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Cowper has some lines on the ice-islands seen floating in the German ocean; we quote a part only of this pleasing description:

Like burnished brass they shine, or beaten gold;
And all around the pearl's pure splendour show,
And all around the ruby's fiery glow.

Come they from India, where the burning earth,
All bounteous, gives her richest treasures birth;
And where the costly gems, that beam around
The brows of mightiest potentates are found?
No. Never such a countless, dazzling store
Had left, unseen, the Ganges' peopled shore.
Rapacious hands, and ever-watchful eyes,
Should sooner far have marked and seized the prize.
Whence sprang they then? Ejected have they come
From Ves'vius', or from Ætna's burning womb?
Thus shine they self-illumed, or but display
The borrowed splendours of a cloudless day?
With borrowed beams they shine. The gales that breathe
Now landward, and the current's force beneath,
Have borne them nearer: and the nearer sight
Advantaged more, contemplates them aright.
Their lofty summits crested high, they show,
With mingled sleet, and long incumbent snow,
The rest is ice. Far hence, where, most severe,
Bleak winter well nigh saddens all the year,
Their infant growth began. He bade arise
Their uncouth forms, portentous in our eyes.
Oft, as dissolved by transient suns, the snow
Left the tall cliff to join the floods below;
He caught, and curdled with a freezing blast
The current, ere it reached the boundless waste.

The collision of the great fields of ice, in high latitudes, is often attended with a noise, that, for a time, takes away the power of hearing any thing else; and the meeting of the lesser fields is attended with a grinding of unspeakable horror. The water, which dashes against the mountainous ice, freezes into an infinite variety of forms, and gives the voyager ideal towns, streets, churches, steeples, and every shape which imagination can frame.

The icebergs or glaciers of the north west of Spitzbergen are among the capital wonders of the country. The glaciers of Switzerland seem contemptible to these. They are seven in number, but at considerable distances from each other; and each fills the vallies for tracts unknown, in a region totally inaccessible in the internal parts. The last exhibits over the sea a front three hundred feet high, emulating the emerald in colour : cataracts of melted snow precipitate down various parts; and black spiring mountains, streaked with white, bound the sides, and rise in the back ground, crag above crag, as far as the eye can reach.

At times, immense fragments break off, and tumble into the water with a most alarming dashing. A piece of this vivid green substance has fallen, grounded in twenty-four fathoms water, and spired above the surface fifty feet. Similar icebergs are common in all the arctic regions; and to their lapses is owing the solid mountainous ice which infests those seas.

Frost sports also with these icebergs, and gives them majestic as well as other most singular forms. Masses have been seen assuming the shape of a Gothic church, with arched windows and doors, and all the rich tracery of that style, composed of what an Arabian tale would scarcely dare to relate, of crystal of the richest sapphirine blue. Tables, with one or more feet, and often immense flat-roofed temples, supported by round transparent columns of cerulean hue, float by the astonished spectator. These icebergs are the creation of ages, and receive, annually, additional heights, by the falling of snow and rain, which often instantly freezes, and more than repairs the loss by the influence of the melting sun.

Such are part of the wonderful phenomena of the polar regions. There are other curious particulars, which, with some reflections suitable to the subject, we shall reserve for our next paper; concluding this with part of Thomson's magnificent description of the icy regions:

The Muse

Thence sweeps the howling margin of the main ;
Where undissolving, from the first of time,
Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky;
And icy mountains high on mountains piled,
Seem to the shivering sailor from afar,
Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds.
Projected huge, and horrid, o'er the surge,
Alps frown on Alps; or rushing hideous down,
As if old Chaos was again returned,
Wide-rend the deep, and shake the solid pole.
Ocean itself no longer can resist
The binding fury; but, in all its rage
Of tempest taken by the boundless frost,
Is many a fathom to the bottom chained,
And bid to roar no more: a bleak expanse,
Shagged o'er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and void
Of every life, that from the dreary months
Flies conscious southward. Miserable they!
Who here entangled in the gathering ice,
Take their last look of the descending sun:
While, full of death, and fierce with tenfold frost,
The long, long night incumbent o'er their heads,
Falls horrible. Such was the Briton's fate,
As with first prow (what have not Britons dared!}
He for the passage sought, attempted since
So much in vain, and seeming to be shut
By jealous Nature with eternal bars.
In these fell regions, in Arzina caught,
And to the stony deep his idle ship
Immediate sealed, he with his hapless crew,
Each full exerted at his several task,
Froze into statues; to the cordage glued
The sailor, and the pilot to the helm.

Sir Hugh Willoughby, sent by Queen Elizabeth, to discover the north-east passage.

No. V.



Vast regions dreary, bleak, and bare!
There on an icy mountain's height,
Seen only by the Moon's pale light,
Stern Winter rears his giant form,
His robe a mist, his voice a storm:
His frown the shiv'ring nations fly,

And, hid for half the year, in smoky caverns lie.


IN the preceding paper, we described the picturesque appearances of the ice in the dreary regions of Spitzbergen. The snow, moreover, in those high latitudes, exhibits phenomena not less singular than those of the ice. At first, it appears small and hard as the finest sand; it then changes its form to that of a hexagonal shield, into the shape of needles, crosses, cinquefoils, and stars, some plain, and some serrated rays. These forms depend upon the disposition of the atmosphere; and in calm weather, the snow coalesces, and falls in clusters.

The single night of this dreadful country begins about the 30th of October: the Sun then sets, and never appears till about the 10th of February. A glimmering, indeed, continues some weeks after the setting of the Sun: then succeed clouds and thick darkness, broken by the light of the Moon, which is as luminous as in England, and, during this long night, shines with unfailing lustre. The cold strengthens with the new year; and the Sun is ushered in with an unusual severity of frost.

strong; the arctic foxes leave their holes; and the sea-fowl resort, in great multitudes, to their breeding places. The Sun sets no more after the 14th of May; the distinction of day and night is

then lost.

In the height of summer, the Sun has heat enough to melt the tar on the decks of ships; but from August its power declines: it sets fast. After the middle of September, day is hardly distinguishable, and, by the end of October, takes a long farewell of this country: the days now become frozen, and winter reigns triumphant.

Earth and soil are denied to the frozen regions of Spitzbergen: at least, the only thing which resembles soil, is the grit worn from the mountains by the power of the winds, or the attrition of cataracts of melted snow: this, indeed, is assisted by the putrefied lichens of the rocks, and the dung of birds, brought down by the same means. The composition of these islands is stone, formed by the sublime hand of omnipotent Power; not fritted into segments, transverse or perpendicular, but cast, at once, into one immense and solid mass. A mountain, throughout, is but a single stone, destitute of fissures, except in places cracked by the irresistible power of frost, which often causes lapses, attended by a noise like thunder, and scattering over their bases rude and extensive


The vallies, or rather glens, of this country, are filled with eternal ice or snow. They are totally inaccessible, and known only by the divided course of the mountains, or where they terminate in the icebergs or glaciers we have already described. No streams water their dreary bottoms; and even springs are denied. The mariners are indebted for fresh water solely to the periodical cataracts of melted snow in the short season of

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