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Proserpina, Volume 1 Studies of Wayside Flowers, While the Air was Yet Pure Among the Alps and in the Scotland and England Which My Father Knew   By: (1819-1900)

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Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected: they are listed at the end of the text. Original page numbers are shown as {99}.

PROSERPINA.

STUDIES OF WAYSIDE FLOWERS,

WHILE THE AIR WAS YET PURE

AMONG THE ALPS, AND IN THE SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND WHICH MY FATHER KNEW .

BY

JOHN RUSKIN, LL.D.,

HONORARY STUDENT OF CHRIST CHURCH, AND SLADE PROFESSOR OF FINE ART.

"Oh Prosérpina! For the flowers now, which frighted, thou let'st fall From Dis's waggon."

VOLUME I.

New York: JOHN WILEY & SONS, 15 Astor Place.

1888.

Press of J. J. Little & Co., Astor Place, New York.

CONTENTS OF VOL. I

PAGE INTRODUCTION, 1

CHAPTER I. MOSS, 12

CHAPTER II. THE ROOT, 26

CHAPTER III. THE LEAF, 40

CHAPTER IV. THE FLOWER, 64

CHAPTER V. PAPAVER RHOEAS, 86

CHAPTER VI. THE PARABLE OF JOASH, 106

CHAPTER VII. THE PARABLE OF JOTHAM, 117

CHAPTER VIII. THE STEM, 127

CHAPTER IX. OUTSIDE AND IN, 151

CHAPTER X. THE BARK, 170

CHAPTER XI. GENEALOGY, 176

CHAPTER XII. CORA AND KRONOS, 205

CHAPTER XIII. THE SEED AND HUSK, 219

CHAPTER XIV. THE FRUIT GIFT, 227

INDEX I. DESCRIPTIVE NOMENCLATURE, 239

INDEX II. ENGLISH NAMES, 255

INDEX III. LATIN OR GREEK NAMES, 258

{1}

PROSERPINA.

INTRODUCTION.

BRANTWOOD, 14th March, 1874.

Yesterday evening I was looking over the first book in which I studied Botany, Curtis's Magazine, published in 1795 at No. 3, St. George's Crescent, Blackfriars Road, and sold by the principal booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland. Its plates are excellent, so that I am always glad to find in it the picture of a flower I know. And I came yesterday upon what I suppose to be a variety of a favourite flower of mine, called, in Curtis, "the St. Bruno's Lily."

I am obliged to say "what I suppose to be a variety," because my pet lily is branched,[1] while this is drawn as unbranched, and especially stated to be so. And the page of text, in which this statement is made, is so characteristic of botanical books, and botanical science, not to say all science as hitherto taught for the blessing of mankind; {2} and of the difficulties thereby accompanying its communication, that I extract the page entire, printing it, opposite, as nearly as possible in facsimile.

Now you observe, in this instructive page, that you have in the first place, nine names given you for one flower; and that among these nine names, you are not even at liberty to make your choice, because the united authority of Haller and Miller may be considered as an accurate balance to the single authority of Linnæus; and you ought therefore for the present to remain, yourself, balanced between the sides. You may be farther embarrassed by finding that the Anthericum of Savoy is only described as growing in Switzerland. And farther still, by finding that Mr. Miller describes two varieties of it, which differ only in size, while you are left to conjecture whether the one here figured is the larger or smaller; and how great the difference is.

Farther, If you wish to know anything of the habits of the plant, as well as its nine names, you are informed that it grows both at the bottoms of the mountains, and the tops; and that, with us, it flowers in May and June, but you are not told when, in its native country.

The four lines of the last clause but one, may indeed be useful to gardeners; but although I know my good father and mother did the best they could for me in buying this beautiful book; and though the admirable plates of it did their work, and taught me much, I cannot wonder that neither my infantine nor boyish mind was irresistibly attracted by the text of which this page is one of the most favourable specimens; nor, in consequence, that my botanical studies were when I had attained the age of fifty no farther advanced than the reader will find them in the opening chapter of this book... Continue reading book >>




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