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part of the poet, is proved by many other references to the same tree. Leolin Aylmer was sanguine of countenance :

a but less vivid hue

Than of that islet in the chestnut-bloom

Flamed in his cheek.

Here again we have a minute observation of the chestnut flower, possible only to those who have subjected the throat of its petals to almost microscopic examination, for this bright pink speck is not likely to be seen by the mere passer-by. The inflorescence of the same tree-a much more familiar sight is well described in The Miller's Daughter :— Or those three chestnuts near, that hung In masses thick with milky cones,

where the word "cone " shape of the pointed panicle. scribes the chestnut buds :

exactly reproduces the The same poem de

I came and sat

Below the chestnuts when their buds

Were glistening to the breezy blue.

This glistening of the swelling buds in the springtime, just before bursting into leaf-Nature's clever way of protecting the tender contents from frost-— has never before appeared in poetry. Even this does not exhaust the chestnut references. In that beautiful

fragment, Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere, the tree is depicted at a somewhat later stage of growth :And drooping chestnut-buds began

To spread into the perfect fan

Above the teeming ground.

Here the keywords are "drooping" and " fan," which together hit off to perfection the chestnut leaves at the stage prior to full leafage. The lines recall Wordsworth's

The budding twigs spread out their fan

To catch the breezy air.

Still another allusion, an autumn picture :-
And only through the faded leaf

The chestnut pattering to the ground.

Now, taking these descriptions together, we have almost a complete account of the chestnut tree-its flowers, its leaves, its buds, its fruit-all beyond the reach of one who is not more or less of a botanical student.

Many other examples of minute attention to details of tree botany might be quoted. In The Gardener's Daughter, Alice's hair is—

More black than ashbuds in the front of March.

Till the poet pointed out the colour of ashbuds in March, this was an observation which few dwellers in the country had been able to make for themselves.

Mrs. Gaskell in Cranford introduces a character who, in spite of an outdoor life, had never noticed the fact, and takes shame to himself that it had escaped him. Another feature of the ash-its late leaf-time-is skilfully portrayed. The Princess delays to love— As the tender ash delays

To clothe herself when all the woods are green.

How few ordinary people, of those at least who live in cities, know that the ash tree is one of the last to put forth her green leaves !

Tennyson has also studied the yew tree, and knows all about its dioecious habit, its clouds of pollen, its inconspicuous flowers. In The Holy Grail we have

Beneath a world-old yew tree, darkening half
The cloisters on a gustful April morn

That puff'd the swaying branches into smoke.

The smoke is the pollen from the staminate flowers. The same thought appears in In Memoriam :—

Old warder of these buried bones,

And answering now my random stroke
With fruitful cloud and living smoke

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And darkening the dark graves of men,-
What whisper'd from her lying lips?
Thy gloom is kindled at the tips
And passes into gloom again.

These stanzas were added to the poem in a later edition as if in answer to objections taken to a previous reference where the poet said :

O not for thee the glow, the bloom
Who changest not in any gale

Nor branding summer-suns avail

To touch thy thousand years of gloom.

This was interpreted as meaning that the yew had no flower, whereas all that the poet meant was that the flower is not conspicuous or brilliant, that it has no glowing blossoms; however, the added section put the matter beyond doubt, and shows that Tennyson was thoroughly conversant with the economy of the yew tree, as also with the fact that in the spring its young shoots are of a lighter green and grow darker as the season advances. It is kindled at the tips and passes into gloom again.

In that exquisitely graceful poem, The Talking Oak, there is a whole bolus of botany. If a tree could talk, we may be sure its language would be something very like what Tennyson has conceived. He shows the true dramatic faculty of personating a tree-a feat possible only to one with botanical

knowledge. The oak swears and swears in character when he is made to say ::

and

may insects prick

Each leaf into a gall.

tho' I circle in the grain

Five hundred rings of years.

When Olivia strove to span his waist,

Alas! I was too broad of girth

I could not be embraced.

I wish'd myself the fair young beech
That here beside me stands,
That round me, clasping each in each,
She might have lock'd her hands.

Yet seem'd the pressure thrice as sweet
As woodbine's fragile hold,

Or when I feel about my feet

The berried briony fold.

Hard wood I am, and wrinkled rind,

But yet my sap was stirred:

And even into my inmost ring

A pleasure I discern'd,

Like those blind motions of the Spring
That show the year is turned.

I, rooted here among the groves,
But languidly adjust

My vapid vegetable loves

With anthers and with dust.

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