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Laisse encore pour lui, quelques gouttes de miel ;
Vol. II. pp. 261, 262. It yet remains for us briefly to express our opinion, as to the literary and scientific character of the poem. And bere it is that we find it principally, and indeed woefully deficient.. In a metrical work, ushered into the world under the fostering care of the National Institute, and illustrated with notes drawn up by the most celebrated of its learned secretaries and members, we certainly had a right to expect a survey of science as it now exists, brought down to its latest discoveries; instead of which, however, we find scarcely a trace. of the most important and prominent features of the day, and indeed little that might not have been communicated to. wards the middle, or at farthest about the close of the last century.
We have already observed that half the poem is devoted to the explanation of the Four Elements, of which the title makes no mention whatever. But what have the four elements, to do with modern philosophy? three of which, instead of being elementary substances, are now well known to be compounds, while the very existence of the fourth (fire) is altogether denied as a substance sui generis by several of the first philosophers of the day.. We should certainly have as soon expected to have met with an arrangement, founded upon the vortices of Des Cartes, or the cycles and epicycles of Ptolemy. This is to revert to the system of Empedocles, instead of to announce the discoveries of our own age ; and ". The Nature of Things,” published nearly two thousand years ago, is in this respect a more modern poem than “ The Three Kingdoms of Nature.”
Had M. Delille been as deeply versed in recent chemistry as he ought to have been, he might, most conveniently, have
laid hold of a hint some time since suggested on the continent, of assigning to the gases the name of a fourth or gasenus kingdom of Nature; and he might hereby have reduced the whole of his four elements into one cómmon and elegant division, except indeed that of earth, or rather of the different species of ascertained earths, which immediately belong to the mine. ral kingdom.
In Book I, we have a tolerable account of the solar prism and of its phænomena as known to Sir Isaac Newton : but not a syllable of any discovery that has since taken place upon this subject. The author adverts to several of the more common proofs of light existing without heat, and heat without light ; but he appears totally ignorant that the sun throws down rays of three different descriptions at the same time, colorific, calorific, and deoxidizing, and that, when subjected to the prism, they all travel in different directions. The description of fire leads to that of electricity, and the Aurora Borealis; but not the remotest reference is made to Galvanism, or Voltaism as it is now more generally called ; nor is the name of Galvani or of Volta to be
met with in any part of the poem. . . . .• The elementary principles and general phænomena of Air
are detailed in easy versification in the ensuing book : the mirage is more fully described than we remember to have seen it by any preceeding poet: but we are astonished that no notice whatever is taken of meteoric stones, a phænomenon well known to Anaxagoras as early as four centuries before the Christian era, and which has peculiarly occupied the attention of the learned of all Europe within the last eight or ten years : our author's countryman M. Patrin, and M. Izarn, might have furnished him with some curious theories upon this subject. The element of water is hurried over in Book III : and though we are informed, both in the poems and the notes, of the constituent principles of air, no more notice is taken of those of water, than if our author were ignorant of them, or regarded it as a simple sube , stance. The process of evaporation is well described. In Book IV, however, which is intitled La Terre, we encountervery much out of place, and as though our author had just received a lesson upon the subject, a description of the principles of water in the following verses:
• Lavoisier, tu parais, et par toi l'univers
L'oxygène, propice aux facultés vitales,
L'hydrogène infiammable, en deux parts inégales."
said to be the five following, lime-stone, barytes, magnesia, alumine, and silica. All these are sufficiently characterized and identified: but to have brought this department of chemistry down to the present day, the poet should also have described the four ensuing also, making nine in the whole instead of five,--strontian, yttria, zirconia, glucina ; the three first of which were discovered and analysed at least twenty years ago, and the last 'eleven ; and concerning all which he might have gotten sufficient information, for a popular work, from Crell's Annales de Chimie. Of these four, however, he seems totally ignorant. The constituent elements of the diamond are most accurately glanced at, and a delicate and generous compliment paid to Sir Isaac Newton for his very extraordinary foresight in regard to this gem. Half this book, at least, ought to have been connected with the ensuing, intitled Regne Minéral; it is impossible to separate them. Nevertheless, upon the whole, it is one of the most accurate, so far as it goes, in a scientific view. We have been particularly pleased with the well merited compliment paid to M. Cuvier, on account of his admirable collection of skeletons of animals now altogether extinct. M. Cuvier's own note, also, appended to this passage, is worthy of himself, which is more than we can say of the notes in general. Book V, having been thus, unfortunately forestalled, is the meagrest of the whole. To fill up its dimensions, the diamond is again adverted to ; a most beggarly account is given of the metals of the present day, no kind of notice is taken of the very important doctrine of crystallography, nor even the name of Haüy mentioned once, except in tbe aotes. As little is said,
or even appears to have been known, of the decomposition - of the alkalies by Davy, by means of Voltaic electricity ; his name does not occur in the notes, nor even that of M. Delille's own countryman Gay Lussac, who has been so industriously following up the same experiments.
Our poet is far more at home in the sixth book, which is devoted to the vegetable kingdom : he can only afford a bird's-eye view, but it is a correct and masterly one. The two last books, upon the animal kingdom, have by no means pleased us equally. The greater part is trite and common.
We perceive, however, with equal pleasure and surprise, that , the poet has made himself acquainted with M. Huber's very
valuable natural history of the bee, which has incontrovertibly proved the supposed neutral to be a real.female with undeveloped female organs, but nevertheless capable of developement by a peculiar mode of treatment. We find no notice taken of the platypus, nor indeed of several other of the most curious animals of Australasia.
In a word; M. Delille only required to possess a more » correct knowledge of natural history, to have written a poem.. that would have rivalled the duration of his own language. : As it is, his immortality, in the present instance, is doubtful: the work will please, but cannot instruct : in a scientific view it is equally deficient and erroneous. :... Art. V. Essays on Professional Education, by R. L. Edgeworth, Esq., ...
.. F.R. S. M. R. I. A. &c. ren ".. . (Concluded from prage 25.) . .. THE third Essay is on Military and Naval Education. In
undertaking to sketch the proper education for the se-' veral professions, Mr. Edgeworth has omitted, apparently by design, to premise any observations tending to fix the moral estimate of each, for the assistance of those persons who: are compelled to consult a delicate conscience in choosing the professions of their children. A few observations of this kind might not have been out of place, at the beginning of an essay on the method of making a soldier; for such a conscience may perversely raise a very strong question, whether it be right to destine a child to the occupation of slaying men ; and, happily for our country; (or unhappily, as we believe it will be more according to the current moral principles of the times to say) there are a certain proportion of people who cannot dismiss in practice their convictions of right, even though flattered by a presumption, that their names, in their sons, migbt attain the splendor of military fame.' We cannot be unaware how niuch offence there are persons capable of taking, at a plain description of war in the terms expressive of its chief operation. And it is, to be sure, very liard that what has been bedizened with the most magnificent .epithets of every language, what has procured for so many men' the idolatry of the world, what has crowned them with royal, imperial, and, according to the usual slang on the subject, immortal honours, what has obtained their anotheosis in history and poetry,- it is hard and vexatious that this same acored maker of emperors and demigods, should be reducible in literal truth of description to the occupation of slaying meni,' and should therefore hold its honours at the mercy of the first gleam of sober sense that shall break upon mankind. But, however whimsical it may appear to recollect that the great business of war is slaughter, how." ever deploraüly low-minded it may appear to regard all the splendor of fame with which war has been blazoned, much in the same light as the gilding of that hideous idol to which the Mexicans sacrificed their human hecatombs, however
foolish it may be thought to make a difficulty of consenting to nierge the eternal laws of morality in the policy of states, and however presumptuous it may seem to condemu'iso many privileged, and eloquent,' and learned, and reverend personages, as any and every war is sure to find its advocates, it remains an obstinate fact, that there lare some men 'of such perverted perceptions as to apprehend that revenge, rage, and cruelty, blood, and fire, wquids, shrieks, groans, and death, with an infinite accompaniment of collateral crimes and miseries, are the elements of what so many besotted mortals have worshipped in every age under the title of glorious war.” To be told that this is just the common-place with which dull and envious moralists have always railed against martial glory, will not in the slightest degree modify their apprehension of a plain matter of fact. What signifies it whether moralists are dull, envious, and dealers in commonplace, or not? No matter who says it, inor: from what motive ; the fact is, that war consis!s of the components here enumerated, and is therefore an infernal abomination, when maintaitied for any object, and according to any measures not honestly within the absolute necessities of defence. In these justifying necessities, we include the peril to which another nation with perfect innocence on its part may be exposed, from the injustice of a third power; as in the in: stance of the Dutch people, saved by Elizabeth from being destroyed by Spain, Now it needs not be said that wars, justifiable, on either side, on the pure principles of lawful defence, are the rarest things in history. Whole centuries all over darkened with the horrors of war may be explored from, beginning to end, without perhaps finding two instances in which any one beltigerent power can be pronounced to have
adopted every precaution, and made every effort, concession, · and sacrifice, required by Christian morality, in order to avoid war; to have entered into it with extreme reluctance, to have entertained, while prosecuting it, an ardent desire for peace, promptly scizing every occasion and expedient of concilia. tion; to have sincerely forsworn all ambitious objects, to have spurned the foolish pride of not being the first to offer. peace, and to have ended the war the very first hour that it was found that candid negociation and moderate terms would be acceded to by the enemy. It is certain, at least, that the military history of this country is not the record where such examples are to be songht. But it may be presuned, we suppose, that those parents whose moral principles are to be of any use to their cbildren, will abhor the idea of their sons being employed in any war that has not the grounds of justification here enumerated. But then, in order to their