Изображения страниц
PDF

E'er lingering winter wings his flight
The gay Peziza springs to light,
Before the throstle's vernal song
Is heard the bursting sprays among,
Or o'er the land the south wind sighs,
And bids the slumb'ring flowers arise.
Lo, bending to the mossy bed,
With all thy crimson cups o'erspread,
The nymph of spring, with rosy lips,
The dew-drop from thy chalice sips,
And pledges in thy ruby bowl
The coming hour, whose mild control
Shall soon array the wintry scene
With flow'ry wreaths and foliage green.

Breathe softly now, ye gentle airs!
Nature her genial feast prepares,
And not within the wine-cup glows
So rich a boon as she bestows.
Come ye, to whom her haunts are known,
And claim her treasures as your own;
Come, and beneath the morning beam,
See how a thousand goblets gleam
With draughts of liquid opal fill'd
From some ethereal urn distill'd,
While every gift the opening day
Unveils before you, seems to say:
Come ye, and in the woods and fields
Drink the pure nectar nature yields.
The feast she spreads is simple, chaste,
It palls not on the wearied taste;
Sweet as Arabia's spicy breeze,
Like fragrant gums of eastern trees,
That long retain their rich perfume,
And spread their odours round the tomb,

The joy that nature freely gives,
Long in delightful memory lives;
And o'er the grave of vanish'd hours
Sheds forth afresh the scent of flowers.

Andromeda polifolia. Marsh Cistus.

Wild Rosemary.

Decandria Monogynia.

Calyx with five divisions. Blossom more or less egg-shaped. Mouth five-cleft. Capsules five-celled. Seeds few.

Umbel of few flowers, terminating. Blossom nodding. Leaves alternate, strap spear-shaped, edges rolled back— Withering.

LINNSUS NAMING THE ANDROMEDA.

The Swedish sage admires, in yonder bowers,
His winged insects and his rosy flowers;
Calls from their savage haunts the woodland train
With sounding horn, and counts them on the plain:
So once, at Heaven's command, the wanderers came
To Kden's shade and heard their various name.

Campbell.

It is interesting to trace the steps of a genius like Linnaeus, going over completely new ground, in the wide field of natural history ; 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 Linnaeus 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 Linnaeus, does the summer, like another Perseus, arrive, drying up the waters that inundate the plant,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »