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A growing assortment of words and definitions used in the Early Modern era. See the Guide for more information.
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Upas

A tree supposed to have existed in Java, so poisonous as to destroy all life within fifteen miles. Also, upas tree. From Malayan upas pohun, poison tree. The story of such a tree was told in the LONDON MAGAZINE of 1783, and given credence and currency in Erasmus Darwin's THE LOVES OF PLANTS (1789): Fierce in dread silence on the blasted heath Fell upas sits, the hydra-tree of death. Hence, a deadly or destructive power; thus Erasmus Darwin in CHILD HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE (1818): This uneradicable taint of sin, This boundless upas, this all-blasting tree.
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