« AnteriorContinuar »
raven unto which to confine the same, and, therefore, some take the liberty to ascribe it unto some sort of owls, and others ‘unto the bittern; which bird, in its common note, which he useth out of the time of coupling and upon the wing, so well resembleth the croaking of a raven, that I have been deceived by it.?
Answer 3. While cicada is rendered a grasshopper, we commonly think that which is so called among us to be the true cicada ; wherein, as we have elsewhere declared,* there is a great mistake: for we have not the cicada in England, and, indeed, no proper word for that animal, which the French nameth cigale. That which we commonly call a grasshopper, and the French saulterelle, being one kind of locust, so rendered in the plague of Egypt, and, in old Saxon, named gersthop.
I have been the less accurate in these answers, because the queries are not of difficult resolution, or of great moment: however, I would not wholly neglect them or your satisfaction, as being, Sir,
• Vulg. Err, b. v, c. 3.
? Nycticorax, fc.] Very possibly the for a considerable period, nearly twenty night-raven, ardea nycticorax, Lin. years since. It has been named C. An
3 we have not the cicada in England.] glica, and is figured by Samouelle, Comp. of the true Linnæan cicada ( Tettigonia pl. 5, fig. 2, and by Curtis, British EnFabr.), the first British species was dis- tomology, Feb. Ist, 1832, No. 392. covered in the New Forest, by Mr. Byd- gersthop.] “Gerstrappa," in MS. der, a collector whom I employed there Sloan. 1827.
OF HAWKS AND FALCONRY, ANCIENT AND MODERN.
Sir, In vain you expect much information, de re accipitraria, of falconry, hawks, or bawking, from very ancient Greek or Latin authors; that art being either unknown or so little advanced among them, that it seems to have proceeded no higher than the daring of birds: which makes so little thereof to be found in Aristotle, who only mentions some rude practice thereof in Thracia; as also in Ælian, who speaks something of hawks and crows among the Indians; little or nothing of true falconry being mentioned before Julius Firmicus, in the days of Constantius, son to Constantine the Great.
Yet, if you consult the accounts of later antiquity left by Demetrius the Greek, by Symmachus and Theodotius, and by Albertus Magnus, about five hundred years ago, you, who have been so long acquainted with this noble recreation, may better compare the ancient and modern practice, and rightly observe how many things in that art are added, varied, disused, or retained, in the practice of these days.
In the diet of hawks, they allowed of divers meats which we should hardly commend. For beside the flesh of beef,1 they admitted of goat, hog, dcer, whelp, and bear. And how you will approve the quantity and measure thereof, I make some doubt; while by weight they allowed half a pound of beef, seven ounces of swines' flesh, five of hare, eight ounces of whelp, as much of deer, and ten ounces of hegoats' flesh.
In the time of Demetrius they were not without the practice of phlebotomy or bleeding, which they used in the thigh and pounces;2 they plucked away the feathers on the thigh,
? pounces.] The pounce is the talon or claw of a bird of prey.
and rubbed the part; but if the vein appeared not in that part, they open the vein of the fore talon.
In the days of Albertus, they made use of cauteries in divers places : to advantage their sight they seared them under the inward angle of the eye; above the eye in distillations and diseases of the head; in upward pains they seared above the joint of the wing, and in the bottom of the foot, against the gout; and the chief time for these cauteries they made to be the month of March.
In great coldness of hawks they made use of fomentations, some of the steam or vapour of artificial and natural baths, some wrapt them up in hot blankets, giving them nettle seeds and butter.
No clysters are mentioned, nor can they be so profitably used; but they made use of many purging medicines. They purged with aloe, which, unto larger hawks, they gave in the bigness of a Greek bean; unto lesser, in the quantity of a cicer,which notwithstanding I should rather give washed, and with a few drops of oil of almonds: for the guts of flying fowls are tender and easily scratched by it; and upon the use of aloe both in hens and cormorants I have sometimes observed bloody excretions.
In phlegmatic cases they seldom omitted stavesaker,* but they purged sometimes with a mouse, and the food of boiled chickens, sometimes with good oil and honey.
They used also the ink of cuttle fishes, with smallage, betony, wine, and honey. They made use of stronger medicines than present practice doth allow. For they were not afraid to give coccus baphicus; 5 beating up eleven of its grains unto a lentor, which they made up into five pills wrapt up with honey and pepper: and, in some of their old medicines, we meet with scammony and euphorbium. Whether, in the tender bowels of birds, infusions of rhubarb, agaric and mechoachan, be not of safer use, as to take of agaric two drachms, of cinnamon half a drachm, of liquorice a scruple, and, infusing them in wine, to express a part into the mouth of the hawk, may be considered by present practice.
3 cicer.] The seed of a vetch.
stavesaker.] Or stave's-acre, a plant; Delphinium siaphisagria, Lin.
5 coccus baphicus.] Or mezerion.MS. Sloan. 1827.
6 lentor.] A stiff paste.
Few mineral medicines were of inward use among them: yet sometimes we observe they gave filings of iron in the straightness of the chest, as also lime in some of their pectoral medicines.
But they commend unguents of quicksilver against the scab: and I have safely given six or eight grains of mercurius dulcis unto kestrils and owls, as also crude and current quicksilver, giving the next day small pellets of silver or lead till they came away uncoloured : and this, if any (way), may probably destroy that obstinate disease of the filander or back-worm.
A peculiar remedy they had against the consumption of hawks. For, filling a chicken with vinegar, they closed up the bill, and hanging it up until the flesh grew tender, they fed the hawk therewith: and to restore and well flesh them, they commonly gave them hog's flesh, with oil, butter, and honey; and a decoction of cumfory to bouze.3
They disallowed of salt meats and fat; but highly esteemed of mice in most indispositions; and in the falling sickness had great esteem of boiled bats : and in many diseases, of the flesh of owls which feed upon those animals. In epilepsies they also gave the brain of a kid drawn through a gold ring; and, in convulsions, made use of a mixture of musk and stercus humanum aridum.
For the better preservation of their health they strewed mint and sage about them; and for the speedier mewing of their feathers, they gave them the slough of a snake, or a tortoise out of the shell, or a green lizard cut in pieces.
If a hawk were unquiet, they hooded him, and placed him in a smith's shop for some time, where, accustomed to the continual noise of hammering, he became more gentle and tractable.
They used few terms of art, plainly and intelligibly expressing the parts affected, their diseases and remedies. This heap of artificial terms first entering with the French
s bouze. MS. Sloan. 1827, reads against the inflammation of the eyes, by "drink; and had a notable mcdicine juice of purslain, opium, and saffron."
artists: who seem to have been the first and noblest falconers in the western part of Europe; although, in their language, they have no word which in general expresseth an hawk.
They carried their hawks in the left hand, and let them fly from the right. They used a bell, and took great care that their jesses should not be red, lest eagles should fly at them. Though they used hoods, we have no clear description of them, and little account of their lures.
The ancient writers left no account of the swiftness of bawks or measure of their flight: but Heresbachius * delivers, that William Duke of Cleve had an hawk, which in one day, made a flight out of Westphalia into Prussia. And upon good account, an hawk in this county of Norfolk made a flight at a woodcock near thirty miles in one hour. How far the hawks, merlins, and wild fowl which come unto us with a north-west wind in the autumn, fly in a day, there is no clear account: but coming over sea their flight hath been long or very speedy. For I have known them to light so weary on the coast, that many have been taken with dogs, and some knocked down with staves and stones.
Their perches seemed not so large as ours: for they made them of such a bigness that their talons might almost meet: and they choose to make them of sallow, poplar, or lime tree.
They used great clamours and hallowing in their flight, which they made by these words, ou loi, la, la, la; and to raise the fowls, made use of the sound of a cymbal.
Their recreation seem more sober and solemn than ours at present, so improperly attended with oaths and imprecations. For they called on God at their sitting out, according to the account of Demetrius, Tòv Osdv étiraKÉOUVTES, in the first place calling upon God.
The learned Rigaltius thinketh, that if the Romans had well known this airy chase, they would have left or less regarded their Circensial recreations. The Greeks understood hunting early, but little or nothing of our falconry. If Alexander had known it, we might have found something of it and more of hawks in Aristotle ; who was so unacquainted with that way, that he thought that hawks would not feed
• De Re Rustica.