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Shakspeare makes the Primrose a funeral flower for youth.
With fairest flowers,
The Almond-tree is the first of the trees to obey the call of early spring. Nothing can be more graceful than this beautiful tree when it appears covered with blossoms, while the surrounding trees are still quite naked. It has been made the emblem of indiscretion, from flowering so early that frosts too often destroy the precocious germs of its fruit, though, instead of injuring its flowers, they seem to confer on the latter additional beauty.
According to Moore, the Almond blossom is the emblem of hope
The hope, in dreams of a happier hour,
That alights on Misery's brow,
That blooms on a leafless bough. In ancient times, the abundance of blossom on this tree was considered as the promise of a fruitful season.
Mark well the flowering Almond in the wood;
Fable confers an affecting origin on this tree. It relates that Demophoon, son of Theseus and Phædra, in returning from the siege of Troy, was thrown by a storm on the shores of Thrace, where then reigned the beautiful Phyllis. The young queen graciously received the prince, fell in love with him, and became his wife. When recalled to Athens by his father's death, Demophoon promised to return in a month, and fixed the day. The affectionate Phyllis counted the hours of his absence, and at last the appointed day arrived. Nine times she repaired to the shore; but, losing all hope of his return, she dropped down dead with grief, and was turned into an Almond-tree. Three months afterwards, Demophoon returned. Overwhelmed with sorrow, he offered a sacrifice at the sea-side, to appease the manes of his bride. She seemed to sympathize with his repentance: for the Almond-tree, into which she had been transformed, instantly put forth its flowers, and proved by this last effort that true love, “ strong as death,” is incapable of change.
The Weeping Willow is a native of the East, where it was not only planted near the water, but also near the graves of the dead, over which its branches drooped as in token of mourning and affliction, producing an appropriate and picturesque effect. It is called by Linneus the Willow of Babylon, (Salix Babylonica) in allusion to that affecting passage in the 137th Psalm, where the captive children of Israel are represented as hanging their harps upon the Willows, and sitting down beside the waters of Babylon to weep their separation from their beloved country.
Silent their harps-each cord unstrung,
O Salem! its sound should be free:
But left me that token of thee;