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amining the leaves of the Nettle with a microscope, you are surprised to see them covered with stiff, articulated, sharp-pointed bristles, which are so many conductors to a sharp burning liquid, enclosed in a bladder at the bottom of each. These hairs and bladders are exactly like the stings of bees. In the insect, as in the plant, it is the sharp
humour which causes the pain. Cure, Balm of Gilead. This exquisite balm, so
justly esteemed by the ancients, seems to have been provided by Nature to soothe pain : thus we often use the word balm in a moral and figurative sense, to express any thing that allays and mitigates sorrow. Beneficent virtue and affectionate friendship are true balms, which heal the wounds of the heart, a thousand times more painful than any phy
sical evils. CURIOSITY, Sycamore. This tree is mentioned
but once historically, and that is in the Bible. Zaccheus the publican mingled with the crowd on the day of our Saviour's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and, in order to obtain a better view of the Messiah, he climbed up into a Sycamore-tree, which has thence been made the emblem of curiosity.
DANGEROUS PLEASURES, Tuberose. Page 184. DeceitpUL CHARMS, Thorn Apple. Page 153. Delicacy, Corn-bottle. The beautiful blue of
this flower, which is like that of a cloudless sky, is the emblem of a tender and delicate
affection, nourished by hope. Desire, Jonquil. The Jonquil, which came to
us from Constantinople, is with the Turks
the emblem of desire. Despair, Marigold and Cypress. Cypress is the
emblem of death; the Marigold of sorrow.
The combination of the two expresses despair. DignITY, Clove-tree. The aromatic Clove-tree
is a native of the Molucca Islands. The people of those islands wear its flowers, which
we call Cloves, as a mark of distinction. DISCRETION, Maiden Hair. Page 197. Dispain, Yellow Pink. As haughty people are
in general unaccommodating and unamiable, so of all the pink tribe the yellow is the least beautiful, the least fragrant, and yet requires the most care.
Docility, Rush. It is a proverbial saying, as
supple as a Rush. Do ME JUSTICE, Chesnut-tree. Chesnuts are
enclosed, two, three, or four, together, in one green husk, armed with numerous spikes. Those who are not acquainted with the tree disregard the fruit on account of its rough
appearance. DURABILITY, Cornel Cherry-tree. Page 239.
ELEGANCE, Rose Acacia. The art of the toilet
cannot produce any thing fresher or more elegant than the attire of this pretty shrub. Its drooping branches, its gay green, its beautiful bunches of pink flowers, resembling bows of ribands, all give it the appearance of a
fashionable female in her ball-dress. Elevation, Fir-tree. The Fir delights in cold
regions, and grows there to a prodigious
height. Eloquence, Lotus. The Egyptians consecrated
the flower of the Lotus to the Sun, the god of eloquence. This flower closes and sinks into the water at sunset, rising from it and opening again as soon as the brilliant luminary re-appears above the horizon. It constitutes one of the ornaments of the head of Osiris. The Indian gods are frequently represented floating on the water upon a Lotus flower : perhaps an emblem of the earth
issuing from the bosom of the deep. ENCHANTMENT, Vervain. Page 135. Envy, Bramble. The Bramble, like envy, creeps
and strives to stifle every thing that comes
near it. ERROR, Bee Orchis. The flowers of this plant so
nearly resemble a small humble-hee in shape and colour that they might easily be mistaken
for that insect. Esteem, Sage. The common garden Sage has
ever been held in great esteem by all domestic practitioners for its medicinal virtues. By the ancients it was supposed to possess the virtue of prolonging life: hence a line in one of their poets, which signifies : “How can a man die in whose garden there grows Sage?"
Faith, Passion Flower. In the Passion Flower
you find a representation of the crown of thorns, the scourge, the cross, the sponge
the nails, and the five wounds of Christ;
whence its name. FALSEHOOD, Bugloss, Page 74.
Manchineel-tree. The fruit of the Manchineel-tree resembles an apple. This deceitful appearance, together with an agreeable smell, invites you to eat it: but its soft and spongy substance contains a milky and perfidious Juice, which at first appears insipid, but soon becomes so caustic as to burn at once the lips, the palate, and the tongue. All travellers agree in stating that the best remedy for so violent a poison is sea-water. Luckily it is always at hand, as the tree
grows invariably on the sea-shore. False Riches, Sunflower. Page 189. Festivity, Parsley. Page 223. FIDELITY, Speedwell, or Veronica, formed from
vera-icon, a compound of Latin and Greek, signifying true image. This derivation, illiterate and barbarous as it is, has the sanction of the superstitious legend of St. Veronica, whose handkerchief is recorded to have received the impression of our Saviour's face, as he used it in bearing his cross to the place of crucifixion.