of joy;
Thy heart is wither'd, strength hath left thy side-
And the green tints time spareth to destroy,
Seem like the hectic flush, which brighter glows
Upon the sunken cheek, just passing from its woes.

-H. Hutton.

Shinar's mount, a mound in

Babylon, on which the great brick ruin called Kasr, or

Palace stands. forspent, dried up. ruthless, without mercy. simoom, the hot wind of the

desert. peerless garden, the hanging

garden of Babylon, one of the wonders of the world. Euphrates, the large river on

which Babylon stood. It ran

through the city.
Babel's king, Nebuchadnezzar.
Chaldæa, of which Babylon was

capital.
hectic, feverish.

Sir Henry Layard in his work Discoreries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon, 1853, says: “Near the northern edge of the ruin (called the Kasr or Palace) is the solitary tree Athelé, well-known to the Arabs, and the source of various traditions. No other tree of the same kind exists, according to the tradition, in the whole world. It is, however, I believe, a species of tamarisk, whose long feathery branches tremble in the breeze with a melancholy murmur well suited to the desolate heap over which it may have waved for a thou. sand years.” Vol. ii. p. 507.

SIR HUMPHRY DAVY.

1. Chemical science has advanced more rapidly than any other branch of experimental philosophy within the last century. Its applications to various industrial arts become every year more numerous and more important, so that its progress is, to a considerable extent, identified with our manufacturing and commercial prosperity. Few men have contributed more to the advancement of this science than Davy, who devoted to it the labours of his entire life.

2. He was the son of a carver in wood, and was born at Penzance, December 17, 1778. From his childhood he showed a remarkable quickness in acquiring knowledge and a decided love of literature. He practised oratory, wrote poetry, and composed romances, and, at the same time, evinced a taste for experimental science. The latter circumstance probably induced his family to bind him apprentice to Mr. Borlase, a surgeon and apothecary in the town of Penzance, who had a great taste for chemical experiments, and devoted to them the leisure moments left him by his profession.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

3. Young Davy devoted himself to similar pursuits with the most extraordinary enthusiasm. He abandoned all the enjoyments and relaxations usual in youth, showed an aversion to festive society, and, when not engaged in active researches, seemed absorbed in contemplation. He had to contend against many disadvantages. The books at his command were few; his master had no philosophical apparatus, and the instruments he employed being of his own contrivance and manufacture were of the rudest possible description. The gallipots and phials of his master's shop were, however, put into requisition, and with these he pursued researches which involved some of the most difficult problems in chemical analysis. At length he became possessed of a case of surgical instruments which had been saved from the wreck of a vessel. This was to him a real treasure at the time, and enabled him to pursue a series of experiments into the nature of heat, light, and their combinations.

4. The results of his investigations were published in a work edited by Dr. Beddoes, of Bristol, in 1799, and attracted much notice, as Davy's conclusions were quite opposed to Dr. Black's theory of heat, which was at that time popular in the scientific world.

5. The ardour with which Davy pursued his investigations greatly annoyed many of his neighbours, for chemistry produces many results offensive to the sense of smell, and when incautiously pursued, exposes men to danger from the bursting of the vessels they employ, or the combustion of the substances they use.

His master, too, began to complain that metals, minerals, and vegetable substances absorbed the attention which should have been bestowed on his patients, many of whom remonstrated against the neglect of their real or fancied complaints for pursuits which they probably regarded as idle and useless.

6. The reports respecting the young man's vagaries, as they were deemed, reached the ear of Mr. Davies Gilbert, himself an enthusiastic lover of science. He sought young Davy's acquaintance, was struck with the extent of his acquirements, gave him the use of an excellent library, and introduced him to Dr. Edwards, who possessed a well-furnished laboratory. Mr. Gilbert after

« PředchozíPokračovat »