« AnteriorContinuar »
of a late flowering season, with ripened fruit from the preceding autumn, and with dark rich foliage in profusion. Its so-called strawberry sprouts rather after the manner of a cherry; but a red and roughened surface invites for it the former name : like its namesake it is edible, though of a far less delicious flavour. The blossom hangs in bunches, and is of a waxen semblance, white, greenish, or pink: each individual floweret approaches certain heath blossoms in size and shape, being rounded and lipped like a minute
bottle. Nor do even leaves, flowers, and fruit exhaust the simultaneous graces of the Arbutus : the tree itself branches boldly and nobly, and by a general darkness throws out the fairness of its efflorescence.
At the foot of the Arbutus and of the plant-world in general, trodden at all seasons by all feet, live and thrive the Grasses ; stripped of which, earth would lack half her refreshing charm. At the tropics they often match trees in stature ; in arctic regions they maintain their ground
with no less persistent vitality. They compose a numerous tribe, numbered by hundreds and frequenting every latitude. Most precious of all their charms to us seems their inexhaustible verdure, parched indeed by summer drought
, but renewed by a shower of rain : sun they need, and air, and moisture; these given, they clothe the ground with a living carpet which snow cannot nip or tempest destroy, yet which a breeze can break up into a sea of ripples, and of which each component blade is straight-veined pointing skywards. In its modest flowering season, however, when the pointed stalk shoots up to a slim tallness and prepares to shed its harvest of seed, then Grass rallies not under trampling foot or stress of weather but is laid low by the assault of even a slight pressure.
The beauty of Grasses whether in blossom or in seed is widely varied, and in some instances truly exquisite. One like miniature barley grows a beard, another showers a weeping oat-like head, another droops a thick rosetinted plume; one is invested with purple knops, a second feathers greenly, a third displays prevalent whiteness; the leaf of a fourth hangs like a striped ribbon; and yet another, sweetened by an enduring scent, turns a hayrick into a nosegay.
All these and many more we include under the common name of Grass : but other specimens there are of more honourable standing and of yet higher service in our economy, which belong to the same tribe, and being analyzed reveal some of the same constituents. Grasses contain sugar, and the sugar-cane claims kindred with them: they are stiffened by flint, and flint imparts stiffness to the cereal straws. Rice and rye belong to the Grass connection; barley and oats recognise not mere likenesses among the Grasses, but humble kinsfolk: the very
“corn of wheat” is itself the most noble member of the common family.
From the Grasses no less than from the heavenly host, from mankind at large, even from Apostles, we gather one same reiterated lesson : Angels share one nature with devils, sanctified souls with souls nigh unto cursing, St. Matthias with Judas Iscariot, the very staff of our life with the noxious darnel. And thus the perfections of our Very God's very Humanity urge us to fear and hope : though we are of one blood with Him we may not be of one mind, may never become like Him, may never see Him as He is; on the other hand (blessed be God), though we languish ready to perish, yet is He our Brother Who loveth us, Who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.
I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase.—Ezekiel xxxiv. 26, 27.
Light is our sorrow for it ends to-morrow,
Light is our death which cannot hold us fast; So brief a sorrow can be scarcely sorrow,
Or death be death so quickly past.
One night, no more, of pain that turns to pleasure,
One night, no more, of weeping weeping sore; And then the heaped-up measure beyond measure,
In etness for evermore.
Our face is set like flint against our trouble,
Yet many things there are which comfort us,
This bubble-life tumultuous.
Our face is set to reach Jerusalem;
Sing with all Saints and rest with them.