Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

reported and written of them, and of the several creatures that be bred and live in them, and those by authors of so good credit that we need not to deny them an historical faith.

As, namely, of a river in Epirus that puts out any lighted torch, and kindles any torch that was not lighted. Some waters being drunk, cause madness, some drunkenness, and some laughter to death. The river Selarus in a few hours turns a rod or wand to stone : and our Camden mentions the like in England, and the like in Lochmere in Ireland. There is also a river in Arabia, of which all the sheep that drink thereof have their wool turned into a vermilion colour. And one of no less credit than Aristotle * tells us of a merry river, the river Elusina, that dances at the noise of music, for with music it bubbles, dances, and grows sandy, and so continues till the music ceases, but then it presently returns to its wonted calmness and clearness. And Camden tells us of a well near to Kirby, in Westmoreland, that ebbs and flows several times every day : and he tells us of a river in Surrey, it is called Mole, that after it has run several miles, being opposed by hills, finds or makes itself a way under ground,t and breaks out again so far off that the inhabitants thereabout boast, as the Spaniards do of their river Anus, that they feed divers flocks of sheep upon a bridge. And lastly, for I would not tire your patience, one of no less authority than Josephus, that learned

* "In his Wonders of Nature. This is confirmed by Ennius, and Solon in his Holy History."—Note to the first edition.

† Defoe in his Tour through England satisfactorily proves that this is a mistake, and attempts to explain the cause of the opinions.-B. Drayton, Milton, and Pope have, however, fallen into the same error:

“Which like a noozling Mole

Doth noozle underneath."-Polyolbion. "And underneath the earth, for three miles space

doth

creep

ibid. Song 17. "Or sullen Mole that runneth underneath.”—Milton on Rivers. “And sullen Mole that hides his diving flood."

Pope's Windsor Forest, l. 345. Mr Dallaway, in a privately printed and beautiful little volume, entitled Lethereum sive Horti Letheraani, containing etchings of views in the Vicarage of Letherhead, thus alludes to the subject : "The Mole is a river which has excited much curiosity and discussion. There is a notion of very early establishment adopted by Camden and later topographers, that 'it runs under ground.' But, generally speaking, its bed is an absorbent earth, above the surface of which it often occurs, during dry seasons, that no stream appears. Frequent banks or reefs of chalk intervene, and over these it is both perennial and clear. The river Mole is so called from its being supposed to have a subterraneous current : be this circumstance as it may, it differs from other rivers in having its bed in certain places occasionally dry: various conjectures have been formed as to this peculiarity. In some parts of the river where the bed is a little elevated, in small detached pieces, there are holes which the country people call Swallows. These are dry apertures during summer, but in wet seasons are full of water, and at those times the bed of the river becomes the channel of a rapid stream."-Pp. 14, 15.

Jew, tells us of a river in Judea that runs swiftly all the six days of the week, and stands still and rests all their Sabbath, *

But I will lay aside my discourse of rivers, and tell you some things of the monsters, or fish, call them what you will, that they breed and feed in them. Pliny the philosopher says, in the third chapter of his ninth book, that in the Indian Sea the fish called Balæna or Whirlpool + is so long and broad as to take up more in length and breadth than two acres of ground ; and of other fish of two hundred cubits long; and that in the river Ganges there be Eels of thirty feet long. He says there, that these monsters appear in that sea only when the tempestuous winds oppose the torrents of water falling from the rocks into it, and so turning what lay at the bottom to be seen on the water's top. And he says that the people of Cadara, an island near this place, make the timber for their houses of those fish bones. He there tells us that there are sometimes a thousand of these great Eels found wrapt or interwoven together. He tells us there, that it appears that dolphins love music, and will come when called for, by some men or boys that know, and use to feed them; and that they can swim as swift as an arrow can be shot out of a bow; and much of this is spoken concerning the dolphin, and other fish, as may be found also in the learned Dr Casaubon's † “ Discourse of Credulity and Incredulity," printed by him about the year 1670.

I know we Islanders are averse to the belief of these wonders ; but there be so many strange creatures to be now seen, many collected by John Tradescant, ß and others added by my friend

* The same is related by Philo.-B. Balæna properly means a whale.

Meric, son of Ísaac Casaubon, born at Geneva in 1599. but educated at Oxford, was for his great learning preferred to a Prebend in the Cathedral of Canterbury, and the Rectory of Ickham near that city. Oliver Cromwell would have engaged him, by a pension of three hundred pounds a year, to write the history of his time, but Casaubon refused it. Of many books extant of his writing, that mentioned in the text is one.

He died in 1671, leaving behind him the character of a religious man, loyal to his prince, exemplary in his life and conversation, and very charitable to the poor. Athen, (ron. vol. ii. 485, edit. 1721.-H.. Casaubon's work " Or Credulity and incredulity in Things Natural, Civil, and Divine,” was first printed at London, in 8vo, 1668; and again in 1679 What relates to the Dolphins is at p. 243 of the first edition. Gaspar Peucerus, quoted by Walton, part i. chap. V., about Menwolves, is mentioned at p. 252 of the same work. It contains a great deal of curious anecdote.-E.

(There were, it seems, three of the Tradescants, grandfather, father, and son: the son is the person here meant: the two former were gardeners to Queen Elizabeth, and the latter to King Charles the First. They were all great botanists, and collectors of natural and other curiosities, and dwelt at South Lambeth in Surrey ; and, dying there, were buried in Lambeth Churchyard. Mr Ashmole contracted an acquaintance with the last of them, and, together with his wife, boarded at his house for a summer, during which Ashmole agreed for the purchase of Tradescant's collection, and the same was conveyed to him by a deed of gist from Tradescant and his wife. Tradescant soon after died, and Ashmole was obliged to file a bill in Chancery for the delivery of the

Elias Ashmole, Esq., who now keeps them carefully and methodically at his house near to Lambeth, near London,* as may get some belief of some of the other wonders I mentioned. I will tell you some of the wonders that you may now see, and not till then believe, unless you think fit.

You may there see the Hog-fish, the Dog-fish, the Dolphin, the Cony-fish, the Parrot-fish, the Shark, the Poison-fish, Sword-fish, and not only other incredible fish, but you may there see the Salamander, several sorts of Barnacles, of Solan Geese, the Bird of Paradise, such sorts of Snakes, and such Birds' nests, and of so various forms, and so wonderfully made, as may beget wonder and amusement in any beholder ; and so many hundred of other rarities in that collection, as will make the other wonders I spake

curiosities, and succeeded in his suit. Mrs Tradescant, shortly after the pronouncing the decree, was found drowned in her pond. This collection, with what additions he afterwards made to it, Mr Ashmole gave to the University of Oxford, and so became the Founder of the Ashmolean Museum. A monument for the three Tradescants, very curiously ornamented with sculptures, is to be seen in Lambeth Churchyard ; and a representation thereof, in four plates, and also some particulars of the family, are given in the Philosophical Transactions, volume Ixiii. part i. p. 79 et seq. The monument, by the contribution of some friends, to their memory, was in the year 1773 repaired; and the following lines, formerly intended for an epitaph, inserted thereon :

Know, stranger ! ere thou pass, beneath this stone
Lie JOHN TRADESCANT, grandsire, father, son.
The last dy'd in his spring: the other two
Liv'd till they had travell’d art and nature thro';
As by their choice collections may appear,
Of what is rare in land, in seas, in air;
Whilst they (as Homer's Iliad, in a nut)
A world of wonders in one closet shut.
These famous Antiquarians, that had been
Both Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen,
Transplanted now themselves, sleep here ; and when
Angels shall with their trumpets waken men,
And fire shall purge the world, these hence shall rise,
And change their gardens for a Paradise.

The Tradescants were the first collectors of natural curiosities in this kingdom. The younger of them published in 1656, 12mo, “Museum Tradescantianum; or a Collection of Rarities preserved at South Lambeth, near London,"containing portraits of his father and himself, engraved by Hollar. Tradescant's House is still known by the name of Turret-House, and is now, or was in 1809, in the occupation of Charles Bedford, Esq.-E.

**Ashmole was at first a Solicitor in Chancery ; but marrying a lady with a large fortune, and being well skilled in history and antiquities, he was promoted to the office of Windsor Herald, and wrote the "History of the Order of the Garter,” published in 1672, in folio. But addicting himself to the then fashionable studies of chemistry and judicial astrology; and associating himself with that silly crackbrained enthusiast, John Aubrey, Esq. of Surrey, and that egregious impostor, Lilly the Astrologer, he became a dupe to the knavery of the one and the follies of both; and lost in a great measure the reputation he had acquired by this and other of his writings. Of his weakness and superstition he has left on record this memorable instance: "11th April 1681, I took, early in the morning, a good dose of elixir, and hung three spiders about my neck; and they drove my ague away. Deo gratias." See "Memoirs of the Life of that Antiquarian, Elias Ashmole, Esq., drawn up by himself by way of Diary, published by Charles Burman, Esq., 12mo, 1717."--H.

of, the less incredible; (for, you may note, that the waters are Nature's storehouse, in which she locks up her wonders.)

But, Sir, lest this discourse may seem tedious, I shall give it a sweet conclusion out of that holy poet, Mr George Herbert, his divine “ Contemplation on God's Providence.1

Lord !? who hath praise enough, nay, who hath any ?
None can express thy works, but he that knows them;
And none can know thy works, they 3 are so many,
And so complete, but only he that owes them.
We all acknowledge both thy power and love
To be exact, transcendant, and divine;
Who dost so strangely 4 and so sweetly move,
Whilst 5 all things have their end, 6 ye none but thine.
Wherefore, most sacred Spirit! I here present,
For me, and all my fellows, praise to thee;
And just it is, that I should pay the rent,
Because the benefit accrues to me.

And as concerning fish, in that psalm,* wherein, for height of poetry and wonders, the prophet David seems even to exceed himself, how doth he there express himself in choice metaphors, even to the amazement of a contemplative reader, concerning the sea, the rivers, and the fish therein contained !

(And the great naturalist Pliny says, “ That nature's great and wonderful power is more demonstrated in the sea than on the land.") And this may appear, by the numerous and various creatures inhabiting both in and about that element; as to the readers of Gesner,t Rondeletius,

VARIATIONS. 1 Walton probably wrote from memory, as the stanzas which form part of a poem entitled “ Providence" are here transposed, and the following variations occur in Herbert's printed work. ? But. 3 which 4 strongly.

5 While. 6 will. Herbert's “Temple," ed. 1633. p. 109. Of George Herbert, whose life was written by Walion, some account will be found in the Memoir at the commencement of this volume.

* Psalm civ. + Conrade Gesner, an eminent physician and naturalist, was bom at Zurich in 1516. His skill in botany and natural history was such as procured him the appellation of the Pliny of Germany: and Beza, who knew him, scruples not to assert that he concentrated in himself the learning of Pliny and Varro. Nor was he more distinguished for his learning than esteemed and beloved for that probity and sweetness of manners which rendered him conspicuous through the course of his life; notwithstanding which, he laboured under the pressure of poverty to a degree that compelled him to write for sustenance, and that in such haste thai his works, which are very numerous, are not exempt from marks of it.

Besides Bibliotheca sive Catalogus Scriptorum Lat. Gr. & Hebr. tam extantium quam non extantium, Tiguri, 1545-55, he wrote Historia Animalium, and De Serpentum Naturâ, Tiguri, 1551-87: to both which works Walton frequently refers. This excellent person died in 1565.-H.

Guillaume Rondelet, an eminent physician, born at Montpelier in Languedoc, 1507. He wrote a treatise De Piscibus marinis, Lugd. 1554-5, where all that Walion has taken from him is to be found. He died, very poor, of a surfeit, occasioned by eating figs to excess, in 1566.-H.

Pliny, Ausonius,* Aristotle, and others, may be demonstrated. But I will sweeten this discourse also out of a contemplation in divine Du Bartas,+ who says :

God quickened in the sea, and in the rivers,
So many fishes of so many features,
That in the waters we may see all creatures,
Even all that on the earth are to be found,
As if the world were in deep waters drown'd.
For seas-as well as skies-have Sun, Moon, Stars
As well as air-Swallows, Rooks, and Stares; I
As well as earth-Vines, Roses, Nettles, Melons,
Mushrooms, Pinks, Gilliflowers, and many millions
Of other plants, more rare, more strange ihan these
As very fishes, living in the seas;
As also Rams, Calves, Horses, Hares, and Hogs,
Wolves, Urchins, Lions, Elephants, and Dogs ;
Yea Men and Maids; and, which I most admire,
The mitred Bishop and the cowled Friar: 2
Of which, examples, but a few years since,
Were shown the Norway and Polonian prince.

These seem to be wonders; but have had so many confirmations from men of learning and credit, that you need not doubt them. Nor are the number, nor the various shapes, of fishes more strange, or more fit for contemplation, than their different natures, inclinations, and actions ; concerning which, I shall beg your patient ear a little longer.

The Cuttle-fish will cast a long gut out of her throat, which, like

* Decius Ausonius, a native of Bordeaux, was a Latin poet, Consul of Rome, and Preceptor to the Emperor Gratian. He died about 390.--H.

† Guillaume de Saluste Sicur du Bartas was a poet of great reputation in Walton's time. He wrote, besides numerous other productions, a poem in French, called Divine Weeks and Works; which was translated into English by Joshua Sylvester. The passa pecin nhe heint el curs in the filth day.—H. To Du Bartas, Milton is considered to

The names quoted above, Gesner, Rondeletius, Pliny, &c., are the writers from whom Topsel, who wrote the History of Four-footed Beasts, Fishes, &c., compiled his work, from which it is most probable Walton derived his information, rather than from the original authorities, t Or Starlings. Minsheu.-H.

This story of the Bishop-fish is told by Rondeletius, and vouched by Bellonius. Without taking much pains in the translation, it is as follows:

“ In the year 1531, a fish was taken in Polonia, that represented a bishop. He was brought to the king; but, seeming to desire to return to his own element, the king commanded him to be carried back to the sea, into which he immediately threw himself." Rondeletius had before related the story of a Monk-fish, which is what Du Bartas means by the “cowled Friar." The reader may see the portraits of these wonderful personages in Rondeletius; or, in the Posthumous Works of the reverend and learned Mr John Gregory, in 4to, Lond. 1683, pages 121, 122. Stow, in his Annals, p. 157, from the Chronicle of Radulphus Coggeshale, gives the following relation of a sea-monster, taken on the coast of Suffolk, temp. Hen. ii:

"Neare unto Orford in Suffolk, certaine fishers of the sea tooke in their nets a fish, having the shape of a man in all points: which fish was kept by Bartlemew de Glaunville, custos of the castle of Orford, in the same castle, by the space of six moneths and more, for a wonder. He spake not a word. All manner of meates he did eate, but most greedily raw fish, after he had crushed out the moisture. Oftentimes, he was brought to the church, where he shewed no tokens of adoration."

** At length,” says this author, " when he was not well looked to, he stole away to the sea, and never after appeared."—H.

« ZurückWeiter »