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Upas, from the Javanese word for "poison", refers to an evergreen tree known as Antiaris toxicaria. A native of southeastern Asia with highly poisonous sap. it is the source of the following literary allusions.
- Dear Reader, if you chance to catch a sight
Of Upas Trees, betake yourself to flight.
- Concealing the mad-woman's neighbourhood from you, however, was something like covering a child with a cloak and laying it down near an upas-tree: that demon's vicinage is poisoned, and always was.
- The harmony of things, – this hard decree,
This uneradicable taint of sin,
This boundless upas, this all-blasting tree,
Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be
- Look up! the proof is round you written large;
Your Faith is in the balance wanting found;
Your shipless seas confess it; bridgeless streams;
Your wasted wealth of ore, and moor, and bay.
Beneath the Upas shade of Faith depraved
All things lie dead -- wealth, comfort, freedom, power.
- On the blasted heath
Fell Upas sits, the hydra-tree of death.
- ‘When you first came upon me, sir, in the Lodge, this day, more as if an Upas tree had been made a capture of than a private defendant, such mingled streams of feelings broke loose again within me, that everything was for the first few minutes swept away before them, and I was going round and round in a vortex...'
- sun had set upon him; that the billows had rolled over him; that the car of Juggernaut had crushed him, and also that the deadly Upas tree of Java had blighted him.
- Charles Dickens. Martin Chuzzlewit. Chapter 32.
- When the world was young and men were weak, and the fiends of the night walked free,
I strove with Set by fire and steel and the juice of the upas-tree;
- In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree.
- Farther on, there frowned a grove of blended banian boughs, thick-ranked manchineels, and many a upas; their summits gilded by the sun; but below, deep shadows, darkening night-shade ferns, and mandrakes.
- "Jerry," said Roger, "You are a upas tree. Your shadow is poisonous!"
- Christopher Morley, The Haunted Bookshop.
- the juices of these plants have been mixed with the poisonous pitch of the upas tree.
- Fyodor Sologub, "The Poisonous Garden"
- I fear my upas roots have led me out of bounds.
- John Boyle O'Reilly, The Upas Tree
- If you... go on killing everyone you meet till people begin to think you're first cousin to an upas tree, naturally you're found out in the end.
- Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death (1927).
- There Good, a faithless gardener of God,
Watered with virtue the world's upas-tree
And, careful of the outward word and act,
Engrafted his hypocrite blooms on native ill.
- Sri Aurobindo,Savitri (Pg 222)
- "What's the tree I read about somewhere that does you in if you sit under it?", to which Jeeves replies, "The upas tree, sir." Bertie rejoins, "She's a female upas tree. It's not safe to come near her."
- P. G. Wodehouse, Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963)
- No bird flies near, no tiger creeps;
alone the whirlwind, wild and black,
assails the tree of death and sweeps
away with death upon its back.