Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/146

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134
TECTIBRANCHIATA.—PLEUROBRANCHIDÆ.


    And arborets of jointed stone were there,
 And plants of fibres fine as silkworm's thread;
        Yea, beautiful as mermaid's golden hair
           Upon the waves dispread.
        Others that, like the broad banana growing,
Rais'd their long wrinkled leaves of purple hue.
        Like streamers wide outflowing."[1]

A hundred times might you fancy you saw the type, the very original of this description, tracing, line by line, and image by image, the details of the picture; and acknowledging, as you proceed, the minute truthfulness with which it has been drawn. For such is the loveliness of nature in these secluded reservoirs, that the accomplished poet, when depicting the gorgeous scenes of eastern mythology; scenes the wildest and most extravagant that imagination could paint; drew not upon the resources of his prolific fancy for imagery here, but was well content to jot down the simple lineaments of nature, as he saw her in plain homely England.

It is a beautiful and fascinating sight for those who have never seen it before, to see the little shrubberies of pink coralline,—the "arborets of jointed stone,"—that fringe these pretty pools. It is a charming sight to see the crimson bananalike leaves of the Delesseria waving in their darkest corners; and the purple fibrous tufts of Polysiphoniœ and Ceramia, "fine as silkworm's thread." But there are many others which give variety and impart beauty to these tide-pools. The broad leaves of the Ulva, finer than the finest cambric, and of the brightest emerald-green, adorn the hollows at the highest level; while at the lowest wave tiny forests of the feathery Ptilota

  1. Southey. Curse of Kehama, xiv. 5.