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And aid its future need. From bin to bin,
The blossoms, newly picked, behold conveyed
By slow degrees, when parched to th' inmost core,
Now, dry as leaves which rustle to the tread,
The hop is a most valuable plant : in its wild state it is relished by cows, horses, goats, sheep, and swine. When cultivated, its young tops are eaten, early in the spring, as substitutes for asparagus, being wholesome and aperient. Its principal use, however (could brewers be made honest), is in brewing malt liquors, communicating that fine bitter flavour to our beer, and making it keep for a longer time than it otherwise would do. Hops also serve some important purposes in medicine.
See also Smart's 'Hop-Garden,' in his Poems.
The hop-plant is recorded to have been introduced into this country in the year 1524; but the estimation in which it was held for some years afterwards was so remarkably low, that in 1528 a petition to restrain its use was presented to parliament, and, in that petition, it was denominated a most pernicious and wicked weed.' Though thus styled at this period, it became a great favourite before the century expired; and, in 1603, an act was passed to prevent the hops being adulterated.
The heat of this month is sometimes excessive, and we are then led to exclaim with the poet of nature,
Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail !
and, regarding coolness and freshness as indispensable to the enjoyment of Nature's bounties at this season, those who are confined in large cities luxuriate themselves with the frequent ice,' and employ every means in their power to cool the various liquors, which the heat renders necessary to relieve the parched and fevered lip' of thirst. To such, as well as to our country readers, we recommend the perusal of Mr. Parkes's notice of Snow and Ice, as conducing to the luxuries of man, to be found in his ingenious Chemical Essays,' vol. i, pp. 239-264.
Towards the end of the month, the wild orach (chenopodium album), the wild clary (salvia verbenaca), the sweet gale (myrica gale), the golden rod (senecio paludosus), the milk-thistle (carduus marianus), and ladies-traces (ophrys spiralis), have their flowers in full bloom.
Several maritime plants flower this month ;-glasswort (salicornia herbacea), and grass-wrack (zostera marina), on sea coasts; the samphire (crithmum maritimum), and the asparagus officinalis, among rocks. On sandy shores may be seen the sea campion, or catchfly (silene maritima), sea spurge (euphorbia paralia), and lavender cotton (santolina mari
tima). On sea shores are found the sea-stock (cheiranthus sinuatus), and sea wormwood (artemisia ma ritima).
In this, and the succeeding month, much knowledge may be gained of marine plants, shells, &c. &c., by those who visit the sea-coast. The healthful amusement of wandering over the sands or beach, and among the caverns of our sea-girt isle, may easily be rendered improving to the mind, as well as the body, by bringing us acquainted with the great Author of Nature, in the apparently most insignificant, but wonder-fraught, works of his almighty hand. With this view, we lay before our readers the following interesting narrative of the examination of some shell-fish (echini marini), commonly called sea-eggs, from the pen of that eloquent naturalist, Sir John Hill'.
'The creature brought to town on this occasion was yesterday put into a large earthen vessel, with a flat bottom, filled with clear salt water. It was alive, and I had a happy opportunity of explaining all its parts to my auditory. The whole shell is of a figure nearly globular; but, in the centre of the base, or that part which is always next the bottom, there is a large opening, in which is placed the mouth of the animal; and on the very summit, or top of the shell, there is another, somewhat smaller, at which the intestines terminate, and by which the remains of the food, after it has served the purposes of digestion, are discharged. This seems, at first sight, a strange situation for these parts; but as the creature feeds on things which it finds at the bottom of the sea, and its digestive faculties are weak, and perform their functions but slowly, no other position of them could have answered the purpose.
See the Inspector, No. 68. It is also reprinted in Dr. Drake's Gleaner, vol. ii, p. 211, a book of which it is impossible to speak too highly.
From the top of the shell to the edge of the opening in the base, there run, at equal distances, five broad lines; these are of a different appearance from the rest of the surface, and are full of almost innumerable perforations, or little holes. These, in the dry empty shell, as preserved in collections, are easily distinguished by their letting through the light; but, while the animal is living in it, they are only discovered by their uses. Between these lines there run about thirty distinct series, or rows, of little eminences, of different figure and size in the dried shell; but, in the living animal, each of these supports a regular spine or prickle, like that on the skin of the hedgehog, and from these the creature had its Latin
• These were all entire on the living animal which was the subject of our observation, and the several series of them were longer and shorter, according to the differences of the eminences on the surface of the dry or naked shells. These spines hung flaccid, when we took the creature out of the bladder in which it had been brought to town; but the first thing it did, on being put into the fresh water, was to erect them all; so that the surface appeared as if thick set with needless with the points outward. We had the patience and attention to count the spines of one division, and found, by this, the whole number to be not less than four-and-twenty hundred. The creature, by the vibratory motion it first gave them, showed us that they were much at its command; and, on examination, we found that each of them had its separate muscle affixed to its base, and running through a small aperture in the head of an eminence on which the spine turns, as the bones of our bodies at their joints. What an apparatus is this for an animal esteemed so inconsiderable! The muscles of the human body are hardly five hundred, and here are between two and three thousand in this creature !
'One of the uses of the spines or prickles of this animal, is evidently the defending it from those fish which feed on many other of the testaceous animals; but it soon showed us another very important purpose for which they were bestowed; it suddenly bent a multitude of those of the lower part of the shell, all in the same direction downward, and used them as legs, performing its progressive motion by means of them. It was easy to perceive, that the smooth
bottom of the vessel was troublesome for it to walk on : after throwing itself sideways, and bringing others of the spines to bear, and using them as legs, as it had done the former, it found motion any way inconvenient; it placed itself on the base again, and prepared for rest.
It is easy to conceive, that a creature of this globular form, if it had no better means of keeping its place than had hitherto appeared, must be rolled about by every motion of the water, and have its armature of spines soon destroyed. We quickly found, however, that nature had not left it unprovided with a security against this danger: it had no sooner placed itself for rest, than we saw a multitude of long and slender white fleshy filaments, resembling the horns of snails, playing in the water all about its surface these were considerably longer than the spines in their ordinary state, and the creature extended them beyond that at its pleasure. One of these we found proceeded from every hole in the five lines before mentioned, on the surface of the shell; and their number, in the whole, was not less than thirteen hundred. After these had been waved about in the water for some time, we were let into their use; they were directed from all parts towards the bottom of the vessel, and fixed themselves so firmly to it at their extremities, that we found it' afterwards very difficult to move the creature. On throwing a living worm into the water, all these filaments were drawn back in an instant; and we had