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par-ti-cle [L. pars, a part], a very small portion or part. clime T[Gk. klima, a slope), a country or region, so called from the supposed
slope of the earth from the poles to the equator. freez-ing (Gk. phrisso, to shiver), shivering with cold or terror, hardening into ice. transpa-rent (L. trans, through ; pareo, to come forth), clear, pervious to light. In the winter we often have great falls of snow in this country, especially in Scotland and the northern parts of England. Down, down it comes in feathery flakes, dancing about in the air as if the filmy particles were alive and sportively pursuing each other until, gently reaching the earth, there they rest, and gradually cover the landscape with a mantle of the purest white.
Snow is a curious thing; and when a native of some tropical region visits a northern clime, and sees, for the first time, a fall of snow, he is filled with surprise and admiration, and so are children in our own country. “Look, father,” said a little child, who was standing at a window gazing with wonder into the garden whitened with snow; see what waste! O father, what waste, what waste ! ”
"What do you mean, my boy ? " the father replied. “I ** see no waste."
“O father," said the child again, quickly," don't
you this flour ? Somebody has covered the garden all over with flour.”
The boy was about three years of age, and as it is not often that snow covers the ground in London, this was the first time he had seen it. Great indeed was the surprise of the little fellow when he was told that what he took to be flour was water, which had fallen from the clouds in that form. He will never forget the first time he saw snow.
In all ages snow has excited the admiration of men. The psalmist says, “ He giveth snow like wool ; He scattereth the hoar frost like ashes. He sendeth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand against His cold ? " 16 At His commandment, says the wise son of Sirach,“ He maketh the snow to fall apace. As birds flying He scattereth the snow, and the falling down thereof is as the lighting of grasshoppers. The eye marvelleth at the beauty of the whiteness thereof, and the heart is astonished at the raining of it.”
Homer, the venerable sire of bards, has described a shower of snow and its extensive effects, in a noble strain of poetry :
“In winter's bleak, uncomfortable reign,
A snowy inundation hides the plain;
Drink the dissolving eces as they fall." Snow is formed by the freezing of the vapours in the atmosphere.
Snow differs from the particles of hoar frost in being crystallized, which they are not. This appears on the examination of a flake of snow by a magnifying glass, when the whole of it will seem composed of fine shining spicula, or points, diverging like rays from a centre. As the flakes fall down through the atmosphere, they are continually joined by more of these radiated spicula, and thus increase in bulk like drops of rain or hailstones.
Dr. Grew, in a discourse on the nature of snow, observes hat many parts of it are of a regular figure, and form, for he most part, so many little rowels or stars of six points, ind are as perfect and transparent ice as any we see on a pond. Upon each of these points are other points, set at
he same angles as the main points themselves, among which there are divers other irregular points, which are chiefly broken pieces and fragments of the regular ones.
Others, again, by various winds, appear to have been thawed and frozen again into clusters irregular, so that it seems as if the whole body of snow was an infinite mass of icicles irregularly figured. That is, a cloud of vapours being gathered into drops, those drops forthwith descend and, in their descent, meeting with a freezing air as they pass through a colder region, each drop is immediately frozen into an icicle shooting itself forth into several points ; but these, still continuing their descent, and meeting with some intermitting gales of warmer air, or, in their continual waftage to and fro, touching upon each other, are a little thawed, blunted, and frozen into clusters, or entangled so as to fall down in what we call flakes.
Snow, although it appears to be soft, is really hard, because it is true ice. It seems soft, because, at the first touch of the finger upon its sharp edges or points, they melt; otherwise they would pierce the finger like so many lancets.
Dr. Clarke, in his account of his travels in Russia, records a very curious and beautiful phenomenon which he witnessed before the breaking-up of the winter season at St. Petersburg :
"Snow, in the most regular and beautiful crystals, fell gently on our clothes, and on the sledge, as we were driving in the streets; all of them possessed exactly the same figure and the same dimensions. Every particle consisted of a wheel or star, with six equal rays, bounded by circumferences of equal diameters. They had all of them the same number of rays branching from a common centre. The size of each of these little stars was equal to the circle presented by dividing a pea into two equal parts. This appearance continued during three hours, in which time no
other snow fell, and there was sufficient leisure to examine them with the strictest attention.”
The lightness of snow, although it is firm ice, is owing to the excess of its surface in comparison to the matter contained under it; and thus gold, the most ponderous of all bodies, when beaten into leaves, will ride upon the least breath of air. The whiteness of snow is owing to the smal particles into which it is divided : for ice, when pounded, will become equally white.
In the Arctic regions, what is called "red snow is some times found, and excites some alarm among the superstitious. It
appears to be common snow coloured by red oxide of iron in a state of extremely minute division, and a vegetable principle, belonging to some lichen of a resinous character and of an orange-red tint. The colouring matter is stated to penetrate to various depths, and is found to consist of exceedingly minute globules, when examined under the microscope.
How wonderful are the works of God! and all are proofs of His wisdom, power, and goodness. The snow is useful in many ways. It covers the young herbage, and protects it against being damaged by the frost, and, on melting, it penetrates the earth thoroughly with moisture. On the tops of the hills, where the rain would rapidly descend from their summits, and run with violence down into the chasms below, the snow, by melting, soaks into the scanty soil, enriches it, feeds the roots of trees and smaller vegetables, and causes them to be verdant in spring and fruitful in
The engraving which accompanies this brief account of snow and its formation in the atmosphere, exhibits some of the varied and beautiful forms that snow crystals present when viewed through a powerful magnifying glass.
1. Make a list of persons named in this lesson, giving with each on word descriptive of what he was.
2. Account for the lightness and colour of snow. 3. Give in other words the extract from Dr. Clarke's travels. 4. What is meant by Sire of bards ? To whom is it applied here! What English poet is similarly described ?
THE SCHOOL OF PLAY.
H. G. B. HUNT.
[Written at the age of fourteen.) clam-our (L. clamo, to cry aloud), a shout, a loud continuous outcry. con-trol (F. contre, against ; róle, a roll, list, or catalogue), to manage, to check, to govern. goal (W. gwyal, a staff], an end or aim, from the pole or staff which marks the end of a course. de-fen-sive (L. defendo, to ward off; from de, off or from; fendo (an old Latin verb) to strike), serving to ward off, or guard against attack.
For boyhood's sport and game,
A clarion clamour raise ;
Of sterner and stonier days,
With honest schoolboy praise ?
With a sure and steady aim;
Is fitting well his frame
In life's momentous game.
And force defensive wield,
On a larger and later field ;
With a skill that will not yield.
Will learn to struggle with foe ;
With poverty, sin, and woe;
Which Providence plans below.
Of a budding manhood great ;
Of a talent and strength innate ;