Saturday, 3 January 2009

Southey's Oak

The cork is perhaps the most beautiful of trees : its leaves are small, and have the dusky color of evergreens, but its boughs branch out in the fantastic twistings of the oak, and its bark is of all others the most picturesque ; you have seen deal curl under the carpenter's plane : it grows in such curls ; the wrinkles are of course deep ; one might fancy the cavities the cells of hermit fairies. There is one tree in particular here which a painter might well come out from England to see, large and old ; its trunk and branches are covered with fern -- the yellow, sun-burned fern -- forming so sunny a contrast to the dark foliage ! a wild vine winds up and hangs in festoons from the boughs, its leaves of a bright green, like youth -- and now the purple clusters are ripe.

Rbt. Southey, Letter to Lt. Southey, HMS Bellona,
Cintra, Oct. 7, 1800

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