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A group

Around them; to the lyre with flying touch
Those led the love-enkindling dance.
Of youths was elsewhere imag'd, to the flute
Disporting ; some in dances and in song,
In laughter others. To the minstrel's Hute
So passid they on : and the whole city seem'd
As fill’d with pomps, with dances, and with feasts.

Others again, without the city-walls,
Vaulted on steeds, and madden'd for the goal.
Others as husbandmen appear'd, and broke
With coulter the rich glebe, and gather'd up
Their tunics neatly girded.

Next arose
A field thick set with depth of corn; where some
With sickle reap'd the stalks, their spiry heads
Bent, as with pods weigh'd down of swelling grain,
The fruits of Ceres.

Others into bands
Gather'd, and threw upon the thrashing floor
The sheaves.

And some again hard-by were seer.
Holding the vine-sickle, who clusters cut
From the ripe vines, which from the vintagers
Others in pails receiv’d, or bore away
In baskets thus up-pil'd the cluster'd grapes,
Or black, or pearly white, cut from deep ranks
Of spreading vines, whose tendrils curling twins
In silver, heavy-foliag'd: near them rose
The ranks of vines, by Vulcan's curious craft
Figur'd in gold. The vines leaf shaking curl'd
Round silver props. They therefore on their way
Pass'd jocund, to one minstrel's flagcolet,
Burthen’d with grapes that blacken’d in the sun.
Some also trod the wine-press, and some quafi'd
The foaming must.

But in another part
Were men who wrestled, or in gymnic tight
Wielded the custus.

Elsewhere men of chase
Were taking the feet hares; two keen-tooth'd dogs
Bounded beside : these ardent in pursuit,
Those with like ardour doubling on their flight.

Next them were knights, who painful effort made
To win the prize of contest and hard toil.
High o'er the well.compacted chariots lung
The charioteers ; the rapid horses loos'u
At their full stretch, and shook the floating reins.
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R.bounding

Rebounding from the ground with many a shock
Flew clattering the firm cars, and creak'd aloud
The naves of the round wheels. They therefore toild
Endless ; nor conquest yet at any time
Achiev'd they, but a doubtful strife maintain’d.
In the mid-course the prize, a tripod huge,
Was plac'd in open sight, insculpt of gold :-

These glorious works had Vulcan artful wrought.? Upon the whole, we are disposed to give .Mr Elton credit for considerable skill in versification. Indeed, though his translation is close, sometimes too close for perspicuity, it seems at least equal to the original. His blank verse, in which he excels more than in the couplet, is of a good structure; bearing a general, but not servile resemblance to Milton, with a little cast of some of Mr Southey's peculiarities of expression, and some of the daring expletives of Cowper. The notes appear to be chiefly compiled from the various editors of Hefiod; but some of the extracts from Bryant's Mythology might have been omitted without injury. If the conjectures of that scholar were as folid as they are ingenious, they are still but part of a great system of erudition, and seem misplaced by way of illustrating a single poet.

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ART. VIII. An Introduction to Physiological and Systematical

Botany. By James Edward Smith, M. D.F.R.S., &c. &c., President of the Linnean Society. 8vo. pp. 557.

Second Edition. Longman & Co. London, 1809.

T is not very long since we took occasion to lay before our read

an account of an elementary treatise on botany by Profeffor Willdenow, of Berlin. We are now to make them acquainted with a similar book, of home manufacture ; and, as we fincerely think, of still higher pretensions. Its author is not merely the President of the Linnean Society, as announced in the titlepage, but he is the poffeffor of the herbarium, library, and manufcripts of Linnæus himself. He is also the author of the Flora Britannica,-perhaps the most complete and correct catalogue and defcription, ever published of the plants of any country. He is, bendes, the author or editor of an elegant book on foreign plants, entitled Exotic Botany; and he has published the first part of a Flora Græca, from materials left by his lamented friend Dr Sibthorpe. It is evident, that the habits and experience which are neceflarily implied in the composition of such works, must have given Dr Smith peculiar advantages for the task which he has now undertaken; and when it is considered that he has also, for several years past, alternately filled the botanical chair at Liverpool, and at the Royal Institution, London, and must therefore have studied the best means of conveying popular information on the subject, it is impoflible not to feel, thai an elementary treatise, from his pen, if executed in a manner worthy of himself, must prove a very acceptable present to all lovers of the science; and that an elaborate apology for multiplying such books, was something more than unnecefiary from such a quarter. The work, accordingly, we observe, has already reached a second edition, and appears to us to deserve a pretty full analysis.

* ers

given

* Vol. xi. p. 73, et seq.

The first chapter treats of the distinction between animals, vegetables and fofils, and of the vital principle eflential to the two former.' The author opens this trite, but somewhat perilous subject, with remarking, that' those who, with a philosophical eye, have contemplated the productions of nature, have all, by common consent, divided them into three great claffes, called the Animal, the Vegetable, and the Mineral Kingdom ;' and that s these terms are still in general use; and the most superficial observer must be struck with their propriety.' The old systematical writers, no doubt, employed this threefold division; but of late we have heard more of a fourth class, proposed, we believe, several years ago, by an acute and learned ProfefTor in this University, to be called the Gaftous Kingdom; an addition which seems to be rendered indispensable by the wonderful progress of discovery in pneumatic chemistry. • Superficial observers' we may possibly be accounted by Dr Smith; but we should like to know in which of his three great claffes he would arrange those things called Hydrogen, Azote and Carbonic acid, about which he tells us so much in the course of his physiological chapters.

He appears to be duly aware of the wonderfully close analogy between the vegetable and animal creation; but, in stating the claims of the former, while he paffus over in silence the Linnean dogma, Vegetabilia, corpora non sentientia,' he avoids the oppolite extreme of the author of the Phytologia, and contents himself with this modest query, May not the exercise of the vital functions of plants be attended with some degree of lensation, however low, and some consequent Thare of happiness ?' We are fo far from objecting to the moderate postulate that is kere made in behalf of vegetables, that we would answer, with our ingenious countryman Smellie,—that life, without some degree of sensation, is an incomprehensible idea. The plants which exhibit the greatest sensibility to external impressions, are the Mimosa senlitiva and pudica, Hedysarum gyrans, Oxalis fenfitiva, and Smithia fenfitiva,

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all

all of which have pinnated leaves. An impression made on one of the leaflets is communicated in succeflion to all of them ; 'evincing,' in Dr Smith's opinion, ' an exquisite irritability; for it is in vain to attempt any mechanical solution of the phenomenon.

· The Hedysarum gyrans has a spontaneous motion in its leaves, independent of any external stimulus, even of light; and only requiring a very warm, still atmosphere, to be performed in perfection. Each leaf is ternate; and the small lateral leaflets are frequently moving up and down, either equally or by jerks, without any uniformity or cooperation among themselves. It is difficult to guess at the purpose which this singular action is designed to answer to the plant itself: its effect on a rational beholder cannot be indifferent. »

Like all his predecessors, Dr Smith finds it exceedingly difficult to lay down a satisfactory criterion between animal and vegetable life. He is extremely delighted, however, with a remark of M. Mirbel, * which we shall lay before our readers, because the Doctor has declared that it exhibits a criterion to 'which he has in vain fought any 'exception. Plants alone,' says M. Mirbel, ! have a power of" deriving nourishment, though not indeed exclusively, from inorganic matter-mere earths, falts or airs ; substances certainly incapable of ferving as food for any animals, the latter only feeding on what is or has been organized matter, either of a ve getable or animal nature : fo that it should seem to be the office of vegetable life alone, to transform dead matter into organized living bodies. We are not sure' but the vulgar and well-know fact, of gold-fishes, leeches, and some other animals, continuing lively and vigorous for great lengths of time, when confined in jars filled with pure spring water, is sufficient to invalidate M. Mirbel's hypothesis; for these animals seem to possess the

power deriving nourishment from inorganic' matter. But, fupposing M. Mirbel perfectly accurate, we are certainly far from regarding this as a test of easy application. It is evidently assumed, that we are always able to distinguish between the pabulum arising from the decoin position of organic, and that arising from inorganic matter. But this will, in very many cases, be found no easy task; and, indeed, will generally be quite impracticable when the pabulum presents itself in the gaseous form; and the infufory animalcula (if they be admitted to rank as aniinals) can scarcely be supposed capable of receiving aliment in any other form. Further, if plants alone have the power of deriving nourishment from inorganic mat ter,' mere earths, falts and airs,' it is rather puzzling that those kirs and salts which have been considered as constituting the prin

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* In his Traité d'Anatomie et de Physiologie Végétales,

cipal food of plants, should in reality arise chiefly from the decomposition of organic matters. We doubt much whether M. Mirbel's conclufion, that it is the office of vegetable life exclusively to transform dead matter into organized, be more admisible : for we have always considered it as more than probable, that the numerous tribes of corals must derive the means of forming their items and branches (which in the tropical feas are of great fize, and, considering the minuteness of the polypi, of a magnitude almost incredible) entirely from the calcareous matter held in folution in the waters of the ocean; and we think no one will dispute, that the quantity of lime found diffolved in the sea, can proceed only from the constant abrasion and decomposition of the great chains of inorganic' calcareous rocks along which it incessantly washes in different quarters of the globe.

We did expect that the great proportional abundance of nitrogen or azote in animal substances, would be fixed on as one mean of diftin&ion. Accordingly, we find that this fact, though not directly stated, is indirectly alluded to; and is in reality the teft to which the practical naturalist is ultimately referred. The fimple expedient of burning,' says Dr Smith, will decide the question. The smell of a burnt bone, coralline, or other animal substance, is so peculiar, that it can never be mistaken, nor does any known vegetable give out the same odour.' (p. 6.) This expedient of burning is, it must be confessed, a very compendious inethod of solving a diilicult problem. In a scientisic book, however, it might have been explained, that the peculiar' smell here alluded to, is principally that of ammonia or volatile alkali; and that this ammonia is suddenly generated by the azote (which, as already noticed, is abundant in all animal substances) being here presented to hydrogen in a nascent state. It is, however, to be remembered, that some vegetable products, such as the gluten of wheat, caoutchouc, and the juice of the papaw-tree, give out, in burning, nearly the same peculiar imell afforded by animal mar

• Of all the products of the vegetable fyftem,' says Mr Murray, * ' the juice of the Carica papaya is the one which арproaches most nearly to animal matter ; and it might indeed be regarded as a variety of it, if its origin were not known. Exposed on burning fuel it diffuses a very fetid ammoniacal odour, as animal substances do.'

In the succeeding chapter, we have a definition of natural history, and particularly of botany,' and then some remarks on the general texture of plants. Botany is divided into three branches : ' ist, The physiology of plants, or a knowledge of the

structure

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* System of Chemistry, vol. iv. p. 170-1. Ist edit.

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