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imagination to wave its magic wand, you will see, slowly rising from its petals, and expanding into manhood, the beautiful youth who, in the early ages of the world, sat beside the Boeotian fountain, and wooed the reflection of his own face, mistaking it for the Naiad of the waters, until his heart and the delusion were both broken together. Methinks I see the astonished and awe-struck countenances of the nymphs, when, on proceeding to take up his body that it might be placed on the funeral pile, they saw nothing but a beautiful flower, around which they knelt in silent reverence. What is it that brings the bees buzzing around us so busily? See, it is this tuft of Coltsfoot which they approach with a harmonious chorus, somewhat like the "Non nobis, Domine," of our singers; and, after partaking silently of the luxurious banquet, again set up their tuneful pæans. Honey is of no other use to plants than to tempt insects, who, in procuring it, fertilize the flower by disturbing the dust of the stamens, and even carry that substance from the barren to the fertile blossoms. Observe what a quantity of this yellow material is collected on the legs and thighs of the little pilferers; who, as they carry it home for the construction of their combs, settle upon a thousand different flowers, and assist the great purpose of vegetable reproduction, while they are providing a receptacle for their own. Lavender and Rosemary afford a wax already prepared, as may be easily perceived on a close inspection of the leaf, and on this account are particularly acceptable to these winged marauders. It
has been held a gross libel
animals to say,
that a man has made a beast of himself when he has drunk to such excess as to lose his reason; but we might without injustice say, that he has made a humble-bee of himself, for those little debauchees are particularly prone to intoxication. Round the nectaries of Hollyhocks you will generally observe a set of determined topers quaffing as pertinaciously as if they belonged to Wilkes's Club; and round about the flower (to follow up the simile) several of the bon-vivants will be found lying on the ground, inebriated, and insensible. Honey is found in Aloes, Colocynthis, and other bitter flowers, as constantly as in Cowslips, Foxglove, and Honeysuckle; and the assertion of Strabo, that a sort was produced in Pontus which was a strong poison, owing to the bees having fed on Aconite and Hemlock, is not credited. Besides the flowers we have mentioned, bees are particularly fond of the Lime-tree, Privet, and Phillyrea; but the cultivation of these useful insects is now nearly neglected. Mead was the nectar of the Scandinavian nations, which they quaffed in heaven out of the sculls of their enemies: we may, therefore, conclude that its use was not forgotten upon earth, and that the honey whence it was prepared must have been produced in amazing quantities to supply those thirsty tribes. In fact, it continued the prevailing beverage of the common people in the north of Europe until very modern times, when it was superseded by malt liquors, and the bees were abandoned to the wastes and wilds. There is hardly bees-wax enough produced in England to answer the
demand for lip-salve alone; but importation from America supplies all our wants, for the quantity obtained in that country is annually increasing. A few years ago the hum of a bee had never been heard on the western side of the Allegany mountains: a violent hurricane carried several swarms over that lofty ridge, and finding a new unexhausted country, singularly favourable to their propagation, they have multiplied, until the whole of those boundless savannahs and plains have been colonized by these indefatigable emigrants. Little thinks the ball-room beauty, when the tapers are almost burnt out, that the wax by whose light her charms have been exalted was once hidden in the bells and cups of innumerable flowers, shedding perfume over the silent valleys of the Susquehannah, or nodding at their own reflected colours in the waters of the Potomac and Delaware.
Intoxication is not confined to the humble-bee, for yonder is one of the common sort, whom I have been watching within the calyx of that flower, where he seems to be motionless and insensible. Look again, my friend, and you will find your eyes have deceived you. That is the Ophrys, commonly called the Beeorchis, which grows wild in many parts of England, and whose nectary and petals closely resemble, in form and colour, the insect whence it takes its name. By this contrivance the flowers have the appearance of being pre-occupied, and often escape those hourly robbers; or would it be too visionary to imagine that the bee first appeared in this vegetable state, detached itself in process of time from its parent plant, and ac
quired its present vitality? There is a Fly-orchis also, as well as a Spider-orchis, which may have undergone similar changes. "A fanciful naturalist, who had studied this subject, thought it not impossible that the first insects were the anthers and stigmas of flowers, which had by some means loosened themselves, like the male flowers of Vallisneria, and that other insects, in process of time, had been formed from these; some acquiring wings, others fins, and others claws, from their ceaseless efforts to procure food, or secure themselves from injury*.”
I see, by the expression of your countenance, that you hesitate to ask the name of the humble plant upon which your eyes are fixed, doubting whether it be a flower or a weed. For my part, I know not which are the most beautiful-the wild flowers, or those that are cultivated; but the little tuft on which you are gazing is the pretty weed called "Forget-me-not."
A poet has seldom any thing to bestow but the productions of his Muse, although she be often as poor as himself, as the reader will readily admit when he peruses the following return for a present of this plant :
Thanks, Mira, for the plant you sent :
My garden whensoe'er I enter,
"Twill serve at once for ornament
And for a vegetable Mentor.-
* Dr. Darwin's "Origin of Society," canto 2.
A nobler theme its flowers of blue
When paid in this poetic greeting ;—
VERSIFIED FROM AN APOLOGUE BY DR. SHERIDAN.
AFFLICTION one day, as she hark'd to the roar
Drew a beautiful form on the sands of the shore,
Jupiter, struck with the noble plan
As he roam'd on the verge of the ocean,
A creature so glorious in mind and in frame,