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Rheumatism and dropsies were said to be cured by an infusion of its extremely bitter leaves.
How beautiful and singular are many of our water-plants; their physiology is wonderful, and the ease with which they may be cultivated renders them an interesting addition to pleasure-grounds.
The flowering-rush (Butamus umbellatus), the water-violet, (Hottonia palustris), the white and yellow water-lilies (Nympluea alba and Nuphar lutea), the singular frogbit, (Hydrocharis morsus-ranie), the family of Scutellariae, and many others of equal beauty, would, if more generally cultivated, form an interesting addition to the attractions of our country homes.
There is a pleasant walk on the left hand of the grounds leading to Mount Stead, through corn-fields and pastures, by the side of a small wood: here grows that flower of all localities, the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), and the garden-like campanula (Trachelium); under the summer growth of bramble, honeysuckle, and wild roses, we meet with the Hypericum perfoliatum, and pulchrum, the latter lovely in the extreme, and worthy of cultivation, as are all the St. John's worts; willow-herb (Epihbium hirsutum), with occasional spiked purple loose-strife (Lythrum salicaria), though the latter generally prefers the side of ponds, where its roots can be under water. The willow-herb has a singular English name — codlins-and-cream. Its scent, to a strong imagination, may suggest that pleasant repast, but its rose-coloured flowers, and singularly winged seeds, are a sufficient recommendation. The fields are full of flowers; in addition to the feathery bent of various kinds of grass, you may soon gather a handsome nosegay. Two kinds of scabious (Succisa and Arvensis), one most conspicuous,—the English name of succisa is DeviVs-bit scabious,— strongly tempt us to give a quotation which Withering has taken from quaint old Gerard—" The great part of the root seemeth to be bitten away; old fantastick charmers report that the devil did bite it for envy, because it is an herbe that hath so many good virtues, and is so beneficial to mankind."
Now look closely on the ground as if you were seeking hidden treasure, for under your feet two fair forms are growing, worthy of examination; the milkwort (Polygala ANTIQUARIAN NOTICES. 415
vulgaris), with its tufted centre and winged corolla exquisitely fashioned, and of an intense blue, sometimes varying to white and pink, doubtless influenced by the soil in which it grows; and the eye-bright (Euphrasia officinalis), said to be of service to weak eyes. The delicate tinting of this little flower might please an amateur—pure white, streaked with purple, with a dot of bright yellow, as if touched by the point of a sunbeam.
Let us now go down into this little wood. The hazels are full of nuts—who does not remember the joy of "going a nutting ?"—but they are not ripe, so we pass on; stems of climbing plants arrest our progress—with honeysuckle is twined the black-bryony (Tamus communis), with its glossy heart-shaped leaves; the whitish-green flowers have given place to what will be red berries. It is a lovely but poisonous plant. There hangs the great bindweed (Convolvulus sepium), with a pure white flower, like a sculptured chalice, and the buds are equally beautiful. We look down on the shady banks, among the moss that covers rough stones and old oak roots. What an elegantly woven carpet of varied leaves in every shade of green. They speak of early spring. Wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), the woodanemone, the golden saxifrage, and many others. We have not yet visited the cornfields, with the gaudy poppy, the singular venus-comb, the polygonums and geraniums, and twenty more. Nor have we been down to the river side, where may be found many we have already mentioned, with the great broad burdock and elegant valerian. Bolton Woods have not been visited; nor Fairy Dell, so full of ferns.
At present our bouquet of wild flowers is made up; a month longer, and their leaves and flowers will be scattered to the winds, and the pleasant party, for whose amusement they were brought together, will most of them have departed; but Spring shall again renew the flowers, and perennial Memory preserve the Past.—A. H.
This month derives its name from the Romans, who so called it in honour of Augustus Caesar, because he had then first entered upon his consulship, brought three triumphs into the city, subdued Egypt to the Eoman dominion and put an end to the civil war. Prior to that time it had been known as Sextilis, as being the sixth month from March, which I have already observed, was the beginning of the Roman year.
With the Anglo-Saxons it had the name of Abnmonath; —Am signifying harvest; Babn-mxwath; HarvestMonath; and according to Bede, Woedmonath, or Weidmonath, i. e., Weednionth, a name which, as we have already seen, was also given to June.
Lammas Day.—The first of August, which by some has been supposed to signify a Lamb-Mass, because on that day the tenants who held lands of the Cathedral Church in Tork, which is dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, were bound by their tenure to bring a live lamb into the church at high mass. Others give the same derivation, but explain it by saying that "lambs were not then fit to eat, they were grown too big." Others again have imagined that it came from the Anglo-Saxon Slafmaesse, i. e., Loaf-Mass, " because on that day the English made an offering of bread made with new wheat."
On this day also became payable the so-called PeterPence, a tax levied to the amount of a penny upon every hearth or chimney throughout England, and which was likewise called Rome-feogh, LZeard-Penny or Rome Scot. The origin of this tax, or alms, is a matter of much doubt. According to Matthew of Westminster, somewhere about the year 727, Ina, King of Wessex, leaving his kingdom to his relative, iEthelhard, set forth on a pilgrimage to Rome, where, with the consent of Pope Gregory, he established the Schola Anglorum (the School of the Angles), known afterwards under the name of Hospitale di 8. Spirito in Vico de Sassia. The object of this institution was to bring up the English kings, priests, and laity, in the true Roman Catholic faith, for the schools in their own country had been so tainted with heresies, that from the time of St. Augustine they had been interdicted by the Roman pontiffs. To defray the expence of the new establishment, Ina laid a penny-tax upon every family throughout the territory of the West Saxons.
Jerusalem capt.by Titus, A. D. 70.