Page images
PDF
EPUB

7• On this, the second fon advanced. In the course of my travels, faid he, I came to a lake in which I beheld a child struggling with death; I plunged into it and faved his life in the prefence of a number of the neighboring villagers,, all of whom can atteft the truth of what I affert.

8. It was well done (interrupted the old man); you have only obeyed the dictates of humanity.. At length the youngest of the three came forward.

9. I happened, faid he, to meet my mortal enemy, who,, having bewildered himself in the dead of night, had imper. ceptibly fallen afleep upon the brink of a frightful precipice.. The least motion would infallibly have plunged him head-. long into the abyfs; and though his life was in my hands, yet with every neceffary precaution,, I awaked him, and remo-ved him from his danger.

10. Ah, my fon! exclaimed the venerable good man, with tranfport, while he preffed him to his heart; to thee; belongs the diamond; well haft thou deserved it..

DESCRIPTION OF MOUNT ETNA.

THERE is no point on the furface of this,

globe, which unites fo many awful and fublime objects, as; the fummit of mount Etna. The immenfe elevation from the furface of the earth, drawn as it were to a fingle point,, without any neighboring mountain for the fenfes and imagination to rest upon, and recover from their astonishment: in their way down to the world:

2. This point or pinnacle, raised on the brink of a bottomlefs gulph, as old as the world, often discharging rivers, of fire, and throwing out burning rocks, with a noife which fhakes the whole island:

1

3. Add to this, the unbounded extent of the profpect,, comprehending the greateft diverfity, and the most beautiful fcenery in nature; with the rifing fun, advancing in the Eaft, to illuminate the wondrous fcene..

The whole atmosphere by degrees kindled up, and: howed dimly and faintly the boundless profpect around. Both fea and land looked dark and confufed, as if only

emerging

emerging from their original chaos; and light and darknefs feemed ftill undivided; till the morning, by degrees advancing, completed the feparation.

5. The ftars are extinguifhed, ande fhades difappear. The forefts, which but now feemed ack and bottomlefs. gulphs, from whence no ray was reflected to fhow their form or colors, appear a new creation rifing to the fight, catching life and beauty from every increafing beam.

6. The scene still enlarges, and the horizon feems to widen and expand itfelf on all fides; till the fun, like the great Creator, appears in the Eaft, and with his plaftic ray completes the mighty scene.

7. All appears enchantment; and it is with difficulty we can believe we are ftill on earth. The fenfes, unaccuftomed to the fublimity of fuch a fcene, are bewildered and confounded; and it is not till after fome time, that they are capable of feparating and judging of the objects. which compofe it..

8. The body of the fun is feen rising from the ocean,, immenfe tracts both of fea and land intervening; the iflands of Lipari, Panari, Alicudi, Strombolo, and Volcano, with their smoking fummits, appear under your feet; and you look down on the whole of Sicily as on a map; and can trace every river through all its windings, from its fource to its mouth.

9. The view is abfolutely boundlefs on every fide; nor is there any one object, within the circle of vifion, to interrupt it; fo that the fight is every where lost in the immenfity.

10. The circumference of the visible horizon on the top of Ætna cannot be less than 2000 miles. At Malta, which is nearly 200 miles diftant, they perceive all the irruptions from the fecond region; and that ifland is often. discovered from about one half of the elevation of the mountain; fo that at the whole elevation, the horizon muft extend to nearly double that distance.

II. But this is by much too vaft for our fenfes, not intended to grafp fo boundless a scene. I find by fome of the Sicilian authors, that the African coaft, as well as that of Naples, with many of its islands, has been discovered from the top of Etna. Of this, however, we cannot boast, 3. But though we can very well believe it..

I 2.

But the most beautiful part of the fcene is certainly the mountain itself, the island of Sicily, and the numerous iflands lying round it. All thefe, by a kind of magic in vifion, feem as if they were brought clofe round the skirts of Ætna; the distances appearing reduced to nothing..

13. The prefent crater of the volcano is a circle of about three miles and a half in circumference. It goes fhelving. down on each fide, and forms a regular hollow, like a vast amphitheatre.

[ocr errors]

14. From many places of this fpace, iffue volumes of fmoke, which, being much heavier than the circumambient air, instead of rifing in it, as fmoke generally does, rolls down the fide of the mountain like a torrent, till, coming to that part of the atmosphere of the fame fpecific gravity with itself, it shoots off horizontally, and forms a large tract in the air, according to the direction of the wind..

15: The crater is fo hot, that it is very dangerous, if not impoffible to go down into it.. Befides, the fmoke is very incommodious; and, in many places, the furface is fo foft, that there have been inftances of people's finking down into it, and paying for their temerity with their lives..

16. Near the centre of the crater is the great mouth of the volcano.. And when we reflect on the immenfity of its depth, the vast caverns whence fo many lavas have iffued; the force of its internal fire, fufficient to raise up thofe lavas to fo great a height; the boiling of the matter, the fhaking of the mountain, the explosion of flaming rocks,, &c. we must allow, that the most enthufiaftic imagination,. in the midst of all its terrors, can hardly form an idea more dreadful..

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO SCHOOL.
BOYS, ON DANCING.

TOM, when are you going to begin

Harry.. your dancing? You will be fo cld in a fhort time as to be ashamed to be feen taking your five pofitions..

Thomas. I don't know as I fhall begin at all. fays he don't care a fig whether I learn to jump any

Father

better

than:

than I do now; and, as I am to be a tradefman, he is determined, at prefent, to keep me at the reading and writing fchools.

Har. That must be very dull and dry for you. And what good will all fuch learning do you, fo long as you: make the awkward appearance you do at prefent? I am furprised at your father's folly. So, because you are to be a tradefman, you are not to learn the graces! I expect to learn a trade too.. But my papa fays I fhall first learn the dancing trade; and then, if I never learn any other, I shall make my way through the world well enough.

Tom. I don't know which difcovers the moft folly, your father or mine. Old folks certainly know more than young ones; and my father is much the oldeft man.

Har. I don't believe that doctrine. There's Jack Up fart knows more than his father and mother both. And he is but nineteen yet. And he says the prefent generation, under five and twenty years of age, knows more than fif-teen generations that have gone before us:

Tom. I don't know how that is. But father early taught me this proverb, Young folks think old folks are fools; but old folks know young ones to be fo." But to return to schools.-Pray how far have you gone. in your arithmetic ?

Har. Arithmetic! I have not begun that yet; nor fhall I till I have completed dancing. That is a nuriy study; I know I never fhall like it.

Tom. Writing I suppose you are fond of.

Har. I can't fay I am, Tom. I once had a tolerable ndness for it. But fince I began dancing, I have held it in utter contempt. It may be well enough for a perfon to write a legible hand; but it is no mark of a gentleman to write elegantly..

Tom. You would have a gentleman fpell well, I fuppofe. Har.. I would have him fpell fo well as to be underflood 3 and that is enough for any man.

Tom. What fay you to grammar and geography? Har.. Don't name them, I entreat you. There is noth ing I fo much abhor, as to hear your learned fchool-boys jabbering over their nouns, their pronouns, their werbs, their parables, their congregations, their imperfections, and

nfluctions.

confluctions. I'll tell you what, Tom, I had rather be master of one hornpipe than to understand all the grammars which have been published fince the art of printing was difcovered.

Tom. I am forry, friend Harry, to hear you speak fo contemptuously of the folid fciences. I hope you don't mean to neglect them entirely. If you do, you must expect to live in poverty; and die, the fcorn and derifion of all wife. men.

Har. Never fear that, Tom. I fhall take care of myfelf, I`warrant you. You are much mistaken in your prognoftications. Why, there's Tim Fiddlefaddle-he can't even write his name; and as for reading, he searcely knows B from a broomstick and yet he can dance a minuet with 3 any mafter of the art in Christendom. And the ladies all love him dearly. He is invited to their balls, routs, affemblies, card-parties, &c. &c. and he diverts them like any monkey.

Tom. And does he expect it will be the fame through life? How is he to be maintained when he becomes old? and how is he to amuse himself after he is unable to dance; as you fay he can neither read nor write?

Har. Why, in fact, I never thought of these things before. I confefs there appears to be fome weight in these queries. I don't know but it will be best for me to spare a day or two in a week from my dancing, to attend to the branches you are pursuing.

Tom. You will make byt little progrefs in that way. My mafter always told me that the folid fciences ought to be fecured firft; and that dancing might come in by the bye. He fays, when his fcholars have once entered the dancingfchool, their heads, in general, are fo full of balls, affemblies, minuets and cotillions, that he never can find much room. for any thing elfe.

Har. I will ftil maintain it, notwithstanding all you can fy in favor of your folid fciences, as you call them, that the art of dancing is the art of all arts. It will, of itfelf, carry a man to the very pinnacle of fame. Whereas, without it, all your writing, arithmetic, grammar, and geography, will not raife one above the common level of a clown.

Tom

« PreviousContinue »