« ZurückWeiter »
tracheæ or air vessels ; by which they have an immediate communication with the air, and partake of its moisture and heat, &c. These trachez are very visible in the leaf of the scabiose, vine, &c.
Hence it is, that all wood, even the hardest and most solid, swells in moist weather; the vapours easily insinuating themselves into tle pores thereof, especially of that which is lightest and driest. And hence we derive a v ry extaord nary use of wood, viz. for breaking rocks and mill-stones. The method at the quarries is this: Having cut a rock into a cylinder, they divide triat into several lesser cylinders, by making holes at the proper distances round the great one : these holes they fill with so many pieces of sallow wood, dried in an oven; which, in m ist weather, becoming impregňated with the humid corpuscles of the air, swell; and, like wedges, break or cleave the rocks into several stones.
The speedy drying of the surface of the earth, is a sign of a northerly wind and fair weather ; and its becoming moist, of southerly wind and rain. Hence the farmer may be instructed, never to trust a sun shiny day, while the surface of the earth continues wet; and to rely on a change to dry weather, as soon as he observes the moisture dried up, even though the appearance of the clouds should not be favorable ; for the air sucks up all the moisture on the surface of the earth, even though the sky be overcast, and that is a sure sign of fair weather ; but if the earth continues moist, and water stands in shallow places, no trust should be put in the clearest sky, for in this case it is deceitful.
More Signs from Animals.
GAINSTrain fleasbite more than common, spi
ders crawl abroad, bees stir not far from their hives. On the contrary, spiders' webs in the air, oron the grass or trees, foretel very fair and hot weather; so do bees when they fly far from their hives, and come late home; and likewise a more than usual appearance of glow-worms by night. If gnats play up and down in the open air near sun-set, they presage heat, if in the shade, warm and mild showers; but if they join in stinging those that pass by them, cold weather and much rain may be expected. Larks rising very high, and continuing to sing for a long time, and kites flying aloft, are signs of fair and dry weather. In men, frequently aches, wounds, and corns, are more troublesome, either towards rain or towards frost.
Virgil's beautiful description of this sense in animals, is thus rendered by Mr. DRYDEN:
Wet weather seldom hurts the inost unwise;
The change of heav'n, and snuffs it in the wind.
Huge flocks of rising rooks forsake their food,
Their litter is not toss'd by sows unclean,
And owls, that mark the setting-sun, declare
Then thrice the ravens rend the liquid air,
The craw has been particularly remarked by the ancients to presage rain, when she caws, and walks alone on the sea-shore, or on the banks of rivers and pools. Thus Virgil, in the first Georgic.
Tum cornix raucà pluviam vocat improba voce, Et sola in siccà secum spatiatur arena.
The crow with clamorous criesthe shower demands, And single stalks along the desert sands.
Pliny makes the same observation, in the 35th chap. of his 18th book : Et cum terrestes volucres contra aquas clangores fundentes sese sed maximè
cornix: It is a sign of rain, when land-fowl, and
especially crows, are clamorous near waters, and (wash themselves.'
Horace also expresses himself to the same purpose, in the 17th Ode of the third book, where he says,
Aquæ nisi fallit augur,
“ unless in vain
Likewise in the 27th-Ode of the same book, he calls the crow, divinam imbrium imminentium; prophetic of impending showers. More Prognostics of the Weather, taken from
the Sun, Moon, and Stars. 1st Rule. If the sun rise red and fiery, wind and rain.
2d Rule. If cloudy, and the clouds soon decrease, certain fair-weather.
These rules may be extended to all the heavenly bodies; for as their rays pass through the atmos. phere, the vapours in the air have the same effect
When the farmer therefore sees the sun or moon rise or set red and fiery, or sees the clouds and horizon of that colour, he may expect wind and rain, owing to the unequal distribution of the vapours, or to their being already collected into watery globules by some preceding cause.
But if, according to the second rule, the sun rises cloudy, and the clouds soon decrease, the vapours are more equally distributed in the atmosphere ; which equal distribution is also promoted by the warmth of the rising sun. Hence we may account for an observation adopted into all languages.
The evening red, the morning.grey,
For if the abundance of vapours denoted by the red evening sky falls down in dew, or is otherwise so equally dispersed in the air, that the morning shall
appear grey, we may promise ourselves a fair day, from that equal state of the atmosphere.
'If in the morning, some parts of the sky appear green between the clouds, while the sky is blue above, stormy weather is at hand.
The great Lord Bacon gives us the following rules to judge of the ensuing weather, from the first appearance of the moon; and it is said that these rules of his have never been known to fail.
If the new moon does not appear till the fourth day, it prognosticates a troubled air for the whole month.
If the moon, either at her first appearance, or within a few days after, has her lower horn obscured or dusky, or any ways sullied, il denotes foul wedther before the full; but if she be discoloured in the midd'e, storms are to be expected about the full, or about the wane, if her upper horn is affected in like manner.
When the moon, on her fourth day, appears fine and spotless, her horns unblunted, and neither flat nor. quite erect, but betwixt both, it promises fair weather, for the greatest part of the month.
An erect moon is generally threatening and unfavourable, but particularly denotes wind; though if H 2