CHAP. XXI. OF WATERS GENERALLILE.
THERE is no one commoditie in England, whereof I can make lesse report than of our waters. For albeit our soile abound with water in all places, and that in the most ample maner: yet can I not find by some experience that almost anie one of our riuers hath such od and rare qualities as diuers of the maine are said to be indued withall. Virtruuius writeth of a well in Paphlagonia, whose water séemeth as it were mixed with wine, & addeth thereto that diuerse become drunke by superfluous taking of the same. The like force is found In amne Licesio, a riuer of Thracia, vpon whose bankes a man shall hardlie misse to find some traueller or other sléeping for drunkennesse, by drinking of that liquor. Néere also vnto Ephesus are certeine welles, which taste like sharpe vineger, and therefore are much esteemed of by such as are sicke and euill at ease in those parts. At Hieropolis is a spring of such force (as Strabo saith) that the water thereof mixed with certaine herbes of choise, dooth colour wooll with such a glosse, that the die thereof contendeth with scarlet murreie, and purple, and oft ouercommeth the same. The Cydims in Tarsus of Cilicia, is of such vertue, that who so batheth himselfe therein, shall find great ease of the gowt that runneth ouer all his ioints, In one of the fortunate lies (saith Pomponius the Cosmographer) are two springs, one of the which bringeth immoderate laughter to him that drinketh thereof the other sadnesse and restraint of that effect, .whereby the last is taken to be a souereigne medicine against the others to the great admiration of such as haue beholden it. At Susis in Persia there is a spring, which maketh him that drinketh downe anie of the water, to cast all his téeth: but if he onlie wash his mouth withall, it maketh them fast, & his mouth to be verie healthfull. So there is a riuer among the Gadarens, wherof if a beast drinke, he foorthwith casteth hoofe; haire, and hornes, if he haue anie. Also a lake in Assyria. neere vnto the which there is a kind of glewie matter to be found, which holdeth such birds as by hap doo light thereon so fast as birdlime, by means wherof verie manie doo perish and are taken that light vpon the same: howbeit if anie portion hereof happen to be set on fire by casualtie or otherwise, it will neuer be quenched but by casting on of dust, as Caietanus dooth report. Another at Halicarnassus called Salmacis, which is noted to make such men effeminate as drinke of the water of the same. Certes it maie be (saith Strabo) that the water and aire of a region maie qualifie the courage of some men, but none can make them effeminate, nor anie other thing because of such corruption in them, sooner than superfluous wealth, and inconstancie of liuing and behauiour, which is a bane vnto all nature, lib. 4. All which, with manie other not now comming to memorie, as the Letheus, Styx, Phlegeton, Cocitus, &c: haue strange & incredible reports made of them by the new and ancient writers, the like wherof are not to be found in England, which I impute wholie to the blessing of God, who hath ordeined nothing amongst vs in this our temperate region, but that which is good, wholesome, and most commodious for our nation. We haue therefore no hurtfull waters amongst vs, but all wholesome and profitable for the benefit of the people. Neuertheles as none of them is to be found without hir fish: so we know. by experience, that diuerse turne ash, some other elme, and oken stakes or poles that lie or are throwne into them into hard stone, in long continuance of time, which is the strangest thing that I can learne at this present wherevpon to rest for a certentie, Yet I read of diuerse welles, where-vnto our old writers ascribe either wonderfull vertues, or rare courses, as of one vpon the shore, beyond the which the sea floweth euerie daie twise a large mile and more; and yet is the surge of that water alwaies seuen foot from the salt sea: whereby it should séeme that the head of the spring is mooueable. But alas I doo not easilie beleeue it, more than that which is written of the Lilingwan lake in Wales, which is néere to the Seuerne, and receiueth the flowing sea into hir chanell as it were a gulfe, and yet is neuer full but when the sea
goeth awaie by reason of the ebbe, it casteth vp the water with such violence, that hir banks are ouerflowne and drowned, which is an absurd report. They ad also, that if all the people of the countrie stood neere to the same, with their faces toward the lake, in such maner that the dashing of the water might touch and wet their clothes, they should haue no power to go from thence, but mawgre their resistance be drawne into that gulfe and perish; whereas if they turned their backs vnto the same, they should suffer no such inconuenience though they stood neuer so néere. Manie other such like toies ] could set downe of other welles and waters of our countrie. But whie should I write that for other men to read, whereto I giue no credit my selfe, more than to the report which Iohannes du Choul dooth make in his description of Pilots lake, "In monte Pilati in Gallia," or Boccatius of the Scaphigiolo in the Appenine hils, or Fœlix Malliolus of Pilats lake "In monte fracto" (where Iacobus de Voragino bishop of Gene, & Ioachimus Vadianus in Pompon. Melam doo also make mention) sith I take them but for fables, & far vnworthie that anie good man should staine his paper with such friuolous matters as are reported of them, being deuised at the first by Satanas the father of lies, for the holding of the ignorant & credulous in their superstitions and errors. Such also is the tale that goeth of Wenefrids well, & nothing inferior to that of Mercurie néere to port Caperia in Rome, wherein such as went by would dip branches of baie, and sprinkle the same vpon themselues: and so manie as stood about them, calling vpon Mercurie, and crauing pardon for their sinnes, as if that ceremonie had bene of force vnto forgiuenesse and remission of their trespasses. And so it appeareth partlie by Cicero, who (being a man neither thinking well of their owne gods nor liking of the augures) dooth write in his first De legibus (except my memorie faile me) "aspersione aquæ labem tolli corpoream, & castimoniam corporis præstari," which maketh me to thinke further, that they thought it equall with our late holie-water, wherewith it maie be compared. I might further also (if I would) make relation of diuerse welles, which haue wrought manie miracles in time of superstition, as S. Butolphs well in Hadstocke S. Germans well at Falkeburne, Holie well at S. Albones and London, and sundrie other in other places: but as their vertues are now found out to be but baits to draw men and women vnto them, either for gaine vnto the places where they were, or satisfaction of the lewd disposition of such as huanted after other gaine, so it shall suffice to haue touched then far off. Onlie this will I ad, that we haue no hurtfull waters, no not vnto our shéepe, though it please Cardan to auouch otherwise; for our waters are not the causes, but the signes of their infections when they drinke, as I elsewhere haue noted in the chapter of cattell, as also that we haue a spring neere Saffron Walden, and not farre from the house of the lord Audleie, which is of such force, that it looseth the bodie of him that drinketh therof in verie gentle maner, and beside that is verie delectable & pleasant to be taken, as I haue found by experience. I heare also of two welles néere London, of which the one is verie excellent water, the other will beare no sope, and yet so situat that the one is hard by the other. And thus much of waters.