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traversing more of the scale or traversing less, beginning abruptly, ending abruptly; but such as if produced upwards would bring the type into the present, and if produced downwards would carry it into the Sub-Silurian past. Species may masquerade, Mr. Darwin holds it must; but it has never been caught masquerading. The ratio of Historic to Geologic time-of human literature and observation to the writing on the rocks-is indeed very small. If the Iliad, or Genesis, or the oldest Egyptian monuments be as 1, the remoteness of the Lingula zone may be put as 10,000 ; or even let us grant, age of the Iliad = distance of the sun, age of the Lingula zone = distance of Sirius. Yet though relatively small, it is not to be forgotten that the historic period is absolutely great. If a class of celestial objects or phenomena, generally analogous, lay along a line drawn between the earth and the sun and produced through the sun to a fixed star, a perfect knowledge of those phenomena on the route relatively so contracted would still afford a fair basis of reasoning for the partially inaccessible phenomena on the route beyond. Now the historic witness to the constancy of species is complete. Within the experience of man no new species has appeared and no old species been transmuted.
balmed dogs of Egypt may seem to Mr. Darwin a broken reed: they impressed differently the great mind of Cuvier. “It might seem as if the ancient Egyptians had been inspired by nature, with a view to transmitting to after ages a monument of her history. That strange and whimsical people, by embalming with so much care the brutes which were the object of their stupid adoration, have left us, in their sacred grottos, cabinets of zoology almost complete. Climate has conspired with art to preserve the bodies from corruption, and we can now assure ourselves by our own eyes what was the state of a great number of species three thousand years ago.”
These remains then have doubtless a unique value; but all ancient literature has the same tale to tell, and that none the less invitingly that it leads us not to the dissecting room, nor smells of the sepulchre. The camel that bore his bride to Isaac, and drew nigh as he was meditating at the even-tide, still projects the same outline, sharply chiselled on the horizon-wall of the eastern deserts, between the sky and the sand; the war-horse, “his neck clothed with thunder, and that said among the trumpets Ha, ha," in Syrian warfare, shows the same noble instincts on the battle-fields of Europe; and the dog that endangered the incognito of Ulysses
was but a living rehearsal of the favourite of Abbotsford. The animals so indelibly photographed in the pre-historic fable of the Aryan nations have not lost one lineament from the lapse of time. 44 Herodotus, "save in a picture,” did not see the Phoenix, nor, though that would have been a trifle to its feats among the Hymenoptera, has natural selection yet brought it to the birth ; but he saw and described the hippopotamus and the crocodile, 45 precisely as they will be seen, and very much as they will be portrayed, by this year's tourists to the Nile. If the moderns do not descant on the wonderful impunity enjoyed by the trochilus, on account of its enterprising services as an animal dentist in relieving the crocodile's jaws of leeches, it will be because their faith in the instinct-quelling virtues of natural selection is less lively than that of Herodotus or Mr. Darwin. The salmon still bounds over the river-barrier as when the Roman soldiers named it “the leaper," seen by them for the first time in the streams of Gaul. whether or not in friendly warning, still stings the sleeping rustic as in Virgil's verse ; the grasshopper chirps gaily as in Anacreon's song ; "still clang the cranes, and soar aloft the eagles ; still dance in air the summerloving flies as in the days of Homer; and still the
The gnat, polypus and sponge, and all the inhabitants of the sea, exhibit in the Mediterranean the peculiar properties noticed in them by Aristotle." 46 Nay, as if to forefalsify the parallel suggested by Mr. Darwin and elaborated by his disciples, an appeal is taken from the fluctuations of language to the stabilities of nature; and classical orthoepy selects as umpire in its controversies the changeless vocalization of the sheep and the owl. And if this miniature antiquity be held of no account, though no just reasoner will so regard it-Geology will not refuse attesting glimpses through that mightier vista which she claims as her peculiar domain. She will cull us plants from our British flora, minute duplicates of those that must have crept hither from the Himalaya slopes ere the German Ocean barred the passage. a lesson on the intrinsic likelihood of ascensive development, by natural selection, or any other stimulant to progress, she will show us, in the province of microscopic life, diatoms of the Oolite that are diatoms to-day, and the infusoria of the Chalk still teeming in the Baltic.
26. Passing, however, from that "record” on the “imperfection" of which Mr. Darwin sophisticates with such small success, we cannot fail to be reminded that,
in any inquiry touching natural law and its working, vastness of scale is equivalent to immensity of duration. He who watches the Milky Way through a month of northern winter would gain no deeper conviction of the stability of the universe from a million years' survey of a solitary sun. If wheat be sown in one and the same year simultaneously over a hundred square miles of considerably varied area and nothing but wheat comes of it, the experiment is of the same value as a hundred successive experiments, over a single square mile, in as many successive years, would be. Now grant to Geology her hundred million years in time ; the earth has twice a hundred million square miles of surface. Is the breadth of the life-experiment so transacting, magnified, at the least, by the whole depth of history,--and sometimes, as Agassiz has proved by the coral-builders of the Gulf of Florida, tenfold that depth,— to count for nothing? Mr. Darwin's admirable mastery of the resources of his native tongue scarcely yields him expressions strong enough to glorify the wealth of natural in contrast to the poverty of human selection. 48 And if there were indeed an agency in nature so endowed and commissioned as he endows this favourite child of his imagination, the contrast could not be overdrawn.