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1.10. Of the Iles of Scotland, and such notable things as are to be found in them. The tenth Chapter.

Of the Iles of Scotland, and such notable things as are to be found in them. The tenth Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _BEing fallen at the last in|to mention of our Iles, I will addresse my selfe to des|cribe the same, in maner and forme as followeth. In the Irish sea, betwixt Ire|land and Scotland are fortie and thrée Iles, whereof some are thirtie miles long, diuers twelue, and others more or lesse. These are called by some writers Eu|boniae, and by other Hebrides. But the principall of them all is that of Man, which lieth ouer against Galloway, & was somtime the principall seat of the Druides, as Cornelius Tacitus, Caesar in his com|mentaries, and other Romane writers doo testifie at large. North from the Ile of Man lieth Arran, o|therwise named Botha after S. Brandons time, who dwelled there in a little cottage, which (as all o|ther the like were in those daies) was called Botha. From Arran we go to Hellaw and Rothesay, which later is so named of the Scot, which brought the Scots first out of Ireland into Britaine. Not far from this Ile is Ailsay, where there is such store of soland géese as they said before to be in Bas. Be|yond Ailsay lie manie other distinguished by their se|uerall names, but full of mines, as of iron, tin, lead, & sundrie other mettals. But the most notable Ile belonging to Scotland is Ila, that lieth beyond the promontorie of Nouant cliffe (in Scotish the toong of Lorne) within sight of Lochquhabre. Certes it is a rich parcell, thirtie miles in length, and full of corne and mettall, if the people were cunning to find and trim the same.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Not farre from thence is Cumbra, and Mula, ful|lie so large as Ila, both for length and breadth. In Mula is a faire spring two miles from the sea, from whence runneth a little brooke or strippet, whereof you shall read more in the description of Britaine, lib. 1. cap. 8. Neere vnto this is Iona, otherwise cal|led Columkill, in which is an abbie, wherin the kings of Scotland were commonlie buried from the time of Fergus the second, vnto Malcolme Cammof, who erected the monasterie of Dunfermelin, where since that time the most part of our kings haue béene of custome interred. Passing forward toward the northnorthwest seas, ouer against Rosse is an Ile named Lewis, 60 miles in length, in this Ile is but one fish riuer, & it is said that if a woman wade through the same at the spring of the yeere, there shall no samon be séene there for a twelue month af|ter, wheras otherwise that fish is knowne to abound there in verie great plentie. Beyond Lewis lie the Sky and the Rona, in the later whereof, it is incre|dible to saie what of seale, of pellocke and porpasse is to be séene, which are nothing abashed at the sight of any man. The last and vttermost Ile is named Hir|tha, where the eleuation of the pole is 63 degrées, and since the latitude of Man, is but 57.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 I conclude, that from the Ile of Man the first Ile of Albion, to Hirtha the last Ile hereof are 377 miles, after 62 miles and an halfe to each degrée, as Ptolomie hath set downe. It is named Hirtha, which in Irish soundeth so much as a shéepe in English, for herein that kind of cattell aboundeth, each one be|ing greater than any bucke, their hornes longer and thicker than of the bugle, and thereto they haue side tailes that reach vnto the earth. It is enuironed on euerie part with rochie or rockie crags, whereby few vessels may land there but at one place, where the working of the sea is oftentimes so terrible & rough, that no man dare aduenture thither without danger of his life. They that go thither therefore, doo watch their times when the sea is calme and still. In the moneth of Iune also, a priest commeth vnto them out of Leuissa, and ministreth the sacrament of bap|tisme to all the children that haue béene borne there since that moneth in the yeare precedent: which bée|ing doone, and a certeine number of masses said, he receiueth tithes of all their commodities, and then returneth home againe.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 In the Ile of Lewis are two churches or chappels, whereof one is dedicated to saint Peter, another to saint Clement. The fame is, that so soone as the fire goeth out in this Ile, the man that is holden of most cleane and innocent life, goeth to the altar with great solemnitie, and there laieth a w [...]pe of straw, which being doone they fall all to praier, in the mid|dest whereof fire commeth downe from heauen and kindleth or setteth the same on fire. Beyond this is yet another Ile, but void of people and all other li|uing creatures, sauing a certeine kind of beasts like vnto shéepe, whose nature and forme I haue al|readie touched in the description of Britaine, and therefore omit it here for hast and breuitie sake. Be|twixt these Iles also is a right dangerous passage, sith the sea by working of opposite streames hath in|gendred a g [...]lfe, which sometimes taketh in an in|comprehensible deale of water, and sometimes ca|steth it foorth againe, by meanes whereof many ships EEBO page image 17 that by rage of wind and weather are inforced to come that waie, are either swallowed vp by the wauss, or throwne against the rocks to their vtter danger and ruine. The greatest rage of this conflu|ence is at a place called Corebrecke, where it will ei|ther sinke, or at the least wise draw any ship vnto it, though it be a full mile distant from the same.

1.11. Of the nature of the Claike geese, and sundrie maners of their pro|creation, and of the Ile of Thule. The eleuenth Chapter.

Of the nature of the Claike geese, and sundrie maners of their pro|creation, and of the Ile of Thule. The eleuenth Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _NOw it is come to hand that I intreat of those géese which are ingendred by the sea, whose procreation hath hitherto béen thought to haue beene made vpon trees. But the opinion is false, and yet sith their generation is strange indeed, I haue not a little trauelled, and with no small diligence indeuoured to search out the truth héereof, wherby I learne that their ingendrure is rather to be referred to the sea, than any thing els, if my coniecture be oughts: for although that they are in sundrie wise producted, yet I find the same to be performed continuallie in the sea, and not else|where, as shall appéere hereafter. All trées cast in|to that element in processe of time become wormea|ten, and in the holes thereof are the said wormes to be found, though verie little and small (in compari|son to that they be afterward) to be perceiued at the first. In the beginning, these worms doo shew their heads and féet, and last of all their plumes & wings. Finallie when they are come to the iust measure and quantitie of géese, they flie in the aire as other foules doo.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 This was notablie prooued in the yeare of Grace 1490, in sight of many people, beside the castell of Pestego, whither the bodie of a great trée was brought by working of the sea. This trée being ta|ken, it was carried to the lord of the soile, who soone after caused it to be slit in sunder with a saw: which being doone, it is incredible to sée, what a multitude at wormes came out of their holes. Of these also some appeered as if they had béene but new shapen, diuers had head, foot and wings, but no feathers, the rest were formed into perfect foules. At last when the people had gazed theron by the space of an whole daie, they carried it to saint Andrewes church beside Tire, where the said blocke remains still to be seene. Within two yeeres after there hapned such another trée to come into the firth of Tay beside Dundée, wormeaten and full of yoong géese after the same maner: the third was séene in the hauen of Leith be|side Edenburgh: and also within a few yéeres, in like sort a ship named the Christopher, after she had lien thrée yéeres at anchor in one of these Iles, was broght to Leith, where bicause hir timber was found to be rotten she was taken in sunder, and in hir kéele were found infinite holes as if they had beene eaten with wormes, or bored with a wimble, and each one of them filled with such creatures as I haue said be|fore.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Héere if any man will alledge that the Christopher was builded of such timber onelie as grew in these Iles, and that all roots and trees there growing, are of such nature as in their corruption doo turne into these foules, I will disprooue his assertion by one no|table example shewed before mine eies. Maister A|lexander Galloway parson of Kinkell, was with vs in these Iles, & giuing his mind with attentiue dili|gence to search out a full resolution with vs of these obscure and hidden matters, it hapned on a time that he tooke vp a branch of Alga, called in Scotish, S [...]at|angle, which hanged full of muskle shels from the root euen to the verie top. Being also desireus to sée what was in them, he grew to be more astonished than before: for when he had opened one or two of them, he saw no fish but a foule perfectlie shapen, ful|lie answering to the capacitie of the shell.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Finallie, knowing that I was verie inquisitiue of these and the like rare nouelties, he came hastilie with the said hearbe & shewed it vnto me, who found no lesse by experience than I before reported. By these and many other reasons and examples I can|not beleeue that these Claiks (or Barnacls as I call them) are producted either by the qualities of the trées or the roots thereof, but onelie by the nature of the sea, which is the verie cause and productrir of so manie wonderfull creatures. Furthermore, bicause the rude and ignorant people saw oftentimes the fruits that fell from trées, which stood neuer in the sea, conuerted within short time into géese, they beléeued that these géese grew vpon trées, hanging by their nebs as apples and other fruit doo by their stalks, but their opinion is vtterlie to be reiected. For so soone as these apples or fruit fall from the trée into the sea, they grow first to be wormeaten, and in processe of time to be conuerted into géese.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Thus haue I spoken sufficientlie of the Iles of the Hebrides adiacent vnto the realme of Scotland, and therewithall would shut vp my discourse of the same, were it not that I haue somewhat to say also of Thule, not vnknowne vnto the Romans, as may appeare by Tacitus, who telleth how the Romane na|uie by the commandement of Agricola, was sent to view the coasts of the whole Iland of Britaine, and at their returne reported how they had séene the Thule, with other Ilands lieng about the same. Pto|lome writeth that the Ile of Thule is one of the Shetland Iles, which lie néere vnto Norwey, and be|yond the Orchades; but this cannot be prooued so by late experience: for Thule is manie miles distant from Shetland. Some say that Thule is the same which we call Island: other write that it is the last Ile of the ocean sea, and so is Island, which lieth in the cold srostie sea, beyond the Artike circle toward the north pole. The people of Island because no corne groweth among them, line onelie by fish, which they drie and powder so small as meale dooth come backe from the mill, afterward they mix it with water, and worke it vp for bread.

1.12. Of the description of Orkeney, and Shetland, with sundrie other small Iles, and of the maners and conditions of the people dwelling in the same. The twelfe Chapter.

Of the description of Orkeney, and Shetland, with sundrie other small Iles, and of the maners and conditions of the people dwelling in the same. The twelfe Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _BEyond the Iles of Scot|land lie those of Orkeney, partlie toward the north|west, and partlie toward the Almain seas. The principall Ile of these is called Pomo|nia, wherein is a bishops sée, and two strong castels. In these groweth no wheat, they are in like sort void of wood, howbeit all other graine groweth there verie plentifullie, they be without all venemous beasts al|so, neither can such as are brought thither liue anie EEBO page image 18 while, more than in Ireland, which susteineth no crea|ture that is aduersarie to mankind. Ouer and beside this, there are no frogs: as for éeles they are seldome found and to be seene in the Orchades. Hauing thus fallen into the mention of Ireland, I thinke it good among diuers other rare gifts of nature, to remem|ber one thing that I haue prooued by experience to be done there (although the tractation of Ireland and hir commodities apperteine not to this place) which farre passeth all that euer I haue read in bookes.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Certes there is a loch, lin, or poole there, néere vnto the which by manie miles, there groweth neither herbe nor trée; howbeit such is the qualitie of this water, that if a stake be pitched in the same, the na|ture thereof dooth within one yéeres space alter and change excéedinglie, for that part thereof which stan|deth in the ground is conuerted into hard stone, the same that is inuironed with water turneth into tough iron, onelie that portion which is aboue the said element reteining hir former wooddie sub|stance, whereby it is often seene how in one and the same bodie, thrée distinct substances are found, that is to say, stone, iron, and wood, which farre excéedeth all credit. But to returne againe to our Orchades, whereof things of little or no lesse importance are to be rehersed, for sith there is great abundance of bar|ley whereof they make the strongest ale that is to be found in Albion, and thereto knowne, that they are the greatest drinkers of anie men in the world; yet was there neuer drunken or man disguised with drinke séene there, neither anie foole, or person other|wise berest of his wits through frensie or madnes. There is herevnto small vse of physicke: for man|kind liueth there most commonlie vnto extreame age in sound and perfect health, whose bodies also are of strong constitution and verie white of colour.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The ewes that are to be found in these Ilands haue for the most part two or thrée lambs a péece at euerie eaning, and therewithall they haue in this countrie such plentie of foules both wild and tame, as the like number againe is not to be found in Bri|taine. Their horsses are litle greter than the French asses, but in their labour they excéed all other. What should I speake of the plentie of fish there to be had, which passeth all credit? among which there is one sort greater than anie horsse, of a maruellous and in|credible sluggish desire to sléepe. This fish when shée prouideth to sleepe, fastneth hir huge teeth vpon some crag that lieth aboue the water, and then slumbreth or falleth into a most sound rest, which the seafa|ring men espieng, they foorthwith cast anchor, and then letting downe their ship-boats, they conueie themselues to the fish, and bore a great hole through hir taile, wherevnto they put one end of a cable, and so make it sure; the other end is fastened to a great anchor, which is let fall of purpose into the sea, and thus is their enterprise attempted yer long to be at|chiued. For after this wound, it is not long yer the fish awaketh, who féeling hirselfe to be hurt, leapeth at once into the sea, thinking to hide and shrowd hir in the déepes: but being staid by the weight of the anchor, and indeuouring in vaine to breake the ca|ble, she laboureth so vehementlie, that at the last she windeth [...] selfe out of hir skin (for the which she is commonlie taken) and soone after also turneth vp hir bellie, yéelding hirselfe vnto the waues, and hir bodie to the mariners, who make an excellent oile of hir grease, and passing strong cables of hir hide or skin. Certes such is the force of rope made of the skin of this fish, that they will hold at a plunge no lesse than the Spanish sparto. Herein also they ex|céed the same, in that they will continue verie long without fretting asunder.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 An hundred miles beyond the Orchades arc the Shetland Iles, whose chiefe commodities stand-one|lie by fish which is dried in the sun. There are brought also into Scotland out of these Ilands great store of shéepes felles, oxe hides, gotes skinnes, and cases of martirnes dried in the sunne. And in the same maner the merchants of Holland, Zeland and Ger|manie, fetch them yéerelie by barter and exchange for other common and necessarie wares, with the people of that nation, who for maners and conditi|ons resemble much the Orchanois. The same in like sort that is said of the Orchanois, concerning drun|kennes and frensie, is verified on them, as is also their length of life, although not in so rare maner: sith these in stead of strong ale, content themselues with water, and verie slender diet, Beyond the Shet|lands there are diuerse other Ilands of like condi|tion, but without corne and all maner of flesh to féed vpon. These drie their fish in the sunne, and when they are through stiffe, they grind them to small pow|der, which they worke vp with water into loaues, and so vse the same in lieu of other bread. Their firing consisteth of the bones of such fishes as they take, and yet they content themselues in such maner with this their poore kind of liuelode, that they thinke their estate most happie in respect of such as inhabit in the maine.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Certes there is no quarrelling amongst these for wealth or gaine, but each one prouideth such store of fish in summer which he taketh himselfe, as shall find his familie, or kéepe his house in winter. They are void of all ambitious mood, and neuer troubled with ciuill or forren warres, as men that déeme firme peace and quietnesse, with mutuall loue and a|mitie, to be the chiefe felicitie to be sought for in this life, and to remaine herein, each one to his power dooth shew his whole indeuour. This finallie is to be added vnto their commendation, that they are sim|ple, plaine, void of craft, and all maner of serpen|tine subtilt [...]e, which endeth commonlie with mis|chéefe, and reigneth in the maine. Once in the yéere there commeth a priest vnto them from Orkeney, (of which diocesse they are) who ministreth vnto them the sacrament of baptisme, and after a certeine time (hauing taken vp in the meane time his tithes in fish, which is their sole increase, and verie trulie paid) he returneth home againe the same way that he came.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 If anie gifts of nature are to be numbred as par|cels of worldlie riches and renowme, they are not without these also: for the people of these Iles are lustie, faire, strong of bodie, and high of stature, so that nature hath not failed to indue them with these things, and that in most excellent maner. What should I say of their health, which is and may be pre|ferred aboue all treasure, as they well know that are oppressed with long and gréeuous infirmities? For here among these men, you shall very seldome heare of sickenesse to attach anie, vntill extreame age come that killeth them altogither, and this is that ex|ceeding benefit naturallie appropried vnto their car|cases. As for their quietnesse of mind, it is alwaies such as is constant, & vnchangeable, and therefore in|comparable vnto any riches or huge masse of world|lie treasure.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Herevnto furthermore, if it be true riches (as it is in déed) for ech one not to couet other mens goods, but to content himselfe with that which is his owne, and not to stand in need of anie thing, can anie man be found in anie other region more rich and fortu|nate than the Shetland men and these Ilanders? Fi|nallie, if those be the true honors, and reuerend du|ties which the obedient sonne with great sinceritie and void of all flatterie, dooth shew vnto his good pa|rents, and wherewithall the best sort doo maruellous|lie EEBO page image 19 reioise and delite themselues: and that these are also not wanting in these regions, can we iustlie say that these men doo lacke anie thing, or shall we not rather affirme with great assurance, that they ra|ther stand in need of nothing that anie mortall man can iustlie with or desire.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But if there be anie man that will accuse me of vntruth in the recit all of these things, as one that li|eth lowd and by authoritie of a people dwelling far off, for so much as I my selfe was neuer in those I|lands, he shall vnderstand that I learned all these things of the reuerend father Edward bishop of the Orchades, with whome one of these Ilanders dwel|led, who not onelie made a like rehearsall of these things with his owne mouth, but also verified the same in his owne person, for his height far passed the common stature of men, thereto he was excel|lentlie well featured in his lims, so white of skin ouer all, that he might contend in beautie with anie ladie of the land, and finallie so white and strong of bodie, that no man in all those quarters durst run or wrestle with him. Hereby also we may sée, how far they are deceiued which iudge them to be barbarous, and miserable creatures, that inhabit far from the tropike lines, for there are no people more happie than those that dwell in these quarters, as I haue proued alreadie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Furthermore, among the rocks and crags of these Iles groweth the delectable amber, called E|lectrum, [...]ee Matthio|lus vpon the first booke of Dioscorides capite de po|palo alba & nigra. Chrysolectrum, or (as Discorides saith) Pterygo|phoron, indued wish so vehement an attractiue force, that being chafed it draweth straw, flor, and other like light matter vnto it. This gum is ingendred of the sea froth, which is throwen vp by continuall re|percussion of crags and rocks against the sea walls, and through perpetuall working of the waues grow|eth in time to become tough as glue, till it fall at the last from the rocke againe into the sea. Such as haue often viewed and marked the generation of this gum, whilest it hangeth on the rocke, affirme it to be like a froth and bubble of water without all massie sadnesse, because that as yet it is not suffici|entlie hardened by the working of the element. Sometimes the Seatangle is found inuironed also [...]igs. withall, because it is driuen hither and thither by the working of the waues, and so long as it fléets to and fro in this maner, so long is it apt to cleaue to anie thing that it toucheth.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Two yeares before I wrote this booke, there came a great lumpe of amber into Buchquhane, in quan|titie so big as anie horsse, which the heardmen that kept their cattell neere hand caught vp, & not know|ing in déed what it was, they caried it home, and threw a portion thereof into the fire: finallie, percei|uing a swéet and delectable sauour to procéed from the same, they ran by & by to the priest of the towne where they dwelled, telling him how they had found a péece of stuffe which would serue verie well in stead of frankincense, wherewith to perfume his saints or rather Idols in the church. These men supposed that sir Iohn had béene more cunning than them|selues, but contrarie to their expectation, it fell out that he was no lesse vnskilfull & void of knowlege than they; and therefore refusing the whole lumpe, he tooke but a small portion thereof, and returned the rest vnto them, whereby it came to little proofe and lesse gaine among the common sort, who suffered it to perish by reason of their vnskilfulnesse. Certes when they brake it in peeces, it resembled in color vn|to the purest gold, & shined as if it had béene the laie or flame of a candle. Herein also the prouerbe was proued true, that the sow recks not of balme. But so soone as I vnderstood of the matter, I vsed such diligence, that one portion thereof was brought to me at Aberden. And thus much of the Hebrides, Or|chades; and Shetland Iles subiect vnto the Scotish regiment.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 I might (no doubt) haue made rehersall of diuers other strange things woorthie the noting in this be|halfe: but I haue made choise onelie of the most rare and excellent, and so would finish this descrip|tion, were it not that one thing hath staied me right pleasant to be remembred, as an vncouth & strange incident, whereof maister Iames Ogilbie ambas|sadour from Iames our king (among other) vnto the king of France, hath certified me, and whereof he had experience of late, at such time as he was con|streined by tempest of wether to get to land in Nor|weie. Thus standeth the case, being driuen (as I said) vpon the shore of Norweie, he and his companie saw a kind of people ranging vp & downe in the moun|teins there, much like vnto those which diuers pic|tures giue foorth for wild men, hearie and vglie to behold. In the end being aduertised that they were sauage and wild beasts; yet neuerthelesse deadlie enimies to mankind: they vnderstood therevnto, that although in the day time they abhorred and fea|red the sight of man, yet in the night they would by great companies inuade the small villages & coun|trie townes, killing and sleaing so manie as they found, or where no dogs were kept to put by their rage and furie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Certes such is their nature, that they stand in great scare of dogs, at whose barking and sight they flie and run away with no small hast and terror, wherefore the inhabitants are inforced to cherish great numbers of the said beasts, thereby to kéepe off those wild men that otherwise would annoy them. They are morouer of such strength, that some|times they pull vp yoong trées by the roots to fight withall among themselues. The ambassadours sée|ing these vncouth creatures, were not a little asto|nished, and therefore to be sure from all inuasion, procured a strong gard to watch all night about them, with great fiers to giue light ouer all that quarter, till on the morrow that they tooke the sea, and so departed thence. Finallie, the Norwegians shewed them, that there was another people not far off, which liued all the summer time in the sea like fish, & fed of such as they did catch, but in the winter half (because the water is cold) they preied vpon such wild beasts as fed on the mounteins, which com|ming downe from the snowte hils to grase in the vallies, they killed with darts and weapons, and caried vnto their caues. In this exercise also they tie little boords to their féet, which beare them vp from sinking into the snow, and so with a staffe in their hands they make the better shift to clime vp and come downe from the crags & mounteins, where|of in that region there is verie great plentie and a|bundance.

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