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low's Poets and Poetry of Europe
tion of the Principles of Biblical Inter-
Essence of Christianity-Samuel Phillips'
Miss J. Austen's Pride and Prejudice. 552
The Literary Fables of Don Tomas de
-The Bible Prayer-Book--The Light of
Hastings-Melville's Israel Potter-Roe's
Darby's Botany of Southern States. 546
The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World
-Sir George Stephen's Letters on the
Grumblers— The Great Potipharian Fraud
cers-Penmanship, and Contributing: 98
sistency-Physical Strength. . 439
-Synonyms of the New Testament-
fillan-Dugald Stewart's Elements of the
J Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.
VOL. V.-JAN. 1855.-NO. XXV.
THE OCEAN AND ITS LIFE.
"Αριστον μεν ύδωρ.-PINDAR.
TIGH on the terrible cliff that over- and darker grew the fierce whirlpool.
hangs the Charybdis of the ancients, All eyes were bent upon the gaping stood King Frederick, of Sicily; and by gulf, all lips were silent as the grave. his side the fairest of Europe's fair
Time seemed to be at rest; the very daughters. Often and often had he hearts ceased to beat. But lo! out of gazed down into the fierce seething the dark waves there arises a snowcauldron beneath him, and in vain bad white form, and a glowing arm is seen, he offered the gold of his treasure and and black curls hanging down on the the honors of his court to him who nervous neck of the daring seaman. would dive into the whirlpool and tell And, as he breathes once more the pure him of the fearful mysteries that were air of heaven, and as his eyes behold hid beneath the hissing, boiling foam. once more the blue vault above him, But neither fisherman nor proud knight he stammers words of thanks to his had dared to tempt the God of mercy, Maker; and a shont arose from cliff to and to venture down into the dread cliff, that the welkin rang, and the abyss, which threatened death, sure, ocean's roar was hushed. inevitable death, to the bold intruder. But when their eyes turned again to Bat better than gold and honor, is fair greet the bold man who bad dared what maiden's love. And when the king's God had forbidden, and man had never beautiful daughter smiled upon the ventured to do, the dark waters had gazing crowd around her, and when her closed upon him. They saw the fierce sweet lips attered words of gentle en- food rush up in wild haste; they saw treaty, the spell was woven, and the the white foain sink down into the dark, bold heart found that would do her gloomy gulf; they heard the thunderbidding, forgetful of worldly reward, ing roar and the hideous hissing below; and alas! uninindful, also, of the word the waters rose and the waters fell, but of the Almighty !
the bold, daring seaman was never seen He was a bold seaman, and his com- again. panioas called him Pesce-Colo, Nick the And so it is even now. Little is fish, for he lived in the ocean's depths, known of the fearful mysteries of the and days and nights passed, which be great deep, and the hungry ocean dospent swimming and diving i. the warm mands still its countless victims. For the waters of Sicily. And from the very calm of the sea is a treacherous rest, and cliff on which the king bad spoken bis under the deceitful mirror-like smoothtaunting words, from the very feet of ness reign eternal warfare and strife. his fair, tempting child, he threw himn. Oceanus holds not, as of old, the Earth, zelf down into the raging flood. The his spouse, in quiet, loving einbrace; our waters closed over him, hissing and sea-god is a god of battles, and wrestles seething in restless made, and deeper and wrangles in never-ceasing struggle
with the firm continent. Even when of lowlands, become man's obedient apparently calm and slumbering, he is slaves, and carry richly laden vessels moving in restless action, for “there is on their broad shoulders, before they sorrow on the sea, it cannot be quiet." return once more to the bosom of their Listen, and you will hear the gentle common mother, the great ocean. beating of playful waves against the How quietly, how silently nature snowy sands of the beach; look again, works in her great household. Unheard and you will see the gigantic mass and unseen, these enormous masses of breathe and heave like a living being. water rise up from the broad seas of No quiet, no sleep, is allowed to the the earth, and yet it requires not less great element. As the little brook than one-third of the whole warmth dances merrily over rock and root, which the sun grants to our globe, to never resting day and night, so the lift them up froin the ocean to the regreat ocean also knows no leisure, no gion of clouds. Raised thus by forces repose.
far beyond our boldest speculations, and It is not merely, however, that the thence returning as blessed rain, as weight of the agitated atmosphere humble mill-race, or as active, rapid presses upon the surface of the vast high-road carrying huge loads from land ocean, and moves it now with the gen- to land, the ocean receives back again tle breath of the zephyr, and now with its own, and thus completes one of its the fierce power of the tempest. Even great movements in the eternal change when the waters seem lashed into through water, air, and land. madness by the raging tornado, or rise But the mighty ocean rests not even in daring rebellion under the sudden, in its own legitimate limits. When not sullen fury of the typhoon, it is but driven about as spray, as mist, as river, child's play compared with the gigantic when gently reposing in its eternal home and yet silent, lawful movement, in on the bosom of the great earth, it is which they ascend to the very heavens still subject to powerful influences from on high, where “He bindeth up the abroad. That mysterious force which waters in his thick clouds,” and then chains sun to sun, and planet to planet, again sink uncomplaining to the lowest which calls back the wandering comet depths of the earth.
to its central sun, and binds the worlds As the bright sun rests warm and in one great universe, the force of glowing on the bosom of the cool flood, general attraction, must needs have its millions of briny drops abandon the effect upon the waters also, and under mighty ocean and rise, unseen by human the control of sun and moon, they pereye, borne on the wings of the wind, form a second race around the globe on up into the blue ether. But soon they which we live. are recalled to their allegiance. They When the companions of Nearchus, gather into silvery clouds, race around under Alexander the Great, reached the the globe, and sink down again, now month of the Indus, nothing excited their impetuously in a furious storm, bringing amazement in that wonderful country destruction and ruin, now as gentle so inuch as the regular rise and fall of rain, fertilizing and refreshing, or more all the ocean—a phenomena which they quietly yet, as brilliant dew pearls, glit had never seen at home, on the coasts tering in the bosom of the unfolding rose of Asia Minor and Greece. Even their and filling each tiny cup held up by leaf short stay there sufficed, however, to and blossom. Eagerly the thirsty earth show them the connection of this asdrinks in the heavenly gift; in a thou- tonishing change with the phases of sand veins she sends it down to her the moon.
For "sweet as the moonlowest depths, and fills her vast invisi- light sleeps upon this bank,” it is neverble reservoirs. Soon she can hold the theless full of silent power. Stronger rich abundance of health-bringing even than the larger sun, because so waters no longer, and through the cleft much nearer to the earth, it raises upon and cliff they gush joyfully forth as the boundless plains of the Pacific a merry, chattering springs. They join wave only a few feet high, but extend rill to rill, and rush heedlessly down ing down to the bottom of the sea, and the mountains in brook and creek, until moves it onwards, chained as it were to they grow to mighty rivers, thundering its own path high in heaven. Harmless over gigantic rocks, leap fearlessly down and powerless this wave rolls along the lofty precipices, or gently rolling their placid surface of the ocean. But lands mighty masses along the inclined planes arise, New Holland on one side, South
ern Asia on the other, and the low but decaying plants and animals which are immensely broad tidal wave is pressed daily buried in the vast deep, would together and rises upwards, racing ra- soon destroy, by their mephitic vapors, pidiy round the sharp point of Africa. all life upon earth. This, greatest of all An hour after the moon bas risen high- movements, never resting, never ending, est at Greenwich, it reaches Fez and is the effect of the sun and the warmth Morocco; two hours later it passes it generates. Like all bodies, water through the Straits of Gibraltar, and also contracts, and consequently grows along the coast of Portugal. The fourth heavier as the temperature sinks; but hour sees it rush with increased force only to a certain point, about three deinto the Channel and past the western gress Reaumur. This is the invariable coast of England. There the rocky warmth of the ocean at a depth of cliffs of Ireland and the numerous is- 3,600 feet, and below that. If the temlands of the Northern seas arrest its perature is cooler, water becomes thinrapid course, so that it reaches Norway ner again and lighter, so that at the only after an eight hours' headlong race. freezing point, as ice, it weighs considerAnother branch of the same ably less than when fluid. The consehurries along the eastern coast of Ame- quence of this peculiar relation of water rica in almost furious haste, often to warmth produces the remarkable amounting to 120 miles an hour; from result, that in the great ocean an incesthence it passes on to the north, where, sant movement continues: up to the hemmed in on all sides, it rises liere and above mentioned degree of warmth, there to the enormous height of eighty the warmer and lighter water rises confeet. Such is not rarely the case in the tinually, whilst the cooler and heavier Bay of Fundy—a circumstance which sinks in like manner; below that point shows us forcibly the vast superiority the colder water rises and the warmer of this silent, steady movement over part descends to the bottom. Hence, that of the fiercest tempest. Even at the many currents in the vast mass of that most stormy and most dreaded the ocean; sometimes icy cold, at other spot on earth, Cape Horn, all the vio- times warm, and even hot, so that often lence of raging tempests cannot raise the difference between the temperature the waves higher than some thirty feet, of the current and that of the quiet nor does it ever disturb the habitual water by its side, is quite astonishing. calm of the ocean deeper than a few The great Humboldt found at Truxillo, fathoms, so that divers do not hesitate the undisturbed waters as warın as 22 to stay below, even when the hurricane degrees, whilst the stream on the Pernrages above. Gentle in its appearance, vian coast had but little more than 8 thoagh grand in its effect, this mighty degrees, and the sailor who paddles his ware shows its true power only when boat with tolerable accuracy on the it meets obstacles worthy of such effort. outer line of the gulf-stream, may dip Where strong currents oppose its ap- his left into cold and his right into proach, as in the river Dordogne, in warm water. France, it races in contemptuous haste Greater wonders still are hidden under up the daring stream and reaches there, the calm, still surface of the slumbering for instance, in two minutes, the height giant. Thoughtless and careless, man of lofty houses. Or it rolls the mighty passes in his light fragile boat, over the waters of the Amazon River mountain boundless expanse of the ocean, and lithigb up into huge dark masses of foam- tle does he know, as yet, of the vast ing cascades, and then drives them plains beneath him, the Inxuriant forests, steadily, resistiessly upwards, leaving the sweet, green meadows, that lie the calin of a mirror behin., and send stretched out at the foot of unmeasured ing its roar and its thunder for miles mountains, which raise their lofty peaks into the upland.
up to his ship's bottom, and the fiery Still less known and less observed is volcanoes that earthquakes have thrown the third great movement which inter- up below the waves. rupts the apparent calm and peace of For the sea, also, has its hills and its the ocean. For here, as everywhere, dales ; its table-lands and its valleys; movement is life, as rest would be sometimes barren, and sometimes covered death. Without this-ever stirring acti- with luxuriant vegetation. Beneath its vity in its own bosom, without this placid, even surface, there are inequaliconstant moving and intermingling of ties far greater than the most startling its waters, the countless myriads of on the continents of the earth. In the
Atlantic, south of St. Helena, the lead of on their side; in the evening, they glide the French frigate Venus, reached bot- noiselessly over bottomless abysses, as if tom only at a depth of 14,556 feet, or a afraid, lest they, also, might sink down distance equal to the height of Mount into the eternal night below, from which Blanc; and Captain Ross, during his rises distant thunder; and the locked up last expedition to the South Pole, found, waters roar and whine like evil spirits at 27,600 feet, a depth equal to more chained in the vast deep. than five miles, no bottom yet: so that The ocean is a vast charnel house. there the Dawalaghiri might have been There are millions and millions of aniplaced on top of Mount Sinai, without mals mouldering, piled up, layer upon appearing above the waters! And yet, layer, in huge masses, or forming milefrom the same depth, mountains rise in long banks. For no peace is found becliffs and reefs, or expand upwards, in low and under the thin, transparent veil; broad, fertile islands.
there reigns endless murder, wild warNor can we any longer sustain the an- fare, and fierce bloodshed. Infinite, uncient faith in the stability of the “terra quenchable hatred seems to dwell in the firma," as contrasted with the ever- cold, unfeeling deep. Destruction alone, changing nature of the sea. Recent dis- maintains life in the boundless world of coveries have proved that the land the ocean. Lions, tigers and wolves, changes, and the waters are stable! The reach a gigantic size in its vast caverns, ocean maintains always the same level; and, day after day, destroy whole genebut, as on the great continents, table- rations of smaller animals. Polypi and lands rise and prairies sink, so does the medusæ, in countless numbers, spread bottom of the sea rise and fall. In the their nets, catching the thoughdess radiSouth Sea this takes place alternately, at ati by tens of thousands, and the hage stated times. To such sinking portions whale swallows, at one gulp, millions of of our earth belongs, among others, New minute, but living creatures. The swordHolland. So far from being a new, fish and the sea-lion hunt the elephant young land, it is, on the contrary, with and rhinoceros of the Pacific, and tiny its strange flora, so unlike that of the parasites dart upon the tunny fish, to rest of the world, and its odd and mar- dwell in myriads in his thick layers of vellous animals, an aged, dying island, fat. Allare hunting, killing, murdering; which the ocean is slowly burying, inch but the strife is silent, no war-cry is by inch.
heard, no burst of anguish disturbs the And a wondrons world, is the world eternal silence, no shouts of triumph riso of the great sea. There are deep abysses, up through the crystal waves to the filled with huge rocks, spectral ruins of world of light. The battles are fought large ships, and the corpses of men. in deep, still secresy; only now and then There lio, half covered with lime and the parting waves disclose the bloody slime, the green, decaying gun, and the scene for an instant, or the dying whale precious box, filled with the gold of Peru's tbrows his enormous carcass high into snow.covered Alps, by the side of count- the air, driving the water up in lofty coless skeletons, gathered from every shore lumns, capped with foam, and tinged and every clime. There moulders the with blood. bald skull of the brave sea captain, by Ceaseless as that warfare is, it does not the side of the broken armor of gigantic leave the ocean's depths a waste, a scene turtles; the whaler's harpoon rests of desolation. On the contrary, we find peaceably near the tooth of the whale; that the sea, the most varied and the thousands of fishes dwell in huge bales most wonderful part of creation, where of costly silks from India, and over them nature still keeps some of her profoundpass, in silent crowds, myriads of dimi- est secrets, teens with life." Things nutive infusoria; enormous whales, and innumerable, both great and small, are voracious sharks, chasing before them there." It contains, especially, a most thickly packed shoals of frightened her- diversified and exuberant abundance of rings. Here, the sea foams and frets animal life, from the microscopic infurestlessly up curiously-shaped cliffs, and soria, in inconceivable numbers, up to oddly-formed rocks; there, it moves those colossal forms which, free from the sluggishly over large plains of white, incumbrance of weight, are left free to shining sand. In the morning, the tidal exert the whole of their giant power for waves break in grim fury against the their enjoyment. Where the rocky cliffs bald peaks of submarine Alps, or pass, in of Spitzbergen and the inhospitable hissing streams, through ancient forests shores of Victoria land refuse to nourish