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to man, that though the earth with its vegetation is bound in frost, yet a vigorous life is silently beating in its bosom. The trees and the plants may appear stripped of external signs of vitality, but not only is their life sustained, but their vigour is being accumulated against the time when they shall again put on their green robes. Of the holly, which looks so beautiful from its contrast with the dry skeleton boughs, the Romans were great admirers. During a pagan festival which occurred in the depth of winter, they were accustomed to send branches of it to their friends, with their good wishes; and this, no doubt, was the origin of the custom of decorating churches and houses with it during Christmas.
5. Another plant associated, like the holly, with Christmas is the mistletoe, and doubtless you are all well acquainted with its forked branches, and its thick, leathery leaves. You may not know, however, that the mistletoe is peculiar in one respect; it refuses to grow except on living trees. It is found attached sometimes to the oak, lime, or maple, but more frequently to the apple-tree. Its root, shaped like the trunk of a fly, pierces the bark and appropriates to its own use such juices as are fitted to nourish it. The ancient Druids attributed great virtues to the plant. Believing it to be the peculiar gift of heaven, they sought it with eagerness; and when it was found, the chief priests ascended the tree, dressed in white, and cut it down with a golden knife.
6. It is to be hoped that something has been done in this and the three preceding lessons on wild flowers to excite you to observation. The scholar should not stop here; he should go on acquiring fresh knowledge, and the simple act he will find to be its own exceeding great reward; for the love of nature is, next to religion and our social feelings, the most purifying of emotions. --John Robertson.
stubble, stalks which are left after
the corn is cut. barrenness, nothing growing. fortitude, bravery. clambering, climbing. torpor, inactivity, dulness.
men in ancient Britain.
In what condition are the fields in winter? Name two flowers that remain over from autumn. What plant stands bravely on the bleak common? Which is the prettiest plant of all at this season? What two plants are most characteristic of winter? Who were great admirers of the holly? What were they accustomed to do with it during their winter festival? Of what custom is this the origin? Which winter plant grows only on other plants? Name some trees it grows upon. Who valued it very much in old times?
FLOWERS, THE STARS OF EARTH,
1. Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
2. Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Like the burning stars which they beheld.
God hath written in those stars above,
Stands the revelation of His love.
Writ all over this great world of ours----
In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.
5. Everywhere about us are they glowing
Some like stars to tell us spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand, like Ruth, amid the golden corn.
6. Not alone in spring's armorial bearing,
And in summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield. 7. Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain top, and by the brink
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink. 8. Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone,
On the tombs of heroes carved in stone.
9. In the cottage of the rudest peasant;
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers,
Tell us of the ancient games of flowers. 10. In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
11. And with child-like credulous affection,
We behold their tender buds expand-
foretell events by the stars.
number. revelation, the act of making
armorial, belonging to or having
the appearance of armour. emblazoned, adorned with ar
morial figures. sequestered, secluded. akin, like, or related. credulous, easily believing. emblems, pictures or representa
1. Every one has heard and read of the heroes of the battlefield, but peace has it heroes as well as war. A short account is here given of one such hero, who, by his inventive skill, and by his improvements of the tools used in the construction of different machines, has largely developed our manufacturing resources, and, by his uprightness and integrity as a man, has left behind him an honoured name and a noble example.
2. Henry Maudslay was born at Woolwich in 1771. His father having served for some time as a soldier, was sent home to Woolwich as an invalid, and was soon after discharged. He then obtained employment in the arsenal at that place. While acting as a soldier he was several times engaged in battle, and in his last action he was hit by a musket-ball in the throat. The soldier's stock which he wore had a piece cut out of it by the ball. The direction of the ball was thus diverted, and though he was severely wounded, his life was saved. He brought home the stock, and preserved it as a relic, afterwards leaving it to his son. Long after, the son would point to the stock, hung up against his wall, and say, “But for that bit of leather there would have been no Henry Maudslay.”
3. At twelve years of age, Henry obtained work in the arsenal, where he soon became an expert metal-worker. In after days, when his renown had spread far and wide, and he was himself a large employer of skilled labour, he would often look back with pride to the forging of his early days at Woolwich arsenal. He began life on the grand principle, that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and he adhered to that principle to the end.
4. In 1798, Mr. Bramah, the celebrated lock-maker,