Sivut kuvina

since the great vassals thought it unnecessary to accompany the act with a single word of explanation. They were sure of being understood, and they were so.



This fragile beauty is made the emblem of coquetry, because its flower seldom lasts a second day: hence the French have named it Belle de jour, and it has been thus characterized by one of their poets :

Aux feux dont l'air étincelle

S'ouvre la Belle de jour;
Zephyr la fatte de l'aile:
La friponne encore appelle

Les papillons d'alentour.
Coquettes, c'est votre emblème :

Le grand jour, le bruit vous plait,
Briller est votre art suprême;
Sans éclat le plaisir même

Devient pour vous sans attrait. It flowers in June, and, though the blossoms are so short-lived, yet they are followed by a succession of others, so that the plant continues to display its beauty, and to give out its agreeable frag

nce, for a considerable time.




The Sensitive Plant is so called from its motions imitating the sensibility of animal life. The plants of this genus naturally contract themselves in the evening, and expand with the morning's light, and they are still more remarkable for shrinking from external violence, and folding up their leaves at the mere approach of one's hand.

Whence does it happen that the plant, which well We name the Sensitive, should move and feel ? Whence know her leaves to answer her command, And with quick horror fly the neighbouring hand ?


These are questions which naturalists have not yet been able to answer. Darwin asks: • May it not be owing to a numbness, or paralysis, consequent to too violent irritation, like the fainting of animals from pain fatigue ?" The same writer thus characterizes the general habits of this plant:

Weak, with nice sense, the chaste Mimosa stands,
From each rude touch withdraws her timid hands :
Oft as light clouds pass o'er the summer's glade,
Alarm’d she trembles at the moving shade,
And feels, alive through all her tender form,
The whisper'd murmurs of the gathering storm;
Shuts her sweet eyelids to approaching night,
And hails with freshen'd charms the rosy light.

Her susceptibility, however, even in the highest degree of excitement, never instigates her to injure the indiscreet hand which touches her, but only to draw back from it. The Sensitive Plant strives neither to punish nor to revenge herself. Like those modest females, who never think of arming themselves with severity, she uses not her thorny bristles; she merely shrinks from the approach of the intruder. The violet is the emblem of that retiring modesty which proceeds from reflection; but the Sensitive Plant is a perfect image of innocence and virgin modesty. She suspects no harm, because she knows none, and shows herself without mistrust: but, as soon as she is gazed at too closely, she withdraws herself as much as possible from the inquisitive eye. This modesty appears to be in her an instinct, a sense, and not the result of reflection.

« EdellinenJatka »