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Amid the lone and heathy wild,
Of fairer form and brighter hue
Oh, it is thus, when grief's keen blast
These, lovelier than the fragile flowers
And thus it is, that heaven can bless
Hypericum perforatum. Common St. John's
Stems two-edged. Leaves blunt, with pellucid dots. Whole
plant quite free from hairs. Stems upright, nearly cylin. drical, the edges running from the base of the leaves to the bottom of the knot below, beset above with small, black dots. Leaves in cross pairs, oblong, rounded at the end, with seven and sometimes five semi-transparent lines, with several black dots near the edges on the under side: the semi-transparent dots numerous. Fruit-stalks from the bosom of the upper leaves. Calyx segments spear. shaped, ending in a point. Petals ribbed, set near the edges with dark purple glands; one of the sides very entire at the edge, the other serrated. Stamens thirty or more. Anthers with a globular black gland at the top, between the lobes. Germen egg-shaped. Styles threadshaped, yellow. Summits sometimes crimson.-Withering.
THE hypericum is one of those plants which in times past were held sacred by the Druids, and which, in a more recent period, have been considered by the ignorant as mystic flowers, peculiarly fitted for use at some particular seasons, and serving as a spell, or charm. At one time, it was the custom to practise many curious ceremonies on Midsummer-eve and the succeeding morning, distinguished as the day dedicated to St. John. These ceremonies were supposed particularly to interest young unmarried persons; and, like those of Halloween in Scotland, were considered, by the superstitious observers, to lift the veil of futurity for the coming year, and enable the enquirers to prognosticate their lot for married or single life. These practices still exist in some parts of the continent. In Lower Saxony, the young girls gather sprigs of St. John's Wort, on the eve of St. John, and secretly suspend them on the walls of their chambers, with certain mysterious ceremonies. The state of the sprig on the following morning is considered to indicate their fortune. If fresh and undrooping, it foretels a prosperous marriage; if faded and dying, the reverse. They forget, in their simplicity, what would overthrow all their faith in the omen; namely, that the state of the plant must depend entirely on the dampness or dryness of the wall. The following legend, on the subject of this superstition, is from the German.
THE FLOWER AND THE EVE OF ST. JOHN.
The young maid stole through the cottage-door,
And the glow-worm came
Through the night of St. John;
With noiseless tread
To her chamber she sped,
And when a year was passed away,
And the glow-worm came
Through the night of St. John,