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cotyledons and leaves, and occasions a continued increase of the growth of the upper parts of the radicle, and this growth is consequently augmented by the effects of motion, When the germen has risen above the ground. The true sap is therefore necessarily obstructed in its descent : numerous lateral roots are generated, into which a portion of the descending sap enters. The substance of these roots, like that of the slender horizontal branches, is less succulent than that of the radicle first emitted, and they are in consequence less obedient to gravitation; and meeting less resistance from the superficial soil than from that beneath it, they extend horizontally in every direction, growing with most rapidity, and producing the greatest number of ramifications, wherever they find most warmth, and a soil best adapted to nourish the ‘tree. As these horizontal or lateral roots surround the base of the tree, the blue sap descending down its bark enters almost exclusively into them, and the first perpendicular root, having executed its office of securing moisture to the plant whilst young, is thus deprived of proper nutriment, and ceasing almost wholly to grow, becomes of no importance to the tree. The taproot of the oak may be adduced as an exception; but, in 20,000 trees of this species, Mr. K. never found a single one possessing a tap-root. And he concludes by saying, “ As trees possess the power to turn the upper surfaces of their leaves, and the points of their shoots to the light, and their tendrils in any direction to attach themselves to contiguous objects, it may be suspected ‘that their lateral roots are, by some means, directed to any soil in their vicinity which is best calculated to nourish the plant to which they be. long; and it is well known that much the greater part of the roots of an aquatic plant, which has grown in a dry soil, on the margin of a lake or river, have been found to point to the water; whilst those of another species of tree which thrives
flight, but recurs every other in
stant, as if it were disclosed by the opening of their wings at each successive expansion. When laid upon their back they give out this light constantly, and have much difficulty in turning themselves. The light, when thus examined, is a clear, phosphorescent or lambent flame, of a green or light blue, inclining to yellow. It is very considerable even in one fly; and the light of three or four is sufficient to render small objects around quite visible. It is apparent in twilight. When these insects are examined by daylight, their bellies are perceived to be distinctly divided about the middle, by a line passing across the body. The under part is of a bright yellow, resembling in colour, smoothness, and in every particular, a bit of fine clean straw; the rest of the belly is quite black; the yellow part alone is luminous. When the fly is dead, the luminous appearance still continues for two or three days,
of the yellow part be cut off, it shines as brightly as before ; and if rubbed between the fingers, a luminous greasy matter, like the bowels, oozes out, tinging the fingers, wherever it touches, with the same kind of lambent flame. This friction speedily terminates the phenomenon, apparently by exhausting the supply of luminous matter. Air is by no means necessary, or at all conducive to this process of phosphorescence: on the contrary, under water, or other liquids, the flies shine as much as in the air. Here, we have an animal process at first sight resembling the slow combustion of the blood in the lungs, rendered visible by the extrication of light. No oxygenation, however, attends it. It cannot be explained by saying that light is absorbed, and then given out ; for, if the animal be kept alive for months in a dark place, the luminous appearance continues; and if it dies, that appearance survives but a short time. Something is evidently secreted, which burns or radiates with a Iambent flame, and which does not owe this luminous quality to any previous contact with light.
For the Literary Magazine. BOOK COLLECTORS.
HOW much are booksellers indebted to that numerous tribe of virtuosos who buy books, not to read them, but to place them in agreeable order on a shelf or in a bookcase 1
This passion for collecting books seems pretty much on a level with that for collecting old coins, but is much less respectable than that for collecting mineralogical, botanical, or zoological specimens. Knowledge directly flows from the inspection of the latter, and they are perceived by every one that enters the museum ; but no knowledge that merits the hame is derived from viewing the
outsides of books, and the formers of private libraries, on a large scale, have seldom any design of reading their books, or any power to do so, if they had the inclination. One of the most painful reflections that can occur to the minds of these curious collectors, is connected with the necessary termination of human life, in consequence of which they are sensible that a collection, formed with the expence of so much time, labour, and money, is liable to be utterly despised and lost, under the magical influence of an auctioneer's hammer. There is, indeed, an expedient, of ten practised, for eluding this catastrophe. This is by bequeathing the collection to the public, or to some public institution. It is, accordingly, in this way that almost every public library existing has either originated, or been subsequently extended. When I see a vast and curious library, in the formation of which an ingenious person has laid out an immense fortune and infinite pains, advertised for public sale, I cannot help indulging an apostrophe on the vanity of all human schemes. The French revolution affords many striking examples of this kind of subversion and ruin : the most memorable of which are the three following. The first of these libraries, which was that of Lamoignon, was thought to be the most splendid and select of any in France. This had formerly belonged to William de Lamoignon, first president of the parliament of Paris, in the time of Louis XIV, who lavished prodigious sums
in procuring the collection of all
servation, elegance of binding, and width of margin. With respect to the modern editions of works, even of such as were published in foreign countries, he always directed his agents to get them for him, if possible, in boards ; and when he had collected a variety of copies, he made choice of a perfect one out of the number, which he afterwards ordered to be bound in the best MorocCO. Lamoignon, equally inspired with this hereditary passion for bibliography, submitted the catalogue of his grandfather's library to a rigid examen of learned men, with orders to discard all ordinary editions, and all works of which later and better editions were to be had. (The learned Adrien Baillet, librarian to the first M. de Lamoignon, had been chiefly consulted in the arrangement of the original library.) A new catalogue was however now executed, in the analytical mode, consisting of 35 vols. in folio, in which all the MSS. were preserved, together with all the books which M. Berryer had added to the collection ; while many, which had now become unnecessary, were expunged. The two libraries were then consolidated into one, and M. de Lamoignon, with unceasing care, was continually augmenting it. In 1770, he printed a catalogue of the library, in one vo. lume in folio: There were upwards of 5000 volumes bound in Morocco, green, red, blue, and yellow ; many also were lined with tabby; by far the greater number were large paper copies, and some were printed on vellum. It is a circumstance highly to be regretted, that this magnificent collection is now dispersed. Another very valuable library was that of the late cardinal de Brienne, archbishop of Sens, the catalogue of which was published by Debure, in three volumes 8vo. in 1792. The two first volumes of this catalogue, entitled, Index Librorum ab inventa Tyfiografthia, contained a most curious relation of the original of the invention of printing, with a similar his
tory of engravings in wood and cop. per, and a prodigious number of the first editions of the Greek and Latin classics. The last volume contained the most superb and accurate modern editions of the same classics; authors, in large paper ; a great number of books printed on vellum; prayer-books, by Nic. Farry, decorated with flowers and miniatures; several books of cuts ; a grand assemblage of the finest books of antiquities; and a most beautiful and complete collection of travels, by Theodore de Brie, in twenty-nine volumes in folio, bound in a style of incomparable elegance. The bulk of this splendid library was sold in retail, at the Hotel de Bouillon, many articles of it having been previously conveyed abroad and dispersed.
== For the Literary Magazine. C L ASSICAL OBSCURITIES.
THE difficulties that attend the comprehension of the classical Roman writers are totally unknown to common readers. They go on rendering English word for Latin word, and imagine that they understand the poet because they find an English counterpart for his Latin phrase or sentence : whereas their crude and
uninformed minds collect no congru- .
ous ideas from the page. When they attempt to step from sounds to things, they leap into a chaos which furnishes no footing, no track, no guide. Virgil’s Georgics are generally read at school, and yet all our industry could not select more unprofitable, because more unintelligible, reading for a school-boy than this celebrated poem. It is an agricultural treatise, the principles and instructions of which are scarcely to be comprehended by persons of mature age, whom long experience has made thoroughly acquainted with the art to which it relates. It has, however, many other difficulties, be
sides those arising from our ignorance of Roman husbandry. The following lines from the fourth Georgic afford a curious specimen of classical obscurity, and of the fruitless pains and profound learning which have been expended in decyphering a mystery, and reconciling a seeming contradiction.
Tâygete simul os terris ostendit honestum
Pleias, et oceani spretos pede repulit amnes :
Aut eaderm, sidus fugiens ubi Piscis aquosi,
Tristior hibernas caelo descendit in undas.
These lines are thought to point out the astronomical characters of the two seasons of the year, at which it was usual to take the honey from the hives of the bees : one season, according to all commentators, being ascertained by the heliacal rising of the Lucida Pleiadum, in the middle of May; the other, by the cosmical setting of the same star, in the beginning of November. But in this exposition a very great difficulty occurs. How is it, that Taygeta, setting cosmically, i.e., at sunrise, is considered as running away from Pisces? Pisces set in the morning before the Pleiads, lying to the west of them. When Taygeta is setting cosmically, Pisces is already set; and not a star of that constellation is visible above the horizon in any part of the sky. All have felt this difficulty. Petavius justly says it is insuperable: expositors of less science are content to say, that the circumstance of flying from Pisces is thrown in only for ornament, to enrich the description. But they have omitted to inform us, in what way nonsense can enrich or adorn ; or to produce instances, as they ought to have done, of Virgil's propensity to this sort of ornament. The learned Heyne imagines, that this circumstance, though unintelligible with reference to any thing in the sky, may have allusion to some delineation of the heavens on a VOL. VI. NO, XXXVIII.
plane; in which the relative situation of the constellations was such, as to give an appearance of the Pleiad running away from the Fish. This able critic has not informed us, in what planesphere, ancient or modern, he had seen the relative position of the Pleiads and Pisces so represented; or according to what projection it could be so represented. The constellation of Pisces is always before the Pleiads, in the order of the diurnal revolution; and it is not usual in a flight, for the pursuer to keep a given distance before the fugitive. The learned Dr. Horsley, who has lately published a book upon the subject, explains this matter by substituting the acronychal rising of the Pleiad for the heliacal rising, and the evening setting of the Pleiads for the cosmical setting: the first phenomenon marks the middle of September, and the second, the 13th of April. In this evening setting, Taygeta, in poetical conception, may seem to fly from Pisces: for in the season at which the Pleiads are setting in the evening, the stars of Pisces are rising heliacally in the morning ; and, to the imagination of a poet, Taygeta plunges herself into the waters of the ocean, scared at the appearance of Pisces in the eastern sky. This circumstance of Taygeta flying from Pisces was intended as a
circumstance of specification, in or
der to distinguish the evening setting from the cosmical setting, when ne such ap; earance takes place. This exposition is liable to two objections. The first is, that it may seem strange, that the setting of the star, so late in the spring, should be called a descending hibernas in undas. But the obvious answer is, that the epithet hibernas is not to be understood of the season of the winter, but renders “stormy” at any season. The second objection is of more weight; namely, that the middle of April seems too early a season to find any honey in the hives at all ; and this would be insuperable, if it were true, that the bees in Italy re10
vived not from their torpid state before the heliacal rising of the Pleiads; which cannot be put earlier than the middle of May. And yet Pliny says, that in warmer climates the bees awake so early as the acronychal rising of Arcturus; for which he assigns the 23d of February: but in Italy, he says, they remain in their torpid state till the heliacal rising of the pleiads. Now this cannot possibly be true; at least it is utterly irreconcilable with what he says of the taking of the honey of the flowers; which, he says, was practised every where: therefore, in Italy as well as in warmer climates. And yet the commencement of this mellatio verna, he says, was precisely on the thirtieth day after the swarming of the hive, and it was over before the end of May.
If the bees revived not before the middle of May, it is impossible that the hive should swarm before the middle of June, and the thirtieth day from the swarming would fall in the middle of July ; and since the season lasted at least a fortnight, the end of it will fall beyond the commencement of the mellatio aestiva ; and the bees would have no respite, to repair their loss after the first plunder of the hives. It is difficult to conceive, that all the passages in Pliny, in which the heliacal rising of the Pleiads is mentioned as the time of the reviviscence of the bees, are corrupt. But if this is not to be supposed, then we must suppose, either that Pliny was in an error; or, that when he speaks of the honey taken thrice every where, in quorumque tractu, he writes rather carelessly, using a large expression subject to many limitations, which he has not expressed, and that Italy is among the exceptions.
Dr. Horsley once thought that this expression, quocumque tractu, might be understood of the particular regions, which he had mentioned just before, Sicily, Crete, Cyprus, Africa. But this supposition he afterwards rejected, for Germany is among the countries mentioned. On the supposition that Pliny ought to have made an exception of Italy with respect to the vernal honey, another supposition might be made : that Virgil, who certainly composed his Georgics not from any experience and observation of his own in all the various subjects of that work, but often copied earlier writers; might, in this business of the bees, follow some writer of a warmer climate, without attending to the difference between that other climate and his own. But the trina mellis vindemia is mentioned by Varró, as he is quoted by Heyne. On the whole, therefore, he concludes, that the three honey harvests actually obtained in Italy, and that the vernal was one. That the slumber of the bees did not continue in Italy to the heliacal rising of the Pleiads, though they might not wake so early as the acronychal rising of Arcturus, and it is difficult to account for Pliny’s mistake. However that may be, Taygeta's sinking herself in the sea, to hide herself from Pisces, is a just description of the evening setting of the star, and can be understood of nothing else; and this can describe no honey season but the first, when they took the honey of the flowers.
How much erudition is here expended in interpreting a few lines : and yet all these efforts fail to render this passage level to every capacity. None, indeed, but astronomers can comprehend the terms of these explanations.