Saturday, August 29, 2009


The Hamadryads of George Lane

Samuel Johnson, letter to Mrs. Thrale (Litchfield, August 14, 1769):
They have cut down the trees in George Lane. Evelyn in his book of Forest trees tells us of wicked men that cut down trees and never prospered afterwards, yet nothing has deterred these audacious aldermen from violating the Hamadryads of George Lane.
See the explanatory notes in Bruce Redford, ed. The Letters of Samuel Johnson, Volume I: 1731-1772 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 327:
George Lane, in central Litchfield, connected Stowe Street to Castle Ditch. SJ's foster-mother lived there, and he "used to call...and eat fruit in the garden, which was full of trees" (Johns. Misc. I.130; Clifford, 1955, p. 28).

"One might fill a just volume with the Histories of Groves that were violated by wicked Men, who came to fatal periods" (John Evelyn, Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-Trees, 3d ed., 1679, p. 268).
Related posts: Sorbs and Medlars; So Foul a Deed; Like Another Erysichthon; The Fate of Old Trees; Scandalous Misuse of the Globe; The Groves Are Down; Massacre; Executioners; Anagyrasian Spirit; Butchers of Our Poor Trees; Cruel Axes; Odi et Amo; Kentucky Chainsaw Massacre; Hornbeams; Protection of Sacred Groves; Lex Luci Spoletina; Turullius and the Grove of Asclepius; Caesarian Section; Death of a Noble Pine; Two Yew Trees in Chilthorne, Somerset; The Fate of the Shrubbery at Weston; The Trees Are Down; Hornbeams; Sad Ravages in the Woods; Strokes of Havoc; Maltreatment of Trees; Arboricide; An Impious Lumberjack; Erysichthon in Ovid; Erysichthon in Callimachus; Vandalism.

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