Page images
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

te Taxus, the Yew-since the use of bows is laid aside amongst us, the propagation of this tree is quite forborne. But the neglect is to be deplored; seeing that the barrenest grounds, and coldest of our mountains might be profitably replenished with it. I say profitably, for besides the use of the wood for bows, the artists in box, inlayers, and cabinet-makers most gladly employ it; and in Germany they wainscot their stores with boards of this material, for the cogs of mills, posts to be set in moist grounds, and everlasting axle-trees, there is none to be compared with it. It is likewise used for the bodies of lutes, theorboes, bowls, wheels, and pins for pulleys; yea, for tankards to drink out of."-EVELYN.

There are many stories of persons poisoned by the fruit, and by drinking out of the wood, recorded in Pliny and elsewhere; but probably it was of some other tree, mistaken for Yew by modern historians; though some idea of its baneful effects probably gave rise to the ancient practice of wearing garlands of it at funerals.

“The best reason that can be given why the yew was planted in church-yards, is, that branches of it were always carried in procession on Palm sunday, instead of Palms. The following extract from Ouxton's directions for keeping feasts all the year, is decisive as to this custom. In the lecture for Palm Sunday, he says, "wherefore Holy Church this day maketh solemn procession, in mind of the procession that Christ made this day. But for in casen that we have none Olive that beareth green leaf, algate therefore we take Ewe instead of Palm or Olive, and hear about in procession; and so is this day called Palm Sunday.” As a confirmation of this fact, the Yewtrees in the church-yards of East Kent, are at this day called Palms." -HUNTER. "A story is related by Mr. Camden, of a certain priest,

that falling in love with a maid who refused his addresses, cut off her head, which being hung upon a Yew tree till it was rotten, the tree was reputed sacred, not only whilst the virgin's head hung on it, but as long as the tree itself lasted ; to which the people went in pilgrimage, plucking and bearing away branches of it, as a holy relique, whilst there remained any of the trunk : persuading themselves, that those small fine reins and filaments, resembling hairs, between the bark and the body of the tree, were the hairs of the virgin: but what is yet stranger, the resort to this place, then called Houton, a despicable village, occasioned the building of the now famous town of Halifax, in Yorkshire, which imports Holy Hair. By this, and the like, we may estimate what a world of impostures have, through craft and superstition, gained the repute of holy places, abounding with rich oblatioas."--EVELYN.

In the days of Archery, so great was the demand for the wood of the Yew-tree, that the merchants were obliged by statute to import four staves of it for every VOL. VII,


tồn of goods coming from places where bow-staves had formerly been brought. In those ancient days, the Yew was always planted in church-yards, where it stood a. substitute for the Invisus Cupressus. It also was placed near houses, where it might be ready for the sturdy bows of our warlike ancestors,

who drew,
And almost joined the horps of the tough Yew.


No. II.

SCOTLAND. The country of which I am about to speak, though less apparently favoured by nature than England, has yet, by her commerce, industry, and manufactures, and her progress in arts and arms, raised herself to nearly a level with her sister country. In so doing, she has had to struggle against great obstacles, owing to the inequality of the soil, which is quite hilly even in the Lowland counties, and in the Northern, presents quite an Alpine appearance. It is about 300 miles long and 150 broad—its coasts are well peopled with the inhabitants of the deep-and its climate, though not so temperate as that of England, permits the inhabitants, by proper culture, to introduce there the produce of warmer countries. In its internal traffic, its rivers do not present so many advantages as might be expected, for many of them are mountain rivers, whose violent impetuosity will not permit heavily laden barks to encounter the torrent. There are, however, many fine canals, the noblest of which is the one that connects all the lakes, passing over a stupendous tract of country. Its bays and harbours are very good, and afford excellent harbour. The principal of its rivers, are the Tweed, famous for its fine, salmon, and for being the subject of many a poet's song,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the Forth, the Tay, the Dee, the Don, the Clyde, and the Annan. Many too are the beautiful lakes of Scotland-Loch Lomond, famous for its depth and length Loch Ness, which never freezes, and many others of less -reputation. Where, as I have already said, the face of the country is mountainous, it would be impossible to particularize all the most worthy of notice, but Ben Lomond and Bennarty, Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags, rival their Alpine brethren in lofty beauty. From Arthur's Seat a most charming prospect presents itself, and Salisbury Crags are noted for the beautiful crystals picked up amongst them. From the number of hills abounding in Scotland, many fine cascades may be seen; among these the principal are, the Falls of the Clyde for sublimity, and the Falls of Aberfeldie for picturesque beauty Among these mountainous ranges, metals abound, and a gold mine was discovered in the reign of Elizabeth, the traces of which are to be seen to this day. It did not, however, answer the expectations of the proprietors. My readers will probably recollect the Cairn Gorums, so highly valued for seals--these, with the fine Scotch pebbles, so much prized, form a great article of trade, and give great employment to the industrious. Ainethysts and garnets of a tolerable size have been sometimes found, and pearls form part of the produce of the rivers; but as these latter productions are seldom found perfect, they are never now employed in the formation of ornaments. The basaltic caverns of Staffa, are, it is presumed, well known to most young people. The marbles of Scotland are particularly beautiful, especially the Glen Tett, the Dumblane, and the Perthshire varieties. A variety has been lately discovered, equalling, it is said, the famed Pentelic marble of antiquity, and is successfully employed in even very large groups for monuments. If the vegetable productions of Scotland are less rich or diversified than those of England, still they are better suited to her more wild and romantic scenery, with which the Scotch fir, and indeed all the

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »