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And thickening at its core like stagnant blood-
Not like to this ends the research of him
PHILOSOPHICAL AND SCIENTIFIC LESSONS.
When at His bidding she shall be withdrawn,
DESCRIPTIVE AND SENTIMENTAL
THE CATARACT OF NIAGARA. This amazing fall of water is made by the river St. Lawrence, in its passage from Lake Erie into the Lake Ontario. The St. Lawrence is one of the largest rivers in the world; and yet the whole of its waters is discharged in this place, by a fall of a hundred and fifty feet perpendicular. It is not easy to bring the imagination to correspond to the greatness of the scene. A river extremely deep and rapid, and that serves to drain the waters of almost all North America into the Atlantic Ocean, is here poured precipitately down a ledge of rocks that rises, like a wall, across the whole bed of its stream. The river, a little above, is nearly three-quarters of a mile broad; and the rocks, where it grows narrow, are four hundred yards over. Their direction is not straight across, but hollowing inwards like a horse-shoe, so that the cataract, which bends. to the shape of the obstacle, rounding inwards, presents a kind of theatre the most tremendous in nature. Just in the middle of
this circular wall of water, a little island, that has braved the fury of the current, presents one of its points, and divides the stream at top into two parts, but they unite again long before they reach the bottom. The noise of the fall is heard at the distance of several leagues; and the fury of the waters, at the termination of their fall, is inconceivable. The dashing produces a mist that rises to the very clouds; and which forms a most beautiful rainbow when the sun shines.
What impressions are produced by the sight of this great water-fall! Unlike any of our other feelings, it makes the most giddy thoughtful, and offers many points of comparison with human life. The landmarks are permanent as the fields we live in; the waters fleeting as our breath; the plunge that they make into unknown depths, like our descent into the grave; the rainbow sits upon the abyss, like our hope of immortality.
There is the dread of danger, and the curiosity of hope, and the impression of the irresistible impetus by which we are borne forward, to make us feel that we too are gliding onward,—though sometimes as unconscious as the bubble,—to the gulf of eternity, into which the troubled waters of life discharge themselves. An immortal and immutable condition awaits us, though we sport with what seem to be the contingencies of existence.
STORMS AND CALMS AT SEA. Sunset this evening was truly a splendid sight; the colours of the sky were more various than any I had ever before observed ; the clouds too assumed a form, a tinge, and a magnitude in their masses, that excited the admiration of all on board. No sooner had the sun in a
dazzling blaze sunk beneath the sea, than the moon shone forth with a brilliancy quite unusual to us of northern climes. Our ship, with all sail set, was gliding silently over the rippled surface of the ocean. In a few minutes all was changed ;—the wide expanse of burnished gold which replaced the setting sun, faded suddenly away; the moon withdrew her trembling beams; and the clouds, forming into one dense black mantle overspread the firmament, and enveloped the whole horizon in darkness. A flash of lightning in an instant attracted all eyes towards the east, just over the barren coast of Africa. The breeze died away to a perfect calm, and the sails hung loosely against the mast. Thunder followed at a distance : scarcely had its awful hollow murmurings ceased, when the winds came sweeping along the deep, sudden as the lightning which accompanied it. Our ship, not unlike a sea-bird frightened from repose, rushed through the foaming waves with an unusually tremulous rapidity, at once astonishing and alarming. The seaman's skill was instantly requisite for the prevention of threatened danger. The orders to furl the sails were given and accomplished within a few minutes; and, in a short time, the squall, accompanied with heavy rain, had passed beyond us. A light breeze succeeded, scarcely sufficient to raise a gentle curl upon the waves; all sail was again set; the moon, surrounded by the resplendent host of heaven, burst with augmented lustre from her concealment, and the overcharged clouds dispersed into various forms, of different shades and hues, leaving the atmosphere around so serene and beautiful, as to excite our greater astonishment at the extraordinary suddenness of the change; a circumstance by no means unfrequent between the tropics, sometimes occuring several times in the course of one night.