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not his pleasure. His existence, agency, and infinite benevolence, are far more clearly manifested to his rational creation, by the instrumentality of various means, by the nice adjustment of different parts, and their accordance with existing circumstances, than if the same forms and structure prevaded the aquatic world. And, moreover, it is evident that this diversity of organization, is designed to allure the active and penetrating mind to search out the wonders of Omnipotence.
I was walking early one morning on the beach at Portland. A fine sea breeze had just risen ;'-at first it approached the shore gently, as if afraid to come too near. Its effects then
became apparent, in a fine, small, black, distant curl upon the water, while towards the shore the surface was completely at rest, and beautifully reflected the vast angular projecting rocks, with a group of fishermen, who were preparing their nets for the business of the day. In about half an hour it drove the little waves in eddies upon the shore, and sported with the tufts of grass and flowers that hung in long festoons on some of the nearest rocks. While surveying the magnificent expanse of waters, over which the morning breeze, and the glorious beams of the now risen sun, diffused a freshness, colouring, and inexpressible grace, my thoughts recurred to the exquisite richness and variety discoverable in the myriads of living creatures, which, either specifically lighter than the water, or else enabled to support themselves by means of a peculiar organization suited to their mode of life, walk with facility upon the surface of an element so treacherous and unstable to every other description of organized existence, or dart beneath it with inconceivable rapidity. While thus occupied in admiring and reflecting on the prodigality of nature, as evinced in the natives of the deep, the remembrance of those beautiful lines by the author of the Task, arose upon my mind, with a strong and peculiarly vivid power of association.
“Not content, with every food of life to nourish man, God makes all nature beauty to the eye, and music to the ear.”
That modification of texture or of colour, which constitutes corporeal beauty, or agreeableness of aspect, among the inferior orders of creation, is nowhere more conspicuous than in the coverings of the finny tribes. That such a modification is evidently designed to please the bodily, or rather to lead the mental eye from the contemplation of nature's wonders, to Him who sustains and regulates the whole, is undeniable.
The prismatic colours so frequently reflected from the scales of fishes, as well as the rich tints that adorn their skins, are solely calculated for beauty, intended for display; no actual benefit accruing to the animals themselves, either by affording greater warmth, or furnishing means of defence. The Deity has, therefore, evidently employed them on the superficies of a certain portion of his works, because without them, no variety of form would so conspicuously have arrested the attention, or communicated so attractive an effect.
We may divide the colours of aquatic animals into three separate classes : the first, apparently designed for the purpose above alluded to; the second, harmonizing so exactly with the colour of the sands or fuci, where different species lie concealed, as to furnish them with the means, and frequently the only ones which they possess, of eluding their marine
On the upper
enemies; the third, serving to point out the character of the fish to which it is assigned.
The colour of the Opah Doree, unites it with those of the first class. This brilliant fish occasionally resorts to the British seas, and has been discovered on the shores of Anglesea. Its general colour is that of a vivid transparent scarlet, varnished with burnished gold, and spangled with oval silver spots of various dimensions. The fins and tail are of the same gorgeous hue. Yet even this style of colouring admits of considerable modification. surface it assumes the tint of a varying and resplendent green, ornamented with white spots, and blended with a shining gold, not unlike the splendid tints of a peacock's train ; this by degrees vanishes into a bright silver along the sides, till on the under surface, gold again preponderates, though of a lighter hue. The fins and tail are of the brightest scarlet, the eyes are covered with a transparent membrane of the same brilliant cast.
The scales of the Herring and Mackerel, surpass the most vivid efforts of the pencil, and diffuse the radiance of silver and azure over the northern strands of Europe. A magnificent fish called the Captain, is found beneath the dark rocks that bound the seas of the tropics. His coat appears as if first lackered, then highly varnished, and lastly covered with lozenges, and small scales of a pale gold colour. The