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Etching 5 Campos Gerais from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by Alberto Chor

#5 The fields called the Campos Gerais, near Mogy das Cruzes in the Province of Sao Paulo

Latin translation by Ben Hennelly

Whereas in the tall, dense groves of primeval origin, the examiner of nature must survey the things closest to him, which constrain and limit his view -- for this reason, it happens that the eye is held only by the variety of individual plants and the spirit is gladdened by individual works of nature; to the contrary, when his eyes wander over the flat fields, those individual things more and more recede, the countless plants and small grasses conjoin into a great unified whole, and another nature, as it were, comes forth, one that is extraordinary. That nature is seen which, while imparting life's breath to all, strives to give each tract of earth, every clod of soil, a living form of its own, and to adorn each with its own particular vestment. Yet the human being in that sea of leaves, which are lightly stirred by the gentle, fragrant breezes of that land, seems to be uplifted just as much as in the misty nights of the forests. 

The far-spreading fields of the province of Sao Paulo are of this sort, and are called, precisely because of their size, the Campos geraes[measureless fields] or, because they contain abundant, grassy pastures for herd animals, the Campos de Vaccaria [cow pastures]. You see here, gentle reader, the true image of that region, which my dear friend Thomas Ender depicted with the utmost skill when he traveled with me from Sebastianopolis to the city of Sao Paulo, the capital of the province called Sao Paulo

Etching #5 is a sketch of the area near Mogy das Cruzes, a small village along the road. The rock of this region is foliaceous granite, or sandstone, set atop the granite, which contains much iron and is variegated by layers of clay. Broad plains slope gently down to the realm of the river TieteRio Tiete, artist unknown. Thanks to dark waters pass languidly through the fields. In the lower parts of the fields, where there is no lack of moisture and marshes, they are covered either by thick grasses or those small, circumscribed woods which I have already mentioned are called Capoes. Here and there on the drier hills appear thin woods of Araucaria brasiliana, which, called Pinheiroby the inhabitants, is just about the only member of the family of the Coniferae in Brazil. This very beautiful and most useful tree can be compared in its form neither with our fir nor with the pine of the Italians, although in one respect 

Etching39 Pine Forest from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by C. Miranda Chor

it surpasses the pine..... however well you can picture for yourself the primary branches which in the pine grow thickly in parallel, upwardly erect clusters, in this tree they extend out from the running trunk one above the other, with more room between them. The small branches lack leaves below and bear them only at their tips, where they appear all around in little bunches. 

Etching 5 Campos Gerais from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by Alberto Chor

In front to the left you will see a small tree of Gomphia multiflora, which embellishes the whole picture with its large, splendid leaves and the pale-yellow panicles of its flowers. Nearby stands a shrubbyDiplusodon ovatus with lovely red flowers. If you turn more to the right you will see Drimys granatensis, a pretty little tree called Casca d'Anta by the inhabitants, whose bark is used in place of genuine Winter's bark. (1) Erythroxylon campestre, among which creep garlands of Ipomoea Krustensternii, which of all the species from this genus that I observed in Brazil is decorated with the largest brilliant white flowers. Thick bushes of the Baccharides species with tiny leaves and resinous little branches, as well as the woody stalks of Capparis laetevirens luxuriate singly among the grasses.

Etching commentary #5