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THE RUSTIC ORACLE.
When you bend your steps through the plain, or ascend the hill-side, or stand on the mountain-top, look down to the greensward at your feet, and you will perceive patches of verdure, covered with golden flowers, or with light and transparent globes. It is the Dandelion, the oracle of the fields, which may be every where consulted. Like man, it is spread over the whole face of the globe; it is found in the four quarters of the world, near the pole as beneath the equator, on the margin of rivers and streams as well as on sterile rocks: every where it offers to the hand that would gather, or the eye that would consult them, its flowers, which shut and open at certain hours, serving the solitary shepherd for a clock, while its feathery tufts are his barometer, predicting calm or storm.
With Sol's expanding beam the flowers unclose,
Sad vigils, like a cloistered nun,
That in our path betrodden lie
But the globes formed by the seeds of the Dandelion serve for other purposes. Are you separated from the object of your love ?-carefully pluck one of those feathery spheres ; charge each of the little feathers composing it with a tender thought; turn towards the spot where the loved one dwells ; blow, and the little aërial travellers will faithfully convey your secret message to his or her feet. Do you wish to know if that dear one is thinking of you, as you are thinking of him or her, blow again; and if there is left upon the stalk single aigrette, it is a proof that you are not forgotten. But this second trial must be conducted with great caution. You must blow very gently; for, at any age, even at that which love renders most resplendent, it is wrong to dispel too rudely the illusions which embellish life.
The Dandelion attracts attention at a much earlier period of life. Friend Howitt speaks of it as
Dandelion, with globe of down,
As these plants, or rather the juice extracted from them, are employed to ease pain and to procure sleep to the restless invalid, the red Poppy in floral language is made the symbol of consolation. The white Poppy is supposed to express My bane, my antidote.”
According to the Grecian mythology, the Poppy owed its origin to Ceres, who created it to assuage her grief, during her search after her daughter Proserpine, who was carried off by Pluto.
Indulgent Ceres knew my worth,
The largest heads of the single white Poppy are preferred for making opium. These, being wounded before they are mature, and while growing, yield a milky juice; this, being collected and dried, becomes opium, of which laudanum is made. According to the quantity taken, laudanum operates either as a powerful remedy or a destructive poison.
From a Poppy I have taken
MRS. ROBINSON. The Poppy has of late years been extensively cultivated in this country for the making of opium, which is found to be equal in all its qualities to that formerly imported from Turkey. The quantity annually consumed in England is about fifty thousand pounds. In Ger. many an oil is extracted from the seed of the Poppy, that is not inferior to the finest Italian oils for culinary purposes, if used within the year.
Many species of Poppies are cultivated in the garden. The double ones are flowers of surpassing beauty, whether we consider their deli