Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

IN the volumes of Time's Telescope, sound to break upon the silence, but

for the years 1820 and 21, we have the explosions of the ice, or the howlgiven some curious particulars of the ing of the wolves ; and no living thing extraordinary effects produced by frost, to meet the eye, except some ravenous snow, ice, and cold, in the frozen re- and half-famished animal. gions of the North ; we now resume the subject, and present our readers Where the NORTH POLE, in moody solitude, with the result of our gleanings from

Spreads her huge tracts and frozen wastes around ;

There ice-rocks piled aloft, in order rude, the interesting volume of CAPT.

PARRY,

Form a gigantic ball ; where never sound whose - Journal of a Voyage in Search Startled dull Silence ear, save when, profound, of a North-West Passage from the The smoke-frost muttered : there drear Cold for aye Atlantic to the Pacific will form a

Thrones him,--and fixed on his primæval mound, noble monument (ære perennius) of Ruin, the Giant, sits; while stern Dismay

Stalks like some woe-struck man along the desert the enterprise and talent of the author,

way. and of the undaunted conduct and per- In that drear spot, grim Desolation's lair, severing industry of his companions. No sweet remain of life encheers the sight; Captain Parry's account of the many The dancing heart's blood in an instant there singular facts which he collected, and Would freeze to marble. Mingling day and night the observations made by himself and

(Sweet interchange which makes our labours light) officers in the course of the voyage,

Are there an unknown ; while in the summer skies

The sun rolls ceaseless round bis heavenly height, are circumstantial without being tedi

Nor ever sets till from the scene he flies, ous,-explicit without being common And leaves the long bleak night of half the year to place, and interesting without the

rise. least art or attempt at effect. The plates which embellish this elegant vol The effect which exposure to severe. ume are of a very superior description, frost has, in benumbing the mental as and convey to the mind a most vivid well as the corporeal faculties, was and heart-chilling picture of the ap- strikingly exemplified in two young pearance of this desert region. The gentlemen of the Hecla, when they resituation of the ships, at times, must turned from a land excursion in these have been tremendous ; and nothing Hyperborean regions. On being sent could have been more awful than to for by Captain Parry, when they came behold sea and shore, hill and valley, into the cabin, they looked wild, spoke in short, Nature herself, under the thick and indistinctly, and it was imaspect of one continued iceberg ; no possible to draw from them a rational

3D ATHENEUM VOL. 10.

KIRKE WHITE.

answer to any question he put to them. and printed on board, the officers beAfter being on board for a short time, coming voluntary contributors, and the mental faculties appeared gradually Captain Sabine acting as editor. to return with the returning circulation, On the 4th of November, 1819, they and it was not till then that a looker-on took leave of the sun, that cheering could easily persuade himself that they orb of this great world, both eye and had not been drinking too freely. soul, for a period of at least three

On the 26th of October, 1819, the months. On this occasion, the follow. sun afforded sufficient light for reading ing beautiful lines appeared in The and writing from half-past 9 A. M. till North Georgia Gazette; they are said hall-past 2, the rest of the twenty-four to be the production of Capt. Parry:hours being spent by candle-light. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the Behold yon glorious orb, whose feeble ray

Mocks the proud glare of Summer's live jer day! sky to the S. E. and S.W. at sun-rise His noontide beam, shot upward through the sky, and sun set. About this period, near Scarce gilds the vault of Heaven's blue canopythe horizon, there was generally a rich A fainter yet, and yet a fainter lightbluish purple, and a bright arch of And, lo ! le leaves us now to one long cheesiese deep reil above, the one imperceptibly

night! mingling with the other.

And is his glorious course for ever o'er ? The effect produced by touching

And has he set indeed-to rise no more? any metallic substance in the open air Unlock the fountains of the fettered stream,

To us no more shall Spring's enlivening bear with the naked hand, exactly reseinbled No more the wild bird carol through the sky, that occasioned by the opposite extreme And cheer yon mountain with rude melody ?of intense heat, taking off the skin from the part affected. Whenever any And chase the horrors of this wintry gloom;

Once more shall Spring her energy resume, instrument which had been for some Once more shall Summer's animating ray time exposed to the atmosphere, so as Enliven Nature with perpetual day : to be cooled down to the same tempe- Yon radiant orb with self-inbrent light rature, was suddenly brought below Shall rise, and dissipate the shades of night, into the cabins, the vapour was instant- In peerless splendour re-possess the sky,

And shine in renovated majesty. ly condensed all around it, so as to give the instrument the appearance of In yon departing orb methinks I see smoking, and the glasses were covered Emblem of man! when lite's declining sun

A counterpart of frail mortality. almost instantaneously with a thin coat. Proclaims this awful truth, thy race is run ! ing of ice, the removal of which requir- His son once set. its bright effulgence gone, ed great caution. When a candle was All, all is darkness-as it ne’er bad shone ! placed in a certain direction from the Yet not for ever is man's glory fled, instrument with respect to the observ. His name for ever • numbered with the dead : er, a number of minute spiculæ of snow Like yon bright orb, th' immortal part of man

Shall end in glory, as it first began; were likewise seen sparkling around Like Him, encircled in celestial light, the instrument, at the distance of two Shall rise triumphant 'midst the shades of night; or three inches from it. (p. 113.)

Her native energies again resume, About the latter end of October,to pre. And, bidding Death with all its terrors fly,

Dispel the dreary winter of the tomb, serve the ships during winter, the crews Bloom in perpetual Spring through all eternity! in the face of snow-storms, cut a passage for them through the ice ; the About this part of winter, Nov.17)the length of this canal was four thousand breath and other vapour accumulated and eighty-tipo yards, and the average during the night in the bed places, and thickness of the ice seven inches. On upon the beams of the ship, immedithe third day, they tracked the ships ately froze ; and the whole of the crew thro’ the canal into winter quarters, were often occupied during two of where they were to remain for at least three hours in the day in scraping away eight months ; during three of which the ice, in order to prevent the bedding

, a glimpse of the sun would not be visi- from becoming wet by the increase of ble. Among other amusements, a week- temperature occasioned by the fires. ly, newspaper, called The North Geor- The bottles containing the lemon-juice gia Gazette, was actually composed began to burst, the whole contents be

less

ing frequently frozen into a solid mass, main. When viewed from the summit except a small portion of highly con- of the neighbouring hills, on one of centrated acid in the centre, which, in those calm clear days which not unfremost instances, was found to have leak- quently occurred during the winter, the ed out, so that when the ice was thaw- scene was such as to induce contemplaed it was little better than water. The tions, which had, perhaps, more of vinegar also became frozen in the casks melancholy than of any other feeling. in the same manner. A few gallons Not an object could be seen on which of highly concentrated vinegar, which they could long rest with pleasure, unhad been sent out on trial, resisted the less when directed to the spot where effects of intense cold, and, when ex- the ships lay, and where our little coloposed to a ter.perature of 250 below ny was planted. The smoke which zero, congealed only into a consistence there issued from the several fires, aflike that of the thickest honey, but was fording a certain indication of the presnever sufficiently hard to break any ence of man, gave a partial cheerfulvessel which contained it. Vinegar ness to this part of the prospect; and and lemon-juice intended for use in the sound of voices which, during the these regions should be previously con- cold weather, could be heard at a much centrated, and, if mixed with six or greater distance than usual, served now seven times the quantity of water,would and then to break the silence which answer every necessary purpose, and reigned around us,-a silence far diffewould take

up space in the stowage rent from that peaceable composure of the vessel. (Journal, p. 121.)

which characterizes the landscape of a About the period of the shortest cultivated country ; it was the deathday, Captain Parry thus beautifully like stillness of the most dreary desoladescribes the situation of himself, his tion, and the total absence of animated officers and crew, while, ice-bound and existence. Such, indeed, was the want snow surrounded, they were compelled of objects to afford relief to the eye or to winter in this inhospitable region. amusement to the mind, that a stone of • The officers (says he) were in the more than usual size appearing above habit of occupying one or two hours the snow, in the direction in which we in the middle of the day in rambling on

were going, immediately became a shore, even in our darkest period, ex- mark, on which our eyes were unconcept when a fresh wind and a heavy sciously fixed, and towards which we snow-drift confined them within the mechanically advanced.' housing of the ships. It may well be

Thomson has a magnificient desimagined, that, at this period, there was cription of these icy regions :little to be met with in our walks on

The Muse shore, which could either amuse or in- Thence sweeps the howling margin of the main ; terest us. The necessity of not exceed- Where undissolving, fro the first of time, ing the limited distance of one or two Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky; miles, lest a snow-drift, which often ri- And icy mountains high on mountains piled,

Seem to the shivering sailor from afar. ses very suddenly, should prevent our Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds. return, added considerably to the dull Projected huge, and horrid, o'er the surge, and tedious monotony wbich, day after Alps frown on Alps; or rushing hideous down, day, presented itself. To the south- As if old Chaos was again returned, ward was the sea, covered with one

Wide rend the deep, and sliake the solid pole.

Ocean itself no longer can resist unbroken surface of ice, uniform in The binding Fury; but, in all its rage its dazzling whiteness, cxcept that, in of tempest, taken by the boundless frost, some parts, a few hummocks were seen Is many a fathom to the bottom chained, thrown up somewhat above the general

And bid to roar no more ; a bleak expanse, level. Nor did the land offer much Shagged o'er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and void

of every life, that from the drcary months greater variety, being almost entirely Flics conscious southward. Miserable they covered with snow, except here and who bere, entangled in the gathering ice, there a brown patch of bare ground in Take their last look of the descending sun;

While full of death, and fierce with tenfold frost, some exposed situations, where the

The long, long night incumbent o'er their heads, wind had not allowed the snow to re Falls borrible ..... The hapless crew,

Each full exerted at his soveral task,
Froze into statues ; to the cordage glued

greatest degree of cold was experienced, The sailor, and the pilot to the helm."

the thermometer having fallen to forty

nine degrees below zero, but, the weaAbout the last mentioned period ther being quite calm, we walked on (Dec. 21), the return of each succes-shore (observes Captain Parry) for an sive day had always been very decided- hour without inconvenience, the sensaly marked by a considerable twilight tion of cold depending much more on for some time about noon, that on the the degree of wind at the time, than shortest day allowing two hours for on the absolute temperature of the atwalking out. There was usually, in mosphere as indicated by the therclear weather, a beautiful arch' of mometer.' That violent sensation said bright red light, overspreading the to be produced on the lungs (like rendsouthern horizon for an hour or two ing them asunder) when the air is inbefore and after noon, the light increas- haled at a very low temperature, was ing, of course, in strength, as the sun never experienced by our arctic naviapproached the meridian. Short as gators, though, in passing from the the day now was (if indeed any part of cabins into the open air, they were conthe 24 hours could properly be called stantly in the habit, for some months, by that name), the reflection of light of undergoing a change of from 80 tó from the snow, aided occasionally by a 100°, and, in several instances, 120° bright moon, was at all times sufficient of temperature in less than one minute; to prevent our navigators from experi- and, what is still more extraordinary, encing, even under the most unfavour- not a single inflammatory complaint able circumstances, any thing like the (except a common cold) occurred durgloomy night which occurs in more ing this particular period. On opentemperate climates.

ing the doors at the top and bottom of The following lines, forming part of the hatchway ladders, the vapour was some very excellent · Reflections on the immediately condensed by the sudden Morning of Christmas-day, 1819, admission of the cold air into a visible while they afford a pleasing illustration form, exactly resembling a very thick of Capt. Parry's description just given, smoke, which settled on all the pannels fully evince that, whatever tendency of the doors,&c. and immediately froze, the cold might have to consolidate ev- by which means the latter were coverery thing in the shape of a liquid, it ed with a thick coating of ice, which had not the power to freeze 6 the genial was necessary frequently to scrape ofi; current of the soul of poesy,' or to bind but the vapour was not,

on any occain its icy adamantine chains the ever- sion, converted into a sudden shower welling stream that flows from the of snow, as is related by several early fountain of Hippocrene

travellers in Spitzbergen and other cold

countries.- Journal, p. 134. Rith from the blushing East no glory darts

During the lowest degree of temperaTóchase the shadowy night;- but all is gloom, Save where the moon's young crescent o'er the snows the slightest inconvenience was expe

ture (fifty-five degrees below zero) not Emits a trembling radiance, faintly seen Through mists obscure ; or sparkling, seen on high, rienced from exposure to the open air, The countless myriads of the stars diffuse by a person well clothed, as long as the Their distant,glimmering, scarce-enlightening rays! weather was perfectly calm ; but in Behind yon eloud a stream of paly light; Shoots up its pointed spires ; again immerged,

walking against a very light air of wind Sweeps forth with sudden start, and, waving round

a smarting sensation was experienced In changeful forms, assumes the brighter glow all over the face, accompanied with a of orient topazo.then as sudden sinks

severe pain in the middle of the foreIn deeper russet, and at once expires !

head. The increased length of the North Georgia Gaselle.

day (Febrnary 15,) and the cheering On the 11th of January, 1820, the presence of the sun for several hours

See a most beautiful engraving of an · Arctic night-scene,' in Capt. Parry's Journal Aurora Borealis.

[ocr errors]

above the horizon,* induced me (says mour, in the celebrated Gazette, so ofCaptain Parry) to open the dead-lights ten quoted; a truly entertaining misof my stern-windows, in order to admit cellany in any part of the world. The the daylight, of which, in our occupa- Miseries' (happily for our intrepid tions below, we had entirely been de- seamen) were not considered very nuprived for more than four months. I merous, as the following only are recihad soon, however, occasion to find ted by Old Comical :that this change was rather premature, Going out in a winter morning for and that I had not rightly calculated on the purpose of taking a walk, and, bethe length of the winter in Melville fore you have proceeded ten yards from Island. The Hecla was fitted with the ship, getting a cold bath in the double windows in her stern, the inter- cook’s steep hole.* val between the two sashes being about When on a hunting excursion, and two feet ; and, within these, some cur- being close to a fine deer, after several tains of baize had been nailed close in attempts to fire, discovering that your the early part of the winter. On en- piece is neither primed nor loaded, deavouring now to remove the curtains, while the animal's four legs are emthey were found to be so strongly ce- ployed in carrying away the body. mented to the windows by the frozen Setting out with a piece of new vapour

collected between them, that it bread in your pocket on a shooting was necessary to cut them off, in order party, and, when you feel inclined to to open the windows ; and from the eat it, having occasion to observe that space between the double sashes, we it is so frozen that your teeth will not removed twelve large buckets of ice, penetrate it. or frozen vapour, which had accumu • Being called from table by the inlated in the same manner.' (p. 145.) telligence that a wolf is approaching

These curious facts, just detailed, the vessels, which, on closer inspection, give a lively description of the priva- proves to be a dog ; on going again tions to which the persons engaged in below, detecting the cat in running off the arctic expedition were continually with your dinner. exposed. A pleasant jeu d'esprit, on • Returning on board your ship after this subject, appeared in the North an evening visit in a contemplative huGeorgia Gazette, in which the writer is mour, and being roused from a pleasing described as composing himself to rest reverie by the close embrace of a bear. beneath the cumbrous weight of six Sitting down in anticipation of a blankets, over which is stretched a comfortable breakfast, and finding that warm wolf's hide.' He is then roused the tea, by mistake, iş made of salt from sleep, and is shivered awake' water.' by leaning his elbow against the ice. The distance at which sounds were Beautiful crystals meet his eye in eve- heard in the open air, during intense ry direction, but, illumined by the cold, afforded matter of considerable candle’s rays, they soon liquefy and surprise : people were often heard disdrop over him, forming a most delight- tinctly conversing in a common tone of ful North Georgia Shower Bath. voice at the distance of a mile. These are some of the Arctic Miseries; distance of two miles from the ships, others are related, with much good hu- smoke which had passed from them

6

At a

* The splendid Sun, with reascending ray
Sheds o'er the northern world the flood of day.
Lost in the blazing radiance, sable Night
Resigns her empire to the kindling light..
Serenely clear, the heaven's blue concave glows,
And glittering sun-shine gilds the mountain snows.
Precursive of the general fire, a stream
Of reddish light shoots up its bounteous gleam;
The conscious skies the blushing tint extend,
Till with their azure dye its glories blend. N. Georgia Gazelle.

1 A hole in the ice, for steeping salt meat,

&c.

« ZurückWeiter »