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It is interesting to trace the steps of a genius like Linnæus, going over completely new ground, in the wide field of natural his. tory; classing and naming birds, beasts, insects, and flowers, oftentimes according to a system which his own ingenuity and penetration had devised to supply the deficiencies of former naturalists An accurate examination of the minuter parts of the object under his consideration, frequently enables him to arrive at a juster conclusion, as to the order or genus to which it belongs, than others who had preceded him; and sometimes, after having with indefatigable industry ascertained these points, he indulges himself in combining with his new discovery associations of friendship, or of historical or classical allusion. We cannot give a more striking instance of this, than in the Andromeda polifolia.
In traversing the uncultivated wilds of Lycksele Lapland, whither, while yet a young man, he was sent by the Royal Society of the university of Upsal, on a tour of scientific research, he found this plant in great abundance, decorating the marshy grounds with its delicate blossoms. It is a beautiful little flower, somewhat resembling one of the heaths (Erica daboecia.) The buds are of a blood-red colour before they expand, but, when fully blown, the corolla is of a flesh-colour. In contemplating the beauties of the chamce daphne, as it was then called, the imaginative mind of Linnæus was struck by a fancied similarity, in the appearance and circumstances of this plant, to the story of Andromeda, as related by the ancient poets. As he pursued his way, the blossom still attracted his notice, and he amused himself by tracing out many points of resemblance; until at last he thought that, if the mythologists had intended to describe the plant, they could not have devised a more appropriate fable. They have represented Andromeda as a virgin of exquisite beauty, chained to a rock in the midst of the sea, and exposed to dragons and venomous serpents. This lovely little flower he called her vegetable prototype; for he found it always fixed on some turfy hillock in the midst of swamps, where the fresh waters bathed its roots, as the sea washed the feet of Andromeda. If the unhappy virgin was assailed by seamonsters, he found a like circumstance attendant on the flower, whose abode is frequented by toads and venomous reptiles. At length, the poets fable that Perseus comes to deliver the afflicted maiden from all her dangers, and chase away her foes. And thus, said Linnæus, does the summer, like another Perseus, arrive, drying up the waters that inundate the plant, and chasing away all her aquatic enemies. Hence, as this plant formed a new genus in the reformed botanical system he was then arranging, he chose for it the name of Andromeda.
It has been asserted, that the poetical allusions and the elegancies of style observable in the writings of Linnæus, have done as much to recommend the study of botany, and to establish his own celebrity, as his more serious labours. Whether this be the case or not, it is at least highly interesting and delightful, thus to behold the solitary traveller cheering himself with classical recollections, and handing down to posterity the result of his daydreams, by affixing a new name to the flower which had been his solace in the wilderness.
THE HOROLOGE OF THE FIELDS.
Addressed to a young Lady, on seeing at the house of an aquaint
ance a magnificent French Time-piece.
MRS. C. SMITH.
For her who owns the splendid toy,
Where use with elegance unites;
And moments wing'd with new delights.
Where its in
Sweet may resound each silver bell,
And never quick returning chime, Seem in reproving notes to tell
Of hours mispent, and murder'd time.
Though fortune, Emily, deny
To us these splendid works of art, The woods, the lawns, the heaths supply
Lessons from nature to the heart.
In every copse and sheltered dell,
Unveil'd to the observant eye, Are faithful monitors, who tell
How pass the hours and seasons by.
The green-robed children of the spring
Will mark the seasons as they pass ; Mingle with leaves Time's feather'd wing,
And bind with flowers his silent glass.
Mark where transparent waters glide,
Soft flowing o'er their tranquil bed ; There, cradled in the dimpling tide, Nymphæa rests her lovely head.
But conscious of the earliest beam,
She rises from her humid rest, And sees reflected in the stream
The virgin whiteness of her breast.
Till the bright day-star to the west
Declines, in Ocean's surge to lave, Then folded in her modest vest,
She slumbers in the rocking wave.
See Hieracium's various tribe,
Of plumy seed and radiate flow'rs,
Broad o'er its imbricated cup,
The Goatsbeard spreads its golden rays, But shuts its cautious petals up,
Retreating from the noontide blaze.
Pale as a pensive cloister'd nun
The Bethlem-star her face unveils, When o'er the mountain peers the sun,
But shades it from the vesper gales.
Among the loose and arid sands
The humble Arenaria creeps ; Slowly the purple star expands,
But soon within its calyx sleeps.
And those small bells, so lightly ray'd
In young Aurora's rosy hue, Are to the noontide sun display'd,
But shut their plaits against the dew.
On upland slopes the shepherds mark
The hour, when, as the dial true, Cicharium to the towering lark
Lifts her soft eyes serenely blue.
And thou, “wee crimson-tipped flow'r,"
Gatherest thy fringed mantle round Thy bosom, at the closing hour,
When night-dews bathe the turfy ground.