« EelmineJätka »
N° 589. Friday, September 3, 1714.
Persequitur fcelus ille suum: labefaclaque tanden
Ovid. Met. viii. 774. " The impious axe he plies; loud strokcs resound;. “ 'Till dragg’d with ropes, and fell’d with many
a wound, - The loosen'd tree comes rushing to the ground.”
spot of ground I have chosen to build small seat upon in the country is almost in
the midst of a large wood. I was obliged, ' much against my will, to cut down several * trees, that I might have any such thing as a * walk in my gardens; but then I have taken
care to leave the space, between every walk, as much a wood as I found it. The moment you turn either to the right or left you are in a forest, where nature presents you with
a much more beautiful scene than could have : been raised by art.
• Instead of tulips or carnations I can shew you oaks in my gardens of four hundred
years standing, and a knot of elms that might shel
ter a troop of horse from the rain. ing Minister, who kept an academy at Taunton in Somersetihire. See Spect. No.601, No. 626, and No. 635; and an account of him prefixed to his Works, by Dr. THOMAS AMORY, who was a kin to him in every respect, and tutor in his uncle's academy.
6 of ages.
It is not without the utmost indignation • that I observe several prodigal young heirs in • the neighbourhood felling down the most
glorious monuments of their ancestors industry, and ruining, in a day, the product • I am mightily pleased with your discourse upon planting, which put me upon looking
into my books, to give you some account of ('the veneration the ancients had for trees.
There is an old tradition, that Abraham
planted a cypress, a pine, and a cedar; and • that these three incorporated into one tree, ' which was cut down for the building of the temple of Solomon.
Ilidorus, who lived in the reign of Con• ftantius, assures us, that he saw even in his • time that famous oak in the plains of Mamre,
under which Abraham is reported to have • dwelt; and adds, that the people looked upon - it with a great veneration, and preserved it as
sacred tree. - The heathens still went farther, and regarded it as the highest piece of facrilege to injure certain trees which they took to be protected by some deity. The story of Eriliethon, the grove at Dodona, and that at Delphi, are all instances of this kind.
'If we consider the machine in Virgil, so • much blamed by several critics, in this light, " we thall hardly think it too violent.
« Æneas, when he built his fleet in order to ' fail for Italy, was obliged to cut down the
grove on Mount Ida, which however he • durst not do until he had obtained leave from
Cybele, to whom it was dedicated. The goddess could not but think herself obliged to
protect these thips, which were made of con• fecrated timber, after a very extraordinary
manner, and therefore desired Jupiter, that they might not be obnoxious to the power of waves or winds. Jupiter would not grant
this, but promised her, that as many as came • safe to Italy should be transformed into god• desses of the sea; which the poet tells us was
“ And now at length the number'd hours were
come, “ Prefix'd by Fate's irrevocable doom, “ When the great mother of the gods was free “ To save her ships, and finish'd Jove's decree. “ First, from the quarter of the morn, there sprung " A light that fing'd the heavens, and shot along: “ Then from a cloud, fring'd round with golden
“ fires, « Were timbrels heard, and Berecynthian quires : " And last a voice, which more than inortal sounds, “ Both hosts in arms oppos’d, with equal horror
66 wounds. " 0 Trojan race, your needless aid forbear; “ And know my ships are my peculiar care. “ With greater ease the bold Retulian may, “ With hissing brands, attempt to burn the sea, “ Than finge my facred pines. But you, my
charge, • Loos’d from your crooked anchors, launch at “ large,
6 Exalted each a nymph; forsake the sand, “ And swim the seas, at Cybele's command. “ No sooner had the goddess ceas'd to speak, “ When lo, th’obedient ships their hausers break; " And, strange to tell, like dolphins in the main, “ They plunge their prows, and dive, and spring
again : “ As many beauteous maids the billows sweep, " As rode before tall vefsels on the deep.”
• The common opinion concerning the ' nymphs, whom the ancients called Hama
dryads, is more to the honour of trees than
any thing yet mentioned. It was thought (the fate of these nymphs had so near a de
pendence on some trees, more especially oaks, • that they lived and died together. For this • reason they were extremely grateful to such
persons who preserved those trees with which • their being sublisted. Apollonius tells us a
very remarkable story to this purpose, with « which I thall conclude my letter.
• A certain man, called Rhæcus, observing an old oak ready to fall, and being moved s with a sort of compassion towards the tree, • ordered his servants to pour in fresh earth at • the roots of it, and let it upright. The
Hamadryad, or nymph, who must necessarily have perished with the trees, appeared to him
the next day, and, after having returned him « her thanks, told him she was ready to grant 6 whatever he should ask. As she was extremely beautiful, Rhæcus desired he might be enter
• tained as her lover. The Hamadryad, not • much displeased with the request, promised
to give him a meeting, but commanded him • for some days to abstain from the embraces of • all other women, adding, that she would send
a bee to him, to let him know when he was
to be happy. Rhæcus was, it seems, too · much addicted to gaming, and happened to be ' in a run of ill-luck when the faithful bee
came buzzing about him; so that, instead of
minding his kind invitation, he had like to • have killed him for his pains. The Hamadryad
so provoked at her own disappointment, ! and the ill usage of her messenger, that she
deprived Rhæcus of the use of his limbs. • However, says the story, he was not so much a cripple, but he made a shift to cut down the tree, and consequently to fell his mistress.'
N° 590. Monday, September 6, 1714.
Asiduo labuntur tempora motu
Ovid. Met. xv. 179.