Page images

49. When 'tis said in Job, “Let thistles grow up instead of wheat, and cocklel instead of barley," the words are intelligible, the sense allowable and significant to this purpose : but whether the word cockle doth strictly conform unto the original, some doubt may be made from the different translations of it; for the vulgar renders it spina, Tremellius vitia frugum, and the Geneva yuroye, or darnel. Besides, whether cockle were common in the ancient agriculture of those parts, or what word they used for it, is of great uncertainty. For the elder botanical writers have made no mention thereof, and the moderns have given it the name of pseudomelanthium nigellastrum, lychnoides segetum, names not known unto antiquity. And, therefore, our translation hath warily set down“ noisome weeds” in the margin.



SIR,—The use of flowery crowns and garlands is of no slender antiquity, and higher than I conceive you apprehend it. For, besides the old Greeks and Romans, the

Icockle.] Celsius, and after him Michaelis, supposes this to have been the aconite.

2 In the margin of Evelyn's copy is this manuscript note :-" This letter was written to me from Dr. Browne ; more at large in the Coronarie Plants."

In order to preserve unaltered, as far as possible, the order of Sir Thomas Browne's published works, I have thought proper not to transplant into the Correspondencethe present and several other Tracts, though they were, in fact, epistolary, and it has been ascertained to whom they were addressed. In the preface to Evelyn's Acetaria (reprinted by Mr. Upcott, in his collection of Evelyn's Miscellaneous Writings), we find his “Plan of a Royal Garden, in three Books." It was in reference to this projected work (of which however A cetaria was the only part ever published), that Browne's assistance was asked and given. Among the subjects named in that plan the following are

[ocr errors]

Egyptians made use hereof; who, besides the bravery of their garlands, had little birds upon them to peck their heads and brows, and so to keep them [from] sleeping at their festival compotations. This practice also extended as far as India : for at the feast of the Indian king, it is peculiarly observed by Philostratus, that their custom was to wear garlands, and come crowned with them unto their feast.

The crowns and garlands of the ancients were either gestatory, such as they wore about their heads or necks; portatory, such as they carried at solemn festivals ; pensile or suspensory, such as they hanged about the posts of their houses in honour of their gods, as Jupiter Thyræus or Limeneus; or else they were depository, such as they laid upon the graves and monuments of the dead. And these were made up after all ways of art, compactile, sutile, plectile ; for which work there were gepavotłókol, or expert persons to contrive them after the best grace and propriety.

Though we yield not unto them in the beauty of flowery garlands, yet some of those of antiquity were larger than any we lately inet with; for we find in Athenæus, that a myrtle crown, of one and twenty feet in compass, was solemnly carried about at the Hellotian feast in Corinth, together with the bones of Europa.

And garlands were surely of frequent use among them; for we read in Galen,* that when Hippocrates cured the great plague of Athens by fires kindled in and about the city: the fuel thereof consisted much of their garlands. And they must needs be very frequent and of common use, the ends thereof being many. For they were convivial,

* De Theriaca ad Pisonem.

referred to in the present Tract, and in other of Browne's Letters to Evelyn :

Book ii. chap. 6. Of a seminary; nurseries ; and of propagating trees, plants, and flowers ; planting and transplanting, &c.

Chap. 16. Of the coronary garden.
Chap. 18. Of stupendous and wonderful plants.
Book iii. chap. 9. Of garden burial.

Chap. 10. Of paradise, and of the most famous gardens in the world, ancient and modern.

festival, sacrificial, nuptial, honorary, funebrial. We who propose unto ourselves the pleasures of two senses, and only single out such as are of beauty and good odour, cannot strictly confine ourselves unto imitation of them. : For, in their convivial garlands, they had respect unto plants preventing drunkenness, or discussing the exhalations from wine; wherein, beside roses, taking in ivy, vervain, melilote, &c., they made use of divers of small beauty or good odour. The solemn festival garlands were made properly unto their gods, and accordingly contrived from plants sacred unto such deities; and their sacrificial ones were selected under such considerations. Their honorary crowns triumphal, ovary, civical, obsidional, had little of flowers in them: and their funebrial garlands had little of beauty in them besides roses, while they made them of myrtle, rosemary, apium, &c., under symbolical intimations; but our florid and purely ornamental garlands, delightful unto sight and smell, nor framed according to any mystical and symbolical considerations, are of more free election, and so may be made to excel those of the ancients : we having China, India, and a new world to supply us, beside the great distinction of flowers unknown unto antiquity, and the varieties thereof arising from art and nature.

But, beside vernal, æstival and autumnal, made of flowers, the ancients had also the hyemal garlands; contenting themselves at first with such as were made of horn dyed into several colours, and shaped into the figure of flowers, and also of as coronarium or clincquant, or brass thinly wrought out into leaves commonly known among us. But the curiosity of some emperors for such intents had roses brought from Egypt until they had found the art to produce late roses in Rome, and to make them grow in winter, as is delivered in that handsome epigram of Martial

At tu Romanæ jussus jam cedere brumæ
Mitte tuas messes, accipe, Nile, rosas.

Some American nations, who do much excel in garlands, content not themselves only with flowers, but make elegant

i discussing.] Dr. Johnson quotes this passage as his example of the use of the word discuss in the sense of disperse.

crowns of feathers, whereof they have some of greater radiancy and lustre than their flowers : and since there is an art to set into shapes, and curiously to work in choicest feathers, there could nothing answer the crowns made of the choicest feathers of some tomineios and sun birds.

The catalogue of coronary plants is not large in Theophrastus, Pliny, Pollux, or Athenæus: but we may find a good enlargement in the accounts of modern botanists; and additions may still be made by successive acquists of fair and specious plants, not yet translated from foreign regions, or little known unto our gardens; he that would be complete may take notice of these following :

Flos Tigridis.
Flos Lyncis.
Pinea Indica Recchi, Talama Ouiedi.
Herba Paradisea.
Volubilis Mexicanus.
Narcissus Indicus Serpentarius.
Helichrysum Mexicanum.
Aquilegia nove Hispaniæ Cacoxochitli Recchi.
Aristochæa Mexicana.
Camaratinga sive Caragunta quarta Pisonis.
Maracuia Granadilla.
Cambay sive Myrtus Americana.
Flos Auriculæ Flor de la Oreia.
Floripendio novæ Hispaniæ.
Rosa Indica.
Zilium Indicum.
Fula Magori Garciæ.
Champe Garciæ Champacca Bontii.
Daullontas frutex odoratus seu Chamemelum arborescens

Beidelsar Alpini.
Amberboi Turcarum.
Nuphar Ægyptium.
Lilionarcissus Indicus.
Bamma Ægyptiacum.
Hiucca Canadensis horti Furnesiani.
Bupthalmum novæ Hispania Alepocapath.

Valeriana seu Chrysanthemum Americanum Acocotlis.
Flos Corvinus Coronarius Americanus.
Capolin Cerasus dulcis Indicus Floribus racemosis.
Asphodelus Americanus.
Syringa Lutea Americana.
Bulbus unifolius.
Moly latifolium Flore luteo.2
Conyza Americana purpurea.
Salvia Cretica pomifera Bellonii.
Lausus Serrata Odora.
Ornithogalus Promontorii Bone Spei.
Fritillaria crassa Soldanica Promontorii Bone Spei.
Sigillum Solomonis Indicum.
Tulipa Promontorii Bone Spei.
Iris Uvaria.

Nopolxock sedum elegans novæ Hispaniæ. More might be added unto this list ;3 and I have only taken the pains to give you a short specimen of those, many more which you may find in respective authors, and which time and future industry may make no great strangers in England. The inhabitants of nova Hispania, and a great part of America, Mahometans, Indians, Chinese, are eminent promoters of these coronary and specious plants; and the annual tribute of the king of Bisnaguer in India, arising out of odours and flowers, amounts unto many thousands of crowns.

Thus, in brief, of this matter. I am, &c.

? Moly latifolium Flore luteo.] Sir Thomas, in a subsequent letter (see Correspondence), corrects this name ;-"for Moly Flore luteo,” he says, “you may please to put in Moly Hondianum novum."

3 More might be added unto this list.] Which Sir Thomas sent me a catalogue of from Norwich.-MS. note of Evelyn's.

This list has not been found.

« PreviousContinue »