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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 young maid stole through the cottage-door,
And blush'd as she sought the plant of power.
“ Thou silver glow-worm, oh lend me thy light!
I must gather the mystic St. John's wort to-night;
The wonderful herb whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride."

And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone

Through the night of St. John;
And soon as the young maid her love-knot tied,

With noiseless tread

To her chamber she sped,
Where the spectral moon her white beams shed.
“ Bloom here, bloom here, thou plant of power,
To deck the young maid in her bridal hour !”
But it droop'd its head, that plant of power,
And died the mute death of the voiceless flower;
And a withered wreath on the ground it lay,
More meet for a burial than bridal-day.

And when a year was passed away,
All pale on her bier the young maid lay!

And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone

Through the night of St. John,
As they closed the cold grave o'er the maid's cold clay.

Eryngium maritimum. Sea Eryngo.

Pentandria Digynia.

Flowers forming a head: general involucrum many-leaved.

Receptacle chaffy. Seeds rough, with flexible scales. Rootleaves roundish, plaited, thorny. Flowering-heads on fruitstalks. Chaff three-pointed. Leaves mealy on the surface, with a whitish wood-like border; angles ending in sharp, whitish thorns. Blossom whitish-blue-Withering.

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The Eryngo here
Sits as a queen amongst the scanty tribes
Of vegetable race. Around her neck
A gorgeous ruff of leaves, with snowy points,
Averts all rough intrusion. On her brow
She binds a crown of amethystine hue,
Bristling with spicula, thick interwove
With clustering florets, whose light anthers dance

In the fresh breeze, like tiny topaz gems.
· Here the sweet rose would die. But she imbibes

From arid sands, and salt sea dew-drops, strength;
The native of the beach, by nature form'd
To dwell among the ruder elements.

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Primula officinalis. Cowslip.

Pentandria Monogynia.

Leaves wrinkled and toothed. Stalk many-flowered; all the flowers drooping; border of the blossom concave. Leaf-stalk often longer that the leaves, which is not the case in the primrose or oxlip. Blossom sweet-scented, full yellow, with an orange blotch at the base of each segment; contracted about the middle of the tube, where the stamens are inserted.-Withering.

“ THE Cowlips tall her pensioners be,

In their gold coats spots you see :
Those be rubies, fairies favours,
In those freckles live their savours."


UNFOLDING to the breeze of May,
The Cowslip greets the vernal ray:
The topaz and the ruby gem,
Her blossom's simple diadem;
And, as the dew-drops gently fall,
They tip with pearls her coronal.
In princely balls and courts of kings
Its lustrous ray the diamond flings;
Yet few of those who see its beam,
Amid the torch-light's dazzling gleam,
As bright as though a meteor shone,
Can call the costly prize their own.

Page 66.



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