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Anemone has velvet leaves, deeply dentated, and of a delicate green; whereas those of the Periwinkle are always green, firm, and shining; its flower is blue, while that of the Anemone is of a pure white, tinged with rose colour at the edge; and, enduring but a day, it recalls to us the happy and fleeting hours of childhood.
In France, the Periwinkle has been adopted as the emblem of the pleasures of memory and sincere friendship, probably in allusion to Rousseau's recollection of his friend, Madame de Warens, occasioned, after a lapse of thirty years, by the sight of this flower, which they had admired together.
This plant is deeply rooted in the soil which it adorns. It interweaves the earth on all sides with its flexible shoots, and covers it with Aowers which seem to reflect and imitate the azure of the sky: thus, our first affections, so warm, pure, and artless, appear to have a celestial origin. They mark our days with a moment's happiness, and to them we owe our sweetest recollections.
Η Ε Α Τ Η.
The meadows are covered with flowers, the plains with waving corn, and the hills with darksome woods. Happy swains !-ye can dance in the meadows; ye can crown your brows with the golden wreaths of Ceres; ye can rest yourselves in the shade of the woods — for to the happy life is one scene of joy.
As for me, with Melancholy for my guide, I will stroll to those sequestered spots where the humble Heath, which delights in solitude, maintains its ground against advancing cultivation. There, seated beneath the drooping Broom, I will indulge my gloomy thoughts ; whilst creatures, unfortunate, harassed, and afflicted, like myself, will collect around me from all sides. The partridge, chased by our dogs, after losing her whole family; the doe, pursued by the hounds; the skulking hare, the timid rabbit, at first alarmed at sight of me, will by
degrees become familiar with my griefs : perhaps they will even come to my feet to seek protection from the persecution of men. Ye, too, will hover round me, industrious bees; and if I pluck but a single sprig from the Heath of your solitary haunts, ye will come to my very hands for the honey, which ye gather not for yourselves, but for others. And you, noisy quails, will measure both for yourselves and for me the hours which fly away, without leaving behind me in these wilds either traces or regrets. Gentle doves, tender nightingales, your sighs and murmurs were made for fragrant bowers ; but I can no longer muse in their shade. The voice of the monarch of this solitude scares you away; for me it has charms: with the first beams of the moon its melancholy tones will reach the ear. The owl will then issue from the hollow trunk of some time-worn oak. Perched on the boughs which hide his mossy retreat, his screech affrights the timid maiden, as she counts the hours of her lover's absence; it thrills the mother watching beside the couch on which fever has prostrated her only child; but it soothes the unhappy man who has consigned to the grave all that he loved on earth. Often did that doleful sound awaken thee, unfortunate Young! speaking to thee of death and eternity: and if it has not inspired me, as it did thee, with sublime strains, it has at least given me, like thee, a distaste for the world and a love of solitude.
The beautiful fable of Philemon and Baucis caused this tree to be adopted as the emblem of conjugal love. This couple lived together in the happiest harmony to extreme old age; and, content with their humble hut and the little which their labour procured them, they knew no higher wishes or wants. Jupiter and Mercury one day descended in human form from Olympus to visit the plains of Phrygia. Needing refreshment, they called at several houses, but were refused admittance; but Philemon and Baucis, the poorest couple in that part of the country, received them in the most hospitable manner in their mean habitation. Baucis immediately heated water to wash the travellers' feet, and then set before them a rural repast of fruit, milk, and honey. She also produced wine, which she had cultivated