Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 8, No. 46, August, 1861

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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 8, No. 46,
August, 1861

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 8, No. 46,
1861, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no
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Title: Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 8, No. 46, August, 1861
Author: Various
Release Date: February 19, 2004 [EBook #11157]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
MONTHLY, NO. 46 ***

Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Tonya Allen and PG Distributed



The subject of Trees cannot be exhausted by treating them as
individuals or species, even with a full enumeration of their details.
Some trees possess but little interest, except as they are grouped in
assemblages of greater or less extent. A solitary Fir or Spruce, for
example, when standing in an inclosure or by the roadside, is a stiff and
disagreeable object; but a deep forest of Firs is not surpassed in
grandeur by one of any other species. These trees must be assembled in
extensive groups to affect us agreeably; while the Elm, the Oak, and
other wide-spreading trees, are grand objects of sight, when standing
alone, or in any other situation.
I will not detain the reader with a prolix account of the classification of
trees in assemblages, but simply glance at a few points. The Romans
used four different words to express these distinctions. When they
spoke of a wood with reference to its timber, they used the word
_silva_; _sal[Transcriber's note: remainder of word illegible]_, was a
collection of wild-wood in the mountains; _nemus_, a smaller
collection, partaking of cultivation, and answering to our ideas of a
grove; lucus was a wood, of any description, which was set apart for
religious purposes, or dedicated to some Deity. In the English language
we can make these distinctions intelligible only by the use of adjectives.
A forest is generally understood to be a wild-wood of considerable
extent, retaining all its natural features. A grove is a smaller assemblage
of trees, not crowded together, but possessing very generally their full
proportions, and divested of their undergrowth. Other inferior groups
are designated as copse and thicket. The words _park_, _clump_,
_arboretum_, and the like, are mere technical terms, that do not come
into use in a general description of Nature.
Groves, fragments of forest, and inferior groups only are particularly
interesting in landscape. An unbroken forest of wide extent makes but a
dreary picture and an unattractive journey, on account of its gloomy
uniformity. Hence the primitive state of the earth, before it was
modified by human hands, must have been sadly wanting in those
romantic features that render a scene the most attractive. Nature must
be combined with Art, however simple and rude, and associated with
human life, to become deeply affecting to the imagination. But it is not
necessary that the artificial objects of a landscape should be of a grand
historical description, to produce these agreeable effects: humble

objects, indeed, are the most consonant with Nature's sublime aspects,
because they manifest no seeming endeavor to rival them. In the deep
solitary woods, the sight of a woodman's hut in a clearing, of a farmer's
cottage, or of a mere sheepfold, immediately awakens a tender interest,
and enlivens the scene with a tinge of romance.
The earth must have been originally covered with forest, like the
American continent in the time of Columbus. This has in all cases
disappeared, as population has increased; and groves, fragments of
wild-wood, small groups, and single trees have taken its place. Great
Britain, once renowned for its extensive woods, now exhibits only
smaller assemblages, chiefly of an artificial character, which are more
interesting to the landscape-gardener than to the lover of Nature's
primitive charms. Parks, belts, arboretums, and clipped hedge-rows,
however useful as contributing to pleasure, convenience, or science, are
not the most interesting features of wood-scenery. But the customs of
the English nobility, while they have artificialized all the fairest scenes
in the country, and ruined them for the eyes of the poet or the painter,
have been the means of preserving some valuable forests, which under
other circumstances would have been utterly destroyed. A deer-forest
belonging to the Duke of Athol comprises four hundred thousand acres;
the forest of Farquharson contains one hundred and thirty thousand
acres; and several others of smaller extent are still preserved as
deer-parks. Thus do the luxuries of the rich tend, in some instances, to
preserve those natural objects of which they are
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