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Of these, how easy 'tis to trace the cause,
When once you know, when once conceive their laws '.

But we need not consult the antients, either for the beauties of poetical illustration, or the acquisitions of philosophical inquiry, while we can have recourse to our own admirable poet of the Seasons. What can be more minutely circumstantial, or more elegantly accurate, than the following description?

The keener tempests rise: and, foaming dun
From all the livid east, or piercing north,
Thick clouds ascend; in whose capacious womb
A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congealed.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along;
And the sky saddens with the gathered storm.
Thro' the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering; till, at last, the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day,
With a continual snow. The cherished fields
Put on their winter robe of purest white.
"Tis brightness all; save where the new snow melts
Along the mazy current. Low, the woods
Bow their hoary head; and, ere the languid sun
Faint from the west emits his evening ray,
Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill,
Is one wide dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of man.

The limits of this paper will not allow me to proceed to the poet's account of the effects which the inclemency of the season has upon animals, and particularly the feathered tribes, while the snow is upon the ground; nor to his description

And how the other meteors rise and fall,

What stamps the figured snow and moulds the hail,
And why the water's pride and beauty's lost,
When rig'rous winter binds the floods with frost,
"Tis easy to conceive, if once we know

The nature of the elements, or how
Their fighting powers must work, or what they do.

. of the driving of the snows, by which whole flocks of sheep are sometimes overwhelmed; nor to his exquisite episode of a man perishing in the snow. But in this last there is a circumstance described, Bo truly original, so natural and pathetic, that I cannot forbear to quote it.

In vain for him the officious wife prepares
The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm;
In vain his little childen, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor sacred home!

With respect to the philosophical account of this well-known meteor, naturalists are agreed that it is formed by the freezing of the vapours in the atmosphere. The snow we receive may, properly enough, be ascribed to the coldness of the atmosphere through which it falls. When the atmosphere is warm enough to dissolve the snow, before it arrives to us, we call it rain; if it preserve itself undissolved, it makes what we call snow. It differs from the particles of hoar-frost, in being crystallized, as it were, which they are not. This appears on the examination of a flake of snow by a magnifying glass; when the whole of it will seem composed of fine shining spicula, or points, diverg ing like rays from a centre. As the flakes fall down through the atmosphere, they are continually. joined by more of these radiated spicula, and thus increase in bulk like the drops of rain or hail-stones. Dr. Grew, in a discourse on the nature of snow, observes, that many parts of it are of a regular figure, for the most part so many little rowels or stars of six points, and are as perfect and transparent ice as any we see on a pond. Upon each of these points are other collateral points, set at the same angles as the main points themselves :

among which there are divers others irregular, which are chiefly broken points, and fragments of the regular ones. Others also, by various winds, seem to have been thawed, and frozen again into irregular clusters; so that it seems as if the whole body of snow was an infinite mass of icicles irregularly figured. That is, a cloud of vapours being gathered into drops, those drops forthwith descend, and, in their descent, meeting with a freezing air as they pass through a colder region, each drop is immediately frozen into an icicle, shooting itself forth into several points; but these, still continuing their descent, and meeting with some intermitting gales of warmer air, or, in their continual waftage to and fro, touching upon each other, are a little thawed, blunted, and frozen into clusters, or entangled so as to fall down in what we call flakes.

According to Signore Beccaria, clouds of snow differ in nothing from clouds of rain, but in the circumstance of cold that freezes them. Both the regular diffusion of snow, and the irregularity of the structure of its parts (particularly some figures of snow or hail, which he calls rosette, and which fall about Turin), show the clouds of snow to be acted upon by some uniform cause, like electricity. He even endeavours, very particularly, to show in what manner certain configurations of snow are made by the uniform action of electricity. He was confirmed in his reasonings on this subject by observing, that his apparatus never failed to be electrified by snow as well as by rain; and, he adds, that a more intense electricity unites the particles of hail more closely than the more moderate electricity does those of snow,

Snow, although it seems to be soft, is really hard, because it is true ice. It seems soft, because, at

or points, they melt; otherwise they would pierce the finger like so many lancets.

Dr. E. D. Clarke, in his Travels (vol. i. p. 11), records a very curious and beautiful phenomenon, which he witnessed before the breaking up of the winter season at St. Petersburgh. Snow, in the most regular and beautiful crystals, fell gently on our clothes, and on the sledge, as we were driving in the streets: all of them possessed exactly the same figure, and the same dimension. Every particle consisted of a wheel or star, with six equal rays bounded by circumferences of equal diameters: they had all of them the same number of rays branching from a common centre. The size of each of these little stars was equal to the circle presented by dividing a pea into two equal parts. This appearance continued during three hours, in which time no other snow fell, and there was sufficient leisure to examine them with the strictest attention.' As water, in its crystallization (continues Dr. Clarke), seems to consist of radii diverging from a common centre, by the usual appearances ou the surfaces of the ice, it might be possible to obtain the theory and ascertain the laws from which this stellar structure results. Monge, president of the French Institute, noticed, in falling snow, stars with six equal rays, which fell during winter, when the atmosphere was calm. This is also recorded by Hauy. Dr. Clarke has accompanied this description with three wood-cuts, to which we refer the curious reader.

The lightness of snow, although it is firm ice, is owing to the excess of its surface, in comparison to the matter contained under it; and thus gold, the most ponderous of all bodies, when beaten into leaves, will ride upon the least breath of air. The whiteness of snow is owing to the

small particles into which it is divided; for ice, wher pounded, will become equally white. An artificial snow has been made by the following experiment. A tall phial of aqua fortis being placed by the fire till it is warm; and filings of pure silver, a few at a time, being put into it; after a brisk ebullition, the silver will dissolve slowly. The phial then being placed in a cold window, as it cools, the silver particles will shoot into crystals, several of which running together, will form a flake, resembling snow, and descend to the bottom of the phial. While they are descending, they represent perfectly a shower of silver snow, and the flakes will lie upon one another at the bottom, like real snow upon the ground. In a word, a shower of snow, although so common with us, and therefore so little regarded, is, in itself, a most beautiful spectacle, and is considered by the natives of southern climes, on their arrival here, as the most extraordinary and amazing phenomenon of nature.

But we are not to consider snow merely as a curious and beautiful phenomenon. The great Dispenser of universal bounty has so ordered it, that it is eminently subservient, as well as all the works of creation, to his benevolent designs. Were we to judge from appearances only, we might imagine, that so far from being useful to the earth, the cold humidity of snow would be detrimental to vegetation. But the experience of all ages asserts the contrary. Snow, particularly in those northern regions where the ground is covered with it for several months, fructifies the earth, by guarding the corn, or other vegetables, from the intenser cold of the air, and especially from the cold piercing winds. It has been a vulgar opinion, very generally received, that snow fertilizes the lands on which it falls more than rain,

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