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the subject wherever pictorial exposition duties of common life in order to exalt the may aid the verbal. It will be recollected claims of a kind of spiritualized sensuality that no other Encyclopædia published in this and poetic self-importance, he instinctively country has the advantage of illustrations. avoids. The thirteen shrewd, suggestive,

The character of Messrs. William and and practical essays which compose the Robert Chambers of itself gives ample present volume are transcripts of his own assurance that the work is prepared and experience and meditations, and teem with executed in a superior manner; but when facts and observations such as might be we superadd to this the fact that they expected from the clear insight of a man have spared no labor or expense, but have who has mingled with his fellow-men, and devoted to it all the resources of their who is curiously critical of the non-romanexperience, enterprise, and skill, in order tic phenomena of their daily life. The esto make the work, in all its departments, says on the Art of Putting Things, on Pettheir crowning contribution to the cause ty Malignity and Petty Trickery, on Tidi. of knowledge, we are the more ready to ness, on Nervous Fears, on Hurry and Leisbelieve that it actually is all that it claims ure, on Work and Play, on Dulness, and on to be. The American edition by J. B. Lip- Growing Old, are full of fresh and delicate pincott & Co., of Philadelphia, is publish- perceptions of the ordinary facts of hued in numbers simultaneously with the man experience. His best and brightest reEdinburgh and London edition, and in an marks surprise us with the unexpectedness unexceptionable style of typography. Its of homely common sense, as flashed on a low price brings it within the reach of al- world of organized illusions. The entire most every reader. Indeed, when we con- absence of rhetoric in the author's mode sider the size of the volumes, the number of “putting things” adds to its effectiveof illustrations and maps, the mechanical ness. He attempts to reveal the common, execution, and the compensation to the one of the rarest of revelations; and writers, we are at a loss to conceive how shows what heroic qualities are needed to it can be profitably furnished at so cheap a overcome the superficial circumstances of rate.

our life, and transmute them into occasions for that humble, obscure heroism which

God alone apprehends and rewards. The The Recreations of a Country Parson. Bos- freedom of the writer from all the stereoton: Ticknor & Fields. 12mo.

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work, and his innocent sympathy with The essays of which this volume is

everything cheerful, pleasurable, and lovmade up were originally contributed to able in Nature and human nature, only “Fraser's Magazine.” The “Recreations” add to the power of his teachings. These they record are therefore those of an Eng- “Recreations” of the “Parson” will, to the lish, and not an American “Parson”; but generality of readers, produce more bethere is nothing in them which a parson neficent results than could have been proof any church or denomination would feel duced, had he given us his most carefully inclined to repudiate, on the score either prepared sermons,- for they connect religof their fineness of mental perception or ion with life. Nobody can read the volhealthiness of moral sense. The author ume without feeling the moral and religtells us, that, in writing these essays, he ious purpose which underlies its graceful has not been rapt away into heroic times and genial exhibition of human character and distant scenes, but has written of dai- and manners. The common objection to ly work and worry amid daily work and clergymen is, that they are ignorant of the worry : and herein lies the charm of his world. No sagacious reader of the presdiscourses. He has one of those sensible, ent book can doubt that this parson, at elastic, cheerful natures whose ideal quali- least, is an exception to the general rule ; ties are not perverted by fretfulness and for he palpably knows more of the world discontent. That most wicked of Byron- than most men who have made it a special isms, which consists in depreciating the study.

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VIII. - AUGUST, 1861.-NO. XLVI.

TREES IN ASSEMBLAGES.

The subject of Trees cannot be exhaust- est is generally understood to be a wilded by treating them as individuals or spe- wood of considerable extent, retaining all cies, even with a full enumeration of their its natural features. A grove is a smalldetails. Some trees possess but little in- er assemblage of trees, not crowded to terest, except as they are grouped in as- gether, but possessing very generally their semblages of greater or less extent. A full proportions, and divested of their unsolitary Fir or Spruce, for example, when dergrowth. Other inferior groups are standing in an inclosure or by the road- designated as copse and thicket. The side, is a stiff and disagreeable object; words park, clump, arboretum, and the but a deep forest of Firs is not surpassed like, are mere technical terms, that do in grandeur by one of any other species. not come into use in a general descripThese trees must be assembled in exten- tion of Nature. sive groups to affect us agreeably; while Groves, fragments of forest, and inthe Elm, the Oak, and other wide-spread- ferior groups only are particularly intering trees, are grand objects of sight, when esting in landscape. An unbroken forstanding alone, or in any other situation. est of wide extent makes but a dreary

I will not detain the reader with a pro- picture and an unattractive journey, on lix account of the classification of trees in account of its gloomy uniformity. Hence assemblages, but simply glance at a few the primitive state of the earth, before it points. The Romans used four different was modified by human hands, must have words to express these distinctions. When been sadly wanting in those romantic they spoke of a wood with reference to features that render a scene the most atits timber, they used the word silva ; sal- tractive. Nature must be combined with tus was a collection of wild-wood in the Art, however simple and rude, and assomountains; nemus, a smaller collection, ciated with human life, to become deeply partaking of cultivation, and answering to affecting to the imagination. But it is our ideas of a grove; lucus was a wood, not necessary that the artificial objects of any description, which was set apart of a landscape should be of a grand bisfor religious, purposes, or dedicated to torical description, to produce these agreesome Deity. In the English language able effects: humble objects, indeed, are we can make these distinctions intelligi- the most consonant with Nature's sublime ble only by the use of adjectives. A for- aspects, because they manifest no seemVOL. VIII.

9

ing endeavor to rival them. In the deep from this cause, which has diminished the solitary woods, the sight of a woodman's bulk of the streams and increased the hut in a clearing, of a farmer's cottage, severity of droughts. But Nature has or of a mere sheepfold, immediately awak- established a partial remedy for the evil ens a tender interest, and enlivens the arising from the imprudent destruction scene with a tinge of romance.

of forests, in lofty and precipitous mounThe earth must have been originally tains, that serve not only to perpetuate covered with forest, like the American moisture for the supply of rain to the continent in the time of Columbus. This neighboring countries, but contribute also has in all cases disappeared, as popula- to preserve the timber in their inaccessition has increased ; and groves, frag- ble ravines. Were it not for this safements of wild-wood, small groups, and guard of mountains, the South of Europe single trees have taken its place. Great would ere this have become a desert, from Britain, once renowned for its extensive the destruction of its forests, like Sahara, woods, now exbibits only smaller assem- whose barrenness was anciently produced blages, chiefly of an artificial character, by the same cause. which are more interesting to the land- Most of the territory of North Amerscape-gardener than to the lover of Na- ica is still comparatively a wilderness; ture's primitive charms. Parks, belts, but in the United States the forests have arboretums, and clipped hedge-rows, how- been so extensively invaded, that they ever useful as contributing to pleasure, seldom exhibit any distinct outlines, and convenience, or science, are not the most few of them possess the character of interesting features of wood-scenery. But unique assemblages. They are but scatthe customs of the English nobility, while tered fragments of the original forest, they have artificialized all the fairest through which the settlers have made scenes in the country, and ruined them their irregular progress from east to west, for the eyes of the poet or the painter, diversifying it with roads, farms, and vilhave been the means of preserving some lages. The recent clearings are palisaded valuable forests, which under other cir- by tall trees, exhibiting a naked outline cumstances would have been utterly de- of skeleton timber, without any attracstroyed. A deer-forest belonging to the tions. It is in the old States only that Duke of Athol comprises four hundred we see anything like a picturesque groupthousand acres; the forest of Farqubar- ing of woods; and here, the absence of son contains one hundred and thirty thou- art and design, in the formation and relsand acres; and several others of smaller ative disposition of these groups, gives extent are still preserved as deer-parks. them a peculiar interest to the lover of Thus do the luxuries of the rich tend, in natural scenery. There is a charm, theresome instances, to preserve those natural fore, in New-England landscape, existobjects of which they are in general the ing nowhere else in equal degree; but principal destroyers.

this is rapidly giving place to those arImmense forests still overspread a great tificial improvements that are destined part of Northern Russia, through which to ruin the face of the country, which it has been asserted that a squirrel might owes its present attractions to the spontraverse hundreds of miles, without touch- taneous efforts of Nature, modified only ing the ground, by leaping from tree to by the unartistic operations of a simple tree. Since the general adoption of rail- agriculture. road travelling, however, great ravages Travelling in a forest, though delighthave been made in these forests, and not ful as an occasional recreation, is, when many years will be required to reduce continued many hours in succession, unthem to fragments. In the South of Eu- less one be engaged in scientific rerope a great part of the territory is bar- searches, very monotonous and weariren of woods, and the climate has suffered some. Even the productions of a forest are not so various as those of a tract in ample, a frost should occur in September which all the different conditions of wild- of sufficient intensity to cut down the tenness and culture are intermingled. A der annuals of our gardens, - after this, view of an unbroken wilderness from an when the tints begin to appear, the outer elevation is equally monotonous. Wood portion of the foliage that was touched must be blended with other forms of land- by the frost will exhibit a sullied and scape, with pasture and tillage, with roads, rusty hue. The effects of these early houses, and farms, to convey to the mind frosts are seldom apparent while the leaves the most agreeable sensations. The mo- are green, except on close inspection ; for notony of unbroken forest-scenery is par- a very intense frost is required to sear tially relieved in the autumn by the mix and roll up the leaves. Early autumnal ed variety of tints belonging to the differ frosts seldom do more than to injure their ent trees; but this does not wholly subdue capacity to receive a fine tint when they the prevailing expression of dreariness become mature. and gloom.

The next occasion that renders the inNothing can surpass the splendor of jurious effects of frost apparent is later this autumnal pageantry, as beheld in in the season, after the tints are very genthe Green Mountains of Vermont and erally developed. Every severe frost that Western Massachusetts, in the early part happens at this period impairs their lusof October This region abounds in tre, as we may perceive on any day sucSugar-Maples, which are very beautiful- ceeding a frosty night, when the woods, ly tinted, and in a sufficient variety of which were previously in their gayest other trees to delight the eye with every splendor, will be faded to a duller and specious hue. A remarkable appearance more uniform shade,- as if the whole may always be observed in Maples. Some mass had been dipped into a brownish trees of this kind are entirely green, with dye, leaving the peculiar tints of each the exception perhaps of a single bough, species dimly conspicuous through this which is of a bright crimson or scarlet. shading. The most brilliant and unsulSometimes the lower half of the foliage lied hues are displayed in a cool, but not will be green, while the upper part is frosty autumn, succeeding a moderate entirely crimsoned, resembling a spire of summer. Very warm weather in autumn flame rising out of a mass of verdure. hastens the coloring process, and renders In other cases this order is reversed, and the hues proportionally transient. I have the tree presents the appearance of a known Maple woods, early in October, green spire rising out of flame. We see to be completely embrowned and stripped no end to the variety of these appar- of their leaves by two days of summer ently capricious phenomena, which some heat. Cool days and nights, unattended have explained by supposing the colored with frost, are the favorable conditions branches to be affected with partial disease for producing and preserving the beauty that hastens their maturity: but this can of autumnal wood-scenery. hardly be admitted as the true explanation, The effects of heat and frost are not as such appearances exist when no other 80 apparent in Oak woods, which have symptoms of malady can be discovered. a more coriaceous and persistent foliage

So much has been said and written of than other deciduous trees : but Oaks do late in regard to the tints of autumn leaves, not attain the perfection of their beauty, that the writer of this cannot be expected until the Ash, the Maple, and the Tupeto advance anything new concerning them. lo— the glory of the first period of auLet me remark, however, that these beau- tumn-have shed a great portion of their tiful tintings are not due to the action of leaves. The last-named trees are in their frost, which is, on the contrary, highly splendor during a period of about three prejudicial to them, as we may observe weeks after the middle of September, on several different occasions. If, for ex- varying with the character of the season.

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