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When this habit is acquired of verifying time as a reality, small pieces and fragments of it will acquire a perceptible value never apprehended before. And then the painful reflection
may often occur, “How rich I have been,-had I but been aware of it!" —John Foster (1770—1843).
6 Time flows from instants, and of these each one
Should be esteemed as if it were alone:
-Sir John Beaumont. 7. The lapse of time and rivers is the same;
Both speed their journey with a restless stream;
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
A difference strikes at length the musing heart:
[The poem, of which the following are some of the closing verses, was written by Milton in November, 1637, as his contribution to a volume dedicated to the memory of Edward King, who was drowned on his passage to Ireland from Chester in August of that year. The survivors of the wreck told how King went down, kneeling in prayer on the sinking ship. In the poem, which is a pastoral one, Milton's friend is represented as a shepherd under the name of Lycidas, whose death is mourned over by an "uncouth swain” singing to "the oaks and rills.”]
Call the vales, and bid them hither cast
And purple all the ground with vernal flow'rs. 2. Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted crow-foot, and pale jessamine,
3. Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more;
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 4. So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves;
-John Milton. mild whispers use, dwell, are wont to be.
the swart star; swart means black, compare swarthy: it is herc applied to the sun as making black or withered.
the rathe primrose, the early primrose. Primrose means the first or early rose.
Amaranthus (lit. unfading), a species of plants the flowers of which even when cut do not soon wither.
woful, means full of sadness : your sorrow, the object of your lamentations : unexpressive, that cannot be expressed or uttered.
LIGHT AND LIFE.
1. Of all the agencies which are at work in the material universe the light of the sun is doubtless the most remarkable, whether we study it in its relations to health, to science, or to beauty. In the language of metaphor light is the very life-blood of nature. Without it everything material would fade and perish. It is the fountain of all our knowledge of the external universe; and what is more remarkable, it is the historiographer or history-writer of the visible creation, recording and transmitting to future ages all that is beautiful and sublime in organic and inorganic nature, and stamping on perennial tablets the hallowed scenes of domestic life, the ever-varying phases of social intercourse, and the more exciting scenes of bloodshed and war which Christians still struggle to reconcile with the obligations of their faith.
2. The influence of light on physical life, it is true, is a subject of which we know little; still the science of light consists of a body of facts and laws of the most extraordinary kind, affording simple and lucid explanations of that boundless and brilliant array of phenomena which light creates and manifests and develops. Not only has it given to astronomy and navigation their telescopes and instruments of discovery, to the botanist, the naturalist, and the physiologist their microscopes of various kinds, but it has shown to the student of nature how the juices of plants and animals, and the integuments and filaments of organic life elicit from the pure sunbeam its prismatic elements-clothing fruit and flower with their gorgeous attire, bathing every aspect of nature in the rich hues of spring and autumn, giving to the sky its azure and to the clouds their gold.
3. When we treat of light in its relations to health, we enter on a subject almost entirely new. Still we venture to say that science has services to render in this department of great importance and value. It furnishes us with principles and methods by which the light of day may be thrown into apartments which a sunbeam has never reached, and where the poisons and malaria of darkness have been undermining sound constitutions and carrying thousands prematurely to the grave.
4. Man in his most perfect type is doubtless to be found in the temperate regions of the globe, where the solar influences of light, heat, and actinism are so nicely balanced. Under the scorching heat of the tropics he cannot call into exercise his highest powers. The calorific rays are all-powerful there, and lassitude of body and immaturity of mind are their necessary results; while in the darkness of the polar regions, the distinctive characters of our species almost disappear in the absence of those genial influences which are so powerful in the organic world.
5. It is well known to all who seek for health in a southern climate that an ample share of light is considered necessary for its recovery. In the hotels of France and Italy the apartments with a southern exposure are earnestly sought for, and under the advice of his physician the patient strives to fix himself in these bright localities. Nor can the salutary effect be entirely due either to the greater warmth of the solar rays-for a high temperature might easily be artificially maintained-nor to the cheering effect of light upon an invalid, for that influence is not excluded from apartments so situated that from a western or even northern window we may enjoy the finest scenery illuminated by the full blaze of a meridian sun.
6. A former physician to the Emperor of Russia made light as an agent in the cure of disease the subject of special study. As the result of his inquiries he found that the patients who were cured in those apartments of the hospital which were without light were only a fourth of the number of those who went out cured from properly lighted rooms.
7. If then, as we have seen, the light of day contributes to the development of the human form and lends its aid to art and nature in the cure of disease, it becomes a personal and national duty to construct our dwelling.