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complete history of the Strawberry. This humble plant delights in the shelter of our woods, and covers their borders with that delicious fruit, which belongs to any one who pleases to gather it. It is a charming reserve, which Nature has subtracted from the exclusive right of property, and which she rejoices in rendering common property to all her children.
The flowers of the Strawberry form pretty bouquets; but where is the barbarous hand that, in gathering them, would rob the future of its fruits ! It is delightful to find, among the glaciers of the Alps, the plants and flowers of the Strawberry in all seasons of the year. When the traveller - scorched by the sun, and sinking with fatigue on those rocks, old as the world, amidst forests of fir, half over-whelmed with avalanches—vainly seeks a cabin to shelter him, or a fountain to refresh him, he suddenly perceives troops of young girls advancing from the defiles of the rocks, bearing baskets of Strawberries that perfume the air: they appear at once on the crags above him, and in the yawning dells beneath. It would seem as if each rock and tree were guarded by
one of those nymphs whom Tasso placed at the gate of Armida's enchanted gardens. But, though equally attractive, the young Swiss girls are less dangerous; and, while offering their alluring baskets to the traveller, instead of magically arresting his steps, they enable him to recruit his strength and to renew his journey.
The learned Linneus was cured of frequent attacks of gout by the use of Strawberries. Often have they restored health to the invalid when all other medicines have failed. They constitute a favourite accompaniment of the lordly feast, and the most exquisite luxury of the rural repast. This charming fruit, which vies in freshness and perfume with the bud of the sweetest of flowers, delights the eye, the taste, and the smell, at the same time. Yet there are persons so unhappy as to dislike Strawberries, and to swoon at the sight of a rose. Is this astonishing, when there are persons who turn pale at the sight of superior merit, or on hearing of a noble action, as if the sight or record of virtue were a reproach to themselves ? Fortunately, the melancholy
exceptions take nothing from the charm of virtue, from the beauty of the rose, or from the perfection which characterizes the most delicious of fruits.
ST. JOHN'S WORT.,
This plant, to which ancient superstition attributed the virtue of defending persons from phantoms and spectres, and driving away devils, whence it was called Fuga Dæmonum, has been named by modern bigotry St. John's-wort. For the same reason it was also called Sol terrestris, the Terrestrial Sun, because the spirits of darkness were believed to vanish at the approach of that luminary. Growing close to the earth, its large yellow flower, whose hundreds of chives form so many rays, headed by sparklike anthers, it reminds us of small wheel-fireworks, and forms a happy contrast with the azure flowers of the periwinkle.
It forms an appropriate emblem of supersti tion, but by some is regarded as a symbol of happiness, on account of the happy confidence with which it inspires the fond believers in its imaginary virtues.
AN ACCOMMODATING DISPOSITION.
The Red Valerian grows naturally on the rocks of the Alps, and, from the facility with which it propagates itself in the garden or on old walls, it is made the emblem of an accommodating disposition. If not indigenous in this country, it is conjectured to have been introduced very early, on account of the situations where it is found growing, which are generally the old walls of colleges, or the ruins of monastic bu
From its predilection for such situations, this plant no doubt derived its old English name of Setewale. Chaucer mentions it by this appellation, so long ago as the time of Edward III.:
Ther springen herbis grete and smale,
The Licoris and Setewale; and Dr. Turner, who compiled his Herbal about the middle of the sixteenth century, calls it Setwall.