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3.20. Of gardens and orchards. Chap. 19.

Of gardens and orchards. Chap. 19.

_AFter such time as Calis was woone from the French, and that our countriemen had learned to trade into diuerse countries (wherby they grew rich) they began to wax idle also, and therevpon not onlie left off their former painful||nesse and frugalitie, but in like sort gaue themselues to liue in excesse and vanitie, whereby manie goodlie commodities failed, and in short time were not to be had amongst vs. Such strangers also as dwelled here with vs, perceiuing our sluggishnesse, and espi|eng that this idlenesse of ours might redound to their great profit, foorthwith imploied their ende|uours to bring in the supplie of such things as we lacked, continuallie from forren countries; which yet more augmented our idlenes. For hauing all things at reasonable prices as we supposed, by such means from them, we thought it méere madnesse to spend either time or cost about the same here at home. And thus we became enimies to our owne welfare, as men that in those daies reposed our felicitie in following the wars, wherewith we were often exer|cised both at home and other places. Besides this, the naturall desire that mankind hath to estéeme of things farre sought, bicause they be rare and costlie, and the irkesome contempt of things néere hand, for that they are common and plentifull, hath borne no small swaie also in this behalfe amongst vs. For hereby we haue neglected our owne good gifts of God, growing here at home as vile and of no va|lure, and had euerie trifle and toie in admiration that is brought hither from far countries, ascribing I wot not what great forces and solemne estimati|on vnto them, vntill they also haue waxen old, after which they haue béene so little regarded, if not more despised amongst vs than our owne. Examples hereof I could set downe manie, & in manie things, but sith my purpose is to deale to this time with gar|dens and orchards, it shall suffice that I touch them onelie, and shew our inconstancie in the same, so farre as shall séeme & be conuenient for my turne. I comprehend therefore vnder the word garden, all such grounds as are wrought with the spade by mans hand, for so the case requireth. Of wine I haue written alreadie else-where sufficientlie, which commoditie (as I haue learned further, since the penning of that booke) hath beene verie plentifull in this Iland, not onlie in the time of the Romans, but also since the conquest, as I haue séene by record: yet at this present haue we none at all or else verie little to speake of growing in this Iland: which I impute not vnto the soile, but the negligence of my countrimen. Such herbes, fruits, and roots also as grow yéerelie out of the ground, of seed, haue béene verie plentifull in this land, in the time of the first Edward, and after his daies: but in processe of time they grew also to be neglected, so that from Henrie the fourth till the latter end of Henrie the seuenth, & beginning of Henrie the eight, there was litle or no vse of them in England, but they remained either vnknowne, or supposed as food more meet for hogs & sauage beasts to feed vpon than mankind. Whereas in my time their vse is not onelie resumed among the poore commons, I meane of melons, pompions, gourds, cucumbers, radishes, skirets, parsneps, car|rets, cabbages, nauewes, turneps, and all kinds of salad herbes, but also fed vpon as deintie dishes at the tables of delicate merchants, gentlemen, and the nobilitie, who make their prouision yearelie for new séeds out of strange countries, from whence they haue them aboundantlie. Neither doo they now staie with such of these fruits as are wholesome in their kinds, but aduenture further vpon such as are verie dangerous and hurtfull, as the verangenes, mushroms, &c: as if nature had ordeined all for the bellie, or that all things were to be eaten, for whose mischiefous operation the Lord in some measure hath giuen and prouided a remedie.

Hops in time past were plentifull in this land, af|terwards also their maintenance did cease, and now being reuiued, where are anie better to be found? where anie greater commoditie to be raised by them? onelie poles are accounted to be their grea|test charge. But sith men haue learned of late to sow ashen keies in ashyards by themselues, that incon|uenience EEBO page image 209 in short time will be redressed. Madder hath growne abundantlie in this Iland, but of long time neglected, and now a little reuiued, and offereth it selfe to prooue no small benefit vnto our countrie, as manie other things else, which are now fetched from vs; as we before time when we gaue our selues to idlenesse, were glad to haue them other. If you looke into our gardens annexed to our houses, how woonderfullie is their beautie increased, not onelie with floures, which Colmella calleth Terrena sydera, saieng;

Pingit & in varios terrestria sydera flores,
and varietie of curious and costlie workmanship, but also with rare and medicinable hearbes sought vp in the land within these fortie yeares: so that in comparison of this present, the ancient gardens were but dunghils and laistowes to such as did pos|sesse them. How art also helpeth nature in the dai|lie colouring, dubling and inlarging the proportion of our floures, it is incredible to report: for so curi|ous and cunning are our gardeners now in these daies, that they presume to doo in maner what they list with nature, and moderate hir course in things as if they were hir superiours. It is a world also to sée, how manie strange hearbs, plants, and annuall fruits, are dailie brought vnto vs from the Indies, Americans, Taprobane, Canarie Iles, and all parts of the world: the which albeit that in respect of the constitutions of our bodies they doo not grow for vs, bicause that God hath bestowed sufficient com|modities vpon euerie countrie for hir owne necessi|tie; yet for delectation sake vnto the eie, and their odo|riferous sauours vnto the nose, they are to be cheri|shed, and God to be glorified also in them, bicause they are his good gifts, and created to doo man helpe and seruice. There is not almost one noble man, gen|tleman, or merchant, that hath not great store of these floures, which now also doo begin to wax so well acquainted with our soiles, that we may almost accompt of them as parcell of our owne commo|dities. They haue no lesse regard in like sort to cherish medicinable hearbs fetched out of other re|gions néerer hand: insomuch that I haue séene in some one garden to the number of three hundred or foure hundred of them, if not more: of the halfe of whose names within fortie yéeres passed we had no maner knowledge. But herein I find some cause of iust complaint, for that we extoll their vses so farre that we fall into contempt of our owne, which are in truth more beneficiall and apt for vs than such as grow elsewhere, sith (as I said before) euerie region hath abundantlie within hir owne limits whatsoe|uer is needfull and most conuenient for them that dwell therein. How doo men extoll the vse of Ta|bacco in my time, whereas in truth (whether the cause be in the repugnancie of our constitution vn|to the operation thereof, or that the ground dooth al|ter hir force, I cannot tell) it is not found of so great efficacie as they write. And beside this, our com|mon germander or thistle benet is found & knowne to bée so wholesome and of so great power in medi|cine, as anie other hearbe, if they be vsed according|lie. I could exemplifie after the like maner in sun|drie other, as the Salsa parilla, Mochoacan, &c: but I for|beare so to doo, because I couet to be bréefe. And tru|lie the estimation and credit that we yéeld and giue vnto compound medicines made with forren drugs, is one great cause wherefore the full knowledge and vse of our owne simples hath bene so long raked vp in the imbers. And as this may be verified, so to be one sound conclusion, for the greater number of simples that go vnto anie compound medicine, the greater confusion is found therein, because the qua|lities and operations of verie few of the particulars are throughlie knowne. And euen so our continuall desire of strange drugs, whereby the physician and apothecarie onelie hath the benefit, is no small cause that the vse of our simples here at home dooth go to losse, and that we tread those herbes vnder our féet, whose forces if we knew, & could applie them to our necessities, we wold honor & haue in reuerence as to their case behooueth. Alas what haue we to doo with such Arabian & Grecian stuffe as is dailie brought from those parties, which lie in another clime? And therefore the bodies of such as dwell there, are of another constitution, than ours are here at home? Certes they grow not for vs, but for the Arabians and Grecians. And albeit that they maie by skill be applied vnto our benefit, yet to be more skilfull in them than in our owne, is follie; and to vse forren wares when our owne maie serue the turne is more follie; but to despise our owne and magnifie abou [...] measure the vse of them that are sought and brought from farre, is most follie of all: for it sauoureth of ignorance, or at the leastwise of negligence, and therefore woorthie of reproch.

Among the Indians, who haue the most present cures for euerie disease, of their owne nation, there is small regard of compound medicins, & lesse of for|ren drugs, because they neither know them nor can vse them, but worke woonders euen with their owne simples. With them also the difference of the clime dooth shew hir full effect. For whereas they will heale one another in short time with application of one simple, &c: if a Spaniard or Englishman stand in need of their helpe, they are driuen to haue a lon|ger space in their cures, and now and then also to vse some addition of two or thrée simples at the most, whose forces vnto them are throughlie knowne, be|cause their exercise is onelie in their owne, as men that neuer sought or heard what vertue was in those that came from other countries. And euen so did Marcus Cato the learned Roman indeuor to deale in his cures in sundrie diseases, wherein he not one|lie vsed such simples as were to be had in his owne countrie, but also examined and learned the forces of each of them, wherewith he dealt so diligentlie, that in all his life time, he could atteine to the exact knowledge but of a few, and thereto wrote of those most learnedlie, as would easilie be séene, if those his bookes were extant. For the space also of 600 yéeres, the colewort onelie was a medicine in Rome for all diseases, so that his vertues were tho|roughlie knowne in those parts.

In Plinies time the like affection to forren drugs did rage among the Romans, whereby their owne did grow in contempt. Crieng out therefore of this extreame follie, lib. 22. cap. 24, he speaketh after this maner: Non placent remedia tam longè nascentia, non enim nobis gignuntur, immò ne illis quidem, alioquin non venderent; siplacet etiam superstitionis gratiâ emantur, quo|niam supplicamus, &c. Salutem quidem sine his posse con|stare, vel obid probabimus, vt tanto magis sui tandem pude|at. For my part I doubt not, if the vse of outlandish drugs had not blinded our physicians of England in times passed, but that the vertues of our simples here at home would haue béene far better knowne, and so well vnto vs, as those of India are to the prac|tisioners of those partes, and therevnto be found more profitable for vs than the forren either are or maie be. This also will I ad, that euen those which are most common by reason of their plentie, and most vile bicause of their abundance, are not with|out some vniuersall and especiall efficacie, if it were knowne, for our benefit: sith God in nature hath so disposed his creatures, that the most néedfull are the most plentifull, and seruing for such generall disea|ses as our constitution most commonlie is affected EEBO page image 210 withall. Great thanks therefore be giuen vnto the physicians of our age and countrie, who not onelie indeuour to search out the vse of such simples as our soile dooth yéeld and bring foorth, but also to procure such as grow elsewhere, vpõ purpose so to acquaint them with our clime, that they in time through some alteration receiued from the nature of the earth, maie likewise turne to our benefit and com|moditie, and be vsed as our owne.

The chiefe workeman, or as I maie call him the founder of this deuise, is Carolus Clusius, the noble herbarist, whose industrie hath woonderfullie stir|red them vp vnto this good act. For albeit that Mat|thiolus, Rembert I obell, and other haue trauelled verie farre in this behalfe, yet none hath come néere to Clusius, much lesse gone further in the finding and true descriptions of such herbes as of late are brought to light. I doubt not but if this man were in England but one seuen yéeres, he would reueale a number of herbes growing with vs, whereof nei|ther our physicians nor apothecaries as yet haue a|nie knowledge. And euen like thankes be giuen vnto our nobilitie, gentlemen, and others, for their continuall nutriture and cherishing of such home|borne and forren simples in their gardens, for here|by they shall not onlie be had at hand and preserued, but also their formes made more familiar to be dis|cerned, and their forces better knowne than hither|to they haue béene.

And euen as it fareth with our gardens, so dooth it with our orchards, which were neuer furnished with so good fruit, nor with such varietie as at this pre|sent. For beside that we haue most delicate apples, plummes, peares, walnuts, filberds, &c: and those of sundrie sorts, planted within fortie yéeres passed, in comparison of which most of the old trées are no|thing woorth: so haue we no lesse store of strange fruit, as abricotes, almonds, peaches, figges, corne|trees in noble mens orchards. I haue seene capers, orenges, and lemmons, and heard of wild oliues growing here, beside other strange trees, brought from far, whose names I know not. So that Eng|land for these commodities was neuer better furni|shed, neither anie nation vnder their clime more plentifullie indued with these and other blessings from the most high God, who grant vs grace withall to vse the same to his honour and glorie! and not as instruments and prouocations vnto further excesse and vanitie, wherewith his displeasure may be kind|led, least these his benefits doo turne vnto thornes and briers vnto vs for our annoiance and punish|ment, which he hath bestowed vpon vs for our con|solation and comfort.

We haue in like sort such workemen as are not onelie excellent in graffing the naturall fruits, but also in their artificiall mixtures, whereby one trée bringeth foorth sundrie fruits, and one and the same fruit of diuers colours and tasts, dallieng as it were with nature and hir course, as if hir whole trade were perfectlie knowne vnto them: of hard fruits they will make tender, of sowre sweet, of sweet yet more delicate, béereuing also some of their kernels, other of their cores, and finallie induing them with the sauour of muske, ambre, or swéet spices at their pleasures. Diuerse also haue written at large of these seuerall practises, and some of them how to conuert the kernels of peaches into almonds, of small fruit to make farre greater, and to remooue or ad superfluous or necessarie moisture to the trées, with other things belonging to their preseruation, and with no lesse diligence than our physicians doo commonlie shew vpon our owne diseased bodies, which to me dooth seeme right strange. And euen so doo our gardeners with their herbes, whereby they are strengthened against noisome blasts, and preser|ued from putrifaction and hinderance, whereby some such as were annuall, are now made perpetuall, be|ing yéerelie taken vp, and either reserued in the house, or hauing the rosse pulled from their rootes, laid againe into the earth, where they remaine in safetie. What choise they make also in their waters, and wherewith some of them doo now and then keepe them moist, it is a world to sée; insomuch that the a|pothecaries shops maie séeme to be needfull also to our gardens and orchards, and that in sundrie wise: naie the kitchin it selfe is so farre from being able to be missed among them, that euen the verie dishwa|ter is not without some vse amongest our finest plants. Whereby and sundrie other circumstan|ces not here to bée remembred, I am persua|ded, that albeit the gardens of the Hesperides were in times past so greatlie accounted of be|cause of their delicacie: yet if it were possible to haue such an equall iudge, as by certeine know|ledge of both were able to pronounce vpon them, I doubt not but he would giue the price vnto the gar|dens of our daies, and generallie ouer all Europe, in comparison of those times, wherein the old excee|ded. Plinie and other speake of a rose that had thrée score leaues growing vpon one button: but if I should tell of one which bare a triple number vnto that proportion, I know I shall not be beléeued, and no great matter though I were not, howbeit, such a one was to be séene in Antwarpe 1585, as I haue heard, and I know who might haue had a slip or stal|lon thereof, if he would haue ventured ten pounds vpon the growth the same, which should haue bene but a tickle hazard, and therefore better vndoone, as I did alwaies imagine. For mine owne part, good reader, let me boast a litle of my garden, which is but small, and the whole Area thereof little aboue 300 foot of ground, and yet, such hath béene my good lucke in purchase of the varietie of simples, that notwith|standing my small abilitie, there are verie néere thrée hundred of one sort and other conteined there|in, no one of them being common or vsuallie to bee had. If therefore my little plot, void of all cost in kee|ping be so well furnished, what shall we thinke of those of Hampton court, None such, Tibaults, Cob|ham garden, and sundrie other apperteining to di|uerse citizens of London, whom I could particular|lie name, if I should not séeme to offend them by such my demeanour and dealing?

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