Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/214

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other good influences on his partner in the dialogue, who has proved so communicative a companion:

"O rock upon thy towery top
All throats that gurgle sweet!
All starry culmination drop
Balm-dews to bathe thy feet!

"Nor ever lightning char thy grain,
But, rolling as in sleep,
Low thunders bring the mellow rain,
That makes thee broad and deep!"

These, it will be admitted, are very melodious strains. Seldom has the imagery of the woods been used with more appropriateness and effect than in this poem, and its poetic excellence is rivaled by its accuracy. No one but an accomplished practical botanist could have written it. And throughout the poem, light and airy in tone as it is, there is distinctly perceptible the scientific element—the sense of the forces of Nature acting according to law, which, as we have already said, pervades like a subtle essence much of Mr. Tennyson's poetry. But enough has probably been said to justify the title of this article.—St. Paul's Magazine.



FROM the remotest antiquity the red color sometimes observed in water appears to have attracted attention. In all ages there have been stories of rains of blood, and of rivers changed to blood, and these phenomena have given rise to the most ludicrous explanations, and to the most ridiculous apprehensions. In Exodus (vii., 20, 21), we read: "All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt." Homer speaks of the dews of blood which preceded the Trojan War, and those which foreboded the death of Sarpedon, king of the Lycians. Pliny in his "Natural History" (book ii., c. xxxvi.) tells of a rain of milk and blood which fell at Rome in the consulship of M. Acilius and C. Portius. Finally, the historian Livy mentions a rain of blood which fell in the Forum Boarium. In times much nearer to our own, phenomena of this kind have been observed at various points in Europe, producing ridiculous alarms, and even leading to actual seditions.

The cause, or causes rather, of these so-called rains of blood are now well understood. Every one knows that they are to be attributed