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We find the Maple chiefly in the hedge-rows, growing small, and mixing its branches among the underwood, but it may be reared into considerable trees; and when large, the wood is extremely valuable from the closeness and variegated appearance of the grain. The ancients held it in very high estimation. Pliny says,
“The Maple, for the elegancy and lightness of the wood, is next to the very Citron itself. There are two kinds of it, especially the White, which is wonderfully beautiful; this is called the French Maple, and grows in that part of Italy that is on the other side the Po, beyond the Alps; the other has a curled grain; so curiously maculated, that from a near resemblance, it was usually called Peacock's Tail.-The Bruscum, (the knots or swellings of the Maple) is of a blackish kind, with which they make tables.”—Pliny.
“Such spotted tables were the famous Tigrin and Pantherine curiosities ; pot so called from being supported with figures carved like those beasts, as some conceive, and was in use even in our grandfathers' days, but from the natural spots and maculations. Such a table was that of Cicero, which cost him 10,000 sesterces ; such another had Asinius Gallus. That of King Juba was sold for 15,000, and another, which I read of, valued at 140,000, which, at about three half-pence uterling, arrives at a pretty sum; and yet that of the Mauritanian Ptolemie was far richer, containing four feet and a half diameter, three inches thick, which is reported to have been sold for its weight in gold. Of that value they were, and so madly luxurious the age, that when the men, at any time, reproached their wives for their wanton expensiveness in pearl and other rich trifles, they were wont to retort and turn the tables upon their husbands”the supposed origin of that now common expression—“ the great art was in the seasoning and politure : for which last, the rubbing with a man's hand, who came warm out of the bath, was accounted better than any
cloth."--EVELYN. Virgil introduces Evander as holding his court among the groves of Maple, and says,
« On sods of turf he set the soldiers round,
Received the Trojan chief.”—ÆNEID. This wood can be worked so thin as to become almost transparent—but the tree, in its uncultured state, is so small with us, that it answers little other purpose than that of the turner, inlayer, and cabinet-maker, to whom it is highly valuable.
“ The savages in Canada, when the sap rises in the Maple, by an incision in the tree, extract the liquor; and having evaporated a reasonable quantity thereof, (as suppose seven or eight pounds,)
there will remain one pound as sweet and perfect sugar as that which is gotten out of the cane; part of which sugar has been for many years constantly sent to Rouen in Normandy to be refined.”. EVELYN.
“ In America the Sugar Maple grows as tall as the Oak. Its wood is extremely inflammable, and is preferred on that account by hunters and surveyors for fire-wood. lis small branches are so impregnated with sugar, as to afford support to the cattle, horses, and sheep of the first settlers during the winter, before they are able to cultivate forage for that purpose. Its ashes afford a great quantity of potash. It is not injured by tapping; on the contrary, the oftener it is tapped, the more syrup is obtained from it. A single tree not only survived, but flourished, after forty-two tappings in the same number of years—this is further demonstrated by the superior excellence of those trees which have been perforated in a hundred places, by a small woodpecker which feeds upon the sap. A tree of an ordinary size yields in a good season from twenty to thirty gallons of sap, from which are made from five to six pounds of sugar. The perforation in the tree is made with an axe or an auger. The auger is introduced about three quarters of an inch, and in an ascending direction, and afterwards deepened gradually to the extent of two inches. A spout, made of the Elder or other wood, is introduced about half an inch into this wound, projecting some inches from the tree, and troughs of wood are placed under the spout to receive the sap, whence it is conveyed to the boiler. This sap flows for about six weeks in the early spring. During the remaining summer months, a thin liquor is yielded, not fit for distillation, but supplying a very pleasant drink."-Dr. Rush,
The Sugar Maple is not the same species as that of our hedges.
“ The Common Maple may best be produced from the seeds contained in the folliacles or keys, as they are called. It is also propagated by layers and suckers.”—EVELYN.
HYMNS AND POETICAL RECREATIONS.
What's forming in the womb of Fate ?
Why art thou so concern’d to know?
But wiser Heaven does not think it so.
No part of life thou’dst pleasant find;
Thou would'st but taste of the enlight'ning fruit and die.
Well, then, has Heaven events to come,
Hid with the blackest veil of night; But still in vain, if we forestal our doom,
And with prophetick fears ourselves affright: Grand folly! whether thus 'twill be or no,
We know not; and yet silly man Learns of his evils what he can,
And stabs himself with grief, lest fate should miss the blow.
Be wise, and let it be thy care
manage well the present hour,
This only mind, this only's in thy power : The rest no settled, steady course maintain;
Like rivers, which now gently slide Within their bounds, now with full tide
O’erflow, that houses, cattle, trees resist in vain.
'Tis he that's happy, he alone
Lives free and pleasant, that can say With every period of the setting sun,
I've lived, and ran my race like him to-day;
Or smile with influence more kind,
AN OLD AUTHOR.
ON READING A LINE OF LORD BYRON'S,
“ I want no Paradise but Rest.”
And when that all was over, and no more
Rest was the opiate balsam that the flowers Of Innocence let drop in Eden's bowers— And never fear or sorrow might dispel The peace
of him who slumber'd where it fell. One only plant those honied blossoms bareMan parted thence, and going, left it there.
In vain has knowledge look'd for it-in vain
THE WINTER BEECII.
It is faded, that tree that was fresh on the mountain,
And fallen the leaf that was green on the spray; The cold breath of winter has gone through its branches,
And stripped off its garment of summer so gay.
Unwillingly staying, there hangs on it lightly
A brown, shriven leaf, but its .colour is flown; It stays there in sadness, and sighs in the breezes,
As restless to go where its fellows are gone.
Is it dead then, that tree that was fresh on the mountain,
When late I went by it and saw it so fair? Will the leaf not return with its light hanging mantle,
To cover that bosom so barren, so bare?
The leaf will come back to the stem where it withered,
The warmth will return to those branches so cold; And the tree that is faded be fresh on the mountain,
As gay and as green as I saw it of old.
But when shall the peace of the bosom return,
That sorrow has banished and sadness has reft? And when shall the spirit be rid of the coldness,
A long-cherished hope at its going bas left ?
The blight of affection-Ah! who shall repair it,
And bring bacķ the dead that have left us alone? llas sorrow its spring-time, to see the returning Of things that are altered and things that are gone?
O never !—The world's faithless promise Once stripp'd of its guising, liės naked for ever; The dead leaf may linger awhile on its branches,
But the hues of its beauty return to it never. VOL. y.