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crawling. His ear would be assailed by the shrill cry of “ Milk below," and the deep tone of “ Old clothes,” where he had formerly retired to listen to the melody of the early lark, or the plaintive tones of the nightingale.
A breath of unadulterated air,
Yet how careful have they been to keep it as distant as possible from thenarrow yard of our metropolitan church, which stands on one of the finest sites in the universe, as will be seen when the
arrives that will level the buildings which obstruct the view of it from the Thames. Should the cathedral of Saint Paul's ever be seen forming the centre of a crescent, which would open to the south, and whose base would be washed by the noble but now obscured river, it would become the most splendid spot, and the most delightful promenade that the world could boast. What would not the citizens give for so fine and healthy a spot, where themselves and their families might breathe an air, scarce less healthy than that which they must now go many miles to enjoy ? What wealthy citizen is there who would not contribute largely to see the finest church on the earth stand at the
head of a lawn, which gradually ascends from the waves of his boasted river; and what situation could be so eligible for the erection of national galleries, libraries, and museums, as this would offer:— but let us return to the shrubbery; for
“ The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade,
Pants for the refuge of a peaceful shade,"
The laburnum was called Bean-trefoile tree in the time of Gerard, because the seeds are shaped like the bean, and the leaves like the trefoil. It had also the name of Peascod tree in that age, but which has long given way to that of the Latin Laburnum, which Haller says is evidently derived from the Alpine name, L'aubours. In French it is named Cytise des Alpes, Abours, and Faux ebénier, because the wood was often used as a substitute for ebony.
The laburnum is a tree of the third height, and wers in the shrubbery from eight or ten to twenty feet in height. As it is of the middle stature, so should it generally form a centrical situation. Dark evergreens, of the larger kind, form a good back ground to this cheerful, flowering, and graceful tree, whose yellow pendent blossoms shine more conspicuously by the contrast. Its extending branches should wave their golden treasures over the snowy balls of the guelder rose, or the delicate tints of the Persian lilac; whilst the tall eastern lilac may dispute the prize of beauty with its gay neighbour from the Alps, and our native hawthorn's silvery petals shine not in vain for
66 Thus is Nature's vesture wrought
To instruct our wand'ring thought;
We have introduced no tree that is more ornamental to our plantations than the laburnum; it relieves alike the gloomy clumps of mountain firs, and the borders of the forest shades; it enlivens the holly hedgerow, and embellishes the cottage garden. It would also become a profitable timber, were we to plant it for that purpose; for the wood is of a hard nature, and approaches near to green ebony. Mr. Boutcher tells us, that he saw a large table, and a dozen of chairs made of this wood, which were considered by judges of elegant furniture to be the finest they had
Its use for these purposes is common in France, but it has seldom been suffered to stand long enough in this country to arrive at any size. Mr. Martyn says, he has seen trees of the laburnum, in old Scotch
gardens, that were fit to cut down for the use of
the timber, being more than a yard in girth, at six feet from the ground; and these had been broken and abused, otherwise might have been much larger. This able writer tells us, in his edition of Miller's Gardener's Dictionary, that the laburnum grows very fast, and is extremely hardy, and is well worth propagating upon poor, shallow soils, and in exposed situations.
His Grace the late Duke of Queensberry sowed a great quantity of the seeds of this tree upon the side of the downs, at his seat near Amesbury, in Wiltshire, where the situation was very much exposed, and the soil so shallow, that few trees would grow there ; yet in this place the young trees were twelve feet high in four years' growth, and became a shelter to the other plantations, for which purpose they were designed. In neighbourhoods where hares or rabbits abound, these trees will require protection, as they will otherwise bark them in the winter; and hence it has been suggested, to plant laburnum seeds in plantations infested with these destructive animals, which will touch no other plant so long as a twig of laburnum remains. Though eaten to the ground in winter, it will spring again the next season; and thus constantly supply food for this kind of
game. A small sum laid out by a farmer in this seed, and judiciously sown in his hedges or coppices, would save his crops, as well as the planter's young trees.
Laburnums are recommended to be planted thick, for the purpose of drawing them up, to form hop poles, which are said to be more durable than those of most other wood. Matthiolus speaks of its being used for making the best bows. It is found to char remarkably well; and the wood is esteemed also for making pegs, wedges, musical instruments, and a variety of purposes for which hard wood is required.
The laburnum is easily propagated by seed, which it produces in great plenty. It is usually sown in the month of March ; but
young trees may generally be found in abundance where the trees have scattered their fruit. In forming plantations for poles or timber, the seeds should be sown where they are intended to remain ; but for the shrubbery, or ornamental plantation, they should be removed, and their roots shortened, which will cause them to flower more abundantly.
Children should be cautioned not to eat the seeds in the green state, which are violently emetic and dangerous.