The Botanic Garden. Part II. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about The Botanic Garden. Part II..

Some of the Fungusses are so acrid, that a drop of their juice blisters the tongue; others intoxicate those who eat them.  The Ostiacks in Siberia use them for the latter purpose; one Fungus of the species, Agaricus muscarum, eaten raw; or the decoction of three of them, produces intoxication for 12 or 16 hours.  History of Russia.  V. 1.  Nichols. 1780.  As all acrid plants become less so, if exposed to a boiling heat, it is probable the common mushroom may sometimes disagree from being not sufficiently stewed.  The Oftiacks blister their skin by a fungus found on Birch-trees; and use the Agiricus officin. for Soap. ib.

There was a dispute whether the fungusses should be classed in the animal or vegetable department.  Their animal taste in cookery, and their animal smell when burnt, together with their tendency to putrefaction, insomuch that the Phallus impudicus has gained the name of stink-horn; and lastly, their growing and continuing healthy without light, as the Licoperdon tuber or truffle, and the fungus vinosus or mucor in dark cellars, and the esculent mushrooms on beds covered thick with straw, would seem to shew that they approach towards the animals, or make a kind of isthmus connecting the two mighty kingdoms of animal and of vegetable nature.]

        To each rude rock, lone dell, and echoing grove
430 Sung the sweet sorrows of her secret love. 
        “Oh, stay!—­return!”—­along the sounding shore
        Cry’d the sad Naiads,—­she return’d no more!—­
        Now girt with clouds the sullen Evening frown’d,
        And withering Eurus swept along the ground;
435 The misty moon withdrew her horned light,
        And sunk with Hesper in the skirt of night;

        No dim electric streams, (the northern dawn,)
        With meek effulgence quiver’d o’er the lawn;
        No star benignant shot one transient ray
440 To guide or light the wanderer on her way. 
        Round the dark craggs the murmuring whirlwinds blow,
        Woods groan above, and waters roar below;
        As o’er the steeps with pausing foot she moves,
        The pitying Dryads shriek amid their groves;
445 She flies,—­she stops,—­she pants—­she looks behind,
        And hears a demon howl in every wind. 
        —­As the bleak blast unfurls her fluttering vest,
        Cold beats the snow upon her shuddering breast;
        Through her numb’d limbs the chill sensations dart,
450 And the keen ice bolt trembles at her heart. 
        “I sink, I fall! oh, help me, help!” she cries,
        Her stiffening tongue the unfinish’d sound denies;
        Tear after tear adown her cheek succeeds,
        And pearls of ice bestrew the glittering meads;
455 Congealing snows her lingering feet surround,
        Arrest her flight, and root her to the ground;
        With suppliant arms she pours the silent prayer;

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The Botanic Garden. Part II. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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