Text for this edition is taken from The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation / collected by Richard Hakluyt, and edited by Edmund Goldsmid. Edinburgh: E. & G. Goldsmid, 1885-1890. Volume I.
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Præclaram sanè apud Historicos meretur laudem, Sereniss. Princeps, Anchuri illius Midæ regis filij ausus plusquam humanus, & in patriam pietas, ferè exemplo carens, quòd ad occludendum ingentem circa Celænam Phrygiæ oppidum, terræ hiatum, quotidie homines haud exiguo numero, & quicquid in propinquo erat, absorbentem, sese vltrò obtulerit. Cum enim ab oraculo Midas pater accepisset, non prius conclusum iri istam voraginem, quam res eò preciosissimæ immitterentur: Anchurus existimans, nihil esse anima pretiosius, sese viuum in illud profundissimum chasma præcipitem dedit: ídque tanto animi cum feruore, vt neque parentis desiderio, neque dulcissimæ coniugis amplexu vel lachrymis, ab isto proposito se retrahi passus sit.
Nec inferiorem multò consecuti sunt gloriam Sperthius & Bulis, Lacedæmonij, qui ad auertendam potentissimi Regis Persarum Xerxis, ob occisos à Lacedemonijs Darij patris legatos, vltionem, ad Regem profecti sunt, & vt legatorum necem in se, non in patria vlcisceretur, erectis & constantibus animis sese obtulerunt.
Quæ verò res, Sereniss. Princeps, illos ac alios complures mouit, vt patriæ flagrantes amore, nullum pro ea periculum, nullas molestias, imò ne mortem ipsam recusarint, ea profectò me quoque impulit, non quidem, vt quemadmodum illi, mortem sponte oppeterem, aut me mactandum vltro offerrem, sed tamen, vt id quòd solum possem, in gratiam patriæ tentarem: Hoc est, vt scriptorum de ea errores colligerem & rumusculos vanos refellerem: Ac ita rem profectò periculosam, & multorum forsan sinistro obnoxiam iudicio, aggrederer.
In eo proposito me etiam Cn. Pompeij exemplum confirmauit: Quem rei frumentariaæ apud Romanos procuratorem, cum in summa Vrbis annonæ charitate, in Sicilia, Sardinia & Africa frumentum collegisset, maiorem patriæ, quàm sui, tradunt rationem habuisse. Cum enim Romam versus properaret, & ingenti ac periculosa oborta tempestate, Naucleros trepidare, nec se ventorum aut maris sævitiæ committere velle animaduerteret, ipse nauim primus ingressus, anchoras tolli iussit, in hæc verba exclamans: Vt nauigemus vrget necessitas: vt viuamus, non vrget. Quibus vir prudentissimus innuisse videtur, patriæ periclitantis maiorem habendam rationem, quàm priuatæ incolumitatis.
Hunc ego sic imitor,
(Si parua licet componere magnis, & muscam Elephanto conferre) vt collectis ac comportatis ijs, quibus ad succurrendum gentis nostræ nomini ac famæ, apud extraneos, ex maleuolorum quorundam inuidia iam diu laboranti vterer; paucula hæc in lucem emittere, méque pelago huic quantumuis turbulento committere, lintea ventis tradere, cúmque illo exclamare non dubitem: Vt scribamus, vrget necessitas: Vt verò scriptum nostrum, cuiusuis, delicato palato, vbíque satisfaciat, aut omnem Momi proteruiam effugiat, non vrget. Institutum meum complures probaturos spero: successum forsan non itidem omnes probabunt. Nihiiominus tamen maiorem habendam rationem patriæ, multorum hactenus opprobria & contumelias sustinentis, quàm siue laudis, siue vituperationis, ad me ipsum hinc forsan redituræ, existimabam. Quid enim causæ esse potest, cur nonnullorum odium & inuidentiam, cum hoc patriæ, benefaciendi seu gratificandi studio fortè coniunctam recusem?
Quodsi scriptorum errores liberius notare, si quorundam calumnias durius perstringere videbor, eos tamen æquos me habiturum censores confido, qui paulò diligentius animaduertere volent, quam parùm tolerabiles sint scriptorum de nostra gente errores: quot etiam & quàm graues quorundam in nos calumniæ, quibus nationem nostram varijs modis laccssiuere, & etiamnum lacessere non desistunt. Dandum etiam aliquid omnibus congenito soli natalis amori est; Dandum iusto, ob hanc patriæ illatam iniuriam, dolori. Et ego quidem, quantum fieri potuit, vbíque mihi temperaui, ac à conuitijs abstinere volui: quòd si quid videatur mollius dicendnm fuisse, id prædicta ratione veniam, spero, merebitur.
Cum igitur hæc mihi subeunda sit alea, quod omnibus scriptum aliquod edituris in more positum animaduerto, id mihi hoc tempore solicitè curandum est: Nempè vt patronum & mecænatem aliquem huic meo commentariolo quæram, sub cuius nomine & numine, tutius in vulgi manus exeat.
Eam igitur ad rem nihil poterit contingere optatius, vestra, clementissime Princeps Sereniss. Maiestate: Et enim nos ei, qui vitam & fortunas nostras in suam potestatem & tutelam accepit, ei inquam, nomen quoque gentis nostræ innocenter contaminatum, curæ vt sit, supplices rogamus.
Imò verò, Rex clementiss. non solùm ad hanc rem, S. Maiestatis V. clemens implorare auxilium necessum habemus; Sed ad multa quoque alia, quæ in nostra patria desiderantur, aut quæ alioqui ad huius vtilitatem & salutem communem spectant: quæque non per me, sed per summorum nostræ gentis viroram libellos supplices hoc tempore exponuntur, aut certè breui exponentur. Nihil enim dubitamus quin S. V. Maiestas, Christianissimorum maiorum exemplo, etiam nostram patriam, inter reliquas imperij sui Insulas, sua cura & protectione regia dignari velit. Nam quæ nostra est ad S. Maiestatem V. confugiendi necessitas, ea est S. Maiestatis V. in nobis subleuandis, curandis & protegendis, gloria: Et ob nutritam extremi ferè orbis Arctoi ecclesiam, in remotissimis M. V. imperij finibus, quæ tranquillitatem & tuta singulari Dei beneficio halcyonia habet, præmium, ac reposita in coelis immarcessibilis vitæ æternæ corona.
Cæterum cùm illa huius loci non sint, id quod mei est propositi subiungo: & à S. Maiestate V. ea, qua par est, amimi submissione peto, vt huic meæ opellæ & studio in patriam collato, fauere, & patroni benigni esse loco, clementer dignetur. Quod superest, Sereniss. Princeps, Dom. clementissime, Maiestatem V. sapientiæ & prudentiæ, omniúmque adeò virtutnm heroicarum indies incrementa sumentem, ad summum imperij fastigium, summas ille regnorum, omniúmque adeò rerum humanaram dispensator, Deos opt. max. euehat: Euectam, omni rerum foelicissimo successu continuè beet: Beatámque hoc modo, vt summum horum regnorum ornamentum, columen, præesidium, Ecclesiæ clypeum & munimen, quàm diutissimè conseruet: Ac tandem in altera vita, in solido regni coelestis gaudio, cùm præcipuis ecclesiæ Dei nutritijs, syderis instar, illustrem fulgere faciat. Faxit etiam idem Pater clementis. vt hæc vota, quanto sæpius, in amplissimorum Maiestatis V. regnorum & Insularem quouis angulo, quotidiè repetuntur ac ingeminantur, tantò rata magis & certiora, maneant.
Haffniæ 1593. Mense Mart.
S. M. V. humiliter subiectus:
Arngrimos Ionas Islandus.
To the most mighty Prince and Lord, Lord Christian the 4. 1 of Denmarke, Norway, and of the Vandals and Gothes, King elect: of Sleswic, Holste, Stormar, and Dithmarse Duke: Earle of Oldenburg, and Delmenhorst: His most gratious Lord.
That heroical attempt of Anchurus, sonne of King Midas (most gratious prince) and that pietie towards his countrey in maner peerelesse, deserueth highly to be renowmed in histories: in that freely and couragiously he offered his owne person, for the stopping vp of an huge gulfe of earth, about Celoena, a towne in Phrigia, which daily swallowed multitudes of men and whatsoeuer else came neere vnto it. For when his father Midas was aduertised by the Oracle, that the said gulfe should not be shut vp, before things most precious were cast into it; Anchurus deeming nothing to be more inualuable then life plunged himselfe aliue downe headlong into that bottomless hole; and that with so great vehemencie of mind, that neither by his fathers request nor by the allurements and teares of his most amiable wife, he suffered himselfe to be drawne backe from this his enterprise.2
Sperthius also and Bulis, two Lacedemonians, were not much inferiour to the former, who to turne away the reuenge of Xerxes that most puissant King of the Persians, entended against the Lacedemonians, for killing the ambassadors of his father Darius, hyed them vnto the sayd king and that he might auenge the ambassadours death vpon them, not vpon their countrey, with hardy, and constant mindes presented themselues before him.
The very same thing (most gracious prince) which moued them and many others being enflamed with the loue of their countrey, to refuse for the benefite thereof, no danger, no trouble, no nor death it selfe, the same thing (I say) hath also enforced me, not indeed to vndergoe voluntarie death, or freely to offer my selfe vnto the slaughter, but yet to assay that which I am able for the good of my countrey: namely, that I may gather together and refute the errors, and vaine reports of writers, concerning the same: and so take vpon me a thing very dangerous, and perhaps subiect to the sinister iudgement of many.
In this purpose the example of Cneius Pompeius hath likewise confirmed me: who being chosen procurator for corne among the Romanes, and in an extreme scarcetie and dearth of the citie hauing taken vp some store of grains in Sicilia, Sardinia, and Africa, is reported to haue had greater regard of his countrey, then of himselfe. For when he made haste towards Rome, and a mighty and dangerous tempest arising, he perceiued the Pilots to tremble, and to be vnwilling to commit themselues to the rigor of the stormie sea, himselfe first going on boord, and commanding the anchors to be weighed, brake foorth into these words: That we should sayle necessitie vrgeth: but that we should liue, it vrgeth not. In which words he seemeth wisely to inferre, that greater care is to be had of our countrey lying in danger, then of our owne priuate safetie.
This man doe I thus imitate,
If small with great as equals may agree:
And Flie with Elephant compared bee.
Namely that gathering together and laying vp in store those things which might be applied to succour the fame and credite of our nation, hauing now this long time bene oppressed with strangers, through the enuie of certeine malicious persons, I boldly aduenture to present these fewe meditations of mine vnto the viewe of the world, and so hoysing vp sailes to commit my selfe vnto a troublesome sea, and to breake foorth into the like speeches with him: That I should write necessitie vrgeth: but that my writings in all places should satisfie euery delicate taste, or escape all peeuishnes of carpers it vrgeth not. I doubt not but many will allow this my enterprise: the successe perhaps all men will not approue. Neuertheles, I thought that there was greater regard to be had of my countrey, sustaining so many mens mocks and reproches, then of mine owne praise or dispraise, redounding perhaps vnto me vpon this occasion. For what cause should moue me to shunne the enuie and hate of some men, being ioyned with an endeuour to benefite and gratifie my countrey?
The errors of the writers of Island intolerable.
But if I shall seeme somewhat too bold in censuring the errors of writers, or too seuere in reprehending the slanders of some men: yet I hope all they will iudge indifferently of me, who shall seriously consider, how intolerable the errors of writers are, concerning our nation: how many also and how grieuous be the reproches of some, against vs, wherewith they haue sundry wayes prouoked our nation, and as yet will not cease to prouoke. They ought also to haue me excused in regard of that in-bred affection rooted in the hearts of all men, towards their natiue soile, and to pardon my iust griefe for these iniures offered vnto my countrey. And I in very deed, so much as lay in me, haue in all places moderated my selfe, and haue bene desirous to abstaine from reproches but if any man thinke, we should haue vsed more temperance in our stile, I trust, the former reason will content him.
Sithens therefore, I am to vndergo the same hazard, which I see is commonly incident to all men that publish any writings: I must now haue especiall regarde of this one thing: namely, of seeking out some patron, and Mecoenas for this my briefe commentary, vnder whose name and protection it may more safety passe through the hands of all men.
But for this purpose I could not finde out, nor wish for any man more fit then your royal Maiestie, most gratious prince For vnto him, who hath receiued vnder his power & tuition our liues and goods, vnto him (I say) doe we make humble sute, that he would haue respect also vnto the credit of our nation, so iniuriously disgraced.
Yea verily (most gracious King) we are constreined to craue your Maiesties mercifull aide, not only in this matter, but in many other things also which are wanting in our countrey, or which otherwise belong to the publique commoditie and welfare thereof which not by me, but by the letters supplicatory of the chiefe men of our nation, are at this time declared, or will shortly be declared. For we doubt not but that your sacred Maiesties, after the example of your Christian predecessors, will vouchsafe vnto our countrey also, amongst other Islands of your Maiesties dominion, your kingly care and protection. For as the necessitie of fleeing for redresse vnto your sacred Maiestie, is ours so the glory of relieuing, regarding, and protecting vs, shal wholy redound vnto your sacred Maiestie: as also, there is layd vp for you, in respect of your fostering and preseruing of Gods church, vpon the extreme northerly parts almost of the whole earth, and in the vttermost bounds of your Maiesties dominion (which by the singular goodnes of God, enioyeth at this present tranquillitie and quiet safetie) a reward and crowne of immortall life in the heauens.
But considering these things are not proper to this place, I wil leaue them, and returne to my purpose which I haue in hand: most humbly beseeching your S. M. that yon would of your clemencie vouchsafe to become a fauorer, and patron vnto these my labours and studies, for the behalfe of my countrey.
It now remaineth (most gracious and mercifull souereigne) for vs to make our humble prayers vnto almighty God, that king of kings, and disposer of all humane affaires, that it would please him of his infinite goodnes, to aduance your Maiestie (yearely growing vp in wisedome & experience, and all other heroicall vertues) to the highest pitch of souereigntie: and being aduanced, continually to blesse yon with most prosperous successe in all your affaires: and being blessed, long to preserue you, as the chief ornament, defence and safegarde of these kingdomes, and as the shield and fortresse of his church: and hereafter in the life to come, to make you shine glorious like a starre, amongst the principall nurcing fathers of Gods Church, in the perfect ioy of his heauenly kingdome. The same most mercifull father likewise grant, that these praiers, the oftener they be dayly repeated and multiplied in euery corner of your Maiesties most ample territories & Islands, so much the more sure and certain they may remaine, Amen. At Haffnia, or Copen Hagen 1593. in the moneth of March. Y. S. M. most humble subiect,
Arngrimus Ionas, Islander.3
1 Christian IV. was the last elective king of Denmark and Norway. Frederick III. in 1665 changed the constituion to an hereditary monarchy, vested in his own family.
2 It is added that Midas raised an altar to Jupiter on the spot.
3 A celebrated Icelandic astronomer, disciple of Tycho Brahe, and coadjutor of the Bishop of Holen, died in 1649 at the great age of 95. His principal works, besides his Description and History of Iceland, (published at Amsterdam in 1643, 4to), are _Idea Vera Magistratus_ (Copenhagen, 1689, 8vo); _Rerum Islandicarum libri tres_ (Hamburg, 1630, 4to); _The Life of Gundebrand de Thorlac_, etc. He is remembered amongst the peasantry of Iceland as the only instance known in that country of a man of ninety-one marrying a girl in her teens.
Benigno & pio Lectori salutem.
In lucem exijt circa annum Christi 1561. Hamburgi foetus valdè deformis, patre quodam Germanico propola: Rhythmi videlicet Germanici, omnium qui vnquam leguntur spurcissimi & mendacissimi in gentem Islandicam. Nec sufficiebat sordido Typographo sordidum illum foetum semel emisisse, nisi tertiùm etiam aut quartùm publicasset, quo videlicet magis innocenti genti apud Germanos & Danos, aliósque vicinos populos summam & nunquam delendam ignominiam, quantum, in ipso fuit, inureret. Tantum Typographi huius odium fuit, & ex re illicita lucri auiditas. Et hoc in illa ciuitate, quæ plurimos annos commercia sua magno suorum cùm lucro in Islandia exercuit, impunè fecit. Ioachimus Leo nomen illi est, dignus certè qui Leones pascat.
Reperiuntur præterea multi alij scriptores, qui cum miracula naturæ, quæ in hac Insula creduntur esse plurima, & gentis Islandicæ mores ac instituta describere se velle putant, à re ipsa & veritate prorsus aberrarunt, nautarnm fabulas plusquam aniles, & vulgi opiniones vanissimas secuti. Hi Scriptores etsi non tam spurca & probrosa reliquerunt, quàm sordidus iste Rhythmista: multa tamen sunt in illorum scriptis, quæ illos excusare non possunt, aut prorsus liberare, quo minus innocentem gentem suis scriptis deridendam alijs exposuerint. Hæc animaduertens, legens, expendens, subinde nouis, qui Islandorum nomen & æstimationem læderent, scriptoribus ortis, alienorum laborum suffuratoribus impudicis, qui etiam non desinunt gentem nostram nouis conspurcare mendacijs, lectorésque noua monstrorum enumeratione & descriptionibus fictis deludere, sæpe optabam esse aliquem, qui ad errata Historicorum, & aliorum iniquorum censorum responderet, quíque aliquo scripto innocentem gentem à tot conuicijs si non liberaret, certè aliquo modo apud pios & candidos Lectores defenderet. Quare hoc tempore Author eram honesto studioso, _Arngrimo Ionæ_ F. vt reuolutis scriptorum monumentis, qui de Islandia aliquid scripserunt, errores & mendacia solidis rationibus detegeret. Ille etsi primò reluctabatur, vicit tamen demum admonitio, amórque communis patriæ, ita vt hunc qualemcunque commentariolum conscriberet, non ex vanis vulgi fabulis, sed & ex sua & multorum fide dignorum experientia, comprobationibus sumptis.
Ille verò, qui hanc rem meo est aggressus instinctu, vicissim à me suo quasi iure flagitabat, vt in has pagellas, vel tribus saltem verbis præfarer: existimans aliquid fidei vel authoritatis opusculo inde conciliatum iri. Quare vt mentem breuiter exponam: Ego quidem & honestam & necessariam quoque operam nauasse eum iudico, qui non modò scriptorum varias sententias de rebus ignotis perpendere, & inuicem conferre, nec non ad veritatis & experientiæ censuram exigere: Sed etiam patriam à venenatis quorundam sycophantarum morsibus vindicare conatus sit. Æquum est igitur, Lector optime, vt quicquid hoc est opusculi, velut sanctissimo veritatis & patriæ amore aduersus Zoilorum proteruiam munitum & muniendum excipias. Vale.
Gudbrandus Thorliacus Epìscopus Holensis in Islandia. Anno 1592. Iul. 29. 4
4 In the _original_ edition of the description of Iceland by Arngrimus, follow these lines:
¶ Authoris ad Lectorem.
Imbute Lector suauis arte Palladis,
Lector benigne, humane, multùm candide,
Qui cuncta scis collis sacri mysteria:
Has videris si fortè quando paginas
Non lectione síque dedignabere,
Fac, nos tuo candori vt hæc committimus
Et æquitati, fronte sic non tetrica,
Vultu legas nec ista quando turbido:
Communis vnquam sortis haud sis immemor,
Infirmitas quam nostra nobis contulit.
Obnoxius nam non quis est mortalium
Erroribus næuísque semper plurimis?
Quod si diu multúmque cogitauens,
Nostris eris conatibus paulò æquior,
Tuis & isto rite pacto consules:
Candore nam quo nostra arctans vtere,
En te legentes rursus vtentur pari:
Sic ipse semper alteri quæ feceris.
Æqualitatis lege & hæc fient tibi.
De gente multis prædicata Islandica
Authoribus quamuis probata maximis,
Nostro periclo hucúsque vulgò credita,
Licere nobis credimus refellere,
Non vt notam scriptorum muram nomini,
Nostrum sed à nota probosa vindicem:
Hoc institutum iúsque fásque comprobant:
Hoc nostra consuetudo léxque comprobant:
Hoc digna lectu exempla denique comprobant.
Ergo faue: nostris faue conatibus,
Sis mitis indulgens et æquus arbiter,
O lector arte imbute suauis Palladis,
Lector benigne, amice, multum candide,
Qui cuncta scis collis sacri mysteria.
To the courteous and Christian reader Gudbrandus Thorlacius, Bishop of Holen in Island, wisheth health.
There came to light about the yeare of Christ 1561, a very deformed impe, begotten by a certain Pedlar of Germany: namely a booke of German rimes of al that euer were read the most filthy and most slanderous against the nation of Island. Neither did it suffice the base printer once to send abroad that base brat, but he must publish it also thrise or foure times ouer: that he might thereby, what lay in him, more deepely disgrace our innocent nation among the Germans, & Danes, and other neighbour countries, with shamefull, and euerlasting ignominie. So great was the malice of this printer, & his desire so greedy to get lucre, by a thing vnlawfull. And this he did without controlment, euen in that citie, which these many yeres hath trafficked with Island to the great gaine, and commodity of the citizens. His name is Ioachimus Leo, a man worthy to become lions foode.
Great errors grow vpon mariners fabulous reports.
Moreouer, there are many other writers found, who when they would seeme to describe the miracles of nature, which are thought to be very many in this Island, & the maners, & customs of the Islanders, haue altogether swarued from the matter and truth it selfe, following mariners fables more trifling than old wiues tales, & the most vain opinions of the common sort. These writers, although they haue not left behind them such filthy and reprochful stuffe as that base rimer: yet there are many things in their writings that wil not suffer them to be excused, & altogether acquited from causing an innocent nation to be had in derision by others. Wherefore marking, reading, & weighing these things with my selfe, & considering that there dayly spring vp new writers, which offer iniury to the fame & reputation of the Islanders, being such men also as do shamelesly filtch out of other mens labours, deluding their readers with feined descriptions, & a new rehearsal of monsters, I often wished that some one man would come forth, to make answere to the errors of historiographers & other vniust censurers: and by some writing, if not to free our innocent nation from so many reproches, yet at leastwise, in some sort to defend it, among Christian & friendly readers. And for this cause I haue now procured an honest and learned young man one Arngrimus Fitz-Ionas, to peruse the works of authors, that haue written anything concerning Island, and by sound reasons to detect their errors, & falshoods. And albeit at the first he was very loth, yet at length my friendly admonition, & the common loue of his countrey preuailed with him so farre, that he compiled this briefe commentary, taking his proofes, not out of the vaine fables of the people, but from his owne experience, and many other mens also of sufficient credit.
Now, he that vndertooke this matter at my procurement, did againe as it were by his owne authority chalenge at my hands, that I should in two or three words at least, make a preface vnto his booke; thinking it might gaine some credit, and authority thereby. Wherfore to speake my minde in a word: for my part, I iudge hin to haue taken both honest & necessary paines, who hath done his indeuour not onely to weigh the diuers opinions of wrighters concerning things vnknowen, and to examine them by the censure of trueth, and experience, but also to defend his countrey from the venemous bitings of certaine sycophants. It is thy part therefore (gentle reader) to accept this small treatise of his, being as it were guarded with the sacred loue of truth, and of his countrey, against the peruersnes of carpers. Farewel.
Anno 1592. Iulii 19.
Quemadmodum in militia castrensi, alios nulla æqua ratione adductos, sed ambitione, inuidia & auaritia motos, Martis castra sequi animaduertimus: Alios verò iustis de causis arma sumere; vt qui vel doctrinæ coelestis propagandæ aut seruandæ ergo bella mouent, vel aliquo modo lacessiti paratam vim ac iniuriam repellunt, vel saltem non lacessiti, propter obsidentem hostem metu in armis esse coguntur: Non secus Apollini militantes: alij animo nequaquam bono, Philosophico seu verius Christiano, ad scribendum feruntur: puta qui gloriæ cupiditate, qui liuore ac odio, qui affectata ignorantia alios sugillant, vt ipsi potiores habeantur, nunc in personam, nomen ac famam alicuius, nunc in gentem totam stylum acuentes, atque impudenter quasi mentiendo, insontem nationem & populos commaculantes: Alij verò contrà, animo ingenuo multa lucubrando inuestigant & in lucem emittunt; vt qui scientiam Theologicam & Philosophicam scriptis mandarunt, quique suis vigilijs veterum monumenta nobis explicuerunt: qui quicquid in illis obscurum, imperfectum, inordinatum animaduerterunt, vsu & experientia duce illustrarunt, explerunt, ordinarunt: qui mundi historias, bona fide, æternæ memoriæ consecrarunt: qui linguarum cognitionem suis indefessis laboribus iuuerunt: denique qui aliorum in se suamue gentem vel patriam, licentiosam petulantiam reprimere, calumnias refellere, & quandam quasi vim iniustam propulsare annixi sunt.
Et quidem ego, cui literas vix, ac ne vix quidem videre contigit, omnium qui diuinæ Palladi nomen dederunt, longè infimus (vt id ingenuè de mea tenuitate confitear) facere certè non possum, quin me, in illorum aciem conferam, qui gentis suæ maculam abluere, veritatem ipsam asserere, & conuitiantium iugum detrectare studuerunt: Maiora ingenio sors denegauit: Id quoquo modo tentare compellit ipsius veritatis dignitas, & innatus amor patriæ, quam extraneos nonnullos falsis rumoribus deformare, varijs conuitijs, magna cum voluptate proscindere, aliísque nationibus deridendam propinare comperimus. Quorum petulantiæ occurrere, & criminationes falsas, detectis simul scriptorum de hac Insula erroribus, apud bonos & cordatos viros, (Nam vulgus sui semper simile, falsi & vani tenacissimum, non est quòd sperem me ab hac inueterata opinione abducere posse) diluere hoc commentariolo decreui.
Etsi autem Islandia multos habet, vt ætate, ita ingenio & eruditione me longe superiores, ideóque ad hanc causam patriæ suscipiendam multò magis idoneos: Ego tamen optimi & clarissimi viri, Dom. Gudbrandi Thorlacij, Episcopi Holensis, apud Islandos, sollicitationibus motus communi causæ, pro viribus, nequaquam deesse volui, tum vt æquissimæ postulationi ipsius parerem, atque amorem & studium debitum erga patriam declararem, tum vt reliquos sympatriotas meos, in bonarum literarum scientia foelicius versatos, atque in rerum plurimarum cognitione vlterius progresses, ad hoc gentis nostræ patrocinium inuitarem: Tantum abest, vt ijs qui idem conabuntur, obstaculo esse voluerim.
Cæterum vt ad rem redeamus, quoniam illi quicunque sunt nostræ gentis obtrectatores, testimonio scripto se vti ac niti iactitant: videndum omnino est, quidnam de Islandia, & quàm vera scriptores prodiderint, vt si fortè isti, alijs in nos dicendi aliquam occasionem dederint, patefactis ipsorum erroribus (nolo enim quid durius dicere) quàm meritò nos calumnientur, reliquis planum fiat, Porrò, quamuis vetustiorum quorundam scripta de hac Insula, ad veritatis & experientiæ normam exigere non verear: Tamen nobis eorundem alioqui sacra est memoria, reuerenda dignitas, suspicienda eruditio, laudanda voluntas & in Rempub. literariam studium; Nouitij verò, si qui sunt id genus scriptores, aut verius pasquilli, cum ijs longè veriora quàm scripserant, audire & nosse de Islandia licuerit, sua leuitate & ingenio malè candido, nihil nisi inuidiæ & calumniæ maculam lucrati esse videbuntur.
Commentarij duæ partes.
Atque vt Commentarius hic noster aliquid ordinis habeat, duo erunt propositæ orationis capita, vnum de Insula, de incolis alterum: quantum quidem de his duobus capitibus Scriptores qui in nostris manibus versantur, annotatum reliquerunt: Quoniam vltra has metas vagari, vel plura quàm hæc ipsa, & quæ huc pertinere videbuntur attingere nolo. Non enim ex professo Historicum vel geographum sed disputatorem tantùm agimus. Primæ partis tractatio. Itaque omissa longiore præfatione partem primam, quæ est de situ, nomine, miraculis & alijs quibusdam adiunctis Insulæ, aggrediamur.
Euen as in war, dayly experience teacheth vs, that some vpon no iust & lawful grounds (being egged on by ambition, enuie, and couetise) are induced to follow the armie, and on the contrary side, that others arme themselues vpon iust and necessary causes: namely such as go to battell for the defence and propagation of the Gospel, or such as being any way prouoked thereunto, doe withstand present violence and wrong, or at least (not being prouoked) by reason of the enemie approching are constrained to be vp in armes right so, they that fight vnder Apolloes banner. Amongst whom, a great part, not vpon any honest, philosophical, or indeede Christian intention, addresse themselues to wright: especially such as for desire of glory, for enuy and spight, or vpon malicious and affected ignorance, carpe at others: and that they may be accompted superiours, sometimes whette their stiles against the person, name and fame of this or that particular man, sometimes inueighing against a whole countrey, and by shamelesse vntrueths disgracing innocent nations and people. Againe, others of an ingenuous minde, doe by great industry, search and bring to light things profitable: namely, they that write of Diuinity, Philosophy, History and such like: and they who (taking vse and experience for their guides) in the said Sciences haue brought things obscure to light, things maimed to perfection, and things confused to order: and they that haue faithfully commended to euerlasting posteritie, the stories of the whole world: that by their infinite labours haue aduaunced the knowledge of tongues: to be short, that endeuour themselues to represse the insolencie, confute the slanders, and withstand the vniust violence of others, against themselues, their Nation or their Countrey:
And I for my part, hauing scarce attained the sight of good letters, and being the meanest of all the followers of Minerua (that I may freely acknowledge mine owne wants) can do no lesse then become one of their number, who haue applied themselues to ridde their countrey from dishonor, to auouch the trueth, and to shake off the yoke of railers & reuilers. My estate enabled me onely to write; howbeit the excellencie of trueth and the in bred affection I beare to my countrey enforceth me to do the best I can: sithens it hath pleased some strangers by false rumours to deface, and by manifolde reproches to iniurie my sayd countrey, making it a by word, and a langhing-stocke to all other nations. To meet with whose insolencie and false accusations, as also to detect the errours of certeine writers concerning this Island, vnto good and well affected men (for the common people will be alwayes like themselues, stubbornly mainteining that which is false and foolish, neither can I hope to remooue them from this accustomed and stale opinion) I haue penned the treatise following.
And albeit Island is not destitute of many excellent men, who, both in age, wit, and learning, are by many degrees my superiors, and therefore more fit to take the defence of the countrey into their hands: notwithstanding, being earnestly perswaded thereunto, by that godly & famous man Gudbrandus Thorlacius Bishop of Hola in Island, I thought good (to the vtmost of mine ability) to be no whit wanting vnto the common cause: both that I might obey his most reasonable request, and also that I might encourage other of my countreymen, who haue bene better trained vp in good learning, and indued with a greater measure of knowledge then I my selfe, to the defence of this our nation: so farre am I from hindering any man to vndertake the like enterprise.
But to returne to the matter, because they (whatsoeuer they be) that reproch and maligne our nation, make their boast that they vse the testimonies of writers: we are seriously to consider, what things, and how true, writers haue reported of Island, to the end that if they haue giuen (perhaps) any occasion to others of inueying against vs, their errours being layd open (for I will not speake more sharpely) all the world may see how iustly they do reproch vs. And albeit I nothing doubt to examine some ancient writers of this Island, by the rule of trueth and experience: yet (otherwise) their memory is precious in our eyes, their dignity reuerend, their learning to be had in honour, and their zeale and affection towards the whole common wealth of learned men, highly to be commended: but as for nouices (if there be any such writers or rather pasquilles) when they shall heare and know truer matters concerning Island, then they themselues haue written, they shall seeme by their inconstancie and peruerse wit to haue gained nought else but a blacke marke of enuy and reproch.
And that this commentarie of mine may haue some order, it shall be diuided into two general parts: the first of the Island, the second of the inhabitants: and of these two but so farfoorth as those writers which are come to our hands haue left recorded: because I am not determined to wander out of these lists, or to handle more then these things and some other which perteine vnto them. For I professe not my selfe an Historiographer, or Geographer, but onely a Disputer. Wherefore omitting a longer Preface, let vs come to the first part concerning the situation, the name, miracles, and certaine other adiuncts of this Iland.
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.
Absolutis hactenus miraculis Islandiæ, (cum nonnullis alijs, primæ parti annexis) quæ dum scriptores, velut Agamemnonios quosdam fontes, imò, vt quiddam præter et contra omnem naturam, mirantur, nec non variè deprædicant, minus veritati ipsi, et authoritati suæ cousulunt; monet propositæ orationis series, vt ad alteram commentarij partem nos conferamus, quæ est de incolis: Vbi quid primùm dicam, aut vnde initium sumom, non satis teneo. Tanta enim sunt in nos vltimos Islandos, et tot quorundam ludibria, tot opprobria, tot scommata, tot dicteria, (Atque inter hæc etiam nonnulla eorum, qui simplicissimam veritatem profiteri, volunt, nempe historicorum) vt si singula recensere velim, non aliud quàm
Icariæ numerum dicere *corier* aquæ.
Sed, vt dixi initio, non cum omnibus æquè stricto iure agemus. Nam licet Krantzius, Munsterus, Frisius, et alij, nimis audacter multa de gente nostra scripserint: Tamen suis monumentis de studijs liberalibus alioqui benè meriti, etiam apud nos eo erunt in precio, quo merentur. Verùm interea, etsi quis velit eos à calumniandi nota liberare, tamen non leue est, eos res quasdam tam absurdas, impossibiles et ridiculas proposuisse, cuiusmodi illa fuerunt, quæ hactenus exposuimus, tum impias, et atrocitate mendaciorum horrendas, cuiusmodi iam sequentur aliquot, in historias retulisse. Ast alijs, quicunque; sunt, qui quotidianus conuicijs nationem Islandorum incessunt, responsio, quam merentur, parata esse debet: Ex quorum numero, scurra ille fuit, qui rhythmis aliquot, in gentis nostræ contumeliam, Germanica lingua editis, nomen suum immortali dedecori consecrauit.
Quapropter, vt instituti nostri ratio exigit, dum scriptorum de hac re monumenta persequimur, etsi quædam in eis occurrant, quæ coutumeliæ parum habent, nos tamen plæraque excutiemus, et errores, vt hactenas, annotabimus: tum si quid veri interea attulerint, id nequaquam dissimulabimus. Secundæ partis distributio. Ac eo modo, primùm Munsterum, Krantzium, Frisium, et si qui sunt alij, audiemus, Graculo illo, cum suis rhythmis Germanicis, dira calumnia infectis in postremum, vt dignus est, relecto locum. 1. Capitis huius partis diuisio. In hunc igitur modum, primùm de fide seu Religione Islandorum: Deinde de ipsorum moribus, institutis seu viuendi ratione, authores isti scribunt.
Hauing hitherto finished the miracles of Island with certaine other particulars belonging to the first part, the which while writers doe wonder at and diuersly extoll as it were the fountains of Agamemnon, yea, as things besides and against all nature, they haue bene very carelesse both of trueth it selfe, & of their owne credite. Now the course of the present speach doeth admonish mee to make haste vnto the other part of the treatise concerning the Inhabitants wherein what I should first say, or where I should begin, I am altogether ignorant. For there be such monstrous, and so many mocks, reproches, skoffes, and taunts of certaine men against vs poore Islanders dwelling in the vtmost parts & the world (and amongst these also, some things of theirs who take vpon them to professe most simple trueth, namely Historiographers) insomuch, that to reckon vp the particulars were nothing els but to tell the drops of the Icarian sea. But as I said in the beginning, we will not deale alike seuerely with all. For although Krantzius, Munsterus, Frisius & others haue written many things too boldly of our nation yet hauing otherwise deserued wel of learning by their monuments, they shalbe still in ye same reputation with vs that they are worthy of. Howbeit in the meane time, although a man would free them from the marke of slanderers, yet is it no small matter that they should broch certaine sencelesse, impossible & ridiculous things, such as those are which we haue hitherto laid downe as also that they should record in histories prophane and horrible vntrueths, some of which kind shal now immediately be discussed. As for others, whatsoeuer they be, who vpbraid the nation of Islanders with daily reproches, they are to haue that answere in a readinesse which such men deserue. In the number of whom, that scoffer is to be accounted, who by a company of rimes published in the Germane tongue, to the disgrace of our countrey, hath brought his name into euerlasting ignominie.
Wherefore as our present businesse requireth, while we are in hand with the writings of Authors concerning this matter, although we meet with some things containing litle reproch, notwithstanding we will examine most of them, noting the errors as hitherto we haue done in the meane time also when they shall alleage any trueth, we will in no case dissemble it. And after this maner, first we will heare Munster, Krantzius and Frisius, and others also, if there be any more, what they haue to say, reiecting that Paro and his Dutch rimes infected with fell slander, as he is woorthy vnto the last place. First therefore the sayd Authors write concerning the faith or religion of the Islanders and secondly, of their Maners, Customes, and course of life in maner folowing.
Adalbertius Metropolitanus Hamburgensis, Anno Christi 1070. Vidit ad Christum conuersos Islandos: licet ante susceptam Christi fidem, lege Naturali vuuentes, non multum à lege nostra discrepantes: itaque, pretentibus illis, ordinauit quendam virum sanctum, primum Episcopum, nomine Isleif.
Krantzius his verbis, et Munsterus alibi, fidei seu Religionis Christianæ dignitatem Islandis videntur adscribere: Facerentque et se, et veritate dignum, nisi eandem alias nobis adimerent. Nam (vt de Krantzio infra) Munsterus, quæ supra prodidit, de fide nostra, seu opinione circa Inferni locum situmque, omnino est à Christiana pietate alienum: Velle scilicet scrutari arcana, quæ Deus sibi soli reseruauit, quæque voluit nostrum captum excedere: Non enim reperitur de hac re quicquam in literis sacris, vbi locus vel sitis inferni seu ignis æterni, Diabolo et Angelis ipsius, adeoque damnatis omnibus animabus destinati, determinetur, aut circumscribatur: Nullam inquam, infra terram, seu in ea, aut vlla alia huius mundi parte, corporalem seu localem situm illi damnatorum carceri pagina sacra assignat: quinimo, terram hanc interituram, et terram nouam et coelos nouos, iustorum et sanctorum habitacula, creanda affirmat: Apoc. 2. 2, Petri 3, Esa. 65. Quare Christianus rerum adeò abstrusarum inquisitionem libenter præterit: tum dogmata nullis appertis et illustribus scripturæ sacras testimonijs stabilita, velut certa et vera recipere, aut alijs tradere, nefas esse ducit. Deut 4. et 12, Esa. 8. Matth, 17. 2, Timoth. 3.
Deinde etiam pugnat acriter cum Religione Christiana, quo Munsterus & Krantzius Islandos ornant, encomium: Eos videlicet, catulos ac pueros suos æquo habere in precio. De quo infra, section. 7. Sic igitur secum dissidet Munst. dum quos Christianos assent, inferni architectos alias facit: Item, Krantzius et Munsterus, dum quos fide Christo insertos affirmant, eosdem omni pietatis et honestatis sensu exuunt: quòd scribant filios ab his, non maiore cura, quàm catulos diligi.
Sed vt ad rem: De Religione equidem nostra, quæ qualiseu fuerit, cum Ethnicismus primùm fugari coepit, nihil magnificè diceret possumus: quemadmodum nec alia Septentrionis Regna vicina, vti existimo, de suis fidei initijs. Fatendum enim est, et cum serijs gemitibus deplorandum vsque ad illam nunquam satis prædicatam diem, quæ nobis velut immortalitatis initium illuxit et repurgati Euangelij doctrinam attulit, tenebras plusquam Cimmerias, etiam nostris hominibus, vt reliquis Septentrionis Ecclesijs, offusas fuisse. Illud tamen piè nobis sentire liceat, apud nos, vt et in vicina Noruegia (nam nolo vltra septa vagari, et de populis ignotis quicquam pronunciare) eiecta primùm Idololatria Ethnica, sinceriorem longè et simpliciorem fidem seu religionem Christianam viguisse; quippe veneno Papistico minus infectam, quam posteà, vbi auctum Romanæ sedis fermentum pestiferum, et malum contagiosum maturuit, et per totum orbem virus suum diffudit: Nam vt posteà apparebit, multis annus antequam noua Pontificiorum Idololatria vires et incrementum cepit, Islandia Christum amplexa est: et vt laudatissimi duo illi Noruegiæ Reges, quibus vt commune nomen, ita commune nominis Christi propagandi studium et professio, nihil nisi fidem in Deum Patrem, Filium, et spiritum Sanctum, sonabat. Dico autem illum Olaum Thryggonis F. qui Anno Christi 968. natus, Anno ætatis 27. imperium Noruegiæ adeptus est, et primus, vt accepimus, Noruegis Christum obtrusit: quibus imperitabat annis 5. Et huic cognominem, Olaum nuncupatum Sanctum, Haraldi F. Qui anno Christi 1013. aut circiter, imperij habenas arctius in primis obtinuit. Per annos fere 17. Christi doctrinam audacter tradidit. Anno Christi 1030. ab improbis parricidis nefariè interfectus, in pago Noruegise Stickla Stodum, pro Christi nomine cruorem fudit.
Habuit etiam nostra patria inter multos alios quendam insignem pietate virum; cui Nialus nomen erat, qui circa annum Christi 1000 vixit in prædio seu villa Berthors huol, sita in Parochia Islandiæ, Landenum: Quique rerum humanarum experientia, circumspecta animi prudentia, sagacitate et consilio, habebatur insignis. Cum enim, eius seculo, indomitis Islandia motibus fluctuaret, incolis à nullo ferè superiore magistratu repressis, nullis se factionibus immiscuit: Plurimas cauta animi virtute ac industria composuit. Nunquam vim fecit, nec passus est, si vltimum tantum in vita diem excipias. Adeò studiosè seditiones et turbas vitauit aliosque vitare aut euadere cupientes optimè iuuit. Nec quisquam eius consilio, nisi maximo suo commodo est vnquam vsus: nec quisquam ab eo, nisi cum vitæ et fortunarum penculo deflexit. Tam certum ab eo oraculum petebatur, vt valde mirandum sit, vnde homini tanta futurorum euentuum, et tam certa coniectura et consilium esse potuerit, quanta in ipso deprehensa est. Vnde ipsius cauta, prouidens et consilij plena sapientia, apud nostrates in prouerbium abijt: Nials biita raden: quasi dicas, Niali consilium; vel, Niali consilio res geritur, aut succedit: cùm quid prudenter et admirando cum consilio gestum est.
Hic cum domi suæ, à 100. viris coniuratis ob cædem à filio ipsius, ipso tamen inscio, patratam cingeretur, et inimicis domum vndique igni succendentibus, sibi videret supremum fatum instare, ait tandem. Hæc quidem fato, hoc est, voluntate diuina accidunt. Cæterum spem et fiduciam in Christo sitam habeo, nos (de se et vxore loquens) licet corpus hoc nostrum caducum, inimicorum flammis, mortalitatis corruptionem subeat, ab æternis tamen flammis liberatum iri. Sicque inter has voces, et flammarum sævitiam, vitam, An. Christo 1010. cum vxore et filio homicida, finiuit. Vox profectò filijs Dei non indigna, animæ, cum mortis acerbitate luctantis summum solatium arguens.
Hæc ideo addidi, vt ostendam quà coniectura adducar ad extstimamdum mox initio Christianismi (vt sic loquar) apud nos recepti, non fuisse tam deceptas et errorum tenebris immersas hominum mentes, quàm nunc, paulò ante hæc nostra tempora fuerunt.
Ast verò iam postquam Dominus Deus per Lutherum, et Lutheri in vinea Domini collegas, et pios successores, salutis doctrinam illustriorem reddidit, mentiùmque nostrarum graui veterno et densa caligine excussis, dextræ suæ digito, hoc est, spiritu Sancto, (Matth. 12. vers. 28.) cordis nostri auriculas vellicauit, ac oculos, quibus saluificam ipsius veritatem cerneremus, nobis aperuit: Nos omnes et singuli credimus et confitemur Deum esse Spiritum, (Iohan. 4. vers. 24.) æternum (Esai 40. vers. 28.) Infinitum (Ierem. 23. vers. 24. Psalm. 136. vers. 7. 8. 9.) optimum (Matth. 19. 17.) omnipotentem (Gene. 17. 1. Apocal. 1. 8.) Vnum essentia et natura: Vnum prouidentia: vnum efficentia rerum et administratione (Deut 6. 5. Ephes. 4. 5.) At personis diuinitatis, proprietatibusque distinctum, Patrem, Filium et spiritum Sanctum (Matth. 28. 19. & 3. 17.) Deum Patrem quidem, primam diuinitatis personam, coeli terræ et omnium rerum creatorem (Gene. 1. vers. 1. & sequent.) Sustentatorem et gubernatorem (Psal. 115. 3. Heb. 1. 3.) Patrem Domini nostri Iesu Christi (Psalm. 2. 7. & sequent:) et nostrum per eundem Patrem (Rom. 8. 15.) Animæ et corporis curatorem (Luc. 12. 12,) Tum Iesum Christum, secundam diuinitatis personam, filium Dei patris (Iohan. 1. 18. &c.) Vnigenitum (Iohan. 1. 29. Heb. 1. 2.) æqualem patri (1. Paral. 17. 13. Iohan. 1. 1.) Deum verum (Iohan. 1. 2. &c.) ante omnia creata præordinatum (1. Pet. 1. 20. Apocal. 13. 8. &c.) et statim post lapsum, promissum Messiam (Gen. 3. 15.) Sanctis Patriarchis identidem promulgatum, vt Abrahæ (Gen. 12. 3. &c.) Isaac. (Gen. 26. 4.) Iacob. (Gen. 28. 14.) et promissionibus confirmatum (Genes. 49. 9. Esa. 11. 1. 10.) Sacrificijs Mosaicis (Leuit. 1. 2. &c.) Et alijs typis præfiguratum: immolatione Isaac (Gen. 22.) Exaltatione ænei serpentis. (Num. 21.) Iona (Ion. 2. &c.) Prophetarum testimonio proclamatum (Esai 7. 14. &c.) ac tandem in plenitudine temporis verè exhibitum: hominem verum (Iohan. 1. 14. &c. Paul. Galat. 4.) mortuum pro peccatis nostris: resuscitatum propter iustificationem nostri (Rom. 4. 25. &c.) Ascendentem in coelum (Act. 1. 9. &c.) ac pro nobis ad dexteram patris sine intermissione interpellantem (1. Iohan, 2. 1. &c.) per spiritum Sanctum suum qui tertia est diuinitatis persona patri et filio compar et consubstantialis. (Actor. 5. 4.) Ecclesiam sibi verbo et Sacramentis colligentem (Matth. 16. 18. Roman. 10. 14. &c) Et ad vitam æternam sanctificantem (Actor. 9. 31. &c.) Ac tandem consummatis seculis è coelo, venturum (Actor, 1. 11.) Iudicare viuos et mortuos (1. Thess. 4. 15.) redditurum impijs secundum opera sua, eòsque poenis æternis adiudicaturum (Mat 13. 42. & 25. 41.) credentes verò in nomine ipsius æterna vita donaturum (Mat 25. 34. &c.) Hunc, inquam, Iesum Christum redemptorem (Mat 1. 21.) Caput (1. Corinth. 12. 27.) et Dominum nostrum (Ephes. 4. 5.) agnoscimus: Nosque illi nomen in sacro baptismo dare ac dedisse (Actor. 2. 38.) Et per baptismum illi insertos esse (1. Cor. 12. 13.) apertè, ingenuè, liberè ac libenter fatemur ac contestamur: omnesque alios, quicunque aliud nomen sub coelo datum esse hominibus, per quod salui fiant, comminiscuntur, seriò detestamur, execramur et damnamus. (Actor. 4. 12.) Verbum ipsius sanctissimum vnicam salutis normam statuimus, illudque tantummodò, omnibus humanis commentis abiectis et spretis, infallibilem fidei nostræ regulam et amussim nobis proponimus: (Galat 1. 8. Esa. 29. 13. Ezech. 20.) Quod duplicis Testamenti, veteris et noui appellatione complectimur. (Hebr. 8.) traditum per Prophetas et Apostolos (Ephes. 2. 20.) singulari et immensa Dei bonitate in hunc vsque diem semper in Ecclesia conseruatum et conseruandum in posterum. (Matth. 28. vlt. Psalm. 71. 18. 1. Cor. 11. 26.)
Deo igitur optimo maximo gratias ex animo et toto pectore agimus, quòd etiam ad nos, vastissimo interuallo à reliquo Ecclesiæ corpore diuulsos et vltimas mundi partes habitantes, lumen hoc suum, concessum, ad reuelationem gentium, et paratum ante faciem omnium populorum, olim pio Simeoni benigne ostensum (Nam in Christo omnes thesauri saptentiæ reconditi) quod nunc totam nostram gentem radijs suis saluificis illuminat ac fouet, pertingere voluerit. Hæc ita breuiter, ipsam summam perstringendo, fides nostra est, et nostra religio, quaro monstrante spirtu Sancto, et ipsius in vinea Christi ministris, bausimus: idque ex fontibus Isrælis.
Krantzius. Anno Domini 1070. vidit ad Christum conuersos Islandos.
Dubium nobis est, vtrum his verbis dicere voluerit Krantzius, Islandos primùm Anno Domini 1070. ad Christum esse conuersos an verò, prius quidem esse conuersos non neget, sed eo primùm anno id Adalberto innotuisse dicat. Chronologiæ Islandicæ gentis antiquissimæ. Vtrumuis autem affirmet, tamen fidem ipsius hoc loco suspectam reddunt annales et chronologiæ nostræ gentis antiquissimæ, quæ contrarium testantur: quibus vtrum malis, de rebus nostris proprijs et domesticis et intra nostræ insulæ limites gestis credere, an verò Krantzio, aut cuius alteri in nostratium rerum historia peregrino, sit penes tuum, candide Lector, arbitrium. Ego profecto multis adducor vt nostris potius assentiar. Nostrates emm nota tantum et fere domestica asserunt: ille peregrina et ignota. Hi suas Chronologias sine aliarum omnium nationum labe, macula et sugillatione contexuerunt tantummodò, vt rebus gestis suum verum tempus seu æram assignarent; ille quædam cum re et veritate pugnantia in contumeliam gentis nostræ ignotissimæ, historiæ suæ admiscuit, vt paulò post apparebit: hi omnium episcoporum Islandiæ nomina, annos, ordinem et successum describunt: ille vnius tantùm mentionem facit, idque longè secus quàm res habet. Porrò vt his fidem faciam, panca, quæ in ventustissimis nostris annalibus de Islandia ad Christum conuersa, et de Episcoporum in nostris Ecclesijs successione reperi, quorum etiam fides apud nos publicè recepta est, cum extraneis communicabo. Vetustissmum annales. Quæ tametsi leuiuscula, nec omnia prorsus digna quæ scribantur, scribenda tamen omninò sunt ad nostrarum rerum veritatem, aduersus Krantzium et alios asserendam: Sic igitur habent.
874. Islandia primum inhabituta. Anno Christi 874. prius quidem, vt ante commemorauimus, inuenta, sed tunc primum à Noruagis (quorum princeps fuit Ingulphus quidam, è cuios nomine promontorium Islandiæ orientalis Ingulffs hoffdi appellatitionem traxit) occupata est Islandia. Hi plures quam 400. cum cognatis et agnatis et præterea numerosa familia nominatim in annalibus nostris recensentur: nec illorum tantùm numerus describitur, sed quas oras, quæ littora, et quæ loca mediterranea, singuli occupauerint et incoluerint, et quomodo primi inhabitatores, fretis, sinibus, portubus, Isthmis, porthmis, promontorijs, rupibus, scopulis, montibus, collibus, vallibus, tesquis, fontibus, fluminibus, riuis, ac denique villis seu domicilijs suis nomina dederint, quorum hodiè plæraque retinentur et in vsu sunt, apertè narratur. Itaque Noruagi occupatæ iam Islandiæ 60. annorum spacio, aut circiter, habitabiles partes sua multitudine implent: Centum verò prope modum annis Ethnici manserunt, ci paucissimos, qui in Noruagia fortè sacro fonte abluti fuerant, excipias. 974. Annis autem vix centum à primo ingressu elapsis, mox de religione Christiana agi coeptum est, nempe circa annum Domini 974. quæ res non sine insigni rebellione plusquam 20 annis variè à multis tentata est. Fredericus Saxo. Commemorantur autem duo Episcopi extranei, qui cum alijs, in conuertenda ad fidem Christi insula, diligenter laborarint: Prior Fridericus, Saxo natione, qui anno 981. ad Islandos venit, atque docendi munere strenuè functus est, ac tantum fecit, vt Anno 984, sacræ ædes Islandis in vsu fuerint.
Alter verò ille extraneus Episcopus siue concionator, quem Thangbrandt nuncupauere, anno 997. in Islandiam primùm venit.
Anno Dom. 1000. Hinc post 26, annorum disceptationem de religione, tandem Anno 1000. in conuentu generali omnium incolarum decretum est, vniuersali eorundem consensu, vt Ethnicorum numinum cultu seposito, religionem sectarentur Christianam.
Rursus in solenni incolarum conuentu Anno 1050. sancitum est, vt leges seculares seu politicæ (quarum constitutiones allatas ex Noruagia quidam Vlfliotus, Anno 926. Islandis communicarat) vbique cederent iuri Canonico seu diuino.
Anno 1056. abit peregrè ex Islandia Isleifus quidam, in Episcopum Islandiæ ordinandus.
Redit ordinatus in Islandiam, et Cathedram Schalholtensem adit Anno 1057. Moritur 1080. Ætatis 74. 4. Kalendas Iulias.
Videbuntur forsitan hæc minuta, concisa, vilia, nec narratione satis digna, cum multis fortè quæ sequuntur: Sed nec historiam Romanam conteximus, nec tam minuta erunt, quin contra Krantzij et aliorum errores conuincendos, prout nostrum est institutum, valeant. Et certè, quantum ad fidem nostrarum Chronologiarum, constat Saxonem Grammaticum non parum illis tribuisse: Cuius, in præfatione suæ Danæ, hæc sunt verba. Nec Thylensium inquit, (sic enim Islandos appellat) industria silentio obliteranda: qui cum ob natiuam soli sterilitatem, luxuriæ nutrimentis carentes, officia continuæ sobrietatis exerceant, omniàque vitæ momenta ad alienoram operum notitiam conferre soleant, inopiam ingenio pensant. Cunctarum quippe nationum res gestas cognosse, memoriæque mandare, voluptatis loco reputant non minoris gloriæ iudicantes, alienas virtutes disserere, quam proprias exhibere. Quorum thesauros Historicarum rerum pignoribus refertos curiosius consulens, haud paruam præsentis operis partem ex eorum relationis imitatione contexui: nec arbitros habere contempsi, quos tamta vetustatis peritia callere noui. Hæc Saxo. Quare lubet Episcoporum Islandiæ Catalogum persequi, vt ex annalibus nostris continuata diligenter, quoad eius fieri potest, omnium series, his quæ de primo Isleifo contra Krantzium attulimus, fidem faciat.
Krantzius in præfatione suæ Norwegiæ. Adalbert Metropolitane of Hamburg in the yeere of Christ 1070. saw the Islanders concerted Christianitie: albeit, before the receiuing of Christian faith, they liued according to the lawe of nature, and did not much differ from our lawe: therefore at their humble request, he appointed a certaine holy man named Islief to be their first Bishop.
Krantzios in these words, and Munster other where, doe seeme to attribute vnto the Islanders the prerogatiue of Christian faith and they should deale both beseeming themselues and the trueth, if they did not in other places depriue vs of the same. For (to speake of Krantzras anone) that which Munster before reported concerning our faith or opinion about the place and situation of hell, is very farre from Christian pietie: namely to be desirous to prie into those secrets which God hath kept close vnto himselfe alone, and which his pleasure is, should exceed our capacitie: for there is not any thing found in the holy Scriptures of this matter, where the place and situation of hell, or of eternall fire prepared for the deuill and his angels, and so for all damned soules, is bounded or compassed about. The holy Bible (I say) assigneth no locall or bodily situation beneath the earth, or vpon the earth, or in any other place of this world, to that prison of the damned: but it affirmeth that this earth shall perish, and that a new earth, and new heauens shall be created for the habitation of iust and holy men, Reuel. 2. 2. Pet. 3. and Esay20 65. wherefore a Christian man willingly giueth ouer to search into such hidden secrets and he accounteth it vnlawful to receiue or deliuer vnto others, opinions (grounded vpon no plaine and manifest places of Scripture) for certainties and trueths, Deut. 4. and 12. Esay 8. Matth. 27. 2. Tim 3.
Further also that commendation wherewith Munster and Krantzius doe grace the Islanders, is meerly contrary to Christian religion: namely that they make al one reckoning of their whelps and of their children. But more of this matter anone in the 7. section. So therefore Munster disagreeth with himselfe, whereas those whom he affirmeth to be Christians, afterward, he maketh to be master builders of hell. Also Krantzius and Munster both together, when as those whom they affirme to be engraffed by faith into Christ, they except from all sense of piety and honesty, in that they write that their sonnes are not dearer vnto them then their whelpes.
But to returne to the matter: In very deed we haue no great thing to say concerning our religion, what, or of what sort it was when Gentilisme was first put to flight. No more (I thinke) haue other Northern nations neere vnto vs to say concerning the beginning of their faith. For (alas) we must needs confesse and bewaile with deepe sighes, that vntill that day which shined vnto vs like the beginning of immortalitie, and brought vnto vs the pure doctrine of the gospel, our countrymen, as likewise other churches of the North, were ouerspred with more then Cimmerian darkenesse. But we may iustly and religiously thinke thus muche, that among vs and our neighbours of Norway (for I will not range out of my bounds, nor affirme any thing of vnknowen people) after heathenish idolatry was rooted out, Christian faith and religion did florish far more sincere, and simple, as being lesse infected with the poison of poperie, at that time, then afterward, when as the pestiferous leauen of the see of Rome being augmented, and the contagious mischiefe growing ripe, the poison thereof was dispersed through the whole world: for, as it shal afterward appeare, Island embraced Christ many yeeres before the new idolatry of the papists began to preuaile, and did sound foorth nothing but faith in God the Father, the Sonne and the holy Ghost, like vnto those two most renouned kings of Norway, who as they had one common name, so had they one common care and profession to aduance the gospel of Christ. The first christian king of Norway I meane Olaus the sonne of Thryggo, who was borne in the yere of Christ 968. attaining to the kingdom of Norway in the 27. yeere of his age, and was the first, as we haue heard, that offred Chnst vnto the Norwegians, ouer whom hee reigned fiue yeeres and another of that name called Olaus Sanctus the sonne of Harald, who in the yeere of Christ 1013. or there about, gouerned with more seueritie, and for the space of 17. yeeres did boldly deliuer the doctrine of Christ. In the yere of Chnst 1030. being vniustlie slaine by wicked murtherers, he shed his blood for the name of Christ in a town of Norway called Sticfla Stodum.
Nialus the first knowne professour of Christian faith in Island. Our countrey also had, among many other, one man of excellent pietie whose name was Nialus, who about the yeere of Chnst 1000. liued in the village of Berthorshuol situate in the parish of Island called Landehum: who also for his experience in humane affaires, for his great wisedome and sage counsell was accompted famous. For whereas in his time Island was turmoiled with many fierce mutinies, the inhabitants being in subiection to no superiour magistrate, he intermedled not in any quarels, sauing that by his discreet vertue and diligence he set through and brought to composition a great number: hee neuer did nor suffered violence, but onely vpon the last day of his life. So carefully auoyded he al seditions and strifes: and gaue good assistance to others, who were desirous also to auoyd and escape them: neither did any man euer put in practise his counsel, but it turned to his especiall good: nor euer any did swerue therefrom, but with the danger of his life and possessions. The wordes or rather the oracles that came from him were so certaine, that it was wonderful from whence any man should haue so great and so sure forecast and counsell of things to come, as was found to be in him. Whereupon his discreet and prouident wisedome, ioyned with counsell became a prouerbe amongst vs, “Nials byta raden:” That is to say, the counsel of Nialus or, the thing is done, or succeedeth by Nialus his counsel: when any business was atchieued prudently, and with admirable discretion. This man, when, for a slaughter committed by his sonne without his knowledge, he was in his owne house beset with a 100. men, who had conspired his death, and when his enemies began on all sides to set his house on fire, seeing his ende approch, at length he brake into these words. “Doubtlesse these things happen by fate, that is, by the will of God. Howbeit, I put my hope and confidence in Christ, that we (meaning his wife and himselfe) although this our fraile body shal vndergoe the corruption of death, in the fire of our enemies, yet, that it shalbe deliuered from eternal flames.” And so in the midst of these voyces, and in the fury of the flames, he with his wife and the manslayer his sonne, in the yere of Christ 1010. ended his life. A voyce vndoubtedly full well beseeming the sonnes of God, arguing the notable comfort of his soule amidst the very pangs of death.
I therefore added those things to shew by what reason I was moued to thinke that in the very beginning of Christianitie receiued amongst vs, mens minds were not so beguiled and ouerwhelmed in the darkenes of errors, as of late, a little before these our times they haue bene.
A summe of the Islanders Religion. But after the Lord God by Luther, and Luthers fellow-labourers in the vineyard of the Lord, and by godly successours, did make the doctrine of saluation more manifest, and shaking off the heauie slothe, and thicke miste of our minds by the finger of his right hand, that is by his holy spirit (Matth. 12. v. 28.) did plucke the eares of our hearts, and opened our eyes that we might behold his sauing health: We all, and euery of vs do belieue and confesse that God is a spirit (Iohn 4. v. 24.) eternal (Esay. 40. v. 28.) infinite (Iere. 23. v. 24. Psal 139. v. 7. 8. 9.) most good (Matth. 19. v. 17.) almighty (Gen. 17. 1. Reuel. 1. 8.) one in being, and nature: one in prouidence, one in the making and gouerning of all things (Deut. 6. 5. Ephe. 4. 5.) But distinguished by the persons of the Godhead and their properties, the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost (Matth. 28. 19. and 3. 17.) God the Father the first person of the Godhead creator of heauen and earth, and all other things (Gen. 1. v. 1. and in those that folow) the vpholder and gouernor of all (Psa. 115. 3. Heb. 1. 3.) Father of our Lord Iesus Christ (Psal. 2, 7. and verses following) and our Father through him (Rom. 8. 15.) keeper of our soules and bodies (Luke 12. 12.). And that Iesus Christ the second person of the Godhead is the sonne of God the Father (Iohn 1. 18. &c.) onely begotten (Iohn 1. 29. Heb. 1. 2.) equal to his Father (1. Chro. 17. 13. Ioh. 1. 1.) true God (Iohn 1. 2. &c.) foreappointed before the creation of all things (1. Pet. 1. 20, Reuel 13. 8. &c.) and presently after mans fell promised to be the Messias (Gene. 3. 15. &c.) published eftsoones vnto the holy Patriaches, as vnto Abraham (Gen. 12. 3. &c.) vnto Isaac (Gen. 26. 4.) vnto Iacob (Gene. 28. 14.) and confirmed by promises (Gen. 49. 9. Esa. 11. 1, 10.) prefigured by the sacrifices of Moses (Leu. 1. 2. &c.) and by other types, as namely by the offering of Isaac (Gen. 22.) by the lifting vp of the brazen serpent (Num. 21.) by Ionas (Ionas 2. &c.) proclaimed by the testimony of the Prophets (Esa. 7. 14.) and at length in the fulnesse of time truely exhibited: true man (Iohn 1. 14. &c. Gal. 4.) that he died for our sinnes, and was raised again for our iustification (Rom. 4. 25. &c.) Ascending into heauen (Acts 1. 9. &c.) and making intercession for vs at the right hand of his Father without ceasing (1. Iohn 2. 1. &c.) by his holy Spirit (which is the thirde person of the Godhead, coequall, and consubstantial to the Father and the Sonne, Acts. 5. 4.) gathering the Church to himselfe by the word, and Sacraments (Matth. 16. 18. Rom. 10. 14. &c.) and sanctifying it to eternal life, (Acts. 9. 31. &c.) And that one day at the end of the world he will come from heauen (Acts 1. 11.) to iudge the quicke and the dead (1. Thessal. 4. 15.) that he will render vnto the wicked according to their workes, and that he will iudge mem to eternal paines (Matth. 13. 42. and 25. 4.) but that he wil reward them, with eternal life, who beleeue in his Name (Matth. 25. 34.) This Iesus Christ (I say) wee acknowledge to be our Redeemer (Matth. 1. 21.) our head (1. Corinth. 12. 27.) and our Lord (Ephe. 4. 5.) And that wee in our holy baptisme do giue, and haue giuen our names vnto him (Acts. 2. 38.) and that wee are engraffed into him by baptisme (1. Corin. 12. 13.) And this we do plainely, ingenuously, freely, and willingly confesse and witnesse: And as for all others who inuent any other name in heauen giuen vnto men by which they may be saued, we doe earnestly detest, cursse, and condemne them (Acts. 4. 12.) We holde his most holy Word to be the onely rule of our saluation: and that alone (al mans deuises being cast away and contemned) we propound vnto our selues as an infallible rule, and leuel of our faith (Galat. 1. 8. Esai 29. 13. Ezech. 20.) which we conteine vnder the name of the olde and newe Testament (Hebr. 8.) deliuered by the Prophets and Apostles (Ephe 2. 20) by the singular and infinite goodnesse of God, presented euer vnto this day and to be preserued here after alwayes in the Church (Matth 28. last verse. Psal 71. 18. 1 Cor 11. 26.)
Therefore we render thankes vnto our most gratious and Almighty God from our soule, and from our whole heart, because that euen vnto vs being separated an huge distance from the rest of the body of his Church, and inhabiting the farthest parts of the world, hee would that this light graunted for the reuelation of the Gentiles, and prepared before the face of all people, and in olde time fauourably shewed to holy Simeon (for in Christ are all the treasures of wisedome hidden) which now doeth enlighten and cherish with the sauing beames thereof our whole nation, that hee would (I say) this light should come vnto vs. This in briefe (running ouer the very summe) is our faith, and our Religion, which by the direction of the holy Spirt and of his Ministers in the vineyard of Christ, we haue drawen and that out of the fountaines of Isræl.
Kranzius In the yeere of our Lord 1070. saw the Ilanders conuerted vnto Christ, &c.
It is doubtful vnto vs whether in these words Kranzius would haue said, that the Islanders were first conuerted vnto Christ in the yeere of our Lord 1070. or whether he doth not deny that they were indeed before conuerted, but saith that it was knowne first vnto Adalbert that yeere. The most ancient Chronicles of Island. But whethersoeuer of these he affirmeth: notwithstanding the yeerely records, and most auncient Chronicles of our nation testifying the contrary do make his credite to be suspected in this place, vnto which records and Chronicles, whether you had rather giue assent concerning our owne proper and domesbcal affaires, done within the bounds of our Island, or to Krantzaus or any other being ignorant in the story of our countrey, I appeale (friendly reader) vnto your owne discretion. For my part I am enforced by many reasons to agree rather vnto our owne writers. For our countreymen affirme those things onely that be knowen, and in a maner domesticall he writeth matters forreine and vnknowen they haue compiled their histories without the diffaming, disgracing or reprehending of any other nations, onely that they might assigne vnto their owne acts and exploits the true time or age thereof: he hath intermedled in his historie certaine things contrary to the trueth, and that to the vpbraiding of our nation being most vnknowen vnto him, as it shall immediatly appeare: they describe the names, yeres, order, succession of all the Bishops of Island: he mentioneth onely one, and that farre otherwise then the trueth. Furthermore that I may make good the credite of our Countreymen, I wil impart with strangers a fewe things which I found in our most ancient records of the conuersion of Island vnto Christ, and of the succession of Bishops in our Churches. Which although they be of litle moment, and not altogether worthy to be written, yet must they of necessitie bee set downe for the defence of the trueth of our affaires against Krantzius and others: thus therefore standeth the certaintie thereof.
Island first inhabited. In the yeere of Christ 874. Island (being indeed discouered before that time, as is aboue mentioned) was then first of all inhabited by certaine Noruagians. Their chiefetaine was one Ingulphus from whose name the East cape of Island is called Ingulffs hoffdi. These planters are reckoned vp by name in our recordes more then to the number of 400 together with those of their blood and kinred, and great families besides neither onely is their number described, but it is also plainely set downe, what coasts, what shores, and what inland places eche of them did occupie and inhabite, and what names the first inhabitants did giue vnto Streights, bayes, harboroughs, necklands, creekes, capes, rockes, cragges, mountaines, hilles, valleys, homockes, springs, floods, riuers. And to be short, what names they gaue vnto their graunges or houses, whereof many at this day are reteined and vsed. Therefore the Norwayes with their company peopled all the habitable parts of Island now occupied by them for the space of 60. yeeres or thereabout but they remayned Ethnickes almost 100. yeres, except a very fewe which were baptised in Norwaie. But scarce a 100. yeres from their first entrance being past, presently Christian religion began to be considered vpon, namely about the yeere of our Lord 974. Which thing aboue 20. yeres together, was diuersly attempted of many not without notable rebellion: amongst the rest there are mentioned two outlandish Bishops, who with others diligently laboured in conuerting the Island to Christian faith: Saxo, the first preacher of the Christian faith in Island. Anno Domini 981. the former was one Fridericus a Saxon borne, who in the yeere 981. came into Island, and behaued himselfe couragiously in the office of preaching, and preuailed so much, that in the yeere 984. Churches were vsed in Island.
But the other outlandish Bishop or preacher whom they called Thangbrandt came first into Island in the yeere 997.
Anno Domini 1000. And then after 26. yeeres consulting about Religion, at length in the yeere 1000, it was decreed in a generall assembly of all the inhabitants by their whole consent, that the worship of heathenish Idoles being abandoned, they should embrace Christian Religion.
Againe, in the yeere 1050, it was decreed in a solemne assembly of the inhabitants, that temporall or politique lawes (the constitutions whereof being brought out of Norwaie were communicated vnto the Islanders by one Vlfliot in the yeere 926.) should euery where giue place to the Canon or diuine Lawe.
In the yere 1056. one Isleif went beyond the seas out of Island to be consecrated bishop of Island.
He came home consecrated into Island, and entred into the bishopricke of Scalholt in the yeere 1057. He died 1080. in the yeere of his age 74. The 4. of the Kalends of Iuly.
These things perhaps wil seeme trifling, short and base, not sufficiently worthy to be mentioned, together with many other matters which follow: but neither doe wee compile the Romane history, neither yet shall these things be so trifling, but that they may be of sufficient force to conuince the errours of Krantzius and others, according to our purpose. A notable testimonie of Saxo concerning the Islanders. And vndoubtedly as touching the trueth of our histories, it is euident that Saxo Grammaticus attributeth very much vnto them: whose words in his preface of Denmarke be these: Neither is the diligence of the Thylenses (for so he calleth Islanders) to be smothered in silence: who when as by reason of the natiue barrennes of their soile, wanting nourishments of riot, they do exercise the duties of continuall sobrietie, and vse to bestow all the time of their life in the knowledge of other men’s exploits they supply their want by their wit. For they esteeme it a pleasure to know and commit vnto memory the famous acts of other nations, reckoning it no lesse praiseworthy to discourse of other mens vertues, then to practise their owne. Whose treasures replenished with the monuments of historical matters, I more curiously searching into, haue compiled no smal part of this present worke by following of their relation neither despised I to haue those men for my iudges, whom I knew to be skilful in so great knowledge of antiquitie. Thus farre Saxo.
Wherefore I thinke it not amisse to proceede in the recitall of the Bishops of Island, that the order and descent of them all, being so farre foorth as is possible, diligently put together out of our yeerely records, may make good that which we haue alledged against Krantzius concerning Isleif the first Bishop of Island.
Anno Episcopi Schalholtenses Christi I. Isleif. 1056 Ordinatur peregrè. 1057 Redit et Schalholtensem cathedram adit 1080 Anno ætat 74. Moritur 4. Kalend. Iul. II. Gysserus. 1082 Ordinatur peregrè, 1083 Redit in Islandiam cum Episopatu. 1118 Moritur 5. Kalend. Maias qui fuit dies Martis. III. Thorlacus Runolphi. F. Anno ætatis Ordinatur eodem anno, quo prædecessor. 32: Gysserus vita excessit, sed tamen ante illius obitum 30. die 1133 Moritur. IV. Magnus 1134 Ordinatur. 1148 Postridiè festi omnium Sanctorum in villa sacerdotali Hittardal comuiuans, coenaculo fulmine percusso, cum viris 70. flammis absumptus est. V. Klaingus. 1151 Eligitur. 1152 Cathedram adit. 1176 Moritur. VI. Thorlacus. Eligitur biennio ante obit, prædecessoris 1178 Ordinatur. 1193 Moritur. VII. Paulus. 1195 Ordinatur. 1211 Moritur. VIII. Magnus. 1216 Ordinatur. IX. Siguardus. 1239 Cathedram adit. 1268 Moritur. X. Arnerus. 1269 Cathedram adit. 1298 Moritur. XI. Arnerus Helgonis F. 1304 Ordinatur. 1305 Cathedram adit. 1309 In Noruagiam abit ligna à rege Noruagiæ petiturus, quibus templum Schalholtense reædificaretur, quod eodem anno fulmine tactum conflagrarat. 1310 Redit ex intinere. 1320 Moritur. XII. Ionas Haldorus. 1321 Eligitur. 1322 Ordinatur Kal. Augusti. 1323 Cathedram adit. 1338 Moritur. XIII. Ionas Indridi F. Roruages 1339 Cathedram adit. 1341 Moritur. XIV. Ionas Siguardi F. 1343 Cathedram adit. 1348 Moritur pridiè Diui Magni. XV. Gyrthus. 1349 Ordinatus Asloiæ Noruagorum, ab Episcopo Asloensi Salomone. 1356 Abiens peregrè fluctibus vitam finit. XVI. Thorarinnus. 1362 Cathedram adit. 1364 Moritur. XVII. Oddgeirus. 1366 Cathedram adit. 1381 Moritur in assumpt. beatæ virginis, in portu Noruagiæ Burgensi, è mercium aceruo in imum nauis delapsus. Sepultus Bergis in æde Saluatoris. XVIII. Michaël Danus. 1385 Cathedral adit. 1388 Resignat profectus in Daniam. XIX. Wilhelmus Danus. 1394 Cathedram adit. Moritur. XX. Arnerus. Hic cognomento fuit Milldur. i. liberalis. Gessit vna pæfecturam Islandiæ tertius: Episcopatum Schalholtens. & vice Episcopatum Holensem. 1420 Obijt. XXI. Ionas Gerichso. 1432 Suecus siue cognomento siue natione præest Ecclesiæ Schalholtensi: ac posteà ob quædam nimis audacter tentata, à quodam Thorualdo de Modruvallum (vt fama est) captus, & aligato ad collum saxo in amne Schalholtensi, qui à ponte nomen habet, viuus submersus & strangulatus est. XXII. Gosuinus. 1445 Præest Ecclesiæ Schalholtensi. XXIII. Sueno. 1472 Dictus sapiens præest. XXIV. Magnus Riolphi F. 1489 Præest. XXV. Stephanus. 1494 Cathedram adit. Deinde Godtschalco episcopo Holensi, qui crudelis nomen meritus esse videtur, Synchronos similem cum illo clementiæ & iusticiæ laudem reportauit. 1519 Moritur: aut circiter. XXVI. Augmundus. Eligitur anno obitus Stephani 1522 Cathedram adit. Hoc episcopo, prefectus regius cum comitibus aliquot Scalhotiam inuitatus, in ipso conuiuio à coniuram quibusdam interfectus est, eò quòd impiè passim in incolas & bona ipsorum grassatus esset. Augmundus vcro tanquam istius cædis author, quanquam se iuramento purgarat in Daniam transuectus, Obijt. XXVII. Gysserus. 1540 Eligitur viuente Augmundo 1541 Cathedram adit, Papisticarum traditionum abrogator circa coniugium 1544 sacerdotum: Eius nuptiæ Schalholtiæ celebratæ. XXVIII. Martinus. 1547 Præest, & sequentibus. XXIX. Gislaus Ionas. Hic statim, Augmundo episcopo, coepit iuuenis veræ pietatis & purioris doctrinæ Euangelicæ studio, & amore flagrare, eandemque pastor ecclesiæ Sclardalemsis diligenter propagare, qua ratione Pontificiorum odium adeò in se deriuauit, vt illorum insidijs ac rabiei cedere coactus, Hamburgum se contulerit, vnde Haffniam Danorum profectus, in coepto veræ Theologiæ studio strenuè pergens, in multorum, præcipuè verò in summa D. D. Petri Palladu tum temporis Episcopi, familiaritate et gratia viuebat. 1556 Postea, inde in patriam reuerso, Martinus sponte cessit. 1587 Moritur et hic 31. annos plus minus Euangelium Iesu Christi professus: nec tantum viua voce, sed et quocunque demum potuit modo, docendo, dicendo, scribendo, re et consilio Ecclesiam Dei iuuit et promouit. XXX. Otto Knerus Vir grauis, pius et eruditus. 1588 Electus abit patria. 1589 Ordinatur. Redit et cathedram adit, susceptique muneris labores aggreditur.* * * * *
Anno Episcopi Holenses. Christi I. Ionas Augmundi F. Isleifi discipulus. 1106 Ordinatur peregrè: anno ætat. 64. cognomentum illi, sanctus: curus memoriæ dies 3. Martij, apud Islandos est antiquitùs dicatus. 1121 Moritur 11. Kalend. Maias. II. Ketillus siue Catullus. 1122 Ordinatur. 1145 Moritur. III. Biorno. 1147 Ordinatus venit in Islandiam. 1162 Moritur. IV. Brandus. 1163 Ordinatur. 1165 Cathedram adit. 1201 Moritur. V. Gudmundus, cognomento Bonus. 1203 Eligitur et ordinatur. 1237 Moritur. VI. Botolphus. 1239 Redit ordinatus. 1246 Moritur. VII. Henricus. 1247 Cathedram adit. 1260 Moritur. VIII. Brandus. 1262 Abbas peregrè abit. 1263 Cathedram adit. 1264 Moritur. IX. Iorundus. 1267 Cathedram adit. 1313 Moritur. X. Audunnus. 1314 Cathedram adit. 1322 Moritur. XI. Laurentius. 1324 Eligitur & ordinatur. 1331 Moritur Idib. April. XII. Egillus. 1332 Cathedram adit. 1341 Moritur. XIII. Ormus. 1343 Cathedram adit. 1355 Moritur in festo omnium Sanctorum. XIV. Ionas Erici F. _cognomento_ Skalle 1358 Cathedram Holensem aditurus venit in Islandiam. Hic Ionas, olim in Grondlandiæ Episcopatum Gronlandis ordinatus, à Pontifice Romano Episcopus impetrauit, vt liceret sibi Episcopatum Holensem adire, qui 1356 tunc temporis vacabat. Vnde cum confirmationem huius dignitatis ac munerus, à Pontifice acceptam, veniens non proferret, apud Presbyteros dioecesis Holensis, suspectæ fidet esse coepit. Quare abijsdem in Noruagiam relegæus est, vt ea res arbitrio Regis componeretur. Rege igitur ipsius partibus fauente Cathedram Holensem obitnuit. 1391 Moritur. XV. Petrus. Ordinatur, quo anno prædecessor rebus mortalium exemptus est. 1392 Cathedram adit Holensem. Moritur. XVI. Ionas Wilhelmus. 1432 Anglus, siue genere, siue cognomine, præfuit Ecclcsiæ Holensi. XVII. Godschalcus. 1457 Moritur. XVIII. Olaus Rogwaldi F. 1458 Prædicti Godschalchi ex sorore nepos, vterque Noruagus, eligitur. 1497 Moritur. XIX. Godschalcus. De mortus Olai nepos ex fratre, et ille Noruagus, eligitur eodem anno quo patruus decessit. 1500 Cathedram adit, ac per totos 20. annos multos ex subditis duriter exercuisse fertur. Anno 1520. cum inter pocula et voluptates conuiuales versaretur audirétque obijsse Ionam Sigismundum, quem cum vxore et liberis multos annos crudelissimè vexauerat, in subitum morbum repentè incidit, et sic paulò post, eam, qua in tota vita in miseros subditos vsus est vim cum miserabili morte commutauit. XX. Ionas Aræsonius. 1525 Cathedram adit: etiam hic papisticarum superstitionum vltimus et acerrimus assertor. Qui, cum Gyssero et Martino episcopus Schalhotiæ acriter resisteret, à pientiss. Rege Christiano 1548 tertio iubetur sub poena exilij protinus in Daniam aduentare. 1550 Sed hoc neglecto, captum Martinum Schalholtiæ Episcopum custodiæ mandauit. Tandem et ipse à viro quodam magni nominis, quem prius vt fertur, lacessiuerat, captus, ac Schalholtiam adductus, ibidem cum filijs duobus, authoritate regij præfecti, capitis 1551 supplicio affectus est. In cuius vltionem, non multò post præfectus ille regius, cum socijs aliquot, à quibusdam sicarijs, decollatorum olim famulis, nefarie occisus est. XXI. Olaus Bialterus. 1552 Abit patria. 1553 Cathderam adit. Hic primus sincerioris doctrinæ apud Holenses amorem in multorum animis, etiam adhuc prædecessoris sui collega, accendit: Deinde eandem doctrinam Episcopus apertius docuit et propugnauit. 1568 Moritur. XXII. Gudbrandus Thorlacius. Ille non modò suæ ætatis, sed et posterntatis ornamentum. Qui præterquam quod inchoatum opus à prædecessore Olao sibi relictum ducente S. S. optimè ad eam, quam dedit Deus perfectionem, deduxit, (dico labores et diligentiam in asserenda veritate Euangelica, et papisticis superstitionibus abrogandis) etiam in hac patria sua officinam Typographicam primus Islandorum aperuit. Cui idcirco patria inter libros complures in linguam vernaculam translatos, etiam sacrosancta Biblia, elegantissimis typis Islandica lingua in officna ipsius excusa, in æternum debebit. Hic inquam Episcopus præsens, officium suscepturus. 1570 Abijt. 1571 Redit Cathedram Holensem ingreditur.
The Bishops of Schalholt. In the yeere of Christ I. Isleif. Consecrated beyond the seas. 1056 Returneth and entereth the Bishops sea of Schalholt. 1057 Dieth in the yere of his age 74. the 4. of the 1080 Kalends of Iuly. II. Gysserus. Consecrated beyond the sea. 1082 Returneth into Island with his Bishopricke. 1083 Dieth the 5. of the Kal. of May being tuesday. 1118 III. Thorlacus sonne of Runulphus. Consecrated the same yeere, wherein his predecessor. In the year Gysserus deceased, but yet 30. dayes before of his age 32 his death. Dieth. 1133 IV. Magnus. Consecrated. 1134 On the morrowe after the feast of all Saints, in his 1148 parish towne of Hiitardal, the house being striken with lightning, hee, and 70. men with him were consumed with fire. V. Klaingus. Chosen. 1151 Entreth the see. 1152 Dieth. 1176 VI. Thorlacus. Chosen two yeres before the death of his predecessour. Consecrated. 1178 Dieth. 1193 VII. Paulus. Consecrated. 1195 Dieth. 1211 VIII. Magnus. Consecrated. 1216 IX. Siguardus. Entreth his see. 1239 Dieth. 1268 X. Arnerus. Entreth his see. 1269 Dieth. 1298 XI. Arnerus sonne of Helgo. Consecrated. 1304 Entreth the see. 1305 Saileth into Norwaie, to craue timber of the king of Norway, 1309 wherewith the Church of Schalholt might be reedified, which the same yere being toucht with lightning, was burnt downe. Returneth home. 1310 Dieth. 1320 XII. Ionas Haldorus Elected. 1321 Consecrated the first of August. 1322 Entreth his see. 1323 Dieth. 1338 XIII. Ionas, sonne of Indred, a Noruagian borne. Entreth his see. 1339 Dieth. 1341 XIV. Ionas sonne of Siguardus. Entreth his see. 1343 Dieth on S. Magnus euen. 1348 XV. Gyrthus. Consecrated at Aslo in Norway by Salomon bishop of Aslo. 1349 Going beyond the seas he was drowned. 1356 XVI. Thorarinnus. Entreth his see. 1362 Dieth. 1364 XVII. Oddgeirus. Entreth his see. 1366 Dieth vpon the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, in the port of 1381 Bergen in Norway, falling downe from a packe of wares into the botome of the ship. He was buried at Bergen in the Church of our Sauiour. XVIII. Michael a Dane. Entreth his see. 1385 Resigneth, and saileth into Denmarke. 1388 XIX. William a Dane. Entereth the Bishopricke. 1394 Dieth. XX. Arnerus. Arnerus sirnamed Mildur, that is to say Liberall. He was at one time Lord President of all Island, bishop of Schalholt, and vicebishop of Holen. He died. 1420 XXI. Ionas Gerichson. Sueden either sirnamed or borne is made Bishop ouer the Church of 1432 Schalholt and afterward for certaine bolde attempts being taken by one Thorualdus de Modruuollum (as it is reported) and a great stone being bound to his necke, hee was cast aliue into the riuer of Schalholt, (which taketh name of the bridge) and was there strangled. XXII. Goswinus. Bishop of Schalholt. 1445 XXIII. Sueno. Called the wise, bishop of Schalholt. 1472 XXIV. Magnus sonne of Riolphus. Bishop &c. 1489 XXV. Stephen. Entreth the See. Then (liuing at one time with Godschalchus bishop 1494 of Holen, who seemed worthy to be sirnamed cruel) he had the same commendations for mercy and iustice, that Godschalchus had. He died: or thereabout. 1519 XXVI. Augmundus. Chosen in the yeere wherein Stephen deceased. Entreth the see. 1522 While he was Bishop, the kings Lieutenant with some of his followers being inuited to Schalholt, in the time of the banquet was slaine by certaine conspirators because hee had in all places wickedly wasted the inhabitants and their goods. But Augmundus as the authour of that murther (although he purged himselfe with an othe) being transported into Denmarke there ended his life. XXVII. Gysserus. Elected, Augmundus yet liuing. 1540 Entred the see. 1541 He was the abolisher of Popish traditions about Priests marriages: his owne marriage being solemnized at Schalholt. 1544 XXVIII. Martinus. Bishop &c. And the yeeres following. 1547 XXIX. Gislaus Ionas. This man presently, in the time of bishop Augmund began in his youth to be enflamed with the loue of true pietie, & of the pure doctrine of the Gospel, & being pastour of the Church of Selardal, diligently to aduance the same, by which meanes he did so procure vnto himselfe the hatred of Papists, as being constreined to giue place vnto their craft & crueltie, he departed ouer to Hamburg, from whence comming to Copen Hagen in Denmarke & painefully proceeding in his former study of diuintie, he liued in the familiaritie, and fauour of many, but specially of D. D. Peter Palladius: who was at that time bishop there. Afterward returning into his countrey, Martine gaue place 1556 vnto him of his owne accord. This man died also, hauing for the 1587 space of 31. years or there abouts, professed the Gospel of Iesus Christ: neither did he helpe & further the Church of God by the sound of his voice much, but by all other meanes to the vtmost of his abilities, by teaching, preaching, writing, by his wealth & his counsel. XXX. Otto Knerus. A graue, godly, and learned man. Being Chosen he departeth his 1588 country. Hee is consecrated returneth, and entreth the sea, 1589 endeuouring himselfe in the labours of his function. * * * * * The Bishops of Holen In the yeere of Christ I. Ionas sonne of Augrnundus. Isleif his disciple. 1106 Consecrated beyonde the seas in the yeere of his age 64, his surname was Sanctus, vnto whose memorie the 3. of March was by the inhabitants in old time dedicated. Dieth the 11. of the Kalends of May. 1121 II. Ketillus or Catullus. Consecrated. 1121 Dieth. 1145 III. Biorno. Being consecrated came into Island. 1147 Dieth. 1162 IV. Brandus. Consecrated 1163 Entreth his Episcopall see. 1165 Dieth. 1201 V. Gudmundus sirnamed Bonus. Elected and consecrated. 1203 Dieth. 1237 VI. Botolphus. Returneth consecrated. 1239 Dieth. 1246 VII. Henricus. Entreth the see. 1247 Dieth. 1260 VIII. Brandus an Abbat. Goeth beyond the seas. 1262 Entreth the Bishopricke. 1263 Dieth. 1264 IX. Iorundus. Entreth his see. 1267 Dieth. 1313 X. Audunnus. Entreth his see. 1314 Dieth. 1322 XI. Laurentinus. Elected and consecrated. 1324 Dieth in the Ides of April 1331 XII. Egillus. Entreth his see. 1332 Dieth. 1341 XIII. Ormus. Entreth his see. 1343 Dieth vpon the feast of all Saints. 1355 XIV. Ionas Sonne of Ericus, sirnamed Skalle. Being to enter his sea of Holen came into Island. This Ionas 1358 being before time consecrated bishop of Gronland, obteined A Bishop licence of the bishop of Rome to enter the See of Holen, which Gronland was at that time vacant. Whereupon comming and not bringing 1356 with him the confirmation of this dignitie and function, receiued from the Pope hee began to be suspected among the priests of the diocesse of Holen. Wherefore he was sent backe by them into Norway that the matter might bee set through by the iudgement of the king. The king therefore fauouring his part, he obteined the bishopricke of Holen. He dieth. 1391 XV. Peter. Consecrated the same yeere wherein his predecessour departed out of this present life. Entreth the see of Holen. 1392 Dieth XVI. Ionas Wilhelmus. An Englishman Bishop of English, either borne or sirnamed. Island. Entred the see. 1432 XVII. Godschalcus. Died. 1457 XVIII. Olaus. Son of Rogwaldus nephew to the forenamed Godschalcus by the sisters side, both of them being Norwayes. He was established. 1458 He died. 1497 XIX. Godschalcus. The nephewe of Olaus deceased, by the brothers side: also hee being a Noruagian was elected the same yeere wherein his vncle deceased. He entreth the see. And for the space of 20. whole yeres is 1500 reported cruelly to haue entreated many of the subiects. In the yeere 1520. when he was in the midst of his cups, and banquetting dishes, and heard that Ionas Sigismundus was departed out of this life (whom with his wife and children, he had for many yeres most cruelly oppressed) he presently fell into a sudden disease, and so not long after changed that violence for miserable death, which in his whole life he had vsed against his distressed subiects. XX. Ionas Aræsonius. Entreth the see. 1525 This man was the last and most earnest mainteiner of Popish superstitions. Who stoutely withstanding Gysserus and Martinus bishops of Schalholt, was commanded by the most religious king Christian the 3. vnder paine of banishment to come with all speed into Denmarke. But neglecting the king's commaundement, hee tooke Martine bishop of Schalholt, and committed him to ward. At length he himselfe also being taken by a man of great name (whom before that time, it is saide, he had prouoked) and being brought to Schalholt, was, together with his two sonnes, by the authoritie of the kings Lieutenant beheaded. In reuenge 1551 whereof not long after, the saide Lieu-tenant with some of his company, was villanously slaine by certaine roysters, which were once seruants to the parties beheaded. XXI. Olaus Walterus. Departed his countrey. 1552 Entreth the see. 1553 This man (being as yet in the life time of his predecessour fellow-labourer with him) was the first that kindled the loue of sincere doctrine at Holen in the hearts of many: and then being bishop did openly teache and defend the said doctrine. He died. 1568 XXII. Gudbrandus Thorlacius. The ornament, not onely of his age, but of posteritie also who besides that, by the direction of the holy spirit, he hath most notably brought the worke begunne, and left vnto him by his predecessour Olaus to that perfection which it hath pleased God to vouchsafe: (namely his labours and diligence in maintayning the trueth of the Gospel, and in abolishing of Popish superstitions) euen in this his countrey hee is the first that hath established a Printing house. For which cause his countrey (besides, for many other books translated into our mother tongue) shalbe eternally bounded vnto him, that the sacred Bible also, by his meanes, is fairely printed in the language of Island. (I say) being at this present, Hee Bishop, when he was about to take his charge: Departed his countrey. 1570 Returned and entred the see of Holen. 1571
Circa hæc igitur tempora mentibus nostris è coelo redditta lux est, et regni coelestis ianua per sinceriorem doctrinæ Christianæ expositionem reserata. Nam et Schola triuialis in vtraque sede Episcopali, laudatissimi Regis Daniæ Christiani tertij munificentia et pietate, circa annum 1553. fundata est: ac subinde patris Christianissimi eximiam pietatem imitante filio, Diuo Friderico secundo rege nostro sanctissimo, Anno 1588. ad coelestem patriam euocato, aucta et promota: quæ etiam hodiè, clementissimi regis et principis nostri, Christiani 4. fauore et nutu viget floretque: in qua iuuentus nostræ Insulæ, artium dicendi et sacræ Theologiæ rudimentis imbuta, ad scientiam et veram pietatem formatur, vt hinc ministri Ecclesiarum petantur.
Peruenimus tandem ad hodiernum vsque diem in Episcoporum Islandiæ catalogo: quo prædicti viri clarissimi Dom. Gudbrandus Thorlacius, et Dom. Otto Enerus ille Holis, hic Schalholtiæ Ecclesiarum sunt antistites: quorum vtrumque, vt Deus opt. max. Ecclesiæ suæ saluum et superstitem, propter gloriam nominis sui sanctissimi, diu conseruare velit, omnes seriò et ardentibus votis flagitamus.
In these times therefore light is restored vnto our soules from heauen, and the gate of the kingdome of heauen is opened vnto vs by the sincere preaching of Christian doctrine. For in either of the Bishops seats there is a free schoole founded by the liberality and pietie of that most renoumed King of Denmarke Christian the third: and afterward the sonne following the godly steppes of his most Christian father, the said Free schooles by Lord Friderick the second, our most religious King, being called vp to his heauenly countrey in the yeare 1588, haue beene encreased and furthered: which at this day also doe prosper and flourish by the fauour and authoritie of the most gracious King and our Prince, Christian the fourth, wherein the youth of our Islande being instructed in the rudiments of liberall artes, and sacred diuinitie, are trained vp to knowledge and true godlinesse, that from hence ministers of Churches may proceede.
We are come at length in the register of the Bishops of Island downe to this present day, wherein the forenamed excellent men Gudbrandus Thorlacius, and Otto Enerus, the one at Holen, and the other at Schalholt are Bishops of our Cathedrall Churches both of which men, that it would please God long to preserue vnto his Church in health and life, for the glorie of his most holy name, we all doe earnestly and with feruent prayers beseech him.
Must. Krantz. Frisius. Specus habitant plerùmque, aut ad montium latera in excauatis mansiunculis. Et mox: Templa habent multa et domos ex ossibus piscium et balenarum constructas. Item: Multi etiam ad pellendam frigoris asperitatem in cauernis latitant, quemadmodum Africani ad solis æstum vitandum. Item Munsterus. Multi in Islandia hodie costis et ossibus balenarum, domos suas construunt, &c.
Hic membrum secundum initium sumit, de incolarum viuendi ratione et moribus. Et primùm, quibus vtantur, edificijs seu domibus: nempè secundum Munsterum, Krantzium, Frisium, &c. Specubus et montium cauernis. Quamuis autem in splendidis ædificijs, alijsque id genus mundani ornatus pretiosis rebus parum inest, quod ad verè beatam vitam conferre queat, tamen nec hîc veritatem tacere possumus: dicimúsque omnino Cosmographos et Historicos in errore etiam hîc versari. Etenim, cuiusmodi gentis publica domicilia esse scribunt, ea sunt tantùm in paucis locis, tum magalia, vt opilionum, tum piscatorum casæ et receptacula, eo tantum anni tempore quo piscaturæ operam dare, aut propter gregem excubare opus habent. Negotiatio cum Noruagis desijt. Sylua fluctibus maris delatæ. At ipsas domus, seu ipsa hominum domicilia, antiquitus quidem satis magnificè et sumptuosè, quoad huius terræ fert conditio, ligno, cespite et saxis habuerunt Islandi constructa, vsque ad illud tempus, quo illis cum Noruagis, qui ligna sufficiebant, negociatio, et mercium commutatio esse desijt, quæ inde paulatim collabi incipiunt: Cum nec syluas ædificijs aptas habeamus, nec fluctuum maris beneficio iam vt olim ad littora, quod minima ex parte sufficiat, adferatur: Nec mercatores extranei inopiæ nostræ succurrant. Vnde plurima rura ignobiliora ab antiqua illa integritate multum declinarunt, et iam quædam collapsa sunt, quædam ruinam minantur. Nihilominus multa sunt prædia, multæ villæ, quas haud facile recensuero, quarum ædificia veterem illam excellentiam imitantur, et quarum domus sunt maximæ, et latæ et longæ, tum plærúmque benè altæ. Vt exempli gratia. Prædia seu villæ, quæ cubilia habent plusquam 50. cubitos longa, 10. lata, alta 20. Tum reliquas domus, vt coenaculum, hypocaustum, penuarium &c. huic sua proportione respondentes. Possum multa nostratium ædificia ampla et vasta, nec in speciem deformia, nec ob artis structuram et sumptuosam firmitudinem, seu robur, contemnenda cum aliquot delubris, siue sacris ædibus, solis lignis, antiqua et operosa grauitate et pulchritudine extructis commemorare: Cuiusmodi est templum Cathedrale Holense atrium habens, cuius columnæ vtrinque quinque vlnas 14. altæ, 5. circiter crassæ: tum trabes ac tigna, et reliquum culmen, huic substructioni proportionaliter respondens. Ligna ad hoc ipsum atrium Anno 1584. horrenda tempestate collapsum, clementissimus Rex noster D. Fridericus cuius nobis sacratissima est memoria, Anno 1588. benignissimè largitus est. Ipsum verò templum atrium suum omni quantitate manifeste excedit: tum templi intima pars quæ chorus appellari solet, et templi meditullio, et atrio magnitudine nonnihil cedit. Erat autem hoc longè maius olim, vt accepi Schalholtense, quod iam bis concrematum, ad inferiorem magnitudinem redactum est. Prætereà aliquot alia templa nostræ Insulæ horum antiquam magnificentiam imitantia licet non æquintia. Sed hic nequaquam res exigere videtur, vt in prolixiorem eius rei descriptionem euager. Vt enim Domus et edificia nostra nihil depredicamus: ita eorundem nos nihil pudet, quòd contenti paupertate nostra Christo gratias immortales agamus, qui à nobis vili tecto non dedignatur recipi, quòdque templa et domus nostras quas Munsterus Krantzius et Frisius piscium et balenarum ossibus non verè dicunt extructas, non aspernetur magis, quàm illa extraneorum culmina marmorea, parietes vermiculatos pauimenta tesselata reliquùmque id genus ornamenti.
Munsterus. Krantzius. Frisius. They inhabite for the most part in caues, or hollowe places within the sides of mountaines. And againe, They haue many houses and Churches built with the bones of fishes, and Whales. Againe. Many of them also to auoide the extremitie of colde, doe keepe themselues close in their caues, euen as the people of Africa doe to auoyde the heate of the sunne. Also Munster sayth: Many in Island at this day build their houses with the ribbes and bones of Whales.
Here the second member taketh his beginning concerning the course of life, and the manners of the inhabitants. And first of all what buildings or houses they doe vse namely according to Munster, Krantinus, Frisius &c. Holes and caues of mountaines. But although in gorgeous buildings, and such other worldly braueries there is very little helpe to the attayning of a life truely happie: notwithstanding, wee can not in this place conceale the truth and we plainly affirme that Cosmographers and Historiographers also doe erre in this point. For such habitations as they write to be common vnto the whole nation, are but in verie fewe places, and are either sheepe-cots for shepheards, or cottages and receptacles for fishermen at that time of the yeere onely when they goe a fishing, and the others stande in neede to watch their flocke. Traffike with the people of Norway ceaseth. But for their houses themselues, and the verie dwelling places of men, the Islanders haue had them built from auncient time stately and sumptuously enough, according to the condition of the Countrey, with timber, stones, and turfes, vntill such time as traffike and exchange of wares beganne to cease betweene them and the Noruagians, who were wont to supply them with timber, and for that cause nowe our houses beginne to decay whenas neither we haue woods of conuenient for building, Drift wood not so plentifull now as in times past nor yet there are nowe a dayes, as there were in olde time, trees cast vpon our shores by the benefite of the sea, which may in any sort relieue vs: neither doe outlandish Merchants succour our neccessities; whereupon many of our meanest countrey villages are much decayed from their auncicnt integritie, some whereof be fallen to the ground, and others bee very ruinous. Notwithstanding there be many farmes and villages which I cannot easily reckon vp, the buildings whereof doe resemble that auncient excellencie, the houses being verie large both in breadth and length, and for the most part in height also As for example farmes or granges which conteine chambers in them, more than fiftie cubites in length, tenne in breadth, and twentie in height. And so other roomes, as a parler, a stoue, a butterie, &c. answering in proportion vnto the former. I could here name many of our countrey buildings both large and wide neither ilfauoured in shewe, nor base in regarde of their workemanship and costly firmenesse or strength, with certaine Churches also, or religious houses, built of timber onely, according to auncient and artificiall seemelinesse and beautie: as the Cathedrall Church of Holen hauing a bodie the fiue pillars whereof on both sides be foure elnes high, and about fiue elnes thicke, as also beames and weather-bourdes, and the rest of the roofe proportionally answering to this lower building. Our most gracious King Lord Frederick, whose memory is most sacred vnto vs, in the yere 1588. did most liberally bestowe timber for the reedifying of this body being cast downe in the yere 1584. by an horrible tempest. But the Church it selfe doth manifestlie exceed the body thereof in all quantity: also the inner part of the Church, which is commonly called the quier is somwhat lesse, both then the middle part of the Church, and also then the bodie.
The Church of Schalholt was farre greater as I haue heard in olde time, then this our Cathedrall, which hauing now beene twise burnt, is brought to a lesser scantling. Likewise there be some other Churches of our Island, although not matching, yet resembling the auncient magnificence of these. But here the matter seemeth not to require that I shoulde runne into a long description of these things. For as wee doe not greatly extoll our houses and buildings, so are we nothing ashamed of them, because being content with our pouertie, we render vnto Christ immortall prayse who despiseth not to be receiued of vs vnder a base roofe, and contemneth not our temples and houses (which Munster, Krantzius, and Frisius doe not truely affirme to be built of fishes and Whales bones) more then the marble vaults, the painted walles, the square pauements, and such like ornamentes of Churches and houses in other countries.
Munsterus Krantzius. Commum tecto, victu, statu, (hic Krantzius habet, strato) gaudent cum iumentis. Item: Solo pastu pecorum et nunc captura piscium victitant.
Hæc sunt et sequentia, quæ Krantzius suo Munstero præmansa, in os ingessit, adeò vt Munstero non opus fuent ea vel semel masticare, quod ex collatione vtriusque patet. Munsterus enim hæc opprobria, vt ex Krantzij in suam Noruegiam præfatione hausta deglutierat, ita eadem cruda lib. 4. Cosmographiæ capit. 8. in gentem nostram euomit. Quæ hactenus fuerunt, etsi satis grauia sunt, tolerabiliora tamen erant. Hoc verò commentum malignissimum, et quæ sequentur, non facilè est sine stomacho præterire. Nostrum igitur est, etiam hîc veritatem asserere, et mendacium in Authoris caput retorquere.
Tecto: Primùm igitur quod de commum tecto (vti etiam de victu et statu) cum iumentis dicunt, falsum et erroneum clamamus, teste non modò re ipsa, si quis id hodiè perquirere volet: Sed etiam multorum extraneorum, qui aliquot apud nos annos egerant, et veritati plus quam gentem nostram calumniandi affectui tribuunt, experientia; qui ipsi domos et habitationes nostras viderunt, et norunt in singulis prædijs seu villis, multas esse distinctas domus: nempe in abiectissimis et vilissimis 7. vel 8. in maioribus, nunc decem, nunc 20. In maximis, nunc 40, nunc 50; quæ vt plurimùm, et tecto et parietibus distinctæ, vni possessori vel domino, rarò duobus aut tribus, rarissimè pluribus inseruiunt, ac vsibus quotidianis et domesticis sufficiunt. Vnde facilè intelligis, Lector, quàm verè eodem tecto cum iumentis vtantur Islandi, cum singuli rustici in hac domuum varietate, peculiaria bouilia, ouilia, equitia, agnilia, debitis interuallis dissita habeant, quæ serui, quoties opus est, petunt, vnde rursus habitationem subinde repetunt.
Quòd autem quidam in mappa Islandiæ de prouinca Skagefiord annotauit, sub eodem tecto homines, canes, sues et oues, viuere, partim falsum, partim minimè mirandum est. De ouibus quidem, vt iam dictum est, et præcipuè suibus (cum illa prouincia sues non habeat) falsum: De canibus haud mirum, cum illis nec regum aulæ caruerint nec hodiè careant, vt nimis omnibus est notum. Sed de canibus paulò post Sect 7. huius.
Victu. An iumentorum pabula possint commodè victus appellatione contineri, meritò dubitauerim. Cùm Doletus, Ciceronis interpretem agens, dicat: Victum, inquit, cum iureconsultis, ita exponemus, vt victus verbo contineantur, quæ esui, potui, cultuique corporis, quæque ad viuendum homini sunt necessana. Et Vlpianus, de verborum significat. Ijsdem verbis victum definit. Hoc loco verò Authores illi, etiam iumentorum pabula, victum appellant.
Cæterum videamus quomodo hîc eluceat veritatis et candoris præstantia. Iumenta non habemus præterquam equos et boues: His gramina et foenum (nisi vbi foeni inopia obrepit) pabulum, aqua potum præbet. At hi ipsi scriptores fatentur, Islandos piscibus, butyro, carnibus, tum bubulis, tum ouillis, etiam frumento, licet pauco et aduentitio viuere. Non igitur cibum habent cum brutis communem, quod tamen ijdem his verbis asserunt. Communi victu gaudent cum iumentis: Quod quid sit Munstero, ipse paulò superius haud obscurè docuit. Islandia, innquit, populos multos continet, solo pecorum pastu, et nunc captura piscium victitantes. Quid autem est pecorum pastus, aliud, quàm pecorum cibus? ait Doletus: nisi Munsterus fortè pecorum pasium, ipsa pecora ad pastum hominum mactata appellet: cui, vt existimo, vsus Romanorum refragatur, qui, vt homines vesci, ita pecora pasci docuit: hominúmque victum pecorum autem, pastum et pabulum vocari iussit. An verò existimem tam dementes fuisse Munsterum et Krantzium vt senserint Islandos graminibus et foeno viuere? Quo miseriæ Nabuchodonozor, diuinæ vltionis iugum subiens redactus est Dani 4. 30. Facilè dabimus multa, quibus homines, non modò nostrates, sed vestrates quoque vescuntur, iumenta et pecora fortè non reijcere, si familiari pabulo destituantur. Vt equi frumento et panibus hordeaceis pascuntur: ijdem lac (quemadmodum etiam vituli et agni) et cereuisiam, si offeratur bibunt, et quidem auidè. Sed et canes quævis fercula et cibaria deuorant. An idcircò quisquam dicet, homines communi victu cum canibus et iumentis gaudere?
Iam quæcunque famis grassantis tempore contigere pro vniuersali gentis alicuius consuetudine in historiam referri non debent. Vt non licet nobis de extraneis scribere huius aut illius terræ populos canum murium aut felium vsu victitare solitos, etsi fortè fame siue obsidione, siue alioqui annonas charitate inualescente immissa, id factitarint.
Potum autem interdum esse multis cum iumentis communem non magnoperè contraibimus: nempè aquam limpidissimam, naturalem ilium potum omnibus animantibus à Deo creatum quem etiam ex parte, medicinæ consulti comendant, imò nec patres Hebræi nec ipse Seruator noster fastidiebat.
Ad amictum verò quod attinet, (Nam et amictum victus vocabulo comprehendimus) nequaquam hic cum iumentis communis est. Illa enim pilis et villis natura (quod Munsterum et Krantzium nouisse iurarim) vestiuit: homines, alioqui nudi, pannis corpus induere necesse habent. Hæc indumenta, quæ quidem Islandia suppeditat, ex lanis ouium conficiuntur. Sed non cogitaram ideò recte dici, amictum esse nobis cum ouibus communem siue eundem. Vtuntur etiam extranei pannis ex ouilla lana confectis, licet artificio subtiliore. Sed de indumentis nihil: Stultum enim est, ex eo laudem vel superbam æstimationem quærere quod naturæ nostræ infirmitatem arguit.
Statu. Restat ille status quem cum brutis habere communem dicimur. Qui qualis aut cuiusmodi sit, aut eum esse velint nostri scriptores, certè non facilè assequor. Status inquit Doletus est vel corporis, vel causarum vel ordinis et conditionis. Certè alium esse statum nostri corporis quàm iumentorum (nam præter duos pedes etiam manus habemus et corpore ac vultu sursum erecto incedimus) alium item ordinem et conditionem nostram ducimus. Illi boni viri si id de se aut alijs cognitum habent fateantur. Nos hæc tam vana et in Deum creatorem nostrum tam contemptibilia irridemus, nec prolixiore tractatu dignamur.
Occasi harum fabularum. Cæterum quia nostrum est nec amori patriæ, nec vlli rei tantum tribuere, quin plus semper et vbique veritati largiamur: Dicam quid sit quod huic infami scriptorum conuicio occasionem fortè dederit.
Sunt in vicinia Schalholtiæ, ad littus Islandie australe paroechiolæ tres, inter duos rapidissimos amnes Thiorsaa et Olffwis Aa interceptæ; quæ et syluis et cespitibus consueto gentis ad focos alendos fomite ferè destituuntur. In istis paroechijs habitantes et si qui sint vicini, quamuis plures eorum, vt de omnibus rebus ad rem familiarem pertinentibus, ita etiam de his, quæ ad focos et balnea opus habent, sibi opportunè prospiciunt: Tamen sunt inter eos quidam sed infirma tantum sortis coloni, qui quoniam estis rebus domi destituantur, nec aliunde petere eas valeant in culinis foeno ad coquendos cibos vtuntur: Ast vbi hyemis niuosæ sævitia horrida ingruit, coloni isti miseri ad suum bouile refugiunt illic scilicet exstructis tabulatis interidiù operas domesticas exercentes, à bobus, cum focos habere nequeant, calorem mutuantur, quemadmodum mihi ab alijs narratum est. Sicque illi tantùm qui sanè paucissimi sunt, communi cum bobus tecto in bruma vti quidem non gaudent, sed coguntur. Verùm victum et statum longè alium habent, de qua re hactenus. Hæc est in istis Paroechiolis quorundam sors et inopia, quorum conditio idcirco etiam apud nos fabula vulgi effecta est, quamuis non satis iustè. Vbi quo iure toti genti tribuatur, quod vix ac ne vix quidem de istis paucis colonis verùm est, libentur quæsierim? Tædet de his pluribus agere: Tantum quia mihi cum Theologis res est illud Saiomonis ijs reponam. Prouerb 14. Qui calummatur egenum, deridet factorem eius.
Equidem quia gens hæc nostra pauper et egena est et fuit, ad veluti quidam mendicus inter diuites, tot extraneorum probra et scommata tulit. Sed videant cui exprobrent. Certè, si aliud nihil nobis cum illis commune est, tamen omnes ex ijsdem constamus elementis, et vnus et idem omnium Pater, Deus.
They and their cattell vse all one house, all one food or victuals, one state (here Krantzius hath it lodging.) Also. They liue onely by feeding of cattell, and sometimes by taking of fishes.
Those be the things together with those that followe, which Krantzius hath champed, and put into Munsters mouth, so that Munster shall not neede so much as once to chewe them, which may appeare by comparing them both together. For Munster, as hee swallowed these reproches, taking them out of Krantzius his preface vpon Norway, so he casteth vp the verie same morsels vndigested and rawe against our nation, in his fourth booke of Cosmographie cap. 8. Those things which haue beene hitherto, although they haue sufficiently grieued vs yet will we let them seeme more tollerable: but this most malitious deuise, and those which follow we cannot easily brooke. It is our part therefore in this place also to auouch the trueth, and to turne the leasing vpon the authors owne head.
House, &c. First, that which they say concerning the same common house (as also liuing, and state) with our cattell, we plainely affirme to be false and erronious, not onely the truth it selfe being our witnesse, if any man would make triall, but also the experience of manie strangers, that haue liued some yeeres amongst vs, and haue more minde to speake the trueth then to reuile our nation: who haue seene our house and habitations with their owne eyes, and knewe that in euery particular farme or graunge there were many seuerall roomes namely, in those that were most simple and base, seuen or eight: In others which were greater, sometimes tenne, and sometimes twentie. In the greatest sometimes fortie, and sometimes fiftie. Which for the most part being seuered, both by roofes and walles, doe serue for the dayly and household affaires of one owner or master, seldome of two or three, but almost neuer of more: whereupon the Reader may easily iudge, howe true it is that the Islanders and their cattell haue all one house to lie in, when euery husbandman in this varietie of roomes hath seuerall oxe stalles, sheepe-cotes, stables lambes-cots separated in different spaces one from another, which the seruants goe vnto so oft as neede requireth, and from thence returne backe to the dwelling houses.
But whereas one noted in his Mappe of Island, concerning the prouince of Skagefiord, that vnder the same roofe, men, dogges swine and sheepe liue altogether, it is partly false, and partly no maruell: for sheepe, as it hath been sayde, and especially for swine (when as that prouince hath no swine at alt) it is vtterly false: for dogges it is no maruell, when is not kings courts were euer, or at this day are destitute of them, as it is well knowen to all men. But as touching dogges afterward in the seuenth section.
Victuals, &c. Whither beasts meate may fitly be termed by the name of Victus, a man may lustly doubt: When Doletus interpreting a peece of Tullie, saith: As for Victus (sayth he) wee will so expound it with the Ciuilians, namely that we comprehend vnder the word of Victus all things necessarie for the life of man as meate, drinke, attire of the bodie, &c. And Vlpianus de verborum significatione defineth Victus in the very same words. But in this place the saide authors call beaste meate by the name of Victus.
But let vs see what trueth and plaine dealing is to be found in these men. We haue no labouring cattel besides horses and oxen: these haue grasse and hay (except where haye is wanting) for their fodder, and water to drinke. Now, the very same writers confesse, that the Islanders liue by fish, butter, flesh both beefe and mutton, and corne also, though it bee scarce, and brought out of other countries. Therefore they haue not the same foode with brute beasts, which notwithstanding the sayde writers affirme in these wordes: They and their cattel vse all one victuals or food. What Munsters meaning is in this clause, he himselfe a little before hath plainely taught.
Island (saith he) conteineth many people liuing onely with the food of cattell, and sometimes by taking of fishes. But what else is the food of cattell, but the meat of cattell, saith Doletus? Vnlesse perhaps Munster calleth the food of cattell, cattell themselues slaine for the foode of men: whom, as I thinke, the vse of the latine tongue doth gaine say, which hath taught vs that as men doe eate, so beasts do feede, and hath termed the victuals of men, and the food or fodder of cattell. But may I thinke that Munster and Krantzius were so mad as to imagine that the Islanders liue vpon grasse and hay: To this passe of miserie was Nabuchodonozor brought vndergoing the yoke of Gods vengeance Daniel 4. vers. 30. We will easily graunt that beasts and cattell will not perhaps refuse many things, which men not onely of our countrey but of yours also eate, if the saide beasts be destitute of their vsuall food: as horses are fedde with corne and barley loaues: they will drinke milke also (like vnto calues and lambes) and ale if it be proffered them, and that greedily. And dogges in like manner will deuour any deinty dishes whatsoeuer. May any man therefore say that men vse the same common victuals with dogges and horses?
Now, whatsoeuer things haue happened in the time of grieuous famine ought not to be recorded in historie for the generall custome of any countrey. As it is not lawfull for vs to write concerning other nations, that the people of this or that countrie, doe vsually liue by eating of dogs, mise, cats, although perhaps in the time of famine or seige or dearth of corne, they haue often bene constrained so to doe.
But that the same drinke is sometimes common to many men with beasts we will not greatly gainesay: namely most pure water, that naturall drinke created by God for all liuing creatures: which also in some respect Phisicians doe commende, yea, neither the Patriarkes themselues, nor our sauiour Christ despised it.
As touching apparell (for we comprehend apparell also vnder the name of Victus) it is no wise common to vs with beasts. For nature hath clad them with hairs and bristles (as I dare say Munster and Krantzius cannot be ignorant) men, being otherwise naked stande in neede of clothes to couer their bodies. But I had not thought it might therefore haue properly beene sayde that sheepe and we haue all one apparell. Men of other countries also weare cloth of sheepes wooll, although it be more finely wrought. But no more concerning the attire of the bodie. For it is a meere folly to seeke for praise, and ambitious reputation by that, which argueth the infirmitie of our nature.
State, &c. Now, it remaineth that we should speake of that state, which we are sayd to haue common with beasts; but of what kinde or maner it should be, or our writers would haue it to be I cannot easily discerne. State (sayth Doletus) is either of the body, or of causes, or of order and condition. Doubtlesse, that there is another state of our bodies then of beasts (for besides our two feet, we haue hands also, and go with our bodies, and countenances lift vpright) and that we be of another order and condition from them, we are verily perswaded. As for these good fellowes, if they know any such matter by themselues or others, let them disclose it. We doe altogether scorne these, being so vaine things, and breeding so great contempt against the Maiesty of God our creator, neither do we vouchsafe them any larger discourse.
But because it is our duty not so highly to regard either the loue of our countrey, or of any other thing whatsoeuer, but that we may be ready at all times and in all places, to giue trueth the preheminence: I will say in a word what that was which perhaps might minister occasion to this infamous reproch of writers.
There be neere vnto Schalholt, vpon the South shore of Island three small parishes standing betweene two most swift riuers Thiorsaa and Olffwis Aa, being in a maner destitute both of wood and turfe, which is the accustomed fewell of the countrey. And although most of the inhabitants of these parishes and some of their neighbours, as they doe in time of yeere prouide all things necessary for householde, so especially those things which belong to fires and bathes: notwithstanding there be certaine among them of the basest sort of people, who because they want those things at home, and are not able to prouide them from other places, are constrained to vse straw for the dressing of their meat. But when the sharpe rigor of snowy Winter commeth on, these poore people betake them to their oxe stalles, and there setting vp sheds, and doing their necessary businesse in the day time, when they are not able to make fires, they borrow heat from their oxen, as it hath beene reported to mee by others: And so they onely being verie fewe in number, doe not willingly enioye, but are constrayned to vse the same common house with their oxen. But for their liuelihoode and state it is farre otherwise with them then with their oxen, of which thing I haue entreated before. This is the lot, & pouertie of certaine men in those pettie parishes, the condition whereof is therefore made a common byworde of the people amongst vs, though somewhat iniuriously. Where I would willingly demaund with what honestie men can impute that vnto the whole nation, which is hard and skantly true of these fewe poore men? I am wearie to stay any longer in this matter: onely, because I haue to doe with Diuines, let that of Salomon suffice, Prouerbs 17, verse 5. Hee that mocketh the poore, reprocheth him that made him.
And in very deede, because this our nation is nowe, and heretofore hath been poore and needie, and as it were a begger amongest many rich men, it hath susteined so many taunts and scoffes of strangers. But let them take heede whom they vpbraide. Verely if there were nothing else common vnto vs with them, yet we both consist of the same elements, and haue all one father and God.
Krantzius Munster In simplicitate sancta vitam agunt, cum nihil amplius quærant quàm natura concedit. Beata gens, cuius paupertati nullus inuidet. Sed mercatores Anglici et Dani quiescere gentem non sinunt, qui ob piscaturam vehendam terram illam frequentantes cum mercibus omnigenis vitia quoque nostra inuexerunt. Nam et fruges aquæ miscere in potum didicerunt, et simplicis aquæ haustus oderunt. Nunc aurum et argentum cum nostris admirantur.
Simplicitate. Equidem sanctæ simphcitatis laudem nobis attribui, meritò gaudemus: Sed id dolemus, quòd reperiatur etiam apud nos iustitiæ ac legum ingens deprauatio, ac magna anarchia, quam multorum scelerum myriades consequuntur, quod pij et boni omnes quotidiè deplorant. Id mali autem nequaquam supremi Magistratus, hoc est, Regis nostri clementissimi, sed verius nostra culpa accidit: qui hæc quæ clàm ipso præposterè geruntur et quæ in inferiore magistratu desiderantur, ad maiestatem ipsius non deferimus.
Mercatores. Mercatores porrò, non solùm Angli et Dani, sed maximè Germani, vt nunc, ita olim terram nostram, non ob piscaturam sed pisces euehendos frequentantes, nequaquam artem illam, miscendarum frugum aquæ, Islandos docuerunt. Quippe ipsi Noruagi primi, quòd nobis constet, terræ nostræ incolæ; à quibus oriundi sunt Islandi, artem illam, sicut etiam aureos argenteósque nummos, secum ex Noruegia attulerunt; vt initio non fuerit minor argenti et auri vsus apud nos, quàm est hodiè.
Et quidem ante Danorum, Germanorum, Anglorumue frequentes ad nos nauigationes, terra nostra multò, quàm nunc, senescentis mundi incommoda, coelo solóque persentiens, fertilior, in delectis simis quibúsque locis, Cereris munera produxit.
Krantzius. Munster. They leade their liues in holy simplicitie, not seeking any more then nature doeth afforde. A happie Nation, whose pouertie no man doth enuie. But the English and Danish merchants suffer not the nation to be at rest, who frequenting that countrey to transport fishing, haue conueighed thither our vices, together with their manifolde wares. For nowe, they haue learned to brew their water with corne, and beginne to despise, and loath the drinking of faire water. Now they couet golde and siluer like vnto our men.
Simplicitie, &c. I am exceedingly glad, that the commendation of holy simplicitie is giuen vnto vs. But it grieueth vs that there is found so great a decay of iustice, and good lawes, and so great want of gouernement amongst vs, which is the cause of many thousande haynous offences which all honest and godly men doe continually bewayle. This inconuenience doth not happen through the negligence of the highest Magistrate, that is of our most gracious King, but rather by our owne fault, who doe not present these thinges vnto his Maiestie, which are disorderly committed without his knowledge, and which are wanting in the inferiour Magistrate.
Merchants. Moreouer, Merchants, not onely of England and Denmarke, but especially of Germanie, as at this time, so heretofore frequenting our countrey, not to transport fishing, but fishes, taught not Islanders the arte of brewing corne with water. For the Noruagians themselues, the first, to our knowledge, that inhabited this Island, from whom ye Islanders are lineally descended, brought with them out of Norway that arte, as also golde and siluer coine, so that in old time there was no lesse vse of siluer and golde with vs, then there is at this day.
Corne of old time growing on Island. And it is certaine that before the often nauigations of Danes, Germans, and English men vnto vs, our land was much more fertile then nowe it is (feeling the inconueniences of the aged and decayed worlde, both from heauen and earth) and brought foorth, in certaine choyse places, corne in abundance.
Munsterus. Krantzius. Rex Daniæ qui et Noruagiæ quotannis præfectum immittit genti.
Anno Domino 846. natus est Haraldus Harfagre (quod auricomum vel pulchricomum dixeris) Qui deinde Anno 858, Rex Noruagiæ designatus, vbi ætas viresque iustum incrementum acceperunt, formam imperij Noruagici mutauit. Nam antea in minutas prouincias diuisum (quas Fylki vocabant, et qui his præerant regulos, Fylkis Konga) ad Monarchiam armis potentibus redegit. Id cum et genere et potentia valentes aliquot regni incolæ ægrè ferrent, patria exulare, quàm ipsius Tyrannidis iugum non detrectare maluerunt. Vnde hi in Islandiam, antea quidem à quibusdam visam et inuentam, at desertam tamen, colonias, dicto Superius Anno 874. transtulerunt: Atque sic genti nostræ originem præbentes, se Islandos nuncuparunt, quod nomen hodiè posteri retinent. Vixerunt itaque Islandi diu, nullius imperium agnoscentes, annis scilicet 386. plus minus. Et quamuis Rex Noruagiæ Haquinus ille conatus, qui omnium regum Noruagiæ diutissimè, nempe plusquam 66. annos imperium gerebat, sæpè per legatos tentarat tributarios sibi facere Islandos, constanter tamen semper restiterunt, donec tandem circa annum Domini 1260. homagium ipsi præstarent. Margareta. Atque postea semper in data fide persistentes, et regibus Noruagiæ parentes, translato per Margaretam, Daniæ, Sueciæ, et Noruagiæ reginam, Noruagorum imperio, ad Danos, vnà cum reliquis imperij Noruagici Insulis, Serenissimum Daniæ regem; Dominum et Regem suum hodiè salutant.
Munsterus. Krantzius. The King of Denmarke and Norway sendeth euery yeere a Lieutenant into the Countrey.
In the yeere of our Lord eight hundred fortie and sixe Harold Harfagre (which is to say, golden haires or faire lockes) was borne. Who afterward in the yeere eight hundred fiftie and eight, being chosen king of Norway, when he was growen to age, and full strength, chaunged the forme of the Noruagian gouernment. For whereas before it was diuided into pettie Prouinces (which they called Fylki, and the pettie kings that gouerned them, fylkis konga) he reduced it by force of armes vnto a Monarchie. The occasion of the first inhabiting of Island by the people of Norway. But when some inhabitants of the countrie, being mightie, and descended of good parentages, could not well brooke this hard dealing, they chose rather to be banished their countrey, then not to shake off the yoke of tyranny. Whereupon, they in the yeere aboue named eight hundred seuentie and foure, transported colonies into Island being before discouered by some men and found out, but vnpeopled as yet: And so being the first founders of our nation, they called themselues Islanders, which name their posteritie reteineth vnto this day. And therefore the Islanders liued a long time, namely, three hundred eightie and sixe yeeres, more or lesse, acknowledging no submission to any other Nation. Haquinus coronatus. And although Haquinus that crowned King of Norway who reigned longest of any Noruagian king, namely, about sixtie sixe yeares, did oftentimes attempt by Ambassadours to make the Islanders become tributaries vnto him, notwithstanding at all times they constantly withstoode him, till at length about the yeere of our Lord 1260. they performed homage vnto him. And afterward continued alwayes in their promised loyaltie, being subiects to the king of Norway. But now at this day, since the Empire of the Noruagians was translated by Margaret Queene of Denmarke, Suedeland, and Norway vnto the Danes, they doe honour as their soueraigne Lord and King the most gracious king of Denmarke.
Krantzius Munsterus Omnia eos communia sunt, præter vxores.
Hoc loco præmittit Krantzius talem Ironiam.
Multa insignia in moribus illorum, &c. Porrò etiam hic fidem vestram eleuat ingenium, ad asserendum res incompertas nimis procliue, cupidinem nouitatis, et nominis ac famaæ, imò veritatis curam preposteram arguit, omnium et rerum personarúmque et temporum experientia: O scriptores suspiciendi.
Testes sunt leges politicæ, quibus inde ab initio cum Noruagis vsi sunt eisdem Islandi: De Rege et subditis: De foro, et his quæ in forensem disceptationem cadere possunt: De hæreditatibus: adoptionibus, nuptijs, furto, rapinis, mutuo contractibus et cæteris: Quæ omnia, quorsum illis, quebus res omnes sunt communes? Testes sunt, tot de bonis mobilibus et immobilibus contentiones, turbæ et certamina, in foris ac iudicijs Islandorum: Testes sunt Reges nunc Daniæ et olim Noruagiæ, qui tot libellis supplicibus Islandorum, ad componendas istas de possessionibus controuersias, olim et nunc interpellati sæpè fuerant. Testis contra seipsum Krantzius, cuius verba distinction. i. huius, hæc fuerunt. Ante susceptam Christi fidem (Islandi) lege naturali viuentes parum à lege nostra discrepabant, &c. Si lege naturæ, certè lege illa iustitiæ, quæ tribuit vnicuique suum: Si lege iustitiæ, certè proprietatum et dominiorum distinctiones in nostra gente locum habuisse oportet: Quanquam autem in hanc ipsam legem etiam in Ecclesia, et quidem satis atrocitur, sæpè delinquitur tamen et Ecclesia et Ethnici iustissimam et optimam esse semper fassi sunt.
Krantzius. Munsterus. All things are common among them except their wiues.
Here Krantzius in the first place beginneth with such a gybe There be many notable things in their manners, &c. Moreouer, your wit being too hastie in affirming things vnknowen, doth here also diminish your credite. The experience as well of all things as of persons and times proueth your ouer greedie desire of noueltie, of fame and vaine glorie, and argueth your great negligence in maintaining the truth. O worthy writers.
But whether the aforesayde things bee true or no, wee call the lawes of our Countrey to witnesse, which the Islanders from the beginning haue vsed all one with the Norwayes: of the King and his subiects: of the seate of iustice, and of law cases which come to be decided there, of inheritances: of adoptions, marriages, theft, extortions, lending, bargaines, and the rest: all which, to what purpose should they be enioyned vnto them with whom all things are common? We call to witnesse so many broyls and contentions in our courts, and places of iudgement in Island concerning goods mooueable, and immooueable: we call to witnesse our kings now of Denmarke, aforetime of Norway, who by so many billes of supplication out of Island in old time, and of late haue beene often interrupted, for the setting through of controuersies concerning possessions. Wee call Krantzius himselfe to witnesse against himselfe, whose words in the first section were these: Before the receiuing of Christian faith the Islanders liuing according to the lawe of nature did not much differ from our lawe &c. If by the lawe of nature, then doubtlesse by that lawe of iustice, which giueth to euery man his owne: If by the lawe of iustice, then certainely distinctions of properties and possessions must needes haue taken place in our Nation: and although this very lawe is often transgressed, and that haynously euen in the Church: notwithstanding both the Church, and also heathen men doe acknowledge it to be most iust and good.
Catulos suos et pueros æquo habent in precio: Nisi quod à pauperioribus facilius impetrabis filium quàm catulum, &c.
Quamuis principio huius commentarioli censuerim, Munsterum et alios magni nominis viros, in ijs, quæ de Islandia scripta reliquerunt, esse à calumnæ nota liberandos: num tamen id hîc, etiam à candidissimo et maxime sincero quocunque fieri possit, non satis video. Quid enim mouit tantos viros, vt Nautarum maleuolas nugas et mendacia secuti, tam atroci et contumelioso opprobrio gentem nostram diffamarent, commacularentque? Nihil profectò, nisi secura ridendi et contemnendi gentem pauperem et ignotam, licentia, et si quæ sunt huic vicia confinia.
Cæterum nôrint omnes non tam Islandis, quàm ipsis Authoribus, incommodare hoc mendacium. Cum enim illud, et plurima etiam alia in historiam suam accumulant, efficiunt vnà, vt alibi quoque suspectæ fidei habeantur. Illudque quod ait Aristoteles lucrantur, vt cum vera dixerint, illis sine suspitione non credatur.
Sed age Lector, subsiste paulisper, mecùmque grauitatem et sapientiam tantorum virorum expende: Ne tantum Islandiæ Elogium intactum prætereamus. Docuerunt hactenus Krantzius et Munsterus: Islandos esse Christianos. Item: Islandos ante susceptam Christi fidem lege naturali vixisse. Item: Islandos vixisse lege quadam non multum à lege Germanorum discrepante. Item: Vixisse eos in sancta simplicitate. Adesdum igitur Lector, et quas Christianismi, Legis naturalis, legis Germanorum, santæ simplicitatis notas Authores illi requirant, et in Islandis monstrent ac depingant, perpende. Vna fuit supra, quòd infernum siue carcerem damnatorum montis Heclæ voragine et radicibus circumscribant Islandi: de quo vide Sect. i. huius: et sect. 7. prior. part. Altera nota, quòd, cum Anabaptistis, proprietatum et dominiorum distinctiones tollant: de quo Sect. præced. Tertia eàque longe excellentissima hæc est: illi præclari affectus naturales, amor, cura, et animus tam pius et paternus Islandorum in liberos, quòd videlicit eiusdem precij sint apud illos canes et filij, aut hi etiam viltoris. Siccine nobis Munstere et Krantzi. Legem Christi, naturæ, Germanorum, et sanctam simplicitatem depingitis: O picturam præclaram et excellentem, quamuis non prorsus Apellæam: O Inuentum acutum et admirandum, si benè authenticum: O scientiam plusquàm humanam, etsi non prorsus diuinam.
Nos verò Islandi, quamuis vltimi et gelidum conclusi ad Arcton, longè alias Christianismi notas requirimis. Nam et præceptum Dei habemus, vt quilibet proximum diligat velut seipsum. Iam nemo est, puto, qui seipsum non plus diligat, aut pluris faciat, quàm canem. Quod si tantus esse debet proximi cuiuslibet fauor, tanta æstimatio, tantus amor, quantus quæso erit in liberos? Quorum arctissimum amorem, præterquam quod ipsa parens natura nobis firmissimè conciliauit, etiam Lex diuina curam summam in enutriendo habere iussit (Exo. 12. 24. Ephe. 6, 4.) vt scilicet sint in sancto coniugio, Ecclesiæ quædam seminaria, omnis pietatis et honestatis exercitia: Prout vates ille pulcherrimè cecinit.
Vult Ecclesiolam quamlibet esse domum.
Item: Coniugium humanæ quædam est Academia vitæ.
Vt iam satis constet, apud Christianos longè pluris faciendos et curandos filios, quàm canes: Et, si qui non aliter curent, Christianos non esse.
Sed et hic in prolem dulcissimam affectus naturalis in Ethnicis etiam satis apertè conspicitur: vt si quos hoc penitùs exueris, eosdem etiam homines esse negaueris. Monstrant id matres Carthaginenses, cum tertio bello Punico adolescentes quique lectissimi obsides in Siciliam mitterentur, quos illæ fletu et lamentatione miserabili ad naues comitatæ, et ex his quædam à filioram compleximus ægrè diuulsæ, cum ventis pandi vela cernerent, nauesque è portu egredi, dolore stimulante, in subiectos fluctus dissiluere: Sabellico authore. Monstrat Ægeus, qui nauem filij Thesei, cum velis atri coloris, ex Creta redeuntem cerneret, perijsse filium ratus, vitam in proximis vndis finiuit. Sabellic. lib. 3. cap. 4. Monstrat Gordianus senior, Africæ proconsul, qui similiter, ob rumores de morte filij, vitam suspendio clausit. Campofulgos. lib. 5. cap. 7. Monstrant idem Iocasta Creontis filia, Auctolia Sinonis F. Anius Tuscorum Rex, Orodes Rex Parthorum, et alij numero innumero. De quibus vide stat. lib. 2. Plutarchum, et alios, &c. Huc illud. Amor descendit, &c. Adeò, vt videas non minus esse homini proprium, sobolem intimè diligere, et summo amore prosequi, quàm aut volare; vt si iam aliquando homines esse Islandos, nedum Christianos scriptores nostri fassi sint, hunc amorem et affectum in filios ijsdem, quantumuis inuiti et repugnantes, adscribant: sin minus, non modò hominis titulum et dignitatem illis detrahant, sed etiam infrà bruta et quasuis bestias, quæ ipsæ, stimulante natura, maximo prolis suæ et arctissimo amore tenentur, deprimant.
Non addam contra hoc impudens mendacium exempla etiam nostratium satis illustria: Tacebo leges nostras plagiarias ipsis Islandis antiquiores, quippe a Noruagis acceptas, quæ exstant in codice legum nostrarum, titulo Mannhelge: cap. 5. Si quis hominem liberum (quemuis nedum filium) extraneis vendat, &c.
Iam verò si quis eò fortunæ deueniat, vt proprium filium, siue incolæ, siue extranei alicuius potestati, vel fame vel extrema quacunque vrgente necessitate, aut periculo, permittat, ne familicum *media deficientem aspicere cogatur, canem verò in proprias dapes reseruet, Is minimè dicendus est filium æquo aut inferiore loco habere quàm canem, siue id faciant, Islandi, siue extranei quilibet.
Offenderant fortè Germanorum vel Danorum nautæ apud nos mendicos quosdam, liberis onustos, quorum hîc maximus est numerus, qui iocando, vt sunt nugis scurrilibus addicti, dixerint: Da mihi aut vende hoc vel illud: Cumque rogarint extranei: Quid tu mihi vicissim? Responderint mendici. Habeo liberos 10. vel 14. dabo ex eis vnum vel plures, &c. Solet enim ista mendicorum colluuies istiusmodi scurriles dialogismos cum extraneis instituere. Quod si tum quispiam bonus vir, misertus stoliditatis et inopiæ mendicorum, vno illos filio leuauerit, eique propter Deum in alijs terris, aliquo tandem modo benè prospexerit, num mendicus, qui alioqui cum filio, fame et paupertate moriturus, filium miserenti permittit et committit, filium istum suum minoris facit quàm canem? Præstitum est à multis tam Islandis quàm extraneis huiusmodi beneuolentiæ et commiserationis opus: ex quibus fuit vir nobilissimus Accilius Iulius à serenissimo rege Daniæ olim missus ad Islandos, Anno Domini 1552. Qui vt audiui, 15. pueros pauperculos assumpsit et secum in Daniam auexit: Vbi postea ipsius beneficio singulos suo vitæ generi addictos, in viros bonos et frugi euasisse, mihi narratum est.
Quid si quis in extrema constitutus angustia, filium non modò vendat; sed si emptorem non habet, ipse mactet et comedat? Nota sunt huius rei exempla: Parentum videlicet inuitiæ crudelitatis in filios, stimulante non odio vel astorgia, sed ineuitabili necessitate compellente. Num quis inde vniuersale gentis alicuius conuicium exstruxerit? Legimus, in obsidione Samariæ matres duas filios suos mactasse, et coctos comedisse: 4. Reg. C. 6. Legimus in obsidione Ierosolymitana, quam flebilis fuerit vox miserrimæ matris, filium misellum iam mactaturæ. Infans, ait, (referam enim Eusebij verba de hac re, etsi notissima, vt miseræ matris affectus appareat,) miselle et infelix, cuinam in hoc belli. famis, et seditionis tumultu, te commodè reseruem? Si Romanorum subijciamur imperio, illic seruitutis iugo pressi, vitam infoeliciter exigemus. Sed seruitutum credo fames anteuertet. Accedit factiosorum prædonum turba, his vtrisque miserijs toleratu multò asperior. Age igitur mi gnate, sis matri cibus, sis prædonibus furia, sis communi hominum vitæ fabula, quæ res vna ad Iudæorum calamitates deesse videtur. Quæ cum dixisset, natum trucidat, assatumque dimidium mox comedit, dimidium reseruat &c. Eusebius libro 3. capite 6. Iam quis est, qui non credat misserrimam hanc matrem filium hunc suum, domini alicuius, si se obtulisset, apud quem credidisset seruatum iri, aut emptoris possessioni fuisse permissuram? Nota est fames, Calagurium, Hispaniæ vrbem, olim à Cneio Pompeio obsessam opprimens (Val. libro septimo cap. 7.) cuius ciuibus, vxores et liberi in vsum estremæ dapis conuersi sunt, quos profectò; pro cibarijs et alijs dapibus haud inuiti vendidissent. Nota est quoque fames, quæ Anno Domini 851. (Vincent. libro 25. cap. 36.) Germaniam attriuit, vt etiam pater filium suum deuorare voluerit. Notum etiam est, post mortem Henrici septimi Imperat fame per triennium continuata, quomodo parentes liberos, vel liberi parentes deuorarint, et præcipuè quidem in Polonia et Bohemia. Et ne exempla tantùm antiqua petamus, accepimus tantam annonæ sæuitiam, Anno 1586. et 1587. in Hungaria grassatam fuisse, vt quidam alimentorum inopia adacti immanissimo Christianorum hosti proprios liberos vendiderint, et in perpetuum seruitutis iugum manciparint: quidam paruulos suos, quos vlterius tolerare non sustinebant, crudeli misericordia in Danubium proiecisse, et, suffocasse dicantur. Sed, num hæc et similia exempla quempiam eò insaniæ adigent, vt dicat hanc vel illam nationem, liberos in escam propriam mactare *consuettisse, Turcis libenter vendere, aut aquis submergere et suffocare solitam esse? Non opinor. Sic neque, quòd mendici apud Islandos, extrema vrgente necessitate, cuius durissimi sunt morsus, filios suos libenter amittant, toti genti, et quidem probri loco, communiter adscribendum est à quoquam, nisi apud eundem omnis pudor, candor, humanitas, veritas exulent.
Cæterum optarim ego, parcius Islandis canum curam exprobrare illos populos, quorum matronæ, et præcipuè nobiles, canes in maximis delicijs habent, vt eos vel in plateis, ne dicam in sacris concionibus, sinum gestent, quem morem in peregrinis quibusdam, quos Romæ catulos simiarum et canum in gremio circumferre Cæsar conspexit, hac quæstione reprehendit, dum quæreret: Numquid apud ipsos mulieres liberos non parerent? Monens errare eos, qui à natura inditos sibi affectus, quibus in amorem hominum ac præcipuè sobolis incitarentur, in bestias transferunt, quarum deliciarum voluptas Islandorum gentem, nunquam cepit aut habuit. Quare iam Munstere et Krantzi, alias nobis Christianitatis, (vt sic dicam) legis naturæ, legis item Germanorum, et sanctæ simplicitatis notas qusente.
They make all one reckoning of their whelpes, and of their children: except that of the poorer sort you shall easier obtaine their sonne then their shalke.
Although in the beginning of this Treatise I thought that Munster and other men of great name in those things which they haue left written concerning Islande, were not to bee charged with slander, yet whether that fauour may here be shewed by any man whatsoeuer (be he neuer so fauourable, and neuer so sincere) I doe not sufficiently conceiue. For what should moue such great men, following the despightful lyes, and fables of mariners, to defame and staine our nation with so horrible and so shamefull a reproch? Surely nothing else but a carelesse licentiousnesse to deride and contemne a poore and vnknowen Nation, and such other like vices.
But, be it knowen to all men that this vntrueth doth not so much hurt to the Islanders, as to the authors themselues. For in heaping vp this, and a great number of others into their Histories, they cause their credite in other places also to be suspected: And hereby they gaine thus muche (as Aristotle sayth) that when they speake trueth no man will beleeue them without suspition.
But attend a while (Reader) and consider with me the grauitie and wisedome of these great Clarkes: that we may not let passe such a notable commendation of Island. Krantzius and Munster haue hitherto taught, that the Islanders are Christians. Also: that before receiuing of Christian faith they liued according to the lawe of Nature. Also: that the Islanders liued after a law not much differing from the lawe of the Germanes. Also, that they liued in holy simplicitie.
Attend I say (good Reader) and consider, what markes of Christianitie, of the lawe of nature, of the Germanes law, of holy simplicitie, these authors require, and what markes they shew and describe in the Islanders. There was one of the sayd markes before: namely, that the Islanders doe place hell or the prison of the damned, within the gulfe and bottome of mount Hecla: concerning which, reade the first section of this part, and the seuenth section of the former. The seconde marke is, that with the Anabaptists they take away distinctions of properties and possessions: in the section next going before. The third and most excellent is this: those singular and natural affections, that loue and tender care, and that fatherly and godly minde of the Islanders towards their children, namely, that they make the same accompt of them, or lesse then they doe of their dogges. What? Will Munster and Krantzius after this fashion picture out vnto vs the lawe of Christ, the lawe of nature, the lawe of the Germanes, and holy simplicitie? O rare and excellent picture, though not altogether matching the skill of Apelles: O sharpe and wonderfull inuention, if authenticall: O knowledge more then humane, though not at all diuine.
But wee Islanders (albeit the farthest of all nations and inhabiting a frozen clime) require farre other notes of Christianitie. For we haue the commaundement of God, that euery man should loue his neighbour as himselfe. Nowe there is none (I suppose) that doeth not loue or esteeme more of himselfe then of his dogge. And if there ought to bee so great fauour, so great estimation, so great loue vnto our neighbour, then how great affection doe we owe vnto our children? The most neare and inseparable loue of whom, besides that nature hath most friendly setled in our mindes, the loue of God also commaundeth vs to haue speciall regard in trayning them vp (Exod 12. 24. Ephes. 6. 4.) namely that there may be in holy marriage certaine seminaries of Gods Church, and exercises of all pietie and honestie according to the excellent saying of the Poet —
God will haue each family,
A little Church to be,
Of humane life or mans societie,
A Schole or College is holy matrimonie
That it may be manifest, that among Christians their sonnes are more to be accompted of and regarded, then their dogges: and if any doe no otherwise esteeme of them, that they are no Christians.
But this naturall affection towarde our most deare of-spring is plainely seene in the heathen themselues: that whomsoeuer you totally depriue of this, you denie them also to bee men. The mothers of Carthage testifie this to be true, when as in the third Punic warre the most choyse and gallant young men in all the Citie were sent as pledges into Sicilia, whom they followed vnto the shippes with most miserable weeping and lamentation, and some of them being with griefe separated from their deare sonnes, when they sawe the saules hoysed, and the shippes departing out of the hauen, for very anguish cast themselues headlong into the water: as Sabellicus witnesseth. Egæus doth testifie this, who when he sawe the shippe of his sonne Theseus, returning out of Creete with blacke sayles, thinking that his sonne had perished, ended his life in the next waters: Sabell lib. 3. cap 4. Gordianus the elder, Proconsul of Affrica, doth testifie this, who likewise, vpon rumours of the death of his sonne, hanged himselfe. Campoful lib 5. cap. 7. Also, Iocasta the daughter of Creon, Auctolia daughter of Simon, Anius King of the Thuscans, Orodes King of the Parthians, and an infinite number of others. Concerning whom reade Plutarch stat. lib. 2. and other authors, &c. To these may be added that sentence, Loue descendeth, &c. So that you see, it is no lesse proper to a man entirely to loue his children, then for a bird to flie: that if our writers at any time haue confessed the Islanders to be men (muche lesse to be Christians,) they must, will they nill they, ascribe vnto them this loue and affection towardes their children: if not, they doe not onely take from them the title and dignitie of men, but also they debase them vnder euery brute beast, which euen by the instinct of nature are bound with exceeding great loue, and tender affection towards their young ones.
I will not adde against this shamelesse vntruth most notable examples of our owen countreymen: I will omit our lawes of man-stealing, more ancient then the Islanders themselues, being receiued from the Noruagians, and are extant in our booke of lawes vnder the title Manhelge cap. 5, Whosoeuer selleth a free man (any man much more a sonne) vnto strangers, &c.
Now if any man be driuen to that hard fortune, that he must needs commit his own sonne into the hands of some inhabitant or stranger, being vrged thereunto by famine, or any other extreame necessity, that he may not be constrained to see him hunger-starued for want of sustenance, but keepeth his dogge still for his owne eating, this man is not to be sayd, that he esteemeth equally or more basely of his sonne then of his dogge: whether Islanders or any other countreymen do the same.
The occasion of this slander. The Germane or the Danish mariners might perhaps find amongst vs certaine beggars laden with children (for we haue here a great number of them) who in iesting maner, for they are much giuen to trifling talke, might saye: Giue me this, or sell me that: and when the stranger should aske, What will you giue me for it? the beggar might answere: I haue ten or foureteene children, I will giue you some one or more of them, &c. For this rabble of beggars vseth thus fondly to prate with strangers. Now if there be any well-disposed man, who pitying the need and folly of these beggers, releaseth them of one sonne, and doth for Gods sake by some meanes prouide for him in another countrey: doth the begger therefore (who together with his sonne being ready to die for hunger and pouerty, yeeldeth and committeth his sonne into the hands of a mercifull man) make lesse account of his sonne then of his dogge? Such works of loue and mercie haue bene performed by many, as well Islanders themselues as strangers: one of which number was that honourable man Accilius Iulius, being sent by the most gracious King of Denmarke into Island in the yere of our Lord 1552, who, as I haue heard, tooke, and carried with him into Denmarke fiftene poore boyes: where afterward it was reported vnto me, that, by his good meanes euery one of them being bound to a seuerall trade, proued good and thriftie men.
What if some man be driuen to that passe, that he doth not onely sell his sonne but not finding a chapman, his owne selfe killeth and eateth him? Examples of this kinde be common, namely of the vnwilling and forced cruelty of parents towards their children, not being pricked on through hate, or want of naturall affection, but being compelled thereunto by vrgent necessity. Shall any man hereupon ground a generall reproch against a whole nation? We reade that in the siege of Samaria, two mothers slew their sonnes, and eat them sodden: 4. King, chap. 6. We reade in the siege of Ierusalem, how lamentable the voice of that distressed mother was, being about to kill her tender childe: My sweete babe, sayth she (for I will report Eusebius owne words, concerning this matter, though very common, that the affection of a mother may appeare) borne to miserie and mishap, for whom should I conueniently reserue thee in this tumult of famine, of warre, and sedition? If we be subdued to the gouernment of the Romans, we shall weare out our vnhappy dayes vnder the yoke of slauery. But I thinke famine will preuent captiuity. Besides, there is a rout of seditious rebels much more intollerable then either of the former miseries. Come on therefore, my sonne, be thou meat vnto thy mother, a fury to these rebels, and a byword in the common life of men, which one thing onely is wanting to make vp the calamities of the Iewes. These sayings being ended, she killeth her sonne, roasting and eating one halfe, and reseruing the other, &c. Eusebius lib 3. cap. 6. Now, what man will not beleeue that this vnhappy mother would full gladly haue passed ouer this her sonne into the possession of some master or chapman, if she could haue happened vpon any such, with whom she thought he might haue beene preserued: That famine is well knowen which oppressed Calagurium, a city of Spaine, when in olde time Cneius Pompeius layed siege thereunto (Valerius lib. 7. cap. 7.) the citizens whereof conuerted their wiues and children into meat for the satisfying of their extreame hunger, whom doubtlesse they would with all their heartes haue solde for other victuals. That famine also is well knowen which in the yere of our Lord 851. (Vincent lib. 35. cap 26.) afflicted Germany, insomuch that the father was glad to deuoure his owne sonne. It was well knowen after the death of the Emperour Henry the seuenth, in a famine continuing three whole yeres, how the parents would deuoure their children, and the children their parents, and that especially in Polonia and Bohemia. And that we may not onely allege ancient examples: it is reported that there was such a grieuous dearth of corne in the yeeres 1586, and 1587, thorowout Hungary, that some being compelled for want of food were faine to sell their children vnto the most bloudy and barbarous enemy of Christians, and so to enthrall them to the perpetuall yoke of Turkish slauery: and some are sayd to haue taken their children, whom they could no longer sustaine, and with cruell mercy to haue cast them into Danubius, and drowned them. But should these stories and the like make any man so mad as to affirme that this or that nation accustometh to kill their children for their owne food, and to sell them willingly vnto the Turks, or to drowne and strangle them willingly in the water? I cannot thinke it. So neither (because beggers in Island being enforced through extreame and biting necessitie, do willingly part with their sonnes) is this custome generally to be imputed vnto the whole nation, and that by way of disgrace, by any man, except it be such an one who hath taken his leaue of all modesty, plaine dealing, humanity, and trueth.
But I could wish that the loue of dogges in Islanders might be more sparingly reprehended by those people, whose matrons, and specially their noble women, take so great delight in dogs, that they carry them in their bosomes thorow the open streetes. I will not say in Churches: which feshion Cæsar blamed in certaine strangers, whom he sawe at Rome carrying about yoong apes and whelpes in their armes, asking them this question: Whether women in their countrey brought foorth children or no? signifying heereby, that they do greatly offend who bestow vpon beasts these naturall affections, wherewith they should be inuited to the loue of mankinde, and specially of their owne ofspring, which strange pleasure neuer ouertooke, nor possessed the nation of the Islanders. Wherefore now (Munster and Krantzius) you must finde vs out other marks of Christianity, of the law of nature, of the Germans law, and of holy simplicity.
Krantzius Munsterus Episcopum suum colunt pro Rege ad cuius nutum respicit totus populus. Quicquid ex lege, scripturis, et ex consuetudine aliarum gentium constituit, quàm sancte obseruant.
Fuit equidem initio ferè ad repurgatam Euangelij doctrinam maxima Episcopi obseruantia; sed nunquam tanta vt exteris legibus aut consuetudini cederent nostræ leges politicæ, ex nutu Episcopi. Nec tempore Alberti Krantzij, multò minus Munsteri (quorum ille 1517, hic 1552. post partum salutiferum decessit) Episcopi Islandorum regiam obtinuerunt authoritatem, cùm scilicet multi ex ijs, qui diuitijs paulò plus valebant aduersus ipsos consurgere non dubitarint; quæ res apud nostrates liquido constat. Intenm tamen Episcopi, anathematis fulmine terribiles, alios in suam potestatem redegerunt, alios furibunda sæuitia id temporis persecuti sunt.
Porrò etsi tum fuit magna, imò maxima Episcopi obseruantia, tamen nunc dispulsis tenebris Papisticis, alia ratione homines Satan aggreditur, eorùmque mentes contemptus libertate et refractaria contumacia, aduersus Deum et sacrum ministerium, etiam hîc armare non negligit.
Krantzius, Munsterus They honour their Bishop as their King vnto whose command all the whole people haue respect. Whatsoeuer he prescribeth out of the law, the scriptures, or the customes of other nations, they do full holily obserue.
There was indeed at the beginning, about the time of the reformation of religion, great reuerence had vnto the bishop; but neuer so great, that our politique lawes at the bishops command should giue place to outlandish lawes and customes. Neither in the time of Albertus Krantzius, much lesse of Munster (of which two the first deceased in the yere of our Lord 1517, and the second 1552) the bishops of Island had the authonty of kings, when as many of the country which were of the richer sort, would not doubt to rebell against them; which thing is too well knowen in our countrey. Yet in the meane time, the bishops being terrible with their authority of excommunication, reduced some vnder their subiection, and others at that time they cruelly persecuted.
Moreouer, albeit at that time the bishop was had in great, yea, in exceeding great reuerence, yet now adayes, the darkenesse of popery being dispelled, the deuill assaulteth men after another sort, and euen here amongst vs, he is not slacke to arme their minds with contempt, and peruerse stubburnnesse against God, and his holy ministery.
Munster. Illic victitant plerumque piscibus, propter magnam penuriam frumenti, quod aliunde à maritimis ciuitatibus infertur: & qui inde cum magno lucro pisces exportant. Item Munsterus. Illic piscibus induratis vtuntur loco panis qui illic non crescit.
Vide Lector, quàm Munsterum iuuet, eadem oberrare chorda: vt cum de gente ignota nihil scribere possit, quod coloris aliquid habeat, vel falsa afferre, vel eadem sæpius repetere, sicque cramben eandem recoquere sustineat: Dixerat enim paulò ante, Islandos piscibus viuere. Verba ipsius superiùs etiam recitata, hæc sunt. Islandia populos continet multos, solo pecorum pastu et nunc captura piscium victitantes, etc. Et vt cætera transeam in quibus leue quiddam notari poterat: Illud sanè, panem in Islandia non crescere, perquam verùm est. Quod etiam illi cum Germania commune esse crediderim, quòd videlicet nec illic panis crescat, nisi fortè in Munsteri, agro, vbi etiam acetum naturale optimè crescit. Sed hæc, troporum indulgentia, scilicet, salua erunt. Ad conicia autem, quæ ex victu Islandorum petunt extranei, infrà paucis respondebitur, Sect. 15.
Munsterus. They liue there for the most part vpon fishes, because of their great want of corne, which is brought in from the port townes of other countreys: who cary home fishes from thence with great gaine. Also Munster sayth, they do there vse stockefish in stead of bread, which groweth not in that countrey.
Consider (friendly reader) how Munster is delighted to harpe vpon one string, that when he can write nothing of an vnknowen nation which may cary any shew with it, he is faine either to bring in falshood, or often to repeat the same things, and so to become tedious vnto his reader: for he sayd a little before, that the Islanders liue vpon fish. His words aboue recited were these: Island conteineth many people liuing onely with the food of cattell, and sometimes by taking of fishes. And that I may omit the rest in which some trifle might be noted whereas he sayeth that bread groweth not in Island: it is most true: which I thinke is common therewith to Germany also, because bread groweth not there neither, except it be in Munsters field where naturall vineger also doth marueillously encrease. But these toyes, by the liberty of rethoricke forsooth, shall be out of danger. Howbeit, vnto these reproches, which strangers do gather from the meats and drinks of the Islanders, we will hereafter briefly answere, Sect. 15.
Munster. Krantzius. Incolæ res maiorum et sui temporis celebrant cantibus et insculpunt scopulis, atque promontorijs, vt nulla, nisi cum naturæ iniuria, intercidant apud posteritatem.
Frisius. Citharædi, et qui testudine ludunt, apud eos reperiuntur quàm plurimi, qui prædulci modulamine et volucres et pisces irretiant et capiant.
Veterum gesta apud Islandes conseruata. Quin veterum gesta aliquot cantibus et poematibus nostratium, vt et soluta oratione, apud nos conseruentur, non negamus. Quòd verò à nobis aut maioribus nostris eadem scopulis vel promontorijs insculpta sunt, eam non licet nobis, vt neque illam tantam Citharædorum, aues aut pieces demulcentium, laudem accipere. Statuimus enim animi esse generosi ac veracis, vt crimina falsa refellere, ita laudem immeritam sibi haud vendicare, nec, etsi quis tribuat, agnoscere.
Munsterus. Krantzius. The inhabitants do celebrate the actes of their ancestours, and of their times, with songs, and they graue them in rocks and promontories, that they may not decay with posterity, but onely by the defect of nature.
Frisius. There be diuers found amongst them that be minstrels, and can play vpon the lute, who with their delectable musicke ensnare and take both fowles and fishes.
The Islanders preserue in writing the acts of their ancestors. We denie not but that some woorthy actes of our forefathers be reserued in the songs and poemes of our countreymen, as also in prose: but that the same things haue beene engrauen by vs, or by our ancestors in rocks or promontories, we may in no case acknowledge that praise be due vnto vs, nor yet the other of minstrels, and taking of birds and fishes. For we holde it to be part of an honest and ingenuous mind, as to refute false crimes, so not to challenge vndeserued praise vnto himselfe, nor to accept it being offered.
Sed cum scriptoribus iam dictis, viris alioqui spectatæ eruditionis et preclari nominis, qui tamen hæc ita inconsideratè scriptis suis interseruerunt, actionis finis esto.
Etiam magna mei pars est exhaosta laboris:
Sed restat tamen fætus ille vipereus Germanicus, quem idcircò anonymum secundo partu mater edi voluit, vt venenatis aculeis nomen Islandorum tantò liberiùs pungeret.
Porrò licet aduersus hanc bestiam in arenam descendere non dubitem, omnibus tamen constate volo, quonam hoc animo faciam, videlicet, non vt cum illius pestifera virulentia, conuicijs aut maledicentia certem (Nam vt est in triuiali paroemia,
Hoc scio pro certo, quod si cum stercore certo,
Vinco, seu vincor, semper ego maculor:)
Sed vt bonis et cordatis omnibus, etiam extraneis, satisfaciam qui maledicentiam istam Germanicam lecturi vel audituri sunt, aut olim audierint, ne et hi nos meritò calumniam tantam sustinere credant: Tum etiam vt alios qui istis virulentis rhythmis Germanicis, in gentis nostræ opprobrium vtuntur, et inde dicteria et comumeliosas subsannationes ad despiciendos Islandos petunt, ab ilia mordendi licentia in posterum, si fieri possit, abducamus.
Ergò, ne longis ambagibus Lectori fastidium oratio nostra pariat, ad ea narranda accedam, quæ maledicus ille Gennanus in suum pasquillum congessit: Quem etiam sua de Islandis carmina Encomiastica recitantem in his pagellis introducerem, nisi præuiderem foetum ilium probrosum, tot et tam varijs maledictis turgidum, omnibus bonis nauseam mouere posse, ac sua spurcitie ab ijs legendis absterrere.
Referam igitur præcipua, (ijs scilicet omissis quæ cum alijs communia habet, atque hactenus ventilata sunt) sed, quàm ille, longe mitius; ne, vt dixi, linguæ ipsius obscoena petulantia, aures bonæ et eruditæ offendantur: Qui ipsum videre aut audire volet, quærat apud propolas. Nobis inquam, non est in animo putida ipsius calumnia et conuiciorum sentina, has chartas inquinare. 1. Obiectio seu conuicium. Primùm igitur obijcit Germanicus hic noster, si Dijs placet, Historicus: Multos ex pastoribus Islandiæ toto biennio sacram concionem ad populum nullam habere: Vt in priore editione, huius pasquilli legitur, quod tamen posterior editio eiusdem refutat: Dicens, eosdem pastores in integro anno tantum quinquies concionari solitos: quæ duo quàm ritè sibi consentiant, videas bone Lector, cum constet Authorem mox à prima editione vix vidisse Islandiam. Ita scilicet plerúmque mendacium mendacio proditur, iuxta illud: Verum verò consentit; Falsum nec vero nec falso.
Sed com nostrum non sit veritatem vspiam dissimulare, nos haud negandum ducimus conciones sacras circa id tempus, quo iste Sycophanta in Islandia vixit, nempe anno 1554. aut circiter multò fuisse rariores, quàm sunt hodiè, tum scilicet tenebris Papisticis vix dum discussis. Quod etiam de Psalmis Dauidicis à vulgo Latinè demurmuratis, vt idem nostratibus exprobrat, intelligere est: Papistæ enim totam spem salutis in sua Missa collocantes, de concione aut doctrina parum fuere solliciti. Postquam verò caligine illa exempti sumus, aliter se rem habere, Deo imprimis gratias agimus: Licet quorundam pastorum nostrorum tardam stupiditatem, segnitiem et curam præposteram non possimus omni modo excusare. Quod vtrum in nullos suorum popularium etiam competat, aliæ quoque nationes viderint.
But now, let this be the end of our controuersie with the authours aforesayd, being otherwise men of excellent learning, and of great renoume, who notwithstanding so inconsiderately haue entermedled these things in their writings. And now the better part of my labour is finished.
But yet there remaynes that viperous German brood, the mother whereof would haue come to light, as it were at a second birth, without name, that it might so much the more freely wound the fame of the Islanders with venomous sting.
Moreouer, although I be not afrayd to encounter with this beast, yet would I haue all men to know with what minde I vndertake this enterprise, namely, not that I meane to contend with his pestiferous rancour, by reproches, and railing speeches (for as it is in the common prouerbe:
I know, that if I striue with dung most vile, How ere it be, my selfe I shall defile);
but that I may satisfie all honest and well affected men, euen strangers themselues, who shall hereafter reade or heare, or haue heretofore heard that Germane pasquill, least they also should thinke that we woorthily sustaine so monstrous a disgrace: and also that I may from henceforth, if it be possible, restraine others (who vse those venomous Germaine rimes to the vpbrading of our nation, and from hence borrow their scoffes, and reproachfull taunts to the debasing of vs Iselanders) from that libertie of backbiting.
Therefore, that I may not be tedious to the reader with long circumstances, I will come to the rehearsing of those things which that railing Germane hath heaped vp in his leud pasquill: whom also I could bring in, repeating his friendly verses of the Ilanders, within the compasse of this my booke, but that I doe foresee that the sayd slanderous libell being stuffed with so many and diuers reproches, might breed offence to all honest men, and deterre them from reading it, with the filthinesse thereof.
I will therefore repeat the principall matters (omitting those things which he hath common with others, or, that heretofore haue been examined) but farre more modestly then he, least (as I sayd) I cause good and learned mens cares to tingle at his leud and vnseemely rimes: that they are desirous to see or heare him let them enquire at the Stationers. It is no part of our meaning (I say) to defile these papers with his stinking slanders, or with the filthy sinke of his reproches.
The first obiection or reproch. First therefore, this our goodly Germaine Historiographer obiecteth that there be many Pastours in Island, which preach not to their people once in two yeres, as it is read in the former edition of this pasquill, which notwithstanding the latter edition doth refute: saying that the sayd Pastours vse to preach but fiue times in an whole yeere which two, how well they agree together, let the reader be iudge, seeing it is manifest that the authour himselfe, presently after the first edition, had scarse seene Island. So oftentimes one he betrayeth another, according to that saying: Trueth agreeth vnto trueth; but falshood agreeth neither to trueth nor to falshood.
But sith it is our part not to dissemble the trueth in any place, we will not denie that holy sermons, about the time wherein this sycophant liued in Island, namely in the yere 1554, were seldomer in vse then they are at this day, namely, the darkenesse of popery being scarsely at that time dispelled. Which also is to be vnderstood concerning the Psalmes of Dauid mumbled by the common people in Latine, as he casteth vs in the teeth: for the Papists grounding all the hope of their saluation in the Masse, did little regard the sermon or doctrine. But after we were freed from that mist, it hath bene (God be thanked) farre otherwise with vs: although we cannot altogether excuse the dulnesse, slouth, and preposterous care of certeine of our Pastours. Which, whether it agreeth to any of their countreymen or no, let other nations iudge.
2. Conuitium Secundò calumniatur vitilitigator: Adulteria et scortationes non modò publica esse et frequentia scelera inter Islandos: sed ab ijs pro scelere ne haberi quidem.
Etsi autem foedissimæ istæ turpitudines etiam in nostra repub. non prorsus inusitatæ sunt: tamen cum omnibus constet in alijs quoque nationibus longè etiam frequentiores esse, cum ibi quoque populi frequentia maior: immeritò et malignè hoc nomine magis Islandos, quàm populos et gentes reliquas, quarum, vt dixi, nomen etiam plus nostratibus hoc crimine malè audit, notauit.
Et licet ex animo optarim longè minus ad scelera, et turpitudines in nostra patria conniueri, quàm passim hîc fieri videmus: tamen etiam innata illa mordendi libidine, hoc veterator in præsenti conuitio attexuit: videlicet, quòd scelera ista ab Islandis pro scelere non habeantur. Nam in quâ demum repub. id impudens ille asserere audet? Illane; quæ in legem codicis ll. titulo Mannhelge: cap. 28. iurauit; quæ statuit, vt iterum adulterium qui cum coniuge alterius commiserit, confiscatis suis bonis, capite etiam pectatur? Illane, quæ pro adulterio, à famulo cum vxore domini commisso, non ita dudum 80. thalerorum mulctam irrogauit? Illane, quæ eundem, si ad statutum tempus non soluerit vel vades dederit, in exilium proscribendum decreuit? Illane: cuius leges politicæ, quemuis in adulterio cum vxore, à viro legitime deprehensum, si euaserit, homicidij mulctam expendere iubent? Illane, cuius itidem leges politicæ, in complexu matris, filiæ aut sororis, à filio, patre, vel fratre deprehensum, vitam suam midio eius, quod quis si eundem insontem interfecisset, expendere teneretur, redimere iubent? Illane, cuius leges politicæ adultorium sceleris infandi nomine notarunt et damnarunt? Et in eo tertiò deprehensum, capite plectendum seuerè mandant?
Cernis igitur, Lector benigne, quàm iniurium habeamus notarium, dicentem: Adulterium et scortationes in Islandia peccati aut sceleris nomen non mereri. Nam licet politici quidam hoc vel illud scelus impunitum omittant, non debet tota gens, non leges, non boni et pij omnes, eo nomine in ius vocari, aut male audire.
The second reproach. Secondly, the trifler shamefully reporteth, that adulteries and whoredomes are not onely publique, and common vices amongst Islanders: but that they are not accounted by them for vices.
Although indeed these most filthy abominations, euen in our common wealth, be not altogether vnusuall: notwithstanding, since al men know that they are farre more common in other nations, where be greater multitudes of people, he did vndeseruedly, and maliciously note the Islanders rather with this reproch, then other people and nations, who are more infamous with this crime then our countreymen.
And albeit I wish with all mine heart that vices and enormities were much lesse wincked at in our countrey, then we see they are, yet notwithstanding this iugler by reason of his naturall inclination to backbiting, hath added this in his last reproch: namely that these vices by the Iselanders are not accounted for vice. For, in what common wealth dare the impudent companion affirme this to be true? What? in that common wealth which hath sworne to obserue the law contained in our statute booke vnder the title of Manhelge chap 28, whereby it is enacted, that whosoeuer committeth adultery with another man’s wife the second time, his goods being confiscate, he shall be punished with death? Or in that common wealth, which not long since hath inflicted the penalty of 80 dollers vpon a seruant committing adultery with his masters wife? Or in that common wealth which hath decreed that if he doth not pay, nor lay in sureties at the day appointed he shalbe banished the country? Or in that common wealth the politike lawes whereof doe streightly command that whosoeuer be according to law found in adultery with another man’s wife, by her husband, if he escape, he shall vndergoe the punishment of manslaughter? Or in that common wealth, the politike lawes whereof do also enioyne a man that is taken in carnall copulation with the mother, daughter, or sister, by the sonne, father, or brother, to redeeme his life with the one halfe of that which he oaght to haue payed, if he had shed the innocent bloud of the sayd party? Or in that common wealth the pollitike lawes whereof haue noted and condemned adultery vnder the name of a most heinous offence? And do straightly command that he which is taken the third time in that beastly act shalbe punished with death?
You see therefore (friendly readers) what an iniurious Notary we haue, affirming that adultery and whoredome in Island deserueth not the name of sinne and wickednesse for although some officers let slip this or that vice vnpunished, yet ought not the whole nation, nor the lawes, nor all good and godly men, in that regard, to be accused or euill spoken of.
3. Conuitium Tertium conuicium est, quo fraudis et perfidiæ erga Germanos Islandis notam inurit. Fuit autem proculdubio famosi huius libelli author, cerdo et propola circumforaneus, multòsque Ilandiæ angulos, sordidæ mercaturæ gratia, ostintim adierat: quod ipse de se in præclaris illi suis rythmis testatur, maximam Islandiæ partem sibi peragratam esse. Vnde cum ipse mala fide cum mulus egerit (plerumque enim fraus et mendacia coniunguntur, et mendacem se fuisse, hac ingenij sui experientia satis probauit) etiam fortè à se deceptorum fraudem est expertus. Hinc illa in totam gentem criminatio extitit: Dissimulato intereà, qua fide quidam Germanorum, quibus annua est nauigatio ad Islandos, cum nostris hominibus agant. Ea autem querela, cum non alios conuiciari, sed aliorum in gentem nostram immerita conuncia monstrare instituerim, consultò supersedeo.
The third reproach The third reproch is, whereby he doth brand the Islanders with the marke of deceit and trechery toward the Germans.
Doubtles the author of this libell was some vagabond huckster or pedler, and had gone particularly into many corners of Island to vtter his trumpery wares, which he also testifieth of himselfe in his worthy rimes, that he had trauailed thorow the greatest part of Island, whereupon when he had played the cousining mate with others (for often times deceit and lying are ioyned together, and he hath sufficiently proued himselfe to be a liar, by this triall of his wit) peraduenture himselfe was beguiled by them whom he before time had defrauded.
From hence proceedeth this slander, against our whole Nation: dissembling in the meane time with what honestie certaine Germans, making yerely voyages into Island, deale with our men. But seeing by this complaint I haue not determined to reproch others, but to lay open the vndeserued reproches of others against oar nation, I do here of purpose surcease.
4. 5. 6. & 7. Conuitia. Quarto: negat in conuituijs quemquam discumbentium à mensa surgere: sed matres familias singulis conuiuis quoties opus fuerit matellas porrigere. Prætereà variam conuiuiorum edendi bibendíque rusticitatem notat.
Cubandi et prandendi ritus obijcit: quod decem plus minus in eodem lecto promiscuè viri cum foeminis pernoctent, inque lecto cibum capiant: atque interea se non nisi aleæ aut latrunculorum ludo exerceant.
Sexto. Calumniatur eosdem faciem et os vrina proluere.
Septimo. Nuptiarum, sponsalium, natalitiorum celebritatem et funerum ritus contemptuosè extenuat.
Hæc et huiusmodi plurima in gentem insontem, imò de se et suis optimè meritam, impurus calumniator euomit. Quæ quidem eius generis sunt, vt illi de his respondere prorsus dedignemur. Nam vt demus (quod tamen non damus) aliquid huiusmodi apud homines sordidos, et ex ipsa vulgi colluuie infimos, quibuscum longè sæpius, quàm bonus et honestis conuersabatur, animaduertisse præclarum hunc notarium Gemanicum (vixerat enim, vt eius rhythmi testantur, diutiuscule in locis maritimis Islandiæ, quo ferè promiscuum vulgus, tempore piscaturæ annuatim confluit, et tam extraneorum nautarum, quàm sua nequitia corruptum, sæpius inhonestè mores et vtam instituit) Tamen manifestiorem etiam hoc loco iniuriam nobis facit, vnius nebulonis et desperati Sycophantæ turpitudine, totam gentem (vt ferè solent etiam alij) aspergendo, quàm vt refutatione vlla indigeat. Cuius rei etiam ipsi extranei in nostra Insula non parum versati, locupletissimi testes esse possunt.
Possem multas eius farinæ foeditates, rusticitates et obscoenitates etiam in ipsius natione deprehensas colligere. Sed odi facundiam caninam, nec in aliorum opprobrium disertum esse iuuat: nec tam tenet esse volo, vt verbulis transuerberer. Id tantum viderint boni et pij omnes, cuius sit animi, pessima quæque ab vno aut altera designata, toti genti obijcere. Si quis Germaniæ aut alterius nationes vrbes et pagos omnes peragret, et scelera ac mores pessimos, furta, homicidia, parricidia, scortationes, adulteria, incestus luxuriem, rapinas et reliquas impietates et obscoenitates in vnum coactas, omnibus Germanis, aut alioqui alteri cuiuis toti nationi communes esse asserat, atque hæc omnia insigniter mentiendo, exaggeret, ísne optimæ rei studiosus habebitur?
Sed quid mirum, licet verbero, et, vt propriè notem, porcus impurus, iste, inquam, Rhythmista, naturam et ingenium suum eiusmodi loidoria prodiderit?
Notum est enim porcos, cum hortos amænissimos intrarint, nec lilium nec rosas aut flores alioqui pulcherrimos et suauissimos decerpere: Sed rostro in coenum prono, quicquid est luti et stercoris volutare, vertere et inuertere, donec impurissima, hoc est, suo genio apprimè congruentia eruant, vbi demum solida voluptate pascuntur.
Ad istum igitur modum hic porcus Rythmista, optima, et quæ in nostra Repub. laudabilia esse possunt, sicco pede præterit, pessima quæque atque ea, vel à nullo, vel admodum paucis designata, hoc est, suæ naturæ, et ingenio aptissima, vt se esse, qui dicitur, re ipsa probaret, corrasit; vnde posthac porci nomen ex moribus et ingenio ipsius factum, sortitor.
The 4. 5. 6. & 7. reproches. Fourthly, he sayth that in bankets none of the ghests vse to rise from the table: but that the good wife of the house reacheth to euery one a chamber pot, so oft as need requireth. Moreouer, he noteth much vnmanerliness of eating and drinking at bankets.
Fiftly, he obiecteth customes of lying in bed, and of dining: namely that ten persons, more or lesse, men and women be altogether in the same bed, and that they eat their meat lying in bed: and that in the meane time they do nothing but play at dice or at tables.
Sixtly, he reporteth that they wash their hands or their faces in pisse.
Seuenthly, he despightfully abaseth our solemnizings of marriages, spousals, birth-dayes, and our customes at burials.
These, and a number of such like reproches hath this impure slanderer, spued foorth against an innocent nation, yea and that nation which hath deserued right well of him and his countrimen. Which are of the same kind with these, in so much that we altogether disdeigne to make answere vnto them. For, that we may graunt (which notwithstanding we will in no case yeelde vnto) that this worthy Germane notarie obserued some such matter among base companions, and the very of-scouring of the common people, with whom he was much more conuersant than with good and honest persons (for he had liued, as his rimes testifie, somewhat long vpon the coast of Island, whither a confused rout of the meanest common people, in fishing time do yerely resort, who being naught aswell through their owne leudnesse, as by the wicked behauiour of outlandish mariners, often times doe leade a badde and dishonest life) notwithstanding we are in this place more manifestly wronged through the knauery of this one varlet, and desperate sycophant by his defaming of the whole nation (as others also vsually do) then that it should neede any refutation at all. Of which thing strangers themselues, who are not a little conuersant in our Iland, may be most sufficient witnesses.
I could also gather together many such filthy, vnmannerly, and baudie fashions noted by others euen in his own countrey. But I detest this dogged eloquence, neither take I any pleasure to be witty in the disgracing of others: and yet I will not shew my selfe such a milke-soppe as to be daunted with light words. Onely, let all honest and good men consider, what disposition it argueth, for one to obiect against a whole nation certaine misdemeanours committed by some one or other particular man. If any man should trauell thorowout all the cities and townes of Germanie or any other nation, and heaping together the offences, and most leud maners, the robberies, manslaughters, murthers, whoredomes, adulteries, incests, riots, extortions, and other prophane, and filthy actes, should affirme them to be common to all Germans, or otherwise to any other whole nation, and should exaggerate all these things with notorious lies, is he to be accounted one that spends his time in a good argument? But what maruaile is it, though a varlet, and, that I may giue him his true title, a filthy hogge, that imer (I say) hath bewrayed his nature and disposition in reproches? For it is well knowen that swine, when they enter into most pleasant gardens, do not plucke lilies or roses, or any other most beautifull aud sweet flowers; but thrusting their snouts into the ground, doe tumble and tosse vp and downe whatsoeuer durt and dung they can finde, vntill they haue rooted vp most vncleane things, namely such as are best agreeable to their nature, wherewith they greedily glut themselues: Euen so this hoggish Rimer lightly passeth ouer the best and most commendable things of our Common wealth, but as for the woorst, and those which haue been committed by none, or by very few, namely, such things as best fit his humour and disposition (that he might indeed show himselfe to be the same which we haue termed him) those things (I say) hath he scraped vp together: whereupon hereafter by my consent, for his maners and disposition let him enioy the name of a swine.
9. Conuitium. Nonum conuicium hic recensebimus, quod à victu, ac præcipuè cibo potu Islandorum maledicus ille porcus, non vno aut paucis verbis, sed prolixa inuectiua petiuit: Nempe quòd cibis vtantur vetustis, et insulsis, idque sine panis vsu: Tum etiam quòd varia et incognita extraneis piscium genera illis sint esui, et aquam ac serum lactis in potum misceant. Quæ omnia venenatus hic pasquillus diserta contumelia, et ingeniosa calumnia, pulchrè amplificauit.
Cæterum etsi ilium prolixiore responsione non dignemur: tamen propter alios, qui hodie hanc rem partim mirantur, partim haud leuiter nostræ genti obijciunt, pauca hoc loco addenda videbantur.
Primùm igitur totam hanc gentem bipartitò secabimus: In mendicos, et hos qui et se et cum alijs etiam mendicos alunt. Mendicorum, et eorum qui ad hos proximè accedunt, omnia cibaria recensere aut examinare haud facile est, nec quod illos edere, aut edisse, extrema aliquando coegit necessitas, reliquæ genti cibariorum genera aut numerum præscribere fas est. Nam et de suffocatis quidem non comedendis legem habemus inter canones, quorum seruantissima videri voluit antiquitas.
Deinde etiam tempora distinguemus, vt nihil minim sit grassante annonæ sæuitia, multa à multis ad explendam famem adhiberi aut adhibita fuisse, quæ alias vix canes pascant. Vt nuperrimè de Parisiensibus accepimus, Anno 1590, arctissima Henrici 4. Nauarræi obsidione pressis, et famem Saguntinam, vt P. Lindebergius loquitur, perpessis; eos non modò equinam, sed morticinam quoque carnem ex mortuorum ossibus in mortario contusis farinæ pugillo vno aut altero misto, confectam, in suas dapes conuertisse, et de alijs quoque populis notum est, qui simili vrgente inopia, etiam murium, felium et canum esu victi tarint. Sic etiam Islandis aliquando vsu venit (quanquam a canina, munum et felium, vt et humana carne hactenus, nobis quantum constat, abstinuerint) licet non ab hoste obsessis: Nam cùm ad victum necessaria ex terra marique petant, et ab extraneis nihil commeatus, aut parum admodum aquehatur, quoties terræ, marisque munera DEVS præcluserit, horrendam annonæ caritatem ingruere et ingruisse, et dira fame vexare incolas, necesse est. Vnde fit, vt illos qui in diem viuere soliti fuerint, nec præcedentium annorum superantes commeatus habuerint, extrema tentasse, quoties egestas vrserit, credibile. Cæterum, vtrum hæc res publico et perpetuo opprobrio magis apud Islandos, quàm alias nationes, occasionem meritò præbere debeat, candidis et bonis animis iudi candum relinquo.
Porrò quod de gentis nostræ proprijs et consuetis alimentis multi obijcere solent, potissimum de carne, piscibus, butyro, absque sale inueteratis, Item de lacticinijs, frumenti inopia, potu aquæ, &c. et reliquis: id nos in plurimis Islandiæ locis (nam sunt multi quoque nostratium, qui Danorum et Germanorum more, quantum quidem castis et temperatis animis ad mediocritatem sufficere debet, licet magna condimentorum varietate, vt et ipsis Pharmacopolijs, destituimur, mensam instruere et frugaliter viuere sustineant) ita se habere haud multis refragabimur, videlicet prædicta victus genera, passim sine salis condimento vsitata esse. Et insuper addemus, hæc ipsa cibaria, quæ extranei quidam vel nominare horrent, ipsos tamen extraneos apud nos, non sine voluptate, manducare solitos. Ratio conseruandos cibos sine sale. Nam etsi frumenti aut farris penè nihil vulgò habeamus, nec sal, gulæ irritamentum, ad cibaria condienda, omnibus suppetit: docuit tamen Deus opt. max. etiam nostros homines rationem tractandi et conseruandi, quæ ad vitam sustentandam spectant, vt appareat, Deum in alendis Islandis non esse ad panem vel salem alligatum. Quòd verò sua omnia extranei iucundiora et salubriora clamant; negamus tamen satis causæ esse, cur nostra nobis exprobrent: Nec nos DEVM gulæ nostræ debitorem reputamus; quin potius toto pectore gratias agimus, quod sine opiparis illis delicijs et lautitijs, quæ tam iucundæ et salubres putantur, etiam nostræ gentis hominibus, annos et ætatem bonam, tum valetudinem etiam firmissimam, robur ac vires validas (quæ omnia statimus boni et conuenientis alimenti, [Greek: kai tes euchrasias] esse indicia) concedere dignetur, cum ingenio etiam non prorsus tam crasso ac sterili, quàm huic nostro aëri et alimentis assignare Philosophi videntur, quod re libentius, quàm verbis multi fortasse nostratium comprobare poterant.
Ni nos (vt inquit ille) paupertas inuidia deprimeret.
Sed hic vulgi iudicium, vt in alijs sæpè, etiam eos qui sapere volunt (iam omnes bonos et cordatos excipio) nimis apertè decipit: Videlicet hoc ipso, quòd omnia, quæ illorum vsus non admittit, aut quæ non viderunt, aut experti sunt antea, continuò damnent. Veluti, si quis, qui mare nunquam vidit, mare mediterraneum esse aliquod, non possit adduci vt credat: Sic illi sensu suæ experientiæ omnia metiuntur, vt nihil sit bonum, nihil conductibile, nisi quo illi soli viuunt: At profectò nos, eò dementiæ non processimus, vt eos qui locustis vescuntur, quod tum de alijs, tum Æthiopiæ quibusdam populis, ideo (autore Diodoro) Acridophagis appellatis, et Indiæ, gente, cui Mandrorum nomen Clytharcus et Magestanes dederunt, teste Agatarchide, didicimus; aut ranis, aut cancris mannis, aut squillis gibbis, quæ res hodiè nota est, vulgi propterea ludibrijs exponere præsumamus, a quibus tamen edulijs, in totum nostra consuetudo abhorret.
The ninth reproch. Wee will heere rehearse the ninth reproch, which that slanderous hogge hath drawen from the maner of liuing, and specially from the meat and drinke of the Islanders, and that not in one or a few wordes, but in a large inuectiue: namely, that they eate olde and vnsauoury meates, and that, without the vse of bread. Also that they eate diuers kinds of fishes which are vnknowen to strangers: and that they mingle water and whey together for drinke. All which this venemous pasquill, with eloquent railing and wittie slaunder hath set out at the full.
And albeit we doe scarse vouchsafe to stand longer about answering of him, yet in regard of others, who at this day partly woonder at the matter, and partly obiect it to our nation, we thought good to adde some few things in this place.
First therefore we will diuide this our nation into two parts: into beggers, and those that susteine both themselues, and amongst others, beggers also. As touching all kinds of meats wherewith beggers and other poore men satisfie their hunger, it is no easie matter to rehearse and examine them; neither, because extreame necessity hath at some times compelled them to eate this or that, therefore it is meet to prescribe certeine kindes and number of meats to the rest of the nation. For we haue also a law among the canons apostolicall, which forbiddeth to eat things strangled: in the obseruing of which canons, antiquity hath seemed to be very deuout.
Moreouer, we will make a distinction of times also, that it may seeme no strange accident in the time of famine, though many things are, and haue bene vsed by a great number of men to satisfie their hunger, which at other times are scarse meat for dogges. As very lately in the yeere 1590 we heard concerning the citizens of Paris, being enuironed with the most streite siege of Henrie the fourth, King of Nauarre, suffering (as Petrus Lindebergius speaketh) the famine of Saguntum; insomuch that they did not onely eate their horses, but also taking the flesh of dead men, and beating their bones to powder in a morter, they mingle therewith a bandfull or two of meale, esteeming it dainties. And it is well knowen also of other nations who in the like vrgent necessities haue liued by eating of mise, cats and dogs. In like maner sometimes are we Islanders constrained to doe, not being besieged by our enemies (although hitherto we haue abstained from mans flesh, yea, and to our knowledge, from dogs, mise, and cats) for whereas we prouide things necessary for food out of the land and sea, and no sustenance, or very little is brought vnto vs by strangers: so often as God withholdeth his gifts of land and sea, then must follow and ensue a dreadfull scarsity of victuals, whereupon the inhabitants are sometimes vexed with grieuous famine. And therefore it is likely that they amongst vs which vsed to liue from hand to mouth, and had not some prouision of former yeeres remaining, haue beene driuen to great extremities, so often as need hath enforced them thereunto. But whether this thing ought woorthily to minister occasion to a publike and perpetuall reproch against the Islanders, more then other nations, I referre it to the iudgement of indifferent and honest mindes.
Moreouer, whereas diuers vse to obiect concerning the proper and accustomed fare of our country, especially of flesh, fish, butter being long time kept without salt, also concerning white-meats, want of corne, drinking of water, and such like: in most places of Island (for there be many of our countrimen also, who, after the maner of the Danes and Germans so farre foorth as ought in a meane to suffice chast and temperate minds, although we haue not any great variety of sauce, being destitute of Apothecaries shops, are of ability to furnish their table, and to liue moderately) we confesse it to be euen so: Want of salt in Island. namely that the foresaid kind of victuals are vsed in most places without the seasoning of salt. And I wil further adde, that the very same meats, which certaine strangers abhorre so much as to name, yet strangers themselues, when they are among vs do vse to eat them with delight. The Islanders meanes of preseruing their meates without salt. For albeit for the most part we haue no corne, nor meale, nor yet salt the prouocation of gluttony, for the seasoning of our victuals, is common to vs all, yet notwithstanding almighty God of his goodnesse hath taught our men also the wauy how they should handle, and keepe in store those things which belong to the sustentation of life, to the end it may appeare, that God in nourishing and susteining of vs Islanders, is not tyed to bread and salt.
But whereas strangers boast that all their victuals are more pleasant and wholesome: yet we denie that to be a sufficient reason, why they should vpbraid vs in regard of ours: neither do we thinke God to be a debter vnto our deinty mouthes: but rather we giue him thanks with our whole hearts, that he vouchsafeth without this delicate and nice fare, which is esteemed to be so pleasant and wholesome, to grant euen vnto the men of our countrey many yeeres, and a good age as also constant health, and flourishing strength of body; all which we account to be signes of wholesome and conuenient nourishment and of a perfect constitution. Besides, our wits are not altogether so grosse and barren, as the philosophers seeme to assigne vnto this our aier, and these nourishments, which perhaps many of our countreymen could much rather verifie in deeds then in words, if (as the Poet sayth) enuious pouerty did not holde vs downe.
But here the iudgement of the common people, as often in other matters, doth too plainly deceiue (I except all good and well experienced men) some of them which would seeme to be wise, namely, that whatsoeuer their vse doth admit, or that they haue not seene, nor had trial of beforetime, they presently condemne. As for example, he that neuer saw the sea will not be persuaded that there is a mediterrane sea; so doe they measure all things by their owne experience and conceit, as though there were nothing good and profitable, but that onely wherewith they mainteine their liues. But we are not growen to that pitch of folly, that because we haue heard of certaine people of Aethiopia, which are fed with locusts, being therefore called by Diodorus, Acridophagi, and of a certaine nation of India also, whom Clitarchus and Megasthenes haue named Mandri, as Agatarchides witnesseth, or of others that liue vpon frogs or sea-crabs, or round shrimps, which thing is at this day commonly knowen, that (I say) we should therefore presume to make them a laughing stocke to the common people, because we are not accustomed to such sustenance.
10. Conuicium. Decimo. Hospitalitatem nostris hominibus inhumanissimus porcus obijcit. Marsupium inquit, non cirumferunt, nec hospitiari aut conuiuari gratis pudor est. Nam si quis aliquid haberet, quod cum alijs communicaret, id faceret sane in primis ac libenter. His quoque annectamus, quod templa, seu sacras ædiculas domi propriæ à multis Islandorum extructas velut pudendum quiddam commemorat: quodque eas primùm omnium de manè oraturi petant, nec à quoquam prius interpellari patiantur. Hæc ille velut insigne quoddam dedecus in Islandis notauit.
Scilicet, quia nihil cum Amaricino, sui:
Nec porci diuina vnquam amarunt: quod sanè metuo ne nimis verè de hoc conuiciatore dicatur, id quod vel ex his vltimis duabus obiectionibus constare poterit.
Verùm enimuerò cùm ipse suarum virtutum sit testis locupletissimus, nos Lectorem eius rei cupidum ad ipsius hoc opus Poëticum remittimus, quod is de Islandia composuit, et nos tam aliquot proximis distinctionibus examinauimus: cuius maledicentiæ et foeditatis nos hic pro ipso puduit; ita, vt quæ is Satyrica, at quid Satyrica? Sathanica, inquam, mordacitate et maledicentia in nostram gentem scribere non erubuit, nos tamen referre pigeat: Tanta eius est et tam abominanda petulantia, tam atrox calumnia. DEVS BONE: Hoc conuiciorum plaustrum (paucissima namque attigimus: Nolui enim laterem lauare, et stulto, vt inquit ille sapientissimus, secundum stultitiam suam respondere, cum in ipsius Rhythmis verbum non sit quod conuicio careat) qui viderit, nonne iudicabit pasquilli istius autorem hominem fuisse pessimum, imò fæcem hominum, cum virtutis ac veritatis contemptorem, sine pietate, sine humanitate?
Sed hîc meritò dubitauerim, peiusne horum conuiciorum autor de Islandis meritus sit, an verò Typographus ille Ioachimus Leo (et quicunque sunt alij, qui in suis editionibus, nec suum nec vrbis suæ nomen profiteri ausi sunt) qui illa iam bis, si non sæpius Typis suis Hamburgi euulgauit. Hoccine impunè fieri sinitis, ô senatus populusque Hamburgensis? Hanccine statuistis gratiam deberi Islandiæ, quæ vrbi vestræ iam plurimos annos, exportatis affatim nostratium quibusuis commodis, pecudum, pecorumque carnibus butyro et piscium copia quotannis, penè immodica, quædam quasi cella penuaria fuit? Vrbes Angliæ commercia olim in Islandia excercentes. Sensere huius Insulæ commoda etiam Hollandiæ olim et Angliæ vrbes aliquot: Præterea Danis, Bremensibus, et Lubecensibus cum Islandis commercia diu fuerunt. Sed a nullis vnquam tale encomium, talem gratiam reportarunt, qualis hæc est Gregoriana calumnia: In vestrâ, vestrâ inquam vrbe, nata, edita, iterata, si non tertiata: quæ alias nationes, quibus Islandia vix, ac ne vix quidem, nomine tenus, alioqui innotuerat, ad huius gentis opprobrium et contemptum armauit: quam à ciue vestro acceptam iniuriam, iam 30. annos, et plus eò, Islandia sustinet. Sed etiam, inscio magistratu, eiusmodi multa sæpè fiunt: Neque; enim dubitamus, quin viri boni eiusmodi scripta famosa indignè ferant, et ne edantur, diligenter caueant: cum tales editiones pugnent cum iure naturali: Ne alteri facias, quod tibi factum non velis: Et Cæsareo, de libellis famosis: in quo irrogatur poena grauissima ijs, qui tales libellos componunt, scribunt, proferunt, emi vendiue curant, aut non statim repertos discerpunt.
Cæterum iam tandem receptui canamus: Nosque ad te, Islandia parens carissima, quàm nec paupertas, nec frigora, nec id genus incommoda alia, quamdiu Chnsto hospitia cupidè et libenter exhibere non desistis, inuisam fecient conuertamus: Vbi te primùm ad id quod modò diximus, nempè serium et ardens studium ac amorem DEI, et diuinæ scientiæ, nobis in Christo patefactæ, totis viribus hortamur: vt vni huic cuncta posthabeas, doctrinæ et verbi cupiditate flagres: Sacrum ministerium et ministros, non parum cures, non contemnas aut odio prosequeris: sed reuerearis, foueas, ames. Contra facientes, pro impijs et profanis habeas: vt omnia ad pietatis et honestatis præscriptum geras, in vita priuata et communi, vt huic status et ordines Ecclesiastici et Politici, in vniversum obtemperent: In vtroque vitæ genere ab illi amussi seu norma æqui et boni dependeas, et cæteros qui pertinacia ac impietate ab ea deflectunt, auersens, quos æquum est poenis condignis affici, id quod magistratur curæ futurum non diffidimus. In pritmis verò nullos nisi spectatæ fidei et probitatis viros, quique ad istas virtutes, reliquas huc pertinentes coniungant, ad gubernacula admittas, qua ratione reliquis incommodis ritè occurritur Res ista enim, si probe curetur, vt videlicet, qui munus publicum gerunt, ex bonis omnibus optimi quique deligantur, improbi et huic rei inepti, procul inde arceantur, subditorum conditio, longè erit optatissima: vita et mores tantò magis laudabiles sequentur: pietas et honestas tantò erunt illustriores. At verò si secus fiat. si Pastores Ecclesiarum suo muneri, vel vita vel doctrina non respondeant, si ad administrationem politicam promiscuè admittantur, quicunque eò propria leuitate, ambitione vel auaritia et contentione honoris, ruunt: si ijdem criminum aut improbitatis, vel suspecti vel conuicti sint, aut suspectorum et conuictorum protectores, vel ijsdem illicite indulgentes, quis tuus quæso demum futurus est status? quæ facies? quæ conditio? Certe longe omnium miserrima. Nec enim alio pacto citius ad ruinam et interitum tuum appropinquabis, quàm si istis te regendam commiseris, qui quod in ijs est, licet sint et ipsi ex tuis, iugulum tuum, propter emolumenta priuata, et odia latentia, quotidiè petere contendunt/ Quamobrem (ne ista pluribus agam) quanti intersit, vt hæc probè curentur, facile, ô Patria, intelligis.
Sed dum hæc tuis auribus à me occinuntur, utinam gemitus meos altissimos, qui sub hac ad te Apostrophe latent, Serenis simæ Regiæ Maiestatis aures exaudiant, apud quam ego pro te ita deploro damna publica, quæ ea de causa exoriuntur maximè, quòd patria nostra à regia sede, et conspectu, tantò interuallo sit remota, vt multi propterea tantò sibi maiorem sumant licentiam, et impunitatem securius promittant. Cæterum ista numini iustissimo, quod æquis omnia oculis aspicit, committenda ducimus.
Reliquum est, ô patria, vt studium in te nostrum, eo quo speramus animo i. comi et benigno, suscipias: quod quamuis minimè tale est, quale optaremus, tamen cum VELLE SIT INSTAR OMNIVM, nolui idcirco desistere, quod pro tuo nomine, tua dignitate, tua innocentia pugnare me satis strenuè diffiderem. Quin potius, quicquid id est si modò quicquam est et quantulumcunque tandem, quod ad tui patrocinium pro mea tenui parte afterre possem, nequaquam supprimendum putaui nec enim illos laudare soleo,
Qui, quod desperent inuicti membra Glyconis,
Nodosa nolunt corpus prohibere Chiragra.
Me sanè, si hæc commentatiuncula non erit tibi aut mihi dedecori, operæ nequaquam poenitebit. Quod si ad laudem vel aliquale patrocinium tui aliquid faciat, operam perdidisse haud videbor. Sin verò alios alumnos, meos conterraneos, arte et industria superiores, ad causam tuam, vel nunc, vel in posterum suscipiendam, hoc conatu tenello excitauero, quid est cur operæ precium non fecisse dicar? quibus scribentibus, licet mea fama in obscuro futura est, tamen præstantia illorum, qui nomini officient meo, me consolabor: Nam etsi famæ et nominis cura surnma esse debett maior tamen patriæ; cuius dignitate salua et incolumni, nos quoque saluos et incolumes reputabimus.
Scripsi Holis Hialtædalensium in Islandia, Æræ Christianæ Anno 1592. 17. Kalendas Maias.
The tenth reproch. Tenthly, that vnciuill beast casteth our men in the teeth with their good hospitality. They do not (sayth he) carry about money with them in their purses, neither is it any shame to be enterteined in a strange place, and to haue meat and drinke bestowed of free cost. For if they had any thing which they might impart with others, they would very gladly. Moreouer, he maketh mention of certeine churches or holy chappels (as of a base thing) which many of the Islanders haue built in their owne houses: and that first of all in the morning, they haue recourse thither, to make their prayers, neither do they suffer any man before they haue done their deuotion to interrupt them. These be the things which he hath set downe as some notable disgrace vnto the Islanders. And no maruell:
For filthy swine detest all cleanly ones,
And hogs vncleane regarde not precious stones.
Which I feare, least it may be too truely affirmed of this slanderer, as it is manifest out of these two last obiections.
Howbeit, sithens he himselfe is a most sufficient witnesse of his owne vertues, we will referre the reader, who is desirous to know more of him vnto his booke of rimes against Island, which we haue now examined in our former sections at whose railing and filthy speeches we haue bene ashamed on his behalfe: insomuch that those things which he with satyrical, satyrical? nay sathanicall biting and reuiling of our nation, hath not blushed to write, are irksome for vs to repeat: so great and abominable is his insolency and his reproches so heinous. Good God! whosoeuer shall view this cartlode of slanders (for we haue mentioned the least part thereof, because I was loth to lose my labour, or, as the wise man sayth, to answere a foole according to his foolishnesse, whereas in his rimes there is not one word without a reproch) will he not iudge the authour of this pasquill to haue bene a most lewde man, yea the very drosse of mankinde, without pietie, without humanitie?
But here I haue iust occasion to doubt whether the authour of these reuilings hath bene the more iniurious to Islanders, or the Printer thereof Ioachimus Leo (and whatsoeuer else they be who in their editions dare neither professe their own name, nor the name of their Citie) which Leo hath nowe twise, if not oftener, published the saide pamphlet at Hamburg. Doe you suffer this to goe vnpunished, O ye counsell and commons of Hamburg? What? The commodities of Island. Haue you determined to gratifie Island in this sort, which these many yeeres, by reason of your aboundant traffique with vs, and your transporting home of all our commodities, of our beeues and muttons, and of an incredible deale of butter and fishes, hath bene vnto your Citie in stead of a storehouse. The ancient traffique of England with Island. In times past also, certaine Cities of England and of Holland haue reaped the commodities of this Isle. Moreouer, there hath bene ancient traffique of Denmarke, Breme, and Lubeck with the Islanders. But they neuer gained by any of their chapmen such commendations, and such thanks, as are contained in this libell: It hath in your, in your Citie (I say) bene bred, brought foorth, iterated, if not the thirde time published: which I hath armed other people vnto whom the name of Island was otherwise scarce knowne, to the disdaine and contempt of this our Nation: and this iniurie offered by a Citizen of yours, hath Island susteined these 30. yeeres and more, and doeth as yet susteine. But many such accidents often come to passe without the knowledge of the magistrate, neither do we doubt but that good men are grieued at such infamous libels, and do take diligent heed that they be not published: for such editions are contrary to the lawe of nature: Doe not that to another which thou wouldest not haue done vnto thy selfe: Lawes against libels. and to the laws Emperial of infamous libels: wherein is enioyned a most grieuous penaltie vnto those who inuent, write, ytter, or cause such libels to be bought or sold, or do not presently vpon the finding thereof teare them in pieces.
But now time bids vs to sound a retreat: and to returne home vnto thee, Island (our most deare mother) whom neither pouertie, nor colde, nor any other such inconueniences shall make ircksome vnto vs, so long as thou ceasest not to giue heartie and willing entertainment vnto Christ: where, first we doe earnestly exhort thee to the serious and ardent affection, and loue of God, and of the heauenly knowledge reueiled vnto vs in Christ: that thou wouldest preferre this before all things, being enflamed with desire of doctrine, and of the worde: that thou wouldest not lightly esteeme, contemne or hate the holy ministerie and ministers, but reuerence, cherish and loue them. Accompting those that practise the contrary as wicked and prophane: and managing all thine affaires both priuate and publique, according to the prescript rule of pietie and honestie, that vnto this, thy states and orders Ecclesiasticall and politique may in all things be conformed; and so in either kinde of life relying thy selfe vpon that leuell and line of equitie and iustice, and auoyding others, who vpon stubbernesse and impietie swerue therefrom. That thou wouldest also inflict iust punishments vpon offenders: All which we doubt not but the Magistrate will haue respect vnto. But especially that thou admittest none to be Magistrates, but men of approued fidelitie and honestie, and such as may adioyne vnto these vertues others hereto belonging, by which meanes inconueniences may fitly be preuented. For if this matter be well handled, namely that they which are the best of all good men be chosen to beare publicke authoritie, wicked and vnfit men being altogether reiected; the condition of the subiects shalbe most prosperous: the hues and maners of all men shal proue by so much the more commendable; godlinesse also and honestie shal become the more glorious. But on the contrary, if pastours of Churches be not answerable to their function, either in life or doctrine; if all men without respect or difference be admitted to the gouernment of the common wealth, who aspire thereunto by their owne rashnesse, ambition, or auarice, and desire of honour, yea though they be suspected or conuicted of crimes and dishonestie, or be protectours or vniust fauourers of such persons as are suspected and conuicted; then what will be thy state, oh Island? What wil be thy outward show or condition? Doubtlesse most miserable. Neither shalt thou by any other meanes more suddenly approch to thy ruine and destruction, then if thou committest thy selfe to the gouernment of such men, who to the vttermost of their power, although they be of thine owne brood, dayly seeke thine ouerthrow for their owne priuate aduantage and secret malice. Wherefore (to be short) let these be to aduertise my deare Countrey, how behouefull it is that the matters aforesaid be put in practise.
But whilest I am speaking these things vnto thee (my Countrey) oh that my deepe and dolefull sighes, which lie hid in the former speach, might pierce the eares of our Kings most excellent Maiestie, before whom, on thy behalfe I doe bewaile the publique miseries, which in this respect especially doe arise, because wee are so farre distant from the seate and royall presence of our King, that many therefore take more libertie, and promise more securitie of offending vnto themselues. But we will commit all these matters to the most iust Judge of heauen and earth who beholdeth all things in equitie.
Nowe it remaineth (my beloued Countrey) that thou wouldest take in good part these my labours employed in thy seruice, and accept them with that fauourable and courteous minde which I haue expected. And although they be not of such worth as I could wish, yet sith a willing minde is worth all, I would not therefore giue ouer because I mistrusted my selfe as one insufficient to contend for thine innocencie, for thy reputation, and thine honour, my deare Countrey. But rather whatsoeuer it be (if it be ought) and how mickle soeuer which for my slender abilitie I was able to afford in thy defence, I thought good not to suppresse it: for I esteeme not those men worthy of commendation, who despairing
To ouergrow the limmes of Lyco stoute,
Neglect to cure their bodies of the goute:
And in very deed, it doeth no whit repent me of my labour, if this little treatise shall tend neither to thine, nor to mine owne disgrace. But if it shall any thing auaile to thine honour or defence, I will thinke my trauaile right well bestowed. Yea, if by this my slender attempt, I may but onely excite other of thy children, and my natiue Countreymen, being farre my superiours both in learning and industrie to take thy cause in hand, either nowe or hereafter what reason is there why any man should say that it is not worth my labour? Nowe, if they addresse themselues to write, howsoeuer my fame shalbe obscured, yet wil I comfort my selfe with their excellencie, who are like to impaire my credite: for albeit a man ought to haue speciall regard of his name and fame, yet he is to haue more of his Countrey, whose dignitie being safe and sound, we also must needes esteeme our selues to be in safetie.
Written at Holen Hialtedale in Island, the yeere of our Lord 1592. the 17. of the Kalends of May.
Reuerendissimo viro, eruditione et virtute conspicuo, D. Hugoni Branham, Ecclesiæ Hareuicensis in Anglia pastori vigilantissimo, fratri et symmystæ obseruando.
Mirabar equidem (vt conijcis, reuerende domine pastor) primo literarum tuarum intuitu, ignotum me, ab ignoto, scriptis salutari. Cæterùm, cum vlterius progrederer, comperi me, si non aliter, certè nomine tenùs, tibi (quæ tua est humanitas) innotuisse: Simúlque quòd te nominis Islandorum studiosum experirer, ex animo gauisus sum. Vnde etiam faciam, vt tua pietas, tuúmque nomen, de Euangelio Iesu Christi nobis congratulantis, dèque gente nostra tàm benignè támque honorificè sentientis, et scribentis apud nos ignotum esse desinat.
Commentarius breuis de Islandia: per Arngrimum Ionam Islandum editus, 1593. Quòd verò ad antiquitatis monimenta attinet, quæ hic extare creduntur, nihil sanè est (præter illa, quorum in Commentario isto de Islandia, quem vidisse te scribis, fit mentio) de hac nostra insula lectu scriptuuà dignum, quod cum humanitate tua communicem. De vicinis itidem terris pauca, præter historiam Regum Noruegiæ, seu veriùs eiusdem historiæ fragmenta; quæ alijs alitèr descripta sunt: sunt tamen talia, quæ Krantzius non attigerit, aut eorum certè pauca. De vicina quoque Gronlandia, id veterum opinione habemus, eam magno circuitu ab extrema Noruegia, vbi Biarmlandia Biarmia. nuncupatur, et à qua haud vasto interuallo sita sit, circum quasi Islandiam exporrigi. Illic nostrates aliquando commercia exetcuisse, et eam terram tempore Pontificiorum suos Episcopos habuisse annales nostri testantur. Cætera nobis incognita. Gronlandia olim suos habuit Episcopos. At hodie fama est, vestris Brittannis (quos ego propè maris dominos appellarim) quotannis csse in Gronlandia negotmiones de qua re, si me certiorem feceris, non erit iniucundum. Euam velim quæcunque noua erunt de rebus vestratium aut vicinorum regnorum, ea non omittas.
Vale foeliciter (reuerende Dom. pastor) Deo musis, et commissio gregi quàm diuttssime superstes, Amen. Ex Islindij in festo visitationis D. Mariæ Anni 1595.
Human. tuæ studiosus Gudbrandus Thorlacius Episcopus Holensis in Islandia.
To the reuerend, learned, and vertuous, Master Hugh Branham minister of the Church of Harewich in England, his brother and felow pastour, &c.
I much marueiled (euen as you your selfe, reuerend sir coniectured that I would) at the first sight of your letters, that being a stranger I should be saluted in writing by one altogether vnknown vnto mee. Howbeit, reading a little further I found my selfe, if not otherwise, yet by name at least (which procedeth of your courtesie) knowne vnto you: And also, for that I sawe you desirous of the credite and honest report of vs Islanders, I greatly reioyced. Wherefore I my selfe will be a meane, that your vertue and good name (because you congratulate with vs for the gospel of Christ here published, and doe thinke and write so louingly and honourably of our nation) may sease hereafter to be vnknown amongst vs.
This is the brief Commentarie of Ionas Arngrimus immediatly going before. As touching the monuments of antiquitie which are here thought to be extant, there is, in very deede nothing (except those particulars, whereof mention is made in the Commentary of Island which you write vnto me that you haue seene) worthy to be read or written, which I may communicate with you. And as concerning our neighbor Countreys we haue litle to shewe, besides the history of the Kings of Norway, (or rather some fragments of the same history) which others haue otherwise described: howbeit they are all in a maner such things as Crantzius neuer mentioned: vnlesse it be some fewe relations. Moreouer, as touching Grondland, we holde this from the opinion of our ancestours, that, from the extreeme part of Norway, which is called Biarmlandia Biarmia. and from whence the saide Gronland is not farre distant, it fetcheth about the Northren coast of Island with an huge circuit in maner of an halfe Moone. Gronland in old time had Christian Bishops. Our Chronicles likewise doe testifue that our owne countreymen in times past resorted thither for traffique, and also that the very same countrey of Gronland had certaine Bishops in the dayes of Poperie. More then this we cannot auouch. But now it is reported that your Englishmen (whom I may almost call the lordes of the Ocean sea) make yeerely voyages vnto Gronland: concerning which matter if you please to giue me further aduertisement, you shall doe me an especial fauour. Moreouer, whatsoeuer newes you heare concerning the the affaires of England or of other Countreys thereabout, I pray you make vs acquainted therewith. Thus (reuerend sir) wishing you long life, for the seruice of God, for the increase of learning, and the benefit of the people committed to your charge, I bid you farewel. From Island vpon the feast of the visitation of the blessed Virgine Mary, Anno Dom. 1595.
Yours Gudbrandus Thorlacius Bishop of Hola in Island.
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