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THE MONK OF FURNESS ABBEY.
When from the world was lost that light sublime
These were the blest retreats where Peace might dwell
It was the hour when dying day-light throws
A parting smile of kindness on the world,
Is in his robes of shadowy splendour furled-
And when from wandering over shores afar
We turn our footsteps homeward—then how sweet A sister's first kind words of welcome are
Which fly—the wanderer on his way to greet.
When distant worlds appear arrayed on high
branches wave, But all is dark and silent as the grave.
Far to the East, where Syria's desert sands
There glides the serpent, solitary, slow,
How like Palmyra now that desert shrine
Snatched from the wreck of ages—where shall toll
W. R. G.
A FLORA OF BERWICK-ON-TWEED. *
We conceive it impossible for any one to look around him, and view the improvements which have of late years been effected in most of the sciences, without astonishment. Many of these were, till very lately, enveloped in such obscurity, and encumbered with such a load of technicalities, that the student frequently turned from them in disgust; or, if he happened to possess a sufficient share of patience to attain, after years of labour spent in poring over the writings of some fifty or sixty old authors, an acquaintance with the mere elements,—he had, even then, no more pretensions to the title of a Philosopher, or, in other words, no scientific attainments which qualified him to claim that rank, than might be acquired in as many months by a person of moderate abilities at the present day. Far indeed are we from wishing to depreciate the merits of our worthy forefathers, who with exemplary assiduity, now rarely to be met with, manfully encountered the serious obstacles opposed to their progress in knowledge; and still farther are we from meaning to insinuate that, had these difficulties stood in the way of the philosophical student of the nineteenth century, they would no sooner have met his “gifted eye" than, like a fake of snow under a sun-beam, they would have speedily dissolved. Such, however, is not our meaning, for we find in the superstition and bigotry which prevailed during the early ages,—in the circumstance, that the sciences were, in a manner, monopolized by a class of men who found it their interest to shut them up from the world at large,--in the two frequent, though unintentional, substitution of theory for fact,—in the want of proper instruments for pro
• A Flora of Berwick-on-Tweed, by George Johnston, M. D. F. R. S. E. 2 vols 1210. Loogman and Co-London. Carfrae aud Son-Edinburgh.
secuting discoveries--and in many other particulars which thwarted their advancement-quite enough to account satisfactorily for the slow progress of intellectual improvement, without impeaching the talents of the ancients in order to vindicate modern pre-eminence. The implicit adherence, which was over blindly paid to the dogmata of their predecessors, is especially worthy of notice; as by thus suppressing the sallies of original genius, and contining its investigations to one beaten track, an effectual barrier was erected against future movements. At last the human mind, too long enthralled, awoke from its apathy; and science, hitherto stern and forbidding, now attired herself in the simple robe of truth. Hence Botany, which had participated in the common gloom, assumed under the powerful hand of Linnæus a prominent place among its noble and delectable kindred. But though the very formidable obstacles, with which the Botanical student had previously to contend, have been in a great measure dissipated by the discovery of the Linnæan system of classification, and by the numerous subsequent improvements in vegetable physiology, yet it was reserved for the nineteenth century to impart to Botany such an agreeable and polished form as to attract even the ladies to the number of her votaries !
By no means do we consider the character of a Botanist estimable by the number and rarity of the plants he has examined ; on the contrary, we are of opinion that, before any one can arrive at those correct and philosophical views of the vegetable world essential to the formation of a good Botanist, a previous minute and careful examination of the structure and peculiarities of numerous species as they affect different soils and elevations, and occupy different places in the arrangement of Linnæus and Jussieu, is totally indispensable. For the purpose, therefore, of facilitating the progress of individuals engaged in this pursuit, and not altogether with a view of satisfying curiosity, various works have successively appeared-exhibiting the number of genera and species supposed to be indigenous to a particular district, containing the characters by which they may be
recognized, and recording the places where they have been found. Ву adverting to one of these the Botanist, who is anxious to examine the plants of a neighbourhood, is spared great labour, and is likewise enabled to traverse a much wider extent of ground than he could possibly overtake by his own unaided exertions. Of this kind is the work before us; which, in addition to the usual contents of such publications, contains a vast fund of other interesting matter.
Annexed to the preface at the beginning of the first volume is a very excellent sketch of the geology of Berwickshire, written by a friend of the author, and the first attempt, as we are told, yet made to investigate the structure of the county. Our limits prevent us from laying before our readers more than a few brief extracts illustrative of the style of the essay, the value of which is only diminished by the absence of an enquiry into the stratification of the coast, as the author himself remarks, “with any thing like minute attention.”
St. ABBs. “ Few parts of the kingdom can exhibit a finer and more splendid piece of coast-scenery than St. Abbs,—to him especially who surveys
it from the sea beneath, whether it be in the summer season when in calmness and security he sails over the peaceful and pellucid waters, amid gloomy caverns, rocky archways, and majestic cliffs—half-shattered by the storm and lightning, and shooting up aloft their giant greatness to the skies; or whether he visit it when the myriads of sea-fowl are clothing the lofty cliffs or darkening with their multitudes the noon-day sun, or filling all the surrounding echoes with their dissonant voices; or whether when the elements of sea and sky are mingled together, and the waves lashed up to foam, he sits securely on its mountain-top and eyes the maddening strife.”
“But it is not for its mere natural scenery that St. Abbs is so interesting it is, if possible, still more so in a geological point of view. In a sketch of this description it may be sufficient to describe St. Abbs as a huge insulated map of trap-rocks, of which the principal are trap-tuffa, amygdaloid and felspar porphyry. In the first of these rocks there is generally a basis of clay with imbedded portions of basalt, amygdaloid and porphyry. In the second rock there is also a distinct basis or ground, generally of a greenish coloured clay, containing amygdaloidal-shaped cavities filled with calcareous spar, zeolites, quartz nodules, and agates. In the last rock, the basis is generally felspar with imbedded chrystals of the same. When these rocks occur in the manner and with the characters now described, it is usual to consider them as subordinate to the old red sandstone; but where no formation of this kind is observable, and where the rocks within a few yards are evidently graywacke, as they are in the situation now before us, there seems no other way of describing the traprocks of St. Abbs but as subordinate to the transition gray wacke and graywacke slate. We have described St. A bbs as an insulated mountain mass, it being completely cut off from the wide extent of high ground on the west by a deep valley, in the centre of which is a marsh of considerable botanical interest.”
“ There are probably few places where the contrast, both in external aspect and in botanical phenomena, as well as in structure, is so remarkable as between the two sides of the valley, especially at the little inlet termed Pettycurwick. Standing by the sea-side at this small creek, and looking westward, we perceive, for many miles along the lofty coast, the most splendid displays of stratification, the strata being of all forms and in all positions, curved, zigzag, vertical, hori. zontal, &c.; but the outline both of the summits and the slope of the precipices we observe, in general, to be smooth and unbroken, and more like a vast sloping wall or mural defence, than a natural piece of rock scenery. Looking towards the east again, which consists of the high ground of St. Abbs, the outline is rugged, broken and highly picturesque, the sea in that direction being ranged with beetling crags and overhanging cliffs,—in one place hollowed out into magnificent caves and natural arches, and in another broken into wild and insulated pinnacles. In the botany of the two sides of the valley we have also mentioned that there is a difference, and this sufficient to attract the notice even of the most superficial observer. For instance, the Arenaria verna grows among the unstratified trap-rocks of “ the head” in the most beautiful luxuriance, while on the opposite side of the valley, though the distance in one place be not more than a few yards,