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Those which have been hitherto mentioned, are, nearly all of them, exotic trees, which it is impossible to rear in any other than their native soil, and which are not to be naturalized in strange countries.1 It is now for us to speak of the more ordinary kinds, of all of which Italy may be looked upon as more particularly the parent.2 Those who are well acquainted with the subject, must only bear in mind that for the present we content ourselves with merely stating the different varieties of these trees, and not the mode of cultivating them, although there is no doubt that the characteristics of a tree depend very considerably upon its cultivation. At this fact I cannot sufficiently express my astonishment, that of some trees all memory has utterly perished, and that the very names of some, of which we find various authors making mention, have wholly disappeared.3 And yet who does not readily admit that now, when intercommunications have been opened between all parts of the world, thanks to the majestic sway of the Roman empire, civilization and the arts of life have made a rapid progress, owing to the interchange of commodities and the common enjoyment by all of the blessings of peace, while at the same time a multitude of objects which formerly lay concealed, are now revealed for our indiscriminate use?

Still, by Hercules! at the present day there are none to be found who have any acquaintance with much that has been handed down to us by the ancient writers; so much more comprehensive was the diligent research of our forefathers, or else so much more happily employed was their industry. It is a thousand years ago since Hesiod,4 at the very dawn, so to say, of literature, first gave precepts for the guidance of the agriculturist, an example which has since been followed by no small number of writers. Hence have originated considerable labours for ourselves, seeing that we have not only to enquire into the discoveries of modern times, but to ascertain as well what was known to the ancients, and this, too, in the very midst of that oblivion which the heedlessness of the present day has so greatly tended to generate. What causes then are we to assign for this lethargy, other than those Feelings which we find actuating the public in general throughout all the world? New manners and usages, no doubt, have now come into vogue, and the minds of men are occupied with subjects of a totally different nature; the arts of avarice, in fact, are the only ones that are now cultivated.

In days gone by, the sway and the destinies of states were bounded by their own narrow limits, and consequently the genius of the people was similarly circumscribed as well, through a sort of niggardliness that was thus displayed by Fortune: hence it became with them a matter of absolute necessity to employ the advantages of the understanding: kings innumerable received the homage of the arts, and in making a display of the extent of their resources, gave the highest rank to those arts, entertaining the opinion that it was through them that they should ensure immortality. Hence it was that due rewards, and the various works of civilization, were displayed in such vast abundance in those times. For these later ages, the enlarged boundaries of the habitable world, and the vast extent of our empire, have been a positive injury. Since the Censor has been chosen for the extent of his property, since the judge has been selected according to the magnitude of his fortune, since it has become the fashion to consider that nothing reflects a higher merit upon the magistrate and the general than a large estate, since the being destitute of heirs5 has begun to confer upon persons the very highest power and influence, since legacy-hunting6 has become the most lucrative of all professions, and since it has been considered that the only real pleasures are those of possessing, all the true enjoyments of life have been utterly lost sight of, and all those arts which have derived the name of liberal, from liberty,7 that greatest blessing of life, have come to deserve the contrary appellation, servility alone being the passport to profit.

This servility each one has his own peculiar way of making most agreeable, and of putting in practice in reference to others, the motives and the hopes of all tending to the one great object, the acquisition of wealth: indeed, we may everywhere behold men even of naturally excellent qualities preferring to foster the vicious inclinations of others rather than cultivate their own talents. We may therefore conclude, by Hercules! that pleasure has now begun to live, and that life, truly so called, has ceased to be.8 As to ourselves, however, we shall continue our researches into matters now lost in oblivion, nor shall we be deterred from pursuing our task by the trivial nature9 of some of our details, a consideration which has in no way influenced us in our description of the animal world. And yet we find that Virgil, that most admirable poet, has allowed this to influence him, in his omission to enlarge upon the beauties of the garden; for, happy and graceful poet as he is, he has only culled what we may call the flower of his subject: indeed, we find that he has only named10 in all some fifteen varieties of the grape, three of the olive, the same number of the pear, and the citron of Assyria, and has passed over the rest in silence altogether.

(2). With what then ought we to begin in preference to the vine, the superiority in which has been so peculiarly con- ceded to Italy, that in this one blessing we may pronounce her to have surpassed those of all other nations of the earth, with the sole exception of those that bear the various perfumes? and even there, when the vine is in flower, there is not a perfume known which in exquisite sweetness can surpass it. The vine has been justly reckoned11 by the ancients among the trees, on account of its remarkable size. In the city of Populonium, we see a statue of Jupiter formed of the trunk of a single vine, which has for ages remained proof against all decay; and at Massilia, there is a patera made of the same wood. At Metapontum, the temple of Juno has long stood supported by pillars formed of the like material; and even at the present day we ascend to the roof of the temple of Diana at Ephesus, by stairs constructed, it is said, of the trunk of a single vine, that was brought from Cyprus; the vines of that island often attaining a most remarkable size. There is not a wood in existence of a more lasting nature than this; I am strongly inclined, however, to be of opinion that the material of which these various articles were constructed was the wild vine.

1 This must be understood with considerable modification—many of the tropical trees and plants have been naturalized, and those of America more particularly, in Europe.

2 He is probably wrong in looking upon the vine as indigenous to Italy. It was known in very early times in Egypt and Greece, and it is now generally considered that it is indigenous throughout the tract that stretches to the south, from the the mountains of Mazandiran on the Caspian to the shores of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Sea, and eastward through Khorassan and Cabul to the base of the Himalayas.

3 The art of printing, Fée remarks, utterly precludes the recurrence of such a fact as this.

4 In allusion to his poem, the "Works and Days," the prototype of Virgil's Georgics.

5 He alludes to the legacy-hunters with which Rome abounded in his time. They are spoken of by Seneca, Tacitus, and Juvenal, in terms of severe reprobation.

6 This seems to be the meaning of "captatio;" much like what we call "toadying," or "toad-eating."

7 The "liberales artes," were those, the pursuit of which was not considered derogatory to the dignity of a free man.

8 Vita ipsa desiit.

9 Humilitas.

10 In the Georgics.

11 Theophrastus reckons it among the trees; Columella, B. ii., considers it to occupy a middle position between a tree and a shrub. Horace, B. i. Ode 18, calls it a tree, "arbor.'

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