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damp is a parasitical plant like the Mistletoe. The small filaments which serve as its roots spread themselves out among
the tissues of the substances on which it is found. 3. The root-like processes by means of which the ivy climbs over mouldering ruins or hugs the stately oak are
not the proper roots of the plant, but a provision for enabling it to gain and hold its elevated place.
4. Organically the root of a tree is not different from its boughs and limbs. In large forests, where branches not unfrequently grow only a little way above the ground, one portion of the same branch may be seen sending down numerous rootlets into the soil while on the other leaves are expanding in the sunshine. The same organ in such cases is thus both trunk and root.
5. Experiment establishes the same fact. Willows have been planted with their roots in the air and their boughs buried in the earth. In a short space of time the roots were clothed with verdure, while the stems, accommodating themselves to their underground existence, sent forth
those sponge - like fibres which gather from the soil the needful nourishment for the tree. A Russian gentleman when transplanting an avenue of lime-trees, whimsically planted them upside down. All the inverted trees grew, and what had been roots were speedily transformed into vigorous leafy branches.
6. So perfect is the identity between these organs that the middle part of a stem can be changed into a root in such a manner that the strange appearance is presented of two trees on
the same stem, growing one above the other. Thus, when the stem of a willow above its first branches was surrounded by a cask filled with earth, new roots shot out, while above and below it was laden with leaf-covered boughs.
7. Besides fixing the plant firmly in the ground, the root, as has been already said, is the organ by which nourishment is obtained for it from the soil. The loose cells or spongioles by which the food is absorbed are placed at the extremities of those thread-like expansions
of the root which spread out from it in all directions. Moreover the plant has the strange power of making additions to these cells at their extremities, so that it is able to gather nourishment from more distant points when that in its immediate vicinity has been exhausted.
8. Few things are more remarkable than the discrimination with which these tender rootlets pass through unfavourable soil, and wind themselves round all kinds of obstacles which might have been expected to arrest their progress, in order that they may reach a more generous nurture. The roots of the horse-radish have been known to travel a distance of seven feet for the sake of a plentiful supply of water, while the elm and other trees sometimes extend their roots to a distance of fifty yards for the same object. The expansion of the roots, indeed, keeps pace with that of the branches.
9. The expansion of the roots, indeed, keeps pace with that of the branches, so that the rain shed down from the extremities of the branches is not “spilt on the ground” by falling where there are no mouths ready to receive it, but immediately above the spongioles, by which it is at once absorbed and made available for the nourishment of the tree.-Compiled.
Questions on the lesson :- - Where are roots found for the most part? Where are some roots to be seen? What name is given to such roots ? What is said of the roots of orchids? How are such plants fed? How does the mistletoe grow? Another parasitical plant? What is said of the ivy? How can it be shown that roots and boughs are not organically different? What experiments have proved the same fact? At what part of the root is nourishment absorbed? What proceedings of the plant when in search of moisture are referred to?
parasitical, from the word parasite, a name given among the ancients to a man who furnished amusement at the tables of the rich in return for his participation in the viands. Hence a plant or animal that lives on another.
THE EARLIEST ENGLISH TRAGEDY.
1. The Ferrex and Porrex of Thomas Sackville is generally regarded as the earliest regular tragedy in our language. It was first exhibited privately at Christinas of the year 1560, and afterwards before Queen Elizabeth in 1561.
2. The story on which the tragedy is based is as follows:—Gorboduc was King of Britain about 600 years before the birth of Christ. He had two sons, Ferrex and Porrex, between whom he made in his lifetime a division of his kingdom. In a few years Porrex, the younger, resolved to make himself master of the whole, and murdered Ferrex. Viden, the mother of the boys, was partial to Ferrex, and avenged his death by murdering during the night her other son Porrex. The people rose in rebellion, and slew both the king and his bloody queen, but were afterwards in their turn overcome by the nobles, who espoused the cause of their deceased monarch.
3. As in Greek tragedies, there is a chorus of onlookers, in this case consisting of four ancient and sage men of Britain, who take no part in the action of the play, but at the close of each act make suitable moral reflections on what has transpired. The following extracts form part of the Odes which terminate the third and fourth Acts respectively. The subject of the one is the evil consequences of unhallowed ambition; of the other, the certainty of vengeance on the evil-doer.
ODE AT CLOSE OF THIRD ACT.
The lust of kingdom knows no sacred faith,
Through bloody slaughter doth prepare the rays
O wretched prince! ne dost thou yet record
Thus fatal plagues pursue the guilty race, Whose murderous hand, imbrued with guiltless blood, Asks vengeance still, before the heaven's face, With endless mischiefs on the cursed brood.
The wicked child thus brings to woful sire The mournful plaints, to waste his very life: Thus do the cruel flames of civil fire Destroy the parted reigne with hateful strife: And hence doth spring the well, from which doth flow The dead black streams of mourning, plaint and woe.
ODE AT CLOSE OF FOURTH ACT.
9. When greedy lust in royal seat to reign,
Hath reft all care of gods and eke of men,
And with the brother's hand the brother slays ! 10. When blood thus shed doth stain the heaven's face,
Crying to Jove for vengeance of the deed,