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terious significations became more considerable than their gemmary

substances ; and those, no doubt, did nobly answer the intention of the institutor. Beside, some may doubt whether there be twelve distinct species of noble tralucent gems in nature, at least yet known unto us, and such as may not be referred unto some of those in high esteem among us, which come short of the number of twelve; which to make up, we must find out some others to match and join with the diamond, beryl, sapphire, emerald, amethyst, topaz, chrysolite, jacinth, ruby, and, if we may admit it in this number, the oriental granat.?


Of sundry tenets concerning vegetables or plants, which, examined, prove

either false or dubious :—of mandrakes, that cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, are but the parts or fruits of the same tree; that miseltoe is bred upon trees, from seeds which birds let fall thereon ; of the rose of Jericho, that flowereth every year upon Christmas Eve ; of Glastonbury thorn ; that Sferra Cavallo hath a power to break or loosen iron; that bays preserve from the mischief of lightning and thunder ; that bitter almonds are preservatives against ebriety.

1. MANY molas and false conceptions there are of mandrakes. The first, from great antiquity, conceiveth the root

6 whether there be twelve, &c.] If we are to understand, by the terms "noble tralucent gems,” those only which were formerly called precious stones, we shall scarcely enumerate more than two distinct species, viz., the diamond and sapphire ; for the oriental ruby, amethyst, and topaz, are not distinct in species from the sapphire ; and the crysoberyl and spinelle ruby, though distinct species, are inferior in hardness and brilliancy to stones of the first class. But if we extend our range, as Sir Thomas has done, to gems of lesser value, though we confine ourselves to such as are, scientifically speaking, distinct species, and so omit several of the most splendid and valuable, as being only varieties, we may still enlarge his list-for example : supposing his “ chrysolite to refer to the common chrysolite or peridot, and his “ oriental granat to be the garnet ; we may add the chrysoberyl, or oriental chrysolite ; the almandine garnet, or carbuncle of the ancients (which he seems to consider as only a ruby of greater size and beauty); the precious tourmaline (lyncurium of the ancients), and perhaps the chrysoprase ; not to mention opal and torquoise.

? Most men, &c.] This whole paragraph was added in the 6th edition. 8 "Many molas, &c.] An excellent digest of the various and absurd


thereof resembleth the shape of man; which is a conceit not to be made out by ordinary inspection, or any other eyes, than such as, regarding the clouds, behold them in shapes conformable to pre-apprehensions.

Now, whatever encourageth the first invention, there have not been wanting many ways of its promotion. The first a catechrestical and far-derived similitude it holds with man; that is, in a bifurcation or division of the root into two parts, which some are content to call thighs ; whereas, notwithstanding, they are ofttimes three, and when but two, commonly so complicated and crossed, that men, for this deceit, are fain to effect their design in other plants. And as fair a resemblance is often found

in carrots, parsnips, briony, and many others. There are, I confess, divers plants which carry about them not only the shape of parts, but also of whole animals; but surely not all thereof, unto whom this conformity is imputed. Whoever shall peruse the signatures of Crollius, or rather the Phytognomy of Porta, and strictly observe how vegetable realities are commonly forced into animal representations, may easily perceive in very many, the semblance is but postulatory, and must have a more assimilating fancy than mine to make good many thereof.

Illiterate heads have been led on by the name, which, in the first syllable, * expresseth its representation; but other have better observed the laws of etymology, and deduced it from a word of the same language, because it delighteth to

* Mávopa, spelunca. speculations and conjectures respecting the mandrake and its properties will be found in Dr. Harris's Dictionary of the Natural History of the Bible.

The Abbe Mariti, in his Travels, vol. ii, p. 195, thus describes the mandrake. At the village of St. John, in the mountains, about six miles south-west from Jerusalem, this plant is found at present, as well as in Tuscany. It grows low like lettuce, to which its leaves have a great resemblance, except that they have a dark green colour. The flowers are purple, and the root is for the most part forked. The fruit, when ripe in the beginning of May, is of the size and colour of a small apple, exceedingly ruddy, and of a most agreeable odour. Our guide thought us fools for suspecting it to be unwholesome. He ate it freely himself; and it is generally valued by the inhabitants as exhilarating their spirits, and a provocative to venery."


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grow in obscure and shady places; which derivation, although we shall not stand to maintain, yet the other seemeth answerable unto the etymologies of many authors, who often confound such nominal notations. Not to en, quire beyond our own profession, the Latin physicians, which most adhered unto the Arabic way, have often failed herein ; particularly Valescus de Taranta, a received physician, in whose Philonium, or Medical Practice, these may be observed : Diarrhea, saith he, quia pluries venit in die. Herisepela, quasi hærens pilis ; emmorrohis, ab emach, sanguis, et morrohis, quod est cadere. Lithargia, à litos, quod est oblivio, et targus, morbus. Scotomia, à scotus, quod est videre, et mias, musca. Opthalmia, ab opus Græcè, quod est succus, et talmon quod est oculus. Paralisis, quasi læsio partis. Fistula, à fos sonus, et stolon quod est emissio, quasi emissio soni vel vocis. Which are derivations as strange, indeed, as the other, and hardly to be paralleled elsewhere : confirming not only the words of one language with another, but creating such as were never yet in any.

The received distinction and common notation by sexes, hath also promoted the conceit; for true it is, that her. balists, from ancient times, have thus distinguished them ;

9 venit in die.] Not unlike to that of cioaywyn, which a wise man derived from (eioos and ywyovs) or, as Calepin derives aqua from à qud, or as Minshew, prospero from porro and spero, where the long quantityes in the originals discover the follye of the derivations.- Wr.

The received distinction, &c.] Nearly a century elapsed after this paragraph was written, before the distinction adverted to was well understood and explained. The real use of the stamina of plants, to fertilize the seed, though suspected by Ray and others, was not fully established till Linnæus, in 1732, published, in his Fundamenta et Philosophia Botanica, the results of his long and laborious consideration of the opinions which had preceded him, combined with his own patient and acute investigation of vegetable phenomena, put to the test of various ingenious experiments. He proved that "flowers are always furnished, either in the same individual, or two of the same species," with stamens and pistils, the latter containing the seeds,—the former the pollen or dust which fertilizes and perfects it. These were therefore called th ma and female parts of fructification; and in those orders in which one plant contains stamens only, and another only the pistil—the one was called the male, the other the female plant. This discovery he made the foundation of the artificial system, which, under the title of the Linnæan system of botany, became so universally popular.

naming that the male, whose leaves are lighter, and fruit and apples rounder; but this is properly no generative division, but rather some note of distinction in colour, figure, or operation. For though Empedocles* affirm, there is a mixed and undivided sex in vegetables, and Scaliger, upon Aristotle, doth favourably explain that opinion, yet will it not consist with the common and ordinary acceptation, nor yet with Aristotle's definition. For, if that be male which generates in another, that female which procreates in itself; if it be understood of sexes conjoined, all plants are female ; and if of disjoined and congressive generation, there is no male or female in them at all.2

But the Atlas or main axis which supported this opinion, was daily experience, and the visible testimony of sense. For many there are, in several parts of Europe, who carry about roots and sell them unto ignorant people, which handsomely make out the shape of man or woman. But these are not productions of nature, but contrivances of art, as divers have noted, and Matthiolus plainly detected; whó learned this way of trumpery from a vagabond cheater lying under his cure for the French disease. His words are these, and may determine the point : Sed profectò vanum et fabulosum, &c.; but this is vain and fabulous, which ignorant. people and simple women believe ; for the roots which are carried about by imposters to deceive unfruitful women, aremade of the roots of canes, briony, and other plants ; for in these, yet fresh and virent, they carve out the figures of men and women, first sticking therein the grains of barley or millet where they intend the hair should grow; then bury them in sand until the grains shoot forth their roots, which, at the longest, will happen in twenty days; they afterwards clip and trim those tender strings in the fashion of beards and other hairy teguments. All which, like other impostures, once discovered, is easily effected, and in the root of white briony may be practised every spring.

* De Plantis.

no male, dc.] The name of male and female in plants is onlye tralatitious and similitudinarye, that which beares fruite beeing for distinction sake called female, and that which beares none the male.- Wr. See preceding note.

What is therefore delivered in favour thereof, by authors, ancient or modern, must have its root in tradition, imposture, far derived similitude, or casual and rare contingency. So may we admit of the epithet of Pythagoras, who calls it anthropomorphus,* and that of Columella, who terms it semihomo; more applicable unto the man-orchis, whose flower represents a man. Thus is Albertus to be received, when he affirmeth that mandrakes represent mankind, with the distinction of either sex.t Under these restrictions may those authors be admitted, which for this opinion are introduced by Drusius,4 nor shall we need to question the monstrous root of briony, described in Aldrovandus. I

The second assertion concerneth its production. That it naturally groweth under gallowses and places of execution, arising from fat or urine that drops from the body of the

* Orchis

anthropomorphus, cujus icon in Kircheri Magia parastatica. + De Mandragora.

I De Monstris. 3 What is therefore delivered, &c.]

Mark, how that rooted mandrake wears
His human feet, his human hands !
Oft, as his ghastly form he rears,
Aghast the frighted plowman stands !

Langhorne's Beeflower. * Drusius.] Instead of the remaining part of the sentence, Ed. 1646 reads, As David Camius, Moses filius Namanis, and Abenezra Hispanus.”

- The second assertion, &c.] Here again is our author the victim of the false philosophy of his age. The immortal Harvey, in his De Gene. ratione, struck the first blow at the root of the irrational system called equivocal generation, when he laid down his brief but most pregnant law, omnia ex ovo. But the belief transmitted from antiquity, that living beings generated spontaneously from putrescent matter, long maintained its ground; and a certain modification of it is even still advocated by some naturalists of the greatest acuteness. The first few pages of the volume entitled Insect Transformations in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge), are occupied by a very interesting investigation of this subject.

In the midst of his errors, however, Sir Thomas makes a remark, which has been verified and confirmed by much more widely extended observation since, viz. : “that hogg, sheep, goats, hawks, hens, and others, have one peculiar and proper kind of vermin.” A vast number of species of pulex and pediculus are now known; and I am not aware that any instance has occurred of the same species being parasitic on different animals.

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