Imagini ale paginilor

That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the ring:
Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:
So when the sun's broad beam has tired the sight,
All mild ascends the moon's more sober light;
Serene in virgin modesty she shines,
And unobserved the glaring orb declines.
Oh! blest with temper, whose unclouded ray
Can make to-morrow cheerful as to-day:
She, who can love a sister's charms, or bear
Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear;
She, who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
Or if she rules him, never shows she rules;
Charms by accepting, by submitting sways,
Yet has her humour most, when she obeys;
Let fops of fortune fly which way they will,
Disdain all loss of tickets or codille;
Spleen, vapours, or smallpox, above them all,
And mistress of herself, though china fall.




Who hath begotten the drops of dew?!
Non liquidi gregibus fontes, non gramina deerunt :
Et quantum longis carpent armenta diebus,
Exigua tantum gelidus ros nocte reponet. VIRGIL.
There, for thy flocks, fresh fountains never fail ;
Undying verdure clothes the grassy vale;
And what is cropt by day the night renews,
Shedding refreshful stores of cooling dews.


With starry splendour on the hawthorn bough
And graceful wild-rose, shines the copious dew;
That precious lymph of Nature, which dilates
The ruby lip of ev'ry infant bud,

And lavish on the level turf remains
In silver beauty.


THERE is not a phenomenon of Nature more common, or more beautiful than that of Dew..

The poets in course have seized it with avidity, to decorate their favourite themes, and particularly their descriptions and personifications of the Morning. But I do not recollect that the venerable sire of poetry, who abounds in these, has once enriched them by any allusions to dew. Indeed, in Pope's Translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, there are three different passages, in which Aurora sprinkles the dewy lawn with light'. But this is the embellishment of the translator; for in neither of these passages, is the epithet dewy in the original.

Homer, however, has not forgotten the dews, in that variety of beautiful decorations with which he describes the bed of Jupiter:

Celestial dews, descending o'er the ground,
Perfume the mount, and breathe ambrosia round.

But Milton gives them more importance: he introduces them into his descriptions with a peculiar felicity:

Now Morn her rosy steps in th' eastern clime
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl.

This fine metaphor of sowing the earth has been before used by Lucretius:

Sol etiam summo de vertice dissipat omnes
Ardorem in partes, et lumine conserit arva.

The sun, resplendent, at his noontide height,
Shines forth, and sows the fields with dazzling light,

But this wants much of the propriety of Milton's sowing the earth with orient pearl; for the dewdrops have unquestionably something of the shape and appearance both of scattered seeds and sparkling gems.

But our divine bard, in speaking of the prodigious

host of Satan, has introduced dew into a most beautiful simile:

An host,

Innumerable as the stars of night
Or stars of Morning, dew-drops, which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.

Innumerable as the stars is an old simile; but this of the stars of morning, dew-drops, seem as new as it is beautiful. And the sun impearls them; that is turns them by his reflected beams to seeming pearls, as the morn was said above to sow the earth with orient pearl.

A favourite comparison with our English poets is that of tears to dew, or of dew to tears. Shakspeare:


And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flow'ret's eyes,
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.

In Samson Agonistes, when Dalilah comes to visit her eyeless husband, she is afraid to approach; and Milton has made her silence most beautifully expressive: the Chorus tells Samson,

Yet on she moves, now stands, and eyes thee fixed,
About t' have spoke, but now, with head declined,
Like a fair flow'r surcharged with dew, she weeps,
And words addressed seem into tears dissolved,
Wetting the borders of her silken veil.

In Virgil, the Ros in tenera pecori gratissimus herba -the dew on the tender grass grateful to the cattle, is rendered by Dryden the pearly drops of morning dews, and by Dr. Warton the Morning's earliest tears. Nor has Pope neglected them in his Elegy to the Memory of an unfortunate Lady:

Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the Morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow.

And most of my readers will recollect the celebrated couplet of Lord Chesterfield, in his Advice to a Lady in Autumn:

The dews of the evening most carefully shun;
Those tears of the sky for the loss of the sun.

Gray, in his Elegy in a Country Churchyard, exhibits a fine picture of a melancholy man :

Haply some hoary-headed sage may say,

Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.'

But I must now leave the pleasing entertainment of poetry, to attend to the more instructive discussions of philosophy.-The dew is generally ranked by naturalists among the aqueous meteors, those bodies that exist in the atmosphere in a flux and transitory state. It is a dense, moist vapour, found upon the earth in spring and summer mornings, in the form of a misling rain, and it is chiefly collected while the sun is below the horizon.

It has been disputed whether dew is formed from the vapours ascending from the earth during the night-time, or from the descent of such as have been already raised through the day.. The most remarkable experiments, adduced in favour of the first hy pothesis, are those of M. Dufay, of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. He supposed, that if dew ascended, it must wet a body placed low down sooner than one placed in a higher situation; and, if a number of bodies were placed in this manner, the lowermost would be wetted first; and the rest in like manner, gradually up to the top.

To determine this, he placed two ladders against one another, meeting at their tops, spreading wide asunder at the bottom, and so tall as to reach thirtytwo feet high. To the several steps of these he

windows, placing them in such a manner, that they should not overshade one another. On the trial it appeared exactly as M. Dufay had apprehended. The lower surface of the lowest piece of glass was first wetted, then the upper, then the lower surface of the pane next above it; and so on, till all the pieces were wetted to the top. Hence it appeared plain to him, that dew consisted of the vapours ascending from the earth during the night-time; which, being condensed by the coldness of the atmosphere, are prevented from being dissipated as in the daytime by the sun's heat. He afterwards tried a similar experiment with pieces of cloth, instead of panes of glass, and the result was quite conformable to his expectations. He weighed all the pieces of cloth the next morning, in order to know what quantity of water each had imbibed, and found those that had been placed lowermost considerably heavier than such as had been placed at the top; although he confesses that this experiment did not succeed so perfectly as the former.

M. Muschenbroek, who embraced the contrary opinion, thought he had invalidated all M. Dufay's proofs, by repeating his experiments with the same success, on a plane covered with sheet-lead. But to this M. Dufay replied, that there was no occasion to suppose the vapour to rise through the lead, nor from that very spot; but that as it arose from the adjoining open ground, the continual fluctuation of the air could not but spread it abroad, and carry it thither in its ascent.

But although M, Muschenbroek's experiment is. not sufficient to overthrow those of M. Dufay, it may still remain dubious whether dew rises or falls. One thing, which seems to favour the hypothesis of its descent is, that in cloudy weather there is little or no dew to be observed. From this, M. De Luc brings an argument in favour of the last hypothesis,

« ÎnapoiContinuați »