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beyond a semi-circle, when Venus appears as a crescent; one of the horns is observed to vary in appearance, alternately blunt and sharp, ; this is probably caused by the shadow of some mountain, which, by the rotation of the planet periodically, intercepts the light, and furnishes an opportunity of deterrnining its diurnal revolution, 23h. 20m. 595. which is the time occupied in the renewal and withdrawing of the light. The brightness of this planet is not in proportion to the breadth of the disc enlightened, but in the quantity of illuminated surface, which occurs when about a fourth of the disc is enlightened, or the planet distant 40" from the sun, when it may be seen in the day time, and traced from its rising to its setting by the unassisted sight; this phenomenon, of a star being seen, when the sun was above the horizon, has occasioned alarms in minds, who regarded the unusual, because unobserved, sight, as the precursor of some calamity; this was the case in Dr. Halley's time,--he had to allay the minds of the metropolitan city by explaining the cause.
This beautiful planet has always excited the most enthusiastic admiration in every clime and age of the world; it was the first star in the heavens that became the object of idolatrous worship, of the eastern nations, lovers still pledge their yows beneath the mild lustre of its beams, and poets still sing of its splendour and sweet influences : Homer, Hesiod, and Isaiah, among the ancients, and all the celebrated poets of the present and preceding age, have the most lovely allusions to this beautiful gen, whether shining on the brow of eve, the bright forerunner of ten thousand stars that ornament the midnight canopy, or glittering in the dewy morn, the herald of the rising day.
This planet received its name from the Greeks and Romans, in honor of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty; it is also known as Hesper, Vesper, Phosphorus, and Lucifer,—under each of these denominations, the poets refer to this bright orb; when east of the sun, or an evening star, they characterise it of the lovelier sex, when west, or a morning star, of the nobler gender. Thus Dryden :
So from the seas exerts his radiant head
Greatest Elongation of Mercury. Nearly the same phenomena that distinguish the planet Venus, may be traced in the planet Mercury; it passes through similar phases, increasing from a narrow crescent to a half moon,—from this, to a gibbous, till it exhibits an entire circular disc; it has also its elongations, but these differ more considerably than in Venus, owing to the greater eccentricity of its orbit,—the angular distance from the sun, varies from 17° 36' to 28° 20'; at the present elongation it is 22o.
But few interesting discoveries have been made in this planet, owing to its proximity to the sun; the nature of its seasons and diurnal motion is not satisfactorily known; by some the latter is stated to be six hours, by others 24h 5' 28"; of this last opinion is Schroeter, who maintains that he has seen not only spots but mountains in its southern hemisphere, one of these mountains being three times the height of Chimboraco, which is one of the highest on our globe.
Mercury shines with a brilliant white light, sparkling like a diamond, and twinkling like the fixed stars; it was consecrated by the ancients to Hermes, and called the star of Apollo. The Chinese call it Shiu, water, and Tchin, morning star.
The Naturalist's Diary.
For May, 1830.
JOS. CHATTAWAY, The delightful month of May is connected in our minds with all that is verdant, promising and attractive, How exquisitely are its colors mingled ! From the agreeable green which clothes the fields, to the rich azure which fills the sky, all declare the unwearied providence, paternal benignity, and unrivalled greatness of nature's God. The earth, the air, the water, teem with delighted existence. How many objects, that engross and delight the soul, crowd upon our view at this season! What freshness is felt in the morning, and what brilliancy is seen in the day. God sends the copious showers to purify the air, soften the ground, and nourish the plants ; so also he draws from the bosom of the earth, rivers and streams which course their devious way to invigorate and beautify the world.
Beneath the span
Robert Montgomery. As we stand on an eminence, how enchanting is the varied view before us! We receive pleasure from the forms, and colors, and motions, which are before us; from the various green of fields and woods, showing itself in many different shades, some dark and deep, some vivid and glossy, and some light and pale—from the waving surface of valleys and hills, contrasted with the level extent ofmeadows and fields - from the forms of trees, some spiry and slender, others spreading and pendulous, and others shooting forth strong branches and displaying an unbroken mass of leaves—froni the opening buds, the clustering blossoms, the humble shrub, the majestic oak, and the beautiful garden. We are gratified with the cerulean hue of the ocean, varying as it is ruffled by winds, and by the light and shades which pass over it, with the blue heavens and the white feecy clouds, and the general effect of sunshine and shade. We are gratified with the life we see mingled in the group; with the sight and voices of men at labor rejoicing in the prospect of contented industry; with the bounding agility of young animals, as they sport at the side of others intently grazing with a sharpened relish; with the cheerful song and easy flight of birds, the lyric lark, for example, soaring joyfully and singing as he rises to hail the early day, or greet the coming spring. As we gaze on the clear blue firmament at such a season as this,
we are led into a train of reflections similar to those beautifully expressed by the fair poetess in the following:
BY MARY ANN BROWNE,