Page images

If Nearchus, admiral to Alexander the Great, setting out from Persia, had sailed about Africa, and come into the Mediterranean, by the straits of Hercules, as was intended, we might have heard of strange things, and had probably a better account of the coast of Africa than was lost by Hanno.

If King Perseus had entertained the barbarous nations but stout warriors, which in so great numbers offered their service unto him, some conjecture it might be, that Paulus Emilius had not conquered Macedon.

If [Antiochus ?] had followed the counsel of Hannibal, and come about by Gallia upon the Romans, who knows what success he might have had against them?

If Scanderbeg had joined his forces with Hunniades, as might have been expected before the battle in the plains of Cossoan, in good probability they might have ruined Mahomet, if not the Turkish empire.

If Alexander had marched westward, and warred with the Romans, whether he had been able to subdue that little but valiant people, is an uncertainty: we are sure he overcame Persia; histories attest and prophecies foretell the same. It was decreed that the Persians should be conquered by Alexander, and his successors by the Romans, in whom Providence had determined to settle the fourth monarchy, which neither Pyrrhus nor Hannibal must prevent; though Hannibal came so near it, that he seemed to miss it by fatal infatuation: which if he had effected, there had been such a traverse and confusion of affairs, as no oracle could have predicted. But the Romans must reign, and the course of things was then moving towards the advent of Christ, and blessed discovery of the Gospel: our Saviour must suffer at Jerusalem, and be sentenced by a Roman judge; St. Paul, a Roman citizen, must preach in the Roman provinces, and St. Peter be bishop of Rome, and not of Carthage.



THE way of burlesque poems is very ancient, for there was a ludicrous mock way of transferring verses of famous poets into a jocose sense and argument, and they were called 22déal, or Parodiæ; divers examples of which are to be found in Athenæus. .

The first inventor hereof was Hipponactes, but Hegemon, Sopater, and many more pursued the same vein ; so that the parodies of Ovid's Buffoon, Metamorphoses, Burlesques, Le Eneiade Travastito, are no new inventions, but old fancies revived.

An excellent parody there is of both the Scaligers upon an epigram of Catullus, which Stephens hath set down in his Discourse of Parodies : a remarkable one among the Greeks is that of Matron, in the words and epithets of Homer, describing the feast of Xenocles, the Athenian rhetorician, to be found in the fourth book of Athenæus, page 134, edit. Casaub.




GREAT store of drift-wood, or float-wood, is every year cast up on their shores, brought down by the northern winds, which serveth them for fuel and other uses, the greatest part whereof is fir.

1 An account, &c.] The following brief notices respecting Iceland were collected at the request of the Royal Society. They were partly obtained through correspondence with Theodore Jonas, a Lutheran minister, resident in the island ;-three of whose letters have been preserved in the British Museum. These letters I have preferred to place immediately after the paper to which they relate, rather than in the Correspondence.

Of bears there are none in the country, but sometimes they are brought down from the north upon ice, while they follow seals, and so are carried away. Two in this manner came over and landed in the north of Island, this last year, 1662.

No conies or hares, but of foxes great plenty, whose white skins are much desired, and brought over into this country.

The last winter, 1662, so cold and lasting with us in England, was the mildest they have had for many years in Island.

Two new eruptions, with slime and smoke, were observed the last year in some mountains about Mount Hecla.

Some hot mineral springs they have, and very effectual, but they make but rude use thereof.

The rivers are large, swift, and rapid, but have many falls, which render them less commodious; they chiefly abound with salmons.

They sow no corn, but receive it from abroad.

They have a kind of large lichen, which dried, becometh hard and sticky, growing very plentifully in many places; whereof they make use for food, either in decoction or powder, some whereof I have by me, different from any with us.

In one part of the country, and not near the sea, there is a large black rock, which, polished, resembleth touchstone, as I have seen in pieces thereof, of various figures.

There is also a rock, whereof I received one fragment, which seems to make it one kind of pisolithes or rather orobites, as made up of small pebbles, in the bigness and shape of the seeds of ervum or orobus.

They have some large well-grained white pebbles, and some kind of white cornelian or agath pebbles, on the shore, which polish well. Old Sir Edmund Bacon, of these parts, made use thereof in his peculiar art of tinging and colouring of stones.

For shells found on the sea shore, such as have been brought unto me are but coarse, nor of many kinds, as ordinary turbines, chamas, aspers, læves, &c.

I have received divers kinds of teeth and bones of cetaceous fishes, unto which they could assign no name.

An exceeding fine russet down is sometimes brought unto

us, which their great number of fowls afford, and sometimes store of feathers, consisting of the feathers of small birds.

Beside shocks and little hairy dogs, they bring another sort over, headed like a fox, which they say are bred betwixt dogs and foxes; these are desired by the shepherds of this country.

Green plovers, which are plentiful here in the winter, are found to breed there in the beginning of summer.

Some sheep have been brought over, but of coarse wool, and some horses of mean stature, but strong and hardy ; one whereof, kept in the pastures by Yarmouth, in the summer, would often take the sea, swimming a great way, a mile or two, and return the same : when its provision failed in the ship wherein it was brought, for many days fed upon hoops and cask ; nor at the land would, for many months, be brought to feed upon oats.

These accounts I received from a native of Island, who comes yearly into England; and by reason of my long acquaintance and directions I send unto some of his friends against the elephantiasis (leprosy), constantly visits me before his return; and is ready to perform for me what I shall desire in his country; wherein, as in other ways, I shall be very ambitious to serve the noble society, whose most honouring servant I am.

THOMAS BROWNE. Norwich, January 15, 1663.


(MS. SLOAN. 1830, fol. 5—22; and 31.]

I WILLINGLY obey your command; in setting down such birds, fishes, and other animals, which for many years I have observed in Norfolk.

Besides the ordinary birds, which keep constantly in the country, many are discoverable, both in winter and summer, which are of a migrant nature, and exchange their seats

according to the season. Those which come in the spring, coming for the most part from the southward ; those which come in the autumn or winter, from the northward ; so that they are observed to come in great flocks, with a north-east wind, and to depart with a south-west: nor to come only in flocks of one kind, but teal, woodcocks, fieldfares, thrushes, and small birds, to come and light together; for the most part some hawks and birds of prey attending them.

The great and noble kind of eagle, called aquila Gesneri, I have not seen in this country; but one I met with in this country, brought from Ireland, which I kept two years, feeding with whelps, cats, rats, and the like ; in all that while not giving it any water; which I afterward presented unto my worthy friend Dr. Scarburgh.

Of other sorts of eagles, there are several kinds, especially of the halyætus or fen eagles ; some of three yards and a quarter from the extremity of the wings ;? whereof one being taken alive, grew so tame, that it went about the yard feeding on fish, red herrings, flesh, and any offals, without the least trouble.

There is also a lesser sort of eagle, called an osprey,' which hovers about the fens and broads, and will dip his claw, and take up a fish, ofttimes; for which his foot is made of an extraordinary roughness, for the better fastening and holding of it; and the like they will do unto coots.

Aldrovandus takes particular notice of the great number of kites 4 about London and about the Thames. We are not without them here, though not in such numbers. Here are also the greys and bald6 buzzard; of all which the great , aquila Gesneri.] Palco chrysætos, the golden eagle ; the largest of the genus, known to breed in the mountainous parts of Ireland. . ? some, &c.] Halictus nisus,-falco ossifragus, Lin. The sea eagle. Few specimens, however, measure more than seven or eight feet from the extremities of the wings.

A specimen of P. fulvus, the ring-tailed eagle, has been caught at Cromer.-G.

3 osprey.] Falco haliætus, Lin. The osprey. Sometimes met with near Cromer.-G.

4 kites.] F. milvus, L.
5 grey.] Probably F. buteo.

6 bald. The bald buzzard is a name usually given to the osprey. Dr. Browne, however, having just spoken of the osprey, must here refer to some other species—perhaps F. ceruginosus.'

« PreviousContinue »