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The Vervain (Verbena Officinalis) which has blossomed since July, and which we have not yet noticed, may claim description here. It derives its name from the Celtic Farfaeu : fer, to drive ; and faeu, a stone ; and is remarkable for growing in the near vicinity of human habitations ; hence, amongst common people it has obtained the name of Simpler's joy. This plant is determined to be the “Herba Sacra,' of the ancients, in honour of which, verbenalia were annually held. The vervain was devoted to sacred purposes, was offered between the Romans and their enemies as a pledge of mutual good faith, and was used by the Magi of the East, and the Druids of our own country and the contiment, for sacrificial purposes.
The dodder (Cuscuta) is parasitical, without leaves ; it has white flowers, and a stalk which is slender like a thread, and would trail along the ground did it not cleave to some plant stronger than itself for support. Not content with support, it draws its entire nourishment from that around which it entwines, and at length, in gratitude, strangles its benefactor : it fastens on beans, nettles, hemp, clover, flax, &c., and feeds upon them by means of innumerable glands, which it inserts in the pores of its supporter's back.
The grass of Parnassus (Parnassia Palustris) is one of the most beautiful and elegant of our native plants ; it has a calyx of one leaf, fine egg-shaped petals longer than the calyx, with several longitudinal ribs ; filaments awl-shaped spreading, anthus heart-shaped, flattened ; capsule egg-shaped four-celled, with four receptacles : the stem is about six inches high, angular and twisted.
There is a species of broom-rape (Arobanche Nemórosa) now flowering which is parasitical on the
roots of hemp, with light purple flowers in a loose spike.
The strawberry tree (Arbutus) is a bushy shrub, with reddish brown bark, elliptical bright, stiff, green leaves, and panicled clustre of greenish white flowers, succeeded by crimson tuberculate berries; it is found principally in Ireland, near the lake of Killarney.
On the sea-shore the sea-tree mallow (Lavatera arbórea) which has been flowering since July, is still to be seen. It has a woody stem from six to ten feet high, erect, large flowers and rose-coloured petals darker at the basel; this plant however is somewhat rare : it is named from the two Lavaters.
The flowers peculiar to the autumnal months are, as we observed before, comparatively few, though many of the summer ones still linger with us : we have noticed the principal with the exception of the autumnal crocus described last month, which towards its close and the beginning of the present, is in all its beauty. We cannot, however, fail to be struck with the idea, that those now flourishing, if their numbers be diminished, are singularly beautiful : perchance the fact of their being about to depart from us, till spring shall return, makes us more susceptible of their many charms.
THE FAITHLESS DISCIPLE.
SUGGESTED BY A BEAUTIFUL ENGRAVING OF THE FAITH
LESS DISCIPLE, AFTER ONE OF THE OLD MASTERS.
“ Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."
A SWEET yet mournful picture! Who can gaze
It is a cheering tale that picture tells
Long ages since from every countenance there,
Yet oft still Across the pilgrim's path a vision steals, Like to that painter's dream :~and music breaks Around the lonely steps of him who walks In fear and sadness, speaking to the heart In tones of heavenly hope :
Blessed are they
Hold on their stedfast way.
Darkness and doubt and fear Bow down the heart by many thoughts oppressid : Yet cheer thee, traveller !-to soothe thy breast
He whom thou lov’st is near !
His feet have led the way O’er the rough path thou treadest to the grave; Ev’n in the shades of death, to cheer and save,
His love shall be thy stay.
Oh, to have seen Him here - The Man of sorrows—and have shared His lot ! All thought of toil and suffering forgot
In this that He was near! A
But yet more blessed thou
Thy sad and anxious brow !
This is the world of faith : That is the world of certainty and joy : And bless'd are they whose mute unquestioning eye
Looks through the shades of death.
In firm unshaken love ;-
W. S. M.