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By obtaining a knowledge of his anatomy, we shall be enabled to account for his movements hereafter, when we see him in his proper haunts. His fore-legs, or, more correctly speaking, his arms, are apparently much too long, while his hindlegs are very short, and look as if they could be bent almost to the shape of a corkBoth the fore and hind-legs, by their form, and by the manner in which they are joined to the body, are quite incapacitated from acting in a perpendicular direction, or in supporting it on the earth, as the bodies of other quadrupeds are supported by their legs. Hence, when you place him on the floor, his belly touches the ground. Now, granted that he supported himself on his legs like other animals, nevertheless he would be in pain, for he has no soles to his feet, and his claws are very sharp, and long, and curved; so that, were his body supported by his feet, it would be by their extremities, just as your body would be, were you to throw yourself on all fours, and try to support it on the ends of your toes and fingers—a trying position. Were the floor of glass, or of a polished surface, the Sloth would actually be quite stationary; but as the ground is generally rough, with little protuberances upon it, such as stones, or roots of grass, &c., this just suits the Sloth, and he moves his fore-legs in all directions, in order to find something to lay hold of; and when he has succeeded he pulls himself forward, and is thus enabled to travel onwards, but at the same time in so tardy and awkward a manner as to acquire him the name of Sloth.

Indeed his looks and his gestures evidently betray his uncomfortable situation; and, as a sigh every now and then escapes him, we may be entitled to conclude that he is actually in pain.

Some years ago I kept a Sloth in my room for several months. I often took him out of the house and placed him upon the ground, in order to have an opportunity of observing his motions. If the ground were rough, he would pull himself forwards, by means of his fore-legs, at a pretty good pace; and he invariably immediately shaped his course towards the nearest tree. But, if I put him upon a smooth and well-trodden part of the road, he appeared to be in trouble and distress: his favourite abode was the back of a chair; and, after getting all his legs in a line upon the topmost part of it, he would hang there for hours together, and often with a low and inward cry, would seem to invite me to take notice of him.

The Sloth, in its wild state, spends its whole life in trees, and never leaves them but through force, or by accident. An all-ruling Providence has ordered man to tread on the surface of the earth, the eagle to soar in the expanse of the skies, and the monkey and squirrel to inhabit the trees; still these may change their relative situations without feeling much inconvenience: but the Sloth is doomed to spend his whole life in the trees; and what is more extraordinary, not upon the branches, like the squirrel and the monkey, but under them. He moves suspended from the branch, he rests suspended from it, and he sleeps suspended from it. To enable him to do this, he must have a very different formation from that of any other known quadruped.

Hence his seemingly bungled conformation is at once accounted for; and in lieu of the Sloth leading a painful life, and entailing a melancholy and miserable existence on its progeny, it is but fair to surmise that it just enjoys life as much as any other animal, and that its extraordinary formation and singular habits are but farther proofs to engage us to admire the wonderful works of Omnipotence.

It must be observed that the Sloth does not hang head downwards like the vampire. When asleep, he supports himself from a branch parallel to the earth. He first seizes the branch with one arm, and then with the other; and, after that, brings up both his legs, one by one, to the same branch; so that all four are in a line; he seems perfectly at rest in this position. Now, had he a tail, he would be

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at a loss to know what to do with it in this position; were he to draw it up within his legs, it wonld interfere with them; and, were he to let it hang down, it would become the sport of the winds. Thus his deficiency of tail is benefit to him; it is merely an apology for a tail, scarcely exceeding an inch and a half in length. I observed, when he was climbing, he never used his arms both together, but first one, and then the other, and so on alternately. There is a singularity in his hair, different from that of all other animals, and, I believe, hitherto unnoticed by naturalists; his hair is thick and coarse at the extremity, and gradually tapers to the root, where it becomes fine as a spider's web. His fur has so much the hue of the moss which grows on the branches of the trees, that it is very difficult to make him out when he is at rest.

The male of the three-toed Sloth has a longitudinal bar of very fine black hair on his back, rather lower than the shoulder blades; on each side of this black bar there is a space of yellow hair, equally fine; it has the appearance of being pressed into the body, and looks exactly as if it had been singed. If we examine the anatomy of his fore-legs, we shall immediately perceive, by their firm and muscular texture, how very capable they are of supporting the pendent weight of his body, both in climbing and at rest; and, instead of pronouncing them a bungled composition, as a celebrated naturalist has done, we shall consider them as remarkably well calculated to perform their extraordinary functions.

As the Sloth is an inhabitant of forests within the tropics, where the trees touch each other in the greatest profusion, there seems to be no reason why he should confine himself to one tree alone for food, and entirely strip it of its leaves. During the many years I have ranged the forests, I have never seen a tree in such a state of nudity; indeed, I would hazard a conjecture that, by the time the animal had finished the last of the old leaves, there would be a new crop on the part of the tree he had stripped first, ready for him to begin again, so quick is the process of į vegetation in these countries.

There is a saying amongst the Indians, that when the wind blows the Sloth begins to travel. In calm weather he remains tranquil, probably not liking to cling to the brittle extremity of the branches, lest they should break with him in passing from one tree to another; but as soon as the wind rises the branches of the neighbouring trees become interwoven, and then he Sloth seizes hold of them, and pursues his journey in safety. There is seldom an entire day of calm in these forests. The trade-wind generally sets in about ten o'clock in the morning, and thus the Sloth may set off after breakfast, and get a considerable way before dinner. He travels at a good round pace; and were you to see him pass from tree to tree, as I have done, you would never think of calling him a Sloth.

Thus it would appear that the different histories we have of this quadruped are erroneous on two accounts: first, that the writers of them, deterred by difficulties and local annoyances, have not paid sufficient attention to him in his native haunts; and, secondly, they have described him in a situation in which he was never intended by nature to cut a figure,-I mean on the ground. The Sloth is as much at a loss to proceed on his journey upon a smooth and level floor, as a man would be who had to walk a mile in stilts upon a line of feather-beds.

One day, as we were crossing the Essequibo, I saw a large two-toed Sloth on the ground upon the bank; how he had got there, nobody could tell the Indian said he had never surprised a Sloth in such a situation before: he would hardly have come there to drink, for both above and below the place the branches of the trees touched the water, and afforded him an easy and safe access to it. Be this as it may, though the trees were not above twenty yards from him, he could not make his way through the sand time enough to escape before we landed. As soon as we

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got up to him he threw himself upon his back, and defended himself in gallant style with his fore-legs. Come, poor fellow," said I to him, "If thou hast got into a hobble to-day, thou shalt not suffer for it: I'll take no advantage of thee in misfortune; the forest is large enough both for thee and me to rove in: go thy ways up above, and enjoy thyself in these endless wilds; it is more than probable thou wilt never have another interview with man. So fare thee well." On saying this, I took a long stick which was lying there, held it for him to hook on, and then conveyed him to a high and stately mora. He ascended with wonderful rapidity, and in about a minute he was almost at the top of the tree. He now went off in a side direction, and caught hold of the branch of a neighbouring tree; he then proceeded towards the heart of the forest. I stood looking on, lost in amazement at his singular mode of progress. I followed him with my eye till the intervening branches closed in betwixt us; and then I lost sight for ever of the two-toed Sloth. I was going to add, that I never saw a Sloth take to his heels in such earnest; but the expression will not do, for the Sloth has no heels.

That which naturalists have advanced, of his being so tenacious of life, is per fectly true. I saw the heart of one beat for half an hour after it was taken out of the body. The wourali poison seems to be the only thing that will kill it quickly. On reference to a former part of these wanderings, it will be seen that a poisoned arrow killed the Sloth in about ten minutes.

So much for this harmless unoffending animal. He holds a conspicuous place in the catalogue of the animals of the New World. Though naturalists have made no mention of what follows, still it is not less true on that account. The Sloth is the only quadruped known, which spends its whole life from the branch of a tree suspended by its feet. I have paid uncommon attention to him in his native haunts. The monkey and squirrel will seize a branch with their fore-feet, and pull themselves up, and rest or run upon it; but the Sloth, after seizing it, still remains suspended, and suspended moves along under the branch, till he can lay hold of another. Whenever I have seen him in his native woods, whether at rest, or asleep, or on his travels, I have always observed that he was suspended from the branch of a trea When his form and anatomy are attentively considered, it will appear evident that the Sloth cannot be at ease in any situation, where his body is higher, or above his feet. We will now take our leave of him.

156. THE POET DESCRIBED.

S. JOHNSON. [WE have already given a brilliant estimate of the character of Dr. Johnson in connection with his times, from the pen of Mr. Macaulay. (Vol. i. p. 151.) It is therefore scarcely necessary for us here to add more than a statement of the dates connected with the life of this eminent man. He was born at Lichfield, on the 18th of September, 1709, in which city his father was a bookseller. He was placed at Pembroke College, Oxford, but the straitened circumstances of his father compelled him to leave the University without taking a degree. He became usher in a school at Market Bosworth, married in 1736, and with a little forume that his wife brought him, set up a school, which was unsuccessful. In company with his pupil, David Garrick, he came to London. For many years he was a literary drudge for perio dical works, ill-paid, neglected by the great, unknown to the small reading public whom be addressed. At length his great talents and acquirements forced their way into notice. He completed his English Dictionary in 1755. His 'Rambler' and his 'Imitations of Juvenal had previously given him a high rank amongst the original writers of his day. In 1762 a pension of three hundred a year was bestowed upon him, and from that time to his death in 1784 his life was a happy one as far as worldly circumstances were concerned. The follow ing extract is from his 'Rasselas.' It is one of the many examples which his writings present of the occasional largeness of his critical views when applied to the general principles of poetry-a characteristic singularly in contrast with the narrowness with which he regards particular styles and individual authors.]

"Wherever I went, I found that poetry was considered as the highest learning, and regarded with a veneration somewhat approaching to that which man would pay to the angelic nature. And it yet fills me with wonder, that in almost all countries the most ancient poets are considered as the best; whether it be that every other kind of knowledge is an acquisition gradually attained,, and poetry is a gift conferred at once; or that the first poetry of every nation surprised them as a novelty, and retained the credit by consent which it received by accident at first; or whether, as the province of poetry is to describe nature and passion, which are always the same, the first writers took possession of the most striking objects for description, and the most probable occurrences for fiction, and left nothing for those that followed them but transcriptions of the same events, and new combinations of the same images. Whatever be the reason, it is commonly observed, that the early writers are in possession of nature, and their followers, of art; that the first excel in strength and invention, and the latter in elegance and refinement.

"I was desirous to add my name to this illustrious fraternity. I read all the poets of Persia and Arabia, and was able to repeat by memory the volumes that are suspended in the mosque of Mecca. But I soon found that no man was ever great by imitation. My desire of excellence impelled me to transfer my attention to nature and to life. Nature was to be my subject, and men to be my auditors; I could never describe what I had not seen; I could not hope to move those with delight or terror whose interests and opinions I did not understand.

"Being now resolved to be a poet, I saw every thing with a new purpose; my sphere of attention was suddenly magnified; no kind of knowledge was to be overlooked. I ranged mountains and deserts for images and resemblances, and pictured upon my mind every tree of the forest and flower of the valley. I observed with equal care the crags of the rock and the pinnacles of the palace. Sometimes I wandered along the mazes of the rivulet, and sometimes watched the changes of the summer clouds. To a poet nothing can be useless. Whatever is beautiful, and whatever is dreadful, must be familiar to his imagination; he must be conversant with all that is awfully vast or elegantly little. The plants of the garden, the animals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, the meteors of the sky, must all concur to store his mind with inexhaustible variety; for every idea is useful for the enforcement or decoration of moral or religious truth; and he who knows most will have most power of diversifying his scenes, and of gratifying his reader with remote allusions and unexpected instruction.

"All the appearances of nature I was therefore careful to study, and every country which I have surveyed has contributed something to my poetical powers."

"In so wide a survey," said the prince, "you must surely have left much unobserved. I have lived, till now, within the circuit of these mountains, and yet cannot walk abroad without the sight of something which I never beheld before, or never heeded.”

"The business of a poet," said Imlac, "is to examine, not the individual, but the species; to remark general properties and large appearances: he does not number the streaks of the tulip, or describe the different shades in the verdure of the forest. He is to exhibit in his portraits of nature such prominent and striking features as recall the original to every mind; and must neglect the minuter discriminations, which one may have remarked and another have neglected, for those characteristics which are alike obvious to vigilance and carelessness.

"But the knowledge of nature is only half the task of a poet; he must be acquainted likewise with all the modes of life. His character requires that he estimate the happiness and misery of every condition, observe the power of all the passions in all their combinations, and trace the changes of the human mind as

they are modified by various institutions, and accidental influences of climate or custom, from the sprightliness of infancy to the despondency of decrepitude. He must divest himself of the prejudices of his age or country; he must consider right and wrong in their abstract and invariable state; he must disregard present laws and opinions, and rise to general and transcendental truths, which will always be the same; he must therefore content himself with the slow progress of his name; contemn the applause of his own time, and commit his claims to the justice of posterity. He must write as the interpreter of nature, and the legislator of mankind, and consider himself as presiding over the thoughts and manners of future generations, as a being superior to time and place.

"His labour is not yet at an end; he must know many languages, and many sciences; and, that his style may be worthy of his thoughts, must by incessant practice familiarise to himself every delicacy of speech and grace of harmony.

155. THE CHARACTER OF LOUIS XI.

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COMINES.

[THE character of Louis XI.-one of the strangest in history-has been made familiar to the general reader by the fascinating pen of Sir Walter Scott. For the materials of this character the author of Quentin Durward' was indebted almost entirely to Philip de Comines, who was most intimate with the French monarch, and an eye-witness of nearly all the scenes and events he describes in his chronicle or historical memoir. Although as a statesman, or political agent, Comines had much of the cunning and indirectness of the king, his master, he is, as a memoir-writer, exceedingly frank and straightforward. His accuracy and impartiality have been admitted by all historians. His genius for narration is of a first-rate order; his style is deliciously quaint, and characteristic of the times in which he lived. Philip de Comines was by birth a Fleming, and a subject of the Duke of Bur gundy, who, at that time, by holding nearly all Flanders, and a great part of France, was at least equal in power to the French king, his suzerain. In the year 1464, when he was only nineteen years old, he entered the service of Charles the Bold, or the Rash, whose father was then living, and who, consequently, was only Count of Charolais. The character and tastes of the Burgundian prince-—a man of frank violence, who was passionately fond of war, and preferred the sword to the pen, the battle-field to the council-chamber-could scarcely suit one of Messire Philip's disposition. He left the service of Charles for that of his rival and mortal enemy, Louis XI., who promoted him, kept him much about his person, and employed him in some of the most confidential and important of his state matters. In the succeeding reign Comines was at first suspected, and imprisoned in one of the dreary cages which he describes. He was afterwards employed as a negociator. He died in 1509, at his own estate of Argenton, in Poitou.]

Of all the Princes that I ever had the honour to know, the wisest and most dexterous to extricate himself out of any danger or difficulty in time of adversity, was our master, King Louis XI. He was the humblest in his conversation and habit, and the most painful and indefatigable to win over any man to his side, that he thought capable of doing him either much mischief or good: though he was often refused, he would never give over a man that he once undertook, but still pressed and continued his insinuations, promising him largely, and presenting him with such sums and pensions as he knew would satisfy his ambition; and for such as he had discarded in the time of peace and prosperity, he paid dear (when he had occasion for 'em) to recover them again; but when he had once reconciled them, he retained no pique to them for what had passed, but employed them freely for the future. He was naturally kind and indulgent to persons of indifferent condition, and morose to such as he thought had no need of him. Never Prince was so conversable nor so inquisitive as he, for his desire was to know everybody he could; and, indeed, he knew all persons of any authority or worth in England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, the territories of the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne, and in his

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