« ПредишнаНапред »
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 1 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,' and others
(1) Meric, son of Isaac 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 3001. a year, to write the history of leis time, but Casauboo 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 reli. gious man, loyal to his Prince, exemplary in his life and conversation, and very charitable to the poor.-Athen. Oxon. Vol. II. 485, edit. 1721.
(2) 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 botapists, and collectors of natural and other curiosities, and dwelt at South Lambeth, in Surrey; and dying there, were buried in Lambeth Church-yard. Mr. Ashmole contracted an acquaiotance 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 gift from Tradescant and his wife. Tradescant soon after died, aud Ashmole was obliged to file a bill in Chancery for the delivery of the 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 Church.yard; and a representation thereof, in four plates, and also some particulars of the family, are given in the Philosophical Transactions, Volume LXIII. 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
added by my friend 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 Bird's-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
Whilst they (as Homer's Iliad, in a nut)
The Tradescants were the first collectors of natural curiosities iu this kingdom; Ashmole, and Sir Hans Sloane, were the next; the generous spirit of these persons seems to have been transfused into, and at present (1784) to reside in, a private Gentleman of unbounded curiosity and liberality, Sir Ashton Lever; whose collections, for beauty, variety, and copiousness, exceed all description, and surpass every thing of the kind in the known world. Huwkins.
After Sir Ashton Lever's death, this collection was disposed of by lottery, and came into the hands of Mı. Parkinson, who, (in 1806) sold the whole, in separate lots, by public auction.
(1) Ashmole was, at first, a Solicitor in Chancery: hut 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, iu folio. But addicting himself to the then fashionable studies of chemistry and judicial astrology; and associating himself with that silly, crack-brained enthusiast, Juha 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 supersti. tion, 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, Esg. drawn up by himself by way of diary, published by Charles Burman, Esq. 12mo, 1717.
wonders I spake of the less incredible; for, you may note, that the waters are Nature's store-house, 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.
Lord ! who hath praise enough, nay, who hath any?
Because the benefit accrues to me. And as concerning fish, in that psalm, Psal. 104. 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, Rondeletius, Pliny, Ausonius,
(1) Equivalent to whom they are owing. (2) Conrade Gesner, an eminent physician and naturalist, was born at Zurich io 1516. His skill in bolany and natural history was such as procured hin tho appellation of the Pliny of Germany: and Beza, who knew him, scruples not to assert, that he concentered 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.
(3) Guillaume Rondelet, an eminent physician, born at Montpelier in Languedoc, 1507. He wrote several books; and a treatise De Piscibus marinis, where all that Walton has taken from him is to be found. He died-very poor -of a surfeit, occasioned by eating figs to excess, in 1566.
(4) Decius Ausonius, a native of Bourdeaux; was a Latin Poet, Coosal of Rome, and Preceptor to the Emperor Gratian. He died about 390.
Aristotle, and others, may be demonstrated. But I will Du Burtas, in
sweeten this discourse also out of a conthe fifth day.
templation in divine Du Bartas,' who says:
(1) Guillaume de Saluste, Sieur du Burtas, was a poet of great reputatio in Walton's time. He wrote, in French, a poem called Divine Weeks and Works ; whence the passage in the text, and many others cited in this work, are extracted. This, with his other delightful works, was translated into English by Joshua Sylvester.
(2) Or Starlings. Minsheu.
(3) This story of the Bishop-fish is told by Rondeletius, and vouched by Bellopius. 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 corr.manded him to be carried back to the sea, into which he immediately threw himself.” Rondeletius had before related the story of a Monkfish, 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 revereud and learned Mr. John Gregory, in 4to. Lond. 1683, page 121, 122, where they are exhibited.
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 Bar. tlemew de Glaunville, custos of the castle of Orford, in the same castle, by the space of six inoneths and môre, for a wonder. He spake not a word. All manner of meates he did eate, but most gieedily 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." The wisdom of these fishermen in taking the monster to church, calls to remembrance many instances of similar sagacity recorded of the wise men of Gotham. Finding him so indevout, we may suppose them to have been ready to exclaim with Caliban, in the Tempest,
“ By this good light, a very shallow monster!"
These seem to be wonders; hut have had so many confirmations from men of learning and credit, that you need not doubt them. Nor are the number, por 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 as an Angler doth his line, she sendeth forth, and pulleth in again at her pleasure, according as she sees some little fish come near to her; and the Cuttle-fish,* being then hid in the gra
• Mont. Essays, vel, lets the smaller fish nibble and bite the end of it; at which time she by little and little, draws the smaller fish so near to her that she may leap upon her, and then catches and devours her: and for this reason some have called this fish the Seaangler.
and others af. firm this.
And there is a fish called a Hermit, that at a certain age gets into a dead fish's shell, and, like a hermit, dwells there alone, studying the wind and weather; and so turns her shell, that she makes it defend her from the injuries that they would bring upon her.
There is also a fish called by Ælian,' in his 9th book Of Living Creatures, ch. 16. the Adonis, or Darling of the Sea; so called, because it is a loving and innocent fish, a fish that hurts nothing that hath life, and is at peace with all the numerous inhabitants of that vast watery element; and truly, I think most Anglers are so disposed to most of mankind.
And there are, also, lustful and chaste fishes; of which I shall give you examples.
And first, what Du Bartas says of a fish called the
(1) Claudius Æliunus was born at Præneste in Italy, in the reign of the Emperor Adrian. He wrote De Animalium Natura, and On Martial Discipline.