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Assisted thus, what beauty may'st thou find
In thousand species of the Insect Kind !
Lost to the naked eye, so wond'rous small,
Were millions join'd, one *sand would over-top
Those experienced in observations on the insect part of the creation, by the help of glasses, will not charge this with being a poetical liberty, but acknowledge ils real trath: And though others, whose conceptions have never been turned that way, may find it very difficult to apprehend any living creature so extremely minute ; yet I hope the opinion of the learned may clear me from any design of imposing on their belief.
Mr. Ball, in a letter to Mr. Bradley, says, that the green, red, or black appearance of stagnant water proceeds only from insects of several kinds and colours, 3d part Gardening, p. 87. “ Nor indeed is any part of the earth, or waters; and (it may be) pure air itself, free from the seeds of life
Mr. BRADLEY, after having given us his observations on an insect, which by computation he found more than a thousand times less than the least dust of sand visible to the naked eye, reflects thus, “ It is wonderful to consider the several parts of a creature even 60 minute as this, (for the microscope, has Yet each within its little bulk, contains
An heart which drives the torrent thro' its veins :
Muscles to move its limbs aright: a brain,
And nerves, dispos'd for pleasure, and for pain :
discovered much smaller) how small must the organs of its senses be, in proportion to its body! the eyes perhaps a thousand times Jess, and the other parts answerable to them: May we not then reasonably conclude, that with such eyes it is capable of discerning other bodies, which are as minute, and of as distant smallness to itself as the smallest creature, capable of our sight, is to us? But, alas ! how trifling an object was the insect I have mentioned, in comparison to those discovered by Mr. LEWENHOECK, in a quantity of pepper water, no larger than a grain of millet, in which he affirms to have seen ten thousand living creatures; and some of his friends, at the same time, witness to have seen thirty thousand, and others, ahove forty-five thousand creatures, moving in that small quantity of water? Nay, they tell us, that because they would be within compass, they only related half the number that they believed they had seen.
“ Now, from the greatness of the numbers mentioned, it is inferred, that in a full drop of water, there will be eight millions, two hundred and cighty thousand of these animalcules, which if their
Eyes to distinguish ; sense, whereby to know,
What's good, or bad ;-is, or is not, its foe.
As in the larger world, some live on prey,
Delight in blood, and solitary stray :
Others together herd, by nature tame,
Nor life destroy to feed their vital flame.
Each kind, by reason guided, finds its food,
Bring forth its young, and guards the infant brood :
smallness comes to be compared, a grain of sand, broken into eight million parts, would not exceed the smallness of one of these insects.
“These observations of Mr. LEWENHOECK's were not only confirmed by the famous Mr. Hook, but were likewise improved by him : He tells us, that after he had discovered vast multitudes of those animalcules, described by Mr. LEWENHOECK, he made use of other lights and glasses, which magnified them to a very considerable size; and that amongst them he discovered many other sorts much smaller than those he first saw; some of which were so very minute that millions of millions of them might be contained in one drop of water."
In short excursions shews them how to rise,
To poise their wings, and float along the skies :
Before them lays the dangers of the plain,
And warns them of the winds and of the rain :
With care paternal teaches them, to know
To save themselves, and to offend the foe.*
Here too, their wise CREATOR has assign'd
A different length of life to every kind :
Some very soon have run their destin'd race;
* The minute parts of animated nature which, by our author, are here brought forward to our notice, are not only wonderful in their formation and their faculties; in the mechanism of their structure, and beauty of their colouring : but excite our admiration in their economies, in providing the necessaries of life; in guarding themselves from the attacks of enemies and natural annoyances; in procuring those pleasures which are suited to their respective natures ; in propagating their kind, and nurturing their young. In every state of existence proclaiming the wisdom, the power, and the goodness of God,
Life, as it were, in miniature display,
Are born, grow old, and die within a day.*
* The famous Mr. Ray tells us of an insect which is hatched and dies in one day: and probably there are many other kinds, which as yet we know nothing of, whose life is of no longer duration. Hence we may naturally reflect, that as we find, by the help of a microscope, that quantity is only computed to be great or small, in proportion to what objects our eyes are capable of seeing without the assistance of glasses ; so the idea of time seems confined to our understanding hy the same rule, and the life of that creature which lives only one day, may be of the same length or duration in proportion to itself, as the term of an hundred years is to mankind: that is, three minutes of such an insects life are equal to a year with us.
“ The term or duration of life, in different creatures, is comparatively long or short, according to the number, quickness, or slowness of ideas, presenting themselves successively to the mind. For, when the ideas succeed one another swiftly, and many of them are crowded into a narrow compass, the time, however short it may be, will seem long, in proportion to the number of ideas passing through it: on the contrary, when the ideas are but few, and follow one another very slowly, a long time will appear short, in proportion to their slow succession, and the smallness of their namber,