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5.4. Of sauage beasts and vermines. Chap. 4.

Of sauage beasts and vermines. Chap. 4.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _IT is none of the least bles|sings wherewith God hath in|dued this Iland, that it is void of noisome beasts, as li|ons, beares, tigers, pardes, wolfes, & such like, by means whereof our countrimen may trauell in safetie, & our herds and flocks remaine for the most part abroad in the field without anie herdman or kéeper.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 This is cheefelie spoken of the south and southwest parts of the Iland. For wheras we that dwell on this side of the Twed, may safelie boast of our securitie in this behalfe: yet cannot the Scots doo the like in euerie point within their kingdome, sith they haue greeuous woolfes and cruell foxes, beside some other of like disposition continuallie conuersant among them, to the generall hinderance of their husband|men, and no small damage vnto the inhabiters of those quarters. The happie and fortunate want of these beasts in England is vniuersallie ascribed to the politike gouernement of king Edgar,Woolfes. who to the intent the whole countrie might once be clensed and clearelie rid of them, charged the conquered Welsh|men (who were then pestered with these rauenous creatures aboue measure) to paie him a yearelie tri|bute of woolfes skinnes,Tribute of woolfes skins. to be gathered within the land. He appointed them thereto a certeine number of three hundred, with free libertie for their prince to hunt & pursue them ouer all quarters of the realme; as our chronicles doo report. Some there be which write how Ludwall prince of Wales paid yearelie to king Edgar this tribute of thrée hundred woolfes, whose carcases being brought into Lhoegres, were buried at Wolfpit in Cambridgeshire, and that by meanes thereof within the compasse and terme of foure yeares, none of those noisome creatures were left to be heard of within Wales and England. Since this time also we read not that anie woolfe hath béene séene here that hath beene bred within the bounds and limits of our countrie: howbeit there haue béene diuerse brought ouer from beyond the seas for gréedinesse of gaine, and to make monie on|lie by the gasing and gaping of our people vpon them, who couet oft to see them being strange beasts in their eies, and sildome knowne (as I haue said) in England.

Lions we haue had verie manie in the north parts of Scotland, and those with maines of no lesse force than they of Mauritania were sometimes reported to be; but how and when they were destroied as yet I doo not read. They had in like sort no lesse plentie of wild and cruell buls, which the princes and their no|bilitie in the frugall time of the land did hunt, and follow for the triall of their manhood, and by pursute either on horssebacke or foot in armor; notwithstand|ing that manie times they were dangerouslie assai|led by them. But both these sauage cretures are now not heard of, or at the least wise the later scarselie known in the south parts. Howbeit it this I gather by their being here, that our Iland was not cut from the maine by the great deluge or flood of Noah: but long after, otherwise the generation of those & other like creatures could not haue extended into our I|lands. For, that anie man would of set purpose reple|nish the countrie with them for his pleasure and pa|stime in hunting, I can in no wise beléeue.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Of foxes we haue some but no great store,Foxes. and also badgers in our sandie & light grounds,Badgers. where woods, firzes, broome, and plentie of shrubs are to shrowd them in, when they be from their borrowes, and thereto warrens of conies at hand to féed vpon at will. Otherwise in claie, which we call the cledgie mould, we sildom heare of anie, bicause the moisture and toughnesse of the soile is such, as will not suffer them to draw and make their borrowes déepe. Cer|tes if I may fréelie saie what I thinke, I suppose that these two kinds (I meane foxes and badgers) are ra|ther preserued by gentlemen to hunt and haue pa|stime withall at their owne pleasures, than other|wise suffered to liue, as not able to be destroied bi|cause of their great numbers. For such is the scanti|tie of them here in England, in comparison of the plentie that is to be seene in other countries, and so earnestlie are the inhabitants bent to root them out, that except it had béene to beare thus with the recrea|tions of their superiors in this behalfe, it could not otherwise haue béene chosen, but that they should haue béene vtterlie destroied by manie yeares a|gone.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 I might here intreat largelie of other vermine, as the polcat,Beuers. the miniuer, the weasell, stote, fulmart, squirrill, fitchew, and such like, which Cardan inclu|deth vnder the word Mustela: also of the otter, and likewise of the beuer, whose hinder féet and taile on|lie are supposed to be fish. Certes the taile of this beast is like vnto a thin whetstone, as the bodie vnto a monsterous rat: the beast also it selfe is of such force in the téeth, that it will gnaw an hole through a thicke planke, or shere thorough a dubble billet in a night; it loueth also the stillest riuers: & it is giuen to them by nature, to go by flockes vnto the woods at hand, where they gather sticks wherewith to build their nests, wherein their bodies lie drie aboue the water, although they so prouide most commonlie, that they tailes may hang within the same. It is al|so reported that their said tailes are a delicate dish, and their stones of such medicinable force, that (as EEBO page image 224 [...] EEBO page image 225 [...] EEBO page image 226 Vertomannus saith) foure men smelling vnto them each after other did bleed at the nose through their attractiue force, procéeding from a vehement sauour wherewith they are indued: ther is greatest plentie of them in Persia, chéefelie about Balascham, from whence they and their dried cods are brought into all quarters of the world, though not without some for|gerie by such as prouide them. And of all these here remembred, as the first sorts are plentifull in euerie wood and hedgerow: so these latter, especiallie the otter (for to saie the truth we haue not manie beuers, but onelie in the Teisie in Wales) is not wanting or to séeke in manie, but most streams and riuers of this Ile: but it shall suffice in this sort to haue named them as I doo finallie the marterne,Marterns. a beast of the chase, although for number I worthilie doubt whe|ther that of our beuers or marterns may be thought to be the lesse.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Other pernicious beasts we haue not, except you repute the great plentie of red & fallow déere, whose colours are oft garled white and blacke, all white or all blacke, and store of conies amongst the hurtfull fort. Which although that of themselues they are not offensiue at all, yet their great numbers are thought to be verie preiudiciall, and therfore iustlie reprooued of many; as are in like sort our huge flocks of shéepe, whereon the greatest part of our soile is emploied al|most in euerie place, and yet our mutton, wooll, and selles neuer the better cheape. The yoong males which our fallow deere doo bring foorth, are commonlie na|med according to their seuerall ages: for the first yéere it is a sawne, the second a puckot, the third a [...]rell, the fourth a soare, the fift a bucke of the first head; not bearing the name of a bucke till he be fiue yéers old: and from hencefoorth his age is commonlie knowne by his head or horns. Howbeit this notice of his yéers is not so certeine, but that the best wood|man may now and then he deceiued in that account: for in some grounds a bucke of the first head will be so well headed as another in a high rowtie soile will be in the fourth. It is also much to be maruelled at, that whereas they doo yéerelie new and cast their horns: yet in fighting they neuer breake off where they doo grife or mew. Furthermore, in examining the condition of our red déere, I find that the yoong male is called in the first yéere a calfe, in the second a broket, the third a spaie, the fourth a stagon or stag, the fift a great stag, the sixt an hart, and so foorth vnto his death. And with him in degrée of venerie are ac|counted the hare, bore, and woolfe. The fallow déere as bucks and does, are nourished in parkes, and co|nies in warrens and burrowes. As for hares, they run at their owne aduenture, except some gentle|man or other (for his pleasure) doo make an inclo|sure for them.Stags. Of these also the stag is accounted for the most noble game, the fallow déere is the next, then the roe, whereof we haue indifferent store; and last of all the hare, not the least in estimation, because the hunting of that seelie beast is mother to all the terms, blasts, and artificiall deuises that hunters doo vse. All which (notwithstanding our custome) are pastimes more méet for ladies and gentlewomen to exercise (whatsoeuer Franciscus Patritius saith to the contrarie in his institution of a prince) than for men of courage to follow, whose hunting should practise their armes in tasting of their manhood, and dealing with such beasts as eftsoones will turne againe, and offer them the hardest rather than their horsses féet, which manie times may carrie them with dishonour from the field. Surelie this noble kind of hunting onelie did great princes frequent in times past, as it may yet appéere by the histories of their times, es|peciallie of Alexander, who at vacant times hunted the tiger, the pard, the bore, and the beare, but most willinglie lions, because of the honorable estimation of that beast; insomuch that at one time he caused an od or chosen lion (for force and beautie) to be let foorth vnto him hand to hand, with whome he had much businesse, albeit that in the end he ouerthrew and killed the beast. Herevnto beside that which we read of the vsuall hunting of the princes and kings of Scotland, of the wild bull, woolfe, &c: the example of king Henrie the first of England, who disdaining (as he termed them) to follow or pursue cowards, che|rished of set purpose sundrie kinds of wild beasts, as bears, libards, ounces, lions at Woodstocke, & one or two other places in England, which he walled about with hard stone, An. 1120, and where he would often fight with some one of them hand to hand, when they did turne againe and make anie raise vpon him: but chéeflie he loued to hunt the lion and the bore, which are both verie dangerous exercises, especiallie that with the lion, except some policie be found wherwith to trouble his eiesight in anie manner of wise. For though the bore be fierce, and hath learned by nature to harden his flesh and skin against the trées, to shar|pen his teeth, and defile himselfe with earth, thereby to prohibit the entrance of the weapons: yet is the sport somewhat more easie, especiallie where two stand so neere togither, that the one (if néed be) may helpe and be a succour to the other. Neither would he cease for all this to follow his pastime, either on horssebacke or on foot, as occasion serued, much like the yoonger Cyrus. I haue read of wild bores and bulles to haue béene about Blackleie néere Manche|ster, whither the said prince would now and then re|sort also for his solace in that behalfe, as also to come by those excellent falcons then bred thereabouts; but now they are gone, especiallie the bulles, as I haue said alreadie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 King Henrie the fift in his beginning thought it a méere scofferie to pursue anie fallow déere with hounds or greihounds, but supposed himselfe al|waies to haue doone a sufficient act when he had tired them by his owne trauell on foot, and so killed them with his hands in the vpshot of that exercise and end of his recreation. Certes herein he resembled Po|lymnestor Milesius, of whome it is written, how he ran so swiftlie, that he would and did verie often o|uertake hares for his pleasure, which I can hardlie beleeue: and therefore much lesse that one Lidas did run so lightlie and swiftlie after like game, that as he passed ouer the sand, he left not so much as the prints of his feet behind him. And thus did verie ma|nie in like sort with the hart (as I doo read) but this I thinke was verie long agone, when men were farre higher and swifter than they are now: and yet I de|nie not, but rather grant willinglie that the hunting of the red deere is a right princelie pastime. In di|uerse forren countries they cause their red and fal|low déere to draw the plough, as we doo our oxen and horsses.Hinds haue béene milked In some places also they milke their hinds as we doo here our kine and goats. And the experi|ence of this latter is noted by Giraldus Cambrensis to haue beene séene and vsed in Wales, where he did eat cheese made of hinds milke, at such time as Baldwine archbishop of Canturburie preached the croisad there, when they were both lodged in a gen|tlemans house, whose wife of purpose kept a deirie of the same. As for the plowing with vres (which I suppose to be vnlikelie) because they are (in mine o|pinion) vntameable and alkes a thing commonlie vsed in the east countries; here is no place to speake of it, since we want these kind of beasts, neither is it my purpose to intreat at large of other things than are to be seene in England. Wherefore I will o|mit to saie anie more of wild and sanage beasts at this time, thinking my selfe to haue spoken alreadie EEBO page image 227 sufficientlie of this matter, if not too much in the iudgement of the curious.

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