Philemon Holland, translator (1601): C. Plinius Secundus The Historie of the World. Book XVI. (Pages 454-???).

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The Proëme

HItherto have we treated of those Trees that beare Aples and such like fruits: which likewise with their mild juice and sweet liquors made our meats first delightsome, and taught us to mingle together with the necessarie food for sustentation of our lives, that which maketh it delicate and pleasant to content our tast: as well those trees that naturally were so in the beginning, as those which through the industrie and skill of man, what by graffing and what by wedding them (as it were) to others, become toothsome, and delectable to our tongue: whereby also wee have gratified in some sort wild beasts, and done pleasure to the foules of the aire. It followeth now by order, that we should discourse likewise of trees that beare Mast, those trees (I say) which ministred the first food unto our forefathers, and were the nourices that fed and cherished mankind in that rude and wild age and poor infancie of the world: but that I am forced to breake the course of mine historie, and prevented with a deepe studie and admiratin arising from the truth and ground of experience, to consider, What manner of life it might be, to live without any trees or shrubs at all growing out of the earth.

Chap. I.

Of nations that have no trees nor plants among them. Of wonderfull trees in the Northerly regions.

WE have shewed heretofore,1 that in the East parts verily toward the maine Ocean, there be many countries in that estate, to wit, altogether destitute of trees. In the North also I my selfe have seene the people called * Cauchi, as well the greater as the lesse (for so they may be distinguished) where there is no shew or mention at all of any tree. For a mightie great compasse, their countrey lieth so under the Ocean, and subject to the tide, that twice in a day & night by turnes, the sea overfloweth a mightie deale of ground when it is floud, & leaveth all drie again at the ebbe & return of the water; insomuch, as a man can hardly tell what to make of the outward face of the earth in those parts, so doubtfull it is between sea and land. The poor sillie peple that inhabit those parts, either keepe together on such high hils as Nature hath afforded here & there in the plain: or els raise mounts with their owne labour and handie work (like to Tribunals cast up and reared with turfe, in a campe) above the height of the sea, at any Spring tide when the floud is highest; and thereupon they set their cabines and cottages. Thus dwelling as they doe, they seeme (when it it high water, & that all the plaine is overspread with the sea round about) as if they were in littel barkes floting in the middest of the sea: againe, at a low water when the sea is gone, looke upon them, you would take them for such as had suffered shipwracke, having their vessels cast away, and left lying ato-side amid the sands: for yee shall see the poore wretches fishing about their cottages, and following after the fishes as they go away with the water. They have not a four-footed beast among them: neither enjoy they any benefite of milke, as their neighbour nations doe: nay, they are destitute of all meanes to chase wild beasts, and hunt for venison; in as much as there is neither tree nor bush to give them harvour, nor any neare unto them by a great way. Sea-weeds or sleike, rushes and reeds growing upon the washes & meeres, serve them to twist for cords to make their fishing nets with. These poore soules and sillie creatures are faine to gather a slimie kind of fattie mud or oase, with their very hands, which they drie against the wind rather than the Sunne; and with that earth, for want of other fewell, they make fire to seeth their meat (such as it is) and heat the inward parts of their bodie, readie to bee starke and stiffe againe with the chilling North wind. No other drinke have they but raine water, which they save in certaine ditches after a shower, and those they dig at the very entrie of their cottages. And yet see I this people (as wretched and miserable a case as they bee in) if they were subdued at this day by the people of Rome, would say (and none sooner than they) that they lived in slaverie. But true it is, that Fortune spareth many men, to let them live still in paine and miserie. Thus much as touching want of woods and trees.

On the other side, as wonderfull it is to see the mightie forrests at hand thereby, 5 aliud e silvis miraculum


1. Shown before: In Book XIII, Chap. XIII.

* i. The low countries of Zeland &c. [The Cauchi or Chauci are mentioned in Book IV, Chap. XIV and Chap. XV.]

451.48 laurell-braunched, r. laurell-branch 458.24 the mast, r. that mast 461.30 partof France, r. parts of Italie 464.21 in the margent Palimpassa, read Palimpissa 465.6 Piscasphaltum, r. Pissasphaltum 466.9 ADOBE 259, bottom right 487 Pliny 12-16 still need to finish excursus 2 note 78 on the ruminal and navia figs etc.