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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
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 chirurgery8 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.
2 Fronde tegi silvas. diaipeous, in opening the flesh; étalpeous, in taking out the rib; oúveols, in closing up the part again.
Of deeper doubt is its Topography, and local designation, yet being the primitive garden, and without much controversiel seated in the East; it is more than probable the first curiosity, and cultivation of plants, most flourished in those quarters. And since the Ark of Noah first toucht upon some mountains of Armenia, the planting art arose again in the East, and found its revolution not far from the place of its Nativity, about the Plains of those Regions. And if Zoroaster were either Cham, Chus, or Mizraim, they were early proficients therein, who left (as Pliny delivereth,) a work of Agriculture.
However the account of the Pensill or hanging gardens of Babylon, if made by Semiramis, the third or fourth from Nimrod, is of no slender antiquity; which being not framed upon ordinary levell of ground, but raised upon pillars, admitting under-passages, we cannot accept as the first Babylonian Gardens; but a more eminent progress and advancement in that art, than any that went before it : Somewhat answering or hinting the old Opinion concerning Paradise itself, with many conceptions elevated, above the plane of the Earth.2
For some there is from the ambiguity of the word Mikedem, whether ab Oriente, or a principio.
2 In MS. SLOAN. 1847, occurs the following passage, evidently intended for this work :-" We are unwilling to diminish or loose the credit of Paradise, or only pass it over with [the Hebrew word for] Eden, though the Greek be of a later name. In this excepted, we know not whether the ancient gardens do equal those of late times, or those at present in Europe. Of the gardens of Hesperides, we know nothing singular, but some golden apples. Of Alcinous his garden, we read nothing beyond figgs, apples, and olives; if we allow it to be any more than a fiction of Homer, unhappily placed in Corfu, where the sterility of the soil makes men believe there was no such thing at all. The gardens of Adonis were so empty that they afforded pro. verbial expression, and the principal part thereof was empty spaces, with herbs and flowers in pots. "I think we little understand the pensile gardens of Semiramis, which made one of the wonders of it (Babylon), wherein probably the structure exceeded the plants contained in them. The excellency thereof was probably in the trees, and if the descension of the roots be
Nebuchodonosor whom some will have to be the famous Syrian King of Diodorus, beautifully repaired that City; and so magnificently built his hanging gardens,i that from succeeding Writers he had the honour of the first. From whence overlooking Babylon, and all the Region about it, he found no circumscription to the eye of his ambition, till overdelighted with the bravery of this Paradise; in his melancholy metamorphosis, he found the folly of that delight, and a proper punishment, in the contrary habitation, in wild plantations and wanderings of the fields.
The Persian Gallants who destroyed this Monarchy, maintained their Botanicall bravery. Unto whom we owe the very name of Paradise: wherewith we meet not in Scripture before the time of Solomon, and conceived originally Persian. The word for that disputed Garden, expressing in the Hebrew no more than a Field enclosed, which from the same Root is content to derive a garden and a Buckler.
Cyrus the elder brought up in Woods and Mountains, when time and power enabled, pursued the dictate of his education, and brought the treasures of the field into rule and circumscription. So nobly beautifying the hanging Gardens of Babylon, that he was also thought to be the authour thereof.
Ahasuerus (whom many conceive to have been Artaxerxes Longi-manus) in the Countrey and City of Flowers, 2 and in an open Garden, entertained his Princes and people, while Vashti more modestly treated the Ladies within the Palace thereof.
But if (as some opinion)3 King Ahasuerus were Artaxerxes Mnemon, that found a life and reign answerable unto his great memory, our magnified Cyrus was his second Brother: who gave the occasion of that equal to the height of trees, it was not [absurd] of Strebæus to think the pillars were hollow that the roots might shoot into them." i Josephus.
2 Sushan in Susiana. 3 Plutarch, in the Life of Artaxerxes.
memorable work, and almost miraculous retreat of Xenophon. A person of high spirit and honour, naturally a King, though fatally prevented by the harmlesse chance of post-geniture : Not only a Lord of Gardens, but a manuall planter thereof: disposing his trees, like his armies in regular ordination. So that while old Laertes hath found a name in Homer for pruning hedges, and clearing away thorns and bryars; while King Attalus lives for his poysonous plantations of Aconites, Henbane, Hellebore, and plants hardly admitted within the walls of Paradise ; While many of the ancients do poorly live in the single names of Vegetables; All stories do look upon Cyrus as the splendid and regular planter.
According whereto Xenophon describeth his gallant plantation at Sardis, thus rendered by Strebæus. Arbores pari intervallo sitas, rectos ordines, et omnia perpulchrè in Quincuncem directa. Which we shall take for granted as being accordingly rendred by the most elegant of the Latines, 2 and by no made term, but in use before by Varro. That is the rows and orders so handsomely disposed; or five trees so set together, that a regular angularity, and through prospect, was left on every side. Owing this name not only unto the Quintuple number of Trees, but the figure declaring that number, which being doubled at the angle, makes up the letter X, that is the Emphatital decussation, or fundamentall figure.
Now though in some ancient and modern practice the area or decussated plot, might be a perfect square, answerable to a Tuscan Pedestall, and the Quinquernio or Cinque point of a dye; wherein by diagonall lines the intersection was regular; accommodable unto Plantations of large growing Trees; and we must not deny ourselves the advantage of this order; yet shall we chiefly insist upon that of Curtius and Porta, in their brief description hereof. Wherein the decussis is made within a longilaterall square, with opposite angles, 1 In Economico.
9 Cicero in Cat. Major, 8 Benedict. Curtius de Hortis. Bapt. Porta in villa.