Reverie at Bennys Place


Una and the Lion from the Faerie Queene

Una and the Lion from the Faerie Queene

Today, my son and I went on an adventure. One of his favorite pastimes is to throw rocks in the small pond at a local garden nursery but I thought today we would do something a bit different and on a much grander scale. About 100 miles from where we live is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum — a beautiful park dedicated to displaying the beauty of the arid plants of the Sonoran desert that also happens to have a man made lake (large pond) that just begs to have rocks thrown in! Their mission statement says it all: “The Mission of Boyce Thompson Arboretum is to instill in people an appreciation of plants through the fostering of educational, recreational, research, and conservation opportunities associated with arid-land plants.”

As we drove home, I thought arboretum would be a great word for the Daily Entymology. Once again, I have discovered another great reference to a wonderful piece of classical literature.


Entry: Belonging to trees. Derivation: Latin. The word occurs in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene which I had never heard of prior to today. I am proud to say this book is now part of my library.

Passage where the word arboret appears which is the shortened version of the word currently in use today:
(Note: Most of the words have been changed to modern English to allow for easier reading)


1 It was a chosen plot of fertile land,
2 Amongst wide waves set, like a little nest,
3 As if it had by Nature’s cunning hand
4 Been choicely picked out from all the rest,
5 And laid forth for example of the best:
6 No dainty flower or herb that grows on ground,
7 No arboret with painted blossoms dressed
8 And smelling sweet, but there it might be found
9 To bud out fair, and her sweet smells throw all around.


No tree, whose braunches did not brauely spring;
2 No braunch, whereon a fine bird did not sit:
No bird, but did her shrill notes sweetly sing;
4 No song but did containe a louely dit:
Trees, braunches, birds, and songs were framed fit,
6 For to allure fraile mind to carelesse ease.
Carelesse the man soone woxe, and his weake wit
8 Was ouercome of thing, that did him please;
9 So pleased, did his wrathfull purpose faire appease.

This book is offered free at Gutenberg.Org but it appears to use more modern English and is not complete. Though this epic poem was never finished, the book includes all that was.

The photo is from Wikimedia Commons and represents Una and the Lion. I look forward to reading this book and and sharing my thoughts. Amazing what a trip to a state park can do!

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