rivalled Monograph on the Nudibranch Mol- | than he; and as he stands, silent with awe, lusca.

amid the pomp of nature's ever-busy rest, And now, worshipper of final causes hears, as of old, “The Word of the Lord and the mere useful in Nature, answer but God walking among the trees of the garden one question, - Why this prodigal variety ? in the cool of the day.” All these Nudibranches live in much the One sight more, and we have done. We same way; why would not the same mould had something to say, had time permitted, have done for them all ? And why, again, on the ludicrous element which appears here (for we must push the argument a little fur- and there in nature. There are animals, like ther), why have not all the butterflies, at monkeys and crabs, which seem made to be least all who feed on the same plant, the same laughed at; by those at least who possess markings? Of all unfathomable triumphs that most indefinable of faculties, the sense of design (we can only express ourselves of the ridiculous. As long as man possesses thus, for honest induction, as Paley so well muscles especially formed to enable him to teaches, allows us to ascribe such results only laugh, we have no right to suppose (with to the design of some personal will and mind), some) that laughter is an accident of our what surpasses that by which the scales on a fallen nature, or to find (with others) the butterfly's wing are arranged to produce a primary cause of the ridiculous in the percertain pattern of artistic beauty beyond all ception of unfitness or disharmony. And painter's skill? What a waste of power, on yet we shrink (whether rightly or wrongly, any utilitarian theory of nature! And, once we can hardly tell) from attributing a sense more, why are those strange microscopic at of the ludicrous to the Creator of these omies, the Diatomaceæ and Infusoria, which forms. It may be a weakness on our partfill every stagnant pool, fringe every branch at least we will hope it is a reverent one ; of sea-weed, which form banks hundreds of but till we can find something corresponding miles long on the Arctic sea-floor, and the to what we conceive of the Divine Mind in strata of whole moorlands, which pervade in any class of phenomena, we had rather not millions the mass of every iceberg, and float talk about them at all, but observe a stoic aloft in countless swarms amid the clouds of “epoché," waiting for more light, and yet the volcanic dust,—why are their tiny shells confessing that our own laughter is unconof flint as fantastically various in their quaint trollable, and therefore we hope not unmathematical symmetry, as they are count-worthy of us, at many a strange creature less beyond the wildest dreams of the Pan- and strange doing which we meet, from the theist? Mystery inexplicable on all theories highest ape to the lowest polype. of evolution by necessary laws, as well as on But, in the mean while, there are animals the conceited notion which, making man, for- in which results so strange, fantastic, even sooth, the centre of the universe, dares to seemingly horrible, are produced, that fallen believe that variety of forms has existed for man may be pardoned, if he shrinks from countless ages in abysmal sea-depths and them in disgust

. That, at least, must be a untrodden forests, only that some few indi- consequence of our own wrong state; for viduals of the western races might, in these every thing is beautiful and perfect in its latter days, at last discover and admire a place. It may be answered, “ Yes, in its corner here and there of the boundless realms place; but its place is not yours. You had of beauty. Inexplicable, truly, if man be the no business to look at it, and must pay the centre and the object of their existence; ex- penalty for intermeddling.” We doubt that plicable enough to him who believes that answer; for surely, if man have liberty to God has created all things for Himself, and do any thing, he has liberty to search out rejoices in His own handiwork, and that the freely his heavenly Father's works; and yet material universe is, as the wise man says, every one seems to have his antipathic ani“A platform whereon His eternal Spirit mal; and we know one bred from his childsports and maketh melody.” Of all the bless- hood to zoology by land and sea, and bold ings which the study of nature brings to the in asserting, and honest in feeling, that all, patient observer, let none perhaps be classed without exception, is beautiful, who yet canhigher than this, that the farther he enters not, after handling and petting and admiring into those fairy gardens of life and birth, all day long every uncouth and venomous wbich Spenser saw and described in his great beast, avoid a paroxysm of horror at the poem, the more he learns the awful and yet sight of the common house-spider. At all most comfortable truth, that they do not be events, whether we were intruding or not, long to him, but to one greater, wiser, lovelier l in turning this stone, we must pay a fine for

[ocr errors]

having done so; for there lies an animal as foul and monstrous to the eye as "hydra, gorgon, or chimæra dire," and yet so wondrously fitted to its work, that we must needs endure, for our own instruction, to handle and to look at it. Its name we know not (though it lurks here under every stone), and should be glad to know. It seems some very "low" Ascarid or Planarian worm. You see it? That black, shiny, knotted lump among the gravel, small enough to be taken up in a dessert-spoon. Look now, as it is raised, and its coils drawn out. Three feet -six-nine, at least: with a capability of seemingly endless expansion; a slimy tape of living caoutchouc, some eighth of an inch in diameter, a dark chocolate-black, with paler longitudinal lines. Is it alive? It hangs helpless and motionless, a mere velvet string across the hand. Ask the neighboring Annelids and the fry of the rock fishes, or put it into a vase at home, and see. It lies motionless, trailing itself among the gravel; you cannot tell where it begins or ends; it may be a dead strip of sea-weed, Himanthalia lovea perhaps, or Chorda filum; or even a tarred string. So thinks the little fish who plays over and over it, till he touches at last what is too surely a head. In an instant a bell-shaped sucker mouth has fastened to his side. In another instant, from one lip, a concave double proboscis, just like a tapir's (another instance of the repetition of forms), has clasped him like a finger; and now begins the struggle; but in vain. He is being "played" with such a fishing-line as the skill of a Wilson or a Stoddart never could invent; a living line, with elasticity beyond that of the most delicate fly rod, which follows every lunge, shortening and lengthening, slipping and twining round every piece of gravel and stem of sea-weed, with a tiring drag such as no Highland wrist or step could ever bring to bear on salmon or on trout. The victim is tired now; and slowly, and yet dexterously, his blind assailant is feeling and shifting along his side, till he reaches one end of him; and then the black lips expand, and slowly and surely the curved finger begins packing him end-foremost down into the gullet, where he sinks, inch by inch, till the swelling which marks his place is lost among the coils, and he is pro

+Pecten pusio.

* Saricava rugosa. Molluscs.

Doris tuberculata. Bilineata.

Eolis papillosa.

bably macerated to a pulp long before he has reached the opposite extremity of his cave of doom. Once safe down, the black murderer slowly contracts again into a knotted heap, and lies, like a boa with a stag inside him, motionless and blest.

There; we must come away now, for the tide is over our ankles but touch, before you go, one of those little red mouths which peep out of the stone. A tiny jet of water shoots up almost into your face. The bivalve who has burrowed into the limestone knot (the softest part of the stone to his jaws, though the hardest to your chisel), is scandalized at having the soft mouths of his siphons so rudely touched, and taking your finger for some bothering Annelid, who wants to nibble him, is defending himself; shooting you, as naturalists do humming birds, with water. Let him rest in peace; it will cost you ten minutes' hard work, and much dirt, to extract him: but if you are fond of shells, secure one or two of those beautiful pink and straw-colored scallops, who have gradually incorporated the layers of their lower valve with the roughnesses of the stone, destroying thereby the beautiful form which belongs to their race, but not their delicate color. There are a few more bivalves, too, adhering to the stone, and those rare ones, and two or three delicate Mangelie and Nase are trailing their graceful spires up and down in search of food. That little bright red and yellow pea, too, touch it

the brilliant colored cloak is withdrawn, and instead, you have a beautifully ribbed pink cowry, our only European representative of that grand tropical family. Cast one wondering glance, too, at the forest of zoöphytes and corals, Lepralia and Flustræ, and those quaint blue stars, set in brown jelly, which are no zoophytes, but respectable molluscs, each with his well-formed mouth and intestines, but combined in a peculiar form of Communism, of which all one can say is, that one hopes they like it; and that, at all events, they agree better than the heroes and heroines of Mr. Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance.

Now away, and as a specimen of the fertility of the water-world, look at this rough list of species, the greater part of which are on this very stone, and all of which you +Cypræa Europaa. § Botrylli. Polypes-continued. Sertularia rugosa. fallax. filicula.


Botryllus, do.


might obtain in an hour, would the rude tide wait for zoologists; and remember, that the number of individuals of each species of polype must be counted by tens of thousands, and also, that, by searching the forest of seaweeds which covers the upper surface, we should probably obtain some twenty minute species more.

A goodly catalogue this, surely, of the inhabitants of three or four large stones; and yet how small a specimen of the multitudinous nations of the sea. From the bare rocks above high-water mark, down to abysses deeper than ever plummet sounded, is life, everywhere life; fauna after fauna, and flora after flora, arranged in zones, according to the amount of light and warmth which each species requires, and to the amount of pressure which they are able to endure. The crevices of the highest rocks, only sprinkled with salt spray in spring-tides and high gales, have their peculiar little univalves, their crisp lichen-like sea-weeds, in myriads; lower down, the region of the Fuci (bladder-weeds) has its own tribes of periwinkles and limpets; below again, about the neap-tide mark, the region of the corallines and Alga furnishes food for yet other species, who graze on its watery meadows; and beneath all, only uncovered at low spring-tide, the zone of the Laminaria (the great tangles and oar-weeds) is most full of all of every imaginable form of life. So that, as we descend the rocks, we may compare ourselves (likening small things to great) to those who, descending the Andes, pass in a single day from the vegetation of the Arctic zone to that of the Tropics. And here and there, even at half-tide level, deep rock basins, shaded from the sun, and always full of water, keep up, in a higher zone, the vegetation of a lower one, and afford, in min

iature, an analogy to those deep "barranCOS " which split the high table-land of Mexico, down whose awful cliffs, swept by cool sea-breezes, the traveller looks from among the plants and animals of the temperate zone, and sees, far below, dim through their everlasting vapor-bath of rank hot steam, the mighty forms and gorgeous colors of a tropic forest.

"I do not wonder," says Mr. Gosse, in his charming "Naturalist's Rambles on the Devonshire Coast," "*" that when Southey had an opportunity of seeing some of those beautiful quiet basins hollowed in the living rock, and stocked with elegant plants and animals, having all the charm of novelty to his eye, they should have moved his poetic fancy, and found more than one place in the gorgeous imagery of his oriental romances. Just listen to him:

"It was a garden still beyond all price,
Even yet it was a place of paradise ;





Pleurobranchus plumula.



Trochus,-2 species.




Nasa,-2 species.



Arca lactea.

Pecten pusio.
Tapes pallastra.
Kellia suborbicularis.

Sphænia Binghami.

Saxicava rugosa.
Gastrochoena pholadia.
Pholas parva.
Anomie-2 or 3 species.

And here were coral bowers,
And grots of madrepores,

And banks of sponge, as soft and fair to eye
As e'er was mossy bed
Whereon the wood-nymphs lie
With languid limbs in summer's sultry hours.
Here, too, were living flowers,
Which, like a bud compacted,
Their purple cups contracted;
And now, in open blossom spread,
Strech'd, like green anthers, many a seeking


And arborets of jointed stone were there, And plants of fibres fine as silkworm's thread: Yea, beautiful as mermaid's golden hair Upon the waves dispread.

Others that, like the broad banana growing, Rais'd their long wrinkled leaves of purple hue, Like streamers wide outflowing.' (Kehama, xvi. 5.) “A hundred times you might fancy you saw Plumularia falcata.



Laomedea geniculata. Phyllodoce, and other Nereid Campanalaria volubilis. Actinia mesemburyanthemum.


Polynoe squamata.


4 or 5 species.

Echinius miliaris.
Asterias gibbosa.
Ophiocoma neglecta.
Cucumaria Hyndmanni.


Sertularia pumila.

* P. 187.


Tubulipora patina.

Crisia eburnea.
Cellepora pumicosa.
Lepraliæ, many species.
Membranipora pilosa.
Cellularia ciliata.


Flustra membranacea, &c.

[ocr errors]

the type, the very original of this description, spot with a strange longing to follow them tracing, line by line, and image by image, the de- under the waves, and became for ever a tails of the picture ; and acknowledging, as you companion of the fair semi-human forms proceed, the minute truthfulness with which it with which the Hellenic poets peopled their has been drawn. For such is the loveliness of nature in these secluded reservoirs, that the ac

sunny bays and firths, feeding bis “ silent complished poet, when depicting the gorgeous

flocks” far below, on the green

Zostera beds, scenes of eastern mythology-scenes the wildest or basking with them on the sunny ledges in and most extravagant that imagination could the summer noon, or wandering in the still paint—drew not upon the resources of his prolific bays or sultry nights, amid the choir of fancy for imagery here, but was well content to jot down the simple lineaments of nature as he Amphitrite and her sea-nymphs-saw her in plain, homely England. " It is a beautiful and fascinating sight for

Joining the bliss of the gods, as they waken the those who have never seen it before, to see the

coves with their laughter, little shrubberies of pink coralline—the arborets of jointed stone'-that fringe those pretty pools.

In nightly revels, whereof one has sung :It is a charming sight to see the crimson, banana

So they came up in their joy; and before them like leaves of the Delesseria waving in their dark. the roll of the surges est corners; and the purple fibrous tufts of Poly

Sank, as the breezes sank dead, into smooth, siphonic and Ceramia, fine as silkworm's

green, foam-flecked marble thread.' But there are many others which give Awed; and the crags of the cliffs, and the pines variety and impart beauty to these tide-pools. of the mountains were silent. The broad leaves of the Ilva, finer than the finest

So they came up in their joy, and around them the cambric, and of the brightest emerald-green, lamps of the sea-nymphs, adorn the hollows at the highest level, while at the Myriad fiery globes, swam heaving and panting ; lowest, wave tiny forests of the feathery Ptilota and rainbows, and Dasya, and large leaves, cut into fringes and

Crimson, and azure, and emerald, were broken in furbelows, of rosy Rhodymeniæ. All these are star-showers, lighting, lovely to behold; but I think I admire, as much Far in the wine.dark depths of the crystal, the as any of them, one of the commonest of our

gardens of Nereus, marine plants, Chondrus crispus. It occurs in Coral, and sea-fan, and tangle, the blooms and the greatest profusion on this coast, in every pool the palms of the ocean. between tide-marks; and everywhere--except in So they went on in their joy, more white than the those of the highest level, where constant ex- foam which they scattered, posure to light dwarfs the plant, and turns it of a Laughing, and singing, and tossing, and twining, dull umber-brown tint—it is elegant in form and brilliant in color. The expanding, fan-shaped Blinded with kisses their eyes, unreproved, and

while eager, the Tritons fronds, cut into segments, cut, and cut again, above them in worship make fine bushy tufts in a deep pool; and every Fluttered the terns, and the sea-gulls swept past segment of every frond reflects a flush of the

them on silvery pinions, most lustrous azure, like that of a tempered

Echoing softly their laughter; around them the sword-blade.”-Gosse's Devonshire Coast, pp. wantoning dolphins 187-189.

Sighed as they plunged, full of love; and the

great sea-horses which bore them And the sea bottom, also, has its zones, Curved up their crests in their pride to the deliat different depths, and peculiar forms in Pawing the spray into gems, till a fiery rainfall,

cate arms which embraced them; peculiar spots, affected by the currents and Pawing the spray into gems, till a fiery rainfall,

unharming, the nature of the ground, the riches of which Sparkled and gleamed on the limbs of the maids, have to be seen, alas ! rather by the imagi- and the coils of the mermen. nation than the eye ; for such spoonfuls of So they went on in their joy, bathed round with the treasure as the dredge brings up to us,

the fiery coolness, come too often rolled and battered, torn from Needing nor sun normoon, self-lighted, imtheir sites, and contracted by fear, mere hints Pitiful, floated in silence apart; on their knees

mortal ; but others to us of what the populous reality below is

lay the sea-boys, like. And often, standing on the shore at Whelmed by the roll of the surge, swept down by low tide, has one longed to walk on and in the anger of Nereus; under the waves, as the water-ousel does in Hapless, whom never again upon quay or on the pools of the mountain-burn, and see it strand shall their mothers all but for a moment; and a solemn beauty Welcome with garlands and vows to the temples ; and meaning has invested the old Greek fable Gaze over island and 'main for the sails which

but wearily pining, of Glaucus the fisherman, how he ate of the

return not; they heedless herb which gave his fish strength to leap back Sleep in soft bosoms for ever, and dream of the into their native element, and, seized on the surge and the sea-maids.

So they passed by in their joy, like a dream, down, Heaven forbid that those should say so, the murmuring ripples. whose wanderings among rock and pool have been mixed up with holiest passages of friendship and of love, and the intercommunion of equal minds and sympathetic hearts, and of the laugh of children drinking in health from every breeze, and instruction at every step, running ever and anon with proud delight to add their little treasure to their father's stock, and of happy, friendly evenings spent over the microscope and the vase, in examining, arranging, preserving, noting down in the diary the wonders and the labors of the happy, busy day. No; such short glimpses of the water world as our present appliances afford us, are full enough of pleasure; and we will not envy Glaucus; we will not even be over anxious for the success of his only modern imitator, the French naturalist, who is reported to have just fitted himself with a waterproof dress and breathing apparatus, in order to walk the bottom of the Mediterranean, and see for himself how the world goes on at the fifty-fathom line.

Such a rhapsody may be somewhat out of order, even in a popular scientific article; and yet one cannot help at moments envying the old Greek imagination, which could inform the soulless sea-world with a human life and beauty. For, after all, star-fishes and sea-anemones are dull substitutes for Sirens and Tritons; the lamps of the seanymphs, those glorious phosphorescent medusa, whose beauty Mr. Gosse sets forth so well with pen and pencil, are not as attractive as the sea-nymphs themselves would be; and who would not, like Ulysses, take the gray old man of the sea himself asleep upon the rocks, rather than one of his sealherd; probably, too, with the same result as the world-famous combat in the Antiquary between Hector and Phoea? And yet is there no human interest in these pursuits, more human, ay, and more divine, than there would be even in those Triton and Nereid dreams, if realized to sight and sense?

From Fraser's Magazine.


On the morning of the 12th of November, expired at his residence in Saville Row, Charles Kemble, the last survivor of a triad of artists, whose names are written indelibly in the annals of dramatic art.

of its emotions. The actor's task is fulfilled when the curtain descends upon his last impersonation.

The life of an actor, so far as it is an object of public interest, closes with his scenic farewell. The decease of an actor, and especially of one long withdrawn from the stage, might therefore attract little notice at any time beyond the circle of his immediate friends; and at the present moment of anx ious anticipation, is more than ordinarily liable to pass from the register of the living with merely a brief expression of regret.-neither marble nor canvas, nor "breathing Johnson, indeed, declared that the death of thoughts and burning words" embalm his Garrick eclipsed the gayety of a nation. But genius. With the generation which beheld this was a friendly hyperbole: the nation him his image and his influence pass away. laughed and wept as before, although the mighty master no longer touched the chords

Yet we are unwilling that the name of Charles Kemble, so long and intimately associated as it has been with the brightest ornaments and the most intellectual age of the drama, should be written on the roll of death without some accompanying comment and commemoration. The poet, the painter, the sculptor, and the architect perpetuate their fame in their works; but it is the hard condition of the actor, that his art is for the present only; he has no patent for futurity

We are not in the number of those who regard with indifference the condition of the

« VorigeDoorgaan »