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Ah, sweet conception! enviable guest,
    Lodged in the pleasant palace of her brain,
Summoned a minute, at her rich behest,
    To wander fugitive the world again,
What does she think of? Of the dusty bridge,
    Spanning the mallow shadows in the heat,
        And porching in its hollow the cool wind;
Or of the poplar on the naked ridge;
    Or of the bee that, clogged with nectared feet,
        Hums in the gorgeous tulip-bell confined.

At times, her gentle brows are archly knit
    With tangled subtleties of gracious thought;
At times, the dimples round her mouth are lit
    By rosy twilights from some image caught.
What does she think of? Of the open book
    Whose pencilled leaves are fluttering on her knee;
        Or of the broken fountain in the grass;
Or of the dumb and immemorial rook,
    Perched like a wing├Ęd darkness on the tree,
        And watching the great clouds in silence pass?

I know not ; myriad are the phantasies
    That trouble the still dreams of maidenhood,
And wonderful the radiant entities
    Shaped in the passion of her brain and blood.
O Fancy! through the realm of guesses fly,
    Unlock the rich abstraction of her heart
        (Her soul is second in the mystery);
Trail thy gold meshes thro' the Summer sky;
    Question her tender breathings as they part,
Tell me, Revealer, that she thinks of me.


We have most of us, in our youth, been
amused and instructed by colouring and filling
up outline maps; and it is natural enough for
dwellers on land to study the sinuosities of
terra firma. But land constitutes only the
minor portion of the surface of our globe, which
is made up of about one-third dry land and two-
thirds deep water. Moreover, we are wayfarers,
almost dwellers even, on the ocean. Were a
census of the world's "floating population," in
the literal sense of the word, taken, it would
amount to many tens of thousands. And yet
how few of us direct our attention to the condition,
of this enormous area! Charts are scarcely
admitted into the educational course of the
terrestrial multitude; and passengers on board
an outward-bound vessel are helpless babes
born full-grown into an unknown world of
waters. It will be our own fault, now, if we
continue ignorant of the Physical Geography of
the Seaa modern science, of which Captain
Maury, of the United States navy, has been,
and continues to be, the persevering pioneer.

The great and interesting work which he has
given to the world grew out of the researches
connected with his Wind and Current Charts,
in which the experience of many navigators was
collected. By putting down on a chart the
tracks and the observations of numerous vessels
on the same voyage, but at different times, in
different years, and at all seasons, it was plain
that future navigators would have for their
guide the combined experience of all whose
tracks were thus recorded. The young mariner,
instead of groping his way along in uncertainty
and hesitation, would here find at once the
teachings of a thousand navigators to guide
him. He might set out upon his first voyage
with as much confidence in his own knowledge
of the winds and the currents to be encountered
as though he himself had already been that way
a thousand times before.

Such a chart could not fail to commend itself
to intelligent ship-masters, and such a chart
was constructed for them. They took it to sea;
they tried it; and, to their surprise and delight,
they found that, with the knowledge it afforded,
the remote corners of the earth were brought
closer together, in some instances, by many
days' sail. The passage hence to the equator
alone was shortened ten days. Before the
commencement of this undertaking the average
passage to California was one hundred and
eighty-three days; but, with these charts for
their guide, navigators have reduced that
average, and brought it down to one hundred and
thirty-five days. Between England and
Australia the old average time was one hundred and
twenty-four days going out, and about the same
coming back, making the round voyage one of
about two hundred and fifty days. But by
these charts, and the system of research to
which they have given rise, the outward passage
has been reduced to ninety-seven days on the
average, and the homeward passage has been
made in sixty-three days under canvas alone,
completing a round voyage of only one hundred
and sixty days' duration, or ninety days less
than formerly. In Bombay it has been
estimated that this system of research, if extended
to the Indian Ocean, and embodied in a set of
charts for that sea, would produce an annual
saving to British commerce, in those waters
alone, of one or two millions of dollars, and in
all seas, of ten millions.

The quick practical mind of the enterprising
ship-master saw the advantages of the scheme
at once. In a little while there were more than
a thousand navigators engaged day and night, in
all parts of the ocean, in making and recording
observations according to uniform plan, and
in furthering this attempt to increase our
knowledge as to the winds and the currents of
the sea, and other phenomena that relate to the
safe navigation of its waters, and to its physical
geography. All who use the sea are equally
interested in the undertaking. The government
of the United States, so considering the matter,
invited all the maritime states of Christendom
to a conference, which met in Brussels, in
August, 1853, and which recommended a plan
of observations to be followed on board the
vessels of all friendly nations.

The sea has thus been brought regularly
within the domains of philosophical research,
and also crowded with observers.  In peace and
war alike these observations are to be carried
on; and, in the case of any of the vessels on
board of which they are conducted being
captured, the Abstract Logas the journal which
contains these observations is calledis to
be held sacred.  It is a comforting spectacle