« السابقةمتابعة »
the unhappy Zulima with his wand. She instantly became a spotted serpent, and crawled upon the earth before him. Abdaric then turned to Cadige, who, at this juncture, arrived with the juice of a plant, which the sages of physic always administer when the powers of reason are suspended. "Behold (said he) thy wretched child. Seven years shall she thus creep upon the ground, a noisome reptile in the gardens of Hamed, who now revels in his bower, completely happy in being united to Zelis, the most amiable woman in the East. When she can take a pleasure in the felicity of others, she shall re-assume a human form. Seven years shall she continue in beauty's brightest bloom, but without one lover to soothe her pride, one admirer to flatter her vanity. If, at the expiration of the last year, she is convinced of her past errors, and can render her mind as faultless as her person, she may then, even Zulima, may then be happy."
At the conclusion of this speech he sunk into the earth again, which closed with a noise like the bursting of a cloud impregnated with sulphur.
PRATER, No. 15.
Torva leæna lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam.
Lions the wolves, and wolves the kids pursue.
THAT insatiable curiosity which I have long esteemed the source of one of the principal and most rational pleasures of my life, led me, the other morning, while an agreeable party that I had attended at Putney bowling-green were galloping over the jovial hours to the sprightly tabor, to the edge of a little pond before the door; to see what quieter objects the unruffled face of nature, the burnt green, or the still pool afforded, that might court the contempla tion of a mind devoted to the adoration of its Creator, and eager to find occasions of it amongst the minutest, the seemingly most inconsiderable, of his works.
The surface of the water, in this scanty reservoir, was obscured by a thick green crust, which the slightest motion dissipated, and which appeared to be composed of the mere unconnected particles of fine powder. A common observer would have called this dust, filth,
or the foulness of the water. I had, however, another opinion of it: I promised myself great satisfaction in the discovery of what composed it; but the present moment was no time for that investigation. The agreeableness of the place, the universal cheerfulness of the company that had crowded together there, and particularly the happy gaiety of my own party, of whom Euphrosyne herself was one, called me irresistibly back to the room; and all the respect I could pay to my intended object of observation was, the loading a servant with a quantity of the water to be examined at home.
How greatly entertained would every one who does me the honour to cast his eye over the description, have been, could he have seen with me, to-day, that every particle of that which, to the naked eye, appeared lifeless dust, was, in reality, a living animal, formed with as complex an organization, as many parts, as himself; all which served to as many purposes, and were sure to continue to the period of the creature's existence, in the same uninterrupted course of action.
Besides these animals, however, which the unassisted eye could distinguish to be existences, though wholly incapable of discovering their forms and qualities, every the minutest
drop of water swarmed with life, and was peopled with animalcules of another kind, in so abundant a degree, that it must have been impossible for any of the humble inhabitants of the heath, to have quenched their thirst at the place, at a less expense than that of the destruction of a greater number of animals, than there are men at this time upon the whole face of the earth.
A drop of the clearer part of this water, so small as to be itself scarce visible, when applied before the microscope, entertained me with more than a thousand little creatures, all full of life and gaiety, as the company from whom I had parted to obtain it; and all as insensible of the open jaws of two or three devourers of a larger kind, who lived among them, and were continually preying upon them, as those lords of the creation were of that universal grave of natural death, into which one or other of them are to be daily dropping, though human prescience can never say whom it will first call
The greater number of the inhabitants of this little portion of the water, which was extended to a sea by the power of the glasses, were mere little globules, and, though full of life and jollity, seemed only a kind of inflated bladders, com
posed of nothing more than a thin membrane, containing, amidst a quantity of fluid like the circumambient water, a few organs of life and sensation among these there rolled about the more unwieldy forms of two or three larger creatures, which were of a different shape, and seemed created only to devour them: they advanced continually among the thickest of them and swallowed them by numbers at a time.
I had selected one of these larger animalcules for my observation, and was admiring the structure of its mouth, formed to take in the living bladders, as they appeared to be, and to burst them as they went down, throwing out the common fluid, and swallowing only their juices; when, the drops of water beginning to dry up, and threatening the creature with instant dissolution, I replenished it with an addition of the same minute kind from the common stock. I had observed the little animal, as the agonies of death approached, extending the extremity of its tail in breadth, and sometimes thrusting out a number of threads all around it. I had then been solicitous to know the use of such an ap paratus, and I was soon after informed of it.
Clear and uninhabited as the additional drop had appeared to the naked eye, I quickly found that I had let in with it, not only an innumerable