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In the cowslip's bell I lie,
VIRTUOSO who lives at a little distance from town, and who knows how fond I am of every produce of the vegetable world, left me, a few days since, a present of a very uncommon kind at this season of the year, a nosegay. It is not easy to suppress one's surprise at such an instance of the effects an artful management can produce among these naturally temporary beauties; one wonders to see it, as it were, anticipate treir destined appearance, and produce, at this deal season, the children of the warmer months. Heyho thinks, however, thạt art, even carried to happy extent, is the proper subject of his admil tion while he examines such an object, has but poor idea of the infinite superiority of nature and while his eyes are open to the effects of limited, a narrow improvement on the thing he admires, is blind to the superior beauties which the meanest portion of the whole affords ; beauties that ought to absorb all his power of contemplation : and he is equally blind to the hand which created not only those objects of his admiration, but the organs through which he performs it.
The principal flower in this elegant bouquette was a carnation : the fragrance of this, át so unusual a season, led me to enjoy it frequently and near; the sense of smelling was not the only one affected on these occasions; while that was satiated with the powerful sweet, the ear was constantly attacked by an extremely soft, but agreeable murmuring sound. Curiosity is a first principle in my nature on all occasions of this kind. It was easy to know that some animal, within the covert, must be the musician, and that the little noise must come from some little body suited to produce it. I am furnished with apparatuses of a thousand kinds for these occasions. I instantly distended the lower part of the flower, and placing it in a full light, could discover troops of little insects frisking and capering with wild jollity among the narrow pedestals that supported its leaves, and the little threads that occupied its centre. What a fragrant world for their habitation! what a perfect security from all annoyance in the deep husk that surrounded their scene of action.
I was not cruel enough to pull out any one
of them for examination, but adapting à microscope to take in, at one view, the whole base of the flower, I gave myself an opportunity of contemplating what they were about, and this for many days together, without giving them the least disturbance. Thus could I discover their economy, their passions, and their enjoyments. With what adoration to the hand that gave being to these minute existences must a heart, capable of a due warmth in his praise, see the happiness he has bestowed on them! but, alas! all magnitude is but comparative; an accident of matter, not one of its properties; and, in reality, a very nothing, in no degree affecting the subjects themselves, though of such seeming consequence to us.
The microscope, on this occasion, had given what nature seemed to have denied to the objects of contemplation. The base of the flower extended itself under its influence to a vast plain; the slender stems of the leaves became trunks of so many stately cedars the threads in the middle seemed columns of massy structure, supporting at the top their several ornaments; and the narrow spaces between were enlarged into walks, parterres, and terraces.
On the polished bottoms of these, brighter
than Parian marble, walked in pairs, alone, or in larger companies, the winged. inhabitants : these from little dusky flies, for such only the naked eye would have shewn them, were raised to glorious glittering animals, stained with living purple, and with a glossy gold that would have made all the labours of the loom contemptible in the comparison.
I could, at leisure, as they walked together, admire their elegant limbs, their velvet shoulders, and their silken wings; their backs vying with the empyrean in its blue; and their eyes, each formed of a thousand others, out-glittering the little planes on a brilliant; above description, and too great almost for admiration. I could observe them here singling out their favourite females, courting them with the music of their buzzing wings, with little songs formed for their little organs, leading them from walk to walk among the perfumed shades, and pointing out to their taste the drop of liquid nectar just bursting from some vein within the living trunk: here were the perfumed groves, the more than myrtle shades of the poet's fancy, realised; here the happy lovers spent their days in joyful dalliance; or, in the triumph of their little hearts, skipped after one another from stem to stem among the painted trees; or winged their short flight to the close shadow of some broader leaf, to revel undisturbed in the heights of all felicity.
Nature, the God of nature, has proportioned the period of existence of every creature to the means of its support. Duratiòn, perhaps, is as much a comparative quality as magnitude; and these atoms of being, as they appear to us, may have organs that leñgthen minutes, to their perception, into years. In a flower destined to remain but a few days, length of life, according to our ideas, could not be given to its inhabitants; but it may be according to theirs. I saw, in the course of observation of this new world, several succeeding generations of the creatures it was peopled with ; they passed, under my eye, through the several successive states of the egg and the reptile form in a few hours: and, after these, they burst forth at an instant into their full growth and perfection in their wing-form. In this they enjoyed their span of being, as much as we do years; they feasted, sported, revelled in delights; fed on the living fragrance that poured itself out at á thousand openings at once before them; enjoyed their loves, laid the foundation for their succeeding progeny, and, after a life thus happily filled up, sunk into an easy dissolution. With