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in Eastern splendor and magnificence formity. Nature speaks to us in prose, - declare that trees of a certain form art in verse. only will harmonize with certain styles Though we commonly admire a perof architecture; that round - headed fectly symmetrical Oak or Elm, betrees, for example, are more proper for cause such perfection is rare, it will be Gothic forms of architecture, and pyr- admitted that the irregular forms of amidal trees for Grecian forms. I shall trees are more favorable to the pronot enumerate the reasons given for duction of agreeable impressions on the this opinion, nor attempt to controvert mind than unfailing symmetry or perit. Suffice it to say, that Accident - fection would be. It is the non-fulfilwho is the best artist in real landscape, ment of some expectation, or the apand who can exhibit among her works parently imperfect supply of some inimore beautiful pictures than Art ever portant want, that offends the sight, – yet executed or imagined -- pays no as when a disagreeable gap occurs in a regard to any such rules. With the finely proportioned tree. The fantastic untutored rustic for her foreman, who shapes assumed by the Elm, the Swamp hews and slashes without reference to Oak, the Tupelo, and less frequently by any principle but convenience, — who the Beech and the Hickory, constitute preserves those trees that afford the one of the principal charms of a halfbest shelter to his flocks and cattle, wooded landscape, and never affect the that skirt his fences and rude cart- mind with those disagreeable sensations paths, give firmness to a slope on a which are produced by a disfigured Firriver-bank, and consistence to the soil tree ; because, in the former case, the in wet places, - she has gradually cre- irregularities coincide with our ideas of ated those delightful pictures which are the character of the tree, while in the the charm of a great part of New Eng- latter case, by destroying its characterland scenery:
istic symmetry, they suggest the disaNature has provided against the un- greeable idea of deformity. pleasing effects that would result from Trees may be observed from still the dismemberment of trees, by giving another important point of view. Some, to those which are the most common a denominated amentaceous by botanists, great variety of outline, admitting of bear their flowers in catkins, or tassels, irregularity and disproportion without which are imperfect fowers, without a deformity. Symmetry in the forms of corolla, and comparatively wanting in natural objects 'becomes in a great beauty. Others, like the trees of our ormeasure painful by making too great a chards, produce perfect flowers. This demand upon the attention required for difference constitutes an important disobserving the order and relations of the tinction when they are regarded as picdifferent parts. All this is unfavorable turesque objects, since the attractions to repose. If the objects in the land- of many species depend chiefly on their scape be irregular, both in their forms flowers. Conspicuous among the latter and their distribution, we make no effort is the Horse-Chestnut, one of the most to attend to the relations of parts to the attractive of our exotic shade-trees, diswhole, because no such harmony is tinguished by the complete subdivision intimated by their character. Hence of its trunk into equal branches, by its the scene has the charm of repose. umbrageous shade, its singular palmate The opposite effect is observed in the leaves, and, above all, by its upright works of architecture. Irregularity, by racemes of beautiful flowers. The puzzling the mind to discover the mu- Horse-Chestnut has been very aptly tual relations of parts, is unfavorable to compared to a chandelier containing a repose, disturbing the thoughts and dis- multitude of girandoles, - the flowers appointing the curiosity. The charm representing the different clusters of of art is variety with uniformity; the compound lights. There are but few charm of nature is variety without uni- trees which have a more artificial look when in flower, -- yet there is no disa- curse of formality. The prudery of greeable primness in its shape or out- taste cannot be concealed by any such lines.
artifice, and trees which are rude and Though Nature infinitely exceeds art inelegant in their forms offend the huin beauty and variety, she sometimes mor of such a landscape. The Locust, derives a fanciful charm from a simili- therefore, is always rejected by the tude of her productions to those of art, gardener for those very qualities which
as art, on the other hand, derives render it a delightful object to the incomparable attractions from an ap- votary of nature. parently true representation of nature. In trees with rosaceous flowers, naMany of the flowering trees and shrubs ture exhibits some of the fairest ornahave this fancied resemblance to art in ments of northern climes ; and these their inflorescence.
are the only northern trees that proThere are other trees that bear their duce a pulpy fruit. Such are all the flowers in pendulous racemes, hanging trees of our orchards, — the Cherry, the like jewels from their boughs. Such are Peach, the Apple, and the Pear, also the Acacias of the West Indies and the the Mountain Ash and its allied speLocust-tree of North America. Few cies, down to the Mespilus and the trees exceed the last in that sort of Hawthorn. These trees are suggestive beauty which arises from the combina- rather of the farm and its pleasant tion of two opposite qualities, - in this appurtenances than of rude nature ; instance, of rudeness and elegance. Its but so closely allied to nature is the soft pinnate leaves, harmonizing with farm, when under the direction of its the character of its flowers, that droop unsophisticated owner, and unbedizin pendent clusters from the branches, ened by taste, that its accompanioppose their graceful beauty to the ments seem to be a rightful part of rough irregularity of the limbs and Nature's domain. The simplicity of the general uncouth form of the tree, dif- rustic farm coincides with the freshfusing throughout the atmosphere a glowing charms of nature; and a row fragrance that breathes only of health of Apple-trees, overshadowing the wayand enjoyment. I am not acquainted side, forms an arbor in which the rural with any tree that surpasses the Locust deities might revel as in their own in that visual quality which produces a sylvan solitudes ; and Nature herself charming sensation of nature combined
more charming appearance with art in its simplicity. This is part when to her own rude costume she ly due to the plain hues of its flowers, adds a wreath twined by the rosy finand more still, perhaps, to the imperfect gers of Pomona. shape of the tree, which is never formal The blossoms of the rosaceous trees or symmetrical. Some trees, by con- are invariably white, or crimson, or the stant association with highly dressed different shades of these two colors grounds, have lost their power to yield combined. Those of the Cherry and that peculiar delight which we derive the Plum are constantly white ; those from the fresh beauty of nature. In of the Peach and the Almond, crimson ; dressed grounds we look for precision those of the Pear and the Mountain and formality : nature is always treated Ash are also white ; and those of the with irreverence, and wealth only with Apple, when half expanded, are crimrespect. But Pride never yet placed son, changing to white or blush-color as her footprints upon the earth without they expand. The colors of the Hawspoiling the whole landscape upon thorns vary with their species, which which they were visible. The trees in
As I have already inhighly decorated grounds are common- timated, Nature is not lavish of those ly perfect in their shape, and the man- forms and hues which are the ingrener in which they are irregularly dis- dients of pure visual or objective beautributed does not save them from the ty. She displays them very sparingly
under ordinary circumstances, that we Chestnut resemble silken tassels, glis. may not be wearied by their stimulating tening like golden fringe amidst the influence, and thereby lose our suscep- darker masses of foliage; those of the tibility to the impressions of homely ob- Oak exhibit a greater variety of hues, jects. But at certain times, and during and their drooping character forms a very short periods, she seems to exert beautiful contrast with the sturdy bearall her powers to fascinate the senses. ing of the tree, while their brown and It is in these moods that she wreathes purple tints harmonize with the less the trees with flowers for a short time decided hues of the half-expanded foliin the spring, and, just before the age. The Willows and Poplars derive dusky shades of autumn have settled a considerable share of their vernal atupon the earth, illuminates the forests tractions from this silken drapery, – with colors as beautiful as they are adorned in some of the species with a evanescent.
great variety of colors. Another group of flowering trees - Besides the many different forms found rarely in northern climes — is which we observe in trees, nature causes represented by the Magnolia and the the most of them to change their appearTulip-tree. These trees have obtained ance many times during the year : and a great deal of celebrity, on account of in this mutability we note one of the their blossoms, which are chiefly re- superior advantages of the deciduous markable for their extraordinary size trees. The evergreens, if they were and their powerful fragrance. The universal, would be apt to weary the Magnolia, with its dark evergreen foli- sight by presenting at all seasons the age, is a valuable gift of nature to the same monotonous vestiture of dark, inhabitants of the arid plains and val- sombre green; for the changes that leys of the South; and its flowers make happen to them are hardly sufficient to a magnificent appearance at certain be readily observed. Yet it is to the seasons. The Tulip-tree has many of evergreens we owe some of the most the same characteristics; it attains in important features of winter scenery. favorable situations an extraordinary They present, in their perennial versize, and is an admirable ornament for dure, a lively opposition to the whitedressed grounds, where its lofty stat- ness of the snow and the general brown ure, its symmetrical form, its smooth of vegetation, and fill the mind with branches, and its polished foliage, are pleasant images of the protection they in “excellent keeping” with the graded afford from the severity of the clime. lawn, the fanciful flower-beds, the ser- Besides the cheerful feature they add to pentine walks, and other pseudo-natural winter scenery, by relieving its expresaffectations.
sion of harshness, they serve in the auThe most noble trees in existence tumn to publish the beauty of the tinted are of the amentaceous group, — bear- groups, to which their sombre grounding imperfect flowers in the form of work of verdure gives a more promaments, or catkins. To this class be- inent relief. long the Oak, the Plane, the Chestnut, The deciduous trees, though of less the Hickory, the Beech, the Pines, and value to us in winter, possess more vaindeed, the greater part of the northern rious attractions, - fading and brightenforest-trees. It includes almost all the ing, dying, as it were, and then reviving, nut-bearers, from the Walnut down to and passing with every successive seathe diminutive Hazel. These trees are son through a series of transformations not remarkable for the beauty of their which are ever new and striking. The flowers, which are without a corolla ; Cherry-tree of our gardens, being a fabut in many of them the aments con- miliar object, may be instanced to exstitute a flowing drapery that rivals the emplify these changes. In the winter grace and elegance of the more splen- we perceive only the network formed did flowering trees. The aments of the by its branches; we see their whorls,
one above another, in stages somewhat their flexibility chiefly depends. This similar to those of a Fir-tree. In May tremulousness, under certain conditions it puts forth its light-green plaited of the weather, is very affecting, and leaves; and, before these are entirely has given rise to many poetical images unfolded, its white flowers, like minia- and fables in the literature of all civil. ture roses, appear in a sudden glow of ized nations. splendor. The flowers are succeeded Other trees, like the American Elm, by drupes of berries, distinguished when swayed by the wind exhibit a among the leaves by their lighter shades graceful waving of their branches, with of green, passing through a gradation but little apparent motion of their leaves. of tints, from a light yellow and blush- We observe the same motions in the color to orange, crimson, and purple. Weeping Willow, and in other trees with Finally, just before the fall of the leaf, a drooping spray, in which the flexibilappear those indescribable tints which ity of the branches is more apparent are emblematic of autumn, and which than that of the foliage. Here it may are as conspicuous in the Cherry-tree be remarked that the lines described as in the trees of our indigenous for- by the motions of trees with upright est.
branches differ essentially from those While Nature, in the forms and colors of the drooping trees. The motions of the foliage of trees, and the arrange- of hanging branches are particularly ment of their branches, causing a great pleasing, because they are associated variety of outline, has provided a con- with ideas of facility and repose. They stant entertainment for the sight, and please still more, perhaps, by their rea pleasing exercise for the mind and semblance to certain living forms, which imagination, she has also increased are allied with the feminine graces. I their attractions by endowing them believe there is not a single motion of a with a different susceptibility to motion tree, or of any other plant, that does not from the action of the winds. Some in part derive its power to please from species, like the Balsam Fir, having stiff its suggestion of some agreeable image branches and foliage, are merely rocked of our own life. backwards and forwards by the wind, An exceedingly beautiful waving of without any separate motion of their the branches is noticeable in a grove of leaves. This inflexibility renders the Hemlocks, when they are densely asFirs and some of their allied species sembled without being crowded ; and less expressive than many other trees of it is remarkable that one of the most those agreeable qualities that suggest graceful of trees should belong to a the ideas of grace and liveliness. Oth- family which is distinguished by its ers have stiff branches with flexible stiffness, formality, and want of grace. leaves, so that, while they do net bend The Hemlock, unlike other Firs and to a moderate breeze, they exhibit ani- Spruces, has a very flexible spray; and mation by the movements of their foli- its foliage is constantly showing its unage. This quality is observed in the der silvery surface when moved by the Oak, the Ash, and the Locust, and in wind. If we look from an opposite all those deciduous trees that have a point upon the outside of a grove of somewhat pendulous foliage, and are Hemlocks, when they are exposed to a wanting in a flexible spray.
brisk but moderate current of wind, we This trembling habit of the foliage is may observe a peculiar undulating movemost remarkable in the Poplar tribe, ment of their foliage and branches, and is proverbial in the Aspen. It is made more apparent by the glitter of also conspicuous in the common Pear- the leaves, that resemble a collection of tree, and in the little White Birch. All minute spangles, with one dark and one tremulous leaves are somewhat heart- glittering surface. Nature presents to shaped, having a long footstalk more us, in all the infinitely various motions or less flattened ; and on this flatness of her vegetable forms, nothing so
beautiful as these undulations in a grove tion, or but the metaphorical expression of Hemlocks.
of the harmony of their movements. While the Hemlocks, by their mo- But whether the heavenly bodies pass tions, represent the undulations of the through their sublime evolutions withsea, when it is considerably agitated out producing sounds consequent on without any broken lines on its surface, their march, or whether the different other species of Fir exhibit in their stages of their progress may be accommotions harsher angles. If we look panied by sounds which are the source upon a grove of Balsam Firs or Pitch of ineffable delight to those immortal Pines, we shall see that the tops of beings capable of perceiving them, it these trees, and the extremities of their must be allowed that analogy is in favor branches, swaying backward and for- of this poetical affirmation. For over ward, form a surface like that of the all this earth motion is accompanied by ocean, when it is broken by tumultuous sound; and the more rapid motions of waves of a moderate height. The un- the planetary bodies through the more dulations of the Hemlocks present an attenuate celestial atmosphere may proappearance of curve-lines, flashing with duce similar effects, transcending all the silvery lustre of their foliage ; those melodies which can be perceived by of the Firs are more angular, with bro- mortal ears. · Imagination often sugken lines. Hence the one suggests gests a truth that lies beyond the ken the ideas of tumult, contention, and of our understanding, which was given the dangers of the waves ; the other, us for judgment, not for discovery; and that of life and motion, combined with the music of the spheres may be someserenity and peace.
thing more than a metaphor. In a strong current of wind, individ- But the sounds from terrestrial objects ual trees, when they are tall and slen- alone are sufficient to inspire the mind der, awaken our interest by bending with exalted thoughts. How often have over uniformly, like a plume. This I sat delighted under the branches of habit is particularly noticeable in the a Pine grove, and listened to the fancied small White Birch, and in the young roaring of the distant waves of the sea, trees of some other species. All ob- as the wind passed through the folijects that bend to the breeze, in conse- age! As the breeze commences, we quence of their apparent flexibility, are seem to hear the first soft rippling of interesting, inasmuch as they are typi- the waves; when it increases, succeedcal of resignation and humility, quali- ing waves of fuller swell flow tremties which always excite our sympa- ulously in a delightful crescendo upon thy. Hence the drooping forms of vege- the strand, and, after the wind is lulled, tation are highly poetical, as we observe sink into silence as they recede from of lilies, which, with less positive beau- the shore. In a grove of Birches, the ty, are more interesting than tulips. sounds are suggestive of more lively But we will pass from this considera- images. It seems as if a host of Zephtion of the motions of trees to treat of yrs, with their invisible wings, were another quality no less intimately asso- holding a revel among the branches, – ciated with their beauty,
rising now, and then alighting, as in When the branches of trees are the movement of some elfin dance, swayed by the wind, and their leaves and pursuing one another through all are glancing in the light of the sun, the intricate mazes of the foliage, their motions are accompanied by vari- sped by æolian melodies that convey the ous sounds which are an important part sweetest delight to the ears of mortals. of the music of nature. Indeed, the mo- And we need not marvel, when we tions of terrestrial objects seem never listen to these sounds, that an imaginato be attended with silence. The poetic tive and superstitious race should have notion of the music of the spheres may lent ear to them as to voices from heavbe an erroneous conceit of the imagina en, - that they should have peopled the