Gerard's Herball - Or, Generall Historie Of Plantes
GERARDS HERBALL TABLE OF CONTENTS vii Page v TO THE RIGHT HONOKABLE HIS SINGULAR GOOD LORD MASTER, SIR WILLIAM CECIL Knight, Baron of Burghley, Master of the Court of Wards Liveries, Chancellor of the Universitie of Cambridge, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, one of the Lords of her Majesties most honorable Privy Councell, and Lord high Treasurer of England. MONG the manifold creatures of God right A Honorable, and my singular good Lord that have all in all ages diversly entertained many excellent wits, and drawn them to the contemplation of the divine wisdome, none have provoked mens studies more, or satisfied their desires so much as plants have done, and that upon just and worthy causes for if delight may provoke mens labor, what greater delight is there than to behold the earth apparelled with plants, as with a robe of embroidered worke, set with Orient pearles and garnished with great diversitie of rare and costly jewels If this varietie and perfection of colours may affect the eye, it is such in herbs and floures, that no Apelles, no Zcuxis ever could by any art expresse the like if odours or if taste may worke satisfaction, they are both so soveraigne in plants, and so comfortable that no confection of the Apothecaries can equal1 their excellent vertue. But these delights are in the outward senses the principal delight is in the mind, singularly enriched with the ix The Epistle knowledge of these visible things, setting forth to us the invisible wisdome and admirable workmanship of Almighty God. The delight is great, but the use greater, and joyned often with necessitie. In the first ages of the world they were the ordinary meate of men, and have continued ever since of necessary use both for meates to rnaintaine life, and for medicike to recover health. The hidden vertue of them is such, that as PZiny noteth the very bruit beasts have found it out and which is another use that he observes from thence the byars tooke the beginning of their ri. Furthermore, the necessary use of those fruits of the earth doth appeare by the great charge and care of almost all men in planting maintaining of gardens, not as ornaments onely, but as a necessarie provision also to their houses. And here beside the fruit, to speake again in a word of delight, gardens, especialy such as your Honor hath, furnished with many rare Simples, do singularly delight, when in them a man doth behold a flourishing shew of Summer beauties in the midst of Winters force, and a goodly spring of flours, when abroad a leafe is not to be seene. Besides these and other causes, there are many examples of those that have honoured this science for to passe by a multitude of the Philosophers, it may please your Honor to call to remembrance that which you know of some noble Princes, that have joyned this study with their most important matters of state Mithridates the great was famous for his know- ledge herein, as Pbtarch noteth. Euax also King of Arabia, the happy garden of the world for principal1 Simples, wrot of this argument, as PZiny sheweth. Dioclesian likewise, might have had his praise, had he not drowned all his honour in the bloud of his persecu- tion. To conclude this point, the example of Solomon is before the rest, and greater, whose wisdome and knowledge was such, that he was able to set out the nature of all plants from the highest Cedar to the lowest Mosse...