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different forms and natures indeed appeared on the different parts; but even these, as I afterwards found, were not wholly unconnected with one another in the great chain of beings.
When I examined them at home, I found the subaqueous inhabitants were mére reptiles; those which occupied the drier part, on the contrary, were of the winged tribe; both were minute, but the microscope raised both into a state of importance worthy a continued observation.
Of all creatures, the most minute are in general the most voracious. I could observe the reptile hunting every part of the plant for lesser creatures, feeding on its juices, and devouring them insatiably. The winged race, on the upper part of the plant, were employed in a very different manner. The cold had pinched these, and seemed to threaten them with destruction; and they were avoiding its rigour, by burrowing themselves hiding places between the two membranes of the leaves. I saw several of them busied in different stages of this operation: some were just making the opening with their forefeet, and the pointed extremity of their trunk, the proper use of which was to draw in their nourishment; others were half got into their more forward holes; others had completely hid themselves; and some of them I could even
trace to a great distance from the place where they had entered.
The juices of the plant are the proper food of this insect, and its means of coming at them is by wounding the vessels with this instrument at its head. All this could be done in security while they were under covert, and, on a slight view, blind as themselves to the future, I was congratulating them on their safety. While I was making the observation, the drippings from the eaves of the houses proclaimed a thaw. The consequences of this, I immediately recollected, must, of necessity, be a rising of the little brook from whence these plants had been taken, and where a number of them were left peopled in the same manner: the melting of the snow which had fallen during the drier state of the air, must of necessity swell its waters to many times their former extent, and the whole plants must be submerged in them, under this state, though, while shallower, their tops had appeared above the surface.
Nature which had destined the inhabitant of the upper portion of the plant, to feed on a vegetable thus liable to be covered with water, and had not given it organs to subsist under that fluid, had bestowed on it wings, by means of which to avoid the danger. The crea
tures of this species, however, which had been the objects of my late observation, had, instead of this means of escape, under the numbing influence of the frost, preserved themselves from that threatened death, by burying alive in the very substance of the plant; and the result must be, their perishing by the submersion of the whole from the effects of the swelled stream. Thus they preserved themselves from the frost to be destroyed by t e thaw; but with this dif ference in the general economy of nature, that by the former means they would have perished uselessly, but by the latter they afforded, in their death, a supply of food to the reptile inhabitants of the same plant, who would, perhaps, otherwise have perished of hunger from the destruction of the same frost among their more immediate food.
INSPECTOR, No. 147.
Full many a gem
purest ray serene
It is a common, but, I believe, a very unjust assertion, that this is not the age of genius. I make no doubt but that every age and every country has some portion, though perhaps not an equal one, of the heavenly fire: why this burns brighter at one time, and in one place, than another, is not so much from the difference of genius as of encouragement. I am sorry to say that the whole circle of polite arts are neglected in England, at present, to a degree of barbarism but shall in this essay confine myself to poetry; the most pleasing, and, in the judgment of the wisest and best ages, the most noble and truly inspired of them all.
That the seeds of this divine art are every where, is a truth which cannot be contested (the wild Indians have their songs of war and love; and even Lapland, if Scheffer is to be credited, has produced odes full of inspiration); but to make them grow to any great perfection, the
warm beams of favour are necessary: they may sprout in an unkindly soil, by an extraordinary effort of nature, even without the necessary culture; but their growth will be slow and languid, and the greatest part will never put forth at all.
Why did the courts of Augustus, of Leo the Tenth, our two glorious Queens Elizabeth and Anne, and of Lewis the Fourteenth, abound with poets whose works will be immortal? Why, but because they were sought for and encouraged. Fame and fortune then attended the Muses' steps; they led their raptured votaries into the cabinets of princes, who distinguished them by honours and rewards, and were by them, in return, crowned with wreaths of immortality.
This is so far from being the case in our age, that the daring mortal, who, in defiance of poverty, envy, and contempt, will deserve well of his country as a writer, must be content to have his life a perpetual warfare: he must bear to be traduced, ridiculed, despised; and, as to profit, he must be very successful indeed, if, after neglecting every other means of raising a fortune, and devoting his days to the most painful labour, that of the mind, he gets a support equal to that which recompenses the toil of the meanest artisan: nay, what to one of a liberal turn of think