Sivut kuvina

Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Maryland.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

This noted remark of the Cardinal Hyppolito to the author of the “ Orlando Furioso," his presenting him with the first copy of his work, would be much more appropriate to the present recueil, than to the fine frenzy” of Ariosto. Yet one may be worse employed than in conversing with flowers. They are innocent companions, at least; and, in those hours in which the most industrious look for relaxation and amusement, it will be happy for us if we find no society more noxious, than that of these pure and beautiful parts of the creation.

Do we make the most of the objects which surround us--do we extract from them all the information, and all the innocent amusement which they are capable of affording? The question is not addressed to the scientific; but to those, of whom the writer admits herself to be one, who are too often content to gaze with a vacant and transient admiration at the works of the creation, and then to remember them no more. Here, for instance, is this blooming earth : what an interest has the science of botany thrown over it! Yet how few are there, among us, who are disposed to taste of the banquet which this science affords !--Again, these flowers interest us by their beauty and fragrance, and here we stop. Travellers, however, assure us, that the people of the East see something more in them than mere objects of admiration. In the hands of these primitive and interesting people, they become flowers of rhetoric, and speak their feelings with far more tenderness and force than words can impart. With them, there is something sacred in this mode of communication. It is a kind of religious worship—an offering of the fruits of the earth; and, though addressed to an earthly object, it still retains something of the sanctity which belonged to the rite from which it is probably borrowed, and is accompanied with a devotion far more true, and deep, and touching, than the artificial homage which distinguished the courts of Europe, even in the vaunted age of chivalry. Compared with modern manners, either in Europe or America, what is there that can vie, in picturesque beauty, with the Persian youth, gracefully presenting a rose to his mistress ? What language can convey a compliment so delicate and exquisite ? and if a communication of a still more interesting nature be intended, how much more refined, poetic and affecting is the mute eloquence of the Eastern lover, than those awkward and embarrassing declarations which are in use in other countries ! How much easier is it to present a flower, than to make a speech!

It is upon the hint suggested by this oriental custom, and for the purpose of trying, as a matter of curiosity, how far this emblematic language could be carried, that the following collection has been made. Mr. Percival tells us,

« Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers

On its leaves a mystic language bears."

Pity it is that we have no key to this mystic language of the East. Very few of their emblems have reached us. So far as they are known, they have been adopted in this collection. A few others have been borrowed from books and manuscripts. To supply the residue, which constitutes the far greater number, and to furnish the whole with appropriate illustrations, has been the chief amusement out of which this petit jeu has grown Very few of the emblems have been attached without reason. In general, they have been suggested either by some allusion to the specific flower in British poets, or by its botanical, or its popular name, or by some property peculiar to it, such as its hue, form, odour, place and manner of growth, sensibility, medicinal virtue, or some other circumstances connected with its history or character. It would be idle to swell this preface, and to seek to give consequence to a trifle so light and airy as this, by indicating, in every instance, the reasons which led to the selection of the emblems : these will present themselves readily to the mind of the reader. A few, and but few of them have been arbitrarily assumed, and this only from the necessity of giving sufficient range and variety to this symbolical language. If this be an objection, it applies with equal force to spoken language. For, although such of our words as are intended to convey the idea of sounds, seem to be manifest imitations of these sounds, and "echoes to the sense,” as they have been happily called, yet, the far greater part of the words which compose our language, have no such resem. blance, and must have been necessarily and arbitrarily assumed, in the first instance, as signs of the ideas to wh they were applied, and gradually adopted by common consent as expressive of those ideas. The adoption once made, whether in oral or emblematical language, the application of these conventional signs becomes as easy and accurate, and the use as great, as if there were a natural and inherent relation between the signs and the ideas which they represent; all that is necessary being, that the purpose of the sign be understood in the same way by all who use it.

The quotations are designed as poetic translations of the several emblems to which they are respectively applied. They are the language of the emblem rendered in verse : and, from the intrinsic beauty of most of these quotations, may it not be added, that these are the flowers of poetry aptly employed in illustrating the flowers of the earth ? Some of the lines are original contributions for this little work, and it is believed that they will be found worthy of this association with established poets. In some instances answers are furnished; these may be tacitly made by returning a part of the same flower which has been presented. And where there are no answers prepared, a similar return of a part of the flower will signify, that the sentiments expressed are reciprocated.

The first rude sketch of this little divertissement having been shown to a few young friends, copies were asked and given, and one of these, in the course of last year, found its way to the press in Boston, where, it is understood, a few copies were struck, with great neatness and beauty of type and paper. The circumstance is mentioned merely to explain to those who may possess those copies, the identity of the work, and to exempt the lady who has amused herself in compiling it, from any original purpose of publication. Since the collection has been enlarged, it has become so irksome to meet the request for manuscript copies, that it has been found expedient to call in the aid of the press to save the time and labour of transcription. This request for copies, and the circumstance of its having been thought worthy of publication in Boston, while the little work was as yet an embryon bud, induce the belief that the more expanded and finished form which it has now taken, will make it not unacceptable to those who are themselves in the spring-time of life, the season of flowers and sentiment.

There are few little presents more pleasing to a Lady, than a bouquet of flowers; and, if the donor be disposed to give them greater significance, it will be easy, with this manual before him, to make his selection in such a way as to stamp intelligence and expression on a simple posy.

This mode of communication may be carried even beyond the proper season of flowers, by the aid of an herbarium, in which flowers are preserved by simple pressure between the leaves of an album. Such an herbarium would be an ornament to a parlour table, and would, moreover, encourage and facilitate the study of botany : in promotion of which latter object, a botanical glossary has been added to the work.

The Lady who has given her leisure hours to this little play of fancy, has not the vanity to attach any serious consequence to it. The bagatelle, she trusts, is too light to attract the grave censure of the critic by profession. It has been an innocent recreation to herself; and it is with no higher expectation than of affording the like amusement to others, that it is now given to the press.

Baltimore, 1829.



A PERFECT plant consists of the root, the stem colouring matter of vegetables is decomposed : the or trunk, the stalk, the leaves, the flower, and the light which penetrates the Epidernis concurs in enfruit.

livening the colour; here, likewise, it is that oils and Roots are either annual, lasting one year, as the Poppy, resins are formed, by the decomposition of water and Barley, &c.; biennial, when produced in one year, and the carbonic acid. 3. The Liber, or inner bark, is the flowering the next, as Wheat, Canterbury Bell, &c.; or part in which the vital principle of a plant is chiefly perennial, when they last many years, as the Rose, Trees, seated; its parts are easily detached from each other; &c. There are various kinds of roots, some are bulbous, their lamina (fibrous scales or layers) are not extended as the Tulip and Onion; tuberose, as the Potato and lengthwise along the stem, but are curved in various Turnip; fusiform, as the Carrot and Raddish ; or fibrous, directions; and leave openings, or meshes between as in Trees and Grasses. The root generally consists of them, which are filled by the cellular matter itself, and two parts; the body and fibres : the latter is the part it is from their resemblance to the leaves of a book, which imbibes nourishment from the earth for the sup- that they have been called liber. It is this part of the port of the plant. The seed of a plant committed to the bark on which the ancients wrote, before the invention ground, swells by the moisture it imbibes, and in a few of parchment or paper. In proportion as these coatdays, throws out two shoots; the first strikes downward ings approach the ligneous body, or wood, they becoine into the soil, and forms the root or radical ; and the other hard; and at length form the external softer part of forces its way into the air. As soon as the young plant the wood, which workmen call the sap. The wood or feeds from the soil, it requires the assistance of leaves, ligneous part of the plant, is a compact fibrous substance, which are the organs by which the plant throws off its formed by new layers, which are added, every year, superabundant fluid. Vegetation is then essentially in- from the innermost part of the bark; so that the age of jured by destroying the leaves of a plant. It not only a tree, or shrub, may be ascertained by the number of diminishes the transpiration, but also the absorption by ligneous circles which appear upon cutting the stem the roots; for the quantity of sap absorbed is always in

near the root. proportion to the quantity of fluid thrown off by trans- The bark is the most essential part of the vegetable, piration.

by means of which the principal functions of life, such The Trunk, or Stem, is that part of a plant which as nutrition, digesting the secretions, &c are perproduces the leaves and flowers, and serves to elevate formed. them above the ground. It consists, 1. Of the Epi- The bark of a tree is only a congeries of the roots of dermis, cuticle, or exterior thin membranous covering, the individual buds of the plant. These roots spread furnished with pores, which transmit or throw off the themselves over the last year's bark, making a new bark excretory products of vegetation ; 'answering to the over the old one, and thence descending, cover with a skin of animals. 2. The Cortez, or outer bark, consists new bark the old roots also. of vescicles and utricles (small membranous cavities or The wood, or ligneous part, is not essential, many cells to receive the sap,) so very numerous, and close plants being without it; such as grasses, reeds, and all together, as to form a continued coating. It is among plants that are hollow within. these glands that the work of digestion appears to be The hollow Oak-trees, and Willows, are often seen performed; and the product of this elaboration is after

with the whole wood decayed and gone, and yet the few wards conveyed through the whole vegetable, by ves- remaining branches flourish with vigour. sels propagated through all its parts; these conduits

Grasses, properly speaking, have only the cortical even passing through the body of the tree, crossing part. The thin outside cover of the bark is of great the ligneous strata. In this net-work it is that the consequence to them: it is of great strength, and

appears to be constituted of a sort of glassy net-work, which is chiefly silicious earth, as has been lately ascertained. This is the case in the Wheat, Oat, and in different plants.

The Stalks are those parts which branch out from the stem, and support the leaves, flowers, or fruits; as the straw in grasses; the flower stalks, leaf stalks, &c.

The Pith is a tolerably firm juicy substance, which is diffused through the inner part of the stalk, to give energy and vigour to the whole; it is abundant in young plants, diminishes as they grow up, and at length totally disappears.

The Sap is the fluid which nourishes the plant. The warmth of the spring dilates the vessels of plants, producing a kind of vacuum, into which the sap rises; but, when the cold weather returns, the fibres and vessels contract, the sap is forced down into the root; the leaves wither, and are no longer able to perform their offices of transpiration; the secretions stop, the roots cease to absorb sap from the soil, and if the plant be annual, its life then terminates; if not, it remains in a state of torper during the winter. The basis of this juice, which the roots suck up from the soil, is water.

Heat promotes vegetation; it excites the activity of plants; it increases the disposition of some of their constituent parts for new attraction and combination, to obtain such substances as may be requisite and proper for new growth; it likewise causes them to reject such matters as would be hurtful them; it hastens the dissolution or digestion, the formation and secretion of their different products. It enables them to dispose of their superabundant portion of fluids, by promoting perspiration and evaporation. Yet the heat must not be too great, or continued for too long a time, as it occasions a too rapid digestion, and perspiration of their nourishment, and consequently an exhaustion.

Plants have an independant heat of their own. But, if it be difficult to account for the spontaneous production of heat in animal bodies, as all physiologists have found, it must be much more so to account for the generation of vegetable heat. Light, and atmospheric air, at least, are known to be essential to the vital functions of both.

In all decomposition, caloric, or heat, is disengaged, and may not the chemical process which takes place within the plant, supply it with the heat which they are acknowledged to possess, and which, it is asserted, tempers the cold of the atmosphere; while the evaporation which takes place through the whole plant, continually moderates the scorching heat of the sun.

Dr. Hunter observed, upon this independant heat,

that by keeping a thermometer placed in a hole made in a sound or healthy tree, it constantly indicated a temperature several

above that of the atmosphere, when it was below the fifty-sixth division of Fahrenheit ; whereas, the vegetable heat in hotter weather was always several degrees below that of the atmosphere. The same philosopher has likewise observed, that the sap which, out of the tree, would freeze at 320, did not freeze in the tree unless the cold were augmented 150 more.

But the most remarkable instance of heat in plants upon record, is what is related of the Arum maculatum. Lamarck says, in his Flore Francaise, “that when the flowers are in a certain state of perfection, the spadix is so hot as to seem burning, and not at all of the same temperature as the surrounding bodies.'

Mr. Senebier noticed that this heat began when the sheath* was about to open, and the spadixt just peeping forth, and that it was perceptible from three or four o'clock in the afternoon till midnight.

The Leaves consist of an immense number of fibres or nerves, divided into two sets, one belonging to each surface. The surface of the leaf is full of minute pores, through which it imbibes the dew, air, &c. necessary to the growth of the plant, so as to enable it, in some degree, to dispense with supplies from the root; as we see in plants which live in the water, or swim in that element, which serves them for food; they have no roots, but receive the fluid at all their pores, and, by decomposition, the hydrogen gas of the water, which constitutes the chief aliment of the plant, is separated, and becomes a principle of the vegetable ; while the oxygen gas, the otuer constituent part of water, is thrown off by the vital forces, escaping by the pores, where the action of light causes its disengagement.[See Note 1st, upon Gas-post.]

Air is also necessary to the growth of a plant. But the air which it requires is not the same appropriated to the use of man.

Drs. Priestly and Ingenhousz have proved that it is the nitrogen gas which more particularly serves them for aliment. Hence it arises that vegetation is more vigorous when bodies which afford this gas by their

Sheath, or Spathe—a kind of calyx that opens length. wise, and puts forth a flower-stalk or spadix, as in the palm

arum, &c.

It is also applied to the calyx of some flowers which have no spadix, as of the narcissus, crocus, iris, &c. A membrane investing a stem or branch, as in grasses.

Spadiz—the receptacle proceeding from a spathe, as in the palm, and some other plants, so called from being produced within a spatha or sheath.

« EdellinenJatka »