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naparte's name, introduced a Calomeria into their botanical catalogue, although it has now probably changed its name with the dynasty. Linnæus, in his Critica Botanica, has, in several instances, drawn a fanciful analogy between botanists and their appropriate plants; but as it might be tedious to go more minutely into this subject, the reader can refer to the same authority from which we have already quoted.
Other motives than the natural and laudable one of commemorating distinguished botanists have sometimes influenced the bestowal of names upon plants, and satire and irony have occasionally intruded themselves into the sanctuary of science. "Buffonia tenuifolia is well known to be a satire on the slender botanical pretensions of the great French zoologist; as the Hillia parasitica of Jacquin, though perhaps not meant, is an equally just one upon our pompous Sir John Hill. I mean not to approve of such satires: they stain the purity of our lovely science. If a botanist does not deserve commemoration, let him sink peaceably into oblivion. It savours of malignity to make his crown a crown of thorns; and if the application be unjust, it is truly diabolical." *
But see! this Convolvulus begins to shut up its flowers, a sure indication of approaching rain; and the Calendula pluvialis, commonly called the poor man's weather-glass, has already closed its petals in anticipation of an April shower. These barometers of nature are seldom mistaken; the big drops are already
* Smith's Introduction to Botany, p. 382.
falling around us;-run, run, let us seek the shelter of the house, and at our next walk we will take the opposite side of the garden, in the hope of gleaning some reflections from its variegated borders.
Up and away! 'tis a holiday!
To the May-bowers;
Behold the grass is pranckt with daisies,
The banks with flowers.
The sun is flinging on waters glancing
His early light;
The birds are singing, and branches dancing,
At the glad sight.
Come, let us rush in the maze of boughs,
And meet at the May-pole to dance and carouse;
He that is first shall be Jack in the Green,
And the forwardest lass shall be crown'd our Queen.
LISTEN to the author of the Faery Queen, who curbs the exuberance of his rich imagination, and, confining himself to a simple though beautiful transcript from nature, thus ushers in the month of May:
"Is not thilke the merry moneth of May,
With pleasaunce; the ground with grasse, the woods
Reader! if thou dost not catch the fragrance of the May-garlands, and inhale the freshness of the morning grass, springing up from beneath thy feet; if thou dost not see the sparkling eyes and joy-flushed cheeks of the country damsels and youths as they return from their Maying; if thou dost not hear their songs and laughter, borne fitfully to thine ear by the balmy breeze,-then do I maintain that thou lackest taste to relish the rural accuracy, the cordial and countrified simplicity, the gusto, in short, with which Spenser, in the above passage from his Shepheards Calender, commences his May Eclogue. Perhaps thou art offended with the rude antiquity of the garb in which it is clothed:-nay then, thou shalt have something as gorgeous and modern as thy heart could wish, if thou wilt but read Darwin's Invocation to the same month.
"Born in yon blaze of orient sky,
Sweet May! thy radiant form unfold,
Boskets, bushes: from Boschetti, Ital.
"For thee the fragrant Zephyrs blow,
And brighter blossoms gem the bower.
Light graces dress'd in flowery wreaths,
And laughing dances round thy shrine.
And hail thee, Goddess of the Spring!"
Here are mellifluous diction, poetical personifications, and elaborate generalities, but no picture of life, or portrait of nature; none of that kindly union of human happiness and nature's flowery outpouring; nothing of that holiday of earth and its inhabitants, which form the charm of Spenser's delineation. The modern is correct and insipid, heartless and fine. Alas! these extracts illustrate but too accurately the feelings of the respective periods in which they were produced, and the different cordiality with which the same festival was celebrated. May-day is no holiday dependent on the rubric, or the musty fables of monks and saints;—it is a jubilee of Nature's own appointing, when the earth, dressing herself up in flowers and green garlands, calls aloud to her children to come out into the fields and participate in her merrymaking-a gladsome invitation which has been accepted with sparkling eyes and happy hearts since the world itself was young. Romulus named the month of May in honour of his nobles and senators,
termed Majores, or Elders; as the following month was called June out of compliment to the Juniors, who served him in his wars; and though it is well known that we have some absolute wisdom among our Elder or Alder-men, yet it must be admitted that those worshipful dignitaries, in the time of Romulus, evinced a more genial and cheerful sagacity than has been ever exemplified by their successors, for they nearly converted the whole month of May into holidays. As they saw the young year advancing towards them, budding with beauty, and pouring out bounteous promises of fruits and harvests, they sent out their hearts and voices into the valleys and meadows to meet her, escorting her emblematically into the city under the symbol of the Goddess Flora, crowned with triumphant garlands, and preceded by banners and dancing. Jack in the Green, and our gambols round the May-pole, are but sorry types of this splendid festival, so far as externals are concerned; but they "have that within which passeth show;" they retain the essentials of the old Pagan jubilee:-to go a-Maying is not less healthy to the spirit than the frame; it is a reprieve from the thraldom of cities and artificial life, and rubs the canker of care from our hearts, by sending them out among the green leaves. It enables the plodders and the sons of toil to shake hands with nature; and as they pluck the blossom bough amid freshness and fragrance, and the music of birds and the sounds of human happiness, it brings them into direct and grateful communion with that benignant Deity whom