The Fardle of Facions, by Johannes Boemus

The. viij. Chapitre.

Of Ynde, and the vncouthe trades and maners of life of the people therein.

Ynde, a Countrie also of the Easte, and the closyng vp of Asia toward that quartre: is saied to be of suche a maigne syse, that it maie be compared with the thirde parte of the whole earth. Pomponius writeth, that alonge the shore, it is fowrtie daies sailyng the nighte also comprised therein.

It tooke the name of the floude called Indus, whiche closeth vp the lande on the Weste side. Beginnyng at the Southe sea, it stretcheth to the Sonnerisynge: And Northward to the mount Caucasus. There are in it many greate peoples: and Tounes and Cities so thicke, that some haue reported them in nombre fiue thousande. And to saie truthe, it ought not to sieme greatly straunge vnto folkes, though the countrie be reported to haue suche a nombre of Tounes, or to be so populous: consideryng that of all other, the Yndiens alone, neuer discharged theim selues of any ouerplus of issue, as other haue done: but alwaie kepte their owne offspryng at home in their owne countrie. Their principall floudes are Ganges, Indus, and Hypanis. But Ganges farre passeth in greatnes the other twaine. This lande by the benefite of the battling breathe of the gentle Weast winde, reapeth corne twise in the yere. And other Wintre hath it none, but the bittre blastes of Theasterly windes called Etesiæ. Thei lacke wine, and yet some men reporte, that in the quartre called Musica, there groweth a good wine grape. In the Southe parte thereof, groweth Nardus, Cinnamome, Peper and Calamus aromaticus: as doeth in Arabia and Aethiope. The woode Ebenum (which some suppose to be our Guayacum) groweth there, and not elles where. Likewise of the Popiniaye and the Vnicorne. As for precious stones, Beralle, Prasnes, Diamantes, firie Carbuncles and Pearles of all sortes, be founde there in greate plentie. They haue twoo Sommers, softe pimpelyng windes, a milde aier, a rancke soile, and abundaunce of watre. Diuerse of them therefore liue an hundred and thirtie yeres. Namely emong the Musicanes. And emong the Serites, yet somewhat longer.

All the Yndians generally, weare long heare: died either aftre a bright asshe coulour, or elles an Orenge tawnie. Their chief ieuelles, are of Pearle and precious stones. Their appareille is verie diuers: and in fewe, one like another. Some go in Mantles of Wollen, some of Linnen some naked, some onely brieched to couuer the priuities, and some wrapped aboute with pilles, and lithe barckes of trees. Thei are all by nature blacke of hewe: euen so died in their mothers wombe acordyng to the disposicion of the fathers nature, whose siede also is blacke: as like wise in the Aethiopians. Talle men and strongly made. Thei are very spare fieders, namely when thei are in Campe. Neither delighte thei in muche preasse. Thei are as I saied, greate deckers and trimmers of them selues, haters of theft. Thei liue by lawe, but not written. They haue no knowledge of lettres, but administer altogether without booke. And for which they are voide of guile, and of very sobre diete: all thing prospereth well with them. Thei drinke no wine, but when thei Sacrifie to their goddes. But their drincke is a bruage that thei make sometyme of Rize, sometime of Barlie. Their meate for the mooste parte is soupynges made also of Rize.

In their lawes, bargaines, and couenauntes, their simplicitie and true meanyng well appeareth: for that thei neuer are muche contencious aboute them. Thei haue no Lawes concernyng pledges or thynges committed to another mannes kiepyng. No witnessynges, no handwritynges, no sealynges, ne suche like tokens of trecherie and vntrust: but without all these, thei trust and be trusted, thei belieue and are belieued, yea, thei oftentymes leaue their houses wide open without keper. Whiche truely are all great signes of a iuste and vprighte dealyng emong them. But this peraduenture can not seatle well with euery mannes fantasie: that thei should liue eche manne aparte by himself, and euery body to dine and to suppe when he lust, and not all at an howre determined. For in dede for the felowshippe and ciuilitie, the contrary is more allowable. Thei commende and occupie muche as a commune exercise, to rubbe their bodies: specially with skrapers made for the nones. Aftre whiche, thei smothe them selues again with Ebenum, whereof I spake afore.

In their Toumbes, and Bewrialles, very plaine and nothyng costlie: But in trimming and arraieng of their bodies, to, to, gaude glorious. For there aboute thei neither spare gold, ne precious stone ne any kinde of silke that thei haue. Thei delighte muche in garmentes of white Sarcenet. And for that thei sette muche by beautie, thei cary aboute with theim phanelles to defende them from the sonne, and leaue nothyng vndone, that maketh for the bettre grace of their faces. Thei sette asmuche by truthe alone, as by all other vertues together.

Age hath there no prerogatiue, except thei winne it with their wisedome, and knowledge. Thei haue many wiues, whiche thei vse to buye of their parentes for a yoke of Oxen. Some to serve them as their vndrelynges, and some for pleasure, and issue. Whiche maie neuerthelesse vse buttoke banquetyng abrode (for any lawe or custome there is to restreine theim) excepte their housebandes by fine force, can compelle them to kepe close.

No one emong the Yndians either sacrifieth coroned, ne offreth odours, ne liquours. Thei wounde not their Sacrifice in no maner of wise: but smore31 hym by stopping the breath. Least thei should offre any mangled thing vnto God, but that that ware in euery parte whole. He that is conuicte of false witnessyng, hath his fingres cutte of by the toppe ioynctes. He that hath taken a limme from any manne, suffreth not onely the like losse, but loseth also his hande. But if any man haue taken from an artificer, his hande, or his eye, it lyeth hym vpon his heade.

The kyng hath a garde of bought women: who take chardge of his bodie, and haue the trimmyng and orderyng thereof, the residue of the armie, remainyng without the gates. If the Kyng fortune to be droncken, it is not onely lawfull for any one of these women to slea hym: but she shall also as in the waie of rewarde, be coupled in mariage to the nexte king. Whiche (as is saied) is one of his sonnes, that afore enioied the Croune. It is not lawfull for the king to slepe by daie time: and yet in the night tyme to auoide trecherie, he is forced euery houre to chaunge his chambre. When he is not in campe, he ofte tymes cometh abroade: bothe to giue sentence, and to heare matters dependyng in question. And if it be time of daie to trimme his bodie: he bothe heareth the pleaes, and is rubbed in the meane season with the skrapers afore mencioned, by thre of his women. He cometh furthe also to Sacrifices, and to hunting: Where he is accompaignied with a rable of women, in as good ordre as ours ware wonte to be vpon Hocke Mondaie.32 His waie is ranged with ropes, and his garde of menne abideth without. But if it fortune any to steale in, to the women (whiche is contrary to their ordre and duetie) he loseth his heade for it. There go afore hym Tabours and Belles. When he hunteth in places fensed aboute, two or thre armed women stande preste,33 for his aide, and defence. But when he hunteth in open place, he is caried vppon an Eliphante: and euen so sittyng on his backe shooteth, or throweth the darte at his game. Some of his women ride vppon Horses, some vpon Elephantes. As likewise in the warres, where thei fight with all kinde of weapons skilfully.

Suche menne also as haue gathered thinges into writynges, recorde: that the Yndians worshippe as their goddes the father of raine Iupiter: Ganges their floude, and the familiar spirites of their countrie. And when their kyng washeth his heade, thei make solempne feast, and sende his highnes greate giftes, eche man enuyenge other, who maye shewe hym self most riche, and magnificent.

The commune wealth of the Yndians, was sometyme deuided into seuen states or degrees. The Sages (whiche other calle Philosophers) ware of the first ordre, or state: the whiche although thei ware, in nombre feawer then any of the rest: yet ware thei in honour and dignitie aboute the kyng, farre aboue all other. These menne (priuiledged from all busines) neither be troubled with office, ne be at any mannes commaundemente: But receiue of the communes suche thinges as serue for the Sacrifices of their goddes, and are requisite for bewrialles. As though thei ware bothe well acqueinted, and beloued in heauen, and knewe muche of the trade in helle. For this cause haue thei bothe giftes and honour largely giuen them. And in very diede thei do muche good among the people. For in the beginning of the yere, assemblyng together, thei foreshewe of raine, of drouthe, of winde and of sickenesse: and of suche like thynges as maie to profeight be foreknowen. For as well the kynge as the people, ones vndrestandyng their foresawes, and knowyng the certeintie of their iudgemintes by former experience: shone the euilles, and are preste to attende vpon that, that is good. But if any of their said Sages shall fortune to erre in his foresighte: other punishmente hath he none, then for euer after to holde his peace.

The seconde ordre is of housebande menne, whiche beyng more in nombre then any of the other states, and exempte fro the warres, and all other labour: bestowe their tyme onely in housebandrie. No enemie spoileth them, none troubleth them: but refraineth fro doing them any hurte or hinderaunce, vpon respect of the profighte that redoundeth to the whole, throughe their trauailles. So that thei, hauyng libertie without all feare to followe their business, are instrumentes and meanes of a blessed plenteousnesse. Thei with their wiues and children, dwell alwaie in the countrie, withoute resortyng to the tounes or citie. Thei paie rente to the Kyng (for all the whole Countrie is subiecte to their kyng) neither is it lawfull for any of the communes to occupie and possesse any grounde, without paieynge rente. And the housebande men beside this rente, yelde vnto the Kynges maiestie, a fiueth of their fruictes yerely.

The thirde ordre standeth all by brieders and fieders, of all sortes, whiche like wise neither enhabite toune ne village: but with tentes, in the wilde fieldes. And these with huntyng and foulyng in sondrie wise, so kiepe vndre the beastes and hurtefull foules: that whear other wise the housebande menne should in siede tyme, and towarde harueste, be muche acloyed34 and hyndered by the fowles, and theim selues alwaie by the beastes, the countrie is quiete from al suche annoyance.

In the fowrthe ordre are Artificers, and handicraftesmen. Whiche are deuided, some into Smithes, some into Armourers, some for one purpose, some for another, as is expediente. These doe not onely liue rente free, but also haue a certaine of graine allowed them at the kinges allowaunce.

In the fiueth ordre are the menne of warre, a greate nombre daiely exercised in armes, bothe on Horsebacke, on Elephantes, and on foote. And all their Elephantes, and horses miete for their warres, are found of the kinges allowaunce.

The sixteth ordre is of Surueiours or Maisters of reporte, whiche haue the ouer sighte of all thynges that are done in the realme, and the charge to bryng reaporte vnto the kyng.

In the seuenth place, are thei that be Presidentes, and heades of the commune counsailles, very fewe in nombre, but worthy men for their nobilitie and wisedome. Oute of these are chosen counsailours for the kynges Courtes, and officers to administre the commune wealth, and to determine controuersies: yea, capitaines for the warres, and Princes of the realme.

The whole state of Ynde beyng deuided into these ordres or degrees: it is also ordeined, that a man shall not marie out of the ordre, wherin his callyng lieth, ne chaunge his trade. For neither maie the souldiour occupie housebandrie thoughe he woulde: ne the artificers entremedle with the doctrine of the Sages.

There are also amonge the Yndians, persons of honour appointed to be as it ware Tutours of straungiers, to see that no wronge be done them, to put ordre for their kepyng, and Phisicke, if any falle sicke. As also (if it fortune any of them to die) for the bewrieng of theim, and to deliuer their goodes, and money to their nexte friendes.

All causes are brought afore the iudges, who heare the parties, and punysshe the offenders diligently. Ther is no slauery amonge them. Yea, thei haue a certaine ordinaunce, that none shalbe slaue or bonde amonge them, but all fre, and of equalle aucthoritie and honour. For thei holde opinion that who so accustometh his selfe neither to be Lorde ouer other, ne to wronge any bodie: that man hath prepared him selfe sauftie and ease what so euer shall happen hym by any aduenture. And a fonde thing ware it to make the lawes indifferente for all, and not to make the states of the men indifferente.

But because ther are in Inde manye sondrie contries, diuerse bothe in people and tongue (as in so large a thing muste nedes happen) ye shall vnderstond that thei do not all alike vse suche trade as I haue described, but in some places somewhat worse.

Of those that lie towarde the Easte, some occupie brieding, and some do not. Other dwellinge in the mershe and fennes vpon the riuers side: occupie fisshing, and liue by the same all rawe. And thebettre to worcke their feate, thei make them selues boates, of suche canes as growe ther, of a wonderfull biggenes, So, that so muche of the cane as is betwixte ioyncte, and ioyncte, is a iuste proportion of timbre for one of their boates.

These of all the other Indians, are appareilled in matte, made of a certayne softe kinde of mere rushes. Which when they haue gathered out of the floude, and sliced out in maner of lace: they brayde together muche like oure figge fraile, or suche like kinde of mattinge, and make them selues ierkins therof.

Those that be yet by Easte of them, are brieders of cataille: and liue altogether with rawe fleshe, and haue to name Padians. Whose conditions are sayde to be suche.

As often as it fortuneth any of their citezeins to besicke, yf it be a manne: his nierest friendes, and those that are moste aboute him, kylle him by and by, leaste (saye thei) his fleshe shoulde waxe worse. Yea, thoughe he woulde dissemble the matier, and denie him self to be sicke, it boteth not. For withoute pardon, they kille him, and make a feaste with him. If it be a woman, looke how the menne did by the manne, so do the women by a woman. Likewise do thei with bothe sortes, when thei waxe croked for age, or become impotente: where broughte, what by the one meanes and the other, none of them die for age.

Ther is another sorte of the Indians that kille no liuinge thing, ne plante, nor sowe, nor builde house: but liue with herbes, and a certeine sede whiche groweth there of the owne accorde, muche like vnto gromelle, whiche thei gather with the cuppe or shelle that it groweth in, and so seeth it, and eate it. If any of these falle sicke, he wandereth forthe into some deserte place, and ther laieth him downe: no manne taking hede either to his lieng or to his dienge.

All these Yndians that I nowe haue spoken of, in quenching of natures heate, vse their women as secretly as beastes do their females.

These Yndians haue a kinde of sages, that the Griekes calle Gimnosophistæ, whiche as the worde Sophista soundeth now, might merily be interpreted briechelesse bablers. But as Sophista did signifie then, naked Sages: or to giue one Grieke worde for a nother, naked Philosophres. These (as Petrarche writeth) haunte the outemoste borders, and shadowie partes of that countrie, wandering naked accordinge to their name, vp and downe, heather and theather studienge, and searching the natures of thinges, the course of the heauens, and the secretes of knowledge. Thei continue sometime al the whole daye from the sonne rising, till his downe goinge: beholdinge the same with stedfaste eye, neuer tourning away the heade (althoughe it be ther moste feruently hote) searching and spienge aftre certaine secretes in the body thereof.

At another time thei passe the daye likewyse, standing one while on one legge, another while on another in the broilinge sande of that contrie. Froste nor snowe, nor firie heate greued not them.

Amonge these, is ther a people called Brachmanes, whiche (as Didimus their king wrate vnto Alexandre when he went aboute to subdue them) liue a pure and simple life, led with no likerous lustes of other mennes vanities. This people longeth for no more then nature requyreth naturallye. Thei are content with suche foode as commeth to hande, desiryng no suche as other menne tourne the worlde almoste vpside downe to haue, leauing no element vnransaked to gette a gowbin35 for their glotenous gorge: but suche as the earth vnploughed, or vndoluen, yeldeth of her self. And because thei acqueinte not their table with surfet, in dede thei know not so many kindes of sickenesses, ne so many names of diseases as we doe: but thei bettre knowe what sounde healthe meaneth, and staied continuaunce of the same then euer we are like.

Thei haue no neide to craue one anothers helpe and reliefe, wher no manne maketh clayme by (thine) and by (myne) but euery manne taketh what he lusteth and lusteth no more then he niedeth. Enuie cannot dwelle ther, ne none of her impes, wher all be equalle, and none aboue other, and all alike poore, maketh all alike riche. Thei haue no officers of Iustice among them, because thei do nothing that ought to be punisshed. Ther can no lawe appiere, because none offence appeareth.

The whole people hath one onely lawe, to do nothinge against lawe that nature prescribeth. To cherishe labour, to barre out ydlenes, and banis all [Transcriber’s note: ‘colle’ in original] couetyse. That lechery licke not away the vigour of their spirites, and strength: nor lacke throwe menne in desperate doompes. That euery manne hath enoughe, wher no manne couettes more. That neuer content, is of all other the moste cruell restles plague. For whome she catcheth, she throweth a foote beneth beggery, whilest thei canne finde none ende of their scrattinge, but the more thei haue, the fellier gnaweth their longing.

Thei warme by the Sonne, the deawe is their moisture, the riuer is their drinke, the faire grounde their bedde. Care breaketh not their sleape, Compassing of vanities wearieth not their minde. Pride hath no stroke ouer them, among whom ther is no diuersite. Neither is their any kinde of bonde knowen amonge them: but the bondage of the body to the minde whiche they onely allowe to be iuste.

For the building of their houses, they sende not ouer sea for stone, thei burne no Calion to make lime to tempre their mortre, thei bake no brickes, nor digge no sande. But either make them caues in the earthe, or take suche as they finde ready made in the sides of mounteines and hilles. Ther dwel thei without feare of rage or ruine, of weather or of winde. He thincketh him self saeflier fenced from showres with his caue, then with a fewe tiles: and yet hath by it a double commoditie. A house while he liueth, and a graue ready made when he dyeth. Ther is no glittering apparell, no rattelinge in sylkes, no sylkes, no rusteling in veluettes, but a litle brieche of brawded russhes, or rather a couering of honeste shamefacednesse.

The women are not sette oute to allure, ne pinched in to please, ne garnisshed to gase at. No heare died, no lockes outelaied, no face painted, no skinne sliicked, no countrefeicte countenaunce, nor mynsing of passe. No poticary practise, no ynckhorne termes, nor pithlesse pratling. Finally no colours of hipocrisie, no meanes to set out more beautie then nature hathe giuen them. They ioyne not in engendrure for likerous luste, but for the loue of yssewe and succession. Thei kepe no warres, but mainteine peace: not with force, but with peaceable behauour and maners. The father and the mother folowe not the child to the bewrialle. Thei builde no toumbes for the deade: more like vnto chirches then graues. They bewry not vp their asshes in pottes dasshed full of pearle and precious stone. For why they estieme in these, neither the honour of the quicke, ne the pleasure of the deade: but raither the trouble and paine of bothe. Pestilence or other diseases (as I haue sayd) the Abrahmanes are not annoyed with, for they enfecte not the ayer with any filthe doinges. But nature alwaye with them, keapeth accorde with the season: and euery elemente his tourne with oute stoppe or barre. Their Phisicque is abstinence, which is able not only to cure the maladie already crepte in: but also to holde oute suche as otherwise mighte entre. Thei couette no sightes, nor shewes of misrule: no disguisinges nor entreludes. But when thei be disposed to haue the pleasure of the stage, thei entre into the regestre of their stories, and what thei finde theremoste fit to belaughed at, that do thei lamente and bewaile. They delight not as many do, to heare olde wiues tales, and fantasies of Robin Hoode: but in studious consideracion of the wondreful workemanship of the worlde, and the disposinge of thinges in suche ordre of course and degree. Thei crosse no sease for merchaundise, ne learne no colours of Rethoricque. Thei haue one kinde of plaine eloquence commune to them all: tongue, and harte agreinge in truthe. Thei haue neither moote halles, ne vniuersities, whose disagreable doctrine more leaning to apisshe arte, then natural reason and experience, neuer bringeth anye staye, or certeinte of thinges. One part of this people iudgeth mannes perfeteste blessednes to stande in honestie. And a nother in pleasure. Not in the tickelinges of the taile, or pamperinges of the bealy, more bittre then pleasaunte as thou maye vse them: but to lacke nothing that perfecte nature desireth, ne nothing to do that perfecte nature misliketh. Thei thincke it no honour to God, to slea for him an innocente beaste; yea thei say he accepteth not the sacrifice of men polluted with bloode, but rather loueth a worship voide of all bloodsheade. That is to saye, the humble entreatie of woorde, because that proprety only (to be entreated with woordes) is commune to God and to manne. With this therefore saye they he is pleased, because we somewhat resemble him self therin. And this was the life of the vnchristened Brahmanes, wher with we Christianes are so farre out of loue, that we are afraid leaste any man should beleue it to be true.

The Yndians called Catheis, haue eche man many wiues. And assone as any one husbands fortuneth to die, his whole number of wiues assemble before the chiefest iudges of the citie, and there eche for her self, sheweth and alledgeth her welle deseruinges towarde her housebande: how derely she loued him, howe muche she tendered and honoured him. And she that is by them iudged to haue borne her self beste in that behaulfe, and to haue bene dierest to her husbonde: she in the beste maner and moste gorgeous that she can deuise, triumphing and reioysinge, getteth her vp vpon the funeralle pyle wher her housebandes corps lieth ready to be brente, and ther kissinge and embrasinge the deade body, is burned together with her housebande. So gladde is she to haue the victorie, in the contencion of wiuely chastitie, and honeste behauiour toward her husbande. And the other that lyue, thincke them selues dishonoured: and escape not without spotte of reproche as longe as they liue. Their children in their infancie, are not nourished vp at the libertie and will of the parentes: but certeine there are appointed to viewe the children: whiche yf thei spie vntowardnes in the infante, deformitie, or lacke of lymmes, commande it to be slayne.

Thei ioyne not mariages for nobilitie of birthe, or aboundaunce of substaunce, but for beaultie, and rather vpon regarde of frute, then of luste.

Certaine also among the Yndians haue this custome, that yf thei be of suche pouertie that thei be not able to marye oute their doughters: euen in the floure of her age thei bringe her, or them, furthe into the marcate with trompet and dromme, or suche other their noyses of warre: And their, after the multitudeis comen together, the maiden first vncouereth her self wholie vp to the harde shoulders, on the backe haulfe, to be sene starke naked, and aftre that likewise on the bealy. Yf the multitude finde no faulte, but allowe her as worthye to please for her bodye, then marieth she to some one ther, whome she beste liketh.

Megasthenes writeth that vpon diuerse mounteines in Ynde, are people with dogges heades, and longe clawes, cladde in hydes of beastes, speakinge with no voyce like vnto manne, but barking onlye, muche like vnto dogges, with mouthes roughe like a grater.

Thei that dwelle aboute the heade of Ganges, haue no nede of anye kinde of meate: for they liue by the sauour of their frutes. And yf thei fortune to iorney, so that they thincke to fayle of the sauour when thei would haue it, they cary with theim to smell to, at times as thei fainte. But if it fortune those to smelle any horrible stincke, it is as present deathe vnto theim, as poyson to vs. It is recorded in writyng, that certaine of those were in Alexandres campe.

We rede also that there are in Inde men with one eye and no mo. And certein so notably eared that thei hange downe to their hieles with suche a largenesse that they may lye in either of them as vpon a pallet: and soharde, that thei may rende vp trees with them. Some others also hauing but one legge, but vpon the same such a foote, that when the sonne is hote, and he lacketh shadowe, lyenge downe vpon his backe, and holdinge vp his fote, he largely shadoweth his whole bodie.

It is redde that in Clesia certein women haue but ones childe in all their life time: and the children as sone as thei are borne, immediatly to become horeheded. Againe, that there is another nacion, much longer lived than we are, whiche in their youth are horeheared: and in their age, their heare waxeth blacke. They affirme also that there is another sorte of women that conceiue at fyue yeres olde, and liue not aboue the age of viii. yeres. There are also that lacke neckes, and haue their eyes in their shoulders. Ther are also beside these, certeine saluages with dogges heades, and shacke heared on their bodies, that make a very terrible charringe with their mouthes. But in these and suche like tales of the Indians, and their countrie: for that a manne had nede of a redie beliefe that should take theim for truthes, one had not niede to bee to large: considerynge specially that menne nowe a daies, will skante beleue the reporte of other mens writinges, in the thinges that almost lye vndre their noses.

Ther is a place betwixt Gedrosia and the floude Yndus which is called Cathainus of the Cathaiens that enhabyte it. This people ware an ofspring of the Scithians, muche altered from their naturall condicions, and wonted maners, if that that Aritone the Arminiane writeth of them in his storie, be true.

Thei passe (saieth he) all other men in quicke smelling. And thei saye of them selues, that though all other menne haue two instrumentes of sight, yet do none se with both two in dede, but thei: all other men in comparison either to haue no sight, or elles as it ware but with one eye. Their wittinesse is greate, but their boastinge greater. The whole nacion of them is perswaded, that thei muche passe all other men in knowledge, and the subtilties of sciences. Thei are all of colour shining, white, small eyed, beardelesse by nature. Their lettres are aftre the facion of the Romaine, all in squares. Thei are diuersely ledde with fonde supersticions, some aftre one sorte, and some aftre another. But thei are all voyde of the true knowledge which is in Iesus Christe. Some worship the sonne, some the mone. Other, ymages of yoten metalle, manie of them an oxe. And thus to sondry suche other monsters, hath this people in sondry wyse diuided it selfe in supersticion. Thei haue no maner of written lawes, nor knowe not what we meane when we speake of faithfulnesse or trustiness. And wher (as I said afore) thei haue in all handi worckes a passing subtiltie of witte, yet in the knowledge of heauenly thinges, thei are altogether to learne: that is to saie, the are vtterly ignoraunt. A cowardly people and very feareful of death. Yet exercise thei a maner of warre, but that thei handle rather by witte, and pollicie, then by strength and hardinesse. In their fighte thei use a kinde of shaftes, and certaine other weapons of flight, vnknowen to other countries.

Their money is a piece of square paper, with their Kynges Image vpon it. And because it cannot be durable: ordre is taken, that when it is soiled or dusked muche, with passyng from man to man, thei shall bring it to the coignyng house, and make exchaunge for newe. All their vtensiles and necessaries of house, are of golde, siluer, and other metalles. Oile is so deintie emong theim, that the kyng onely vseth it, as it ware for a precious ointement Thus haue we treated of the Yndians, and now to their borderers, the Scithians.

31 To smother, from the Dutch smooren

32 Hock–Monday fell eight days after Easter, Hock-tide was a festival instituted in memory of King Hardicanute’s death in 1042. Hock–Tuesday money was a duty paid to the landlord in ancient times.

33 Preste — ready.

34 This word, meaning overburthened, is frequently met with in Chaucer.

35 A large mouthful. From the old French, Gobeau.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:27