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With every thing fair, or sweet, or exqui- tude or joy. I speak of the thorn which acsite in this world, it has seemed meet to that companies these pleasures not with murmurwisdom which appoints our sorrows, and ing or complaint. I speak of the wounds sets a bound to our enjoyments, to affix some inflicted by this thorn with a living consciousstain, some bitterness, or some alloy, which ness of their poignancy and anguish ; be. may not inaptly be called, in figurative lan-cause exquisite and dear as mere earthly guage, a thorn. St. Paul emphatically pleasures may sometimes be, I would still speaks of a “ thorn in the flesh,” and from contrast them with such as are not earthly. this expression, as well as from his earnest- I would contrast the thorn and the wound, ness in having prayed thrice that it might the disappointment and the pain which acbe removed, we conclude it must have been company all such pleasures as are merely something particularly galling to the natural temporal, with the fulness of happiness, the man. We hear of the thorn of ingratitude, peace, and the crown, accompanying those the thorn of envy, the thorn of unrequited which are eternal. love-indeed of thorns as numerous as our pleasures; and few there are who can look back upon the experience of life, without acknowledging that every earthly good they have desired, pursued, or attained, has had
THE POETRY OF TREES. its peculiar thorn. Who has ever cast himself into the lap of luxury, without finding In contemplating the external aspect of that his couch was strewed with thorns ? nature, trees, in their infinite variety of form Who has reached the summit of his ambi- and foliage, appear most important and contion without feeling on that exalted pinnacle spicuous; yet so many are the changes which that he stood on thorns? Who has placed they undergo from the influence of the sun the diadem upon his brow, without perceiv- and the atmosphere, that it would be useless ing that thorns were thickly set within the to attempt to speak of the associations beroyal circlet? Who has folded to his bosom | longing to this class of natural productions all that he desired of earth's treasures, with abstractedly, and detached from collateral out feeling that bosom pierced with thorns ? circumstances. What poet, for instance, All that we enjoy in this world, or yearn to would describe the rich foliage of the sumpossess, has this accompaniment. The more mer woods, without the radiance of the sumintense the enjoyment, the sharper the thorn; mer sun; the wandering gale that waves and those who have described most feel their leasy boughs; the mountain side to ingly the inner workings of the human heart, which their knotted roots are clinging; the have unfailingly touched upon this fact with green valley where they live and flourish, the melancholy sadness of truth.
safe from raging storms; and the murmurFar be it from one who would not wil- | ing stream, over which their branches bend lingly fall under the stigma of ingratitude, to and meet. There is, however, a marked disparage the nature, or the number of distinction in the character of different trees, earthly pleasures-pleasures which are and a general agreement amongst mankind spread before us without price or limitation, in the relative ideas connected with each in our daily walk, and in our nightly rest, particular species. pleasures which lie scattered around our It is scarcely necessary to repeat low espath when we go forth upon the hills, or sential to our notions of perfection is the wander in the vailey, when we look up to beauty of fitness-that neither colour, form, the starry sky, or down to the fruitful earth nor symmetry, nor all combined in one ob-pleasures which unite the human family | ject, can command our unqualified admira. in one bond of fellowship, surround us at tion without adaptation; and that the our board, cheer us at our fire-side, smooth mind, by a sort of involuntary process, the couch on which we slumber, and even and frequently unconsciously to itself
, takes follow our wandering steps long-long after note of the right application of means, and we have ceased to regard them with grati- | the relation of certain causes with their na
-r.res, the destruction of thrones,
..oring of multitudes-while the aicion of half the world have
onized, and what was once
pre has gradually become pun; -me-while sterile wastes have
wned, and fertilized, and made 'fe power and industry of sucerations of men, and arts and
are wrought wonders which
isticated forefathers would have ----- ei miraculous—the same oak has solaps at one time the witness of La mtt's, at another affording shelter ..ple and unlettered peasant tending ogs ut swine that fed upon its falling
until, years rolling on, revolving iers crowning its brow with verdant and hoary winter scattering that
the winds, have left it for our an emblem of fallen majesty-its riy boughs no sooner attacked by the
destruction within, than assailed, ***1, and broken by the merciless blast
poetical conception youth is describes beauty, until he , and finally ena!!! hopeless echo hound, for the lite such an object, her caresses, nor 13
Throuah garlo over ruçied mon? on in this luci'ils of pleasurable ent beauty and a search be fruitlo ?" the earth altoridei, ininating speed, no) !! of summer continue parent stem, or no looked forth uport of nature.
One instance 1.. The "lady rosi this queen o
ti though not the! ing of the poi world, the ti to the ro.se, for detine; uuli of perfume, entitled this country to be in another, to's of red and ourable and cult to tracit origin; but agreed in 1 that our achietly with ?' are celebra exhibited und it would be greatest clini but certainly recently mor ed by unmittel culty, are t's our associ few, and the culture
After all to prucure; rose, there
seg and magnificent as the oak unPaoly is in its peculiar attitude and ..., presenting at one view the com
teas of ability to resist the strong, ier to defend the weak, it is yet
i less majestic than beautiful. What Duration of gorgeous hues its autumin me displays! The eye of the painter Snits sombre glory, its burnished hue, 3) Wild tantastic garniture of green and
wtrasted with its own hoary stem, The depth of shadow that is thrown by ors of the declining sun in lengthening its over the quiet earth. se is it merely with the outward aspect
s tree that our most powerful associaandre connected. In a nation perpetually Riittany in her maratime supremacy, we et learned to regard the oak as forming WALK ' bulwark for the defence of our lib
Thus, the British sailor calls upon tos vomrades by the proud title of “ hearts
Mek," and England is not unfrequently ameribed as being protected by her “oaken
there are, besides these, many other haud itafers or points of consideration, in
we regard the oak with feelings of
respect, and sometimes with poetical interest of the cottage slowly ascending, and clearly Perhaps it is not least in the scale of import- revealed against the sombre darkness of the ance, that many ancient and stately apart- elm, we think of the labourer returning to mients, dedicated to solemn or religious pur- his evening meal, the birds folding their poses, are lined with panels of the wood of weary wings, the coo of the wood pigeon, this tree. The same wood, beautifully carved the gentle fall of evening dew, the lull of and deepened into gloomy magnificence by winds and waves, the universal calm of nathe sombre influence of time, forms one of ture, and a thousand associationis rush upon the principal ornaments in many religious us, connecting that lovely and untroubled houses; and when we look back to the cus scene with vast and profound ideas of solemtoms of our ancestors, and the station which nity and repose. they occupiel, with that respect which we To the willow belongs a character pecunaturally feel for their boasted hospitality, liarly its own. It has no stateliness, or magood cheer, and substantial magnificence, jesty, or depth of shadow, to strihe the senses we seldom fail to surround them in imagina- and set the imagination afloat; but this tion with goodly wainscoting of oak, to place mournful tree possesses a claim upon our a log of the same wood upon the blazing attention, as having become the universal heart, and to endow them with powers both badge of sorrow, fancifully adopted by the mental and bodily, firm, stable, and umbend- victims of despair, and worn as a garland ing as this sturdy tree.
by the broken-hearted. It has also a beauty Amongst the trees of the forest, the elm and a charm of its own. It carries us in may very properly be placed next in rank idea to green pastures, and peaceful herds to the oak, from its majestic fize anl impor- that browse in deep meadows by the side of tance. Yet the elm has a very different some peaceful river, whose sleepy waters, character, and consequently excites in the silently gliding over their weedy bed, seem contemplative mind a different train of asso to hear away our anxious and conflicting ciations and ideas. The massive and um- thoughts along with them. Seated by the brageous boughs, or rather arnis of the elm, rude and ancient-lcoking stem of this tree, stretching forth at right angles with its we listen to the soft whispering of the wind stately stem, present to the imagination a among its silvery leaves, and grize upon the picture of calm dignity rather than defensive glassy surface of the slowly moving stream, power. From the superficial manner in just rippled here and there by a stray branch which the roots of this tree are connected projecting from the flowery bank, or a fairy with the earth, it is ill calculated to sustain forest of reeds springing up in spite of the the force of the tempest, and is frequently ceaseless and invincible flow of that unfailtorn from its hold and laid prostrate on the ing tide. We gaze, until the precise disground by the gale, whose violence appears tinctions of past, present, and future file to be unheeded by its brethren of the forest. away--the ocean of time flows past us line In painting, or in ideal picture-making, we that silent river (would it were as unrulled plant the elm upon the village green, a sort in its real course ;) and while retaining a of feudal lord of that little peopled territory; dim and mysterious consciousness of our or in stately rows skirting the confines of the own existence, we lose all remembrance of dead, where the deep shadow from its dark its rough passages, all perception of its pregreen foliage falls upon the quiet graves, sent bitterness, and all apprehension of its and the long rank grass, and on the village future perils. From such unprofitable muchurch, when from her gray sides and / sings, is too frequently indulged, we awake arched windows she reflects the rays of the to a melancholy state of feeling, of which the setting sun, and looks, in her silence and so- i willow has by the common content of manlerinity, like a sister to those venerable trees. kind become emblematical. Morbid, listlees, There are no gorgeous hues in the foliage and inactive, we shrink from the stirring neof the elm, no light waving, dancing or çlis- cessities of life; we behold the happy flocks tening anungst its heavy boughs. All is still feeding, and almost wish, that like them grave majesty; and when we see the smoke we could be content with a rich pasture, as
the bound of our ambition-like them live, depicted a white un delicately stitched with die, and be forgotten. The dreamy silence shining silk, and long green threads suisof those low damp fields increases our me- pended over it, in mockery of its drooping lancholy, and the pale and mournful aspec: | branches. But above all, we have seen in of the willow, prematurely hoary, becomes the square ells of garden fronting those tall an emblem of our own fate and condition. thin dwellings about town, whe a squeezed It grows not erec: and stately like the stern and narrow neighbour jostles up on each elm, or bold and free like the waving ash, side, leaving just room enough for a tin vebut stooping obliquely over the stream, or, randah, but no space to breathe or move, shrinking from its companions with distorted still less to think or feel;-we have seen, limbs, tells to the morbid and imaginative laden with a summer's dust, the countless beholder, a sad tale of early blight, or the little stunted weeping willows that throw rough dealing of rude and adverse winds. aloft, as if in search of purer air, their slenThe loiterer still lingers, loath to leave a spot der, helpless arms, and would weep, if they where one bitter root may yet remain unap- could, yea, cry aloud, at this merciless malpropriated. He listens while he lingers, and appropriation of their desenceless beauty. thinks he hears the willow whispering its These impressions must therefore necessorrows to the passing gale. The gale sarily be obliterated, and others, less vulgar blows more freshly, and the willow then and profane, be deeply impressed upon the seems to sigh and shiver with the newly mind, before the weeping willow can be esawakened agonies of despair.
tablished in that rank which it deserves to Thus can the distorted eye of melancholy hold amongst objects whose general assolook on every object with a glass of its own ciations are poetical.* colouring, and thus it is possible one of our Turning from the consideration of such most common and unimportant trees, natu- trees as belong to the forest, the field, or the rally growing in the familiar walks of man, grove, to those which are reared and cultiin the small enclosure near his door, the vated for domestic purposes; we find, even green paddock or the luxuriant meadow, here, a world of ideas and associations, may have acquired by the sanction of feel- which, if not highly poetical, are fraught ing, not of reason, its peculiar character as with the satisfaction of home comforts, and an emblem of sorrow and gloom.
the interest of local attachments. In traThe weeping willow, as being more grace- velling through a fertile country, thickly peofully mournful, might very properly have pled, not with the haggard, rude, or careclaimed that attention which has been given less-looking labourers at the loom, but with to the common and plebeian members of its a quiet and peaceful peasantry, whose defamily; but the weeping willow, while it light is in the gardens, the fields, and the has in this country fewer natural associa- flocks which their fathers tended before them, tions, is burdened and robbed of its poetic how beautiful, in the season of their bloscharacter by a great number of such as are som, are the numerous orchards, neatly neither natural nor pleasing. Could we fenced in, and studding the landscape all think of this elegant and picturesque tree over with little islands of rich promise, where only in its most appropriate situation, droop- the brightest tints of the rose, and the fairest ing over the tomb of Napoleon, or could we of the lily, niingle with odorous perfume in have behield this tomb itsell
, without its in- all the luxuriant profusion of nature! Again, finitely multiplied representations in poonah when the harvest is over, and the golden and every other kind of painting, we might fruit, perfected by a summer's sun, is susthen have enjoyed ideas and sensations con- pended in variegated clusters from every nected with it of the nost touching and ex- bough, how delightful is the contemplation quisite nature. But, alas! our first failure in drawing has been upon the dangling * It is a fact now generally known, that the first weepboughs of the weeping willow; our first son ing willow grown in England, was planted in Pope's net has been addressed to this pathetic tree;
garden at Twickenham, and is wid to have been seat
froni Turkey, with a present from his friend, Lady Mary our first flourish in fancy needle-work has Wortley Montague.
of that rural and picturesque scene!-how resque form presents, that we naturally consweetly the ideas it presents to the mind are nect with this plant the ideas of solemnity blended with our love of nature and natural which are awakened by reflecting on the enjoyments, and our gratitude for the boun- awful lapse of time. The ivy, too, is chiefly ty and goodness of a gracious Providence. seen upon the walls of religious houses,
Descending to the class of inferior trees, or either perfect or ruinous, where its heavy rather plants, our poetical associations in- clusters of matted leaves, with their deep crease in proportion as these are more pic- shadow, afford a shelter and a hiding place turesque, graceful, or parasitical; and con- for the bat and the owl, and, in the ideas of sequently, are more easily woven into the the irrational or the too imaginative, for landscape, either real or imaginary, which other less corporeal beings that fit about in forms the subject of contemplation. Amongst the dusky hours of night. Thus, the ivy acsuch, the common wild heath is by no means quires a character of mystery and gloom, the least important; nor are we, on first con- perhaps, even more poetical than that which sideration, aware for how large a propor- strikes us when we see its glittering sprays tion of our admiration of mountain scenery glancing in the clear light of day, or waving we are indebted to the rich purple hue which in the wind around the gray turrets of the is thrown by this plant over the rugged sides ruin, and suggesting that simile which has of the hills, otherwise too cold and stony in been so frequently the poet's theme, of light their aspect to gratify the eye. With the words and jocund smiles assumed by the idea of the heath we connect the path of the broken-hearted to conceal the withering of lonely traveller, or the silence of untrodden the blighted soul. wilds; the haunt of the timid moor fowl, the It would be useless to proceed farther hum of the wandering bee, or the gush of with this minute examination of objects, to unseen water in the deep ravines of the each of which a volume of relative ideas mountains, working its way amongst the might be appropriated. A few examples rocks, through moss, and fern, and matted are sufficient to prove, that with this class weeds, until at length it sparkles up in the of natural productions, the great majority clear sun-shine, and then goes dancing, and of minds are the same in their associations. leaping, yet ever murmuring, like a pleased | Would it might prove something better than but fretful child, on-on towards the bosom a mockery of the loveliness of nature, thus of the silent lake below.
to examine its component parts, and ask But above all other vegetable productions, why each is charming! Far more delightneither trees nor flowers excepted, the ivy is ful would be the task of expatiating upon perhaps the most poetical. And why? not the whole, of roaming at will upon the lills merely because its leaves are “never sere,” | and through the woods, and embracing at nor because it hangs in fanciful festoons, one view, in one ecstatic thought, the unglittering yet gloomy, playful yet sad; but speakable harmony which reigns through because it does what so few things in nature the creation. The pine, the oak, and the will do-it clings to, and beautifies the ruin elm, may be magnificent in themselves, -it shrinks not from the fallen column-it the willow, the heath, and the ivy, may each covers with its close embrace the rugged present a picture to the imagination; but face of desolation, and conceals beneath its what are these considered separately, comrich and shining mantle the ravages made pared with the ever-varying combination of by the hand of time—the wreck which the form and colour, majesty and grace, pretempest has wrought.
sented by the forest, or the woodland, the Besides this highly poetical idea, which sloping banks of the river, or the lealy Jell, forces itself upon every feeling mind, the ivy where the round and the massive figures has other associations, deeply interesting in are broken by the spiral stem or the feathery their character. It requires so many years foliage that trembles in the passing gale-to bring it to the perfection necessary for where the hues that are most vivid, or most those masses of foliage, and dark recesses delicate, stand forth in clear contrast from the of mysterious gloom, which its most piciu-l depths of sombre shade--where every pro