To heal or to hide leprosy, best is a red adder with a white womb, if the venom be away, and the tail and the head smitten off, and the body sod with leeks, if it be oft taken and eaten. And this medicine helpeth in many evils; as appeareth by the blind man, to whom his wife gave an adder with garlick instead of an eel, that it might slay him, and he ate it, and after that by much sweat, he recovered his sight again.
The biting of a wood hound is deadly and venomous. And such venom is perilous. For it is long hidden and unknown, and increaseth and multiplieth itself, and is sometimes unknown to the year's end, and then the same day and hour of the biting, it cometh to the head, and breedeth frenzy. They that are bitten of a wood hound have in their sleep dreadful sights, and are fearful, astonied, and wroth without cause. And they dread to be seen of other men, and bark as hounds, and they dread water most of all things, and are afeared thereof full sore, and squeamous also. Against the biting of a wood hound wise men and ready used to make the wounds bleed with fire or with iron, that the venom may come out with blood, that cometh out of the wound.
Then consider thou shortly hereof, that a physician visiteth oft the houses and countries of sick men. And seeketh and searcheth the causes and circumstances of the sicknesses, and arrayeth and bringeth with him divers and contrary medicines. And he refuseth not to grope and handle, and to wipe and cleanse wounds of sick men. And he behooteth to all men hope and trust of recovering of health; and saith that he will softly burn that which shall be burnt, and cut that which shall be cut. And lest the whole part should corrupt, he spareth not to burn and to cut off the part that is rotted, and if a part in the right side acheth, he spareth not to smite in the left side. A good leech leaveth not cutting or burning for weeping of the patient. And he hideth and covereth the bitterness of the medicine with some manner of sweetness. He drinketh and tasteth of the medicine, though it be bitter: that it be not against the sick man's heart, and refraineth the sick man of meat and drink; and letteth him have his own will, of the whose health is neither hope nor trust of recovering.
The veins have that name for that they be the ways, conduits, and streams of the fleeting of the blood, and sheddeth it into all the body. And Constantine saith, that the veins spring out of the liver, as the arteries and wosen do out of the heart, and the sinews out of the brain. And veins are needful as vessels of the blood to bear and to bring blood from the liver, to feed and nourish the members of the body. Also needly, the veins are more tender and nesh in kind than sinews. Therefore that they be nigh to the liver may somewhat change the blood that cometh to them. And all the veins are made of one curtel, and not of two, as the arteries and wosen. For the arteries receive spirits, and they keep and save them. And the veins coming out of the liver, suck thereof, as it were of their own mother, feeding of blood, and dealeth and departeth that feeding to every member as it needeth. And so the veins spread into all the parts of the body, and by a wonder wit of kind, they do service each to other.
Also among other veins open and privy, there is a vein, and it is called Artery, which is needful in kind to bear and bring kindly heat from the heart to all the other members. And these arteries are made and composed of two small clothings or skins, called curtels, and they be like in shape, and divers in substance. The inner have wrinkles and folding overthwart, and their substance is hard, and more boystous than the utter be. And without they have wrinkles and folding in length: of whom the substance is hard for needfulness of moving, opening, and closing. For by opening, itself doth receive from the heart and that by the wrinklings and folding in length; by closing, itself doth put out superfluous fumosity, which is done by wrinkling and folding the curtels overthwart and in breadth, in the which the spirit is drawn from the heart. Wherefore they be harder without than all the other veins, and that is needful lest they break lightly and soon. Also these veins spring out of the left hollowness of the heart. And twain of that side are called Pulsative, of which one that is the innermost hath a nesh skin, and this vein is needful to bring great quantity of blood and spirits to the lungs, and to receive in air, and to medley it with blood, to temper the ferventness of the blood. This vein entereth into the lungs and is departed there in many manner wises.
The other artery is more than the first, and Aristotle calleth it Horren; this artery cometh up from the heart, and is departed in twain, and the one part cometh upward, and carrieth blood, that is purified and spirit of life to the brain; that so the spirit of feeling may be bred, nourished, kept, and saved. The other part goeth downward, and is departed in many manner wise toward the right side and toward the left.
Then mark well, that a vein is the bearer and carrier of blood, keeper and warden of the life of beasts. And containeth in itself the four bloody humours clean and pure, which are ordained for feeding of all the parts of the body. Moreover, a vein is hollow to receive blood the more easily, and as it needeth in kind, that one vein bring and give blood to another vein. Also a vein is messager of health and of sickness. For by the pulse of the arteries and disposition of the veins, physicians deem of the feebleness and strength of the heart. Also if a vein be corrupt, and containeth corrupt blood, it corrupteth and infecteth all the body, as it fareth in lepers, whose blood is most corrupt in the veins, of the which the members are fed by sucking of blood, and seeketh thereby corruption and sickness incurable. Also the vein of the arm is oft grieved, constrained and wranged, opened and slit, and wounded, to relieve the sickness of all the body by hurting of that vein.
The spittle of a man fasting hath a manner strength of privy infection. For it grieveth and hurteth the blood of a beast, if it come into a bleeding wound, and is medlied with the blood. And that, peradventure, is, as saith Avicenna, by reason of rawness. For raw humour medlied with blood that hath perfect digestion, is contrary thereto in its quality, and disturbeth the temperance thereof, as authors say. And therefore it is that holy men tell that the spittle of a fasting man slayeth serpents and adders, and is venom to venomous beasts, as saith Basil.
A discording voice and an inordinate troubleth the accord of many voices. But according voices sweet and ordinate, gladden and move to love, and show out the passions of the soul, and witness the strength and virtue of the spiritual members, and show pureness and good disposition of them, and relieve travail, and put off disease and sorrow. And make to be known the male and the female, and get and win praising, and change the affection of the hearers; as it is said in fables of one Orpheus, that pleased trees, woods, hills, and stones, with sweet melody of his voice. Also a fair voice is according and friendly to kind. And pleaseth not only men but also brute beasts, as it fareth in oxen that are excited to travail more by sweet song of the herd, than by strokes and pricks.
Also by sweet songs of harmony and accord or music, sick men and frantic come oft to their wit again and health of body. Some men tell that Orpheus said, "Emperors pray me to feasts, to have liking of me; but I have liking of them which would bend their hearts from wrath to mildness, from sorrow to gladness, from covetousness to largeness, from dread to boldness." This is the ordinance of music, that is known above the sweetness of the soul.
Now it is known by these foresaid things, how profitable is a merry voice and sweet. And contrariwise is of an unordinate voice and horrible, that gladdeth not, nother comforteth; but is noyful and discomforteth and grieveth the ears and the wit. Therefore Constantine saith that a philosopher was questioned, why an horrible man is more heavy than any burden or wit. And men say that he answered in this manner. An horrible man is burden to the soul and wit.
The lungs be the bellows of the heart. It beateth in opening of itself that it may take in breath, and thrusting together may put it out, and so it is in continual moving, in drawing in and out of breath. The lungs be the proper instrument of the heart, for it keleth the heart, and by subtlety of its substance, changeth the air that is drawn in, and maketh it more subtle. The lungs shapeth the voice, and ceaseth never of moving. For it closeth itself and spreadeth, and keepeth the air to help the heat in its dens and holes. And therefore a beast may not live under the water without stifling, but as long as he may hold in the air that is gathered within. The lungs by continual moving putteth off air that is gathered within, cleanseth and purgeth it, and ministereth continual and convenable feeding to the vital spirit. And departeth the heart from the instruments of feeling, and breedeth foamy humours, and beclippeth aside half the substance of the heart. And when the lungs be grieved by any occasion, it speedeth to death- ward.
The liver hath name, for fire hath place therein, that passeth up anon to the brain, and cometh thence to the eyen, and to the other wits and limbs. And the liver by its heat, draweth woose and juice and turneth it into blood, and serveth the body and members therewith, to the use of feeding. In the liver is the place of voluptuousness and liking of the flesh. The ends of the liver hight fibra, for they are straight and passing as tongs, and beclip the stomach, and give heat to digestion of meat: and they hight fibra, because the necromancers brought them to the altars of their god Phoebus and offered them there, and then they had answers.
The liver is the chief fundament of kindly virtue, and greatest helper of the first digestion in the stomach, and the liver maketh perfectly the second digestion in the stomach, in the hollowness of its own substance, and departeth clean and pured, from unclean and unpured, and sendeth feeding to all the members, and exciteth love or bodily lust, and receiveth divers passions. Then the liver is a noble and precious member, by whose alteration the body is altered, and the liver sendeth feeding and virtues of feeding to the other members, to the nether without mean, and to the other, by mean of the heart.
Some men ween, that the milt is cause of laughing. For by the spleen we are moved to laugh, by the gall we are wroth, by the heart we are wise, by the brain we feel, by the liver we love.
The fourteenth and fifteenth books of the "De Proprietatibus" are treatises on the geography of the time. Very few words of the editor's are needed to introduce them to modern readers. They may be divided into two classes: one, interesting because of the legends they preserve for us, the other, as reflecting the social life of the time. The first class is represented here by the accounts of the Amazons, of India, of Ireland, and of Finland. Here we have the outlines of the stories—
"Of antres vast, and deserts idle, Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven, And of the Cannibals that each other eat, The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders"—
told by Othello to Desdemona.
In the other we class such accounts as those of France and of Paris, of the Frisians, Flanders, Scotland, and Iceland. Such countries as these were well known in the thirteenth century, and the feelings of our author about them can be gathered easily enough. The tone of the chapters about England and Scotland would be enough alone to prove that Bartholomew was an Englishman, it there were no other reason to think it.
THERE is a lake that hight lake Asphaltus, and is also called the Dead Sea for its greatness and deepness: for it breedeth, ne receiveth, no thing that hath life. Therefore it hath nother fish ne fowls, but whensoever thou wouldst have drowned therein anything that hath life with any craft or gin, then anon it plungeth and cometh again up; though it be strongly thrust downward, it is anon smitten upward. And it moveth not with the wind, for glue withstandeth wind and storms, by which glue all [the] water is stint. And therein may no ship row nor sail, for all thing that hath no life sinketh down to the ground; nor he sustaineth no kind, but it be glued. And a lantern without its light sinketh therein, as it telleth, and a lantern with light floateth above.
As the Master of Histories saith, this lake casteth up black clots of glue. In the brim thereof trees grow, the apples whereof are green till they are ripe: and if ye cut them when they are ripe, ye shall find ashes within them. And so it is said in the gloss; and there grow most fair apples, that make men that see them have liking to eat of them, and if one take them, they fade and fall in ashes and smoke, as though they were burning.
Olympus is a mount of Macedon, and is full high, so that it is said, that the clouds are thereunder, as Virgil saith. This mount departeth Macedonia and Thracia, and is so high, that it passeth all storms and other passions of the air. And therefore philosophers went up to see the course and places of stars, and they might not live there, but if they had sponges with water to make the air more thick by throwing and sprinkling of water: as the Master of Histories saith.
Amazonia, women's land, is a country part in Asia and part in Europe, and is nigh to Albania, and hath that name of Amazonia, of women that were the wives of the men that were called Goths, the which men went out of the nether Scythia, and were cruelly slain, and then their wives took their husbands' armour and weapons, and resed on the enemies with manly hearts, and took wreck of the death of their husbands. For with dint of sword they slew all the young males, and old men, and children, and saved the females, and departed prey, and purposed to live ever after without company of males. And by ensample of their husbands that had alway two kings over them, these women ordained them two queens, that one hight Marsepia, and that other Lampeta, that one should travail with a host, and fight against enemies, and that other should in the mean time, govern and rule the communities. And they were made so fierce warriors in short time, that they had a great part of Asia under their lordship nigh a hundred years: among them they suffered no male to live nor abide, in no manner of wise. But of nations that were nigh to them, they chose husbands because of children, and went to them in times that were ordained, and when the time was done, then they would compel their lovers to go from them, and get other places to abide in, and would slay their sons, or send them to their fathers in certain times. And they saved their daughters, and taught them to shoot and to hunt. And for the shooting of arrows should not be let with great breasts, in the 7th year (as it is said), they burnt off their breasts, and therefore they were called Amazons. And as it is said, Hercules adaunted first the fierceness of them, and then Achilles. But that was more by friendship than by strength, as it is contained in deeds and doings of the Greeks, and the Amazons were destroyed and brought to death by great Alexander. But the story of Alexander saith not so. But it is said that Alexander demanded tribute of the Queen of the Amazons, and she wrote to him again by messengers in this manner.
"Of thy wit I wonder, that thou purposest to fight with women, for if fortune be on our side, and if it hap that thou be overcome, then art thou shamed for evermore, when thou art overcome of women, and if our gods be wroth with us, and thou overcomest us, it shall turn thee to little worship, that thou have the mastery of women."
The noble king wondered on her answer, and said, that it is not seemly to overcome women with sword and with woodness, but rather with fairness and with love: and therefore he granted them freedom and made them subject to his empire, not with violence but with friendship and with love.
England is the most island of Ocean, and is beclipped all about by the sea, and departed from the roundness of the world, and hight sometimes Albion: and had that name of white rocks, which were seen on the sea cliffs. And by continuance of time, lords and noble men of Troy, after that Troy was destroyed, went from thence, and were accompanied with a great navy, and fortuned to the cliffs of the foresaid island, and that by revelation of their feigned goddess Pallas, as it is said, and the Trojans fought with giants long time that dwelled therein, and overcame the giants, both with craft and with strength, and conquered the island, and called the land Britain, by the name of Brute that was prince of that host: and so the island hight Britain, as it were an island conquered of Brute that time, with arms and with might. Of this Brute's offspring came most mighty kings. And who that hath liking to know their deeds, let him read the story of Brute.
And long time after, the Saxons won the island with many and divers hard battles and strong, and their offspring had possession after them of the island, and the Britons were slain or exiled, and the Saxons departed the island among them, and gave every province a name, by the property of its own name and nation, and therefore they cleped the island Anglia, by the name of Engelia the queen, the worthiest duke of Saxony's daughter, that had the island in possession after many battles. Isidore saith, that this land hight Anglia, and hath that name of Angulus, a corner, as it were land set in the end, or a corner of the world. But saint Gregory, seeing English children to sell at Rome, when they were not christened, and hearing that they were called English: according with the name of the country, he answered and said: Truly they be English, for they shine in face right as angels: it is need to send them message, with word of salvation. For as Beda saith, the noble kind of the land shone in their faces. Isidore saith, Britain, that now hight Anglia, is an island set afore France and Spain, and containeth about 48 times 75 miles. Also therein be many rivers and great and hot wells. There is great plenty of metals, there be enough of the stones Agates, and of pearls, the ground is special good, most apt to bear corn and other good fruit. There be, namely, many sheep with good wool, there be many harts and other wild beasts; there be few wolves or none, therefore there be many sheep, and may be securely left without ward, in pasture and in fields, as Beda saith.
England is a strong land and a sturdy, and the plenteousest corner of the world, so rich a land that unneth it needeth help of any land, and every other land needeth help of England. England is full of mirth and of game, and men oft times able to mirth and game, free men of heart and with tongue, but the hand is more better and more free than the tongue.
Cedar is the name of the country in which dwelled the Ishmaelites, that were the children of Kedar, that was Ishmael's eldest son. And more truly they be there clept Agareni than Saraceni, though they mistake the name of Sarah in vain, and be proud thereof, as though they were gendered of Sarah. These men build no houses, but go about in large wildernesses, as wild men, and dwell in tents, and live by prey and by venison. Yet hereafter, as Methodius saith, they shall once be gathered together, and go out of the desert, and win and hold the roundness of the earth, eight weeks of years, and their way shall be called the way of anguish and of woe. For they shall overcome cities and kingdoms. And they shall slay priests in holy places, and lie there with women, and drink of holy vessels, and tie beasts to sepultures of holy saints, for the wickedness of the Christian men that shall be in that time. These and many other things he doth rehearse that Ishmaelites, men of Kedar, shall do in the world wide.
Ethiopia, blue men's land, had first that name of colour of men. For the sun is nigh, and roasteth and toasteth them. And so the colour of men showeth the strength of the star, for there is continual heat. For all that is under the south pole about the west is full of mountains, and about the middle full of gravel, and in the east side most desert and wilderness: and stretcheth from the west of Atlas toward the east unto the ends of Egypt, and is closed in the south with ocean, and in the north with the river Nile. In this land be many nations with divers faces wonderly and horribly shapen: Also therein be many wild beasts and serpents, and also Rhinoceros, and the beast that hight Cameleon, a beast with many colours. Also there be cockatrices and great dragons, and precious stones be taken out of their brains, Jacinth, and Chrysophrase, Topaz, and many other precious stones be found in those parts, and cinnamon is there gathered. There be two Ethiopias, one is in the east, and the other is in Mauritania in the west, and that is more near Spain. And then is Numidia, and the province of Carthage. Then is Getula, and at last against the course of the sun in the south is the land that hight Ethiopia adusta, burnt; and fables tell, that there beyond be the Antipodes, men that have their feet against our feet. The men of Ethiopia have their name of a black river, and that river is of the same kind as Nilus, for they breed reeds and bullrushes, and rise and wax in one time. In the wilderness there be many men wonderly shapen. Some oft curse the sun bitterly in his rising and downgoing, and they behold the sun and curse him always: for his heat grieveth them full sore. And other as Trogodites dig them dens and caves, and dwell in them instead of houses; and they eat serpents, and all that may be got; their noise is more fearful in sounding than the voice of other. Others there be which like beasts live without wedding, and dwell with women without law, and such be called Garamantes. Others go naked, and be not occupied with travail, and they be called Graphasantes. There be other that be called Bennii, and it is said, they have no heads, but they have eyes fixed in their breasts. And there be Satyrs, and they have only shape of men, and have no manners of mankind. Also in Ethiopia be many other wonders, there be Ethiops, saith Plinius, among whom all four-footed beasts be brought forth without ears, and also elephants. Also there be some that have a hound for their king, and divine by his moving, and do as they will. And other have three or four eyes in their foreheads, as it is said, not that it is so in kind, but that it is feigned, for they use principally looking and sight of arrows. Also some of them hunt lions and panthers, and live by their flesh, and their king hath only one eye in his forehead. Other men of Ethiopia live only by honeysuckles dried in smoke, and in the sun, and these live not past forty years.
In the over Egypt be many divers deserts, in whom are many monstrous and wonderful beasts. There be Pards, Tigers, Satyrs, Cockatrices, and horrible adders and serpents. For in the ends of Egypt and of Ethiopia fast by the well where men suppose is the head of Nilus that runneth by Egypt, be bred wild beasts, that hight Cacothephas, the which beast is little of body, and uncrafty of members and slow, and hath a full heavy head. And therefore they bear it always downward toward the earth, and that by ordinance of kind for the salvation of mankind, for it is so wicked and so venomous, that no man may behold it right in the face, but he die anon without remedy.
Fraunce hight Francia and Gallia also, and had first that name Francia of men of Germany, who were called Franci: and hath the Rhine and Germayn in the east side, and in the north-east side the mountains Alpes Pennini: and in the south the province of Narbonne, in the north-west the British ocean, and in the north the island of Britain.... This land of France is a rank country, and plentiful of trees, of vines, of corn, and of fruits, and is noble by the affluence of rivers and fountains; through the borders of which land run two most noble rivers, that is to wit, Rhone and Rhine. Therein be noble quarries and stones both to build and to rear buildings and houses upon, and therein be special manner stones, and namely in the ground about Paris, that is most passing, namely in a manner stone that is hight Gypsum, that men of that country call Plaster in their language, for the ground is glassy and bright, and by mineral virtue turneth into stone; this manner stone burnt and tempered with water, turneth into cement, and so thereof is made edifices and vaults, walls and diverse pavements. And such cement laid in works waxeth hard anon again as it were stone; and in France be many noble and famous cities, but among all Paris beareth the prize; for as sometime the city of Athens, mother of liberal arts and of letters, nurse of philosophers, and well of all sciences, made it solemn in science and in conditions among Greeks, so doth Paris in this time, not only France, but also all the other deal of Europe. For as mother of wisdom she receiveth all that cometh out of every country of the world, and helpeth them in all that they need, and ruleth all peaceably, and as a servant of soothness, she sheweth herself detty to wise men and unwise. This city is full good and mighty of riches, it rejoiceth in peace: there is good air of rivers according to philosophers, there be fair fields, meads, and mountains to refresh and comfort the eyen of them that be weary in study, there be convenable streets and houses, namely for studiers. And nevertheless the city is sufficient to receive and to feed all others that come thereto, and passeth all other cities in these things, and in such other like.
Though this province be little in space, yet it is wealthful of many special things and good. For this land is plenteous and full of pasture, of cattle, and of beasts, royal and rich of the best towns, havens of the sea, and of famous rivers, and well nigh all about is moisted with Scaldelia. The men thereof be seemly and fair of body and strong, and they get many children. And they be rich of all manner merchandises and chaffer, and generally fair and seemly of face, mild of will, and fair of speech, sad of bearing, honest of clothing, peaceable to their own neighbours, true and trusty to strangers, passing witty in wool craft, by their crafty working a great part of the world is succoured and holpen in woollen clothes. For of the principal wool which they have out of England, with their subtle craft be made many noble cloths, and be sent by sea and also by land into many diverse countries.
The men of Germany call men of this land Frisons, and between them and the Germans is great difference in clothing and in manner. For wellnigh all men be shorn round; and the more noble they be, the more worship they account to be shorn the more high. And the men be high of body, strong of virtue, stern and fierce of heart, and swift and quiver of body. And they use iron spears instead of arrows.... The men be free, and not subject to lordship of other nations, and put them in peril of death by cause of freedom. And they had liefer die than be under the yoke of thraldom. Therefore they forsake dignity of knighthood, and suffer none to rise and to be greater among them under the title of knighthood; but they be subject to Judges that they chose of themselves from year to year, which rule the community among them. They love well chastity, and punish all the unchaste right grievously: And they keep their children chaste unto the time that they be of full age, and so when they be wedded, they get manly children and strong.
And, as it is said, some of the Indians till the earth, and some use chivalry, and some use merchandise and lead out chaffer; some rule and govern the community at best; and some be about the kings, and some be Justices and doomsmen, some give them principally to religions and to learning of wit and of wisdom. And as among all countries and lands India is the greatest and most rich: so among all lands India is most wonderful. For as Pliny saith, India aboundeth in wonders. In India be many huge beasts bred, and more greater hounds than in other lands. Also there be so high trees that men may not shoot to the top with an arrow, as it is said. And that maketh the plenty and fatness of the earth and temperateness of weather, of air, and of water. Fig trees spread there so broad, that many great companies of knights may sit at meat under the shadow of one tree. Also there be so great reeds and so long that every piece between two knots beareth sometime three men over the water. Also there be men of great stature, passing five cubits in height, and they never spit, nor have never headache nor toothache, nor sore eyes, nor they be not grieved with passing heat of the sun, but rather made more hard and sad therewith. Also their philosophers that they call Gymnosophists stand in most hot gravel from the morning till evening, and behold the sun without blemishing of their eyes. Also there, in some mountains be men with soles of the feet turned backwards, and the foot also with viii toes on one foot. Also there be some with hounds' heads, and be clothed in skins of wild beasts, and they bark as hounds, and speak none other wise: and they live by hunting and fowling: and they be armed with their nails and teeth, and be full many, about six score thousand as he saith. Also among some nations of India be women that bear never child but once, and the children wax whitehaired anon as they be born. There be satyrs and other men wondrously shapen. Also in the end of East India, about the rising of Ganges, be men without mouths, and they be clothed in moss and in rough hairy things, which they gather off trees, and live commonly by odour and smell at the nostrils. And they nother eat nother drink, but only smell odour of flowers and of wood apples, and live so, and they die anon in evil odour and smell. And other there be that live full long, and age never, but die as it were in middle age. Also some be hoar in youth, and black in age. Pliny rehearseth these wonders, and many other mo.
Yrlonde hight Hibernia, and is an island of the Ocean in Europe, and is nigh to the land of Britain, and is more narrow and straight than Britain, but it is more plenteous place.... In this land is much plenty of corn fields, of wells and of rivers, of fair meads and woods, of metal and of precious stones. For there is gendered a six cornered stone, that is to wit, Iris, that maketh a rainbow in the air, if it be set in the sun. And there is jet found, and white pearls. And concerning the wholesome air, Ireland is a good temperate country. There is little or none passing heat or cold; there be wonderful lakes, ponds, and wells. For there is a lake, in which if a staff or a pole of tree be pight, and tarrieth long time therein, the part that is in the earth turneth into iron, and the part that is in the water turneth into stone, and the part that is above the water, abideth still in its kind of tree. There is another lake in which in that thou throwest rods of hazel, it turneth those rods into ash: and ayenward if ye cast ashen rods therein, they turn into hazel. Therein be places in which dead carrions never rot: but abide there always uncorrupt. Also in Ireland is a little island, in which men die not, but when they be overcome with age, they be borne out of that island to die without. In Ireland is no serpent, no frogs, nor venomous addercop; but all the land is so contrary to venemous beasts that if the earth of that land be brought into another land, and spronge on the ground, it slayeth serpents and toads. Also venomous beasts flee Irish wool, skins, and fells. And if serpents or toads be brought into Ireland by shipping, they die anon.
Solinus speaketh of Ireland, and saith the inhabitants thereof be fierce, and lead an unhuman life. The people there use to harbour no guests, they be warriors, and drink men's blood that they slay, and wash first their faces therewith: right and unright they take for one.... Men of Ireland be singularly clothed and unseemly arrayed and scarcely fed, they be cruel of heart, fierce of cheer, angry of speech, and sharp. Nathless they be free hearted, and fair of speech and goodly to their own nation, and namely those men that dwell in woods, marshes, and mountains. These men be pleased with flesh, apples, and fruit for meat, and with milk for drink: and give them more to plays and to hunting, than to work and travail.
The land Scotia hath the name of Scots that dwell therein, and the same nation that was sometime first in Ireland, and all according thereto in tongue, in manners, and in kind. The men are light of heart, fierce, and courageous on their enemies. They love nigh as well death as thraldom, and they account it for sloth to die in bed, and a great worship and virtue to die in a field fighting against enemies. The men be of scarce living, and many suffer hunger long time, and eat selde tofore the sun going down, and use flesh, milk, meats, fish, and fruits more than Britons: and use to eat the less bread, and though the men be seemly enough of figure and of shape, and fair of face generally by kind, yet their own Scottish clothing disfigures them full much. And Scots be said in their own tongue of bodies painted, as it were cut and slit. For in old time they were marked with divers figures and shapes on their flesh and skin, made with iron pricks. And by cause of medlying with Englishmen, many of them have changed the old manners of Scots into better manners for the more part, but the wild Scots and Irish account great worship to follow their forefathers in clothing, in tongue, and in living, and in other manner doing. And despise somedeal the usages of other men in comparison to their own usage. And so each laboureth to be above, they detract and blame all other, and envy all other: they deride all other, and blame all other men's manners; they be not ashamed to lie, and they repute no man, of what nation, blood, or puissance so-ever he be, to be hardy and valiant, but themselves. They delight in their own; they love not peace. In that land is plenteous ground, merry woods, moist rivers and wells, many flocks of beasts. There be earth-tillers for quantity of the place enow.
Thanet is a little island of ocean, and is departed from Britain with a little arm of the sea, and hath wheat fields and noble grounds, and hath its name of death of serpents. For the earth of that land carried into any country of the world, slayeth serpents forthwith, as Isidore saith.
Finland is a country beside the mountains of Norway toward the east, and stretcheth upon the cliff of ocean: and is not full plenteous, but in wood, herbs, and grass. The men of that country be strange and somewhat wild and fierce: and they occupy themselves with witchcraft. And so to men that sail by their coasts, and also to men that abide with them for default of wind, they proffer wind to sailing, and so they sell wind. They use to make a clue of thread, and they make divers knots to be knit therein. And then they command to draw out of the clue unto three knots, or mo or less, as they will have the wind more soft or strong. And for their misbelief fiends move the air, and arise strong tempests or soft, as he draweth of the clue more or less knots. And sometimes they move the wind so strongly, that the wretches that believe in such doings, are drowned by rightful doom of God.
Iceland is the last region in Europe in the north beyond Norway. In the uttermost parts thereof it is always ice and frozen, and stretcheth upon the cliff of ocean toward the north, where the sea is frozen for great and strong cold. And Iceland hath the over Scythia in the east side, and Norway in the south, and the Irish ocean in the west, and the sea that is far in the north, and is called Iceland, as it were the land of ice and of glass. For it is said that there be mountains of snow froze as hard as ice or glass; there crystal is found. Also in that region are white bears most great and right fierce; that break ice and glass with their claws, and make many holes therein, and dive there-through into the sea, and take fish under the ice and glass, and draw them out through the same holes, and bring them to the cliff and live thereby. The land is barren, out-take a few places in the valleys, in the which places unneth grow oats. In the places that men dwell in, only grow herbs, grass, and trees. And in those places breed beasts, tame and wild. And so for the more part men of the land live by fish and by hunting of flesh. Sheep may not live there for cold. And therefore men of the land wear, for cold, fells and skins of bears and of wild beasts that they take with hunting. Other clothing may they not have, but it come of other lands. The men are full gross of body and strong and full white, and give them to fishing and hunting.
MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY—TREES
The seventeenth book of the "De Proprietatibus" deals with the properties of plants. The sources from which Bartholomew derives his information are Aristotle and Albertus Magnus' Gloss on the "De Vegetalibus," Albumazar, Pliny, Isaac on Foods, Hugo, and the Platearius. The text professes to deal with those trees and plants alone which are mentioned in the Gloss, but many others are incidentally mentioned, and we are thus enabled to learn the chief food-stuffs of our ancestors. The cereals of the time are wheat, barley, oats, and rye, just as at present; but the dinner-table of the day had neither turnip, cabbage, nor potato, and supplied their place with the parsnip, cole, and rape. Garlic, radishes, and lettuce were widely used, the former being valued in proportion to its power of overcoming any other odour. Flax seems to have been widely grown, and rushlights were then a luxury.
The subject of trees and plants does not so readily lend itself to fables as some other parts of natural history, but we refer the reader to the accounts of aloes, pepper, and mandragora as a specimen of the tales told, as our author says, "to make things dear, and of great price."
Aloes is a tree with good savour, and breedeth in India, and sometime a part thereof is set afire upon the altar in the stead of incense. It is found in the great river of Babylon, that joineth with a river of Paradise. Therefore many men trow that the aforesaid tree groweth among the trees of Paradise, and cometh out of Paradise by some hap or drift into [the] river of Ind. Men that dwell by that river take this tree out of the water by nets, and keep it to the use of medicine, for it is a good medicinal tree.
Of Cannel and of Cassia men told fables in old time, that it is found in birds' nests, and specially in the Phoenix' nest. And may not be found, but what falleth by its own weight, or is smitten down with lead arrows. But these men do feign, to make things dear and of great price; but as the sooth meaneth, cannel groweth among the Trogodites in the little Ethiopia, and cometh by long space of the sea in ships to the haven of Gelenites. No man hath leave to gather thereof tofore the sun-rising, nor after the sun going down. And when it is gathered, the priest by measure dealeth the branches and taketh thereof a part; and so by space of time, merchants buy that other deal.
Of this tree [Bays] speaketh the Master in History, and saith that Rebecca (Gen. xvii.) for trembling of nations she had seen in them that perished, laid a manner laurel tree that she called Tripodem under her head, and sat her upon boughs of an herb that hight Agnus Castus, for to use very revelations and sights and not fantasies.
The Emperor Tiberius Caesar in thundering and lightning used a garland of Laurel Tree on his head against dread of lightning, as it is said. Also Plinius telleth a wonder thing, that the emperor sat by Drusilla the empress in a certain garden, and an eagle threw from a right high place a wonder white hen into the empress' lap whole and sound, and the hen held in her bill a bough of laurel tree full of bays, and Diviners took heed to the hen, and sowed the bays, and kept them wisely, and of them came a wood, that was called Silva Triumphans, as it were the wood of worship for victory and mastery.
The green leaves thereof, that smell full well if they be stamped, heal stinging of bees and of wasps, and do away all swellings, and keep books and clothes there it is among from moths and other worms, and save them fro fretting and gnawing. The fruit of laurel trees are called bays, and are brown or red without, and white within and unctuous.
It is said that a hind taught first the virtue of diptannus, for she eateth this herb that she may calve easilier and sooner; and if she be hurt with an arrow, she seeketh this herb and eateth it, which putteth the iron out of the wound.
And ash hath so great virtue that serpents come not in shadow thereof in the morning nor at even. And if a serpent be set within a fire and ash leaves, he will flee into the fire sooner than into the leaves.
Beans be damned by Pythagoras' sentence, for it is said, that by oft use thereof the wits are dulled and cause many dreams. Or else as other men mean, for dead men's souls be therein. Therefore Varro saith that the bishop should not eat beans. And many medley beans with bread corn, to make the bread more heavy.
The stalk [of wheat] is called Stipula as ustipula, and hath that name of usta, burnt. For when it is gathered some of the straw is burnt to help and amend the land. And some is kept to fodder of beasts, and is called Palea: for it is first meat that is laid tofore beasts, namely in some countries as in Tuscany. As Pliny saith, if the seed be touched with tallow or grease it is spoilt and lost. Among the best wheat sometimes grow ill weeds and venomous, as cockle and other such, also there it is said, of corrupt dew that cleaveth to the leaves cometh corruption in corn, and maketh it as it were red or rusty. Among all manner corn, wheat beareth the prize, and to mankind nothing is more friendly, nothing more nourishing.
Flax groweth in even stalks, and bears yellow flowers or blue, and after cometh hops, and therein is the seed, and when the hop beginneth to wax, then the flax is drawn up and gathered all whole, and is then lined, and afterward made to knots and little bundles, and so laid in water, and lieth there long time. And then it is taken out of the water, and laid abroad till it be dried, and twined and wend in the sun, and then bound in pretty niches and bundles. And afterward knocked, beaten, and brayed, and carfled, rodded and gnodded, ribbed and heckled, and at the last spun. Then the thread is sod and bleached, and bucked, and oft laid to drying, wetted and washed, and sprinkled with water until that it be white, after divers working and travail.
Flax is needful to divers uses. For thereof is made clothing to wear, and sails to sail, and nets to fish and to hunt, and thread to sew, ropes to bind, and strings to shoot, bonds to bind, lines to mete and to measure, and sheets to rest in, and sacks, bags, and purses, to put and to keep things in. And so none herb is so needful, to so many divers uses to mankind, as is the flax.
Ryndes thereof [i.e. of Mandragora] sodden in wine cause sleep, and abate all manner of soreness, and so that time a man feeleth unneth though he be cut, but yet Mandragora must be warily used: for it slayeth if men take much thereof.... They that dig Mandragora be busy to beware of contrary winds while they dig, and make three circles about with a sword, and abide with the digging unto the sun going down, and trow so to have the herb with the chief virtues.
Papyrus is a manner rush, that is dried to kindle fire and lanterns, and hight the feeding of fire. And this herb is put to burn in prickets and in tapers. The rind is stripped off unto the pith, and is so dried, and a little is left of the rind on the one side, to sustain the tender pith; and the less is left of the rind, the more clear the pith burneth in a lamp, and is the sooner kindled. And about Memphis and in Ind be such great rushes, that they make boats thereof, as the Gloss saith. And Alexander's Story saith the same.
And of rushes are charters made, in the which were epistles written, and sent by messengers. Also of rushes be made paniers, boxes, and cases, and baskets to keep letters and other things in. And also they make thereof paper to write with.
Pepper is the seed or the fruit of a tree that groweth in the south side of the hill Caucasus, in the strong heat of the sun. And serpents keep the woods that pepper groweth in. And when the woods of pepper are ripe, men of that country set them on fire, and chase away the serpents by violence of fire. And by such burning the grain of pepper that was white by kind, is made black and rively.
Woods be wild places, waste and desolate, that many trees grow in without fruit, and also few having fruit. In these woods be oft wild beasts and fowls, therein grow herbs, grass leas, and pasture, and namely medicinal herbs in woods be found. In summer woods are beautied with boughs and branches, with herbs and grass. In woods is place of deceit and hunting. For therein wild beasts are hunted, and watches and deceits are ordained and set of hounds and of hunters. There is place of hiding and of lurking, for oft in woods thieves are hid, and oft in their awaits and deceits passing men come, and are spoiled and robbed, and oft slain. And so for many and divers ways and uncertain, strange men oft err and go out of the way, and take uncertain ways, and the way that is unknown tofore the way that is known, and come oft to the place there thieves lie in await, and not without peril. Therefore be oft knots made on trees and in bushes, in boughs and in branches of trees, in token and mark of the highway, to show the certain and sure way to wayfaring men; but oft the thieves in turning and meeting of ways, change such knots and signs, and beguile many men, and bring them out of the right way by false tokens and signs.
It hath many hard twigs and branches with knots, and therewith often children are chastised and beaten on the bare buttocks and loins. And of the boughs and branches thereof are besoms made to sweep and to clean houses of dust and of other uncleanness. Wild men of woods and forests use that seed in stead of bread. And this tree hath much sour juice, and somewhat biting. And men use therefore in springing time and in harvest to slit the rinds, and to gather the humour that cometh out thereof, and drink it in stead of wine.
Hards is the cleansing of hemp or of flax. For with much breaking, heckling, and rubbing, hards are departed fro the substance of hemp and of flax, and is great when it is departed, and more knotty, short, and rough. And is therefore not full able to be spun for thread thereof to be made, nathless thereof is thread spun that is full great, uneven, and full of knobs, and thereof are made bonds and bindings, and matches or candles; for it is full dry and taketh soon fire and burneth.
A board hight table, and is areared and set upon feet, and compassed with a list about. And, in another manner, table is a playing board, that men play on at the dice and other games; and this manner of table is double, and arrayed with divers colours. In the third manner it is a thin plank and plane, and therein are letters writ with colours, and sometimes small shingles are planed and made somedeal hollow in either side, and filled full of wax, black, green, or red, to write therein.
Boards and tables garnish houses, nathless when they be set in solar floors, they serve all men and beasts that are therein. Then they be dressed, hewed, and planed, and made convenable to use of ships, of bridges, of hulks, and coffers, and many other needful things of building. Also in shipbreach men flee to a board, and are oft saved in peril.
Roofs are trees areared and stretched fro the walls up to the top of the house, and bear up the covering thereof. And stand wide beneath, and come together upwards, and so they nigh nearer and nearer, and are joined either to other in the top of the house. It holdeth up heling, slates, shingle, and laths. The lath is long and somewhat broad, and plain and thin, and is nailed thwart over to the rafters, and thereon hang slates, tiles, and shingles. The rafters are strong and square, and hewn plain And are made fair within with fair joists and boards.
A vineyard is busily tilthed and kept, and purged and cleaned of superfluities, and oft visited and overseen of the earth tilthers and keepers of vines, that it be not apaired neither destroyed with beasts, and is closed about with walls and with hedges, and a wait is there set in a high place to keep the vineyard that the fruit be not destroyed. And is left in winter without keeper or waiter, but in harvest time many come and haunt the vineyard. In winter the vineyard is full pale, and waxeth green and bloometh in springing time and in summer, and smelleth full sweet, and is pleasant with fruit in harvest time. The smell of the vineyard that bloometh is contrary to all venomous things, and therefore when the vineyard bloometh, adders and serpents flee, and toads also, and may not sustain and suffer the noble savour thereof.
Foxes lurk and hide themselves under vine leaves, and gnaw covetously and fret the grapes of the vineyard, and namely when the keepers and wards be negligent and reckless, and it profiteth not that some unwise men do, that close within the vineyard hounds, that are adversaries to foxes. For few hounds, so closed, waste and destroy more grapes than many foxes should destroy that come and eat thereof thievishly. Therefore wise wardens of vineyards be full busy to keep, that no swine nor tame hounds nor foxes come in to the vineyard. From fretting and gnawing of flies and of other worms, a vineyard may not be kept nor saved, but by His succour and help that all thing hath and pursueth in His power and might, and keepeth and saveth all lordly and mighty.
The worthiness and praising of wine might not Bacchus himself describe at the full, though he were alive. For among all liquors and juice of trees, wine beareth the prize, for passing all liquors, wine moderately drunk most comforteth the body, and gladdeth the heart, and saveth wounds and evils. Wine strengtheneth all the members of the body, and giveth to each might and strength, and deed and working of the soul showeth and declareth the goodness of wine. And wine breedeth in the soul forgetting of anguish, of sorrow, and of woe, and suffereth not the soul to feel anguish and woe. Wine sharpeth the wit and maketh it cunning to enquire things that are hard and subtle, and maketh the soul bold and hardy, and so the passing nobility of wine is known. And use of wine accordeth to all men's ages and times and countries, if it be taken in due manner, and as his disposition asketh that drinketh it.
Red wine that is temperate in its qualities, and is drunk temperately and in due manner, helpeth kind and gendreth good blood, and maketh savour in meat and in drink, and exciteth desire and appetite, and comforteth the virtue of life and of kind, and helpeth the stomach to have appetite, and to have and to make good digestion. And quencheth thirst, and changeth the passions of the soul and thoughts out of evil into good. For it turneth the soul out of cruelness into mildness, out of covetousness into largeness, out of pride into meekness, and out of dread into boldness. And shortly to speak, wine drunk measurably is health of body and of soul.
And nothing is worse passing out of measure. And so Andronides, a clear man of wit and of wisdom, wrote to the great Alexander, to restrain wine kind in drinking, and said in this manner:—"King, have mind that thou drinkest blood of the earth, for wine drinking untemperately is to mankind heavy and venomous." And if Alexander had done by his counsel, truly he had not slain his own friend in drunkenness. If wine be often taken, anon by drunkenness it quencheth the sight of reason, and comforteth beastly madness, and so the body abideth as it were a ship in the sea without stern and without lodesman, and as chivalry without prince or duke.
MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY—BIRDS AND FISHES
In following out his plan of describing the productions of each element before considering the next in order, Bartholomew was led to consider air and its products early in his scheme. Accordingly his twelfth book is devoted to birds, and his thirteenth to the inhabitants of the waters. There is hardly any reason in these books for omitting any part more than another except space, but the editor hopes that those chosen will put the reader in possession of a key to the more common allusions in pre-Restoration literature.
When the editor spoke of the wholesale way in which our author is conveyed by Elizabethan poets, he had in mind this and the following chapters. A single example will show this. Let the reader compare the account of the peacock with the following stanza from Chester's "Love's Martyr":
"The proud sun-braving peacocke with his feathers, Walkes all along, thinking himself a king, And with his voice prognosticates all weathers, Although, God knows, but badly he doth sing; But when he looks downe to his base blacke feete, He droopes and is asham'd of things unmeet."
Our author's knowledge of birds is largely derived—the authentic from Aristotle; the legendary from the Fathers, Ambrose, Austin, Basil, and Gregory,—the Gloss,—and from Pliny. Some of these legends seem to be pointed at in the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus Ps. ciii. 5, "Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's," either gave rise to, or refers to, the tradition quoted in our account of the eagle: and likewise Job xxxviii. 41, and Ps. cxlvii. 9, seem to be responsible for the tradition in the account of the raven. It would be interesting to learn whether any independent traditions of this nature exist.
It is worth pointing out that our author has contributed to the "Gesta Romanorum" several stories. The "wild tale," as Warton calls it, of the elephant and the maidens, as well as the story of "the storke wreker of avouterie" mentioned by Chaucer in the "Assemblie of Foules," and derived from Neckham, and the similar tale of the lioness, obtained their wide circulation through the popularity of Bartholomew's book. It would be an interesting task to trace these tales to their origin, but this is neither the place nor the time to do so; and the editor similarly leaves to lovers of Shakespeare the pleasure of proving to themselves his intimate acquaintance with the book.
In the part of the chapter quoted from the thirteenth book, the editor has tried to get together some of those stories which impressed people's minds most. Such a one is the tale of the remora. We remember Jonson's use of it in the "Poetaster":
"Death, I am seized here By a land remora; I cannot stir Nor move, but as he pleases."
Other tales remind us of Olaus Magnus, and some of them are plainly Eastern.
Now it pertaineth to speak of birds and fowls, and in particular and first of the eagle, which hath principality among fowls. Among all manner kinds of divers fowls, the eagle is the more liberal and free of heart. For the prey that she taketh, but it be for great hunger, she eateth not alone, but putteth it forth in common to fowls that follow her. But first she taketh her own portion and part. And therefore oft other fowls follow the eagle for hope and trust to have some part of her prey. But when the prey that is taken is not sufficient to herself, then as a king that taketh heed to a community, she taketh the bird that is next to her, and giveth it among the others, and serveth them therewith.
Austin saith, and Plinius also, that in age the eagle hath darkness and dimness in eyen, and heaviness in wings. And against this disadvantage she is taught by kind to seek a well of springing water, and then she flieth up into the air as far as she may, till she be full hot by heat of the air, and by travail of flight, and so then by heat the pores are opened and the feathers chafed, and she falleth suddenly in to the well, and there the feathers are changed, and the dimness of her eyes is wiped away and purged, and she taketh again her might and strength.
The eagle's feathers done and set among feathers of wings of other birds corrupteth and fretteth them. As strings made of wolf-gut done and put into a lute or in an harp among strings made of sheep-gut do destroy, and fret, and corrupt the strings made of sheep-gut, if it so be that they be set among them, as in a lute or in an harp, as Pliny saith.
Among all fowls, in the eagle the virtue of sight is most mighty and strong. For in the eagle the spirit of sight is most temperate and most sharp in act and deed of seeing and beholding the sun in the roundness of its circle without blemishing of eyen. And the sharpness of her sight is not rebounded again with clearness of light of the sun, nother disperpled. There is one manner eagle that is full sharp of sight, and she taketh her own birds in her claws, and maketh them to look even on the sun, and that ere their wings be full grown, and except they look stiffly and steadfastly against the sun, she beateth them, and setteth them even tofore the sun. And if any eye of any of her birds watereth in looking on the sun she slayeth him, as though he went out of kind, or else driveth him out of the nest and despiseth him, and setteth not by him.
The goshawk is a royal fowl, and is armed more with boldness than with claws, and as much as kind taketh from her in quantity of body, it rewardeth her with boldness of heart. And two kinds there be of such fowls, for some are tame and some are wild. And she that is tame taketh wild fowls and taketh them to her own lord, and she that is wild taketh tame fowls. And this hawk is of a disdainful kind. For if she fail by any hap of the prey that she reseth to, that day unneth she cometh unto her lord's hand. And she must have ordinate diet, nother too scarce, ne too full. For by too much meat she waxeth ramaious or slow, and disdaineth to come to reclaim. And if the meat be too scarce then she faileth, and is feeble and unmighty to take her prey. Also the eyen of such birds should oft be seled and closed, or hid, that she bate not too oft from his hand that beareth her, when she seeth a bird that she desireth to take; and also her legs must be fastened with gesses, that she shall not fly freely to every bird. And they be borne on the left hand, that they may somewhat take of the right hand, and be fed therewith.
And so such tame hawks be kept in mews, that they may be discharged of old feathers and hard, and be so renewed in fairness of youth. Also men give them meat of some manner of flesh, which is some-deal venomous, that they may the sooner change their feathers. And smoke grieveth such hawks and doth them harm. And therefore their mews must be far from smoky places, that their bodies be not grieved with bitterness of smoke, nor their feathers infect with blackness of smoke. They should be fed with fresh flesh and bloody, and men should use to give them to eat the hearts of fowls that they take. All the while they are alive and are strong and mighty to take their prey, they are beloved of their lords, and borne on hands, and set on perches, and stroked on the breast and on the tail, and made plain and smooth, and are nourished with great business and diligence. But when they are dead, all men hold them unprofitable and nothing worth, and be not eaten, but rather thrown out on dunghills.
The properties of bees are wonderful noble and worthy. For bees have one common kind as children, and dwell in one habitation, and are closed within one gate: one travail is common to them all, one meat is common to them all, one common working, one common use, one fruit and flight is common to them all, and one generation is common to them all.
Also maidenhood of body without wem is common to them all, and so is birth also. For they are not medlied with service of Venus, nother resolved with lechery, nother bruised with sorrow of birth of children. And yet they bring forth most swarms of children.
Bees make among them a king, and ordain among them common people. And though they be put and set under a king, yet they are free and love their king that they make, by kind love, and defend him with full great defence, and hold [it] honour and worship to perish and be spilt for their king, and do their king so great worship that none of them dare go out of their house, nor to get meat, but if the king pass out and take the principality of flight. And bees chose to their king him that is most worthy and noble in highness and fairness, and most clear in mildness, for that is chief virtue in a king. For though their king have a sting yet he useth it not in wreck. And also bees that are unobedient to the king, they deem themselves by their own doom for to die by the wound of their own sting. And of a swarm of bees is none idle. Some fight, as it were in battle, in the field against other bees, some are busy about meat, and some watch the coming of showers. And some behold concourse and meting of dues, and some make wax of flowers, and some make cells now round, now square with wonder binding and joining, and evenness. And yet nevertheless, among so diverse works none of them doth espy nor wait to take out of other's travail, neither taketh wrongfully, neither stealeth meat, but each seeketh and gathereth by his own flight and travail among herbs and flowers that are good and convenable.
Bees sit not on fruit but on flowers, not withered but fresh and new, and gather matter of the which they make both honey and wax. And when the flowers that are nigh unto them be spent, then they send spies for to espy meat in further places. And if the night falleth upon them in their journey, then they lie upright to defend their wings from rain, and from dew, that they may in the morrow tide fly the more swifter to their work with their wings dry and able to fly. And they ordain watches after the manner of castles, and rest all night until it be day, till one bee wake them all with twice buzzing or thrice, or with some manner trumping; then they fly all, if the day be fair on the morrow. And the bees that bring and bear what is needful, dread blasts of wind, and fly therefore low by the ground when they be charged, lest they be letted with some manner of blasts, and charge themselves sometimes with gravel or with small stones, that they may be the more stedfast against blasts of wind by heaviness of the stones.
The obedience of bees is wonderful about the king, for when he passeth forth, all the swarm in one cluster passeth with him. And he is beclipped about with the swarm, as it were with an host of knights. And is then unneth seen that time for the multitude that followeth and serveth him, and when the people of bees are in travail, he is within, and as it were governor, and goeth about to comfort others for to work. And only he is not bound to travail. And all about him are certain bees with stings, as it were champions, and continual wardens of the king's body. And he passeth selde out, but when all the swarm shall go out. His outgoing is known certain days tofore by voice of the host, as it were arraying itself to pass out with the king.
The culvour is messager of peace, ensample of simpleness, clean of kind, plenteous in children, follower of meekness, friend of company, forgetter of wrongs. The culvour is forgetful. And therefore when the birds are borne away, she forgetteth her harm and damage, and leaveth not therefore to build and breed in the same place. Also she is nicely curious. For sitting on a tree, she beholdeth and looketh all about toward what part she will fly, and bendeth her neck all about as it were taking avisement. But oft while she taketh avisement of flight, ere she taketh her flight, an arrow flieth through her body, and therefore she faileth of her purpose, as Gregory saith.
Also as Ambrose saith, in Egypt and in Syria a culvour is taught to bear letters, and to be messager out of one province into another. For it loveth kindly the place and the dwelling where it was first fed and nourished. And be it never so far borne into far countries, always it will return home again, if it be restored to freedom. And oft to such a culvour a letter is craftily bound under the one wing, and then it is let go. Then it flieth up into the air, and ceaseth never till it come to the first place in which it was bred. And sometimes in the way enemies know thereof, and let it with an arrow, and so for the letters that it beareth, it is wounded and slain, and so it beareth no letter without peril. For oft the letter that is so borne is cause and occasion of the death of it.
The crow is a bird of long life, and diviners tell that she taketh heed of spyings and awaitings, and teacheth and sheweth ways, and warneth what shall fall. But it is full unlawful to believe, that God sheweth His privy counsel to crows. It is said that crows rule and lead storks, and come about them as it were in routs, and fly about the storks and defend them, and fight against other birds and fowls that hate storks. And take upon them the battle of other birds, upon their own peril. And an open proof thereof is: for in that time, that the storks pass out of the country, crows are not seen in places there they were wont to be. And also for they come again with sore wounds, and with voice of blood, that is well known, and with other signs and tokens and show that they have been in strong fighting. Also there it is said, that the mildness of the bird is wonderful. For when father and mother in age are both naked and bare of covering of feathers, then the young crows hide and cover them with their feathers, and gather meat and feed them.
The raven beholdeth the mouths of her birds when they yawn. But she giveth them no meat ere she know and see the likeness of her own blackness, and of her own colour and feathers. And when they begin to wax black, then afterward she feedeth them with all her might and strength. It is said that ravens' birds are fed with dew of heaven all the time that they have no black feathers by benefit of age. Among fowls, only the raven hath four and sixty changings of voice.
The swan feigneth sweetness of sweet songs with accord of voice, and he singeth sweetly for he hath a long neck diversely bent to make divers notes. And it is said that, in the countries that are called Hyperborean, the harpers harping before, the swans' birds fly out of their nests and sing full merrily. Shipmen trow that it tokeneth good if they meet swans in peril of shipwreck. Always the swan is the most merriest bird in divinations. Shipmen desire this bird for he dippeth not down in the waves. When the swan is in love he seeketh the female, and pleaseth her with beclipping of the neck, and draweth her to him- ward; and he joineth his neck to the female's neck, as it were binding the necks together.
Phoenix is a bird, and there is but one of that kind in all the wide world. Therefore lewd men wonder thereof, and among the Arabs, there this bird is bred, he is called singular—alone. The philosopher speaketh of this bird and saith that phoenix is a bird without make, and liveth three hundred or five hundred years: when the which years are past, and he feeleth his own default and feebleness, he maketh a nest of right sweet-smelling sticks, that are full dry, and in summer when the western wind blows, the sticks and the nest are set on fire with burning heat of the sun, and burn strongly. Then this bird phoenix cometh willfully into the burning nest, and is there burnt to ashes among these burning sticks, and within three days a little worm is gendered of the ashes, and waxeth little and little, and taketh feathers and is shapen and turned to a bird. Ambrose saith the same in the Hexameron: Of the humours or ashes of phoenix ariseth a new bird and waxeth, and in space of time he is clothed with feathers and wings and restored into the kind of a bird, and is the most fairest bird that is, most like to the peacock in feathers, and loveth the wilderness, and gathereth his meat of clean grains and fruits. Alan speaketh of this bird and saith, that when the highest bishop Onyas builded a temple in the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, to the likeness of the temple in Jerusalem, on the first day of Easter, when he had gathered much sweet-smelling wood, and set it on fire upon the altar to offer sacrifice, to all men's sight such a bird came suddenly, and fell into the middle of the fire, and was burnt anon to ashes in the fire of the sacrifice, and the ashes abode there, and were busily kept and saved by the commandments of the priests, and within three days, of these ashes was bred a little worm, that took the shape of a bird at the last, and flew into the wilderness.
The crane is a bird of great wings and strong flight, and flieth high into the air to see the countries towards the which he will draw. And is a bird that loveth birds of his own kind, and they living in company together have a king among them and fly in order. And the leader of the company compelleth the company to fly aright, crying as it were blaming with his voice. And if it hap that he wax hoarse, then another crane cometh after him, and taketh the same office. And after they fall to the earth crying, for to rest, and when they sit on the ground, to keep and save them, they ordain watches that they may rest the more surely, and the wakers stand upon one foot, and each of them holdeth a little stone in the other foot, high from the earth, that they may be waked by falling of the stone, if it hap that they sleep.
A griffin is accounted among flying things (Deut. xiiii.) and there the Gloss saith, that the griffin is four-footed, and like to the eagle in head and in wings, and is like to the lion in the other parts of the body. And dwelleth in those hills that are called Hyperborean, and are most enemies to horses and men, and grieveth them most, and layeth in his nest a stone that hight Smaragdus against venomous beasts of the mountain.
A pelican is a bird of Egypt, and dwelleth in deserts beside the river Nile. All that the pelican eateth, he plungeth in water with his foot, and when he hath so plunged it in water, he putteth it into his mouth with his own foot, as it were with an hand. Only the pelican and the popinjay among fowls use the foot instead of an hand.
The pelican loveth too much her children. For when the children be haught, and begin to wax hoar, they smite the father and the mother in the face, wherefore the mother smiteth them again and slayeth them. And the third day, the mother smiteth herself in her side, that the blood runneth out, and sheddeth that hot blood on the bodies of her children. And by virtue of that blood, the birds that were before dead quicken again.
Master Jacobus de Vitriaco in his book of the wonders of the Eastern parts telleth another cause of the death of pelicans' birds. He saith that the serpent hateth kindly this bird. Wherefore when the mother passeth out of the nest to get meat, the serpent climbeth on the tree, and stingeth and infecteth the birds. And when the mother cometh again, she maketh sorrow three days for her birds, as it is said. Then (he saith) she smiteth herself in the breast and springeth blood upon them, and reareth them from death to life, and then for great bleeding the mother waxeth feeble, and the birds are compelled to pass out of the nest to get themselves meat. And some of them for kind love feed the mother that is feeble, and some are unkind and care not for the mother, and the mother taketh good heed thereto, and when she cometh to her strength, she nourisheth and loveth those birds that fed her in her need, and putteth away her other birds, as unworthy and unkind, and suffereth them not to dwell nor live with her.
The peacock hath an unsteadfast and evil shapen head, as it were the head of a serpent, and with a crest. And he hath a simple pace, and small neck and areared, and a blue breast, and a tail full of eyes distinguished and high with wonder fairness, and he hath foulest feet and rivelled. And he wondereth of the fairness of his feathers, and areareth them up as it were a circle about his head, and then he looketh to his feet, and seeth the foulness of his feet, and like as he were ashamed he letteth his feathers fall suddenly, and all the tail downward, as though he took no heed of the fairness of his feathers. And as one saith, he hath the voice of a fiend, head of a serpent, pace of a thief. For he hath an horrible voice.
In this bird [the vulture] the wit of smelling is best. And therefore by smelling he savoureth carrions that be far from him, that is beyond the sea, and ayenward. Therefore the vulture followeth the host that he may feed himself with carrions of men and of horses. And therefore (as a Diviner saith), when many vultures come and fly together, it tokeneth battle. And they know that such a battle shall be, by some privy wit of kind. He eateth raw flesh, and therefore he fighteth against other fowls because of meat, and he hunteth fro midday to night, and resteth still fro the sunrising to that time. And when he ageth, his over bill waxeth long and crooked over the nether, and [he] dieth at the last for hunger.
And some men say, by error of old time, that the vulture was sometime a man, and was cruel to some pilgrims, and therefore he hath such pain of his bill, and dieth for hunger, but that is not lawful to believe.
Jorath saith, that there is a great fish in the sea, that hight Bellua, that casteth out water at his jaws with vapour of good smell, and other fish feel the smell and follow him, and enter and come in at his jaws following the smell, and he swalloweth them and is so fed with them. Also he saith that Dolphins know by the smell if a dead man, that is on the sea, ate ever of Dolphin's kind; and if the dead man hath eat thereof, he eateth him anon; and if he did not, he keepeth and defendeth him fro eating and biting of other fish, and shoveth him, and bringeth him to the cliff with his own working?
Enchirius is a little fish unneth half a foot long: for though he be full little of body, nathless he is most of virtue. For he cleaveth to the ship, and holdeth it still stedfastly in the sea, as though the ship were on ground therein. Though winds blow, and waves arise strongly, and wood storms, that ship may not move nother pass. And that fish holdeth not still the ship by no craft, but only cleaving to the ship. It is said of the same fish that when he knoweth and feeleth that tempests of wind and weather be great, he cometh and taketh a great stone, and holdeth him fast thereby, as it were by an anchor, lest he be smitten away and thrown about by waves of the sea. And shipmen see this and beware that they be not overset unwarily with tempest and with storms.
The crab is enemy to the oyster. For he liveth by fish thereof with a wonderful wit. For because that he may not open the hard shell of the oyster, he spieth and awaiteth when the oyster openeth, and then the crab, that lieth in await, taketh a little stone, and putteth it between the shells, that the oyster may not close himself. And when the closing is so let, the crab eateth and gnaweth the flesh of the oyster.
It is said that the whale hath great plenty of sperm, and after that he gendereth, superfluity thereof fleeteth above the water; and if it be gathered and dried it turneth to the substance of amber. And in age, for greatness of body, on his ridge powder and earth is gathered, and so digged together that herbs and small trees and bushes grow thereon, so that that great fish seemeth an island. And if shipmen come unwarily thereby, unneth they scape without peril. For he throweth as much water out of his mouth upon the ship, that he overturneth it sometime or drowneth it.
Also he is so fat that when he is smitten with fishers' darts he feeleth not the wound, but it passeth throughout the fatness. But when the inner fish is wounded, then is he most easily taken. For he may not suffer the bitterness of the salt water, and therefore he draweth to the shoreward. And also he is so huge in quantity, that when he is taken, all the country is better for the taking. Also he loveth his whelps with a wonder love, and leadeth them about in the sea long time. And if it happeth that his whelps be let with heaps of gravel, and by default of water, he taketh much water in his mouth, and throweth upon them, and delivereth them in that wise out of peril, and bringeth them again into the deep sea. And for to defend them he putteth himself against all things that he meeteth if it be noyful to them, and setteth them always between himself and the sun on the more secure side. And when strong tempest ariseth, while his whelps are tender and young, he swalloweth them up into his own womb. And when the tempest is gone and fair weather come, then he casteth them up whole and sound.
Also Jorath saith, that against the whale fighteth a fish of serpent's kind, and is venomous as a crocodile. And then other fish come to the whale's tail, and if the whale be overcome the other fish die. And if the venomous fish may not overcome the whale, then he throweth out of his jaws the whale throweth out of his mouth a sweet smelling smoke, and putteth off the stinking smell, and defendeth and saveth himself and his in that manner wise.
MEDIAEVAL NATURAL HISTORY—ANIMALS
The eighteenth book of the "De Proprietatibus" is devoted to the properties of animals. It is composed of selections from Pliny and Aristotle, from the works of the mediaeval physicians and romancers, from Magister Jacobus de Vitriaco, from the "Historia Alexandri Magni de Proeliis," from Physiologus and the Bestiarium.
The editor has been obliged to reduce some of these extracts to make room for others. Among these the reader will find many examples of those legends, which made up the popular Natural History of early days, originally imported from the East through Spain and Italy. The memory of these survives even now in our popular locutions. "Licked into shape" refers to the tale we give in our account of the bear. The royal nature of the lion is a commonplace: Jonson and Spenser speak of the sweet breath of the panther. Drayton, in his "Heroical Epistles," quotes the siren and the hyena as examples:
"To call for aid, and then to lie in wait, So the hyena murthers by deceit, By sweet enticement sudden death to bring, So from the rocks th' alluring mermaids sing."
Trevisa has invented an adjective for us that expresses the midnight caterwaul—"ghastful." Bartholomew probably suffered from those two minor curses of humanity—the amorous cat and the wandering cur. But he has preserved for us a noble eulogy of the dog, and has a reference to the tale of the dog of Montargis, the standing example of canine fidelity among a chivalrous folk.
It is said, that in India is a beast wonderly shapen, and is like to the bear in body and in hair, and to a man in face. And hath a right red head, and a full great mouth, and an horrible, and in either jaw three rows of teeth distinguished atween. The outer limbs thereof be as it were the outer limbs of a lion, and his tail is like to a wild scorpion, with a sting, and smiteth with hard bristle pricks as a wild swine, and hath an horrible voice, as the voice of a trumpet, and he runneth full swiftly, and eateth men. And among all beasts of the earth is none found more cruel, nor more wonderly shape, as Avicenna saith. And this beast is called Baricos in Greek.
The boar is so fierce a beast, and also so cruel, that for his fierceness and his cruelness, he despiseth and setteth nought by death, and he reseth full piteously against the point of a spear of the hunter. And though it be so that he be smitten or sticked with a spear through the body, yet for the greater ire and cruelness in heart that he hath, he reseth on his enemy, and taketh comfort and heart and strength for to wreak himself on his adversary with his tusks, and putteth himself in peril of death with a wonder fierceness against the weapon of his enemy, and hath in his mouth two crooked tusks right strong and sharp, and breaketh and rendeth cruelly with them those which he withstandeth. And useth the tusks instead of a sword. And hath a hard shield, broad and thick in the right side, and putteth that always against his weapon that pursueth him, and useth that brawn instead of a shield to defend himself. And when he spieth peril that should befall, he whetteth his tusks and frotteth them, and assayeth in that while fretting against trees, if the points of his tusks be all blunt. And if he feel that they be blunt, he seeketh a herb which is called Origanum, and gnaweth it and cheweth it, and cleanseth and comforteth the roots of his teeth therewith by vertue thereof.
The ass is fair of shape and of disposition while he is young and tender, or he pass into age. For the elder the ass is, the fouler he waxeth from day to day, and hairy and rough, and is a melancholy beast, that is cold and dry, and is therefore kindly heavy and slow, and unlusty, dull and witless and forgetful. Nathless he beareth burdens, and may away with travail and thraldom, and useth vile meat and little, and gathereth his meat among briars and thorns and thistles.... And the ass hath another wretched condition known to nigh all men. For he is put to travail over-night, and is beaten with staves, and sticked and pricked with pricks, and his mouth is wrung with a bernacle, and is led hither and thither, and withdrawn from leas and pasture that is in his way oft by the refraining of the bernacle, and dieth at last after vain travails, and hath no reward after his death for the service and travail that he had living, not so much that his own skin is left with him, but it is taken away, and the carrion is thrown out without sepulture or burials; but it be so much of the carrion that by eating and devouring is sometimes buried in the wombs of hounds and wolves.
And such [adders] lie in await for them that sleep: and if they find the mouth open of them or of other beasts, then they creep in: for they love heat and humour that they find here. But against such adders a little beast fighteth that hight Saura, as it were a little ewt, and some men mean that it is a lizard; for when this beast is aware that this serpent is present, then he leapeth upon his face that sleepeth, and scratcheth with his feet to wake him, and to warn him of the serpent. And when this little beast waxeth old, his eyen wax blind, and then he goeth into an hole of a wall against the east, and openeth his eyen afterward when the sun is risen, and then his eyen heat and take light.
This slaying adder and venomous hath wit to love and affection, and loveth his mate as it were by love of wedlock, and liveth not well without company. Therefore if the one is slain, the other pursueth him that slew that other with so busy wreak and vengeance, that passeth weening. And knoweth the slayer, and reseth on him, be he in never so great company of men and of people, and busieth to slay him, and passeth all difficulties and spaces of ways, and with wreak of the said death of his mate. And is not let, ne put off, but it be by swift flight, or by waters or rivers. Marcianus saith that the asp grieveth not men of Africa or Moors; for they take their children that they have suspect, and put them to these adders: and if the children be of their kind, this adder grieveth them not, and if they be of other kind, anon they die by venom of the adder.
An oxherd hight Bubulcus, and is ordained by office to keep oxen: He feedeth and nourisheth oxen, and bringeth them to leas and home again: and bindeth their feet with a langhaldes and spanells and nigheth and cloggeth them while they be in pasture and leas, and yoketh and maketh them draw at the plough: and pricketh the slow with a goad, and maketh them draw even. And pleaseth them with whistling and with song, to make them bear the yoke with the better will for liking of melody of the voice. And this herd driveth and ruleth them to draw even, and teacheth them to make even furrows: and compelleth them not only to ear, but also to tread and to thresh. And they lead them about upon corn to break the straw in threshing and treading the flour. And when the travail is done, then they unyoke them and bring them to the stall: and tie them to the stall, and feed them thereat.
The cockatrice hight Basiliscus in Greek, and Regulus in Latin; and hath that name Regulus of a little king, for he is king of serpents, and they be afraid, and flee when they see him. For he slayeth them with his smell and with his breath: and slayeth also anything that hath life with breath and with sight. In his sight no fowl nor bird passeth harmless, and though he be far from the fowl, yet it is burned and devoured by his mouth. But he is overcome of the weasel; and men bring the weasel to the cockatrice's den, where he lurketh and is hid. For the father and maker of everything left nothing without remedy. Among the Hisperies and Ethiopians is a well, that many men trow is the head of Nile, and there beside is a wild beast that hight Catoblefas, and hath a little body, and nice in all members, and a great head hanging always toward the earth, and else it were great noying to mankind. For all that see his eyen, should die anon, and the same kind hath the cockatrice, and the serpent that is bred in the province of Sirena; and hath a body in length and in breadth as the cockatrice, and a tail of twelve inches long, and hath a speck in his head as a precious stone, and feareth away all serpents with hissing. And he presseth not his body with much bowing, but his course of way is forthright, and goeth in mean. He drieth and burneth leaves and herbs, not only with touch but also by hissing and blast he rotteth and corrupteth all things about him. And he is of so great venom and perilous, that he slayeth and wasteth him that nigheth him by the length of a spear, without tarrying; and yet the weasel taketh and overcometh him, for the biting of the weasel is death to the cockatrice. And nevertheless the biting of the cockatrice is death to the weasel. And that is sooth, but if the weasel eat rue before. And though the cockatrice be venomous without remedy, while he is alive, yet he loseth all the malice when he is burnt to ashes. His ashes be accounted good and profitable in working of Alchemy, and namely in turning and changing of metals.
Nothing is more busy and wittier than a hound, for he hath more wit than other beasts. And hounds know their own names, and love their masters, and defend the houses of their masters, and put themselves wilfully in peril of death for their masters, and run to take prey for their masters, and forsake not the dead bodies of their masters. We have known that hounds fought for their lords against thieves, and were sore wounded, and that they kept away beasts and fowls from their masters' bodies dead. And that a hound compelled the slayer of his master with barking and biting to acknowledge his trespass and guilt. Also we read that Garamantus the king came out of exile, and brought with him two hundred hounds, and fought against his enemies with wondrous hardiness.
Other hounds flee and avoid the wood hound as pestilence and venom: and he is always exiled as it were an outlaw, and goeth alone wagging and rolling as a drunken beast, and runneth yawning, and his tongue hangeth out, and his mouth drivelleth and foameth, and his eyes be overturned and reared, and his ears lie backward, and his tail is wrinkled by the legs and thighs; and though his eyes be open, yet he stumbleth and spurneth against every thing. And barketh at his own shadow.... Pliny saith that under the hound's tongue lieth a worm that maketh the hound wood, and if this worm is taken out of the tongue, then the evil ceaseth.... Also an hound is wrathful and malicious, so that for to awreak himself, he biteth oft the stone that is thrown to him: and biteth the stone with great woodness, that he breaketh his own teeth, and grieveth not the stone, but his own teeth full sore. Also he is guileful and deceivable, and so oft he fickleth and fawneth with his tail on men that pass by the way, as though he were a friend, and biteth them sore if they take none heed backward. And the hound hateth stones and rods, and is bold and hardy among them that he knoweth, and busieth to bite and to fear all other, and is not bold when he passeth among strangers. Also the hound is envious, and gathereth herbs privily, and is right sorry if any man know the virtue of those herbs, as is also evil apaid if any strange hounds and unknown come into the place where he dwelleth; and dreadeth lest he should fare the worse for the other hound's presence, and fighteth with him therefore. Also he is covetous and scarce, and busy to lay up and to hide the relief that he leaveth. And therefore he commoneth not, nor giveth flesh and marrow-bones that he may not devour to other hounds: but layeth them up busily, and hideth them until he hungereth again.... And at the last the hound is violently drawn out of the dunghill with a rope or with a whip bound about his neck, and is drowned in the river, or in some other water, and so he endeth his wretched life. And his skin is not taken off, nor his flesh is not eaten or buried, but left finally to flies, and to other divers worms.
In Pontus is a manner kind of beasts, that dwelleth now in land and now in water, and maketh houses and dens arrayed with wonder craft in the brinks of rivers and of waters. For these beasts live together in flocks, and love beasts of the same kind, and come together and cut rods and sticks with their teeth, and bring them home to their dens in a wonder wise, for they lay one of them upright on the ground, instead of a sled or of a dray, with his legs and feet reared upward, and lay and load the sticks and wood between his legs and thighs, and draw him home to their dens, and unlade and discharge him there, and make their dwelling places right strong by great subtlety of craft. In their houses be two chambers or three distinguished, as it were three cellars, and they dwell in the over place when the water ariseth, and in the nether when the water is away, and each of them hath a certain hole properly made in the cellar, by the which hole he putteth out his tail in the water, for the tail is of fishy kind, it may not without water be long kept without corruption.
If the crocodile findeth a man by the brim of the water, or by the cliff, he slayeth him if he may, and then he weepeth upon him, and swalloweth him at the last.
The Dragon is most greatest of all serpents, and oft he is drawn out of his den, and riseth up into the air, and the air is moved by him, and also the sea swelleth against his venom, and he hath a crest with a little mouth, and draweth breath at small pipes and straight, and reareth his tongue, and hath teeth like a saw, and hath strength, and not only in teeth, but also in his tail, and grieveth both with biting and with stinging, and hath not so much venom as other serpents: for to the end to slay anything, to him venom is not needful, for whom he findeth he slayeth, and the elephant is not secure of him, for all his greatness of body. Oft four or five of them fasten their tails together, and rear up their heads, and sail over sea and over rivers to get good meat. Between elephants and dragons is everlasting fighting, for the dragon with his tail bindeth and spanneth the elephant, and the elephant with his foot and with his nose throweth down the dragon, and the dragon bindeth and spanneth the elephant's legs, and maketh him fall, but the dragon buyeth it full sore: for while he slayeth the elephant, the elephant falleth upon him and slayeth him. Also the elephant seeing the dragon upon a tree, busieth him to break the tree to smite the dragon, and the dragon leapeth upon the elephant, and busieth him to bite him between the nostrils, and assaileth the elephant's eyen, and maketh him blind sometime, and leapeth upon him sometime behind, and biteth him and sucketh his blood. And at the last after long fighting the elephant waxeth feeble for great blindness, in so much that he falleth upon the dragon, and slayeth in his dying the dragon that him slayeth. The cause why the dragon desireth his blood, is coldness of the elephant's blood, by the which the dragon desireth to cool himself. Jerome saith, that the dragon is a full thirsty beast, insomuch that unneth he may have water enough to quench his great thirst; and openeth his mouth therefore against the wind, to quench the burning of his thirst in that wise. Therefore when he seeth ships sail in the sea in great wind, he flieth against the sail to take their cold wind, and overthroweth the ship sometimes for greatness of body, and strong rese against the sail. And when the shipmen see the dragon come nigh, and know his coming by the water that swelleth ayenge him, they strike the sail anon, and scape in that wise.