Six Whole Ducks in the Belly of an Ounce I Killed

The wise creator of the universal globe has placed a golden mean between two extremes, be­tween the cold and the hot. While Frigida Zona is good for nothing, and Torrida Zona may be good for grasshoppers, this golden mean, Zona Temperata, is good for the ant and the bee. Accordingly, New England is judged by all judicious men the principal part of America: For the sweetness of its air, the fertility of its soil, the variety of its beasts, birds and fish, and the small number of savages (which might seem a rub in the way of an effeminate mind), I call it Nature’s masterpiece.

The General Survey of the Country

New England is that part of America in the Ocean Sea opposite to Nova Albyon in the South Sea. New France is northward. Virginia, New Granada, New Spain, New Andalusia, and the West Indies are southward. The chief mountains are those of Pennobscot, the twinkling mountain of Aucocisco, the great mountain of Sasanou, and the high mountain of Massachu­setts. The bay of Massachusetts, which is the middle part of New England, is both safe, spa­cious, and deep: A harbor where 1,000 ships may safely ride. Mariners may behold the two capes thrust themselves out into the sea in the form of a half-moon, embracing their welcome ships in their arms. There is an island called Deer Island because of the deer that often swim there from the main land when they are chased by wolves. Some have killed sixteen deer in a day upon this island. There is an island called Long Island, so called from its longitude. There are other islands: Round Island, Slate Island, Governor’s Garden, Glass Island, Bird Island, &c. There is a brook with a great store of smelts, and therefore it is called Smelt Brook. There is a river called Stony River. There is another river called Aquamenticus. There is a good har­bor there, and there is good ground, much of which has already been cleared, as it had once been planted by the savages who are now all dead. There is good timber there.

A Perspective to View the Country by

In New England both men and women keep their natural complexion. If the sun tans them, winter’s cold restores them to their former complexion. Virginia, in contrast, having no winter to speak of but extremely hot summers, has dried up much English blood, and by pestiferous diseases swept away many lusty bodies, changing their complexion not to swarthiness, but into paleness, so that when they come for trading in our parts we know many of them by their faces. The common diseases of England are strangers to the English now in that strange land. Although I have traveled through heat and cold, wet and dry, by sea and land, in winter and summer, day by day, for four years, yet scarcely did I know what belonged to a day’s sick­ness. There are more double births than in England. And the woman usually have a more speedy recovery after their delivery than in England. It is also observed that every tenth year there is little or no winter. I never heard of any that utterly perished at land with cold: A cer­tain man, being somewhat distracted, broke away from his keeper and ran into the wood in the middle of winter. After four days he returned, appearing as well in body as when he had left, and much better in mind.


Of Pot-Herbs and Plants

Saxifarilla. Bay­berry. Brook-lime. Fuss-balls, very large. One-berry, or herb true-love. Honeysuckles. Tobacco. French mallows. Tree-primrose, taken by the ignorant for scabious. A plant like knaves’ mustard, called New England mustard. Winter savory. Summer savory. Yellow-bastard daffodil. Live-for-ever, a kind of cud-weed. Blue Flower-de-luce, excellent to provoke vomiting. Solomon’s seal. Herb Robert. Cinque-foil. Tormentile. Speedwell chick-weed. Upright pennyroyal. Squonterquashes. Avens, with the leaf of mountain-avens, but the flower and root of English avens. White hellebore (The powder of the root, put into a hollow tooth, is good for the toothache). Maiden-hair. Autumn bell-flower. Ground-ivy or ale-hoof. Arsmart, both kinds. White satin grows pretty well. So does lavender-cotton. But lavender is not for the climate. Coriander and dill and anis thrive exceedingly. Clary never lasts but one summer. Asparagus thrives exceedingly. So do garden-sorrel and sweet brier, or eglantine. Celandine grows but slowly. Muscat grows as well as in England. Dittan­der, or pepper-wort, flourishes notably, and so does tansy. Spurge thyme, very like to rupter-wort, and full of milk. Rupter-wort, with the white flower. Blood-wort. Jagged rose-penny-wort. Stich-wort, commonly taken here, by ignorant people, for eye-bright. Glass-wort, here called berrelia, growing abundantly in salt marshes. St. John’s wort. St. Peter’s wort. Cat’s tail. Featherfew. Dog-stone, a kind of satyrion, growing in salt marshes (I once took notice of a wanton woman compounding the solid roots of this plant with wine to make an amorous cup, which wrought the desired effect). Water-plantain, here called water-suck leaves. Sea-plantain, three kinds. Small-water archer. Goose-grass. Mouse-ear minor. Ad­der’s tongue. Water-cress. Sea-tears. Water-lily, with yellow flowers (The Indians eat the roots, which taste like the liver of a sheep). Dove’s-foot. Raven’s claw. Knobby crane’s bill. Parsnips, of a prodigious size. Pease of all sorts, and the best in the world. Indian beans, falsely called French beans. Wheat. Rye. Barley, which commonly degenerates into oats. Oats.


Full publication in Seneca Review #38.

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