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A SIBERIAN ECLOGUE.
By JOSEPH COTTLE.
Amid Siberian wastes and trackless ways,
*Though the Cossacks reside about the Neiper and the Don, bordering on the Black Sea, yet tribes of them have spread over many parts of Siberia. A body of Cossacks dwell at the Mouth of the Jana in latitude 71. It is well known that Siberia became subject to Russia in the last Century through the means of Yermac, a Cossack Warrior.
Beside his Hut the musing Cossack stood
And listen'd to the sound of neighbouring wood
The wind of Autumn now impetuous blows:
The desperate resolve is made! He cried,
"These feet shall dare yon wilds, whate'er betide; "These eyes explore the extent yon regions spread "Where the young north-wind dwells, the storm is bred. ❝I, who in caves of ice have oft reclined,
"And braced my sinews in the fiercest wind; "May smile at danger! dangers but invite,
"And storms and tempests were my first delight.
* The loftiest in Siberia.
"But if no bound appear,
and as I go,
"Wild rocks increase, and mountains hid in snow,
"And gaze on Nature in her rudest form."
Through the thick mists no cheering sun-beams shone;
Now the bold Cossack many a hill had past,
With heart too proud to temporize with fear,
And now he came where not a guide was nigh,
From certain death the wanderer's step to warn)
*The chief forests in Siberia consist of the Norway and Silver Firs. It is understood by the northern travellers, that men may venture wherever forests are, without much danger from the cold; but in the higher latitudes forests wholly disappear, and single trees only are found of stinted growth. Here the cold is often too intense for animal life: whilst in the most northerly regions, vegetation never appears. The only trees that grow in Spitzbergen, and some parts bordering on the Icy-Sea, are the Dwarf Willows, from two to four inches only in height.
In the most northern parts, the hills are always covered with snow, and the valleys filled with ice, which are called
Weary, the patient Deer their path pursue,
Now thicker darkness gather'd o'er his head;
Frozen in death, each beast beside him lies.
Iceburgs. When the atmosphere becomes warmer or colder, in any considerable degree, than at the point when the conge lation took place, the ice either expands or contracts, which 'occasions it to crack, with a noise, which some travellers have compared to the roaring of cannon. Through these fissures in the ice, a white smoke is often observed to arise, which is called Smoke-frost, of great opacity, and so intensely cold as to peal the skin of any person who comes in contact with it.