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they are required. It bends the rays of the sun from their path, to give us the twilight of evening and of dawn; it disperses and refracts their various tints to beautify the approach and the retreat of the orb of day. But for the atmosphere, sunshine would burst on us and fail us at once, and at once remove us from midnight darkness to the blaze of noon. We should have no twilight to soften and beautify the landscape; no clouds to shade us from the scorching heat, but the bald earth, as it revolved on its axis, would turn its tanned and weakened front to the full and unmitigated rays of the lord of day. It affords the gas which vivifies and warms our frames, and receives into itself that which has been polluted by use, and is thrown off as noxious. It feeds the flame of life exactly as it does that of the fire-it is in both cases consumed, and affords the food of consumption; in both cases it becomes combined with charcoal, which requires it for combustion, and is removed by it when this is over."
"It is only the girdling encircling air," says another philosopher, "that flows above and around all, that makes the whole world kin. The carbonic acid with which to-day our breathing fills the air, to-morrow seeks its way round the world. The date-trees that grow round the falls of the Nile will drink it in by their leaves; the cedars of Lebanon will take of it to add to their stature; the cocoa-nuts of Tahiti will grow rapidly upon it; and the palms and bananas of Japan will change it into flowers. The oxygen we are breathing was eliminated for us some short time ago by the magnolias of the Susquehanna, and the great trees that skirt the Orinoco and the Amazon-the giant rhododendrons of the Himalayas contributed to it, and the roses and myrtles of Cashmere, the cinnamon tree of Ceylon, and the forest older than the flood, buried deep in the heart of Africa, far behind the mountains of the moon. The rain we see descending was thawed for us out of the icebergs which have watched the polar star for ages; and the lotus lilies have sucked up from the Nile, and exhaled as vapour, snows that rested on the summit of the Alps."
"The atmosphere," continues Maun, "which forms the outer surface of the habitable world, is a vast reservoir, into which the supply of food designed for living creatures is thrown; or, in one word, it is itself the food, in its simple form, of all living creatures. The animal grinds down the fibre and the tissue of the plant, or the nutritious store that has been laid up within its cells, and converts these into the substance of which its own organs are composed. The plant acquires the organs and nutritious store thus yielded up as food to the animal, from the invulnerable air surrounding it.
"But animals are furnished with the means of locomotion and of seizure-they can approach their food, and lay hold of and swallow it; plants must wait till their food comes to them. No solid particles find access to their frames; the restless ambient air which rushes past them loaded with the carbon, the hydrogen, the oxygen, the water-everything they need in the shape of supplies-is constantly at hand to minister to their wants; not only to afford them food in due season, but in the shape and fashion in which alone it can avail them."
There is no employment more ennobling to man and his intellect than to trace the evidences of design and purpose in the Creator, which are visible in many parts of the creation. Hence to the right-minded mariner, and to him who studies the physical relations of earth, sea, and air, the atmosphere is something more than a shoreless ocean, at the bottom of which he creeps along. It is an envelope or covering for the dispersion of light and heat over the surface of the earth; it is a sewer, into which, with every breath we draw, we cast vast quantities of dead animal matter; it is a laboratory for purification, in which that matter is recompounded, and wrought again into wholesome and healthful shapes; it is a machine for pumping up all the rivers from the sea, and conveying the waters from their fountains on the ocean to their sources in the mountains; it is an inexhaustible magazine, marvellously adapted for many benign and beneficent purposes. MAURY.
SELECTIONS FROM SHAKSPEARE.
[WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE, the most illustrious dramatic poet of England, was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. His education was confined to a short course at the grammar school of his native place. Little is recorded of the early life of Shakspeare, but it appears that he was wild and irregular, and that his youthful imprudence drove him to London for shelter. There he became proprietor and manager of the Globe Theatre, and soon realized a handsome fortune, which enabled him to spend the close of his life in the vicinity of his native town, where he had bought a house and an estate, and where he died in 1616. Besides his immortal plays, he was the author of two poems"Venus and Adonis," and "Lucrece." Of the lofty genius of Shakspeare, it has well been said, "We ne'er shall look upon his like again."]
OUR indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us
DANGER OF DELAY.
THERE is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Good name in man and woman,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; "Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
MEN's evil manners live in brass; their virtues We write in water.
PROPER USE OF TALENTS.
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do,
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike,
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touched,
But to fine issues;
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It is an attribute to God himself;
MIND THE TEST OF MAN.
"Tis the mind that makes the body rich:
And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
PLANTS, AND HOW THEY GROW.
Acrcgenous, (acros, gennao, G.) grow- | Embryo, (embryon, G.) the first rudiing at the top. ments of something not yet developed.
Assimilate, (ad, similis, L.) to convert into a like substance. Hence also assimilation.
Endogenous, (endon, gennao, G.) grow-
Cell, (cella, E.) a small bag or cavity.
Equilibrium, (æquus, libra, L.) equal balance; just or suitable proportion. Exogenous, (exo, gennao, G.) growing outwards.
Germ, (germen, L.) that from which a
Spore, (Spora, G.) Hence also spor
IMPORTANCE OF PLANTS.
Plants, or vegetables, form the connecting link between the animal and mineral kingdoms. We cannot, generally speaking, feed on minerals, though strange stories are told of certain savage tribes that sometimes eat clay, and we ourselves season our food with salt. But plants draw nourishment from the inorganic constituents of the soil in which they grow, and, by a wonderful process of assimilation, transform that nourishment into their own substance. It is then, in many cases, fit for the support of men and other animals. To plants we are also indebted for much of our clothing, for many valuable medicines, and for a great variety of other useful articles, which are applied to purposes innumerable.
In no part of his works has the Creator shown his goodness more conspicuously than in the vegetable kingdom. He has not only made bountiful provision for our wants, but taken pains to gratify and charm us. The greenness of the grass, the splendid colouring of flowers, the graceful forms of trees, and all the varied beauty of a summer landscape, are wholly unnecessary for the accomplishment of the main purposes which plants were intended to serve. But they are added for our enjoyment, to show us that our Maker wishes us to be happy. The faculty of discerning and appreciating beauty is his gift, and he has not left us with