Is the hearty Wishes of Your’s,
THE Natural HISTORY OF THE TREE of LIFE.
The Tree of which I fain would sing,
If the kind Muse her Aid would bring,
Is Arbor Vitae; but in brief,
By vulgar Men call’d—Tree of Life.
First for Description then, ’tis such As needs must captivate you much. In Stem most streight, of lovely Size, With Head elate this Plant doth rise; First bare—when it doth further shoot, A Tuft of Moss keeps warm the Root: No Lapland Muff has such a Fur, No Skin so soft has any Cur; This touch’d, alone the Heart can move, Which Ladies more than Lap-dogs love; From this erect springs up the Stalk, No Power can stop, or ought can baulk; On Top an Apex crowns the Tree, As all Mankind may plainly see; So shines a Filbeard, when the Shell, Half gone, displays the ruby Peel Or like a Cherry bright and gay, Just red’ning in the Month of May.
As other Trees bear Fruit at Top, And they who rob ’em must climb up; This still more rare doth upward shoot, But at the Bottom bears its Fruit, And they who’d reap its Virtues strong, Need but to lay ’em all along, Ope’ wide, their Mouths, and they’ll receive The Fruit of Life, and eat, and live: Not the fair Tree that India bears, All over Spice both Head and Ears, Can boast more Gifts than the Great Pow’rs Have granted to this Tree of ours: That in good Ale its Power boasts, And ours has Nutmeg’s fit for Toasts And Bags by Nature planted grow, To keep ’em from all Winds that blow.
The Rise is slow, and by Degrees, Both Fruits and Tree itself increase So slow, that ten Years scarce produce Six Inches good and fit for Use; But fifteen ripen well the Fruit, And add a viscous Balm into’t; Then rub’d, drops Tears as if ’twas greiv’d, Which by a neighbouring Shrub’s receiv’d; As Men set Tubs to catch the Rain, So does this Shrub its Juice retain, Which ’cause it wears a colour’d Robe, Is justly call’d the flow’ring Shrub.
In every Nation springs this Tree,
In some confin’d; in others more free;
In England, ’tis of mod’rate Size,
And oft’ does nine full inches rise:
But Ireland, tho’ in Soil most poor,
Exceeds all Lands in this fame Store;
And sent o’er hither, it is such
As does exceed our own by much,
And gets the Owner many a Farthing,
For Ladies love it in their Garden.
That it’s a Tree right sensitive,
Denies no honest Man alive:
Tho’ as one shrinks and will not stand,
This rises at a Lady’s Hand,
And grows more strong the more ’tis strok’d,
As others fall when they are pok’d.