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5.3. Of fish vsuallie taken vpon our coasts. Cap. 3.

Of fish vsuallie taken vpon our coasts. Cap. 3.

_I Haue in my description of waters, as occasion hath ser|ued, intreated of the names of some of the seuerall fishes which are commonlie to bée found in our riuers. Neuer|thelesse as euerie water hath a sundrie mixture, and there|fore is not stored with euerie kind: so there is almost no house, euen of the meanest bowres, which haue not one or mo ponds or holes made for reseruation of water vnstored with some of them, as with tench, carpe, breame, roch, dace, eeles, or such like as will liue and bréed togither. Certes it is not possible for me to deliuer the names of all such kinds of fishes EEBO page image 224 as our riuers are found to beare: yet least I should séeme iniurious to the reader, in not deliuering so manie of them as haue béene brought to my know|ledge, I will not let to set them downe as they doo come to mind. Besides the salmons therefore, which are not to be taken from the middest of September to the middest of Nouember, and are verie plentifull in our greatest riuers, as their yoong store are not to be touched from mid Aprill vnto Midsummer, we haue the trout, barbell, graile, powt, cheuin, pike, good|geon, smelt, perch, menan, shrimpes, creuises, lam|prieies, and such like, whose preseruation is prouided for by verie sharpe lawes, not onelie in our riuers, but also in plashes or lakes and ponds, which other|wise would bring small profit to the owners, and doo much harme by continuall maintenance of idle per|sons, who would spend their whole times vpon their bankes, not coueting to labour with their hands, nor follow anie good trade. Of all these there are none more preiudiciall to their neighbours that dwell in the same water, than the pike and éele, which com|monlie deuoure such fish or frie and spawne as they may get and come by. Neuerthelesse, the pike is fréend vnto the tench, as to his leach & surgeon. For when the fishmonger hath opened his side and laid out his riuet and fat vnto the buier, for the better vtterance of his ware, and can not make him away at that present, he laieth the same againe into the proper place, and sowing vp the wound, he restoreth him to the pond where tenches are, who neuer cease to sucke and licke his greeued place, till they haue re|stored him to health, and made him readie to come a|gaine to the stall, when his turne shall come about. I might here make report how the pike, carpe, and some other of our riuer fishes are sold by inches of cleane fish, from the eies or gilles to the crotch of the tailes, but it is needlesse: also how the pike as he a|geth, receiueth diuerse names, as from a frie to a gilthed, from a gilthed to a pod, from a pod to a iacke, from a iacke to a pickerell, from a pickerell to a pike, and last of all to a luce; also that a salmon is the first yeare a grauellin, and commonlie so big as an her|ring, the second a salmon peale, the third a pug, and the fourth a salmon: but this is in like sort vnneces|sarie.

I might finallie tell you, how that in fennie ri|uers sides if you cut a turffe, and laie it with the grasse downewards, vpon the earth, in such sort as the water may touch it as it passeth by, you shall haue a brood of éeles, it would seeme a wonder; and yet it is beleeued with no lesse assurance of some, than that an horse haire laid in a pale full of the like water will in short time stirre and become a liuing crea|ture. But sith the certeintie of these things is rather prooued by few than the certeintie of them knowne vnto manie, I let it passe at this time. Neuerthe|lesse this is generallie obserued in the maintenance of frie so well in riuers as in ponds, that in the time of spawne we vse to throw in faggots made of wil|low and sallow, and now and then of bushes for want of the other, whereby such spawne as falleth into the same is preserued and kept from the pike, perch, éele and other fish, of which the carpe also will féed vpon his owne, and thereby hinder the store and increase of proper kind. Some vse in euerie fift or seauenth yeere to laie their great ponds drie for all the sum|mer time, to the end they may gather grasse, and a thin swart for the fish to feed vpon; and afterwards store them with bréeders, after the water be let of new againe into them: finallie, when they haue spawned, they draw out the bréeders, leauing not aboue foure or six behind, euen in the greatest ponds, by meanes whereof the rest doo prosper the better: and this obseruation is most vsed in carpe and breame; as for perch (a delicate fish) it prospereth euerie where, I meane so well in ponds as riuers, and also in motes and pittes, as I doo know by experience, though their bottoms be but claie. More would I write of our fresh fish, if anie more were needfull; wherefore I will now turne ouer vnto such of the salt water as are taken vpon out coasts. As our foules therefore haue their seasons, so likewise haue all our sorts of sea fish: whereby it commeth to passe that none, or at the leastwise verie few of them are to be had at all times. Neuerthelesse, the seas that inui|ron our coasts, are of all other most plentifull: for as by reason of their depth they are a great succour, so our low shores minister great plentie of food vnto the fish that come thereto, no place being void or bar|ren, either through want of food for them, or the falles of filthie riuers, which naturallie annoie them. In December therefore and Ianuarie we commonlie abound in herring and red fish, as rochet, and gur|nard. In Februarie and March we féed on plaice, trowts, turbut, muskles, &c. In Aprill and Maie, with makrell, and cockles. In Iune and Iulie, with conger. In August and September, with haddocke and herring: and the two moneths insuing with the same, as also thornbacke and reigh of all sorts; all which are the most vsuall, and wherewith our com|mon sort are best of all refreshed.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 For mine owne part I am greatlie acquainted neither with the seasons, nor yet with the fish it selfe: and therefore if I should take vpon me to describe or speake of either of them absolutelie, I should enter|prise more than I am able to performe, and go in hand with a greater matter than I can well bring about. It shall suffice therefore to declare what sorts of fishes I haue most often séene, to the end I may not altogither passe ouer this chapter without the re|hersall of something, although the whole summe of that which I haue to saie be nothing indeed, if the performance of a full discourse hereof be anie thing hardlie required.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Of fishes therefore as I find fiue sorts, the flat, the round, the long, the legged and shelled: so the flat are diuided into the smooth, scaled and tailed. Of the first are the plaice, the but, the turbut, birt, floke or sea flounder, dorreie, dab, &c. Of the second the soles, &c. Of the third,Flat fish. our chaits, maidens, king|sons, flath and thornbacke, whereof the greater be for the most part either dried and carried into other countries, or sodden, sowsed, & eaten here at home, whilest the lesser be fried or buttered; soone after they be taken as prouision not to be kept long for feare of putrifaction. Under the round kinds are common|lie comprehended lumps,Round fish. an vglie fish to sight, and yet verie delicat in eating, if it be kindlie dressed: the whiting (an old waiter or seruitor in the court) the rochet, sea breame, pirle, hake, sea trowt, gurnard, haddocke, cod, herring, pilchard, sprat, and such like. And these are they whereof I haue best knowledge, and be commonlie to be had in their times vpon our coasts. Under this kind also are all the great fish conteined, as the seale, the dolphin, the porpoise, the thirlepole, whale, and whatsoeuer is round of bodie be it neuer so great and huge. Of the long sort are congers, eeles, garefish, and such other of that forme.Long fish. Finallie, of the legged kind we haue not manie, nei|ther hane I seene anie more of this sort than the Po|lypus called in English the lobstar,Legged fish. crafish or creuis, and the crab. As for the little crafishes they are not taken in the sea, but plentifullie in our fresh riuers in banks, and vnder stones, where they kéepe them|selues in most secret maner; and oft by likenesse of colour with the stones among which they lie, deceiue euen the skilfull takers of them, except they vse great diligence. Carolus Stephanus in his maison EEBO page image 225 rustique, doubted whether these lobstars be fish or not; and in the end concludeth them to grow of the purgation of the water as dooth the frog, and these also not to be eaten, for that they be strong and verie hard of digestion. But hereof let other deter|mine further.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 I might here speake of sundrie other fishes now and then taken also vpon our coasts: but sith my mind is onelie to touch either all such as are vsuallie gotten, or so manie of them onelie as I can wel re|hearse vpon certeine knowledge, I thinke it good at this time to forbeare the further intreatie of them. As touching the shellie sort, we haue plentie of oisters, whose valure in old time for their swéetnesse was not vnknowne in Rome (although Mutianus as Plinie noteth lib. 32, cap. 6. preferre the Cyzicene before them) and these we haue in like maner of diuerse quantities, and no lesse varietie also of our muskles and cockles. We haue in like sort no small store of great whelkes, scalops and perewinkles, and each of them brought farre into the land from the sea coast in their seuerall seasons. And albeit our oisters are generallie forborne in the foure hot moneths of the yeare, that is to saie, Maie, Iune, Iulie, and August, which are void of the letter R: yet in some places they be continuallie eaten, where they be kept in pits as I haue knowne by experience. And thus much of our sea fish, as a man in maner vtterlie vnacquain|ted with their diuersitie of kinds: yet so much haue I yéelded to doo, hoping hereafter to saie some what more, and more orderlie of them, if it shall please God that I may liue and haue leasure once againe to per|use this treatise, and so make vp a perfect péece of worke, of that which as you now sée is verie slender|lie attempted and begun.

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