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TO MY WORTHY AND HONOURED FRIEND NICHOLAS BACON, OF GILLINGHAM, ESQUIRE:
Had I not observed that Purblind? men have discoursed well of Sight, and some without Issue, 3 excellently of Generation; I that was never Master of any considerable Garden, had not attempted this Subject. But the Earth is the Garden of Nature, and each fruitful Country a Paradise. Dioscorides made most of his Observations in His march about with Antonius; and Theophrastus raised his Generalities chiefly from the Field.
Besides, we write no Herbal, nor can this Volume deceive you, who have handled the Massiest4 thereof: who know that three5 Folios are yet too little, and how New Herbals fly from America upon us, from persevering Enquirers, and old 6 in those singularities, we expect such Descriptions. Wherein England' is now so exact, that it yields not to other Countries.
We pretend not to multiply Vegetable Divisions by Quincuncial and Reticulate Plants; or erect a New
1 Nicholas Bacon, of Gillingham, Esq.] Created a baronet, Feb. 7, 1661, by Charles, II. His father was the sixth son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, who was created premier baronet of England, May 22, 1611, by James I., and was the eldest son of the lord keeper of Queen Elizabeth, and half-brother of Francis, Lord Bacon, the lord keeper's youngest son by a second marriage. 2 Plempius, Cabeus, &c. .
Dr. Harvey. • Besleri Hortus Eystetensis. 6 Bauhini Theatrum Botanicum, &c.
6 My worthy friend M. Godier, an ancient and learned Botanist..
7. As in London and divers parts, whereof we mention none, lest we seem to omit any.
Phytology. The Field of Knowledge hath been so traced, it is hard to spring any Thing new. Of old Things we write something new, if Truth may receive addition, or Envy will allow any Thing new; since the Ancients knew the late Anatomical Discoveries, and Hippocrates the Circulation.
You have been so long out of trite Learning, that it is hard to find a Subject proper for you; and if you have met with a Sheet upon this, we have missed our Intention. In this Multiplicity of Writing, bye and barren Themes are best fitted for Invention; Subjects so often discoursed confine the Imagination, and fix our Conceptions unto the Notions of Forewriters. Beside, such Discourses allow Excursions, and venially admit of collateral Truths, though at some distance from their Principals. Wherein if we sometimes take wide liberty, we are not single, but err by great Example.1
He that will illustrate the Excellency of this Order, may easily fail upon so spruce a Subject, wherein we have not affrighted the common reader with any other Diagrams, than of itself; and have industriously declined Illustrations from rare and unknown Plants.
Your discerning Judgment, so well acquainted with that Study, will expect herein no Mathematical Truths, as well understanding how few Generalities and U Finitas there are in Nature. How Scaliger hath found Exceptions in most Universals of Aristotle and Theophrastus. How botanical Maxims must have fair Allowance, and are tollerably Current, if not overballanced by Exceptions.
You have wisely ordered your Vegetable Delights, beyond the Reach of Exception. The Turks who passed their Days in Gardens here, will have Gardens also hereafter; and delighting in Flowers on Earth, must have Lillies and Roses in Heaven. In Garden Delights it is not easy to hold a Mediocrity; that insinuating Pleasure is seldom without some Extremity. The Ancients venially delighted in flourishing Gardens:
1 Hippocrates de Superfætatione, de Dentitione.
The Epistle Dedicatory
Many were Florists that knew not the true Use of a Flower: And in Plinys Days none had directly treated of that Subject. Some commendably affected Plantations of venomous Vegetables ; some confined their Delights unto single Plants; and Cato seemed to doat upon Cabbage; While the ingenious Delight of Tulipists, stands saluted with hard Language, even by their own Professors.1 1 That in this Garden Discourse, we range into extraneous Things, and many Parts of Art and Nature, we follow herein the Example of old and new Plantations, wherein noble Spirits contented not themselves with Trees ; but by the Attendance of Aviaries, Fishponds, and all Variety of Animals, they made their Gardens the Epitome of the Earth, and some re. semblance of the secular Shows of old.
That we conjoin these Parts of different Subjects? your Judgment will admit without impute of Incongruity ; since the delightful World comes after Death, and Paradise succeeds the Grave. Since the verdant State of Things is the Symbol of the Resurrection, and to flourish in the State of Glory, we must first be sown in Corruption. Beside, the ancient Practice of Noble Persons, to conclude in Garden-Graves, and Urn themselves of old, to be wrapt up in Flowers and Garlands.
Nullum sine venia placuisse eloquium, is more sensibly understood by Writers, than by Readers ; nor well apprehended by either, till Works have hanged out like Apelles his Pictures; wherein even common Eyes will find something for Emendation.
To wish all Readers of your Abilities, were unreasonably to multiply the Number of Scholars beyond the Temper of these Times. But unto this ill-judging Age, we charitably desire a Portion of your Equity, Judgment, Candour, and Ingenuity; wherein you are
1 Tulipo-mania, Narrencruiid, Laurenberg. Pet. Hondius in lib. Belg.
2 Alluding to his joining this Tract to his Hydriotaphia, witb which it was originally published.
so rich, as not to lose by diffusion. And being a flourishing branch of that noble family, unto which we owe so much Observance, you are not new set, but long rooted in such Perfection; whereof having had so lasting confirmation in your worthy Conversation, constant Amity and Expression; and knowing you a serious Student in the highest arcanas of Nature, with much excuse we bring these low Delights, and poor Maniples to your Treasure. Your affectionate Friend and Servant,
Thomas BROWNE. Norwich, May 1, 1658. i Of the most worthy Sir Edmund Bacon, prime Baronet, my true and noble friend.
THE GARDEN OF CYRUS
CHAPTER I That Vulcan gave arrows unto Apollo and Diana the fourth day after their Nativities, according to Gentile Theology, may passe for no blinde apprehension of the Creation of the Sunne and Moon, in the work of the fourth day; when the diffused light contracted into Orbes, and shooting rayes, of those Luminaries. Plainer Descriptions there are from Pagan pens, of the creatures of the fourth day; while the divine Philosopherl unhappily omitteth the noblest part of the third ; and Ovid (whom many conceive to have borrowed his description from Moses) coldly deserting the remarkable account of the text, in three words 2 describeth this work of the third day; the vegetable creation, and first ornamentall scene of nature; the primitive food of animals, and first story of Physick, in Dietetical conservation.
For though Physick may pleade high, from that medicall act of God, in casting so deep a sleep upon our first Parent; and chirurgerys finde its whole art, in that one passage concerning the Rib of Adam, yet is there no rivality with Garden contrivance and Herbery. For if Paradise were planted the third day of the Creation, as wiser Divinity concludeth, the Nativity thereof was too early for Horoscopy; Gardens were before Gardiners, and but some hours after the earth.
1 Plato in Timæo.
9 Fronde tegi silvas. 3 dialpeous, in opening the flesh; alpeous, in taking out the rib; oúvegis, in closing up the part again.