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THE GARDEN OF CYRUS;
OR, THE QUINCUNCIALL, LOZENGE, OR NET-WORK
PLANTATIONS OF THE ANCIENTS, ARTIFICIALLY, NATURALLY, MYSTICALLY CONSIDERED
TO MY WORTHY AND HONOURED FRIEND
NICHOLAS BACON, OF GILLINGHAM, ESQUIRE 1
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 Massiestų thereof; who know that three5 Folios are yet too little, and how New Herbals fly from America upon us, from persevering Enquirers, and old 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
i 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. ? Plempius, Cabeus, &c.
8 Dr. Harvey. 4 Besleri Hortus Eystetensis. 5 Bauhini Theatrum Botanicum, &c.
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.
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:
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
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 resemblance 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, with which it was originally published.