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Islands. It is so thickly matted over with gulf weeds that the speed of vessels passing through it is often much retarded. When the companions of Columbus saw it, they thought it marked the limits of navigation, and became alarmed. To the eye, at a little distance, it seems substantial enough to walk upon. Patches of the weed are always to be seen floating along the outer edge of the Gulf Stream. Now, if bits of cork or chaff, or any floating substance, be put into a basin, and a circular motion be given to tho water, all the light substances will be found crowding together near the centre of the pool, where there is the leastmotion. Just such a basin is the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf Stream; and the Sargasso Sea is the centre of the whirl.

Columbus first found this weedy sea, in his voyage of discovery: there it has remained to this day, moving up and down, and changing its position according to the seasons, the storms, and the winds.

Exact observations as to its limits and their range, extending back for fifty years, assure us that its mean position has not been altered since that time.

Macry.

THE OCEAN.

[lord George Byron was bom in London in 1788. His father was Captain John Byron, and his mother Miss Gordon "of Gight, an Aberdeenshire heiress, whom Captain Byron had married solely for her fortune. Through the licentious conduct of her profligate husband, Mrs. Byron's fortune having been greatly narrowed, she was compelled to retire with her infant son to Aberdeen, and young George was placed in the grammar school of that city, where he received the rudiments of his education. The poet has immortalized his affectionate recollections of his early life in Scotland in " Lochnagar," and the verses of "Auld Lang Syne" in " Don Juan." In 1798 he succeeded to the family title and estates, and was sent by his guardian, Lord Carlisle, to Harrow, and thence to Cambridge in 1804, where he became chiefly remarkable for his eccentric habits and his defiance of the rules of discipline. On quitting Cambridge he soon after published his "Hours of Idleness;" the severe criticism of which, in the "Edinburgh Review," elicited the first specimen of the noble poet's real powers in the satire "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." Re3tless and misanthropic, Lord Byron now resolved to make a tour on the continent, from which he returned in 1811, but soon set out again on a similar excursion. The insurrection of the Greeks having broken out in 1821, he resolved to devote his fortune, his pen, and his sword to their cause. He caught a fever in consequence of his exertions, and died at Missolonghi in 1824. The poetic genius of Lord Byron was capable of soaring to the sublime, but sometimes descended to a reckless profligacy. A few of his leading works are "Childe Harold," "The Bride of Abydos," "Lara," "Hebrew Melodies," "Don Juan," Ac]

TnERS is a pleasure' in the pathless woods;

There is a rapture' on the lonely shore;

There is society' where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but nature more,

Prom these our interviews; in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the universe, and feel

What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, tlou deep' and dark-blue ocean—roll!

Ten thousand fleets' sweep over thee' in vain;

Man' marks the earth with ruin—his control'

Stops with thy shore; upon the watery plain,

The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain

A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, ,

When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,

He sinks into thy depths' with bubbling groan,

Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps' are not upon thy paths—thy fields'

Are not a spoil for him—thou dost arise .

And shake him from thee; the vile strength' he wield3

For earth's destruction' thou' dost all despise,

Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,

And send'st him, shivering' in thy playful spray,

And howling, to his gods, where haply lies

His petty hope' in some near port or bay,

And dashest him again to earth—there let him lay.

The armaments' which thunder-strike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs' tremble' in their capitals—
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs' make
Their clay creator' the vain title take'

Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war:
These' are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.

Thy shores' are empires, changed in all' save thee—-
Assyria, Greece, Kome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters' wasted them' while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay'
Has dried up realms to deserts:—not so thou,
Unchangeable' save to thy wild waves' play—
Time' writes no wrinkle' on thine azure brow—
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now!

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form'

Glasses itself in tempests!—in all time—

Calm or convulsed, in breeze, or gale, or storm,

Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime'

Dark-heaving—boundless, endless, and sublime!

The image of Eternity!—the throne

Of the Invisible!—Even from out thy slime'

The monsters of the deep' are made! Each zeme'

Obeys thee! Thou goest forth, dread! fathomless! alouc!

Byron.

PLANTS, AND HOW THEY MULTIPLY.

Anther, (antheros, anthos, G.)

Apex, (apex, L.) the tip or point.

Calyx, [calyx, L. and G.)

Corolla, (corolla, corona, L.)

Cryptogamic, (cryptos, gamos, G.) concealing reproduction.

Cuticle, (cutis, L.) skin or outer covering.

Fecundate, (foeeundus, L) to make fruitful.

Filament, (fllamenta, filum, L.)

Ovary, (ovum, L.) the case which contains the ovule. Hence also ovule,

'the undeveloped seed.

Petal, (pefflgn, G.) a flower-leaf.

Phanerogamic, (phaneroa, gamos, G.)

showing reproduction.
Pistil, (pistiltum, L._)
Pollen, (pollen, pollis, L.)
Sepal, (sepio, L.I
Stamen, tsto, L.j
Stigma, lL. and G.)
Style, (stylus, L., stylos, G.)
Tunicle, (tunica, L.)a natural covering.
Viscid, (viscidus, viscits, L.) clammy,

sticky, adhesive, tenacious. (Also

viscous).

Whorl, Ifrom the same root as E. whirl and warble] a ring or circle of leaves arranged round A common centre.

REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS OP PLANTS.

Every organized body, whether animal or vegetable, is the subject of perpetual change. We have seen how plants spring from seed, and how their subsequent development is provided for by those organs which collect, prepare, and assimilate their food. But these processes will not go on for ever. There comes an inevitable period of decay, when the vital powers will languish, and ultimately cease. Thus the world would soon become a dead and doleful waste, were it not that the principle of life is from time to time renewed. The individual dies, but the race does not perish. In addition, then, to the wonderful mechanism by which vegetable life is supported, we have to consider the still more remarkable functions by whose operation it is reproduced and multiplied.

In those plants which are propagated by means of seeds, whether dicotyledonous or monocotyledonous, the organs of reproduction are all included in the flower or blossom, which gradually ripens into fruit. The fruit, when fully matured," either is, or contains the seed. But acotyledonous plants are entirely destitute both of flowers and fruit. Instead of seeds, they have those seed-like bodies called spores or sporules, produced from the living plant by means of certain obscure organs, whose nature and mode of action are not well understood. In many cases it is difficult even to ascertain what are the organs by which this function is performed. That there must be, in every species, the faculty of reproduction, cannot be reasonably doubted j but it seems often impossible to determine how it operates, or even in what part of the plant it resides. All plants may therefore be divided, according to the nature of their reproductive organs, into two great classes, flowerless and flowering, or, in the language of botanists, cryptogamic and phanerogamic. Phanerogamic plants are by far the most numerous and important.

The flowers of different species present the "greatest variety of external form, but they are all, in structure, more or less analogous to each other. They grow from the stalk or axis of the plant, very much in the same way as ordinary leaves, of which, indeed, all their parts may be regarded as so many different modifications. The arrangement of these parts will be best understood by referring to the accompanying illustrations. Fig. 10 shows the external coverings. In fig. 9 these are removed, so as to exhibit the internal,

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

and, as we shall see, more essential organs. A cross section of the whole flower is represented in fig. 11. The outermost covering is the calyx (a), consisting of a circle or whorl of more or less modified leaves, in which, as in a cup, the rest of the flower is inserted. The calyx is generally, but not always, green. Different from it in this respect is the next whorl, called the corolla (b). It is the ornamental part of the flower, and is in most cases gaily coloured. At first, it is wrapped up in the calyx, but gradually expands and overtops it, becoming, in its turn, a protective covering to the internal organs. These are the stamens (c eZ) and pistil (e fg), which are directly concerned in the production of the seed, and must therefore be present in every fertile flower, whereas the calyx and corolla are frequently wanting. The stamens form one or more whorls, surrounding the pistil, which occupies the centre j and, when there are more pistils than one, they too are arranged in whorls. It is

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