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peasant vegetable, we will associate in the Isle of Portland, and near Briswith it our translation of a rural Ger. tol. Tavernier mentions having found man song:
some enormous asparagus on the banks
of the Euphrates; and Pliny mentions THE CONTENTED MAN.
asparagus cultivated at Ravenna, three
of which would weigh a pound. FROM THE GERMAN OF JOHANN MARTIN MILLER. * Was frag Ich viel nach geld und gut ?"
Asparagus is an especial favourite
with our Gallic neighbours. Of the Why need I strive or sigh for wealth ?
French philosopher, Fontenelle, an It is enough for me
anecdote is related, which shows how That heaven bath sent me strength and
completely his gourmandise could conhealth,
quer all natural emotions of the mind ! A spirit glad and free: Grateful these blessings to receive,
One day a brother literati, with I sing my hymn at morn and eve.
whom he bad lived in habits of friend
ship for many years, came to dine with On some, what floods of riches flow! bim. The principal part of the meal
House, herds, and gold have they ; was to consist of asparagus, of which Yet life's best joys they never know,
both host and guest were extremely But fret their hours away.
fond, but they differed in their tastes The more they have, they seek increase ; as to the mode of dressing it; the Complaints and cravings never cease. latter preferred it with butter, the
former with oil. After some discusA vale of tears this world they call,
sion, they came to a compromise ; the To me it seems so fair:
cook was ordered to make two equal It countless pleasures hath for all,
divisions, and to dress one share with And none denied a share. The little birds on new-fledged wing,
oil, and the other with butter. This And insects revel in the spring.
knotty point being settled, the friends
entered into some literary conversaFor love of us, hills, woods, and plains
tion. In the height of their discourse, In beauteous hues are clad ;
the guest fell from his chair, suddenly And birds sing far and near sweet strains,
struck with apoplexy. Fontenelle Caught up by echoes glad.
hastily summoned all
assis* Rise," sings the lark, “ your tasks to tance, but in vain ; for despite of ply;"
every exertion to restore him, the inThe nightingale sings "lullaby."
valid expired. What were the reflec
tions of our French philosopher on And when the golden sun goes forth, And all like gold appears,
this abrupt and melancholy termina
tion of long-standing friendship? When bloom o'erspreads the glowing earth,
Awe? And tlelds have ripening ears,
Sorrow? Religious aspira
tions? I think these glories that I see,
No! but a happy recollection My kind Creator made for me.
that now his own taste could be fully
gratified, without the necessity of any Then loud I thank the Lord above, deference to that of another. He left And say in joyful mood,
the corpse, and running to the head of His love, indeed, is Father's love,
the stairs, called out to his cookHe wills to all men good.
“ Dress it all with oil-all with oil!" Then let me ever grateful live,
(“ Tout à l'huile-tout à l'huile !” It Enjoying all He deigns to give.
is not surprising that a man so exempt
from the wear and tear of human emoNow en revanche for the ugly cab- tions as Fontenelle, lived to be upbage, we will turn to the delicate Aspa- wards of ninety-nine years of age. BAGUS, with its pretty Greek name He was for forty years Secretary to (aesagayes, a young shoot not yet open- the Academy of Sciences, and died in ed into leaf). Is there pot much beauty 1756. in a bed of asparagus run to seed ? The Wild asparagus was held in revetall, slender, feathery, green sprays, rence by the Toxides, a colony in with their shining bead-like berries, have Caria, in remembrance of their ancesan air of great elegance, especially tress, Perigone. She was the daughter when begemmed by the morning dew. of Sinnis, a robber of gigantic staAsparagas was first cultivated in Eng. ture, dwelling in the Peloponnesus, land about 1662. Some species of the who was surnamed the Pine-bender, wild Asparagus are still found in Wales, from the species of cruelty he prac
tised on all whom he defeated. He heraldry they are symbolic of persons used to bend down two pine trees till who relieve the wants of others. Cothey met; then he tied a leg and an lumella writes that husbandmen are arm of the captive to each tree, and more religious than other men, for suddenly letting the pines fly back to when they sow turnips they pray that their natural position, the unfortunate they may grow for themselves and victim was torn asunder.
pester was conquered by Theseus, and tition is unnecessary in these days, put to death in his own manner. On when turnip fields seem to be consihis defeat, his young daughter, Peri- dered common property,
and are gone, fled away, and hid herself amid
more unconscionably plundered than a brake of wild asparagus, praying the
Turnips came to us plants, in childish simplicity, to con- from Hanover. Though they have ceal her, and promising never to root been produced in England of prodithem up, or burn them. She lay gious size, these are quite surpassed by among them so well sheltered that
monsters of which Pliny speaks (Lib. she escaped discovery by Theseus, till xviii. c. 13), that attained the weight she was induced by the conciliatory of ninety pounds each. A turnip-field tone in which he called upon her in in blossom, with its tall branches of his researches, to come forward to him. pale yellow flowers, forms a pleasing He subsequently married her; and variety in the rural landscape. their grandson, loxus, founded in This vegetable reminds us of the Caria à colony who kept in memory content and integrity of Curius Denthe pledge of Perigone to the plants tatus, who, after being three times that had given her refuge.
consul in Rome, subduing the SamThe wild asparagus being full of nites and Sabines, and expelling prickles, yet agreeable and wholesome Pyrrhus from the Roman territories, to eat, its sprays were used by the retired to cultivate his little farm with Baotians as wedding garlands, to sig- his own hands, in cheerful poverty. nify to the bride, that as she had Ambassadors from the Samnites came given her lover trouble in wooing her, to offer him a large present of gold, to so she ought to recompense him by induce him to enter into the service of the pleasantness of her manners in that nation. They found him sitting wedded life. We will accompany this by the fire, in his humble cottage, prereminiscence with the address of a paring turnips for his supper.
He dying poet to his beloved wife, which rejected all their offers with firmness, we translate from the Italian :
and pointing to the turnips, said, “A man who can be satisfied with such a meal, has no need of gold. I consider
much more honourabe to subdue (Odi d'un uom che more, &c.)
the owners of it, than to possess it Hear my last accents spoken,
myself." Thus in my dying hour;
The CARROT came to us at an early And keep, as mem'ry's token,
period from Flanders. The roots of My gift, this wither'd flower.
caraway boiled, were often used as a
substitute. When the carrot was more How dear to me this blossom
rare than at present, it was at one Thy thought can scarce divine ; time a fashion among ladies to wear its I stole it from thy bosom
graceful foliage in their caps and The day that made thee mine. bonnets, and in their hair. The wild
carrot (whose seeds enjoy some repu. Long on my heart I wore it,
tation as medicinal) is called by the Pledge of affection's vow; Ah ! to thy heart restore it,
English peasant, bird's-nest, from the
hollowed and fibrous appearance of its The pledge of sorrow now!
cymes of small white flowers, when With love by time unshaken,
withered. Remember when from thee
Beans, that rank with us among the This wither'd flower was taken,
“ungenteel" vegetables, had a high And when restor'd by me.
share of honour in ancient times; in.
deed, Pliny (Lib. xviii. c. 12) ascribes TURNIPS are taken as an emblem of to them the highest honour (maximus benevolence. Guillim says, that in honos) amongst legumes, because bread
THE DYING POET TO HIS WIFE.
FROM TIE ITALIAN OF REDAELLI.
can be made from their flour. Boiled philosopher learned his doctrines), and beans and bacon, an aliment thought when he returned home he substituted by the Romans to conduce to strength, for the lotus, which did not grow in were offered on 1st of June to Carna, Greece, the bean, as bearing some rewife of Janus, the goddess of the vi- semblance to the seed of the lotus. tals, in her temple on Mount Cælius, Another conjecture is, that Pythagoras at Rome. In the ludi seculares, or believed the souls of the dead to be secular games, celebrated every hun- contained in beans, whose fragrant, dred and tenth year, the Roman peo. papillionaceous white flowers were held ple carried to the Temple of Diana, on to be funereal, on account of the black Mount Aventine, offerings of beans, marks upon them; no other flower bay. with wheat and barley. In the Regi- ing spots so perfectly black. For this fugium, or commemoration of the reason beans were thrown upon graves expulsion of Tarquin, the Roman to propitiate the manes of the dead. chief-sacrificer offered oblations of From this association of beans with bean-flower and bacon ; and then the death, the Roman Flamen Dialis was people hurried precipitately away, in forbidden to touch them, or even to order to denote the basty flight of pronounce their name, by which he Tarquin.
would be reputed defiled. Beans, in In the divination by the casting of the middle ages, were given as funeral lots, called by the Greeks cleromancy, doles, and on Mid-Lent Sunday were black and white beans were put into an consecrated and given away. One urn to be drawn as the lots : hence the species of bean, the scarlet-runner black and white balls used by mo- (phaseolus coccineus), has the merit of derns in balloting. Beans were used producing the most beautiful flower, by by the Greeks in the election of civic many degrees, in the kitchen-garden ; magistrates; and in the Roman satur- its exquisitely brilliant scarlet hue, and Dalia, that time of license and holiday, elegant papillionaceous blossom would a king was chosen by the drawing of be esteemed an ornament to the flowera bean by lot, from which is derived garden also, were it not for the fasti. the custom of putting a bean into the diousness of fashion. twelfth cake, which constitutes him who As the bean, of which we have before finds it in his slice, king of the revels. spoken (vicia fuba), was deemed fu
The celebrated Roman family of the nereal, we will appropriate to it a suitFabii-several of whom bore the sur- able strain :name of Maximus, and among them the great General called “the Shield of Rome,” derived their name from an ancestor renowned for his successful And thou art gone! The envious grave cultivation of beans (in Latin, fabae).
Hath hid thee from my weeping eyes ; When Caius Marius was obliged to Thy heart so warm, so true, so brave, fly from Rome to Africa, and was about
There silent, cold, and mouldering lies; to sail from Ostia, he sent his young
Thy voice (sweet music once it made) son to his father Mutius to obtain pro
Is hush'd, no more to charm mine ear; visions.
Quenched is thy glance that brightly play'd; While at his grandfather's
All's lost, so beautiful, so dear. farm, a party of horse, who were in pursuit of young Marius, came in sight. Oh! what a pang of loneliness The servant of Mutius had the pre- Comes o'er me when I murmur, “lost !!! sence of mind to conceal the lad under Gone from me in my heart's distress, a load of beans in a cart, and to drive When love like thine was needed most. away slowly, as if taking his load home, My cup, the draught of grief doth brim, by which means he saved the fugitive's
The dreams of Hope no longer please ; life.
The very light of life is dim, Pythagoras forbade his disciples the
And tuneless are its melodies. use of beans, for which prohibition various reasons have been given. Some
Yet not within thy narrow tomb
My throbbing heart may buried be, suppose that it was to signity that they
Mourning within that rayless gloom should not accept of official situa
Beside thy frail mortality. tions; the election to which was ex- There vainly were my sorrows told, pressed by giving a bean. Others say, No answering voice to sooth my care; that it was in honour of the sacred Thy dust alone the tomb doth hold, lotus of Egypt (in which country the Thy living spirit is not there.
M. E. M.
Above the grave my heart shall rise, with it anywhere indigenous. It was
To seek thee in that blessed sphere early known in England; then lost Where the glad spirit never dies,
during the Yorkist and Lancastrian Where all unknown are sigh and tear.
wars; but restored in the reign of Oh, loved one, now in realms of bliss,
Henry VIII. The cool and juicy cuWhat treasure hast thou been to me! 'Tis meet that where the treasure is,
cumber of Egypt stands first among the E'en there the heart shall also be.
vegetables—the want of which was so
bitterly lamented by the Israelites in The butterfly blossoms of the Pea the barren wilderness. crowned the Roman Lares, and mingled In an old historical legend of Spain, in the bouquet of the goddess Flora. a cucumber plays an unfortunate part Piso, the cognomen of the Calpurnian as the occasion of violent passions, family, celebrated in Roman history, is base treachery, and a deplorable loss derived from pisum a pea. Of this fa- of human life. In the tenth century, mily were the Consuls Lucius Piso and Don Gonzalo Gustos,* Lord of Salas † c. Calpurnius Piso, who made the fa- and Lara, was married to Donna San. mous Calpurnian laws; the former, the cha, sister of Don Ruy (or Rodrigo) law against persons in authority extort- Velasquez, himself related to the house ing money by threats; the latter, the law of Lara ; and by Donna Sancha Gustos against the political intrigues of magis. had seven sons, known in Spanish histrates, and the military Calpurnian law. tory as the Infants of Lara; for in Of the same race also was Piso, bled to early times the title " Infant" was not death by order of Nero, for having con- restricted to Spanish royalty. These spired against him. A pea is put in the were brave, handsome, and accomtwelfth cake to designate the Queen, plished cavaliers ; and all received in contradistinction to the bean, the knighthood on the same day from their lot of the King, the reason for which father's kinsman, Don Garcia Fernanwe have before mentioned.
des. Their maternal uncle, Rodrigo The wild sea-side pea ( pisum mari- Velasquez, who was nephew to Gartimum) is found in several parts of cia Fernandez, married Donna LamEurope. During a dreadful dearth of bra de Burueca, heiress of Barbadilla. provisions in 1555, this pea appeared in The wedding was solemnised at Burgos profusion on the Suffolk coast, between with great festivity; crowds of guests Oxford and Aldborough ; and its pro- were invited to it, and among them duce saved many poor families from the seven Infants of Lara, with their dying of hunger: their necessities must governor and preceptor, Don Nuno have been very great, as the seed of Salido. this
pea is so bitter, that even birds On the arrival of the young knights, neglect it. This vegetable has a creep- their mother, Donna Sancha (who had ing perennial root, striking deeply into preceded them), requested them to rethe sand ; its seed is smaller than that main quietly in the house, and not go of the esculent pea.
out to the grand square where the caThere was a curious old superstition valiers were engaged hurling canes at that woman should not be allowed to a mark (a game learned from the touch CUCUMBERS, when growing, as Moors), as she feared that among the the yellow bell-like flowers of these great multitudes assembled some disortender vegetables would wither if ders would arise. Her sons obeyed handled by females ; and that if a wo. her wishes, but their governor went man walked three times (with her hair out to the plaza to see the sports, dishevelled) round cucumber-beds in. Many cavaliers threw at the mark, but fested by caterpillars, the latter would all in vain ; till a knight of Cordova, die! Ancient herbalists recommended named Alver Sanchez, a cousin-gerthe pulp of the cucumber beaten with main of Donna Lambra, struck it sucmilk, for inflammations of the eyes. cessfully. Donna Lambra, a haughty
Tartary is thought to be the native and violent woman, exclaimed exultcountry of the cucumber, but it is ingly to the ladies around her, “Se. said that no modern travellers have met noras, all of you, choose your lovers at
* Sometimes written Bustos.
+ Salas is a town in Old Castile, on a rising ground, seven leagues from the city of Burgos. Lara, also in Old Castile (four leagues from Burgos), a town with a strong castle.
home; one knight of Cordova is worth banks of the river Arlanza, * Donna thirty of the house of Lara." Donna Lambra and the seven brothers reSancha, who was sitting near the bride, paired to the garden to enjoy its shade ; replied to her, “Do not say that, since and Gonzalo Gonzalez, whom Lambra you have married Don Rodrigo of the especially hated, was amusing himself house of Lara." Donna Lambra an. at a fountain, bathing his falcon. swered insolently, “Hold your tongue, The lady of Barbadilla privately gave Donna Sancha, you merit no atten- orders to one of her servants to take a tion; you, who have borne seven sons large cucumber, to steep it well in like a sow." At these words Don blood, and then to strike it in the face Nuno Salido quitted the square, much of the young Gonzalo. The choice troubled in mind, and returned to the of a cucumber, as the instrument of house. Six of the Infants of Lara were outrage, was particularly galling to a playing at chess and backgammon, but Spaniard—it being considered pecuthe youngest, named Gonzalo Gonzales, liarly an Oriental vegetable, and a fawas sitting alone in a veranda, and vourite with the Moors-steeping it i he seeing the vexation on his gover- blood, to mark the face of Gonzalo, nor's countenance, plied him with ques. was an emblematic insinuation that he tions till Nuno told him the occurrence, had Morisco blood in his veins, the requesting him, however, to take no greatest insult that could be offered to notice of it, at least at that time. But a proud Castilian, besides being a cothe young man's indignation was not to vert reflection on the honour of his be restrained. He mounted his horse, mother. The cucumber, as symbolic rode to the plaza, and perceiving a of an Oriental origin, is used typically mark at which several persons were in a contemptuous sense in Spanish throwing without effect, flung his cane, proverbs, e.g.-“Let him who reared struck it, and then exclaimed to the the cucumber, carry it upon his ladies around
the bride, as a parody on back;"† that is, “Let him who rears a the words of Donná Lambra, “ Let all spoiled child, put up with its ill-condi
(using a very
tion." And, again, “I hated the cucoarse word) “ choose you lovers at cumber, and it grew upon my back ;"I home; for one knight of the house of said when anything that a man most Lara is worth forty, yea fifty of the dreads or dislikes, befalls him. knights of Cordova." Donna Lambra, Donna Lambra's servant obeyed the full of rage and confusion, immediately order of his mistress, who promised to returned home; and finding the bride- protect him from its consequences ; groom, uttered many falsehoods to him, and having steeped a cucumber in complaining that all the Infants of blood, he came up suddenly, and struck Lara had insulted her grossly, and the young Gonzalo in such a manner threatened to tear her clothes; to put as to leave his face all smeared with their hawks into her dove-cot, to beat gore. The seven Infants, all boiling her female attendants, and to kill the with rage at this gross affront from a males in her presence; and she vowed menial, drew their swords and pursued that unless her husband avenged her the man, who fled to the side of his she would turn Mahommedan, and go to lady, and caught hold of her robe for live among the Moors. Don Ruy Ve- protection. The brothers demanded lasquez, giving his bride too easy cre- redress from Donna Lambra, but she dence, without seeking an explanation bade them defiance; and they, carried from his nephews of Lara, promised away by their increased indignation, her an ample vengeance.
killed the domestic at her feet; and In order to effect this, both husband taking their mother, left Barbadilla, and wife agreed to dissemble their feel- and returned home. Donna Lambra ings towards the Infants, whom they hastened to her husband, incensed him invited to accompany them on a visit by a falsified narrative, in which she to Barbadilla, the residence of Donna concealed the insult offered to GonLambra. One evening, after having zalo; and represented the murder of spent the morning hawking on the her servant, while clinging to her robe,
In old Castile.
*Aborreci el cohombro y nacio me en el hombro."