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a sunflower, and view it through a microscope, we shall observe a great number of small yellow balls on each side of the apex, or summit, which is on both sides. The surface of the apex will be open observed almost covered with them. Those upon the concave will appear extremely beautiful, being spiculated all around; they will likewise be found to be perfectly globular, and of a fine yellow transparency. These balls contain a very subtle, pellucid, oily fluid, or spirit, which is easily observed when some of them are bruised upon the grass.In a word, as the stamina, which thus includes the antheræ and the pollen, is the male part of the flower, wherever the stamina is wanting that flower is female.
The fourth part of a flowcr is the pistil, which is a very essential one, being the female part. Linné defines it to be an entrail of the plant, designed for the reception of the pollen. It consists of three parts; 1. the germen, or bud, which is the rudiment of the fruit accompanying the flower, but not yet arrived at maturity; 2. the style, which is the part that serves to elevate the stigma from the germen; and, 3. the stigma, which is the summit of the pistil, and covered with a moisture for the breaking of the pollen.
I have already observed, that the pollen was destined for the impregnation of the germen, which is thus performed: The antheræ, which, at the first opening of the flower, are whole, burst open soon after, and discharge the pollen; which dispersing itself about the flower, part of it lodges on the surface of the stigma, where it is detained by the moisture with which that part is covered; and each grain or atom of the pollen bursting and dissolving in this liquor, as it has been observed to do by the aid of the microscope, is supposed to discharge something which impregnates the germen
below. What the substance is, that is so discharged, and whether it actually passes through the style into the germen, seems yet undetermined, it being difficult to observe such minute parts; but whatever be the operation by which Nature produces the effect in question, the cause, as far as it has been here explained, is scarce disputable; and accordingly we see, that after this impregnation, when the parts of the flower that have performed their office are fallen away, the germen swells to a fruit big with seed, by which the species is propagated. And thus, as wherever the stamina is wanting the flower is female; in like manner, wherever the pistil is wanting, the flower is male: such as have both, are called hermaphrodite, and such as have neither, neuter.
The fifth part of a flower is the pericarpium, or seed vessel, which is the germen grown to maturity. Linné defines it to be an entrail of the plant big with seed, which it discharges when ripe. They have several scientific names, corresponding to their respective natures, whether they be pods, legumes, nuts, apples, berries, &c.
The seed, which is the sixth part of a flower, is, according to the definition of Linné, the deciduous part of a vegetable, the rudiment of a new one, quickened for vegetation by the sprinkling of the pollen. It is the ultimate produce, yet incipient principle, of vegetative nature. It is the natural offspring of the flower, and that for whose production all its parts seem intended; so that when this is once well formed, the several parts of the flower dwindle and disappear.
The seventh and last part, is the receptacle, which is the base, that connects the other six parts of fructification.
From this account of the anatomy of flowers, it appears how very superficial is the judgment of
those who imagine the study and cultivation of them beneath their notice. "I have been often surprised (says a fine writer) to find those who possessed a very acute susceptibility of artificial or literary grace, and were powerfully affected by the beauties of a poem, a piece of sculpture, or a painting, not at all more sensible of the charms of a tree, or a floweret, than a common or inelegant spectator. They have dwelt with rapture on a fine description of the vale of Tempe; they have entered into all the delight which a Shakspeare or a Milton meant to communicate, in their enchanting pictures of flowery and sylvan scenes, and yet can walk through a wood, or tread on a bank of violets and primroses, without appearing to be affected with any peculiar pleasure. This is certainly the effect of a superficial judgment; for there is no truth of which philosophers have been longer convinced, than that the realities of Nature infinitely exceed the most perfect productions of imitating art." What then should be our sensations, when, to the display of unspeakable beauty in all, are added the great designs of unceasing and unbounded benevolence! But, not to carry this discussion to too great a length, I will conclude with the following animated lines from Thomson:
Who can paint
Like nature? Can Imagination boast
REFLECTIONS ON THE MODERN ART OF GAR
The love of Nature, and the scenes she draws,
Hail to the Art, that teaches Wealth and Pride
Frowns and retires, his proud behests are scorned:
WHATEVER delight we find in contemplating the works of Art, whether magnificently great, or elegantly minute, nothing is more certain, than that Nature, in all her varieties of aspect, is still more irresistibly enchanting. The vulgar and uninformed, indeed, in the prospect of a fine country, look no farther than to the different scenes of cultivation; for they have seldom any other object of attraction than mere utility. The observations with which they are content, are, perhaps that the barley is fine, and the clover rich: observations which a mere quadruped would make with equal sagacity, were it endued with the gift of speech. But the ideas of the Contemplative Philosopher are more extensive and sublime. To culture, indeed, he gives the praise which it unquestionably demands; while he extends his enraptured eye to the spontaneous beauties of Nature, or to the happy improvements of them which assisting Art effects; and which, while they charm, not so much by distant prospect as by the beauties of diversified land
scape, afford the purest sources of elegant and virtuous pleasure.
The pleasures which arise from the observation of Nature are such, indeed, as must be highly agreeable to every taste undepraved by culpable indulgence. Rural scenes, in particular, are delightful to the mind of man. The verdant plains, the flowery meads, the shady woods, and winding streams; the ruminating herds, the playful lambs, the warbling birds, and even the rooks with harsh and discordant sound, are all capable of exciting the sweetest and most agreeable emotions. And yet the greater part of mankind are hurried on so rapidly in the pursuits of life, and so agitated by contending passions, that they have neither leisure. to observe, nor a taste to admire objects so uncongenial to their education, their habits, and their wishes. And with many, not only the palaces, but even the most gloomy habitations of the metropolis, where riches may be acquired, have far more attractive charms than the most enchanting scenery of the country.
Strange! there should be found
The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales,