Southey, Robert, 1774-1843. / The doctor, &c.
Chapter CCXVI. A Spanish authoress. How the doctor obtained her works from Madrid. The pleasure and advantages which the author derives from his landmarks in the books which he had perused, pp. 581-583
-~~~H DOTR 58 his former existence in a tree of the same kind; or which was not less likely in the wanton ivy which had clasped one, or in the wild vine which had festooned its branches with greener leaves, or even in the agaric which had grown out of its decaying sub- stance. And he would have quoted Words- worth if the Sage of Rydal had not been of a later generation: Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The soul that rises with us,-our life's star, Hath bad elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar. Other examples of men who have doated upon particular trees he accounted for by the same philosophy. But in the case of the Consul Crispus he was more inclined to hold the first supposition, - to wit, that he had been a beech himself, and that the tree which he loved so dearly had sprung from his own mast, so that the feeling with which he re- garded it was a parental one. For that man should thus unconsciously afford proof of his relationship to tree, was rendered more pro- bable by a singular, though peradventure single fact, in which a tree so entirely re- cognised its affinity with man, that a slip accidentally grafted on the human subject, took root in the body, grew there, flourished, blossomed and produced fruit after its kind. " A shepherd of Tarragon had fallen into a sloe tree, and a sharp point thereof having run into his breast, in two years time it took such root, that, after many branches had been cut off, there sprang up some at last which bare both flowers and fruit." " Peiresc," as Gassendi the writer of his life assures us, " would never be quiet till Car- dinal Barberino procured the Archbishop of that place to testify the truth of the story; and Putean the knight received not only letters testifying the same, but also certain branches thereof, which he sent unto him." CHAPTER CCXVI. A SPANISH AUTHORESS. HOW THE DOCTOR OBTAINED HER WORKS FROM MADRID. THE PLEASURE AND ADVANTAGES WHICH THE AUTHOR DERIVES FROM HIS LAND- MARKS IN THE BOOKS WHICH HE HAD PERUSED. ALEX. Quel es D. Diego aquel Arbol, que tiene la copa en tierra y las raises arriba P DIEG. El hombie. EL LETRADO DEL CIELO. MAN is a Tree that bath no top in cares, No root in comforts.* This is one of the many poetical passages in which the sound is better than the sense;- yet it is not without its beauty. The same similitude has been presented by Henry More in lines which please the ear less, but satisfy the understanding. The lower man is nought but a fair plant Whose grosser matter is from the base ground. " A plant," says Jones of Nayland, " is a system of life, but insensitive and fixed to a certain spot. An animal hath voluntary motion, sense, or perception, and is capable of pain and pleasure. Yet in the construc- tion of each there are some general prin- ciples which very obviously connect them. It is literally as well as metaphorically true, that trees have limbs, and an animal body branches. A vascular system is also common to both, in the channels of which life is maintained and circulated. Whlen the trachea, with its branches in the lungs, or the veins and arteries, or the nerves, are separately represented, we have the figure of a tree. The leaves of trees have a fibrous and fleshy part; their bark is a covering which answers to the skin in animals. An active vapour pervades them both, and perspires from both, which is necessary for the preservation of health and vigour. The vis vit,, or involuntary, me- chanical force of animal life, is kept up by the same elements which act upon plants for their growth and support." t * CHAPMAN. t The reader of Berkeley will naturally turn to the - _ _ _ THE DOCTOR. 581
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