The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.

    For faithful to its sacred page,
      Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
    Nor let the type grow pale with age,
      That first spoke peace to man.


[Illustration:  A LUNAR RAINBOW.]

The moon sometimes exhibits the extraordinary phenomenon of an iris or rainbow, by the refraction of her rays in drops of rain during the night-time.  This appearance is said to occur only at the time of full moon, and to be indicative of stormy and rainy weather.  One is described in the Philosophical Transactions as having been seen in 1810, during a thick rain; but, subsequent to that time, the same person gives an account of one which perhaps was the most extraordinary of which we have any record.  It became visible about nine o’clock, and continued, though with very different degrees of brilliancy, until past two.  At first, though a strongly marked bow, it was without colour, but afterwards became extremely vivid, the red, green, and purple being the most strongly marked.  About twelve it was the most splendid in appearance.  The wind was very high at the time, and a drizzling rain falling occasionally.

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    At summer eve, when Heaven’s ethereal bow
    Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
    Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
    Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky? 
    Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
    More sweet than all the landscape smiling near? 
    ’Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
    And robes the mountain in its azure hue. 
    Thus, with delight, we linger to survey,
    The promised joys of life’s unmeasured way;
    Thus from afar each dim-discovered scene
    More pleasing seems than all the past hath been;
    And every form that fancy can repair
    From dark oblivion, glows divinely there. 
    Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden, grow
    Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe. 
    Won by their sweets, in nature’s languid hour,
    The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower;
    Then, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
    What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring! 
    What viewless forms th’ Eolian organ play,
    And sweep the furrow’d lines of anxious care away! 
    Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore
    Earth’s loneliest bounds and ocean’s wildest shore. 
    Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
    His bark, careering o’er unfathom’d fields;
    Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar
    Where Andes, giant of the western star,
    With meteor-standard to the winds unfurl’d,
    Looks from his throne of clouds o’er half the world. 
    Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm,

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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