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Proserpina, Volume 2

John Ruskin

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .But, respecting these perpetual beneficences and benignities of the sacred, as opposed to the malignant, herbs, whose poisonous power is for the most part restrained [26] in them, during their life, to their juices or dust, and not allowed sensibly to pollute the air, I should like the scholar to re-read pp. 251, 252 of vol. i., and then to consider with himself what a grotesquely warped and gnarled thing the modern scientific mind is, which fiercely busies itself in venomous chemistries that blast every leaf from the forests ten miles round; and yet cannot tell us, nor even think of telling us, nor does even one of its pupils think of asking it all the while, how a violet throws off her perfume!—far less, whether it might not be more wholesome to 'treat' the air which men are to breathe in masses, by administration of vale-lilies and violets, instead of charcoal and sulphur!

The closing sentence of the first volume just now referre. . . Read More