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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: November 2010
  • First published in: 1840

MILTON'S MULBERRY TREE

Summary

On a small grass-plot at the extremity of the gardens of Christ's College there grows a very remarkably decrepit old Mulberry Tree. One glimpse is sufficient to convince the most incurious observer that this tree is not as other trees are. Its age is marked out, not so much by its size, which is rather diminutive, as by the sturdy proportion of its limbs; by their abruptly tapering towards their extremities; and by their almost invariably striking off from each other at right angles.

Yet, short as the branches are, it has been found necessary to support them with a number of strong timber props; which are carefully disposed around, with much more attention to the preservation of the structure, than to the gracefulness of its appearance. The necessity for these crutches arose from the decay of the main trunk; the interior of which has long been stuffed with a rich composition of manure; while the outside has been encrusted with a covering of sheet-lead. The bark, which alone survives, would of itself be utterly insufficient to support the superincumbent weight.

These several precautions, however, have proved so effectual, that a tempest which some time ago threw down many younger and stouter trees, merely twisted the old Mulberry round on its axis; props and all taking a part in the pirouette.

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The Cambridge Portfolio
  • Online ISBN: 9780511703362
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511703362
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