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the ladies of chivalrous times embroidered on the scarfs which they presented to their knights the figure of a bee hovering about a sprig of Thyme; in order to recommend the union of the amiable with the active.
The Wild Thyme has often been noticed by the poets :No more, my goats, shall I behold
you climb The steepy cliffs, or crop the flowery Thyme.
Guide my way
Do you observe, along the extended banks of that lake, whose silvery mirror reflects an unclouded sky, those clusters of flowers as white as snow? A roseate hue colours the under side of these beauteous flowers, while a tuft of fibres of extraordinary delicacy and dazzling whiteness rises out of their alabaster cups, giving them the appearance of fringed hyacinths. Expression fails to do justice to the elegance of this plant. To remember it for ever, you need but to have once seen it gently waving on the brink of the water, to which it seems to impart increased coolness and transparency. The Buckbean never opens in stormy weather. Tranquillity is requisite to the development of its blossoms; but the calm that it enjoys itself it seems to diffuse on all the objects around it.
The original name of the Buck-bean was Bogbane, or Bog-plant, from its place of growth.
The Acanthus delights in hot climates by the side of great rivers. It thrives, nevertheless, in temperate climates. The tasteful ancients adorned their furniture, their vases, and their costly dresses, with its elegant leaves. Virgil says that the robe of Helen was embroidered with a wreath of Acanthus.
This charming model of the Arts has thus become their emblem, as it might also be of the genius which causes its possessor to excel in them. When any obstacle obstructs the growth of the Acanthus,it puts forth fresh force, and grows with additional vigour. Thus genius is strengthened and exalted by the very obstacles which it cannot overcome.
It is related of Callimachus the architect,that, as he was passing near the tomb of a young female, who died a few days before her intended marriage, touched with pity, he approached to throw flowers on it. An offering had preceded his: the nurse of the bride had collected the flowers and veil which were to have adorned her on her wedding-day, placed them in a little basket near the tomb on an Acanthus plant, and covered it with a large tile. The following spring the leaves of the Acanthus surrounded the basket, but, impeded by the tile, they turned back, and bent round gracefully towards their extremities. Callimachus, astonished at this rural decoration, which looked like a work of the weeping Graces, made it the capital of the Corinthian order — a charming ornament that we still imitate and admire.
The oak was from the remotest ages consécrated to Jupiter, the olive to Minerva, and the Myrtle to Venus. Its evergreen foliage and supple odoriferous branches loaded with flowers, that appear destined to adorn the forehead of Love, have rendered this tree worthy of being dedicated to Venus, the goddess of beauty. At Rome the temple of the goddess was surrounded by a grove of Myrtles; and in Greece she was adored under the name of Myrtilla. When Venus rose from the bosom of the waves, Hours presented to her a scarf of a thousand colours, and a wreath of Myrtle. After her victory over Pallas and Juno, she was crowned with Myrtle by the Loves. When surprised, one day, on issuing from the bath, by a troop of satyrs, she sought refuge behind a Myrtle bush; and it was with the branches of the same plant