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light-hued leaves, the outlines of which are particularly elegant, resembling those of vine-leaves, only that the divisions or lobes, whereby the leaf is rendered "palmate," are very much deeper, while the points are remarkably acute. The texture is firm and leathery; the complexion is lucid, and, as with vine-leaves, the surface is glabrous. In autumn, at the time of the fall, the colour changes to brownishyellow. The flowers and fruit are simple but very curious, the former coming out in globular clusters while the leaves are still immature, the clusters, which are half-an-inch in diameter, borne two or three together upon slender stalks. In due time every cluster becomes a prickly sphere of seed-like fruits; the stalks simultaneously lengthen out, and now, and thenceforwards, throughout the winter we may observe these odd-looking globes hanging by their long and vertical strings from the naked branches, thousands upon every tree, and looking as if ready and waiting to drop to the ground. When fullgrown, the spheres of fruit bear a striking resemblance to the round green burs of the common Sparganium of the waterside. Another very curious feature of the plane consists in the spontaneous shedding of the bark, which scales off annually, in irregular patches, so that in winter, when it is most easily observable, the trunk of the tree seems to be decaying, or suffering from some strange cutaneous disorder. The circumstance in question is alluded to in the Hebrew name of the tree, showing at how early a time it had excited attention. It is attributed to a certain supposed rigidity of the tissue, which prevents the superficial parts expanding pari passu with the wood beneath. Partly because of the spread of the boughs, more particularly, it would seem, from the breadth of the leaves, came the Greek appellation Tλáτavos, of which our English "plane" is the final contraction. The epithet "broad-leaved," bestowed by Southey,
"Broad-leaved plane-trees, in long colonnades,
is therefore almost redundant. How superior that felicitous one in Ovid, who, referring to the kindly shade given by the well-clothed boughs, and to the fitness of the tree for avenues, for groves that shall be the retreats of philosophers, as with those of ancient Athens, and for the pleasant shelter of convivial assemblages, styles it genialis.2
1 For a minute description, with drawings, of the flowers of the plane-tree, see the "Annals of Natural History," Third Series, vol. i. p. 10.
* Vide Met. x. 95; compare Horace, Odes 2, xv. 4; and see Theocritus, Idyll xviii. 44, etc.
Long since introduced into England-according to some authorities by Lord Chancellor Verulam,-the massive grandeur of the plane is in this country often exemplified, especially in public places, such as open parks, and the squares of old and southern-country cities. In the neighbourhood of the metropolis there are many fine examples, though in point of number of individuals the oriental plane is now exceeded by its American rival, the Platanus occidentalis. The latter is at once distinguished by the lobes of the leaves being broad and shallow instead of narrow and elongated. In flowers and fruit, and in the tendency to shed the bark irregularly, the two species almost exactly correspond. Of the Scriptural or oriental plane there are some singularly fine specimens at Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire, about three miles from Romsey, and near the river Test. One of these splendid trees has a girth at the base of thirty-two feet, then divides into two huge stems, the circumference of one of which is thirteen feet, and of the other more than seventeen feet. The head of the tree is of proportionately great size, and is calculated to be at least 300 feet round. Nearly equal to these are the dimensions of one of the largest of another illustrious half-dozen at Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire, the seat of Lord Carrington. The extremities of the branches of this last magnificent plant nearly touch the turf by which it is circled. These noble planes thus give us an idea, even in England, of the grandeur of the primæval ones of ancient Palestine.
It is important to be observed in regard to the plane, that the name of this tree is often applied in error to the Sycamore, Acer Pseudo-platanus, which is quite a different thing, though the leaves are somewhat similar. The sycamore is distinguished at a glance by the leaves being opposite, instead of alternate. According to Parkinson, author of the "Theatre of Plants," the mistake originated with Tragus, A.D. 1551, who thought the broad leaves of the Acer were enough to prove it the λáravos of the ancients.
Ursinus knew that armôn should be rendered "plane," as shown by the drawing in his curious little volume, the "Arboretum Biblicum," already quoted.
37. THE ROTHEM (Retama Rætam.1 Nat. Ord. Leguminosa). In the history of Elijah, as related in 1 Kings xix., after the prophet has invoked the descent of fire from heaven for the kindling of his sacrifice in the presence of the worshippers of Baal, thereby attesting the reality of Jehovah, the sacrifice prepared by the idolaters remains just as laid
1 Bossier, Flora Orientalis, ii. 37, 1872.
upon the altar. Ahab then consents to the putting to death of the priests of falsehood, but Jezebel interposes, full of wrath and venom, and threatens to take the life of Elijah instead. So alarmed is the prophet that he flies to Beersheba, and there leaving his servant, pursues his way alone, "a day's journey into the wilderness." Arrived in the wilderness, terrified and exhausted, he sits down beneath "a rothem," and requests of God that he may die. "And as he lay and slept, behold, an angel touched him, and said, Arise and eat." This little episode, like all similar Scripture narratives, is at once genuine history, and of the nature of a parable. It is designed to teach us that although a servant of God may in his weakness tremble and shrink, and run away and desire to die, he is still watched and protected, and in fitting time receives proper comfort and strength for return to duty. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. He knoweth our frame: He remembereth that we are dust."
In the Authorized Version this word "rothem" is rendered "juniper." But there is no reason to believe that the rothem was anything of the cupressineous kind, certainly not a species of the botanical genus Juniperus. On the contrary, the evidence goes to show that it was a member of that beautiful class of flowering and ornamental shrubs which includes the common yellow broom that in early summer decks the waysides with its myriads of golden butterflies, the whins and furze of the wilderness, and the gay and familiar cytisus and laburnum. In the Prodromus of Decandolle it is called Genista monosperma, variety ẞ rigidula. The pods, however, are very different from those of the true Genistas, these being thin and dry, bursting longitudinally when mature, and discharging several seeds; whereas in the rothem they are ovate and inflated, somewhat berrylike, and indehiscent, and usually contain no more than a solitary seed. In size they resemble a small damascene. Because of these differences the plant is treated by Boissier as the representative of a distinct genus, Retama, the name it bears in the Flora Orientalis, and which is the Latinized form of the ancient Hebrew and Arabic. Under favourable conditions of growth it appear to become a shrub large enough to shelter a man. Dean Stanley speaks of it as forming sometimes a "canopy," and says that on the occasion of the only storm of rain he ever encountered in the desert, he took shelter under a rothem bush. The very numerous twigs and branches are wand-like, slender,
1 Sinai and Palestine, p. 20.
flexible, and more or less erect; the leaves, which are extremely few, are short and narrow, and the little papilionaceous flowers are creamwhite. The latter are produced in thin lateral racemes or clusters. According to Boissier, the plant called Genista monosperma by Linnæus is a different species.
In Arabia, in various parts of Syria and in Egypt, the rothem occurs as a frequent inhabitant of dry and barren localities. Mr Tristram describes it as "especially frequent near Sinai and Petra; occasional in the wilderness of Judæa; and abundant round the Dead Sea, and in the ravines leading down to the Jordan Valley." It occurs also upon many seashores, extending all along the northern coasts of Africa, and even into Spain, serving, in these localities, where of course it is dwarf and semi-prostrate, to consolidate and retain the drifting sand, just as one may see the little Salix repens and the mat-grass, with its legions of glaucous leaves, their tips as sharp as needles, knitting together the heaped-up particles that constitute the seaside sand-hills of our own island. Uniting with the pink ononis, the rothem in those regions, converts many a surface that would otherwise be dreary into a scene of seductive beauty, just as the equivalent plants of our own sea-coasts often confer on them a charm no less captivating than calm and peaceful. On the shores of Spain, the monosperma, though stated by Don there to bind the sand, appears to give way to a yellow-flowered species, the Retama sphærocarpa, which is plentiful, whereas the oriental plant is comparatively scarce. To this day the latter bears with the Arabs its primæval name of retem, while in Spanish it is retama, evidently through the medium of the Moors in the days of the Caliphs and of the Alhambra.
Besides the mention in the history of Elijah, there occur, in the Old Testament, two other allusions to the rothem. The first of these is intelligible enough :-"What shall be given unto thee, or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of rothem." That is to say, fire made with fuel consisting of the dried ligneous portions, though for what interior reason the Psalmist here introduces the Retama rather than any other plant available as firewood does not appear, nor do the other passages assist in the elucidation. Perhaps it gives out a very high degree of heat. Elijah's food, on the occasion of the angel's visit, would seem to have been baked by a fire made of the same plant; for, hearing the words "Arise and eat," he looked, "and behold there was a cake baken on the
1 Natural History of the Bible, p. 359.
coals, and a cruse of water at his head." The mention of "the coals" comes immediately after that of the rothem which gave him shelter, and the things can hardly be disconnected.
The remaining instance, making three in all, in which the rothem is mentioned, is difficult of interpretation. We find it in Job's references to the utterly ignoble and mean among the people, "whose fathers" he "would have disdained to have set with the dogs;" who through want and famine were "solitary;" who "fleeing into the wilderness in former time, desolate and waste, cut up mallows by the bushes, and rothem-roots for their meat. . . . Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles were they gathered together" (xxx. 1-7). The mallows and the nettles we shall come to by and by. Here we have merely to do with the rothem, which perhaps the writer means to say was employed for the cooking, such as it was, of these vagrants' wretched fare. For to regard the plant as an esculent, even for the starving, seems impossible; and to take the expression "roots" in the extended sense of the plant in general, as recommended by some interpreters, would in this respect avail nothing. The locality being much the same, Arabia in both instances, and probably the peninsula of Sinai, the rothem of Job and of Elijah may fairly be assumed to be identical.
The profusion of rothem in the neighbourhood of one of the stations of the Israelites during the Wanderings, gave it the name of Rithmah (Numbers xxxiii. 18, 19).
WOMAN'S RIGHTS BASED ON HER DUTIES.
Of late years an outcry, somewhat like the cry of an awaking child, has arisen for "Woman's Rights." For this sudden outcry one of two causes must exist, viz., that hitherto woman has either been insensible to her wrongs, or not awake to her rights. The suddenness and vehemence with which the call has arisen shows that probably the latter cause has been the most active, but just as children awaking out of sleep often cry confusedly for they know not what, in a vague sense of unsatisfied desire, so it is doubtful whether those who seek woman's rights with such freshness of zeal, have a knowledge based upon reason as to what those rights really are!
Our rights have been well defined as "those things which are needful for the performance of our duties;" all other things, however we may seem to be entitled to them, being held simply by the permission