Of singing Birds, they haue Lynnets, Goldfinches, Ruddockes, Canarie birds, Blacke-birds, Thrushes, and diuers other; but of Nightingals, few, or none at all, whether through some naturall antipathie, betweene them and the soyle (as Plinie writeth, that Crete fostereth not any Owles, nor Rhodes Eagles, nor Larius lacus in Italy Storkes) or rather for that the Country is generally [26] bare of couert and woods, which they affect, I leaue to be discussed by others.

Not long sithence, there came a flocke of Birds into Cornwall, about Haruest season, in bignesse not much exceeding a Sparrow, which made a foule spoyle of the Apples. Their bils were thwarted crosse-wise at the end, and with these they would cut an Apple in two, at one snap, eating onely the kernels. It was taken at first, for a forboden token, and much admired, but, soone after, notice grew, that Glocester Shire, and other Apple Countries, haue them an ouer-familiar harme.

In the West parts of Cornwall, during the Winter season, Swallowes are found sitting in old deepe Tynne-workes, and holes of the sea Cliffes: but touching their lurking places, Olaus Magnus maketh a farre stranger report. For he saith, that in the North parts of the world, as Summer weareth out, they clap mouth to mouth, wing to wing, and legge in legge, and so after a sweete singing, fall downe into certaine great lakes or pooles amongst the Canes, from whence at the next Spring, they receiue a new resurrection; and hee addeth for proofe hereof, that the Fishermen, who make holes in the Ice, to dip vp such fish with their nets, as resort thither for breathing, doe sometimes light on these Swallowes, congealed in clods, of a slymie substance, and that carrying them home to their Stoues, the warmth restoreth them to life and flight: this I haue seene confirmed also, by the relation of a Venetian Ambassadour, employed in Poland, and heard auowed by trauaylers in those parts: Wherethrough I am induced to giue it a place of probabilitie in my mind, and of report in this treatise.

After hauing thus laid open euerie particular of the land, naturall order leadeth my next labour, to bee imployed about the water, and the things incident thereunto: the water I seuer into fresh and salt.

Touching fresh Water, euerie hill wel-neere sendeth forth plentifull, fresh, cleare and pleasant springs, profitable for moystning the ground, and wholesome for mans vse, & diuers by running through veines of Mettals, supposed also medicinable for sundrie diseases; of which more in their particular places. These springs, (as seuerall persons assembling, make a multitude) take aduantage of the falling grounds, to vnite in a greater strength, and beget Ryuers, which yet are more in number, and swifter in course, then deepe in bottome, or extended in largenesse. For they worke out their bed through an earth, full of Rockes and stones, suting therethrough, the nature onely of some speciall fishes, of which kind are, Minowes, Shoats, Eeles, and Lampreys. The rest are common to other Shires, but the Shote in a maner peculiar to Deuon and Cornwall: in shape and colour he resembleth the Trowt: howbeit in bignesse and goodnesse, commeth farre behind him. His baites are flies and Tag-wormes, which the Cornish English terme Angle-touches. Of the Ryuers and Hauens which they make, occasion will be ministred vs to speake particularly in the next booke; and therefore it shall suffice to name the chiefest here in generall, which are on the South coast: Tamer, Tauy, Liner, Seaton, Loo, Foy, Fala, Lo. On the North, Camel, Halae.

Of fresh water Ponds, either cast out by nature, or wrought out by Art, Cornwall is stored with verie few, though the site of so many narrow vallies offereth [27] many, with the onely charge of raysing an head. But the Oceans plentifull beames darken the affecting of this pettie starlight: touching whose nature and properties, for his saltnesse in taste, strength in bearing, course in ebbing and flowing, the effects are so well knowne to the vulgar, as they need not any particular relation; and the causes so controuersed amongst the learned, as it passeth mine abilitie to moderate the question: onely this I will note, that somewhat before a tempest, if the sea-water bee slashed with a sticke or Oare, the same casteth a bright shining colour, and the drops thereof resemble sparckles of fire, as if the waues were turned into flames, which the Saylers terme Briny.

The Survey of Cornwall Page 30

Richard Carew

16th Century Literature

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Richard Carew
Classic Literature Library
Classic Authors

All Pages of This Book