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OF THE SEMINARY, AND OF TRANSPLANTING.
FROM "THE SILVA."
Qui Vineas vel Arbustum constituere volet, Seminaria prius facere debebit, was the precept of Columella (de Arb., cap. 1), speaking of vineyards and fruit-trees; and doubtless we can not pursue a better course for the propagation of timber-trees. For though it seem but a trivial design, that one should make a nursery of foresters; yet it is not to be imagined, without the experience of it, what prodigious numbers a very small spot of ground, well-cultivated, and destined for this purpose, would be able to furnish toward the sending forth of yearly colonies into all the naked quarters of a lordship, or demesne; being. with a pleasant industry, liberally distributed among the tenants, and disposed about the hedge-rows, and other waste and uncultivated places for timber, shelter, fuel, and ornament, to an incredible advantage. This being a cheap and laudable work, of so much pleasure in the execution, and so certain a profit in the event, when once well done (for, as I affirmed, a very small plantarium, or nursery, will, in a few years, stock a vast extent of ground), has made me sometimes in admiration at the universal negligence; as well as raised my admiration, that seeds and plants of such different kinds, should, like so many tender babes and infants suck and thrive at the same breasts; though there are some, indeed, will not so well prosper in company, requiring peculiar juices. But this niceness is more conspicuous in flowers and the herbaceous offspring, than in foresters, which require only diligent weeding and frequent cleansing, till they are able to shift for themselves ; and as their vessels enlarge and introduce more copious nourishment, they often starve their neighbors.
Join EVELYN, 1628-1706.
The groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long,
Here waving groves a checker'd scant display,
ALEXANDER POPE, 1688-1744.
In a glade of Hainhault forest, in Essex, about a mile from Barkinside, stands an oak, which has been known through many centuries by the name of Fairlop. The traditions of the country trace it half way up the Christian era. It is still a noble tree, though it has now suffered greatly from the depredations of time. About a yard from the ground, where its rough, fluted stem is thirty-six feet in circumference, it divides into eleven arms; yet not in the horizontal manner of an oak, but rather in that of a beech. Beneath its shade, which overspreads an area of three hundred feet in circuit, an annual fair has long been held, on the 2d of July ; and no booth is suffered to be erected beyond the extent of its boughs. But as their extremities are now become sapless, and age is yearly curtailing their length, the liberties of the fair seem to be in a despon con lition. The honor however is great. But honors are often accompanied with inconveniences; and Fairlop has suffered from its distinctions. In the feasting that attends the fair, fires are often necessary; and no places seemed so proper to make them in, as the hollow cavities formed by the heaving roots of the tree. This practice has brought a speedier decay on Fairlop than it might otherwise have suffered.
WILLIAM GILPIN, 1724-1807.
AN OLD OAK.
FROM COWPER'S LETTERS
Since your departure I have twice visited the oak, with an intention of pushing my inquiries a mile beyond it, where it seems I should have found another oak, much larger, and much more respectable than the former ; but once I was hindered by the rain, and once by the sultri. ness of the day. This latter oak has been known by the name of " Judith” many ages, and is said to have been an oak at the time of the Conquest. If I have not an opportunity to reach it before your arrival here, we will attempt that exploit together, and even if I should have been able to visit it ere you come, I shall yet be glad to do so, for the pleasure of extraordinary sights, like all other pleasures, is doubled by the participation of a friend.
W. Cowpex..--Letter to S. Rose, Esq., Sept. 11, 1783.
Y ARDLEY OAK.
Survivor sole, and hardly such, of all
It seems idolatry with some excuse,
Thou wast a bauble once; a cup-and-ball,
So Fancy dreams. Disprove it if ye can
Thou fill'st nature; and in the loamy clod,
Who liv'd when thou wast such ? O couldst thou speak As in Dodona once, thy kindred trees, Oracular, I would not curious ask The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past.
By thee I might correct, erroneous oft,
Time made thee what thou wast, king of the wood;
Thy popularity, and art become
While thus through all the stages thou hast push'd
WILLIAM COWPER, 1731-1510.
THE GROANING ELM OF BADESLEY. The history of the Groaning Tree is this. About forty years ago, a cottager, who lived near the center of the village (Badesley, near Lymington), beard frequently a strange noise behind his house, like that of a person in extreme agony. Soon after it caught the attention of his wife, who was then confined to her bed. She was a timorous woman, and being greatly alarmed, her husband endeavored to persuade her that the noise she heard was only the bellowing of the stags in the forest. By degrees, however, the neighbors on all sides heard it, and the thing began to be much talked of. It was by this time plainly discovered that the groaning noise proceeded from an elm, which grew at the end of the garden. It was a young, vigorous tree, and, to all appearance, perfectly sound.
In a few weeks the fame of the groaning tree was spread far and wide, and people from all parts flocked to it. Among others, it attracted the curiosity of the late Prince and Princess of Wales," who resided, at that time for the advantage of a sea-bath, at Pilewell, the seat of Sir James Worsley, which stood within a quarter of a mile of the groaning tree.
Though the country people assigned many superstitious causes for this strange phenomonon, the naturalist could assign no physical one that was in any degree satisfactory. Some thought that it was owing to the twisting and friction of the roots. Others thought it proceeded from water, which had collected in the body of the tree——or perhaps from pent air. But no cause that was alleged appeared equal to the effect. In the mean time the tree did not always groan-sometimes disappointing
* Frederick Prince of Wales, father of George III.-ED.