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No. 589. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1714.

Persequitur scelus ille suum : labefactaque tandem
Ictibus innumeris, adductaque funibus arbor

OVID. MET. viii. 774.
The impious axe he plies, loud strokes resound :
Till dragg’d

with ropes, and fell’d with many a wound,
The loosen'd tree comes rushing to the ground.

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“I am so great an admirer of trees, that the spot of ground I have chosen to build a small seat upon in the country is almost in the midst of a large wood. I was obliged, much against my will, to cut down several trees, that I might have any

such thing as a walk in my gardens; but then I have taken care to leave the space, between every walk as much a wood as I found it. The moment you turn either to the right or left you are in a forest, where nature presents you

with a much more beautiful scene than could have been raised by art.

“ Instead of tulips or carnations I can show you oaks in my gardens of four hundred years' standing, and a knot of elms that might shelter a troop of horse from the rain.

“ It is not without the utmost indignation, that I observe several prodigal young heirs in the neighbourhood, felling down the most glorious monuments of their ancestors' industry, and ruining, in a day, the product of ages.

I am mightily pleased with your discourse upon planting, which put me upon looking into my books,

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to give you some account of the veneration the ancients had for trees. There is an old tradition, that Abrahám planted a cypress, a pine, and a cedar; and that these three incorporated into one tree, which was cut down for the building of the temple of Solo


“ Isidorus, who lived in the reign of Constantius, assures us, that he saw, even in his time, that famous oak in the plains of Mamre, under which Abraham is reported to have dwelt; and adds, that the people looked upon it with a great veneration, and preserved it as a sacred tree.

“ The heathens still went further, and regarded it as the highest piece of sacrilege to injure certain trees which they took to be protected by some deity. The story of Erisichthon, the grove of Dodona, and that at Delphi, are all instances of this kind.

“ If we consider the machine in Virgil, so much blamed by several critics, in this light, we shall hardly think it too violent.

Åneas, when he built his feet in order to sail for Italy, was obliged to cut down the grove on mount Ida, which however he durst not do till he had obtained leave from Cybele, to whom it was dedicated. The goddess could not but think herself obliged to protect the ships, which were made of consecrated timber, after a very extraordinary manner, and therefore desired Jupiter that they might not be obnoxious to the power of waves or winds. Jupiter would not grant this, but promised her that as many as came safe to Italy should be transformed into goddesses of the sea; which the poet tells us was accordingly executed.

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And now at length the number'd hours were come,
Prefix'd by Fate's irrevocable doom,
When the great mother of the gods was free
To save her ships, and finish Jove's decree.

First, from the quarter of the morn there sprung
A light that singed the heavens, and shot along .
Then from a cloud, fringed round with golden fires,
Were timbrels heard, and Berecynthian quires :
And, last, a voice, with more than mortal sounds,
Both hosts, in arms opposed, with equal horror wounds.

O Trojan race your needless aid forbear:
And know my ships are my peculiar care.
With greater ease the bold Rutulian may,
With hissing brands, attempt to burn the sea,
Than singe my sacred pines. But you, my charge,
Loosed from your crooked anchors, launch at large,
Exalted each a nymph ; forsake the sand,
And swim the seas, at Cybele's command.'
No sooner had the goddess ceased to speak ;
When lo ! th' obedient ships their hawsers break;
And, strange to tell, like dolphins, in the main,
They plunge their prows, and dive and spring again :
As many beauteous maids the billows sweep,
As rode before tall vessels on the deep.

DRYDEN'S VIRG. ÆN. ix. 125.

“ The common opinion concerning the nymphs, whom the ancients called Hamadryads, is more to the honour of trees than any thing yet mentioned. It was thought the fate of these nymphs had so near a dependence on some trees, more especially oaks, that they lived and died together.

For this reason they were extremely grateful to such persons who preserved those trees with which their being subsisted. Apollonius tells us a very remarkable story to this purpose, with which I shall conclude my letter.

“A certain man called Rhæcus, observing an old oak ready to fall, and being moved with a sort of compassion towards the tree, ordered his servants to pour in fresh earth at the roots of it, and set it

upright. The Hamadryad, or nymph who must necessarily have perished with the tree, appeared to him the next day, and, after having returned him her thanks, told him she was ready to grant whatever he

should ask. As she was extremely beautiful Rhæcus desired he might be entertained as her lover. The Hamadryad, not much displeased with the request, promised to give him a meeting, but commanded him for some days to abstain from the embraces of all other women, adding, that she would send a bee to him, to let him know when he was to be happy. Rhæcus was, it seems, too much addicted to gaming, and happened to be in a run of ill-luck when the faithful bee came buzzing about him ; so that, instead of minding his kind invitation, he had like to have killed him for his pains. The Hamydryad was so provoked at her own disappointment, and the ill usage of her messenger, that she deprived Rhæcus of the use of his limbs. However, says the story, he was not so much a cripple, but he made a shift to cut down the tree, and consequently to fell his mistress.”

*No. 590. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1714.

- Assiduo labuntur tempora motu,
Non secus ac flumen. Neque enim consistere flumen,
Nec levis horu postest : sed ut unda impellitur unda,
Urgeturque prior venienti, urgetque priorem ;
Tempora sic fugiunt pariter, pariterque sequuntur :
Et nova sunt semper. Nam quod fuit ante, relictum est :
Fitque, quod haud fuerat : momentaque cuncta novantur.

OVID, MET, Xv. 179.

E'en times are in perpetual flux, and run,
Like rivers from their fountains, rolling on.
For time, no more than streams, is at a stay ;
The flying hour is ever on her way:
And as the fountains still supply their store,
The wave behind impels the wave before;
Thus in successive course the minutes run,
And urge their predecessor minutes on.
Still moving, ever new : for former things
Are laid aside, like abdicated kings;
And every moment alters what is done,
And innovates some act, till then unknown.


[The following Discourse comes from the same hand with the essays upon

infinitude.] “We consider infinite space as an expansion without a circumference: we consider eternity, or infinite duration, as a line that has neither a beginning nor an end. In our speculations of infinite space, we consider that particular place in which we exist as a kind of centre to the whole expansion. In our speculations of eternity, we consider the time which is present to us as the middle, which divides the whole line into two equal parts.

For this reason,

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