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govern an order, than the progress of love, "the one remedy for all ills, the panacea of nature." There appears every reason to feel assured that it would meet, not coldly speculate on, the tendency of our age to extol kindness, and to denounce every thing contrary to it-distrust, selfishness, and oppression; that it would encourage, not discountenance, the hope of a happier period, when love would be more powerful on earth; when the higher and lower classes would be more united in feelings, sentiments, affections; when all might have avowed friends in a class of society different from their own; that it would sanction our hope that perhaps we shall attain to this state of things some day; that the good time is not past, but coming. Before this morn may on the world arise, charity, which becks our ready minds to fellowship divine, mildness, obedience, the three things most insisted on in the New Testament, are the things which it pronounces to be at the bottom of all perfection—the object of all the precepts and of all the counsels. It seems to repeat, as from its own knowledge, what is said around it now with emphasis, that "so much benevolence as a man hath, so much life hath he." Behold the clear religion of Heaven! This appears to be what it has always taught; this is what it seems aware has been pronounced from on high in the apostolic definition of pure religion; and happily for the consolation, and edification, and direction of the human race, it appears to acknowledge no other test of its own vitality in any heart. Where, then, do you find impervious thickets now remaining near this road to prevent you from advancing to it? Or do you ask what is written on this last directing board? Read it yourself, by looking at the men of every banner opposed to Catholicism, when called upon to reform, or modify, or change what they had chosen or wished to blazon upon their own. Read it by comparing and judging on what side is the quiet confidence, the spirit of large concession, the desire to conciliate by giving up all that can be given up; in other words, the moderation and charity that only Truth inspires.
THE ROAD OF OLD AGE.
TREAKS of golden light seen through distant openings in the foliage, and a certain cooler and less confined air under the trees around us, indicate that we are getting near the western extremity of this great forest, through which, from its eastern corner, we have been so long journeying.
"Still round the centre circling, so our path
Lifting both hands against our front, we interpose them as a screen that may protect our vision from such gorgeous superflux of light. The leafy labyrinth, where in general from year to year the eagle and the crow see no intruder-the noon-day darkness-the deep, unbroken echoes-all that is past. We are in the purlieus of the wood, and the richly-glowing sky that pierces at intervals amidst the leaves gives note of day's departure, and of the approaching termination of these forest wanderings, symbolical of our course through life; for old age, as the ancients said, is like the sunset peeping into a wood and showing light, towards which we walk through winding alleys. Empedocles called it ἑσπέραν βίου, and Aristotle, δυσμὰς βίου *, which expression Plato adopts in his laws, saying ἡμεῖς δ ̓ ἐν δυσμαῖς τοῦ βίου. We set out, like the Tuscan painter, Cristofano Gherardi, in one of his great compositions significant of the seven ages of man, with the story of infancy; and then we saw, as it were, nurses holding children in their arms. Boyhood and youth next followed, with all the attributes of those who are on those smiling roads. Manhood introduced us to a variety of graver topics, from social and political interests, from magistracy and war, from thrones and altars, from sins and sufferings, to the moral and religious differences that exist in the world. We touched on policy and religion, earthly ambition, and holy penitence; and
now the Road of Age receives us, leading us to the last of all the journeys in which we wear these habiliments of mortality.
The road before us winds through ancient trees, where the oak and fir seem to be less living columns than the ruins of the trees of another period of the world, the pines being bearded with hoary moss, yet touched with grace by the violets at their feet. Huge rocks peep out from the deep beds of withered leaves that
lie beneath the oaks. The title of the road seems to have taken all courage from the poet, who probably was not prepared for the smiling scenes which it unfolds farther on, and who describes this place, mournfully relating how he went
"Beneath the shade of trees, beside the flow
Grey rocks did peep from the spare moss, and stemmed
Nevertheless, dear companion, we need not turn away downhearted at the prospect of what is awaiting us. Come, who does not like the evening side of the forest, the road that is lighted by the setting sun? Who does not feel the charm of its golden hues? Are they not as beautiful as those of the morning? Well, then, let us take courage, and perhaps somewhat analogous to these agreeable impressions will be experienced here.
There is an ethical character," says a great writer," which so penetrates the bone and marrow of nature as to seem the end for which it was made. All the facts in natural history, taken by themselves, are barren like a single sex. But marry it to human history, and it is full of life. Linnæus and Buffon's volumes are only catalogues of facts; but the most trivial of these facts, applied to the illustration of a fact in intellectual philosophy, or in any way associated to human nature, affects us in the most lively manner." The observations which are suggested when entering upon the present road supply an instance, for on all sides here we can see how close is the analogy between the necessities of trees and men.
"Arboribus sua nec deest importuna senectus, Fronde caput nudans, et arans in cortice rugas What force of vegetable life within the forest! When the soil is favourable, the copse-woods, after being cut, are nearly impenetrable at the end of three or four years; and then what a prodigious dimension do some trees attain! Strabo speaks of a tree in India that could shelter fifty horsement; and Pliny relates that Tiberius caused to be carried to Rome a beam of larch-wood two feet square from end to end, and a hundred and twenty feet in length, which Nero employed in his amphitheatre. Again, trees, like individual men, and whole forests, like some nations, attain to a great age without any apparent diminution of force or grandeur. A forest may perhaps present to us a monument of more than a thousand years' standing. But every thing has a term in nature. The most vigorous tree and best situated arrives in fine at old age, and from age it passes to decrepitude. It is in the centre that it begins to alter; but one can recognize the change by observing that the top branches partly die, that the tree grows round, less thick, and that its leaves turn yellow sooner. There is a change, too, in that smooth united bark of one colour which denotes the vigour of a tree; the branches no Fonger shoot from the top, and the green leaves fade before the end of autumn ‡. As with men too, so it is with trees in regard to longevity, some arriving at maturity and old age earlier than others. The wild rose-tree is in full maturity at ten years of age, the elder at fifteen, the wild cherry-tree at twenty-five, the white poplar at thirty, the service-tree of fowlers, sorbus aucuparia, as also the birch, at forty; the alder, betula alnus, as also the sycamore, at fifty; the larch and ash at seventy. The lime, the wild apple, the wild pear-tree, and the small-leaved elm, ulmus campestris, are of mature age after a hundred years. The common fir, pinus abies, and the beech, do not arrive at it till a hundred and twenty. The wild pine and the common charm, or yoke-elm, carpinus betulus, are mature in a hundred and forty years; but the oak, quercus robur, does not arrive at full maturity till the age of two hundred and fifty years §. Warm and cold climates have more influence on the duration of plants than on the age of men. In some few instances plants that are annual in cold climates actually become perennial when transplanted into warm regions, and the contrary takes place when they are removed from warm to cold ones. Man, however, cannot by any influence of climate effect such changes in himself.
* Vanierii Praed. Rust. lib. vi.
+ Lib. xv.
Varenne-Fenille, Mém. sur l'Administ. forestière. § Burgsdorf, Manuel forestier.
The lives of some individual trees are protracted to a prodigious space. Pliny cites as instances a certain lotus-tree, "whose roots," he says, "reached to the forum, the ilex on the Vatican, the Delphic plane sown by Agamemnon, the trees at the sepulchre of Protesilaus, the two oaks sown by Hercules in Pontus, the olives at Athens, and the oleaster of Olympia, from which Hercules was crowned *. Indeed the cypress, cedar, ebony, lotus, box, yew, juniper, oleaster, and olive, seem to admit of no decay; and in general," he says, "those trees which excel in odour approach nearest to an eternal duration t." The cedar of Lebanon certainly seems proof against time itself. The timber in the temple of Apollo, at Utica, was found undecayed after the lapse of two thousand years. The very aspect of the cedar impresses one with the idea of its comparative immortality. "The fir-trees," says the sacred text, “are not like his boughs, nor the chesnut-tree like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God like unto him in beauty." There is a cedar on one of the mountains of Calaveras, in California, which, if its age can be estimated by its zones, must be 2520 years old. The bark is fourteen inches thick at the base. The duration of the mulberrywood, if the accounts from Nineveh be exact, resembles what is fabulous. Nevertheless, the cypress is said to be the longestlived of all trees, not excepting the cedar. It is planted over graves and carried in funeral processions as an emblem of immortality; for the durability of its wood, too, it is phenomenal. The cypress doors of St. Peter's Church, at Rome, showed no signs of decay when, after the lapse of one thousand one hundred years, Pope Eugenius IV. took them down to replace them by gates of brass. "The cypress, that most venerable of trees, when it is old and well grown, affords," says Goethe, "matter enough for thought." Of all large British trees, however, the oak is the most remarkable for its longevity. Again, the circumstances resulting from years are in trees, as in men, generally fixed by certain laws of nature. The beech, which takes from seventy to a hundred years in attaining maturity, remains in its beauty and perfection about the same period; after which it falls rapidly to decay. The cedar of Lebanon is thought to remain sound for one or two thousand years. The sweet chesnut makes rapid growth in youth; but already at the age of fifty or sixty years, the timber loses its firmness, and begins to get shaky at heart, though it will live for several centuries after the heart has become what is called ring-shaken. This tree is at its perfection in about forty years. The Weymouth pine, in the north of England or in Scotland, generally decays before it has reached its fiftieth year. Proceeding on the road, casting our eyes from side to side, we
Nat. Hist. xvi. 88.
+ xvi. 79.