The heritage of nature’s noblest grace,
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest,
Where man, creation’s tyrant, casts aside
His sword and scepter, pageantry and pride,
While, in his softened looks, benignly blend
The sire, the son, the husband, brother, friend.
Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strew with fresh flowers the narrow way of life;
In the clear heaven of her delightful eye,
An angel guard of love and graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet.
“Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found?”
Art thou a man?—a patriot?—look round;
Oh, thou shalt find, howe’er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home.
How far away from us is the sun? Are we to answer just as we think, or just as we know? On a fine summer day, when we can see him clearly, it looks as if a short trip in a balloon might take us to his throne in the sky, yet we know—because the astronomers tell us so—that he is more than ninety-one millions of miles distant from our earth.
Ninety-one millions of miles! It is not easy even to imagine this distance; but let us fancy ourselves in an express-train going sixty miles an hour without making a single stop. At that flying rate we could travel from the earth to the sun in one hundred and seventy-one years,—that is, if we had a road to run on and time to spare for the journey.
Arriving at the palace of the sun, we might then have some idea of his size. A learned Greek who lived more than two thousand years ago thought the sun about as large as the Peloponnesus; if he had lived in our country, he might have said, “About as large as Massachusetts.”
As large as their peninsula! The other Greeks laughed at him for believing that the shining ball was so vast. How astonished they would have been—yes, and the wise man too—if they had been told that the brilliant lord of the day was more than a million times as large as the whole world!
How many articles are made of ivory! Here is a polished knife-handle, and there a strangely-carved paper-cutter. In the same shop may be found albums and prayer-books with ivory covers; and, not far away, penholders, curious toys, and parasol-handles, all made of the glossy white material.
Where ivory is abundant, chairs of state, and even thrones are made of it; and in Russia, in the palaces of the great, floors inlaid with ivory help to beautify the grand apartments. One African sultan has a whole fence of elephants’ tusks around his royal residence; the residence itself is straw-roofed and barbarous enough, both in design and in structure. Yet imagine that ivory fence!