+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

supporting, encouraging him; doubling with her
life his life, his strength and his energies.
He saw the shadows of the children that
would have climbed round his knees,
supported him in age, amd transmitted to
posterity his honoured name.

He sat in the present himself, alone,
utterly alonea worn, worthless decrepit,
useless being; shut out from all that makes
life pleasant or valuable, or even endurable.

And beyond, what did he see in the future?
Death, standing there at the very threshold,
ready to bear him away: no respite, no time
to exercise the gift he had thus purchased;
none to retrieve the past, to utilise the
present, even at the moment it was revealed
by what means these might have been done.

Death he sawand beyond this nothing;
so far knowledge brought him, not one step
farther. On the land that lay on the other
side of the grave, her ray threw not a glimmer;
all was impenetrable darkness! He felt the
darkness extending to himself; dimming his
vision, thickening his perceptions, closing him
up in dull abstraction.

"In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou
shalt surely die." That one sentence
continually rung in his ears. The sense of all
else was lost to him. Finally, that too ceased,
and he lay dead at the foot of the tree of
the forbidden fruit.


SEVERAL distinguished instances have
appeared during the past half century of the
compatibility of music with optics. A
coincidence exists even in the very number of
the elements on which the respective sciences
are founded; to wit, the seven notes of the
gamut, and the seven prismatic colours into
which an angular bit of glass dissects a ray
of sunlight. Amongst distinguished amateurs
who have been accomplished simultaneously
in the arts that appeal to the ear and the eye,
I will mention no other names than those of
Kitchener, who went so far as to adapt a
melody to bubble and squeak, and of
Coddington, who was senior wrangler and an
admirable harpist. All I want now is to
point out the occurrence of a corresponding
modification in musical art as influenced by
modern musical instruments, and in the
visual power attainable by man as developed
by improved adaptations of perfected lenses.

In ancient music, a breve, that is to say a
short note, was subdivided into two semibreves
(its halves), and into four minims or least
notes (the halves of semibreves), as the
extreme of melodic rapidity. The giant of
harmony never dreamt of urging his pace to
perform the steps now executed by
many-twinkling feet. A minim was the acknowledged
ultimate subdivision of musical sound,
as to its temporal duration, till crotchets were
invented. Now, breves have gone the way of
mammoths and megatheriums; a semibreve
is a rarity, except when steadily held by the
unfaltering voice of the immortal organ; but
for ordinary composers, for popular ditties,
for operas which take the town by storm and
keep possession of it during their fleeting
day, a minim, once the least, is now practically
the longest extension of tone. It is
parted and portioned out into crotchets,
quavers, and semiquavers; while these again
are subjected to subdivision, till they are
chopped up and minced and pounded into
double-demi-semiquavers and finer stilltill
they reach the infinitesimally small fractions
of soundthe quick-darting grace-notes and
flashing ornamentsin short, the musical
animalcules and infusoriawhich are the
delight of modern throats and modern

While musical performers were practising
hard to perform minim passages with proper
agility, naturalists were straining their eyes
to get a peep at their organised minims
mites and such likebeyond which they had
little hopes of penetrating further and deeper
into the mysteries of animated nature. A
flea or a louse was to them a very small thing
indeed to investigate in detail; an itch insect,
or a parasite on another insect, was a material
minim, or the least of the little. The
discoverer of the circulation of the blood, never
lived to see it circulate. Now, it is but a
poor microscope which will not show the
globules in blood ; and their circulationsay
in the web of a frog's footis a spectacle
which it is far from difficult to exhibit, and
that without serious hardship or injury to
the frog itself. Our optical double-demi-
semiquavers are creatures which give every
evidence of their enjoyment of life; although
ten thousand of them may take up no more
room than that occupied by a grain of ordinary
sand. A dab of ditch-water on a slip
of glass is at this moment inviting me to
throw down my pen, to admire the number
and variety of its inhabitants. There are
really minims and minimissimumsall, too,
apparently beasts of prey. I see the larger
swallow the less; which are afterwards
beheld, through the transparent coats of their
devourers' stomachs, to be struggling in vain
against their fate. But, remembering the
acute conundrum, What is smaller than a
mite's mouth ? Answer: That which goes
into it, I conclude that the eyes of my most
atomic minims can behold coveys of game
and shoals of prey which to me remain
invisible. And, then, each of these least things
is endowed with life and motion, and must
be made up of muscles, nerves, a skin,
intestines, and circulating fluids, or, at least, of
parts analogous to such; so that however
minute they may be themselves, they are
composed of members minuter still. Their
progression, again, is mostly accomplished by
means of countless bristles, or cilia, which
flicker backwards and forwards with a
feathering motion, like the oars of a boat