Munst. lib. 4. Cosmograph. Insula Islandiæ, quæ per immensum à cæteris secreta longè sita est in Oceano, vixque à nauigantibus agnoscitur, &c.
Et si hæc tractare, quæ ipsam terram vel illius adiuncta seu proprietates concernunt, ad gentem vel incolas à calumniantium morsu vindicandos parùm faciat: tamen id nequaquam omittendum videtur. Sed de his primùm, & quidem prolixiùs aliquantò agendum est, vt perspecto, quàm vera de hac re tradant illi Islandiæ scriptores, facilè inde candidus Lector, in ijs quæ de Incolis scripta reliquerant, quæque ab illis alij, tanquam Dijs prodentibus, acceperunt, vnde sua in gentem nostram ludibria depromi aiunt, quantum fidei mereantur, iudicet.
Primum igitur distantiam Islandiæ à reliquis terris non immensam esse, nec tantam, quanta vulgò putatur, si quis insulæ longitudinem & latitudinem aliquo modo cognitam haberet, facilè demonstrari posset. Non enim id alio, quàm isto cognosci exactè posse modo existimarim, cum nulli dubium sit, quàm semper nautarum vel rectissimus, vt illis videtur, cursus aberret. Quare varias authorum de situ Islandiæ sententias subiungam, vt inde quiuis de distantia id colligat, quod maximè verisimile videbitur, donec fortè aliquando propria edoctus experientia, meam quoque sententiam si non interponam, tamen adiungam.
|Munsterus Islandiam collocat sub gradibus ferè||20||68|
|Littus Islandiæ Occident.||20||63|
|Latus orientale extenditur contra Septentrionem: & finis extensionis habet||30||68|
|Latus septentrionale contra occidentem extenditur, & finis extensionis habet||28||69|
|Lateris Occidentalis descriptio.|
|Ciuitates in ea mediterraneæ sunt Holen Episcopalis||28||67||50|
|Per Holen Islandiæ||68|
|Per Med. Islandiæ||69|
|Islandia tribus gradibus in circulum vsque Arcticum ab æquinoctiali excurrit, adeò ferè, vt mediam circulus ille secet, &c.|
Et si qui sunt præterea, qui vel in mappis, vel alioqui suis scriptis Insulæ situm notarunt, quorum plures sententias referre nihil attinet, cùm quò plures habeas, eò magis dissidentes reperias. Ego quamuis verisimiles coniecturas habeo, cur nullæ citatæ de Islandiæ situ sententiæ assentiar, quin potius diuersum quippiam ab ijs omnibus statuam, tamen id ipsum in dubio relinquere malo, quàm quicquam non exploratum satis affirmare, donec, vt dixi, fortè aliquando non coniecturam, sed obseruationem & experientiam propriam afferre liceat.
Bidui nauigatio ab Islandia ad Noruagiam desertam.
Distantiam ab ostio Albis ad portum Istandiæ meridionalis Batzende, quidam scripserat esse circiter 400. milliarium: Vnde si longitudinis differentiam ad meridianum Hamburgensem supputaueris, nullam modò positarum longitudinum habebit illo in loco Islandia. Ego ternis Hamburgensium nauigationibus docere possum, septimo die Hamburgum ex Islandia peruentum esse. Præterea etiam, Insulæ quæ ab ouium multitudine Færeyjar, seu rectius Faareyjar dictæ sunt, bidui nauigatione, vt & littora Noruagiæ deserta distant. Quatridui verò nauigatione in Gronlandiam habitabilem, & pari ferè temporis interuallo, ad prouinciam Noruagiæ Stad. inter opida Nidrosiam & Bergas sitam peruenitur, quemadmodum in harum nationum vetustis codicibus reperimus.
Munsterus lib. 4. cosmographiæ The Isle of Island being seuered from other countreys an infinite distance, standeth farre into the Ocean, and is scarse knowen vnto Sailers.
Albeit a discourse of those things which concerne the land, and the adiuncts or properties thereof be of little moment to defend the nation or inhabitants from the biting of slanderers, yet seemeth it in no case to be omitted, but to be intreated of in the first place; that the friendly reader perceiuing how truely those writers of Island haue reported in this respect, may thereby also easily iudge what credit is to be giuen vnto them in other matters which they haue left written concerning the inhabitants, and which others haue receiued from them as oracles, from whence (as they say) they haue borrowed scoffes and taunts against our nation.
First therefore, that the distance of Island from other countreys is not infinite, nor indeed so great as men commonly imagine, it might easily be prouided, if one did but in some sort know the true longitude & latitude of the said Iland. For I am of opinion that it cannot exactly be knowen any other way then this, whenas it is manifest how the Mariners course (be it neuer so direct, as they suppose) doth at all times swerue. In the meane while therfore I will set downe diuers opinions of authors, concerning the situation of Island, that from hence euery man may gather that of the distance which seemeth most probable, vntil perhaps my selfe being one day taught by mine owne experience, may, if not intrude, yet at least adioin, what I shal thinke true as touching this matter.5
|Munster placeth Island almost in||20||68|
|Gemma Frisius placeth the midst of Island||7||0||65||30|
|The West shore of Island||20||0||63||0|
|The promontorie of Chos||22||46||63||0|
|The East shore is extended Northward, and hath bounds of extension in||30||0||68||0|
|The North shore is extended Westward and hath bounds of extension in||28||0||69||0|
|The description of the West side|
|The promontorie of Heckelfell||25||0||67||0|
|The promontorie of Madher||21||20||65||10|
|The inland cities of Island|
|Holen the seat of a bishop||28||0||67||50|
|Schalholten the seat of a bishop||22||63||30|
|By Holen in Island||68|
|Island stretcheth it selfe 3 degrees within the circle arctic from the equinoctial, insomuch that the said circle arctic doeth almost diuide it in the midst &c.|
There be others also, who either in their maps, or writings haue noted the situation of Island: notwithstanding it is to no purpose to set downe any more of their opinions, because the more you haue, the more contrary shall you finde them. For my part, albeit I haue probable coniectures perswading me not to beleeue any of the former opinions, concerning the situation of Island, but to dissent from them all: yet had I rather leaue the matter in suspense then affirme an vncerteinty, vntill (as I haue sayd) I may be able perhappes one day not to gesse at the matter, but to bring forth mine owne obseruation, and experience.
Seuen dayes sailing from Island to Hamburg Island but two dayes sailing distant from Faar-Islands & from the desert shores of Norway.
A certeine writer hath put downe the distance betweene the mouth of Elbe & Batzende in the South part of Island to be 400 leagues: from whence if you shall account the difference of longitude to the meridian of Hamburgh, Island must haue none of the forenamed longitudes in that place. I am able to proue by three sundry voyages of certaine Hamburgers, that it is but seuen dayes sailing from Island to Hamburgh. Besides all those Islands, which by reason of the abundance of sheepe, are called Fareyiar or more rightly Faareyiar,6 as likewise the desert shores of Norway, are distant from vs but two dayes sailing. We haue foure dayes sailing into habitable Gronland; and almost in the same quantitie of time we passe ouer to the prouince of Norway, called Stad, lying betweene the townes of Nidrosia or Trondon, 7 and Bergen, as we finde in the ancient records of these nations.
5 The real position of Iceland is 700 miles west of Norway, 200 miles east of Greenland, and 320 miles north-west of the Faroe Islands. It lies between latitude 63° 25 and 66° 32 north and longitude 13° 30’ and 24° 30’ west; length east to west 280 miles; breadth 210 miles. It will be thus seen that while Frisius is nearly right in his latitude, Gerard Mercator is considerably out. As regards the longitude, whilst Munster’s estimate is converted to the standard of Greenwich, Mercator’s reckoning is from Copenhagen or Hamburg, and Frisius has reckoned east of Reikiavik or Skallholt.
6 Faroe Islands.
Munsterus, Olaus magnus & reliqui. In hac, æstiuo solstitio, sole signum Cancri transeunte, nox nulla, brumali Solstitio proinde nullus dies. Item, Vadianus. In ea autem Insula quæ longe Supra Arcticum circulum in amplissimo Oceano sita est, Islandia hodie dicta, & terris congelati maris proxima, quas Entgronlandt vocant, menses sunt plures sine noctibus.
Nullum esse hyemali solstitio diem, id est, tempus quo sol supra horizontem conspicitur in illo tantum Islandiæ angulo, si modò quis est, fatemur, vbi polus ad integros 67. gradus attollitur. Holis autem, quæ est sedes Episcopalis Borealis Islandiæ, sita etiam in angustissima & profundissima conualle, latitudo est circiter grad. 65. 44. min. vt à Domino Gudbrando eiusdem loci Episcopo accepimus, & illic diem breuissimum habemus ad minimum duarum horarum, in meridionali autem Islandia longiorem, vt ex artificum tabulis videre est. Vnde constat nec Islandiam vltra Arcticum circulum positam esse, nec menses plures noctibus in æstiuo, vel diebus in brumali solstitio carere.
Munsterus, Olaus Magnus and others. In this Iland, at the Summer solstitium, the Sun passing thorow the signe of Cancer, there is no night, and therefore at the Winter solstitium there is no day. Also: Vadianus. But in that Iland, which farre within the artic circle is seated in the maine Ocean, at this day called Island, and next vnto the lands of the frozen sea, which they call Engrontland, there be many moneths in the yere without nights.
At the solstitium of winter, that there is no day (that is to say, no time, wherein the Sunne is seene aboue the horizon) we confesse to be true onely in that angle of Island (if there be any such angle) where the pole is eleuated full 67. degrees. But at Holen (which is the bishops seat for the North part of Island, and lieth in a most deepe valley) the latitude is about 65. degrees and 44. minutes, as I am enformed by the reuerend father, Gudbrand, bishop of that place: and yet there, the shortest day in all the yere is at least two houres long, and in South-Island longer, as it appeareth by the tables of Mathematicians. Island is not within the circle arctic. Heerehence it is manifest, first that Island is not situate beyond the arctic circle:8 secondly, that in Island there are not wanting in Summer solstitium many nights, nor in Winter solstitium many dayes.
8 This is true, except for the very small portion of Iceland round about Cape North.
Musterus Saxo. Nomen habet à glacie quæ illi perpetuo ad Boream adheret Item. A latere Occidentali Noruagiæ Insula, quæ Glacialis dicitur, magno circumfusa Oceano repentur, obsoletæ admodum habitationis tellus, &c. Item, Hæc est Thyle, nulli veterum non celebrata.
Nomen habet à glacie) Tria nomina consequenter sortita est Islandia. Snelandia. Nam qui omnium primus eius inuentor fuisse creditur Naddocus genere Noruagus, cum versus insulas Farenses nauigaret tempestate valida, ad littora Islandiæ Orientalis fortè appulit: vbi cum fuisset aliquot septimanas cum socijs commoratus, animaduertit immodicam niuium copiam, montium quorundam cacumina obtegentem, atque ideò à niue nomen Insulæ Snelandia indidit. Hunc secutus alter, Gardarus, fama quam de Islandia Naddocus attulerat impulsus, Insulam quæsitum abijt, reperit, & nomen de suo nomine Gardarsholme id est, Gardars Insula imposuit. Quin & plures nouam terram visendi cupido incessit: nam & post illos duos adhuc tertius quidam Noruagus (Floki nomen habuit) contulit se in Islandiam, illique à glacie qua viderat ipsam cingi nomen fecit.
Obsoletæ admodum) Ego ex istis verbis Saxonis hanc sententiam nequaquam eruo, vt quidam, quòd inde ab initio habitatam esse Islandiam, seu vt verbo dicam, Islandos autocthonas dicat, cum constet vix ante annos 718. incoli coeptam.
Hæc est Thyle) Grammatici certant & adhuc sub iudice lis est. Quam tamen facilè dirimi posse crediderim, si quis animaduertat, circa annum Domini 874. primùm fuisse inhabitatam. Nisi quis dicere velit Thulen illum Ægypti Regem, quem hoc ipsi nomen dedisse putant, ad Insulam iam tum incultam & inhabitatam penetrasse. Illud verò rursus si quis neget, per me sanè licebit, vt illud sit quaddam quasi spectaculum, dum ita in contrarias scinduntur sententias. Vnus affirmat esse Islandiam. Alter quandam insulam, vbi arbores bis in anno fructificant. Tertius vnam ex Orcadibus, siue vitimam in ditione Scoti, vt Ioannes Myritius & alij, qui nomen illius referunt, Thylensey, quod etiam Virgilius per suam vltimam Thylen sensisse videtur. Siquidem vltra Britannos, quo nomine Angli hodie dicti & Scoti veniunt, nullos populos statueret. Quod vel ex illo Virgilij Eclog I. apparet:
Et penitus toto diuisos orbe Britannos.
Quartus vnam ex Farensibus. Quintus Telemarchiam Noruagiæ. Sextus Schrichfinniam.
Perpetuò ad Boream adhæret.) Illud verò, Glaciem Insulæ perpetuò, vel vt paulò post asserit Munsterus: Octo continuis mensibus adhærere: neutrum verum est. Glacies Aprili aut Maio soluitur. Nam vt plurimum in mense Aprili aut Maio soluitur, & Occidentem versus propellitur, nec ante Ianuarium aut Februarium sæpissimè etiam tardius redit. Quid? quòd plurimos annos numerare licet, quibus glaciem illam huius nationis immite flagellum, ne viderit quidem Islandia: Quod etiam hoc anno 1592. compertum est. Vnde constat quàm verè à Frisio scriptum sit, nauigationem ad hanc insulam tantùm quadrimestrem patere, propter glaciem & frigora, quibus intercludatur iter, Cùm Anglicæ naues quotannis nunc in Martio, nunc in Aprili, quædam in Maio, Germanorum & Danorum in Maio & Iunio, plærumque ad nos redeant, & harum quædam non ante Augustum iterum hinc soluunt. Superiore autem anno 1591. quædam nauis Germanica, cupro onusta, portum Islandiæ Vopnafiord 14. dies circiter in Nouembri occupauit, quibus lapsis inde foeliciter soluit Quare cum glacies Islandiæ, nec perpetuò, neque octo mensibus adhæreat, Munsterus & Frisius manifestè falluntur.
It is named of the ice which continually cleaueth vnto the North part thereof. Munsterus Saxo Another writeth: From the West part of Norway there lieth an Iland which is named of the ice, enuironed with an huge sea, and being a countrey of ancient habitation, &c. Zieglerus. This is Thyle9 whereof most of the ancient writers haue made mention.
It is named of ice, &c. Island hath beene called by three names, one after another. Island first discouered by Naddocus in a tempest. For one Naddocus a Noruagian borne, who is thought to be the first Discouerer of the same, as he was sailing towards the Faar-Ilands,10 through a violent tempest did by chance arriue at the East shore of Island; Sneland. where staying with his whole company certaine weeks, he beheld abundance of snow couering the tops of the mountaines, and thereupon, in regard of the snow, called this Iland Sneland. Gardarsholme After him one Gardarus, being mooued thereunto by the report which Naddocus gaue out concerning Island, went to seeke the sayd Iland who when he had found it, called it after his owne name Gardars-holme, that is to say, Gardars Ile. There were more also desirous to visit this new land. Island. For after the two former a certaine third Noruagian, called Flok, went into Island, and named it of the ice, wherewith he saw it enuironed.
Of ancient habitation &c. I gather not this opinion out of these wordes of Saxo (as some men do) that Island hath bene inhabited from the beginning or (to speake in one word) that the people of Island were autochthones, that is, earth-bred, or bred out of their owne soile like vnto trees and herbs: sithens it is euident that this Island scarse began to be inhabited no longer agoe then about 718 yeres since.11
This is Thyle, &c. Grammarians wrangle about this name, and as yet the controuersie is not decided. Which notwithstanding, I thinke might easily grow to composition, if men would vnderstand that this Iland was first inhabited about the yeere of our Lord 874. Vnlesse some man will say that Thule King of Ægypt (who, as it is thought, gaue this name thereunto) passed so farre vnto an Iland, which was at that time vntilled, and destitute of inhabitants. Againe, if any man will denie this, he may for all me, that it may seeme to be but a dreame, while they are distracted into so many contrary opinions. One affirmes that it is Island: another, that it is a certeine Iland, where trees beare fruit twise in a yeere: the third, that it is one of the Orcades, or the last Iland of the Scotish dominion, as Iohannes Myritius and others, calling it by the name of Thylensey, which Virgil also seemeth to haue meant by his vltima Thyle. If beyond the Britans (by which name the English men and Scots onely at this day are called) he imagined none other nation to inhabit. Which is euident out of that verse of Virgil in his first Eclogue:
And Britans whole from all the world diuided.
The fourth writeth, that it is one of the Faar-Ilands: the fift, that it is Telemark in Norway: the sixt, that it is Scrichfinnia.
The ice of Iseland sets always to the West. Which continually cleaueth to the North part of the Iland. That clause that ice continually cleaueth &c. or as Munster affirmeth a little after, that it cleaueth for the space of eight whole moneths, are neither of them both true, when as for the most part the ice is thawed in the moneth of April or May, and is driuen towards the West: neither doth it returne before Ianuarie or Februarie, nay often times it commeth later. No ice at all some yeres in Island. What if a man should recken vp many yeeres, wherein ice (the sharpe scourge of this our nation) hath not at all bene seene about Island? which was found to be true this present yeere 1592. Heereupon it is manifest how truely Frisius hath written that nauigation to this Iland lieth open onely for foure moneths in a yeere, and no longer, by reason of the ice and colde, whereby the passage is shut vp, when as English ships euery yere, sometimes in March, sometimes in April, and some of them in May; the Germans and Danes, in May and Iune, doe vsually returne vnto vs, and some of them depart not againe from hence till August. Nauigation open to Island from March till the midst of Nouember. But the last yere, being 1591, there lay a certeine shippe of Germanie laden with Copper within the hauen of Vopnafiord in the coast of Island about fourteene dayes in the moneth of Nouember, which time being expired, she fortunately set saile. Wherefore, seeing that ice, neither continually, nor yet eight moneths cleaueth vnto Iland, Munster and Frisius are much deceiued. 12
Kranzius. Munsterus. Tam grandis Insula, vt populos multos contineat. Item, Zieglerus. Situs Insulæ extenditur inter austrum & boream ducentorum prope Schænorum longitudine.
Grandis.) Wilstenius quidam, rector Scholæ OLDENBVRGENSIS Anno 1591. ad auunculum meum in Islandia Occidentali misit breuem commentarium, quem ex scriptorum rapsodijs de Islandia collegerat. Vbi sic reperimus Islandia duplo maior Sicilia,&c. Sicilia autem secundum Munsterum 150. milliaria Germanica in ambitu habet. Magnitudo Islandiæ. Nostræ verò Insulæ ambitus etsi nobis non est exactè cognitus, tamen vetus & constans opinio, & apud nostrates recepta 144. milliaria numerat per duodecim videlicet promontoria Islandiæ insigniora, quæ singula 12. inter se milliaribus distent, aut circiter, quæ collecta prædictam summam ostendunt.
Populos multos.) Gysserus quidam, circa annum Domini 1090, Episcopus Schalholtensts in Islandia, omnes Insulæ colonos seu rusticos qui tantas facultates possiderent, vt regi tributum soluere tenerentur (reliquis pauperibus cum foeminis & promiscuo vulgo omissis) lustrari curauit, reperítque in parte Insulæ Orientali 700, meridionali 1000, Occidentali 1100, Aquilonari 1200. Summa 4000. colonorum tributa soluentium. Iam si quis experiatur, inueniet Insulam plus dimidio fuisse inhabitatam.
Krantzius. Munsterus. The Iland is so great that it conteineth many people. Item Zieglerus sayth: The situation of the Iland is extended betweene the South and the North almost 200 leagues in length.
So great, &c. One Wilstenius schoolemaster of Oldenburg, in the yere 1591, sent vnto mine Vncle in West Island, a short treatise which he had gathered out of the fragments of sundrie writers, concerning Island. Where we found thus written: Island is twise as great as Sicilie, &c. But Sicilie, according to Munster, hath 150. Germaine miles in compasse. 144. Germaine miles in compasse. As for the circuit of our Iland, although it be not exactly knowen vnto vs, yet the ancient, constant, and receiued opinion of the inhabitants accounteth it l44 leagues; namely by the 12 promontories of Iland, which are commonly knowen, being distant one from another 12 leagues or thereabout, which two numbers being mulitplied, produce the whole summe. 13
Many people, &c. One Gysserus about the yere of our Lord 1090, being bishop of Schalholten in Island, caused all the husbandmen, or countreymen of the Iland, who, in regard of their possessions were bound to pay tribute to the king, to be numbred (omitting the poorer sort with women, and the meaner sort of the communally) and he found in the East part of Island 700, in the South part 1000, in the West part 1100, in the North part 1200, to the number of 4000. inhabitants paying tribute. Now if any man will trie, he shall finde that more then halfe the Iland was at that time vnpeopled.14
Munst. Frisius, Ziegler Insula multa sui parte montosa est & inculta. Qua parte autem plana est præstat plurimum pabulo, tam læto, vt pecus depellatur à pascuis, ne ab aruina suffocetur.
Id suffocationis periculum nullo testimomo, nec nostra nec patrum nostrorum, vel quàm longè retro numeraris, memoria confirmari potest.
Munster. Frisius. Zieglerus. The Iland, most part thereof, is mountainous and vntilled But that part which is plaine doth greatly abound with fodder, which is so ranke, that they are faine to driue their cattell from the pasture, least they surfet or be choaked.
That danger of surfetting or choaking was neuer heard tell of, in our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers or any of our predecessours dayes, be they neuer so ancient.15
15 In the tenth and eleventh centuries, corn and other crops seem to have been raised in considerable quantities, but at present only small crops of potatoes, turnips, and cabbages are grown. The pastures are good, and many horses, cattle, and sheep are reared.
Munst. Frisius. Sunt in hac Insula montes elati in coelum, quorum vertices perpetua niue candent, radices sempiterno igne æstuant. Primus Occidentem versus est, qui vocatur Hecla, alter crucis, tertius Helga. Item Zieglerus. Rupes siue promontorium Hecla æstuans perpetuis ignibus. Item Saxo. In hac itidem Insula mons est, qui rupem sideream perpetuæ flagrationis æstibus imitatus, incendia sempiterna iugi flammarum eructatione continuat.
Miracula Islandiæ Munsterus & Frisius narraturi mox in vestibulo, magno suo cum incommodo impingunt. Nam quod hic de monte Hecla asserunt, etsi aliquam habet veritatis speciem, tamen quod idem de duobus alijs montibus perpetuo igne æstuantibus dicunt, manifestè erroneum est. Illi enim in Islandia non extant, nec quicquam, quod huic tanto scriptorum errori occasionem dederit, imaginari possumus. Facta tamen est, sed nunc demum Anno 1581. ex monte quodam australis Islandiæ, maritimo, perpetuis niuibus & glacie obducto memorabilis fumi ac flammæ eruptio, magna saxorum ac cineris copia eiecta. Cæterum ille mons longe est ab his tribus, quos authores commemorant, diuersissimus. Porro etsi hæc de montibus ignitis maximè vera narrarent, annon naturaliter ista contingerent? An ad extruendam illam, quæ mox in Munstero, Zieglero & Frisio sequitur, de orco Islandico opinionem aliquid faciunt? Ego sanè nefas esse duco, his vel similibus naturæ miraculis ab absurda asserenda abuti, vel hæc tanquam impossibilia cum quadam impietate mirari. Quasi verò non concurrant in huiusmodi incendijs causæ ad hanc rem satis validæ. Est in horum montium radicibus materia vri aptissima, nempe sulphurea & bituminosa. Accedit aër per poros ac cauernas in terræ viscera ingressus, ac illum maximi incendij fomitem exsufflans vnà cum nitro, qua exsufflatione tanquam follibus quibusdam, ardentissima excitatur flamma. Habet siquidem ignis, his ita conacnientibus, quæ tria ad vrendum sunt necessaria, materiam scilicet, motum, & tandem penetrandi facultatem: Materiam quidem pinguem & humidam ideoque flammas diuturnas alentem: Motum præstat per terræ cauernas admissus aër: Penetrandi facultatem facit ignis vis inuicta, sine respiraculo esse nescientis, & incredibili conatu violenter erumpentis, atque ita (non secus ac in cuniculis machinisue seu tormentis bellicis, globi è ferro maximi, magno cum fragore ac strepitu, à sulphure & nitro, è quibus pyrius puluis conficitur, excitato, eijciuntur) lapides & Saxa in ista voragine ignita, ceu quodam camino, collique facta cum immodica arenæ & cinerum copia, exspuentis & eiaculantis, idque vt plurimum, non sine terræmotu: qui si secundum profunditatem terræ fiat, succussio à Possidoneo appellatur vel hiatus erit, vel pulsus. Hiatu terra dehiscit: pulsu eleuatur intumescens, & nonunquam, vt inquit Plinius Lib. 2. cap. 20., motes magnas egerit: Cuiusmodi terræmotus iam mentionem fecimus, maritima Islandiæ Australis Anno 1581 infestantis quíque à Pontano his verbis scitissimè describitur.
Ergo incerta ferens raptim vestigia, anhelus
Spiritus incursat, nunc huc, nunc percitus illuc,
Explorátque abitum insistens, & singula tentat,
Si qua forte queat victis erumpere claustris.
Interea tremit ingentem factura ruinam
Terra, suis quatiens latas cum moenibus vrbes:
Dissiliunt auulsa iugis immania saxa, &c.
Hæc addere libuit, non quòd cuiquam hæc ignota esse existimemus; sed ne nos alij ignorare credant, atque ideo ad suas fabulas, quas hinc extruunt, confugere velle.
Cæterum video quid etiamnum admirationem non exiguam scriptoribus moueat, in his, quos ignoranter fingunt, tribus Islandiæ montibus, videlicet cum eorum basin semper ardere dicant, summitates tamen nunquam niue careant. Porrò id admirari, est præter authoritatem tantorum virorum, quibus Ætnæ incendium optimè notum erat, quæ, cùm secundum Plinium hybernis temporibus niualis sit, noctibus tamen, eodem teste, semper ardet. Quare etiam secundum illos, ille mons, cum adhac niuium copia obducitur, & tamen ardeat sordidarum animarum quoque erit receptaculum: id quod Heclæ propter niues in summo vertice & basin æstuantem, adscribere non dubitarunt. Cardanus. Vix autem mirum esse potest, quòd ignis montis radicibus latens, & nunquam, nisi rarissimè erumpens, excelsa montis cacumina, quæ niuibus obducuntur, non collique faciat. Nam & in Caira, altissima montis cacumina niuibus semper candentia esse perhibentur: & in Beragua quidem similiter, sed 5000 passuum in coelum elata, quæ niuibus nunquam liberentur, cum tamen partibus tantum decem ab æquatore distent. Vtrámque hanc prouinciam iuxta Pariam esse sitam accepimus. Quid? quod illa Teneriffæ (quæ vna, est ex insulis Canarijs, quæ & fortunatæ) pyramis, secundum Munsterum, 8 aut 9 milliarium Germanicorum altitudine in aëra assurgens, atque instar Ætnæ iugiter conflagrans, niues, quibus media cingitur, teste Benzone Italo, Indiæ occidentalis Historico, non resoluit. Quod ipsum in nostra Hecla quid est, quod magis miremur? Atque hæc ita breuiter de incendijs montanis.
Nunc illud quoque castigandum arbitramur, quod hos montes in coelum vsque attolli scribant. Habent enim nullam præ cæteris Islandiæ montibus notabilem altitudinem. Precipuè tertius ille Helga à Munstero appellatus, nobis Helgafel. i. Sacer mons, apud monasterium eiusdem nominis, nulla sui parts tempore æstiuo nimbus obductus, nec montis excelsi, sed potius collis humilis nomen meretur, nunquam, vt initio huius sectionis dixi, de incendio suspectus. Nec verò perpetuæ niues Heclæ, vel paucis alijs adscribi debebant: Permultos enim habet eiusmodi montes niuosos Islandia, quos omnes vel toto anno, non facilè collegerit aut connumerarit, horum prædicator & admirator Cosmographus. Quin etiam id non negligendum, quod mons Hecla non occidentem versus, vt à Munstero & Zieglero annotatum est, sed inter meridiem & orientem positus sit. Nec promontorium est: sed mons ferè mediterraneus.
Annales Islandiæ. Incendia perpetua ragi, &c. Quicunque perpetuam flammarum cructationem Heclæ adscripserunt, toto coelo errarunt, adeò, vt quoties flammas eructarit, nostrates in annales retulerint, viz. anno Christi 1104. 1157. 1222. 1300. 1341. 1362. & 1389. Neque enim ab illo de montis incendio audire licuit, vsque ad annum 1558. quæ vltima fuit in illo monte eruptio. Interea non nego, fieri posse, quin mons infernè latentes intus flammas & incendia alat, quæ videlicet statis interuallis, vt hactenus annotatum est, eruperint, aut etiam forte posthac erumpant.
Monsterus. Frisius. There be in this Iland mountaines lift vp to the skies, whose tops being white with perpetuall snowe, their roots boile with euerlasting fire. The first is towards the West, called Hecla: the other the mountaine of the crosse: and the third Helga. Item Zieglerus. The rocke or promontone of Hecla boileth with continuall fire. Item: Saxo. There is in this Iland also a mountaine, which resembling the starrie firmament, with perpetuall flashings of fire, continueth alwayes burning, by vncessant belching out of flames.
Munster and Frisius being about to report the woonders of Island doe presently stumble, as it were, vpon the thresholde, to the great inconuenience of them both. For that which they heere affirme of mount Hecla, although it hath some shew of trueth: notwithstanding concerning the other two mountaines, that they should burne with perpetuall fire, it is a manifest errour. For there are no such mountaines to be found in Island, nor yet any thing els (so farre foorth as wee can imagine) which might minister occasion of so great an errour vnto writers. Howbeit there was seene (yet very lately) in the yeere 1581 out of a certaine mountaine of South Island lying neere the Sea, and couered ouer with continuall snow and frost, a marueilous eruption of smoke and fire, casting vp abundance of stones and ashes. But this mountaine is farre from the other three, which the sayd authours doe mention. Howbeit, suppose that these things be true which they report of firie mountaines: is it possible therefore that they should seeme strange, or monstrous, whenas they proceed from naturall causes? What? Doe they any whit preuaile to establish that opinion concerning the hell of Island, which followeth next after in Munster, Ziegler, and Frisius? For my part, I thinke it no way tollerable, that men should abuse these, and the like miracles of nature, to auouch absurdities, or, that they should with a kinde of impietie woonder at them, as at matters impossible. As though in these kindes of inflammations, there did not concurre causes of sufficient force for the same purpose. There is in the rootes of these mountaines a matter most apt to be set on fire, comming so neere as it doeth to the nature of brimstone and pitch. There is ayer also which insinuating it selfe by passages, and holes, into the very bowels of the earth, doeth puffe vp the nourishment of so huge a fire, together with Salt-peter, by which puffing (as it were with certeine bellowes) a most ardent flame is kindled. Three naturall causes of firie mountaines. For, all these thus concurring fire hath those three things, which necessarily make it burne, that is to say, matter, motion, and force of making passage: matter which is fattie and moyst, and therefore nourisheth lasting flames: motion which the ayer doeth performe, being admitted into the caues of the earth: force of making passage, and that the inuincible might of fire it selfe (which can not be without inspiration of ayre, and can not but breake foorth with an incredible strength) doeth bring to passe: and so (euen as in vndermining trenches and engines or great warrelike ordinance, huge yron bullets are cast foorth with monstrous roaring, and cracking, by the force of kindled Brimstone, and Salt-peeter, whereof Gunne-powder is compounded) chingle and great stones being skorched in that fiery gulfe, as it were in a furnace, together with abundance of sande and ashes, are vomitted vp and discharged, and that for the most part not without an earthquake which, if it commeth from the depth of the earth, (being called by Possidonius, Succussio) it must either be either an opening or a quaking. Opening causeth the earth in some places to gape, and fall a sunder. By quaking the earth is heaued vp and swelleth, and sometimes (as Plinie saith) Lib. 20. cap. 20. casteth out huge heaps: such an earth-quake was the same which I euen now mentioned, which in the yere 1581 did so sore trouble the South shore of Island. And this kinde of earth-quake is most clearkely described by Pontanus in these verses:
The stirrng breath runnes on with stealing steppes,
vrged now vp, and now enforced downe:
For freedome eke tries all, it skips, it leaps,
to ridde it selfe from vncouth dungeon.
Then quakes the earth as it would burst anon,
The earth yquakes, and walled cities quiuer.
Strong quarries cracke, and stones from hilles doe shiuer.
I thought good to adde these things, not that I suppose any man to be ignorant thereof: but least other men should thinke that we are ignorant, and therefore that we will runne after their fables, which they do from hence establish. But yet there is somewhat more in these three famed mountaines of Island, which causeth the sayd writers not a little to woonder, namely whereas they say that their foundations are alwayes burning, and yet for all that, their toppes be neuer destitute of snowe. Howbeit, it beseemeth not the authority and learning of such great clearks to marueile at this, who can not but well know the flames of mount Aetna, which (according to Plinie) being full of snowe all Winter, notwithstanding (as the same man witnesseth) it doth alwayes burne. Wherefore, if we will giue credit vnto them, euen this mountaine also, sithens it is couered with snowe, and yet burneth, must be a prison of vncleane soules: which thing they haue not doubted to ascribe vnto Hecla, in regard of the frozen top, and the fine bottome. And it is no marueile that fire lurking so deepe in the roots of a mountaine, and neuer breaking forth except it be very seldome, should not be able continually to melt the snowe couering the toppe of the sayd mountaine. Cardanus For in Caira (or Capira) also, the highest toppes of the mountaine are sayd continually to be white with snowe: and those in Veragua likewise, which are fiue miles high, and neuer without snowe, being distant notwithstanding but onely 10 degrees from the equinoctiall. We haue heard that either of the forsayd Prouinces standeth neere vnto Paria. What, if in Teneriffa (which is one of the Canarie or fortunate Islands) the Pike16 so called, arising into the ayre, according to Munster, eight or nine Germaine miles in height, and continually flaming like Aetna: yet (as Benzo an Italian, and Historiographer of the West Indies witnesseth) is it not able to melt the girdle of snowe embracing the middest thereof. Which thing, what reason haue we more to admire in the mountaine of Hecla? And thus much briefly concerning firie mountaines.
Now that also is to be amended, whereas they write that these mountaines are lifted vp euen vnto the skies. For they haue no extraordinarie height beyond the other mountaines of Island, but especially that third mountaine, called by Munster Helga, and by vs Helgafel, that is the holy mount, standing iust by a monastery of the same name, being couered with snowe, vpon no part thereof in Summer time, neither deserueth it the name of an high mountaine, but rather of an humble hillocke, neuer yet as I sayd in the beginning of this section, so much as once suspected of burning. Neither yet ought perpetuall snowe to be ascribed to Hecla onely, or to a few others; for Island hath very many such snowy mountaines, all which the Cosmographer (who hath so extolled and admired these three) should not easily find out, and reckon vp in a whole yere. And that also is not to be omitted, that mount Hecla standeth not towards the West, as Munster and Ziegler haue noted, but betweene the South and the East: neither is it an headland, but rather a mid-land hill.
The chronicles of Island. Continueth alwayes burning &c. whosoeuer they be that haue ascribed vnto Hecla perpetuall belching out of flames, they are farre besides the marke: insomuch that as often as it hath bene enflamed, our countreymen haue recorded it in their yerely Chronicles for a rare accident: namely in the yeeres of Christ 1104, 1157, 1222, 1300, 1341, 1362, and 1389: For from that yeere we neuer heard of the burning of this mountaine vntill the yeere 1558, which was the last breaking foorth of fire in that mountaine. In the meane time I say not that is impossible, but that the bottome of the hill may inwardly breed and nourish flames, which at certaine seasons (as hath bene heretofore obserued) haue burst out, and perhaps may do the like hereafter. 17
16 The Peak.
17 The surface of the country is very mountainous, but there are no definite ranges, the isolated volcanic masses being separated by elevated plateaux of greater or less size. The whole centre is, in fact, an almost continuous desert fringed by a belt of pasture land, lying along the coast and running up the valleys of several of the greater riuers. This desert is occupied partly by snow mountains and glaciers, partly by enormous lava streams, partly by undulating plains of black volcanic sand, shingle, and loose stones. This region is of course without verdure, and entirely uninhabited. The rocks are all of igneous origin, but of very different ages, traps, basalts, amygdaloids, tufas, ochres, and porous lavas. The number of active volcanoes is, at present, not great, but hot springs and mud volcanoes testify to the existence of volcanic action along a line running from the extreme south west at Cape Reykjanes to the north coast near Husavik. The only recent well ascertained eruptions have been from Hecla, Aotlugja, Skaptar Vokul, and (in 1874-5) from the mountains to the south-east of Myratu Lake. The eruption of Skaptar in 1783 is the greatest anywhere on record in respect of the quantity of lava and ashes ejected. Earthquakes are not unfrequent. The greatest mountain group is the Vatna or Klofa Yokul, on the south coast, a mass of snow and ice covering many hundred square miles, and sending down prodigious glaciers which almost reach the sea. From one of these a torrent issues, little more than a hundred yards long, and a mile and a half broad. The line of perpetual snow ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 feet. The loftiest summits of this great mountain mass have never been ascended, but the highest point is believed to be the Orefa Yolcal, 6,405 feet. The other considerable peaks in different parts of the island are Herdubreidr (an extinct volcano), 5,290 feet, Eyjafjalla Yokul, 5,579 feet, Snæfels Yokul, 5,965 feet, and Hecla, 5,095 feet.
Frisius. Munst. Montis Heclæ flamma nec stuppam lucernarum luminibus aptissimam adurit, neque aqua extinguitur: Eóque impetu, quo apud nos machinis bellicis, globi eijciuntur, illinc lapides magni in aera emittuntur, ex frigoris & ignis & sulphuris commixtione. Is locus à quibusdam putatur carcer sordidarum animarum. Item Zieglerus. Is locos est carcer sordidarum animarum.
Nec stuppam adurit.) Vnde habeant Scriptores, non satis conijcitur. Hæc enim nostris hominibus prorsus ignota, nec hic vnquam, nisi prodidissent illi, audita fuissent. Nemo enim est apud nos tam temerariæ curiositatis, vt huius rei periculum, ardente monte, facere ansit, vel quod scire licuit, vnquam ausis fuerit. Quod tamen Munsterus asserit. Qui, inquit, naturam tanti incendij contemplari cupiunt, & ob id ad montem propius accedunt, eos vna aliqua vorago viuos absorbet &c. Quæ res, vt dixi, nostræ genti est ignota prorsus. Exstat tamen liber veteri Noruagorum lingua scriptus, in quo terrarum, aquarum, ignis, aëris, &c. miracula aliquot confusa reperias, pauca vera, plurima vana & falsa. Vnde facile apparet, à Sophis quibusdam, si dijs placet, in Papatu olim esse conscriptum: Speculum Regale. Speculum Regale nomen dederunt, propter vanissima mendacia, quibus totus, sed plærúmque sub religionis & pietatís prætextu (quo difficilius est fucum agnoscere) scatet speculum minimè regale, sed Anile & Irregulare. In hoc speculo figmenta quædam de Heclæ incendio, his quæ nunc tractamus non multum dissimilia, habentur, nullo experimento magis quàm hæc stabilita, ideóque explodenda.
Cæterum ne audaculus videar, qui speculum illud Regale mendacij accusem; nullum verò ex his quæ minus credibilia affert, recenseam; Accipe horum pauca Lector, quæ fidem minimè mereri existimarim.
1. De quadam Insula Hyberniæ; quæ templum & Parochiam habet: Cuius incolæ decedentes non inhumantur: sed ad aggerem seu parietem coemeterij, viuorum instar erecti, consistunt perpetuò: Nec vlli corruptioni, nec ruinæ. obnoxij: vt posterum quiuis suos maiores ibi quærere & conspicere possit.
2. De altera Hyberniæ Insula, vbi homines emori nequeant.
3. De omni terrâ & omnibus arboribus Hyberniæ, quæ omnibus omninò venenis resistant, serpentes & alia venenata, vbiuis terrarum, solâ virtute & præsentia, etiam sine contactu, enecent.
4. De tertia Hyberniæ Insula: Quòd hæc dimidia Diabolorum colonia facta sit. In dimidiam vero propter templum ibidem exstructum, iuris habeant nihil, licet & pastore (vt tota Insula incolis) & sacris perpetuò careat: idque per naturam ita esse.
5. De quarta Hyberniæ Insula, quæ in lacu quòdam satis vasto fluitet: cuius gramina, quibusuis morbis præssentissimum remedium existant: Insula verò ripam lacus statis temporibus accedat, idque vt plurimum, diebus Dominicis, vt tum quiuis facilè eam veluti nauim quandam, ingrediatur: id quod tamen pluribus simul, per fatum licere negat. Hanc vero Insulam septimo quoque anno ripæ adnasci tradit, vt à continente non discernas: In eius autem locum mox succedere alteram, priori, naturam, magnitudine & virtute consimilem: quæ vnde veniat, nesciri: idque cum quòdam quasi tonitru contingere.
6. De venatoribus Noruegiæ, qui lignum domare (sic enim loquitur, quantumuis impropriè: cùm ligno vt non vita, ita nec domitura competat) adeo docti sint, vt asseres 8. vlnas longi, plantis pedum eorundem alligati, tanta eos celeritate, vel in excelsis montibus, promoueant, vt non modò canum venaticorum, aut caprearum cursu, sed etiam auium volatu superari nequeant: atque vnico cursu, vnico etiam hastæ ictu, nouem vel plures capreas feriant. Gronlandia. Hæc & similia, de Hybernia, Noruegia, Islandia, Gronlandia, de aquæ & aëris etiam miraculis, centonum ille magister, in suum speculum collegit: Quibus, licet suis admirationem, vulgo stuporem, nobis tamen risum concitauit.
Sed Frisium audiamus. Flamma, inquit, Montis Heclæ nec stuppam, lucernarum luminibus aptissimam, adurit, nec aqua extinguitur. Atqui inquam, ex Schola vestra Philosophica petitis rationibus hoc Paradoxon confirmari poterit. Docent enim Physici, commune esse validioribus flammis omnibus vt siccis extinguantur, alantur verò humidis: Vnde etiam fabri, aqua inspersa, ignem excitare solent. Cùm enim, aiunt, ardentior fuerit ignis, à frigido incitatur, & ab humido alitur, quorum vtrumque aquæ inest. Item: Aqua solet vehementes accendere ignes: Quoniam humidum ipsum quod exhalat, pinguius redditur, nec à circumfuso fumo absumitur, sed totum ignis ipse depascitur, quò purior inde factus, ac simul collectus, à frigido alacrior inde redditur. Vnde etiam ignes artificiosi aqua minimè extinguibiles. Item: Sunt sulphure & bitumine loca abundantia, quæ sponte ardent, quorum flamma aqua minimè extinguitur. Prodidit etiam Philosophus, Aqua ali ignem. Arist. 3. de anim. Et Plin. lib. 2. Nat. Histor. cap. 110. Et Strabo lib. 7. In Nymphæo excitè Petra flamma, que aqua accenditur. Idem, Viret æternùm contexens fontem igneum fraxinus. Quin & repentinos ignes in aquis existere, vt Thrasumenum lacum in agro Perusino arsisse totum, idem autor est. Chronica Islandie. Et anno 1226, & 1236. non procul à promontorio Islandiæ Reykianes, flamma ex ipso mari erupit. Etiam in corporibus humanis repentinos ignes emicuisse, vt Seruio Tullio dormienti, è capite flammam exsilijsse: Et L. Martium in Hispania, interfectis Scipionibus, concionem seu orationem ad milites habentem, atque ad vltionem exhortantem, conflagrasse, Valerius Antias narrat. Meminit etiam Plinius flammæ montanæ, quæ, vt aqua accendatur, ita terra aut foeno extinguatur. Item, Alterius campestris, que frondem densi supra se nemoris non adurat. Quæ cum ita sint, mirum, homines id in solâ Heclâ mirari (ponam enim iam ita esse, cum non sit tamen, quòd à quoquam scire potuerim) quòd multis aliarum terrarum partibus seu locis, tam montanis, quàm campestribus, cum ea commune esset.
Eo impetu quo apud nos globi. Sic enim Munsterus. Frisius. Mons ipse cum furit, inquit, horribilia tonitrua insonat, proijcit ingentia Saxa, sulphur euomit, cineribus egestis, tam longè terram circumcirca operit, vt ad vicesimum lapidem coli non possit, &c. Cæterum oportuit potius cum Ætnâ, aut alijs montibus flammiuomis, quos mox recitabo, comparasse, cum non deesset, non modò simile, sed prope idem: Nisi fortè quòd incendia rarius ex Heclâ erumpant, quàm alijs id genus montibus. Nam proxunis 34. annis prorsus quieuit, facta videlicet vltima eruptione, An. 1558. vt superius annotauimus. Et nihil tam magnificè dici potest de nostra Hecla, quin idem, vel maius cæteris montibus flammiuomis competat, vt mox apparebit. Quòd verò sulphur eiaculetur, manifestum est commentum nullo experimento apud nostrates cognitum.
Is locus est carcer sordidarum animarum. Hic præfandum esse mihi video, atque veniam à Lectore petendam quòd cum initio proposuerim, de terra & incolis diuisim agere in hac prima parte tamen, quæ sunt meritò secundæ partis miscere cogar. Euenit hoc scriptorum culpa, qui Insulæ situi ac miraculis, religionis incolarum particulam hanc, de opinione infernalis carceris, confuderunt. Quare etiam vt hunc locum attingamus, quis non miretur isthoc commentum ab homine cordato in Historia positum esse? Quis non miretur, viros sapientes eò perduci, vt hæc vulgi deliramenta auscultent, nedum sequantur? Vulgus enim extraneorum & hominum colluuies nautica (hic enim saniores omnes tam inter nautas quam reliquos excipio,) de hoc insolito naturæ miraculo audiens, ingenito stupore ad istam, de carcere animarum, imaginationem fertur: Siquidem incendio nullam substerni materiam videt, quemadmodum in domesticis focis fieri consueuit. Atque hac persuasione vulgi fama inoleuit dum (vt ad maledicta optimè assuefactum est) vnus alteri huius montis incendum imprecatur. Quasi verò ignis elementaris & materiatus ac visibilis, animas, i. substantias spirituales comburat. Quis deníque non miretur cur eundem carcere damnatorum, non in Ætna etiam, nihilo minus ignibus ac incendijs celebri, confingant? At confinxit dices, Gregorius Pontifex. Purgatorium igitur est. Sit sanè: Eadem igitur huius carceris veritas quæ & purgatorij. Sed priusquam longius procedamus, libet hic referre fabulam perlepidam, huius opinionis infernalis originem & fundamentum: Nempe cuidam extraneorum naui Islandiam relinquenti & turgidis velis citissimo cursu iter suum rectà legenti, factam obuiam alteram similiter impigro cursu, sed contra vim tempestatum, velis & remis nitentem: cuius præfectus rogatus, quinam essent? Respondisse fertur: De Bischop van Bremen. Iterum rogatus quo tenderent? ait. Thom Heckelfeldt tho, Thom Heckelfeldt tho. Hæc videns Lector vereor, ne peluim postulet dari: Est enim mendacium adeo detestandum, vt facilè nauseam pariat. Abeat igitur ad Cynosarges & ranas palustres: illud enim eiusde facimus atque illarum coax, coax. Nec verò dignum est hoc commentum, quod rideatur, nedum refutetur. Sed nolo cum insanis Papistis nugari: Quin potius ad scriptores nostros conuertamur.
Atque inprimis nequeo hic, clarissimi viri, D. Casparis Peuceri, illud præterire. Est in Islandia, inquit, mons Hecla, qui immanis barathri, vel inferni potius profunditate terribilis, eiulantium miserabili & lamentabili ploratu personat, vt voces plorantium circumquaque, ad interuallum magni milliaris audiantur. Circumnolitant hunc coruorum & vulturum nigerrima agmina, quæ nidulari ibidem ab incolis existimantur. Vulgus incolarum descensum esse per voraginem illam ad inferos persuasum habet: Inde cum prælia committuntur alibi in quacunque parte orbis terrarum aut cædes fiunt cruentæ commoueri horrendos circumcirca tumultus & excitari clamores atque eiulatus ingentes longâ experientiâ didicerunt. Quis verò rem tam incredibilem ad te vir doctissime perferre ausus fuit? Nec enim vultures habet Islandia, sed genus aquilarum secundum, quod ab albicante caudâ Plinius notauit & Pygarsum appellauit. Nec vlli sunt huius spectaculi apud nos testes: Nec deníque ibidem coruos aut aquilas nidificare probabile est, quæ, igni & fumo semper inimicissimo, potius à focis vel incendijs arceantur. Et nihilominus in huius rei testimonium, (vt & exauditi per voraginem montis tumultus extranei,) experientiam incolarum allegant, quæ certè contraria omnia testatur. Vnde verò foramen vel fenestra illa montana, per quam clamores, strepitus & tumultus apud antipodes, periæcos & antæcos factos exaudiremus? De quâ re multa essent, quæ authorem istius mendacij interrogatum haberem, modò quid de illo nobis constaret: qui vtinam veriora narrare discat, nec tam perfrictâ fronte similia, incomperta, átque, adeò incredibilia, clarissimo viro Peucero, aut alijs referre præsumat.
Ast verò Munsterus cum incendij tanti & tam incredilis caussas in famosissimâ Ætna inuestigare conatus sit, quam rem illic naturalem facit, hic verò præternaturalem imo infernalem faciat, an non monstri simile est? Cæterum de Æthnâ quid dico? Quin potius videamus quid de Heclæ incendio alias sentiat Munsterus.
Munsterus Cosmograph. vniuersal. lib. 1. cap. 7. Dubium non est, inquit, montes olim & campos arsisse in orbe terrarum: Et nostra quidem state ardent. Verbi gratia: In Islandia mons Hecla statis temporibus foras proijcit ingentia Saxa, euomit sulphur spargit cineres, tam longè circumcirca, vt terra ad vicesimum lapidem coli non possit. Vbi autem montium incendia perpetua sunt, intelligimus nullam esse obstructionem meatuum, per quos modò, quasi fluuium quendam, ignes, modò flammas, nunc verò fumum tantùm euomunt. Sin per temporum interualla increscunt, internis meatibus obturatis, eius viscera nihilominus ardent Superioris autem partis incendia, propter fomitis inopiam, non nihil remittunt ad tempus. Ast vbi spiritus vehementior, rursus reclusis meatibus ijsdem vel alijs, ex carcere magnâ vi erumpit, cineres, arenam, sulphur, pumices, massas, quæ habent speciem ferri, saxa, aliásque materias foras proijcit, plerúnque non sine detrimento regionis adiacentis. Hæc Munsterus. Vbi videas quæso Lector, quomodo suo se iugulet gladio, videas inquam hic eadem de incendio Heclæ & Ætnæ opinionem & sententiam, quæ tamen lib 4. eiusdem, admodum est dispar, vt illic ad causas infernales confugiat.
Habet profectò Indiæ occidentalis mons quidam flammiuomus æquiores multò, quàm hic noster censores & historicos, minimè illic barathrum exædificantes: Cuius historiam, quia & breuis est, & non illepida, subijciam, ab Hieronimo Benzone Italo in Historiar noui orbis, lib. 2. his verbis descriptam.
Triginta quínque, inquit, milliarium interuallo abest Legione mons flammiuomus, qui per ingentem craterem tantos sæpe flammarum globos eructat, vt noctu latissimè vltra 10000. passuum incendia reluceant. Nonnullis fuit opinio, intus liquefactum aurum esse, perpetuam ignibus materiam. Itáque Dominicanus quidam monachus cum eius rei periculum facere vellet, ahenum & catenam ferream fabricari curat móxque in montis iugum cum quatuor alijs Hispanis ascendens, catenam cum aheno ad centum quadraginta vlnas in caminum demittit. Ibi ignis feruore, ahenum cum parte catenæ liquefactum est. Monachus non leuiter iratus Legionem recurrit, fabrum incusat, quòd catenam tenuiorem multò, quàm iussisset ipse, esset fabricatus. Faber aliam multo crassiorem excudit. Monachus montem repetit: Catenam & lebetem demittit. Res priori incoepto similem exitum habuit. Nec tantùm resolutus lebes euanuit, verum etiam flammæ globus repentè è profundo exsiliens, propemodum & Fratrem & socios absumpsit. Omnes quidem adeo perculsi in vrbem reuersi sunt, vt de eo incoepto exequendo nunquam deinceps cogitarent &c.
O quam censura dispar? In montano Indiæ occidentalis camino auram: Islandiæ verò, infernum quærunt. Sed hoc vt nimis recens, ac veteribus ignotum fortasse reijcient: Cur igitur eundem, quem in Hecla Islandiæ, animarum in Chimæra carcerem, Lyciæ monte, cuius noctu diúque flamma immortalis perhibetur, non sunt imaginati scriptores? Cur no in Ephesi montibus, quos tæda flammante tactos, tantum ignis concipere accepimus, vt lapides quoque & arenæ in ipsis aquis ardeant, & ex quibus accenso baculo, si quis sulcum traxerit, riuos ignium sequi narrator à Plinio? Cur non in Cophantro Bactrorum monte, noctu semper conflagrante? Cur non in Hiera Insula, medio mari ardente? Cur non in Æolia, similiter in ipso mari olim dies aliquot aliquot accensa? Cur non in Babyloniorum campo, interdiu flagrante? Cur non in Æthiopum campis, Stellarum modo, noctu semper nitentibus? Cur non in illo Liparæ tumulo, ampla & profunda voragine hiante, teste Aristotele, ad quem non tutò noctu accedatur: ex quo Cymbalorum sonitus, crotalorum boatus, cum insolitis & inconditis cachinnis exaudiantur? Cur non in Neapolitanorum agro ad Puteolos? Cur non in illa superius commemorata Teneriffæ pyramide montana, instar Ætnæ, iugiter ardente, & lapides, vt ex Munstero videre est, in aëra exspuente? Cur non in illo Aethiopum iugo, quod Plinius testatur, horum omnium maximo aduri incendio? Cur non denique in Vesuuio monte, non sine insigni viciniæ clade, & C. Plinij exitiali detrimento, dum insueti incendij causas perscrutaturus venit, nubium tenus flammas cum saxis euomente, pumicum & cinerum ineffabili copiâ aëra replente, & solem meridianum per totam viciniam densissimis tenebris intercipiente? Dicam, & dicam quod res est: Quia scilicet illis, vtpote notioribus, fidem, etsi inferni esse incendia finxissent, minimè adhiberi præuidebant: Heclæ verò æstum, cuius rumor tardius ad eorum aures peruenit, huic commento vanissimo stabiliendo, magis inseruire putabant. Sed facessite: Depræhensa fraus est: Desinite posthac illam de inferno Heklensi opinionem cuiquam velle persuadere. Docuit enim & nos, & alios, vobis inuitis, consimilibus incendijs, operationes suas Natura, non Infernus. Sed videamus iam plura eiusdem farinæ vulgi mendacia, quæ Historicis & Cosmographis nostris adeò malè imposuerunt.
Frisius. Munsterus. The flame of mount Hecla will not burne towe (which is most apt for the wieke of a candle) neither is it quenched with water: and by the same force that bullets are discharged out of warlike engines with vs, from thence are great stones cast foorth into the aire, by reason of the mixture of colde, and fire, and brimstone. This place is thought of some to be the prison of vncleane soules. Item: Zieglerus. This place is the prison of vncleane soules.
Will not burne towe. Where these writers should finde such matters, it is not easie to coniecture. For our people are altogether ignorant of them, neither had they euer bene heard of heere among vs, if they had not brought them to light. For there is no man with vs so rashly and fondly curious, that dareth for his life, the hill being on fire, trie any such conclusions, or (to our knowledge) that euer durst: which notwithstanding Munster affirmeth, saying: They that are desirous to contemplate the nature of so huge a fire, & for the same purpose approch vnto the mountaine, are by some gulfe swallowed vp aliue, &c. which thing (as I sayd) is altogether vnknowen vnto our nation. Speculum regale written in the Noruagian tongue. Yet there is a booke extant, written in the ancient language of the Noruagians, wherein you may finde some miracles of earth, water, fire, and aire, &c. confusedly written, few of them true, and the most part vaine and false. Whereupon it easily appeareth that it was written long since by some that were imagined to be great wise men in the time of Popery. Whence the fables of Island grew. They called it a royall looking glasse: howbeit, in regard of the fond fables, wherewith (but for the most part vnder the shew of religion and piety, whereby it is more difficult to finde out the cousinage) it doeth all ouer swarme, it deserueth not the name of a looking glasse royall, but rather of a popular, and olde wiues looking glasse. In this glasse there are found certaine figments of the burning of Hecla, not much vnlike these which we now entreat of, nor any whit more grounded vpon experience, and for that cause to be reiected.
But that I may not seeme somewhat foolehardy, for accusing this royall looking glasse of falshood (not to mention any of those things which it reporteth as lesse credible) loe heere a few things (friendly reader) which I suppose deserue no credit at all.
1. Of a certain Isle in Ireland, hauing a church and a parish in it, the inhabitants whereof deceasing are not buried in the earth, but like liuing men, do continually, against some banke or wall in the Churchyard, stand bolt-vpright: neither are they subiect to any corruption or downefall: insomuch that any of the posteritie, may there seeke for, and beholde their ancestors.
2. Of another Isle of Ireland, where men are not mortall.
3. Of all the earth and trees of Ireland, being of force to resist all poisons, and to kill serpents, and other venimous things, in any countrey whatsoeuer, by the only vertue and presence thereof yea euen without touching.
4. Of a third Isle of Ireland, that the one halfe thereof became an habitation of deuils, but that the sayd deuils haue no iurisdiction ouer the other halfe, by reason of a Church there built, although, as the whole Isle is without inhabitants, so this part is continually destitute of a Pastor, and of diuine seruice: and that it is so by nature.
5. Of a fourth Isle of Ireland floating vp and downe in an huge lake, the grasse whereof is a most present remedy for all kinde of diseases, and that the Iland, at certeine seasons, especially on Sundayes, commeth to the banke of the lake, so that any man may then easily enter into it, as it were into a shippe: which notwithstanding (sayth he) destiny will not suffer any more then one to enter at a time. Furthermore he reporteth that this Island euery seuenth yere groweth fast to the banke, so that you cannot discerne it from firme land: but that into the place thereof there succeedeth another, altogether like the former, in nature, quantitie, and vertue: which, from what place it commeth, no man can tell: and that all this happeneth with a kinde of thundering.
6. Of the hunters of Norway who are so expert to tame wood (for so he speaketh very improperly, whereas vnto wood neither life nor taming can be ascribed) that wooden pattens of eight elnes long being bound to the soles of their feet do cary them with so great celeritie euen vpon hie mountaines, that they cannot be outrun, either by the swiftnes of hounds and deere, or yet by the flying of birds. And that they will kill nine roes or more at one course & with one stroke of a dart.
These and such like, concerning Ireland, Norway, Island, Gronland. of the miracles of water, and aire, this master of fragments hath gathered together into his looking glasse: whereby, although he hath made his owne followers woonder, and the common people to be astonished, yet hath he ministred vnto vs nothing but occasion of laughter.
But let vs heare Frisius. The flame of mount Hecla (sayth he) will not burne towe (which is most apt matter for the wicke of a candle) neither is it quenched with water. But I say that this strange opinion may be confirmed by many reasons borrowed out of your schoole of Philosophy. For the natarall Philosophers doe teach, That it is common to all forcible flames to be quenched with dry things, and nourished with moiste: whereupon, euen blacksmithes, by sprinckling on of water, vse to quicken and strengthen their fire. For (say they) when fire is more vehement, it is stirred vp by colde, and nourished by moisture, both which qualities doe concurre in water. Item, water is wont to kindle skorching fires: because the moisture it selfe, which ariseth, doth proue more fattie and grosse, neither is it consumed by the smoke enclosing it, but the fire it selfe feedeth vpon the whole substance thereof, whereby being made purer, and gathering round together, it becommeth then more vehement by reason of colde. And therefore also wild-fires cannot be quenched with water. Item, There be places abounding with brimstone and pitch, which burne of their owne accord, the flame wherof cannot be quenched with water. The graund Philosopher also hath affirmed, that fire is nourished by water. Arist 3. de anim. And Plinie, in the second booke of his naturall historie cap. 110. And Strabo in his 7. booke. In Nympheum there proceedeth a flame out of a rocke, which is kindled with water. The same author sayth: The ashe continually flourisheth, couering a burning fountaine. And moreouer that there are sudden fires at some times, euen vpon waters, as namely that the lake of Thrasumenus in the field of Perugi, was all on fire, as the same Strabo witnesseth. And in the yeares 1226, and 1236, not farre from the promontorie of Islande called Reykians, a flame of fire brake forth out of the sea. Yea euen vpon mens bodies sudden fires haue glittered: as namely, there sprang a flame from the head of Seruius Tullius lying a sleepe: and also Lucius Martius in Spaine after the death of the Scipions, making an oration to his souldiers, and exhorting them to reuenge, was all in a flame, as Valerius Antias doth report. Plinie in like sort maketh mention of a flame in a certaine mountaine, which, as it is kindled with water, so is it quenched with earth or haye: also of another field which burneth not the leaues of shadie trees that growe directly ouer it. These things being thus, it is strange that men should accompt that a wonder in Hecla onely (for I will graunt it to be, for disputation sake, when indeede there is no such matter so farre foorth as euer I could learne of any man) which is common to manie other parts or places in the world, both hilly and plaine, as well as to this.
Frisius. And by the same force that bullets, &c. Munster saith the like also. This mountaine when it rageth, it soundeth like dreadfull thunder, casteth forth huge stones, disgorgeth brimstone and with the cinders that are blowen abroad, it couereth so much ground round about it, that no man can inhabite within 20. miles thereof, &c. Howbeit, they ought to haue compared it with Aetna, or with other fierie mountaines, whereof I will presently make mention, seeing there is to be found in them, not onely a like accident, but in a manner the very same. Vnlesse perhaps this be the difference, that flames brake seldomer out of Hecla, then out of other mountaines of the same kinde. For it hath now rested these 34. yeares full out, the last fierie breach being made in the yeare 1558. as we haue before noted. And there can no such wonders be affirmed of our Hecla, but the same or greater are to be ascribed vnto other burning mountaines, as it shall by and by appeare.
But that brimstone should be sent foorth it is a meere fable, and neuer knowen vnto our nation, by any experiment.
This place is the prison of vncleane soules. Here I am constrained to vse a preface, and to craue pardon of the Reader, because, whereas in the beginning I propounded vnto my selfe to treat of the land, and of the inhabitants distinctly by themselues, I must of necessitie confusedly handle certaine matters in this first part, which do properly belong vnto the second. This is come to passe through the fault of these writers, who haue confounded this part of the inhabitants religion concerning the opinion of hell, or of the infernall prison, with the situation & miracles of the island. Wherfore that we may come to this matter, who can but wonder that wise men should be growen to this point, not onely to listen after, but euen to follow and embrace the dotings of the rude people: For the common sort of strangers, and the offskowring of mariners (here I do except them of better iudgement aswell mariners as others) hearing of this rare miracle of nature, by an inbred and naturall blockishnesse are earned to this imagination of the prison of soules: and that because they see no wood nor any such fewell layed vpon this fire as they haue in their owne chimneys at home. And by this perswasion of the grosse multitude, the report grew strong, especially (as they are too much accustomed to banning and cursing) while one would wish to another the firie torments of this mountaine. As though elementarie, materiall and visible fire could consume mens soules being spirituall, bodiless and inuisible substances. And to be short, who can but woonder, why they should not faine the same prison of damned soules, aswell in mount Aetna, being no lesse famous for fires and inflamations then this: But you will say, that Pope Gregorie fained it so to be. Therefore it is purgatorie. I am content it should be so: then there is the same trueth of this prison that there is of purgatorie. But before I proceede any further I thinke it not amisse to tell a merie tale, which was the originall and ground of this hellish opinion: namely that a ship of certaine strangers departing from Island, vnder full saile, a most swift pace, going diectly on her course, met with another ship sailing against winde & weather, and the force of the tempest as swiftly as themselues, who hailing them of whence they were, answere was giuen by their gouernor, De Bischop van Bremen: being the second time asked whether they were bound: he answered, Thom Heckelfeld tho, Thom Heckelfeld tho. I am affeard lest the reader at the sight of these things should call for a bason: for it is such an abominable lie, that it would make a man cast his gorge to heare it. Away with it therefore to fenny frogs, for we esteeme no more of it, then of their croaking coax coax. Nay, it is so palpable that it is not worthy to be smiled at, much lesse to be refuted. But I will not trifle any longer with the fond Papists: let vs rather come vnto our owne writers.
And first of all I cannot here omit a saying of that most worthie man Doctor Caspar Peucer. There is in Islande (quoth he) mount Hecla, being of as dreadfull a depth as any vaste gulfe, or as hell it selfe, which resoundeth with lamentable, & miserable yellings, that the noise of the cryers may be heard for the space of a great league round about. Great swarmes of vgly blacke Rauens and Vultures lie hoouering about this place which are thought of the inhabitantes to nestle there. The common people of that countrey are verily perswaded, that there is a descent downe into hell by this gulfe: and therefore when any battailes are foughten else where, in whatsoeuer part of the whole world, or any bloudie slaughters are committed, they haue learned by long experience, what horrible tumults and out-cryes, what monstrous skritches are heard round about this mountaine. Who durst be so bold (most learned Sir) to bring such an incredible report to your eares: Neither hath Island any Vultures, but that second kinde of Eagles, which Plinie noted by their white tayles, and called them Pygarsi: neither are there any with vs, that can beare witnesse of the foresaid spectacle: nor yet is it likely that Rauens and Eagles would nestle in that place, when as they should rather be driuen from thence by fire and smoke, being things most contrarie to their nature. And yet notwithstanding for proofe of this matter, as also of a strange tumult heard within the hollow of the mountaine, they allege the experience of the inhabitants, which indeede testifieth all things to the contrarie. But whereabout should that hole or windowe of the mountaine be, by the which we may heare outcries, noyse and tumults done among them, who inhabite the most contrarie, distant, and remote places of the earth from vs: Concerning which thing I would aske the author of this fable many questions, if I might but come to the knowledge of him: in the meane time I could wish that from hencefoorth he would learne to tell troth, & not presume with so impudent a face to enforme excellent Peucer, or others, of such vnknowen and incredible matters.
But to returne to Munster, who endeuouring to search out the causes of the great and strange fire of that famous hill Aetna, is it not monstrous that the very same thing which he there maketh natural, he should here imagine to be preternaturall, yea infernal? But why do I speake of Aetna? Let vs rather consider what Munster in another place thinketh of the burning of Hecla.
Munsterus Cosmograph. vniuersalis lib. 1. cap. 7. It is without doubt (saith he) that some mountaines and fields burned in old time throughout the whole world: and in this our age do burne. As for example: mount Hecla in Island at certaine seasons casteth abroad great stones, spitteth out brimstone, and disperseth ashes, for such a distance round about, that the land cannot be inhabited within 20. miles thereof. But where mountaines do continually burne we vnderstand that there is no stopping of the passages, wherby they poure forth abundance of fire sometime flaming, & sometime smoaking gas it were a streaming flood. But if betweene times the fire encreaseth, all secret passages being shut vp, the inner parts of the mountaine are notwithstanding enflamed. The fire in the vpper part, for want of matter, somewhat abateth for the time. But when a more vehement spirite (the same, or other passages being set open again) doth with great violence breake prison, it casteth forth ashes, sand, brimstone, pumistones, lumpes resembling iron, great stones, & much other matter, not without the domage of the whole region adioyning. Thus farre Munster. Where consider (good Reader) how he cutteth his throat with his owne sword, consider (I say) that in this place there is the very same opinion of the burning of Hecla, & the burning of Aetna, which notwithstanding in his 4. booke is very diuerse, for there he is faine to run to infernall causes. A certaine fierie mountaine of West India hath farre more friendly censurers, & historiographers then our Hecla, who make not an infernall gulfe therof. The History of which mountain (because it is short & sweete) I will set downe, being written by Hieronimus Benzo an Italian, in his history of the new world, lib. 2. These be the words. “About 35. miles distant from Leon there is a mountaine which at a great hole belcheth out such mightie balles of flames, that in the night they shine farre and neare, aboue 100. miles. Some were of opinion that within it was molten gold ministring continuall matter & nourishment for the fire. Hereupon a certain Dominican Frier, determining to make trial of the matter, caused a brasse kettle, & an iron chain to be made: afterward ascending to the top of the hill with 4. other Spaniards, he letteth downe the chaine & the kettle 140. elnes into the fornace: there, by extreme heate of the fire, the kettle, & part of the chaine melted. The monke in a rage ran back to Leon, & chid the smith, because he had made the chaine far more slender then himselfe had commanded. The smith hammers out another of more substance & strength then the former. The Monke returnes to the mountains, and lets downe the chaine & the cauldron; but with the like successe that he had before. Neither did the caldron only vanish & melt away: but also, vpon the sudden there came out of the depth a flame of fire, which had almost consumed the Frier, & his companions. Then they all returned so astonished, that they had small list afterward to prosecute that attempt, &c.” What great difference is there betweene these two censures? In a fiery hill of West India they search for gold: but in mount Hecla of Island they seeke for hel. Howbeit they wil perhaps reiect this as a thing too new, & altogether vnknowen to ancient writers. Why therefore haue not writers imagined the same prison of soules to be in Chimæra an hill in Lycia (which, by report, flameth continually day and night) that is in mount Hecla of Island? Why haue they not imagined the same to be in the mountaines of Ephesus, which being touched with a burning torch, are reported to conceiue so much fire, that the very stones & sand lying in the water are caused to burne, & from the which (a staffe being burnt vpon them, & trailed after a man on the ground) there proceede whole riuers of fire, as Plinie testifieth? Why not in Cophantrus a mountaine of Bactria, alwayes burning in the night? Why not in the Isle of Hiera, flaming in the midst of the sea? Why not in Aeolia in old time likewise burning for certaine daies in the midst of the sea? Why not in the field of Babylon burning in the day season? Why not in the fields of Aethiopia glittering alwaies like stars in the night? Why not in the hill of Lipara opening with a wide and bottomlesse gulfe (as Aristotle beareth record) whereunto it is dangerous to approch in the night: from whence the sound of Cymbals and the noyse of rattles, with vnwonted and vncouth laughters are heard? Why not in the field of Naples, neare vnto Puteoli? Why not in the Pike of Teneriffa before mentioned, like Aetna continually burning and casting vp stones into the aier, as Munster himselfe witnesseth? Why not in that Aethiopian hill, which Plinie affirmeth to burne more then all the former? And to conclude, why not in the mountaine of Vesuuius, which (to the great damage of al the countrey adioyning, & to the vtter destruction of Caius Plinius prying into the causes of so strange a fire) vomiting out flames as high as the clouds, filling the aire with great abundance of pumistones, and ashes, & with palpable darknesse intercepting the light of the sunne from al the region therabout? I wil speake, & yet speake no more then the truth: because in deede they foresaw, that men would yeeld no credite to those things as being too well knowen, though they should haue feined them to haue beene the flames of hell: but they thought the burning of Hecla (the rumour whereof came more slowly to their eares) to be fitter for the establishing of this fond fable. But get ye packing, your fraud is found out: leaue off for shame hereafter to perswade any simple man, that there is a hel in mount Hecla. For nature hath taught both vs & others (maugre your opinion) to acknowledge her operations in these fire workes, not the fury of hell. But now let vs examine a few more such fables of the common people, which haue so vnhappily misledd our historiographers & cosmographers.
Frisius Zieglerus, Olauus Magn. Iuxta hos montes (tres prædictos Heclam, &c.) sunt tres hiatus immanes, quorum altitudinem apud montem Heclam potissimum, ne Lynceus quidem perspicere queat: Sed apparent ipsum inspicientibus, homines primùm submersi, adhuc spiritum exhalantes, qui amicis suis, vt ad propria redeant, hortantibus, magnis suspirijs se ad montem Heclam proficisci debere respondent: Sicque subitò euanescunt.
Ad confirmandum superius mendacium de Inferno terrestri ac visibili, commentum hoc, non minus calumniosum (etsi facilè largiar, Frisium non tam calumniandi, quàm noua & inaudita prædicandi animo ista scripsisse) quàm falsum ac gerris Siculis longè vanius ac detestabilius, excogitarunt homines ignaui, nec coelum ec infernum scientes. Quos scriptores isti, viri alioqui præclarissimi & optimè de Repub. literaria meriti, nimium præpropero iudicio secuti sunt.
Cæterum optandum esset, nullos tanto nouitatis studio Historias scribere, vt non vereantur aniles quasuis nugas ijs inserere, atque ita aurum purum coeno aspergere. Qui verò demum sunt homines illi submersi, in lacu infernali natitantes, & nihilominus cum notis & amicis confabulantes? Anne nobis veterem Orphea, cum sua Euridice, in Stygias relabente vndas, colloquentem, & in his extremi orbis partibus, tanquam ad Tanaim Hebrúmque niualem, cantus exercentem lyricos, rediuiuum dabitis? Certè, etsi nolint alij futilem huiusmodi ineptiarum leuitatem ac mendacium agnoscere, agnouit tamen rerum omnium haud negligens æstimator Cardanus, lib. 18. subtil. cuius hæc sunt verba.
Est Hecla mons in Islandia, ardétque non aliter ac Ætna in Sicilia per interualla, ideóque persuasione longa (vulgi) concepta, quòd ibi expientur animaæ. Alij, ne vani sint, affingunt inania fabulæ, vt consona videantur. Quæ sunt autem illa inania? Quòd spectra comminiscuntur, se ad montem Heclam ire respondentia, ait idem. Et addit. Nec in Islandia solum, sed vbique, licet rarò, talia contingunt: Subdítque de laruâ homicidâ Historiam, quæ sic habet. Efferebatur, inquit, anno præterito, funus viri plebeij Mediolani, orientali in porta iuxta templum maius foro venali, quòd à caulium frequentia nomen caulis nostra lingua sonat. Occurrit mihi notus: Peto, vt medicorum moris est, quo morbo excesserit? Respondet ille: consuesse hunc virum hora noctis, tertia à labore redire domum: Vidit lemurem nocte quadam insequentem: Quam cum effugere conaretur, ocyus citato pede abibat: Sed à spectro captus atque in terram proiectus videbatur. Exclamare nitebatur: Non poterat. Tandem, cum diu in terra cum larua volutatus esset, inuentus à prætereuntibus quibusdam, semiuiuus domum relatus, cum resipuisset, interrogatus, hæc quæ minus expectabantur, retulit. Ob id animam despondens, cum nec ab amicis, nec medicis, nec sacerdotibus persuaderi potuisset, inania esse hæc, octo inde diebus perijt. Audiui postmodum & ab alijs, qui vicini essent illi, neminem ab inimico vulneratum tam constanter de illo testatum, vt hic, quod à mortuo fuisset in terram prouolutus. Cum quidam quærerent, quid ille postquam in terram volutaretur ageret? Conatum, inquit, mortuum adhibitis gulæ manibus, vt eum strangularet: Nec obstitisse quicquam, nisi quòd se ipsum tueretur manibus. Cum alij dubitarent, ne fortè hæc à viuo passus esset, interrogarentque in quo mortuum à viuo secernere potuisset? Caussam reddidit satis probabilem, dicens se tanquam cottum attrectasse, nec pondus habuisse, nisi vt premebatur. Et paulò post addit. Eadem verò ratione qua in Islandia, in arenæ solitudinibus Ægypti & Æthiopiæ, Indiæque vbi Sol ardet, eædem imagines, eadem spectra viatores ludificare solent. Hactenus Cardanus. Inde tamen nemo concluseret, sicut de Islandia scriptores nostri faciunt, in illis Ægypti and Æthiopiæ, Indiæque locis, carcerem existere damnatorum.
Hæc ex Cardano adscribere libuit, vt etiam extraneorum testimonia pro nobis, contra figmenta tanta afferamus. Conuincit autem præsens Cardani locus hæc duo, scilicet: nec esse Islandiæ proprias spectrorum apparitiones: (quod etiam omnes norunt, nisi eius rei ignorantiam nimis affectent) nec illud mortuorum cum viuis, in hiatu Heclensi, colloquium, nisi ementitis hominum fabulis, quauis ampulla vani oribus, niti, quibus beluæ vulgares, ad confirmandam de animarum cruciatibus opinionem, vsæ fuerant. Et quisquam est, qui illis scriptorum hiatibus, mortuorum miraculis ad summum vsque refertis, adduci potest vt credat? Quisquam, qui vanitatem tantam non cotemnat? Certè. Nam & hinc conuicia in gentem nostram recte sumi aiunt: Nihil scilicet hac proiectius ac deterius esse vsquam, quæ intra limites Orcum habeat. Scilicet hoc commodi nobis peperit Historicorum ad res nouas diuulgandas auiditas. Verum illa è vulgi dementia nata opinio, vt stulta ac inanis, & in opprobrium nostræ gentis conficta, hactenus, vt spero, satis labefactata est. Quare iam perge Lector, vlterius hanc de secretis infernalibus Philosophiam cognoscere.
Frisius. Zieglerus. Olaus magnus. Neare vnto the mountaines (the 3. fornamed Hecla &c.) there be three vaste holes, the depth whereof, especially at mount Hecla, cannot be discerned by any man, be he neuer so sharpe sighted: but there appeare to the beholders thereof certaine men at that instant plunged in, & as yet drawing their breath, who answere their friends (exhorting them with deepe sighs to returne home) that they must depart to mount Hecla: and with that, they suddenly vanish away.
To confirme the former lie, of an earthly & visible hell (albeit I will easily grant that Frisius in writing these things did not entend to reproch any, but only to blaze abroad new & incredible matters) certaine idle companions knowing neither hell nor heauen haue inuented this fable, no lesse reprochfull then false, and more vaine & detestable then Sicilian scoffes. Which fellowes these writers (being otherwise men of excellent parts, and to whom learning is much indebted) haue followed with an ouer hastie iudgement.
But it were to be wished, that none would write Histories with so great a desire of setting foorth nouelties & strange things, that they feare not, in that regard to broch any fabulous & old-wiues toyes, & so to defile pure gold with filthy mire. But I pray you, how might those drowned men be swimming in the infernal lake, & yet for al that, parletng with their acquaintance & friends? What? Will you coniure, & raise vp vnto vs from death to life old, Orpheus conferring with his wife Euridice (drawen backe againe down to the Stigian flood) & in these parts of the world, as it were by the bankes of snowey Tanais, & Hebrus descanting vpon his harpe? But in very deed although others will not acknowledge the falsbood, & vanity of these trifles, yet Cardane being a diligent considerer of al things in his 18. booke de subtilitate, doth acknowledge & find them out. Whose words be these. There is Hecla a mountaine in Island, which burneth like vnto Ætna at certain seasons, & hereupon the comon people haue conceiued an opinion this long time, that soules are there purged: some, least they should seeme liars, heape vp more vanities to this fable, that it may appeare to be probable, & agreeable to reason. But what be those vanities? namely, they feine certaine ghosts answering them, that they are going to mount Hecla; as the same Cardane saith. And further he addeth. Neither in Island only, but euery where (albeit seldome) such things come to passe. And then he tels this storie following of a man-killing spright. There was (saith he) solemnized this last yeare the funerall of a comon citizen, in the gate neare vnto the great Church, by that marketplace, which in regard of the abundace of herbs, in our tong hath the name of the herbmarket. There meets with me one of mine acquaintance: I (according to the custome of Phisitians) presently aske of what disease the man died? he giueth me answere that this man vsed to come home from his labour 3. houres within night: one night among the rest he espied an hobgoblin pursuing him: which to auoid, he ran away with al speed: but being caught by the spright, he was throwne down vpon the ground. He would faine haue made a shout, & was not able. At length (when the spright & he had struggled together vpon the ground a good while) he was found by certain passengers, & carried home halfe dead. And when he was come to himselfe againe, being asked what was the matter, he vp and tolde this strange relation. Hereupon (being vtterly daunted, & discouraged, when neither by his friends, nor by Phisitians, nor by Priests, he could be perswaded, that these things were but his owne conceits, & that there was no such matter) 8. daies after he died. I heard also afterward of others which were his neighbors, that no man could more constantly affirme himselfe to be wounded of his enemy, then this man did, that he was cast vpon the ground by a ghost. And when some demanded what he did, after he was tumbled on the earth? The dead man (quoth he) laying his hands to my throat, went about to strangle me: neither was there any remedy, but by defending my selfe with mine own hands. When others doubted least he might suffer these things of a liuing man, they asked him how he could discerne a dead man from a liuing? To this he rendered a very probable reason, saying that he seemed in handling to be like Cottum, & that he had no weight, but held him down by maine force. And presently after he addeth. In like manner as in Island, so in the desert sands of Ægypt, Æthiopia, and India, where the sunne is hot, the very same apparitions, the same sprights are wont to delude wayfaring men. Thus much Cardane. Yet from hence (I trow) no man will conclude as our writers of Island do, that in the places of Ægypt, Æthiopia, and India, there is a prison of damned soules.
I thought good to write these things out of Cardane, that I may bring euen the testimony of strangers on our sides, against such monstrous fables. This place of Cardane implieth these two things, namely that apparitions of sprights are not proper to Island alone (which thing al men know, if they do not maliciously feigne themselues to be ignorant). And secondly that that conference of the dead with the liuing in the gulfe of Hecla is not grounded vpon any certainty, but only vpon fables coined by some idle persons, being more vaine then any bubble, which the brutish common sort haue vsed, to confirme their opinion of the tormenting of soules. And is there any man so fantasticall, that wilbe induced to beleeue these gulfes, mentioned by writers, to be any where extant, although they be neuer so ful of dead mens miracles? yea doubtlesse. For from hence also they say, that reproches are iustly vsed against our nation: namely that there is nothing in all the world more base, & worthlesse then it, which conteineth hell within the bounds therof. This verely is the good that we haue gotten by those historiographers, who haue bin so greedy to publish nouelties. But this opinion, bred by the sottishnes of the common people hath hitherto (as I hope) bene sufficiently ouerthrowen as a thing foolish & vaine, and as being deuised for the vpbrayding of our nation. Wherefore, proceede (friendly Reader) and be farther instructed in this philosophy of infernall secrets.
Frisius & Munst. Circum verò Insulam, per septem aut octo menses fluctuat glacies, miserabilem quendam gemitum, & ab humana voce non alienum, ex collisione edens. Putant incolæ, & in monte Hecla, & in glacie loca esse, in quibus animæ suorum crucientur.
Egregium scilicet Historiæ augmentum, de Orro Islandico in vnius montis basin, haud sanè vastam, coacto: Et interdum (statis forsan temporibus) loca commutante. Vbi scilicet domi in foco montano delitescere piget, & exire, pelagúsque sed sine rate, tentare iuuat, seseque in glaciei frustella colligere. Audite porrò, huius secreti admiratores: En porrigam Historicis aliud Historiæ auctarium nequaquam contemnendum. Scribant igitur, quotquot his scriptorum commentis adherent, Islandos non solùm infernum intra limites habere, sed & scientes volentes ingredi, atque intactos eodem die egredi. Quid ita? Quia peruetus est Insulæ consuetudo, vt maritimi in hanc glaciem, ab Historicis infernalem factam, manè phocas, seu vitulos marinos captum eant, ac vesperi incolumes redeant. Addite etiam, in scrinijs & alijs vasis ab Islandis carcerem damnatorum asseruari, vt paulò post ex Frisio audiemus.
Sed maturè prævidendum erit vobis, ne Islandi fortitudinis & constantiæ laudem vestris nationibus præripiant: Quippe qui tormenta (vt historicis vestris placet) barathri sustinuisse & velint & possint, illáque sine vllo grauiore damno perrumpere atque effugere valeant, quod quidem ipsum ex iam dictis efficitur: Et multos nostratium enumerare possum, qui in ipso venationis actu longiusculè à littore digressi, glacie à Zephyris dissipata, multa milliaria glaciei insidentes, tempestatis violentia profligati, & aliquot dies ac noctes continuas crudelissimi pelagi fluctibus iactati, sicque (id enim, inquam, ex præsenti Historicorum problemate consequitur) tormenta & cruciatus barathri glacialis experti sunt: Qui tandem mutata tempestate, atque à Borea spirantibus ventis, ad littora, cum hoc suo glaciali nauigio rursus adacti, incolumes domum peruenerunt: Quorum aliqui etiam hodie viuunt. Quare hoc nouitatis auidi arripiant, indeque, si placet, iustum volumen conficiant, atque ad Historiam suam apponant. Nec enim vanissima illa commenta aliter, quàm eiusmodi iocularibus excipienda & confundenda videntur. Cæterum, ioco seposito, vnde digressi sumus, reuertamur.
Primùm igitur ex sectione secunda satis constat, glaciem, neque septem, neque octo mensibus circa ipsam Insulam fluitare: Deinde etiam, glaciem hanc, et si interdum ex collisione grandes sonitus & fragores edit, interdum propter vndarum alluuionem, raucum murmur personat, quicquam tamen humanæ voci simile resonare aut eiulare minimè fatemur.
Quod autem dicunt, nos & in glacie, & in monte Hecla loca statuere, in quibus animæ, nostrorum crucientur, Id verò seriò pernegamus, Deóque ac Domino nostro Iesu Christo, qui nos à morte & inferno eripuit, & regni coelestis ianuam nobis reserauit, gratias ex animo agimus, quòd nos de loco, in quem animæ nostrorum defunctorum commigrent, rectius, quàm dicunt isti Historici, instituerit. Scimus & tenemus animas piorum non in Purgatoriam Pontificiorum, aut campos Elysios, sed in sinum Abrabæ, in manum Dei, in Paradisum coelestem, mox è corporis ergastulo transferri. Scimus & tenemus de impiorum animabus, non in montanos focos & cineres, vel glaciem nostris oculis expositam, deflectere, sed in extremas mox abripi tenebras, vbi est fletus & stridor dentium, vbi est frigus, vbi est ignis ille, non vulgaris, sed extra nostram scientiam & subtilem disputationem positus. Vbi non modò corpora, sed animæ etiam, i.e. substantiæ spirituales, cruciantur. Huic extremo & tenebricoso carceri non Islandos viciniores, quàm Germanos, Danos, Gallos, Italos, aut quamuis aliam gentem, quoad loci situm, statuimus. Nec de huius carceris loco sitúue quicquam disputare attinet: sufficit nobis abundè, quòd illius tenebricosum foetorem & reliqua tormenta, dante & iuuante Domino nostro Iesu Christo, cuius precioso sanguine redempti sumus, nonquam sumus visuri aut sensuri. Atque hic de orco Islandico disputationis colophon esto.
Frisius and Munster. But round about the Iland, for the space of 7. or 8. moneths in a yere there floateth ise, making a miserable kind of mone, and not vnlike to mans voice, by reason of the clashing together. The inhabitants are of opinion that in mount Hecla and in the ise, there are places wherein the soules of their countreymen are tormented.
No doubt, a worthy augmentation of the history, concerning the hel of Island, shut vp within the botome of one mountaine, & that no great one: yea, at some times (by fits and seasons) changing places: namely, when it is weary of lurking at home by the fires side within the mountaine, it delighteth to be ranging abroad, & to venter to sea, but without a ship, & to gather it selfe round into morsels of yce. Come forth, & giue care all ye that wonder at this secret. Lo, I will afford these historiographers another addition of history very notable. Let them write therfore, that the Islanders haue not only hel within their iurisdictction, but also that they enter into it willingly & wittingly, & come forth againe vntouched the very same day. How can that be? Taking of Seales on the the ice. Why it is an ancient custome of the Island that they which inhabite neare the sea shore do vsually go betimes in a morning to catch Seales, euen vpon the very same ise which the historiographers make to be hel, & in the euening returne home safe and sound. Set downe also (if ye please) that the prison of the damned is kept in store by the Islanders in coffers and vessels, as we shall anon heare out of Frisius.
But you had need wisely to foresee, lest the Islanders beguile all your countries of the commendation of courage & constacy: namely, as they (for so it pleaseth your writers to report) who both can and will endure the torments of hell, & who are able to breake through & escape them, without any farther hurt: which thing is necessarily to be collected out of that, that hath bin before mentioned. Westrerne winds disperse the ice. And I am able to reckon vp a great many of our countnmen who in the very act of hunting, wandring somewhat farre from the shoare (the ice being dispersed by westerne winds) & for the space of many leagues resting vpon the ice, being chased with the violence of the tempest, & some whole daies & nights being tossed vp & downe in the waues of the raging sea, & so (for it followeth by good consequence out of this probleme of the historiographers) haue had experience of the torments, & paines of this hell of ice. Who at the last, the weather being changed, & the winds blowing at the North, being transported again to the shoare, in this their ship of ice, haue returned home in safety: some of which number are aliue at this day. Wherefore let such as be desirous of newes snatch vp this, & (if they please) let them frame a whole volume hereof, & adde it to their history. Neither do these vaine phantasies deserue otherwise to be handled & confuted, then with such like meriments, & sportings. But to lay aside all iesting, let vs returne to the matter from whence we are digressed. Ice floateth not 7. or 8. moneths about Island. First of all therefore it is euident enough out of the second section, viz. ice floateth not about this Iland, neither 8. nor 7. moneths in a yere then, that this ice (although at some times by shuffling together it maketh monstrous soundings & cracklings, & againe at some times with the beating of the water, it sendeth forth an hoarse kind of murmuring) doth any thing at all resound or lament, like vnto mans voice, we may in no case confesse. But wheras they say that, both in the Isle, and in mount Hecla we appoint certaine places, wherin the soules of our countrimen are tormented, we vtterly stand to the deniall of that and we thanke God & our Lord Iesus Christ from the botome of our hearts (who hath deliuered vs from death & hell, & opened vnto vs the gate of the kingdome of heaæn because he hath instructed vs more truely, concernmg the place, whether the soules of our deceased countrimen depart, then these historiographers doe tell vs. We know and maintain that the soules of the godly are transported immediatly out of their bodily prisons, not into the Papists purgatory, nor into the Elysian fields, but into Abrahams bosome, into the hand of God, & into the heauenly paradise. We know & maintaine concerning the soules of the wicked, that they wander not into the fires & ashes of mountaines or into visible ice, but immediatly are carried away into vtter darknesse, where is weeping & gnashing of teeth, where there is colde also, & fire not comon, but far beyond our knowledge & curious disputation. Where not onely bodies, but soules also, that is spirituall substances are tormented. And we do also hold, that the Islanders are no whit nearer vnto this extreame & darke prison, in regard of the situation of place, then the Germans, Danes, Frenchmen, Italians, or any other nation whatsoeuer. Neither is it any thing to the purpose, at all to dispute of the place or situation of this dungeon. It is sufficient for vs, that (by the grace and assistance of our Lord Iesus Christ, with whose precious blood we are redeemed) we shall neuer see that vtter darknesse, nor feele the rest of the torments that be there. Now let vs here shut vp the disputation concerning the hell of Island.
Frisius, Zieglerus Saxo fere similiter. Quòd si quis ex hac glacie magnam partem ceperit, eámque vasi ant scrinio inclusam, quàm diligentissimè asseruarit, illa tempore glaciei, quæ circum insulam est, degelantis, euanescit, vt neque minima eius particula vel guttula aquæ reperiatur.
Id profecto necessariò addendum fuit: Hanc scilicet glaciem, voces humanas, secundum Historicos, representatem, & damnatorom receptaculum existentem, non esse, vt reliqua in vastissima hac vniuersitate omnia, ex Elementi alicuius materia conflatam. Siquidem cum corpus esse videatur, corpus tamen non sit, (quod ex Frisij paradoxo rectè deducitur) cum etiam corpora dura & solida perrumpat, non secus ac, spectra & genij: Restat igitur cum non sit elementaris naturæ, vt vel spiritualem habeat materiam, vel coelestem, vel quod ipsi forsan largiantur, infernalem. Infernalem tamen esse non assentiemur, quia ad aures nostras peruenit frigus infernale longè esse intractabilius, quam est hæc glacies, humanis manibus in scrinio reposita, nec quicquam suo contactu, vel nudatam carnem lædere valens. Nec profectò spiritualem esse dabimus; accepimus enim à Physicis, substantias spirituales nec cerni, nec tangi, nec ijs quicquam decedere posse: quæ tamen omnia in hanc historicorum glaciem, quantumuis, secundum illos, hyperphysicam, cadere certum & manifestum est. Præterea & hoc verissimum est, eam calore solis resolutam, ac in superficie sua stagnantem, siti piscatorum restinguendæ, non secus ac riuos terrestres, inseruire: Id quod substantiæ spirituali denegatum est. Non est igitur spiritualis, vt nec infernalis. Iam verò coelestem habere materiam, nemo audebit dicere: Ne forte inde aliquis suspicetur, glaciem hanc barathrum, quod illi Historici affingunt, secum è coelo traxisse: Vel id coelo, quippe eiusdem materiæ cum glacie, commune esse, atque ita carcer damnatorum cum Paradiso coelesti loca commutasse, Historicorum culpa putetur.
Quare cum glacies hæc Historica nec sit elementaris, vt ex præsenti loco Frisij optimè sequi iam toties monuimus: nec spiritualis, nec infernalis, quod vtrúmque breuibus, solidis tamen rationibns demonstrauimus: nec coelestis materiæ, quod opinari religio vetat: relinquitur omnino, vt secnndum eosdem Historicos nulla sit, quam tamen illi tàm cum stupenda admiratione prædicant, & nos videri ac tangi putamus. Est igitur, & non est: Quod axioma vbi secundum idem, & ad idem, & eodem tempore, verum esse poterit, nos demum miraculis istis glacialibus credemus. Itáque iam vides Lector, ad hæc refellenda nullo alio esse opus, quàm monstrari quomodo secum dissideant. Sed haud mirum, eum qui semel vulgi fabulosis rumoribus se cermisit, sæpius errare. Cuiusmodi etiam prodidit quidam de glaciei huius Sympathia, quòd videlicet molis, cuius pars esset, discessum insequeretur, vt omnem obseruatíonis diligentiam ineuitabili fugæ necessitate deciperet. Atqui sæpe idimus eiusmodi solitariam molem post abactam reliquam glaciem, nullis vectibus nullis machinis detentam, ad líttus multis septimanis consistere. Palam est igitur, illud de glacie miraculum fundamento niti, quàm est ipsa glacies, magis lubrico.
Frisius. Zieglerus. Saxo. If any man shall take a great quantity of this ice, & shall keepe it neuer so warily enclosed in a coffer or vessel, it wil at that time when the ice thaweth about the Iland, vtterly vanish away, so that not the least part thereof, no nor a drop of water is to be found.
Surely, this was of necessity to be added: namely, that this ice, which according to historiographers representeth mans voice, & is the place of the damned, doth not as all other things in this wide world, consist of the matter of some element. For whereas it seemeth to be a body, when indeed it is no body: (which may directly be gathered out of Frisius absurd opinion) whereas also it pierceth through hard & solide bodies, no otherwise then spirits & ghosts: therefore it remaineth, seeing it is not of an elementary nature, that it must haue either a spirituall, or a celestial, or an infernal matter. But that it should be infernall, we can not be perswaded, because we haue heard that infernall cold is farre more vnsufferable then this ise, which vseth to be put into a boxe with mens hands, & is not of force any whit to hurt euen naked flesh, by touching thereof. Nor yet will we grant it to be spirituall: for we haue learned in naturall Philosophy, that spiritual substances can neither be seene nor felt, & cannot haue any thing taken from them: all which things do notwithstanding most manifestly agree to this ise of the Historiographers, howsoeuer according to them it be supernatural. Besides also, it is most true, that the very same yse being melted with the heat of the sunne, & resolued into water, vpon the vpper part therof, standeth fishermen in as good stead to quench their thirst, as any land-riuer would do, which thing can no way be ascribed to a spirituall substance. It is not therefore spirituall, nor yet infernall. Now none wilbe so bold to affirme, that it hath celestiall matter, least some man perhaps might hereupon imagine, that this ise hath brought hell (which the historiographers annexe vnto it) downe from heauen together with it selfe: or that the same thing should be common vnto heauen, being of one & the same matter with ise, & so that the prison of the damned may be thought to haue changed places with the heauenly paradise, & all by the ouersight of these Historiographers. Wherfore seeing the matter of this historicall ise is neither elementarie (as we haue so often proued by this place of Frisius) neither spirituall, nor infernall, both which we haue concluded euidently in short, yet sound and substanciall reasons: nor yet celestiall matter, which, religion forbiddeth a man once to imagine: it is altogether manifest, that according to the said historiographers, there is no such thing at all, which notwithstanding they blaze abroad with such astonishing admiration, & which we thinke to be an ordinary matter commonly seene and felt. Therefore it is, and it is not: which proposition when it shall fall out true, in the same respect, in the same part, and at the same time, then will we giue credite to these frozen miracles. Now therefore the Reader may easily iudge, that wee need none other helpe to refute these things, but onely to shew how they disagree one with another. But it is no maruell that he, which hath once enclined himselfe to the fabulous reports of the common people, should oftentimes fall into error. There was a like strange thing inuented by another concerning the sympathy or conioining of this ise: namely, that it followeth the departure of that huge lumpe, whereof it is a part, so narrowly, & so swiftly, that a man by no diligence can obserue it, by reason of the vnchangeable necessitie of following. But we haue oftentimes seene such a solitarie lumpe of ise remaining (after the other parts thereof were driuen away) and lying vpon the shore for many weekes together, without any posts or engines at all to stay it. Therefore it is plaine that these miracles of ise are grounded vpon a more slippery foundation then ise it selfe.
Frisius. Non procat ab his montibus, (tribus prædictis) ad maritimas oras vergentibus, sunt quatuor fontes diuersissimæ naturæ. Vnus suo perpetuo ardore omne corpus sibi immissum raptim conuertit in saxum, manente tamen priore formâ. Alter est algoris intolrerabilis. Tertius vel melle dulcior & restinguendæ siti iucundissimus. Quartus plane exitialis, pestilens, & virulentus.
Etiam hæc fontium topographia satis apertè monstrat, quàm ex impuro fonte has suas narrationes omnes miraculosas hauserit Geographus. Id enim dicere videtur: Montes hos tres prædictos ferè, contiguos esse: Siquidem tribus montibus quatuor fontes indiscrete adscribit. Alioqui si non vicinos statuisset, vni alicui horam duos fontes adscripsisset. Sed neque hi montes contigui sunt (quippe multis milliaribus inuicem dissiti) neque iuxta hos fontes illi quatuor reperiuntur: quod, qui credere nolit, experiatur. Cæterum ad hæc confundenda sufficit, credo, ipsorum historicorum contrarietas. Nam de duobas fontibas quidam Frisio his verbis contradicit. Erumpunt ex eodem monte (Heclâ) fontes duo, quorum alter equarum frigiditate, alter feruore intolerabili exedit omnem elementarem vim. Hi duo sunt primi illi Frisij fontes, nisi quod hîc miraculum indurandi corpora, alteri fontium attributum, omissum sit. Atqui non simul possunt ex ipso monte, & iuxta montem erumpere.
Hîc vero libenter quæsierim, quâ ratione quisquam ex Peripatecicis dicat, aliquid ipso elemento aquæ frigidius, aut igne calidius? Vnde demum, scriptores, ista frigiditas? Vnde iste feruor? Nonne è Schola vestra accepimus aquam esse elementum frigidissimum & humidum, atque adeo fngidissimum, vt ad constituendas qualitates secundas, remitti sit necesse, nec simplicem vsibus humanis inseruire? (Hæc ego nunc Physicorum oracula fundo, vera an falsa, nescio). Testis est vnus omnium, & pro omnibus, Iohannes Fernelius lib. 2. Physiologiæ, cap. 4. Sic, inquit, qualitates hæ (quatuor primæ) quatuor rerum naturis summæ obtigerunt, vt quemadmodum paro igne nihil calidius, nihilque leuius: Sic terra nihil siccius, nihil grauius: Aquam sinceram, nullius medicamenti vis gelida euincet, vt nec aërem, vllius humor. Summæ præterea sic illis insunt, vt ne minimum quidem possint augescere, remitti verò possint. Nolo huc rationes seu argumenta Physicorum aggregare. Vnum profecto hic cauendum est, ne dum fontium miracula prædicant scriptores, vt glaciem Islandorum, ita etiam fontes creatorum numero eximant. Nos fontium adiuncta, quæ huc scriptores pertraxerunt ordine persequemur. Primus suo perpetuo calore: Plurimæ sunt in Islandia thermæ seu fontes calidi: Pauciores ardentes: quos neque cuiquam miraculo esse debere existimamus, cum huiusmodi, vt a scriptoribus didici, passim abundet Germania, præcipuè in ijs locis, quæ non sunt procul ab Alpium radicibus. Nota est fama thermarum Badensium, Gebarsuiliensium, Calbensium, in ducatu Wirtebergensi, & multarum aliarum quarum meminit Fuchsius in lib. de arte medendi. Et non solum Germania, sed etiam Gallia, & longe magis omnium bonorum parens Italia, inquit Cardanus. Et Aristoteles narrat, circa Epyrum calidas aquas scaturire, vnde locus Pyriphlegeton appellatur. Atque inquam, hæc ideo minus miranda, quod vt incendij montani, ita feruoris aquei caussas indagarint Naturæ speculatores: Aquam scilicet per terræ venas sulphureas, aut aluminosas labi, indeque non calorem solùm, sed saporem etiam & virtutes alienas concipere. Docuit hoc Aristoteles libro de mundo. Continet, inquit, terra in se multos fontes, vt aquæ, ita & spiritus & ignis: Quidam amnium more fluunt, & vel ignescens eijciunt ferrum: Nunc tepidæ aquæ erumpunt, nunc feruentissimæ, nunc temperatæ. Lib 3. Nat. quæst. Et Seneca: Empedocles existimabat ignibus, quos multis locis apertos tegit terra, aquam calescere, si subiecti sint solo, per quod aquæ transitus est. Et scite de thermis Baianis Pontanus.
Baiano sed ne fumare in littore thermas
Mirere, aut liquidis fluitare incendia venis:
Vulcani fora sulphureis incensa caminis
Ipsa monent, latè multùm tellure sub ima
Debacchari ignem, camposque exurere opertos.
Inde fluit, calidum referens ex igne vaporem,
Vnda fugax, tectis feruent & balnea flammis.
Hoc loco attingendum duxi quod tradit Saxo Grammaticus, Danorum celebratissimus historicus, Islandiæ fontes quosdam nunc ad summum excrescere, & exundare: Nunc adeò subsidere, vt vix fontes agnoscas. Qui etsi rariores apud nos inueniuntur, adscribam tamen similes, etiam alibi à natura productos, ne quis hic monstri quippiam imaginetur. Hos autem recitat Plinius. In Tenedo Insula vnum, qui semper à tertia noctis hora, in sextam solstitio æstiuo exundet. In agro Pitinate, trans Apenninum montem, fluuium esse, qui omnibus Solstitijs æstiuis exundet, brumali tempore siccetur. Refert etiam de fonte quodam satis largo, qui singulis horis intumeseat & residat. Nec id magis neglidendum: subire terras flumina, rursusque redire; vt Lycus in Asia, Erasinus in Argolica, Tigris in Mesopotamia, quibus Cardanus addit Tanaim in Moscouia: Et quæ in Æsculapij fonte Athenis immersa sunt, in Phaletico reddi. Et Seneca scribit esse flumina, quæ in specum aliquem subterraneum demissa, ex hominum oculis se subducunt, quæ consumi paulatim & intercidere constet: Eademque post interuallum reuerti, recipereque & nomen & cursum priorem. Et iterum Plinius; fluuium in Atinate campo mersum, post 20 millia passuum exire. Quæ omnia, & his similia, Islandiæ fontes, miraculo nullo, præ cæteris esse debere, ostendunt.
Omne corpus immissum continuò conuertit in saxum. His duobus adiunctis, feruore nempe, seu ardore vehementissimo, & virtute indurandi corpora, primum suum fontem describit Frisius. Et fama quidem accepi, ipse non sum expertus, existere similem fontem in Islandia, non procul à sede Episcopali Schalholt, apud villam nomine Haukadal. Habet simile Seneca, dicens, fontem quendam esse, qui ligna in lapides conuertat, hominumque viscera indurescere, qui aquam eius biberint: Et addit eiusmodi fontes in quibusdam Italiæ locis inueniri: quod Ouidias Ciconum flumini tribuit 15. Metamorph.
Flumen habent Cicones, quod potum saxea reddit
Viscera, quod tactis inducit marmora rebus.
Et Cardanus: Georgius Agricola, inquit, in Elbogano tractu iuxta oppidum à falconibns cognominatum, integras cum corpore abietes in lapidem conuersas esse, atque quod maius est, in rimis etiam Pyritidem lapidem continere. Et Domitius Brusonius, in Sylare amne, qui radices montis eius, qui est in agro vrbis Vrsentinorum olim, nunc Contursij lambit, folia & arborum ramos in lapides transire, non fide aliorum, sed propria, vt qui incola sit regionis, (cui rei etiam Plinius astipulatur) narrat, cortices aute lapidum, annos numero ostendere. Sic (si scriptoribus credimus) guttæ Gotici fontis sparsæ lapidescunt. Et in Vngaria, Cepusij aqua, in vrceos infusa, lapidescit. Plinius refert etiam, vt in Ciconom flumine, & in Piceno lacu velino, lignum deiectum, lapideo cortice obduci.
Secundus algoris intolerabitis. Quantum ad secundum fontem attinet, nullus hic est quòd quisquam sciat, algoris intolerabilis, sed plurimi bene frigidi, ita vt vulgaribus riuis æstiuo sole tepescentibus, non sine voluptate ex frigidioribus illis aquam hauriamus. Sunt & longè frigidiores fortè alibi: Nam & Cardanus in agro Corinthio è montis vertice fluentem riuum commemorat, niue frigidiorem: Et intra primum à Culma lapidem, Insanam vocatum: quæ aqua cum feruere videatur, sit tamen longe frigidissima, &c.
Tertius vel melle dulcior. Neque id prorsus verum est. Non enim est vllus apud nos, qui vel minima ex parte cum mellis dulcedine conferri possit. Rectius igitur Saxo, qui fontes (quoniam plures sunt) in Islandia dicit inueniri Cerealem referentes liquorem, vt etiam ibidem non diuersi saporis solùm, sed diuersi etiam coloris fontes & flumina reperiuntur.
Etsi autem tradunt Physici aquam naturaliter ex se neque saporem neque odorem habere, tamen, vt superius attigimus, veri simile est, quod alij per accidens vocant, eam sæpe referre qualitatem terræ, in qua generatur, & per cuius venas transitum atque excursum habet: Atque hinc aquarum odores, colores, sapores, alios atque alios existere, Cuiusmodi sunt, de quibus narrat Seneca, quorum alij famem excitant, alij bibentes inebrient, alij memoriæ officiant, alij inuent eandem, alij vini saporem & virtutem repræsentent: Lib. de mirab. auscultat. Vt ille apud Plinium in Andro Insula fons, in templo Liberi, qui Nonis Ian: vini sapore fluat. Et apud Aristotelem fons in agro Carthaginensi, qui oleum præbeat, & guttulas Cedri odore representet. Item, Orcus fluuius Thessaliæ, influens in Peneum, olei instar supernatans: Lib. 2. de Element. Cuiusmodi etiam narrat Cardanus in Saxonia esse, iuxta Brumonis oppidum, fontem oleo perfusum: Et in Sueuia, iuxta Coenobium, cui Tergensche nomen est. Item, in valle mentis Iurassi. Causam huius rei putat esse bitumen valde pingue, quod oleum sine dubio contineat. Idem, famam esse ait, in Cardia, iuxta locum Dascbyli, in campo albo aquam esse lacte dulciorem. Aliam quoque iuxta pontem, qua Valdeburgum itur. Iam aquarum vini saporem referentium meminit his verbis Propertius, 3. lib. Elegiar.
En tibi per mediam bene olentia flumina Naxon,
Vnde tuum pota Naxia turba merum.
Est autem Naxus Insula vna ex Cycladibus, in mari Ægeo. Causam huius assignat Cardanus, quod hydromel vetustate transeat in vinum. Aristoteles commemorat Siciliæ fontem, quo incolæ loco aceti vtantur. Idem saporum aquæ causam in calorem retulit, quod terra excocta mutet & præbeat saporem aquæ.
Iam de aquæ coloribus ita Cardanus. Eadem est ratio colorum aquæ, ait, quæ & saporum: videlicet à terra originem trahere. Nam Candida est aqua, ad secundum lapidem à Glauca, Misenæ oppido: Rubea, vt in Radera Misenæ fluuio, iuxta Radeburgum: Et olim in Iudæa iuxta Ioppen: Viridis, in Carpato monte, iuxta Neusolam: Cærulea aut blaua, inter Feltrium & Taruisium, & in Thermopylis etiam talem fuisse referunt: Nigerrima in Allera fluuio Saxoniæ, vbi in Visurgim se exonerat. Caussæ sunt argillæ colores, sed tenuiores. Item Aristoteles: circa Iapygiam promontorium, esse fontem, qui sanguinem fundat, addens, eam maris partem suo foetore nauigantes procul arcere. Aiunt præterea in Idumæa fontem esse, qui quater in anno colorem mutet, cum sit colore nunc viridi, nunc albo, nunc sanguineo, nunc lutulento.
Et de aquarum odore sic Cardanus. Similis ratio differentiæ est in odoribus. Plerumque tamen aquarum odores iniucundi sunt, quòd rarò terra bene oleat. Pessimè olim foetabat in Ælide, Anigri fluminis aqua, vsque ad perniciem, non solum piscium, sed etiam hominum. Iuxta Metonem in Messania, in puteo quodam optimè olens aqua hauriebatur. Hæc ideo recito, vt nullus magis in Islandia quàm alibi, aquarum, colores, odores, sapores, miretur.
Quartus plane exitialis. Autor est Isidoras, esse fontem quendam, cuius aqua pota vitam extinguat: Et Plinius: Iuxta Nonarim, inquit, Arcadiæ, Styx (iuxta Cyllenem montem, ait Cardan. Sola equi vngula continebatur: referunt ea sublatum Alexandrum magnum) nec odore differens, nec colore, epota illico necat. Idem, In Beroso Taurorum colle sunt tres fontes sine remedio, sine dolore mortiferi: Et quod longè maximum est, quod Seneca stagnum esse dicat, in quod prospicientes statim moriantur. Nos verò Islandi etiam hunc quartum Frisij fontem, cuius etiam Saxo meminit, vt antehac semper, itidem etiam nobis hodie penitus ignotum testamur: Hocque igitur nomine, Deo immortales gratias agimus, quòd ab eiusmodi fontibus & serpentibus, insectis venenatis, ac alijs pestiferis & contagiosis, esse nos immunes voluerit.
Præterea est apud prædictos fontes tanta sulphuris copia. Montes tres à Munstero & Frisio igniuomi dicti, omnes longissimo interuallo à nostris fodinis distant. Quare cum iuxta hos montes fontibus quatuor, quos tantopere miraculis celebrant, locum & situm faciant, necesse est eos fontes pari ferè interuallo à fodinis sulphureis remotos esse. Nec verò apud montem Heclam, vt Munsterus, nec apud hos Frisij fontes (quorum rumor quàm verus sit, hactenus ostensum est) sulphur effoditur: Nec patrum nostrorum memoria effossum esse arbitramur. Sulpher in bore. ali Islandiæ parte. Neque verum est, quod de sulphuris copia tradit Munsterus, esse videlicet pene vnicum Insulæ mercimonium & vectigal. Nam cum insula in quatuor partes diuisa sit, quarta pars, nempe borealis, tantum dimidia, hoc vtitur mercimonio, nec sulphuris mica in vectigal Insulæ penditur.
Frisius. Not farre from these mountaines (the three forenamed) declining to the sea shoare, there be foure fountaines of a most contrary nature betweene themselues. The first, by reason of his continuall heat conuerteth into a stone any body cast into it, the former shape only still remaining. The second is extremely cold. The third is sweeter then honey, and most pleasant to quench thirst. The fourth is altogether deadly, pestilent, and full of ranke poison.
Euen this description of fountaines doth sufficiently declare howe impure that fountaine was, out of which the geographer drew all these miraculous stories. For he seemeth to affirme, that the three foresaid mountaines doe almost touch one another: for he ascribeth foure fountaines indifferently vnto them all. Otherwise if he had not made them stand neare together, he would haue placed next vnto some one of these, two of the foresaid fountaines. But neither doe these mountaines touch (being distant so many leagues a sunder), neither are there any such foure fountaines neare vnto them, which, he that wil not beleeue, let him go try. But to confute these things, the very contrariety of writers is sufficient. For another concerning two fountaines gainsayth Frisius in these words. There do burst out of the same hill Hecla two fountames, the one whereof, by reason of the cold streames, the other with intollerable heat exceedeth al the force of elements. These be Frisius his two first fountaines, sauing that here is omitted the miracle of hardening bodies, being by him attributed to one of the said fountaines. But they cannot at one time breake forth, both out of the mountaine it selfe, and neare vnto the mountaine.
But here I would willingly demannd, by what reason any of the Peripateticks can affirme, that there is some thing in nature colder then the element of water, or hotter then the element of fire. From whence (I pray yon, learned writers) proceedeth this coldnesse: From whence commeth this heate: Haue we not learned out of your schole that water is an element most colde and somewhat moist: and in such sort most cold, that for the making of secundarie qualities, it must of necessitie be remitted, & being simple, that it cannot be applyed to the vses of mankind: I do here deliuer these Oracles of the naturall Philosophers, not knowing whether they be true or false. M. Iohn Fernelius, lib. 2. Phys. cap. 4. may stand for one witnesse amongst all the rest, & in stead of the all. So excessiue (satth he) be these foure first qualities in the foure elements, that as nothing is hotter then pure fire, & nothing lighter: so nothing is drier then earth, & nothing heauier: and as for pure water, there is no qualitie of any medicine whatsoeuer exceedeth the coldnes thereof, nor the moisture of aire. Moreouer, the said qualities be so extreme & surpassing in them, that they cannot be any whit encreased, but remitted they may be. I wil not heare heape vp the reasons or arguments of the natural Philosophers. These writers had need be warie of one thing, lest while they too much magnifie the miracles of the fountains, they exempt them out of the number of things created, as wel as they did the ice of the Islanders. We wil prosecute in order the properties of these fountains set downe by the foresaid writers. Many hote Baths in Island. The first by reason of his continuall heat. There be very many Baths or hote fountains in Island, but fewer vehemently hote, which we thinke ought not to make any man wonder, when as I haue learned out of authors, that Germanie euery where aboundeth with such hote Baths, especially neere the foot of the Alpes. The hote Baths of Baden, Gebarsuil, Calben in the dutchy of Wirtenberg and many other be very famous: all which Fuchsius doeth mention in his booke de Arte medendi. And not onely Germanie, but also France, & beyond all the rest Italy that mother of all commodities, saith Cardan. And Aristotle reporteth, that about Epyrus these hote waters doe much abound, whereupon the place is called Pyriplegethon. The causes of hote Baths. And I say, these things should therefore be the lesse admired, because the searchers of nature haue as wel found out causes of the heate in waters, as of the fire in mountaines: namely, that water runneth within the earth through certaine veines of Brimstone & Allom and from thence taketh not onely heat, but taste also & other strange qualities. Aristotle in his booke de Mundo hath taught this. The earth (saith he) conteineth within it fountains not only of water, but also of spirite & fire: some of them flowing like riuers, doe cast foorth red hote iron: from whence also doeth flow, sometimes luke-warme water, sometimes skalding hote, and somtimes temperate. And Seneca. Lib. 3. nat. quæst. Empedocles thought that Baths were made hote by fire, which the earth secretly conteineth in many places, especially if the said fire bee vnder that ground where the water passeth. And Pontanus writeth very learnedly concerning the Baian Baths.
No maruell though from banke of Baian shore
hote Baths, or veines of skalding licour flow:
For Vulcans forge incensed euermore
doeth teach vs plaine, that heart of earth below
And bowels burne, and fire enraged glow.
From hence the flitting flood sends smokie streames,
And Baths doe boil with secret burning gleames.
I thought good in this placel to touch that which Saxo Grammaticus the most famous historiographer of the Danes reporteth. That certaine fountains of Island do somtime encrease & flow vp to the brinke: sometimes againe they fall so lowe that you can skarse discerne them to be fountaines. Which kind of fountaines, albeit they bee very seldome found with vs, yet I will make mention of some like vnto them, produced by nature in other countries, lest any man should think it somwhat strange. Plinie maketh a great recitall of these. There is one (saieth he) in the Isle of Tenedos, which at the Solstitium of sommer doth alwaies flow from the third houre of the night, till the sixt. In the field of Pitinas beyond the Apennine mountaine, there is a riuer which in the midst of sommer alwaies encreaseth, and in winter is dried vp. He maketh mention also of a very large fountaine, which euery houre doeth encrease and fall. Neither is it to be omitted, that some riuers run vnder the ground, and after that fall againe into an open chanel: as Lycus in Asia, Erasinus in Argolica, Tigris in Mesopotamia, vnto which Cardan addeth Tanais in Moscouia: and those things which were throwen into Æsculapius fountaine at Athens, were cast vp againe in Phaletico. And Seneca writeth that there are certaine riuers which being let downe into some caue vnder ground, are withdrawen out of sight, seeming for the time to be vtteriy perished and taken away, and that after some distance the very same riuers returne, enioying their former name and their course. And againe Plinie reporteth that there is a riuer receiued vnder ground in the field of Atinas that issueth out twentie miles from that place. All which examples and the like, should teach vs that the fonutaines of Island are not to be made greater wonders then the rest.
Doth forthwith conuert into a stone any body cast into it. By these two properties, namely warmth or most vehement heat, & a vertue of hardening bodies doth Frisius describe his first fountaine. And I haue heard reported (though I neuer had experience thereof my selfe) that there is such a fountain in Island not far from the bishops seat of Schalholt, in a village called Haukadal. Seneca reporteth of the like, saying: That there is a certain fountain which conuerteth wood into stone, hardening the bowels of those men which drinke thereof. And addeth further, that such fountains are to bee found in certaine places of Italy: which thing Ouid in the 15. booke of his Metamor. ascribeth vnto the riuer of the Cicones.
Water drunke out of Ciconian flood
fleshy bowels to flintie stone doeth change:
Ought else therewith besprinckt, as earth or wood
becommeth marble streight: a thing most strange.
And Cardane. Georgius Agricola affirmeth, that in the territorie of Elbogan, about the town which is named of Falcons, that the whole bodies of Pine trees are conuerted into stone, and which is more wonderfull, that they containe, within certaine rifts, the stone called Pyrites, or the Flint. And Domitius Brusonius reporteth, that in the riuer of Silar (running by the foote of that mountain which standeth in the field of the citie in old time called Vrsence, but now Contursia) leaues and boughs of trees change into stones, & that, not vpon other mens credite, but vpon his own experience, being borne & brought vp in that country, which thing Plinie also auoucheth, saying, that the said stones doe shew the number of their yeeres, by the number of their Barks, or stony husks. So (if we may giue credite to authors) drops of the Gothes fountain being dispersed abroad, become stones. And in Hungary, the water of Cepusius being poured into pitchers, is conuerted to stone. And Plinie reporteth, that wood being cast into the riuer of the Cicones, and into the Veline lake in the field of Pice, is enclosed in a barke of stone growing ouer it.
Riuers of Island in sommer season lukewarme. The second is extremely cold. As for the second fountaine, here is none to any mens knowledge so extremely cold: In deed there be very many that bee indifferently coole, insomuch that (our common riuers in the Sommer time being luke-warme) wee take delight to fetch water from those coole springs. It may be that there are some farre colder in other countries: for Cardane maketh mention of a riuer (streaming from the top of an hill in the field of Corinth) colder then snow, and within a mile of Culma, the riuer called Insana seeming to be very hote is most extremely cold, &c.
The third is sweeter than honie. Neither is this altogether true. For there is not any fountaine with vs, which may in the least respect be compared with the sweetnesse of honie. And therfore Saxo wrote more truly, saying, that certaine fountaines (for there be very many) yeelding taste as good as beere, and also in the same place there are fountains & riuers not onely of diuers tasts, but of diuers colours.
And albeit naturall Philosophers teach, that water naturally of it selfe hath neither taste nor smel, yet it is likely (as we haue touched before, which other call per accidens) that oftentimes it representeth the qualities of that earth wherein it is engendred, and through the veines whereof it hath passage and issue: and from hence proceed the diuers & sundry smels, colours and sauours of all waters. Of such waters doeth Seneca make mention, whereof some prouoke hunger, others make men drunken, some hurt the memory, & some helpe it, & some resemble the very qualitie and taste of wine, as that fountaine which Plinie speaketh of In lib. de mirab. in the Isle of Andros, within the temple of Bacchus, which in the Nones of Ianuary vsed to flow ouer with wine. And Aristotle reporteth, that in the field of Carthage there is a fountain which yeeldeth oile, & certaine drops smelling like Cedar. Also Orcus a riuer of Thessalie flowing into Peneus, swimmeth aloft like oile. Cardane reporteth, that there is in Saxonie, neere vnto the town of Brunswic, a fountaine mixed with oile: and another in Sueuia neere vnto the Abbey called Tergensch. Also in the valley of the mountain Iurassus. He supposeth the cause of this thing to bee very fattie pitch, which cannot but conteine oile in it. The same author saieth: It is reported that in Cardia neere to the place of Daschylus, in the white field, there is water sweeter then milke. Another also neere vnto the bridge which we passe ouer going to the towne of Valdeburg. Propertius likewise in the third booke of his Elegies mentioneth certaine waters representing the sauour of wine in these words.
Amidst the Isle of Naxus loe, with fragrant smels and fine
A freshet runs; ye Naxians goe fill cups, carouse, there’s wine.
This Naxus is one of the Islands called Cydades lying in the Ægæan sea. Cardane giueth a reason hereof, namely, because Hydromel or water-hony, in long continuance will become wine. Aristotle nameth a fountaine in Sicilia, which the inhabitants vse in stead of vineger. The same author maketh the cause of sauours in water to be heate, because the earth being hote changeth and giueth sauour vnto the water.
Now concerning the colours of water so saieth Cardane. There is the same reason (saith he) of the colours of water, that there is of the sauours thereof, for both haue their originall from the earth. For there is white water within two miles of Glanca a town in Misena: red water in Radera a riuer of Misena not farre from Radeburg: & in old time neere vnto Ioppa in Iudea: greene water in the mountaine of Carpathus by Nensola: skie-coloured or blue water betweene the mountains of Feltrius & Taruisius: & it is reported that there was water of that colour in Thermopylis; cole-blacke water in Alera a riuer of Saxonie, at that place where it dischargeth it self into the Weser. The causes of these colours are the colours of the soile. Also Aristotle saieth, that about the promontorie of Iapigia, there is a fountaine which streameth blood: adding moreouer, that Mariners are driuen farre from that place of the sea, by reason of the extreme stench thereof. Furthermore, they say that in Idumæa there is a fountaine which changeth color foure times in a yeere: for somtimes it is greene, somtime white, somtime bloodie, & somtimes muddy coloured.
Concerning the smels of waters, thus writeth Cardane. There is the like reason of difference in smell. But for the most part the steames of waters bee vnpleasant, because the earth doeth seldome times smel well. The water of the riuer Anigris in Aelis stanke, to the destruction, not onely of fishes, but also of men. About Meton in Messania, out of a certaine pond there hath bene drawen most sweet smelling, and odoriferous water. I doe recite all these examples to the end that no man should make a greater wonder at the colours, smels, and sauours of waters that be in Island, then at those which are in other countreis.
The fourth is altogether deadly. Isidore affirmeth, that there is a certaine fountaine whose water being drunke, extingnisheth life. And Plinie saieth, That about Nonaris in Arcadia, the riuer of Styx (neere the mountaine of Cillene, saieth Cardane: it would be contained in nothing but an horse-hoofe: and it is reported that Alexander the great was poisoned therewithal) not differing from other water, neither in smell nor colour, being drunke, is present death. The same Author saieth. In Berosus an hill of the people called Tauri, there are three fountains, euery one of them deadly without remedy, & yet without griefe. And (which is the strangest thing of all the rest) Seneca maketh mention of a poole, into which whosoeuer looke, do presently die. But, as for this fourth fountaine of Frisius, which Saxo doeth likewise mention, we Islanders, as alwayes heretofore, so euen at this day do testifie, that it is vtterly vnknowen vnto vs: Island free from snakes and other venemous beasts. and therefore in this regard, we render vnto God immortall thanks, because he hath vouchsafed to preserue our nation from such fountains, from serpents and venemous wormes, & from al other pestiferous & contagious creatures.
Furthermore about the foresaid mountaines there is such abundance of brimstone. The three mountains called by Munster and Frisius, Fierie mountains, do all of them stand an huge distance from our Mines. Wherefore, when as neere vnto these hils they haue found out a place for foure fountains, which they doe so mightily extoll for wonders, they must needs haue some Brimstone Mines also, standing a like distance from the said fountaines. And assuredly, neither about mount Hecla, as Munster would haue it, nor by Frisius his fountaines (the report whereof how true it is, hath bene hitherto declared) is Brimstone digged vp at this day: nor I thinke euer was within the remembrance of our fathers. Neither is it true that Munster reporteth concerning the abundance of Brimstone namely, that it is almost the onely merchandize and tribute of the Iland. Brimstone Mines onely in the North part of Island. For whereas the Iland is deuided into foure partes, the fourth part onely towards the North (nay, but euen the halfe thereof) doeth vse it for merchandize, and there is not one crumme of Brimstone paied for tribute the Iland.
Munst Piscium tanta est copia in hac Insula, vt ad altitudinem domorum sub aperto coelo vendedi exponantur.
Sub aperto coelo. Id quidem facere vidimus mercatores extraneos, donec naues mercibus extraneis exonerarint, incipiantque easdem rursus piscibus & reliquis nostratium mercibus onerare. An verò nostri homines id aliquando fecerint, non satis liquet. Certè copiosa illa & vetus piscium abundantia iam desijt, Islandis & istius boni, & aliorum penuria laborare incipientibus, Domino Deo meritum impietatis nostræ flagellum, quod vtinam fitè agnoscamus, immittente.
Munster There are so great store of fishes in this Iland, that they are laid foorth on piles to be sold in the open aire, as high as the tops of houses.
In the open aire. In deed we haue seen other country merchants doe so, vntill they had vnladen their ships of outlandish wares, & filled them againe with fishes & with other of our countrey merchandize. But whether our men haue done the like at any time, it is not manifest. Abundance of fish about island diminished. Certainly, that plentifull and ancient abundance of fish is now decaied, and the Islanders now begin to be pinched with the want of these and other good things, the Lord laying the iust scourge of our impietie vpon vs, which I pray God we may duely acknowledge.
Frisius. Equos habent velocissimos, qui sine intermissione 30. millaria continuo cursu conficiunt.
Quidam in sua mappa Islandiæ, 20. millaria comunuo cursu assequi tradit cuiusdam parosciæ equos. Sed vtrumque impossibile ducimus. Nam maximæ celeritatis & roboris bestias (Rangiferos appellant) scribit Munsterus non nisi 30. millaria 24. horarum spacio conficere.
Frisius. They haue most swift horses, which wil run without ceasing a continual course for the space of 30. leagues.
A Certaine Cosmographer in his Map of Island reporteth concerning the horses of one parish, that they will run 20. leagues at once in a continued race. But we account both to bee impossible. For Munster writeth that those beasts which excell all other in swiftnesse & strength of body, called Rangiferi Raine deere, cannot run aboue 36. leagues in 24. houres.
Munst. Cete grandia instar montium prope Islandium aliquando conspiciuntur, quæ naues euertunt, nisi tubarum sono absterreantur, aut missis in mare rotundis & vacuis vasis, quorum lusu delectantur, ludificentor. Fit aliquando, vt nautæ in dorsa cetorum, quæ Insulas esse putant, anchoras figentes. sæpe periclitentur, vocantur autem eorum lingua Trollwal, Tuffelwalen. i. Diabolica cete.
Instar montium: En tibi iterum, Lector, Munsteri, Telenicis Echo, et cæcum, vt dici solet, insomnium. Deformat, me Hercule, adeò mendax et absurda hyperbole historiam, idque tantò magis quantò minus est necessaria. Nam quorsum attinet mentiri Historicum, si historia est rei veræ narratio? Quorsum tropicas hyperboles assumet? Quid conabitur persuadere, aut quo pertrahere Lectorem, siquidem nihil nisi simplicem rerum expositionem sibi proponit?
Pictoribus atque, Poëtis,
Quodlibet audendi semper fuit æqua potestas:
Non itidem Historicis.
Dorsa cetorum, quæ insulas putant. Nata est hæc fabula, vt et reliquæ, ex mendacio quodam, vt antiquo, ita ridiculo et vano, cuius ego fidem titiuilitio non emam. Est autem tale: Missos fuisse olim Legatos cum sodalitio monastico, ab Episcopo Bremensi (Brandanus veteribus Noruagis, Crantzio, ni fallor, Alebrandus appellatur) ad fidem Papisticam, quæ tum Christiana putabatur, in Septentrione prædicandam et diuulgandam: Eosque, vbi immensum iter Septentrionem versus nauigando consumpsissent ad insulam quandam peruenisse: ibique iacta anchora descensum in Insulam fecisse, focos accendisse: (Nam verisimile est nautas in ipso mari glaciali frigore non parum esse vexatos) et commeatum naualem ad reliquum iter expediuisse. Ast vbi bene ignibus accensis incaluerant foci, Insulam hanc submersam cito euanuisse, nautas autem per præsentem scapham vix seruatos fuisse. Habes huius rei fundamentum, Lector, sed quàm incredibile, ipse vides. Quid verò tandem est animi nautis, qui in mari procelloso videntes scopulum, vel, vt Munsterus, Insulam perexiguam emergere, non vitent potius omni studio, allisionem et naufragium metuentes, quàm vt in portu parum tuto quiescere tentent? Sed vbi anchora figenda? Solent enim, vt plurimum deesse nautis tam immensi funes, vt in altissimo æquore anchoram demittant: Igitur in dorsis cetorum, respondet Munsterus. Oportet igitur, vestigium vnci prius effodiant. O stultos nautas, balenarum carnem, à terræ cespitibus, inter fodiendum, non dignoscentes nec lubricam cetorum cutem, à terrestri superficie internoscentes. Digni profectò, quibuscum ipse Munsterus, nauclerus transfretaret. Equidem hoc loco, vt et superius, de miraculis Islandiæ terrestribus agens, è Tantali; vt aiunt, horto fructus colligit, id est, ea consectatur, quæ nunquam reperiuntur, nec vsquam sunt, dum miracula hinc inde conquirere, terram et pelagus verrere, ad Historiæ suæ supplementum studet: Vbi tamen nihil nisi cotnmentitia tantum venari potest.
Vocantur autem lingua eorum Trollwal. Ne vltra peram, Munstere: Nullam siquidem es linguæ nostræ cognitionem adeptus: Quare meritò puderet tantum virum, rem ignotam alios velle docere: Est enim eiusmodi incoeptum erroribus obnoxium complurimis, vt vel hoc tuo exemplo docebimus. Dum enim vis alijs autor esse, quomodo nostra lingua balenæ vel cete appellentur, detracta, per inscitiam, aspiratione, quæ pene sola vocis significationem facit, quod minimè verum est, affers: Non enim val nostra lingua balenam, sed electionem siue delectum significat, à verbo, Eg vel .i. eligo, vel deligo: vnde val, &c. At balena Hualur nobis vocatur: Vnde tu Trollhualur scribere debebas. Nec verò Troll Diabolum, vt tu interpretaris, sed Gigantes quosdam montanos significat. Vides igitur, quomodo in toto vocabulo turpiter, quod haud tamen mirum, erres. Leuis quidem illa in linguam nostram iniuria, in vnica tantum voce: quoniam plures, haud dubiè, non noras.
Idem alijs etiam vsu venit: Non enim probandum est, quòd quidam, dum Islandiæ descriptionem, ab Islandis acceptam, ederet, maluerit omnia, aut certè plurima promontoriorum, sinuum, montium, fontium, fluminum, tesquorum, vallium, collium, pagorum nomina desprauare (quòd nostræ linguæ ignaris, non sciret à nostratibus accepta satis exactè legere) atque corrumpere, quàm prius ab ipsis Islandis, qui turn temporis, id est, Anno 1585. In Academia Haffniensi vixerunt, quomodo singula legi ac scribi deberent, ediscere. Ipsum certè hac natiuorum nominum et appellationum voluntaria deprauatione, (qua factum est, vt ipsi ea legentes, paucissima nostra agnoscamus) in linguam nostram, alioqui puram et auitam penè elegantiam retinentem, non leuiter peccasse reputamus.
Cæterum iam plurima Islandiæ miracula, quæ quidem scriptores nostri attigerunt, sic vtcunque examinauimus. Sed tamen priusquam alio diuertamur, in hac parte attingendum videtur, quod idem ille in mappa Islandiæ, quam sub suo nomine, prædicto anno edi fecerat, de duobus, præter supra dictos, fontibus Islandiæ prodidit: quorum alter lanas albas colore nigro, alter nigras, albo inficiat. Quod quidem vbi acceperit, aut vnde habeat, scire equidem non possumus: Nec enim apud nostrates, nec apud extraneos scriptores, reperire licuit. Sed vndecunque est, fabula est, nec veritatis micam habet. Quamuis autem sit incredibile, Lanas nigras albo infici colore, cum traditum sit a Plinio, Lanarum nigras nullum imbibere colorem: Tamen simile quiddam narratur à Theophrasto: Flumen esse in Macedonia, quod oues nigras, albas reddat. Et illa, cuius etiam superious memini, rapsodia Noruagica, speculum scilicet illud Regale, hos ipsos fontes Irlandiæ, quæ hodie Hybernia, non Islandiæ esse affirmat. Quod forsan Lectori imposuit, in lingua peregrina, pro R, S, legenti.
Non maiorem fidem meretur, quod Historicus quidam habet. Esse in Islandia saxum, quod montium prærupta non extrinseca agitatione, sed propria natiuaque motione peruolitet: Id qui credere volet, quid incredibile ducet? Est enim commentum tam inauditum, vt nullum eius simile, fabulatos fuisse Epicuræos (qui tamen multa incredibilia excogitasse Luciano visi sunt) constet: Nisi fortè hominem qui Islandis proprio nomine Stein dicitur, sentit Historicus rupes quasdam circuisse, vel circumreptasse. Quod, etsi ridiculum est in Historiam miraculosam referre, hominem scilicet moueri vel ambulare, tamen ad saluandam Historici fidem, simulandum: ne figmentum illud, per se satis absurdum, nec dignum quod legatur, durius perstringamus.
Eodem crimine tenentur, quicunque; Islandiæ, coruos albos, picas, lepores, et vultures adscripserunt: Perrarò enim vultures, cum glacie marina, sicut etiam vrsos (sed hos sæpius quam vultures) et cornicum quoddam genus, Islandis Isakrakur, aduenire obseruatum est. Picas verò et lepores, vt et coruos albos, nunquam Islandia habuit.
Atque hæc ferè sunt, quæ de prima commentarij nostri parte per quotidianas oocupationes, in præsentia, affere licuit. Quæ in hunc finem à me scripta sunt, (quod etiam prius testatus sum,) vt scriptorum de terra ignota errores, et quorundam etiam affectata vanitas, patefierent: Neque enim eorum famæ quicquam detractum cupio: Sed quòd veritati et patriæ, operam meam consecraram, ilia, quæ hactenus dicta sunt à multis, de Insula, fidem valde exiguam mereri, necesse habui ostendere: ac ita mihi viam ad sequentia de Incolis sternere.
Commentarij primæ partis Finis.
Munster There be seen sometimes neere vnto Island huge Whales like vnto mountains, which ouerturne ships, vnlesse they be terrified away with the sound of trumpets, or beguiled with round and emptie vessels, which they delight to tosse vp and downe. It sometimes falleth out that Mariners thinking these Whales to be Ilands, and casting out ankers vpon their backs, are often in danger of drowning. They are called in their tongue Trollwal Tuffelwalen, that is to say, the deuilish Whale.
Like vnto mountains. Loe here once againe (gentle Reader) Munsters falsifying eccho, and (as the prouerbe saieth) his blind dreame. Such a false and sencelesse ouer reaching doeth exceedingly disgrace an historie, and that by so much the more, by how much the lesse necessary it is. For to what purpose should an Historiographer make leasings, if history be a report of plaine trueth? Why should he vse such strange surmountings? What is it that he would perswade, or whither would he rauish the reader, if he propoundeth vnto himselfe nothing but the simple declaration of things:
Poets and Painters had leaue of old,
To feigne, to blaze, in all things to be bold.
But not Historiographers.
The backs of Whales which they thinke to be Ilands. This fable, like all the rest, was bred of an old, ridiculous and vaine tale, the credite and trueth whereof is not woorth a strawe. Certain letters sent by Brandan bishop of Breme, to preach Christian faith in the North. And it is this that foloweth, namely, that the bishop of Breme (called by the ancient Norwaies Brandan, and by Krantzius, if I be not deceiued, Alebrandus) in old time sent certanie Legates with a Couen of Friers to preach and publish in the North the popish faith, which was then thought to bee Christian, and when they had spent a long iourney in sailing towards the North, they came vnto an Iland, and there casting their anker they went a shore, and kindled fiers (for it is very likely that the Mariners were not a litle vexed with the nipping cold which they felt at sea) and so prouided victuals for the rest of their iourny. But when their fires grew very hote, this Iland sanke, and suddenly vanished away, and the Mariners escaped drowning very narowly with the boate that was present. This is the foundation of the matter, but how incredible it is, I appeale to the Reader. But what ailed these Mariners, or what meant they to doe, who in a tempestuous sea, seeing a rocke before their eyes, or (as Munster saieth) a little Iland, would not rather with all diligence haue auoided it for feare of running a shore and shipwracke, then to rest in such a dangerous harbour? But in what ground should the anker be fastened? for Mariners for the most part are destitute of such long cables, whereby they may let downe an anker to the bottom of the maine sea, therfore vpon the backs of Whales, saith Munster. But then they had need first to bore a hole for the flouke to take hold in. O silly Mariners that in digging can not discern Whales flesh from lumps of earth, nor know the slippery skin of a Whale from the vpper part of the ground: with out doubt they are woorthy to haue Munster for a Pilot. Verily in this place (as likewise before treating of the land-miracles of Island) he gathereth fruits as they say, out of Tantalus his garden, and foloweth hard after those things which will neuer and no where be found, while he endeuoureth to proule here and there for miracles, perusing sea and land to stuffe vp his history where notwithstanding he cannot hunt out ought but feigned things.
But they are called in their language Trollwal. Go not farther then your skil, Munster, for I take it you cannot skill of our tongue: and therefore it may be a shame for a learned man to teach others that which he knoweth not himselfe: for such an attempt is subiect to manifold errours, as we will shew by this your example. For while you take in hand to schoole others, & to teach them by what name a Whale-fish is to be called in our tongue, leauing out through ignorance the letter H, which almost alone maketh vp the signification of the worde, you deliuer that which is not true: for val in our language signifieth not a Whale, but chusing or choise of the verbe Eg vel, that is to say, I chuse, or I make choise, from whence val is deriued, &c. But a Whale is called Hualur with vs, & therefore you ought to haue written Trollhualur. Neither doeth Troll signifie the deuill, as you interprete it, but certaine Giants that liue in mountaines. You see therefore (and no maruel) how you erre in the whole word. It is no great iniurie to our language being in one word onely: because (doubtlesse) you knew not more then one.
Others also do offend in the same fault, for it is not to be allowed that a certaine man being about to publish a Map of Island receiued from Islanders themselues, had rather marre the fashion of all, or in very deed of the most names of Capes, Baies, mountaines, springs, riuers, homocks, valleis, hils & townes (because that being ignorant of our language, he was not able to read those things aright, which he receiued from our countreymen) he had rather (I say) depraue & corrupt them all, then learne of the Islanders themselues, which at that time, namely in the yeere 1585, liued in the vniuersitie of Hafnia, or Copen Hagen, how euery thing ought to be read and written. And we esteeme him for this his wilfull marring of our natiue names and words, (where vpon it came to passe that we reading the same, could acknowledge very few to be oure owne) that he is no slight offender against our tongue, otherwise retaining the pure and the ancient propertie.
But now we haue after some sort examined most of the myracles of Island, which our writers haue mentioned. Notwithstanding before we enter into any further matter, we thinke it good in this section to touch that which the last forenamed man (in this Map of Island, that he caused to be put forth in the foresaid yeere vnder his own name) hath giuen out concerning two other fountains besides the former: whereof the one should die white wooll black, & the other blacke wooll white. Who be the Islandish writers? Which thing where he receiued it, or whence he had it, we can by nomeans imagine: for it is not to be found in our own writers, nor in the writers of other countries. But whence soeuer it be, it is but a tale, & hath not one iote of trueth in it. And although it be incredible That black wooll may be died of a white colour, seeing it is affirmed by Plinie, that blacke wooll (of all other) will receiue no colour: notwithstanding there is some such thing reported by Theophrastus: namely, that there is a riuer in Macedonia which maketh blacke sheepe white. Speculum regale. Also that Norway pamphlet called the Roiall looking-glasse, which I mentioned before, doth attribute these fountains to Ireland, which is also called Hybernia, and not to Island. Which peraduenture deceiued the Reader, reading in a strange language S in stead of R.
That likewise deserueth no better credite which another Author writeth: That there is a certaine great stone in Island which runneth vp and downe the crags and clifs of mountaines by no outward force, but by the owne proper and natural motion. Hee that will beleeue this, what will he not beleeue? For it is such a rare deuise that the Epicures themselues (who yet seemed to Lucian to haue fained many incredible things) I am sure neuer inuented the like: vnlesse perhaps the sayd Author doeth imagine (that a man who is called of the Islanders by the proper name of Stein) should compasse about, and clime vp certaine rockes: which although it be ridiculous to put into a story of wonders, namely, that a man should mooue or walke, yet is it so to bee supposed to saue the credite of the Author, that we may not more seuerely condemne that fable, which is so sencelesse of it selfe and not woorthy to be read.
Vultures, beares and crows come vpon the drift Ice into Island. They are gulltie of the same crime also who haue found out rauens, pies18, hares and vultures, all white in Island for it is wel knowen that vultures come very seldome together with the Ise of the sea, vnto vs, as beares also (but they seldomer then vultures) and a certaine kind of crowes called by the Islanders Isakrakur. But as for white pies, hares, and rauens Island neuer had any.19
And these in a maner be the things which, in regard of our daily busines, we were able at this present to affoord, as touching the former part of our treatise, which were penned by me for this purpos (as in the beginning I did protest) that the errors of Authors concerning an vnknowen land, and the affected vanitie also of some men might be disclosed, for I am not desirous to diminish any mans good name: but because I consecrated these my labours to trueth and to my countrey, I could not chuse but shew, that those things which hitherto haue bene reported by many concerning our Island deserue very litle credite: and so to addresse my selfe vnto the matters folowing concerning the Inhabitants.
Here endeth the first part of the Commentarie.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51