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Introductory notes

Cornucopiae was published in 1595. It was written by Thomas Johnson. It purports to reveal ‘the rare secrets in Man, beasts, foules, fishes, trees, plantes and such like.’ Not much information is available about the author. Different accounts of flora, fauna as well as geography are given with regard to India and other countries. Primary Reading Johnston,Thomas, Cornucopiae, Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 14707 Physical description: [46] p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: STC / 963:23. Suggested Reading Foster, William, Early Travels In India 1583-1619,

Or divers secrets:
Wherein is contained the rare secrets
in Man, Beasts, Foules, Fishes, Trees, Plantes,
Stones and such like, most pleasant and
profitable, and not before committed to
bee printed in English.
Newlie drawen out of divers Latine Authors into Eng-
lish by Thomas Johnson.
Printed for William Barley, and are to be sold at his
shop at the vpper end of Gratious streete nere
LeadenHall. 1595.

PUBLISHED FOR William Barley

1. CORNUCOPIAE, OR divers secrets: wherin is contained the rare secrets in Man, Beastes, Foules, Fishes, Trees, Plantes, Stones and such like, most pleasant and profitable and not before committed to bee printed in English.

Manie are the woonders & marlailes in this world, and almost incredible, were it not that experience teacheth the contrarie: for who could bee perswaded to beleeve that the Owstridge could eate or devoure cold & hard Iron, or that hote burning Iron could not hurt her stomacke, were it not that it hath and is daylie seene and knowne.

There is a little fish called Echines, which cleaving to the keele or mast of the Shipe, will so retaine the shippe that no violence of winde or weather can remove it. The Salamaunder and the worme Piransta live in the fire, and although they seeme to consume and burne away yet are they not hurt or burned at all.

The Satyres have heads like unto men, and bodies like unto goats, and are capable of reason and speech, which is both strange & wonderfull.

The Loadstone hath vertue to drawyron to it: yet if you holde a Diamond by him, that vertue will bee taken away so long as the Adamant is by him.

The stone found in an Eagles neast, bound to the left arme of a woman with child preserveth from abortion, but bound to her thigh in her travaile, causeth easie and speedie deliverance. Also it is saide that if a theefe eate a peece of this stone any manner of way, it shall never passe through him. A theefe can not swallow any broth wherin this stone hath bin sodden. The Jasper stone restrayneth bleeding.

If any thinge be laid in salt and there left remayning, in processe of time it becommeth salt itselfe. Many thinges are holpen by their like, as Phisitions can tell that the braines of manye thinges are helpefull to the braine of man, the Lunges to the Lunges, the eye to the eye, & foote to the foote, &c.

The right eye of a Frogge applied to the right eye of one that is purblinde, or the left eye to the left healeth the party. So doth the eye of a Crab-fish.

The snaile applied in the same sorte helpeth the gout. Everie barren Beast or Foule causeth sterility or barrennes, especiallie the matrice or stones anie waies taken. So doth the milke of a Mule once in a month eaten, cause her that ease it not to conceave.

If you would move love, take such creatures as love most, such are the Turtle, the Sparrow, the Swallow, the Wagge-taile. If you would move audacity, respect the Lion and the Cocke.

The dog, the raven, the cocke, the nightinggale, the bat or remouse & such like, especiallye the head the hart & the eyes are said to profit in vigilancy, or to keepe one from sleeping.

The hart of a Crowe or a Batte borne uppon one suffereth not the partie to sleepe till it ee taken awaie. The head of the Batte brought to powder, & bound to the right arme doth the like, but put uppon the stomacke of one that is a sleepe, it is saide that he shall not a wake till it bee taken awaie.

The Frogge and the Toade are much effectuall to make one talkative.

The tongue of a water Frogge put on the head of one sleeping: causeth him to speake in his sleepe.

The heart of a Toade or of a Night Crowe, or the fatte of a Hare put upon the brest of one sleeping, causeth them to tell whatsoever shall be asked them.

All beasts of long life are said to bee helpers to long life.

The Hart renveth his age by eating of the Serpent. The Phenix by the fire.

If the right foote of the Pellican bee put in hotte dung for three months, thereof will bee ingendred a Pellican. The Loadstone doth not onelie draw iron to it, but also maketh that iron to drawe other iron to it, if the Loadstone berubbed therewith.

It is supposed that in like maner the smock or other apparrell of a strumpet beeing worne of others, giveth a certaine impudencie and shameles boldnes to those parties.

Even so if a Woman behold her selfe in the glasse wherein an whore hath accustomed to looke in, it maketh her not onely impudent bold but also the more prompt to further offending.

Also a blacke cloth which hath beene used over the Coffin of dead folkes bringeth a certain kinde of sadnes or melancholly to them that weare it in apparrell.

The Loadstone hath the vertue attractive, the Emerauld giveth great probability to obtain riches, the Jasper helpeth byrths, the stone Achates giveth sweet and pleasant speech.

The root of the hearbe Aproxis draweth fire to it a farre off.

The Palme tree of the male kind and of the female kinde growing together, doo folde the branches one within another, as it were embracing each other, neither will the female beare any frute without the company of the male.

The Vine is greatly delighted with the Elme and yeeldeth more frute being placed together. The Almond tree sollitarily planted is lesse fruitfull.

The myrtle tree and the Olive tree love each other mutually, even so doth the Olive tree and the figge tree. In like manner as in plants, so also in foules and beastes is there a mutuall amity, as betweene the Owsell and the Felfare; between the Crow and the Hernshawe; betweene the Dove and the Peacocke, betweene the Turtle and the Popiniay. Also the fish called Musculus loveth the Whale so, that he leadeth the Whale from danger of Rocks: Also there is a great amitie betwixt it and the Chirlepoole.

It is supposed that the Cat so much rejoyceth with the herb Nep, that even by the rubbing of her selfe against it, she bringeth young by that meanes, supplying the defect of the Male.

Also manie Mares in Capadocia conceave even by the blowing of the winde, and drawing in of the same by the nostrils. Frogges, Toades, Serpents and all kinde of venemous things, rejoyce greatly in a kinde of Persly called Apium risus, a most venemons weede, whereupon who soever eateth dyeth soone after in laughing.

The Snaile being hurt of the Serpent, is comforted by earing Organie and in like case the Storke. The weasell helpeth her selfe of poyson by eating of Rue. And by these meanes it is found out that Organy and Rue are great resisters of poyson. The Toade beeing bitten or hurt by anye meanes hasteth to Rue or Sage, and rubbeth the wound there against, and by that meanes is healed.

So men have learned many precious remedies for many diseases even by brute, as we see by the swallow, who hath taught us that the joice of Celandine is singuler for the eyes, for that she restoreth sight to her yong ones with Celandine.

The chattering Pie being sick bringeth the bay leafe into hir nest and so is restored. The Gay, the Partridge, the Owsell & such do yearely purge themselves with Bay leaves, and in like case the Craw with the same extinguisheth the poyson of the Cameleon.

The Lion being diseased is holpen in devouring the Ape. The Lapwing with eating maiden haire. The Hart striken with an arrow, knoweth how to drive it out with eating of Dict herb. The Hinde before her time be to bring forth yong, purgeth her selfe with the herb Siler.

Swine hurt of Serpents, are healed by the Crab-fish. The Beare hurt in eating of Mandrakes, takes help in devouring the Pismires or Ants. Duckes, Geese and other birds of the water helpe themselves with an herb called Siderits that groweth on walles and tyles.

Pigions, turtles, ennes and such like are healed with the herb Helxine: Cranes with bulrushes, Panthers with mans order, Bores with Jvie, Hindes with Artechokes.

Neither do Plants, Herbs, Beasts and such like, want a certaine kinde of hatred or enmitie as we see Ru ar be hateth choller.

Treacle, poyson, the hire stone, al of burning fevers and griefes of the eyes. The Amatist resisteth drunkennesse, and the Jasper bleeding and hurtfull fantasies. The Emrauld restraineth lust. The stone Achates resisteth poyson: the Topace covetuos es, luxurie and all outrages of love.

The Pismire detesteth the herbe Organie & Coleworts, that the one killeth the other placed together. The Olive tree so detesteth the Cowevmber that being placed nere together, they wil turne backe and growe hookewise lest they shoulde touch one another.

The gall of a Crow hid in some privie or unknowne place, is saide to feare men for comming to that place where it is hidden.

The Adamant disagreeth in such sorte with the Loadstone, that being together Iron will not be drawne. Sheepe flie from the Herbe called Apimu ravinum, as from a most deadlie poyson & which is most strange in the liver of such sheep as di of the eating of that herbe, the verie picture of the herbe is to be found.

Goates of all other herbes detest Bassil. The Weasell and the Mouse are at deadlie hate, so that if you put the braine of a Weasell into your rennet or cheeslepe wherewith you gather the curde of cheese, the Mise will never taste or eate the cheeses.


There is a beast like a Lizard that is called Stellio having blacke spots like starres, which is so contrarie unto the Scorpion, that his verie sight terrefieth him that he presently putrifieth and becommeth an oile which is singuler to heale hurt receaved by Scorpions or other venomous beasts.

There is also a mortall hate betwixt the Mouse and the Scorpion, in such sorte that a Mouse applied to the biting of a Scorpion, helpeth the griefe.

Serpents have no greater enemies than Crab-fishes, & for that cause swine bitten with Serpents are helpe with Crabbes. If a Crocadile buched with a quill or fether of the bird called Ibis, it makes immoveable. There is a bird like a Partridge called Otidis that cannot abide the sight of an horse. The Hart cannot abide the sight of the Raven, neither the sight of the Viper. The Elephant is feared most when he heareth the grunting of a swine: the Lyon when he seeth a Cocke. There is also enmity betweene the Wolfe, the wan, the Bull and the Raven. There is continuall war betwixt the Crow and the Owle, the Kite and the crow, the Hart and the Dragon. Enmitie also betweene the Dolphin and the, the Codfish and the Sea-wolfe, the Cunger and the Lampraie.

The Lobster so feareth the fish Polipus, that at his sight he dieth incontinent. The Lambe and the Wolfe are at enmitie, and the Lamb so feareth the Wolfe, that if a peece of the skin of a Wolfe bee hanged on the crib, they will not eat for verie feare.

It is thought that the Olive tree is so contrarie to whore-dome, that if an harlot do plant it, either it will die or els bare no fruite.

The Lyon is thought to bee tamed by none other meanes than with burned firebrandes, which he utterly detesteth and is a feard of: & the Wolfe who feareth neither staffe nor yron, yet the casting of a stone is so contrarie to him, that in the same place where hee is hit with a stone are wormes ingendred.

The Horse feareth the Cammell greatly, so that hee can not brooke neither his sight nor smell. The Elephant thoughe never so outrage, yet seeing a Ramme is eftsones tamed.

A Snake flyeth and feareth a naked man, and pursueth or followeth one that is not naked. A Bull though never so fierce, becommeth quicklie verie gentle beeing tyed unto a figge tree. Amber commonlie draweth all thinges unto it but Bassell and such thinges as are annoynted with Oyle, which sheweth some naturall discorde betweene them.

Moreover it is woonderfull to consider the courage in the Lyon, and the Cocke, the feare and timerousnes in the Hare and in the Lamb, the capacitie and gluttonie of the Wolfe, the craft and deceit of the Foxe, the flatterie of the Dogge, the covetousnes of the Crowe and the Raven, the pride and stomacke of the Horse, the revengement in the Tyger and the Bore, the melancholike sadnes in the Catte, the venerie or lust in the Sparrow, the boldnesse of an Harlot, the feare of a Theefe, and such like innumerable.

The eye of the Basili ke is so odious to man that it seeth man before he come nere him, even by looking upon him. So doth the eye of a certaine Wolfe called Hyena astonish everie Beast that hee seeth, in such sort that they cannot move nor stirre.

There be certaine wild beasts in the woods of Germanie that have no joynts in their legs, & therfore never lie down but stand and leane to rest them, which the Hunters knowing sawe the Trees (whereunto they are accustomed to leane unto) half a sunder, then the trees falling the Beasts also are taken.

Even so there be many Wolfes which if they see a man before the man see them, doth amaze them even with their sight, and maketh them hoarse, so that they cannot cry nor call because they have taken away the use of their voyce.

Also if a man carrie the hart of a Dogge about him, all Dogges will fly from him. The liver of a Goat is quite contrary to butterflies, and moathes and such like & Wolfes will not eate such pullen as have eaten of the liver of a Wolfe.

The Pellican revives her young ones being killed with her own blood. When the Oister gapeth for aire against the tide, the Crabbe putteth a stone betweene the two shelles to keepe them open while he eateth the meate.

The stone of a mad Dog put into drinke is said to cause dissention betweene the parties that drinke thereof. Plinie reporteth that if when you first heare the Cucko, you marke where your right foote standeth and take up of that earth, fleas will not breed where it is throwne.

Also Plinie affirmeth that if one that hath the filling sicknes doo marke the place where his head fell at the first beginning of the disease and in that place doo drive an Iron naile over the head, that it will presently help or deliver him from falling any more.


Take the paringes of the nailes of any that hath the quartaine Agve, and put them in a linnen cloth, and tie the same about the necke of a quicke ele, putting the saide Eele into the water, and it will deliver the partie from his disease.

The Raven bringeth forth two egs, whereof are ingendred a Male and a Female Raven. If you chance to see ne Raven flying alone, it signifieth the partie to be a Widdower, or to lead his life as a Widdow. If a Raven or a Crow doe crooke towards it pretendeth some adverse fortune, either of person, honour, wife, children or substance, as Epictitus Stoicus most grave Philosophet doth affirme.

The merrie countenance of the Swan doth presage to shipmen a happie adventure, and to passengers joy by their journey. The Eagle is said to drinke no water but blood, and therefore flying over an hoast or army of Souldiers, doth signifie an happie victorie.

The promiseth most happie successe, but the Vultur most lamentable stratagems. The Pellican noteth some danger for doing to others. The is signe of concord, the chattering sheweth some guestes from that part from whence he looketh, and this is true by daylie experience. The Scrich Owle and the Night-Crow, evermore prognosticate death, and this also is daylie approved. The finding of a toade in any uncouth noteth death. The Hawke flying over your heade tendeth death to the partie. The fighting of Hawkes one with an other noteth mutation of kingdomes. The Swallow is a signe of enjoying a patrimonie or inheritance. The meeting of a Remouse or , signifieth evasion from enemies. To meete the sparrow flying is a signe of evill lucke, but in love matters it noteth good. The meeting is accounted fortunable.

It is not good to meete with an Hare in a journie, for manie have proved it evill y common experience. Also the Mule, the Hogge and the Horse are not verie fortunable to meete in desert places. Sheepe and Goates pretend good: So doe Oxen & Dogs to be met in a journie.

The Mouse pretendeth evill. The Spider drawing her thredde from above, is a signe that there is hope to receave monie, and this is a common sentence.

The meeting of a snake giveth warning to beware of some evill tonged enemie. Woonderfull are the portraitures and proportions of men. Let a man stand upright and holde up his hands over his head, then is there his cubitte from the top of his heade to the long fingers ende.

The length of the arme from the elbow to the end of the fingers, is just the length from the middle of the whorlebone to the sole of the forte.

The navill is just in the middle of a man, for looke howe much distance is from the fingers ends holden upright over the heade to the navil, so much is there from the navill to the sole of the feete, and so like wise in the bredth.

The navill is also the middle point from the crowne of the head to the knee. From the top of the shoulder bone to the elbow is the fourth part of a man.

Foure cubittes, or foure times the length of halfe the arme: that is to say, from the elbow to the fingers end is the stature of the man.

The length of the whole arme from the top of the shoulder to the end of the longest finger, is halfe the length of the man. The space betweene the toppe of the one shoulder to the top of the other over the back, is also the fourth part of that mans length.

Six handfulles make oubite one handfulles make a foote, and foure fingers make an hands bredth.

The length of a man, is foure and twentie of his hand bredths.

Six feet of a well set man maketh his full length, but of slender tall men, seaven feete in length are his height. Fourescore and sixteene sigers bredth is also the length of the partie that measureth them.

The length of the brest from the top to the bottome is the sixt part of his stature. The space from the highest part of the brest to the top of the forhead even to the rootes of the haires is the seaventh part of his length.

From the crowne of the head to the bottom of the chin maketh the eight part of the length of a man. If you measure the compasse of a mans head along by the fore head and rootes of the haire, then have you the first part of his length.

The length of the face from the top of the middle of the forehead to the bottome of the chinn is the tenth parte: so is the length of the hand from the wrest to the forefingers end: so also the distance betweene the two dugges, and from the bottome of the throat to either of the dugges is the like distance, making right triangle equall on everie side. The compasse of the neoke is as much as from the top of the brest to the chin: even like distance is from the haight of the brest to the navill.

From the top or crowne of the head to the, sheweth halfe the compasse of the middle. From the end of the forefinger measured on the backe of the hande to the third joint of the said finger, is of equalitie with the length from that joynt to the backe side of the wrest.

Also the length of the long finger by the out side from the end of the naile to the third joynt thereof, is of equall length with the space from the wrest, to the bending of the first joynt of the said finger in the inner side of the hand. The space from the nethermost joynt of the thumb to the greater joynt of the same, is equall to the haight of the forehead.

The two hands are as much as the whole face, for with their inside may you cover rightly the whole conntenance. The length of the nose, the haight of the fore, and bredth of the mouth are equall one with another. The bredth of the sole of the foote and the palme of the hand are both alike. The compasse both of the eye, and also the are, and the opening of the mouth are all one. If you measure from the crowne of the head under the chin to the crowne of the head againe, then have you the compasse of your middle.

The length of your hand from the wrest to the longest fingers ende, is the length of the foote. The compasse of the caulfe of the legge, is the compasse of the necke. Twice the compasse of the wreste, is the compasse of the caulfe of the legge. Thrise the compasse of the first joynt of the thumb, is the compasse of the wrest.

Twise the length of the long finger from the great or third joynt to the ende of the finger, is the length of your span. These ought to be observed in men of meane stature, and such as are not missformed nor diseased.

Marveilous in our eies are the hidden qualities in other thinges, as is the nature of a stone named Abeston found in Araby, of the colour of Iron, which hath not onelie a kinde of Wooll growing about it, which some say is the doune of the Salamaunder, and of truth will not burne and consume awaye with fire: but the stone also it selfe beeing once hotte will never afterwards bee cooled againe.


Achates the stone sometimes hath the representation of the nine Muses, sometimes the picture of venus, sometime it hath the colour of Corall, sometimes of Christall.

Plinie and others affirme that by the smoke made by burning of this stone, stormes and tempestes are driven awaie, even as it is a common experiment in all countries that the ringing of Belles, doth scatter and put awaie thunder. Galactides the stone beeing verie blacke without, yet being broken sendeth out a licour both of the same taste and whitenesse of milke: Straunge it is that the fish called an Hornbeake, caveth out her spaune by none other meanes, but onely by opening of her bellie, & that after the casting of the spaune, the wound closeth againe.

The Adamant or Diamonde stone is so hard, that nothing may break it but the blood of a Goate. Among straunge matters, this may seeme to bee none of the least, that in Egipt it seldome or never raineth: yet by the overflowing of the river Nilus, it is so aboundant of all thinges, that it may be compared even with the chiefest yet is there not a Vine in all Egipt.

The Eele commeth or is ingendred of the earth and mud without anie spawne, neither is there either male or female of them. It is said that an Hare is one yeare male, & another yeare female.

There is in Syria a water called Asphaltum, whose vertue is such, that there cannot anie thing sinke or be drowned in it that hath life.

Affricke yeeldeth a little serpent called Aspis, the stinging stroke whereof cannot by any meanes bee healed but by the drinking of the stone of some ancient king.

Wonderfull it is that Plinie writeth of this mischievous worme: for the male (saith he) & the female goe both together, and if anie man kill one of them, the other stil pursueth the slaier, and wil never leave him til he be revenged: yea and will followe him even through an assembl of people, so that there is no helpe but to passe over some water which it cannot passe.

Athanasi is the famous Bishop of Alexandria is reported to have lived six whole years in a dry cesterne where he never saw the sunne.

It is strange to consider the hugeness of the Citty of Babilon, for by report it was in compasse threescore miles, the walles therof three hundred feete in night, three core and fifteene foote in bredth, having one hundred gates of brasse, the tower that Nimroth builded, above fine miles in haight.

Woonderfull is the inhumanitie of the people in the further most part of Persia, who when their Parentes bee verie sicke or aged they throwe them unto fierce and wilde dogges which doe rent and devoure them.

The doggefish is saide to make a noise like the barking of a dogge when the fisher hath taken him. In the bankes of the river Nilus is ingendred a little beast which hath such venemositie in his eyes, that who so be holdeth them dieth incontinent.

The Cammelles of Bractria will run above an hundred miles in one day. There is a kinde of Carbuncle stone called Carehedonius of a woonderfull nature, for being in an house it is of a purple colour, but in the aire it is fierie against the sunne, it sendeth forth sparkes, and if wax bee put to it, it melteth awaie. Strabo writeth that in Tartarie nere the Sea Caspium, be a kinde of people, that if they perceave that their Parentes live or exceede the age of three score & ten yeares, they put them into a close place, and so most unnaturally doe famish them, which done they draw them out and leave them in some desart, going a far off from them, and beholding them.

Nowe if birdes doe devoure them, they then accounte them blessed: if dogges or wild-beastes do it, they doe not account it so happy: but if Dogs and wilde beastes doe, they esteeme those men most unhappie.

There are Cedar trees in Siria one hundred and thirtie foote high, and five or six fathome in compasse: the wood will never rotte neyther will wormes breed in them.

The little beast the Chamelion beeing spotted, chaungeth those spottes at his pleasure, according to the thinge then presente in his sight, he sleepeth with his eyes open, so that his eyes bee never shut, hee never eateth nor drinketh but liveth only by the aire.

It is suposed that the Stork hath no tong, and that the yong ones much succour and provide meate for the old ones. Corrall is a tree or bush growing in the sea, which beeing once gathered & out of the water becometh a stone: such is the straunge nature thereof.

Strange it is that the Goate should be continuallie troubled with an Agve, and the Quaile with the falling sicknes. In Sicile Ireland are Giants which have but one eye and that is in the middle of their foreheades. In Sicillia is a River which runneth from the great Mountaine Taurus of such an exceeding cold nature, that if any man remaine therin any time, it mortifieth the whole body.

The beaste Canips which is some what like an Ape, but that he is more greater and more puissant, and his head more like unto a Dog: is of a wonderfull strange nature: for besides that they have a voice like a man, they shewe every houre of the day and night by their making of water, for at every houre doe they pisse: to wit foure and twentie times in a naturall day. Also they so lament the wane of the Moone, that during the time of her darknes before her change they never wil look upward or eate any thing, but hanging downe their heads show a countenance of sorrow.

There bee people under the great Cham which have heads like unto our dogs. In a thiope by a towne called Debris is a Well of a strange property, for the water in the day time is cold, and in the night it is boyling hote.

The Dolphin is so wonderful swift in swimming, that wer it not that his mouth is so nere his belly no fish might escape him, but by reson of his mouth he can tak no fish but lying with his belly upward: his mutable tong is apt for voyce, & is greatly delighted with musick & is thought of all fishes best to love mankinde.

Certaine people called Derlies, have this custome: when their friends come to the age of 70 yeres, they slay them & eat them calling all their neighbors to the feast, but the women they strangle and then burie them as they doe others that die within that age: they punishe everie offence bee it never so little even with death.

There is a stone to be had in the heade of a Dragon if you sodainely strike off the Dragons head, for otherwise the stone dissolveth while the Dragon dieth.

The Dromedarie beeing in journying, can endure from anie drinke, for the space of three dayes. In the roote of an Oake is founde a little worme of so mischievous poyson, that if one tread on him barefooted, foorthwith the skin commeth of and all the legge swelleth, and which is more to be marvailed at they that do handle him that is hurt looseth his skin.

In Solinus you may sinde it mentioned, that in Affricke there bee certaine people which if they praise faire, goodly corne, prettie children, goodly cattell, and such like they die presently. And Plinie also writeth of some, which beholding any person stedfastlye with an angry countenance they destroy them; and this is founde true mane times heere even amongst us.

Of all foure footed beastes the Elephant is the greatest and most [...]and of most understanding, his age is [...] dred yeares. Plinie saith that none advontrie, and that if they meete with a man in the Wildernes being out of anie waie, they will gently goe before him and bring him into the plaine way. To this Solinus seemeth to agree.

The Elephant is at continuall warre with the Dragon, who like an envious person will not be satisfied but with the blood of the Elephant, and therefore lying in waite as the Elephant passeth by the Dragon, beeing of an exceeding length, windeth his taile about the hinder legges of the Elephant and so letteth his going, and then thrusteth his head into the Elephants nose and sucketh or exhausteth his breath, or els biteth him in the eare, whereto he may not reach with his nose, and when the Elephant is faint, so that he can no longer indure, hee falleth downe uppon the Dragon which is full of blood and with the poysen of his bodie breaketh him: so that the blood of the Dragon and of the Elephant, runneth about mingled together, which is that which we rall Sinopre.

If one doe stedfastly behold the birde Ealgulus that hath the yeallow Jaundise foorthwith the partie is delivered and the birde hath the disease.

Amongst manie strange thinges found in India, this is to be remembred. There is a beast called Gazella, which naturally hath a superfluous blood congealed on his belly and groweth like an impostume, and when it is ripe, the beast goeth to a tree, or a stone and rubbeth his belly thereon untill that humor breaketh out like unto corrupt matter, which at the first doth stinke filthely, but when it hath beene hanged in the ayre for a season it waxeth ripe, and than hath it an odoriferous savour, and that is it which wee commonly call muske.

That which wee call Civet is nothing else but as it were a superfluous sweate found betweene the flanks of a beast much like unto a Cat.

It is reported that the Hearing liveth only by water. The tree whereof groweth the wood Ebenus which is as black as seat, beareth neither leafe nor fruit which is rare. There are people called Hippopodes dwelling in the Scithicke Ocean, which have feet like unto horses. In Judye they have ever two summers, and fruites and graine is twise a yeere gathered, the winds are alwaies there very calme, temperate, and not troubleus: their beasts and foules more greater than in other Countries, and of many more kinds.

Straunge is the nature of the Larix tree which perisheth not neither by totting nor by eating of wormes, neither will it burne in a flame, nor be brought into coales, neither will it swim uppon the water as other trees doo, and therefore they are either carried in ships or laid uppon firre trees, and so pinned together close that they may not stirre one from an other when they are brought at any time over the sea.


The urine of the beast called Linx who is faced like a Lion and spotted like a Panther, hath this quality in his urine, that immediatly after the making or comming away from it sodainely turneth to a stone.

It is said that there is a certain kind of fish which in latine is called Loligo, wee have no english name for it, this fish hath his head placed between his feet & his belly most strangly, and hath two bones one like a knife, and the other like a pen. Among thinges of woonder this is not the meanest, that is written of the tree called Lutos, which groweth in Affrick, for if any stranger doth eat of the frute therof, he doth incontinently forget his owne Country wherein I, was borne.

In the Iles of Maniolae beyonde the river Ganges, are such rocks all of Load stones that they draw even whole shippes that have iron nailes in them.

There have been divers men by report that have had no teeth but onely one bone, so had king Phirrus and Monodos. In the east parte of the worlde are men have but one legge, wherewith they goe by apes, and that more swiftly than any beast.

Such like also are saide to bee in Indie that one legge being so great that therewith they they cover themselves from the sunne.

It cannot be but strange that the vermine called a Shrew going over anie beast, should make that part lame which she toucheth, yea and if shee bite aniething it swelleth up to the hart, and the beast dieth thereof.

Strabo writeth of a certaine kind of Calkey clay, whereunto if fire bee put it kindleth in such wise, that if a little water be cast thereon it burneth more fervently, and may onely be with abundance of water or viniger, allume and birdlime.

Plutarche saith there is ore thereof in Babilon. They that inhabitite in the countrie of Hungarie, report that they have a certaine river, in the which if Iron be often dipped it wil turne to copper.

Strange it is that all beasts so marveslously delight with the sweete that commeth from the Panther: in so much that smelling the sweete aire where they have their resort, thither will all beasts come, and are not afraide but onely of the Panther his fierce lookes: wherein also marke as strange a secrete in nature, the Panther perceaving this, of a subtiltie hideth his head suffering the rest of his bodie to be gazed upon, that he may at the better advantage take his pray of the sillie dismaied cattell.

These Panthers the Hircanes rather poison with a poyson called acoint than with weapon: wherein also see an other secret in the nature of the Panther, feeling himselfe to be poysoned, hasteth immediatlie to finde the ordure or dunge of mankind, and by the eating thereof are preserved. If all the bowelles of these beastes bee quite taken out of their bodies, yet will they live a long while as some report.

Who can but woonder at the Birde called a Phoenix shoulde live sixe hundred yeares, and carrying sweet spices up to a mountaine the heat of the sunne & labour of hir wings, kindleth fire, whereby shee being all consumed and burned, of her ashes riseth another of that kinde, and it is supposed that there is but onely one of them.

What should I say of the Giant Polycrates, who in [...]suffred any griefe, [...]into the Sea, to the intent hee suffer [...]and thereby [...]the [...]But marke the ende, the ring cast into the sea the fish devoured the ring, and the same day was caught of the fisher and given to the King for [...]thereof, and being opened the ring was found in the fishes belly, wherat as well he and all other about him marvailed greatly.

The fly Pytalis is ingendred of the fire, and as long as it is in the fire it liveth, but when it is far from it, it dyeth incontinently.

The Robinred-brest if he find a man or woman dead, will cover all his face with mosse, and some thinke that if the body should remaine unburied, that hee woulde cover the whole body also.

Plinie sayth, that if a traveller binde Mugwort to any part of him, it keepeth him from being weary in travell. The Sicamore tree beareth not fruit out of the toppes of the boughs as the figge tree doth unto which it is like neither will the graine nor fruit ripen except it be scraped with an yron instrument.

It is straunge that in the Ile Tiros which is in the Indian sea, should be trees whose leaves doo never fall. Also woo groweth there upon trees which doo beare gourds of the of Quinces, which being ripe, [...]there is contained the wooll whereof is made very fine cloaths.

In the River Ganges, men say are certaine fishes called Vermes, three score Cubits in length having such strength that when Oliphants come to the water and do drinke, they will take them by the nose, and by great force draw them unto them.

All beastes doo detest the female Pimpernell and not the male: Also it is reported, that Pimpernell laid under the threshold of the doore driveth away all manner of inchantments and witchcraft.

Chickwood beginneth to spring in the middle of winter, and in the middle of summer it vanisheth away. Fuchius writeth that that house is never stroken with Thunder nor Lightning, uppon the which doth growe Housleeke, or Syngreene.

Prickmadam floureth thrise every yeare. Plinie reporteth that Mugwort is of woonderfull effect for womens diseases, in so much as if women doo but usually carry it about them they shall not at any time be hurt neither of corrupt medicines, nor of any beast, nor of any beast, nor of the sunne his heate.

If you tye a browne threed, packthreed, or other like about the brim or outer edge of a bell, if that bell bee so rong, it will breake incontinent.

It is to be marvailed at, that uppon Midsomer Eve which is the Eve of the feast day of saint John Baptist, just at noone is to bee founde under every Roote of Plantine and also of Mugwort, a Coale ether of Charcole or else a seacole, which cole as divers affirme is profitable to be borne about one against the plague, the agve and other like diseases. In credit it is that it should theu bee founde and at no time els but even just at noone. I dare be bold to'note it for truth, for that I my selfe have founde it divers times in the presence of many at that houre, and having sought for the same at other times, it is not to be found: but whether it hath such vertue as some affirme, I cannot justlie affirme: yet doe I conjecture that it may well be, for the strange finding of it at such an houre, in my judgement is more wonderfull than the vertues, yea and I dare assure you that I never knewe any that ever carried it about them, that ever had the plague or was troubled with any kinde of agve.

It is also incredible that Mugwort put info Ale or Beere in the heate of summer, shoulde keepe the same from sowring, yet daylie experience she weth the contrarie: so that you put in quantitie according to the proportion of your drinke, for the greater quantitie requireth also the greater quantitie of Mugwort.

Who can but wonder that in some countries the Sunne should day by day continuallie rise at six of the clocke in the morning, and set at sixe at night without alteration: Also that in other countries some daies to be a month, two, three, or foure months: I meane that in so longtime the Sunne setteth not but shineth continually.

Yea and that those that dwell directlye under the poles of the worlde, have but one onely day in the whole yere, that is to say that they have for six months, or for halfe the yeare continuall day and the other halfe yeare have the continuall night with seeing the Sunne.

When the Sunne riseth with us, it is noone with some, with others Sunne setting, with others midnight &c. Above other countries Spaine, Iberia, Dalmatia, Tolosa, India & the Aethiopian Ilands, are most fruitfullest of gold, by the report of Matialis, Plinie, Michaell, Anglicus and others.

Corinthus, Caristos, Dodova, abound in Brasse. Above all other places, England, Italie, Thracia, and Calabria, excell in multituds of beastes and cattell, Affricke, and Arcadia, in plentie of Asses.

For plentie of Crees, the mount Atlas & Caucasus: the fortunate Ilands, India, Cirene, and Hiccinia. The City of Antron in Thessalie, for dennes and caves. In the fortunate Ilands by the report of Plinie, are trees that are above 144. feete in height. Also he sayth that in India are trees of such an exceeding height that one cannot shoote to the top of them. Hibla in Sicilie surpasseth for Bees and plenty of hony. Also for Hares the hill Erimanthus in Arcadie for wild Boares.

The fortunate Ilands, for plenty of byrds of all sorts, and store of Apples. The Englishmen, Armenians, Arabians, Ithyreians, some Parthians excel in shooting. The Irish in casting of the dart.

Plinie reports that in Judie are reeds or canes of such length & greatnes, that betweene knot and knot may bee made a Boate to carry three or foure men.

In Egipt is vineger made so excellent, that it is sold for more than the wine it selfe. Egypt bringeth forth the venemons serpents Aspids of whom if any man be stroken, there is no remedy but to cut out the wound so deepe that none of the venemous matter be remaining otherwise they dye.

For Aromaticall things Persia challengeth principality. An Eels will live 300. yeares and will endure eight dayes without water. The River Ganges by the report of Plinie & Solinus, breedeth Eeles 30 feete in length.

Egipt, Macedonie, and the Iland Melus, hath the best Alum. The best Anise seeds are in Siria. Aloe in India and the gumme Aloe out of Arabia and asia. The chiefest Alablaster commeth from India, Damascus, and from Sparta. The Silke out from the River Orantes and from Assit Celadusa, she [...]in Sicely and England abound in Oxen and Kine. In Phenicia the kine are of such hugenes, that the women doe stand and milke them saith; that by the red sea bee Oxen that have hornes which you may winde or bende, which way you please.

In India they will as fat as Horses. In Euboia all their beasts for the most part, be white. The wilde Beasts of Aethiop do move their , even in like case as [...] , a towne in Cilicia, is accounted to have the best and greatest plentie of Saffron, but now our English Saffron is most accepted of in all Countries.

The Canarie Ilands hath the greatest store of Dogges, and thereof (after Plinie) tooke the name. Others affirme that Sparta is most plentifull of Dogges.

The Ilands of Creete, tooke his name of the abundance of Chalke or Fullers earth that is found there. The River Nilus, of all other places bringeth Crocodiles. These being bred of egges, grow into a greater forme than any other thing whatsoever that is hatcht of an egge. They have no tongues, and live both upon land & also water; and for foure months in the winter season [...]any thing at all.


The Iland Capra tooke the name of the number of Goates that there. The City of Avella [...]hath the greatest store of nuts and the [...]th called in latine nuces Avellanae. The mountaine Hym and the greatest store of [...]tude of Bees. It is reported that [...]is such great abundance of pigeons that they goe forth to fight against them. The hill of [...]the of Lydia [...]b he price: yet Volater [...]othe ly nd England for plenty of. The Inhabitance about the Alpes have gret plenty [...]ron and steele, but in [...]not come to England. The City in the Ile of Pontus is most abounding [...]to England hath the greatest plenty of Conyes.

Calabria and Malta have the name for plenty of Cotton. Aquitane aboundeth in Chesnuts: Massilia in Affrick for Dragons. Also in India bee Dragons that bee of equall bignes with the Elephant.

Plinie. Of all other cities Syracusa hath beene supposed to be the richest in the world. Scithia aboundeth in Horses; Argos for the best Horses amongst the beste [...]in Ireland. Affrick for Elephants, Aethiop for the ood nus. India hath Ants and Pismires as bigge as Dogges.

Babilonia by Herodotus report is one of the fruit-fullest countries in the world: as well for the plentie of trees, vines, oiles, and such like: as also for corne and Fodder.

Scythia are most plentifull of wilde beastes: and no mervaile sith they have no certaine place of abode, but are carried and in Cartes like vagarant people.

The of Egipt is so great, that the sheepe there bring forth Lambs twice a yeare, and there the Sheepe are shorne twice everie yeare.

The best Marble commeth from Sinada in Phrigia. The next to it commeth out of Numidia and 'tis speckled with purple spots.

The greene marble is brought from Laconia and of manie is accounted the most precious. The Cittie of Corinthus was so lacivions & given to venerie, that they built there a Temple of Venus, where there was about a thousande of the fairest and finest common women that could be founde, which were obedient to each mans call, the chiefest of them were called Lais, Ceren , Leaena, Synope, Phryne, and St. Damascus in Siria surpasseth for, Calabria for Peares, for leeks and Onions.

Briefely Calabria is most [...]Assiria for the profitable [...]Aymetus [...]a for , Dodova in Greece for , [...]Spaine for ambling horses, Indi [...]mirre, the cittie by Roome for [...], Germanie for blackbi ds, the river Ganges for Pearles, and to the truth England for all thinges: for if it well waied, what store of graine this Ila [...] is wonderfull: having both sufficient inhabitance thereof, and also to help countries that want that country in [...] to England? what more? wherein if it be con [...] of fe ell? what store [...]what multitude of Cattell are occu [...], it may seeme straunge from they have it? hat cittie in the world [...], merchantable, more rich, more with women of most amiable counte and beautie, more civeller in their atire? is there more buildings? what [...]stored with , with precions ples? what nation more for honie, for nne, lead, for soule, for beasts and cattel, for, for plentie of wooll, for clothing, for [...]nd costly hangings? here [...]gold & plentie of silver? where ittes, more profound and learned [...]? nay where so many, where [...]& schooles of learning [...]valiant and couragious souldiers? [...], to the persecuted, to the afflicted? what cou ie or nation in the worlde is that this that nourisheth so manie from parts of the world as England doth? have our mines, you quarries for stones, our gems, our pretious stones and all other necessarie and profitable things, our good God he blessed and praised that.

Wee are not troubled with poyjoning Serpents, nor with fierce Lyons, or with devouring Tigers, Beares, Wolfes, Panthe any such hurtfull beases as other are.

The cittie Bisuntium in hath a field, wherein there be two welles, the water of the one is very sweet, and the water of the other is apt to be made salt.

Alos the Cittie of is famous for salt, even so is England. In Swine so and used so fat, they can scarce move themselves: so that Plinie saith, there hath in [...]at making her vest upon the bodyes.

Aquitanie hath the name for Salmons: o may England. Sparta excelleth for yorke, ricia and mascus for , Arabia for [...]. In India they have she is that they over the houses there with, as we do ours with state and tile, yea in some places they use them for boates.

Statius saith that there is River in, which causeth all the beastes that drinke herof to become white; which is the reason at their beasts for the most part of white colour.

England and the Cittie in Camp for bathes are most notable. Thessalie, the Ile of Pontus, and Colches, I eria and Scithia, have more poyson & venomous [...]erbes than all other Countries.

In be white Beares so infected with poyson, that they kill such dogges as hunt them even with the breath. Genoesa a cittie in Aetolia is alwaies & continually with great windes. No countrie [...]compared to Judie for glasse. Varr saith what countrie is comperable to Campania for meals, to for wine, to for wheate, to England for wool, tin, and lead.

Strange it is that the Iland Guleegalata by Carthage, breedeth no Scorpions: nay the very earth killeth them. Even so in Ireland we know no enomous beast is bred, or if any bee brought from other places thether they die. The Iland Sicaros in Arabia breedeth no days, and if awaie be set on shore there, they run raging up and downe till they die.

Affricke only hath no Deere, neyther is there any Beares. Scithia & the Ile of Pontus have no Asses breeding in them, by reason that they bee colde countries, for Asses can not well indure the cold.

Arabia bringeth fort ne of any forte: Neither is there a found in Boeotia, or Hares in Ithaca. In Ebusus are found no Connies, nor on the mountaine Olimpus, any wolfes: neither other England breed any wolfes, & as some affirme: such as are brought thether will not live.

In the Ile of Creet are no foxes, nor beares nor any other noisome beast. Plinie saith that in Affrick there bores, nor Hars nor Goates, nor Beates. In the Cittie of Thebes commeth n swallowes.

In Creete are no Owles nor Night crewes, yea and if any be brought thether they will not live. There is a place in Italie where is not anie Storkes: so also in a field by Roome. There is not any bird to be seene in the Ile of Pontus, where Achisses was buried. In Egipt could never Cherrie tree bee made to growe by anie meanes that ever could bee used. The herbe Time was never he to growe in Arcadia: neyther on the mountaine in Creete was ever any flie found. There is no moathes found to bee either in Thrasia or Phrigi. In India they have neyther nor lead, but doe exchaunge precious stone and such like for them. In the Ile of are never seen any mise. In the towne of Dawlis by Delphos is never heard Nightingale. Strabo saith that in Portugall are no hilles nor mountaines. Gauleon breedeth no Serpents, neither doth Coronea in Boeotia bring out anye mouldewarpes. Italie hatchet [...], raunce excesse of pride, England Scotland craftinesse, Ireland , Flaunders drunkennesse.

FINIS. Epigraph: Laboris condimentum ocium

This is the full version of the original text


beasts, cloth, clothing, fruitful, plenty, poison, serpents

Source text

Title: Cornucopiae

Author: Thomas Johnson

Publisher: Not given

Publication date: 1595

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online at Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 14707 Physical description: [46] p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: STC / 963:23

Digital edition

Original author(s): Thomas Johnson

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > nonfiction prose > science

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.