Of the Disposicion of the Inhabitatours of that Londe. Capitulum tricesimum quartum.
SOLINUS, the grete clerke, rehersethe that the peple of that londe be like to the peple of Barbre, bellicose, accom|ptenge Page 353, vol.1 ryȝhte and wronge as for oon thynge, a peple sym|ple in habite, scarse and litelle in fyndenge, cruelle in herte, scharpe in speche, vsenge frutes for flesche, mylke for drynke, a peple that ȝiffethe more attendaunce to ydelnesse and to disportes then to labour. The peple of that cuntre is norischede hardely after thei comme in to this worlde, whiche vse no sadelles in rydenge, neither spurres, neither bootes. Neuerthelesse thei haue a wonde, other a rodde, clenede in the hier parte of it to cause the horses to move and labour in theire honde; which fiȝhte with oute armoure, neuerthelesse thei vse dartes and speres, and thei fiȝhte also with oon honde and with brode axes, vsenge moche stones in theire fiȝhtenge when thei wonte other weppen. This peple despisethe tyllenge of londe, vsenge pastures, and suf|frenge the hynder partes of theire hedes to groe in to a Page 355, vol.1 grete lengthte: not vsenge theire lyfe in makenge of clothe of wolle, other elles of lyne or flex, neither in eny kynde of marchandise, neither in eny honde crafte; but ȝiffen to ydelnesse, accompte to be with owte labor delites, and a plea|sure to ioye in liberte. Also Scotlande, the doȝhter of hit, as in ydelnesse vsethe an harpe, a tympan, and a crowde. And Wales vsethe trumpettes, an harpe, and a crowde. Ne|uerthelesse men of Irlonde be experte specially in ij. kyndes of musike, that is to say, an harpe, and a tympan stryngede and armede with cordes off brasse. But thauȝhe thei make a swyfte melody ther with and a swete, thei begynne with a softe noyce and tune, and pleyenge priuely vnder a dulle sounde of a more grosse corde returne to the same. The peple of this cuntre is vile of condicion; vn to this tyme presente they pay not theire tythes, thei make not lawe|fulle contractes in matrimony, thay avoide not inceste, but breþer wedde the wyfes of theire brether, vsenge gretely Page 357, vol.1 treason, berenge in theire honde an instrumente callede a sparth as for a staffe with the whiche they perische ofte|tymes men trustenge in theyme. This peple is frowarde and inconstante, diuerse or variable, and wyly, amonge whom batelle is more to be dredde then arte, peace more then armor, hony more then galle, malice more then cheual|lery; the propertes and condicions of whom be, thei be neither stronge in battelle neither tru in pease; whiche ioyne to theyme men whom thei intende to sle by the bonde of compaternite and of consecrate fraternite, by whiche oon of theyme drynkethe the bloode of that other wyllefully. Which luffe theire childer in a maner, and breþer; whiche prosecute their cosynnes; deceyvenge men in lyfe, and tak|enge Page 359, vol.1 vengeaunce for dedde men. Mony men of that cuntre vse to make water and to sende furthe theire vryne syt|tenge, and women stondenge. Also there is moche peple of that londe destitute in theire membres thro the deformite of nature; for lyke as men amonge theyme welle formede by nature be semely men, so men deformede by nature amonge þeim be moste vile and hade in contempte; and by ryȝhte, for hit is not to be hade in meruayle, thauȝhe nature hurte brynge furthe peple as ageyne the lawe of nature, amonge peple vsenge inceste and takenge women ageyne the lawe of God. Also hit is seide amonge commune peple, olde women of that londe, and of Wales, to chaunge theyme in to the forme of an hare and to sowke bestes, and to take aweye the mylke of other men, and to make feynte the grehowndes of grete men thro cowrsenge and rennenge. And somme of theim causenge redde swyne thro wycche|crafte, after thei were made fatte and solde at feires, when Page 361, vol.1 thei come to eny water to returne in to an other kynde, causenge that body soe to endure by wycchecrafte by the space of thre dayes. Amonge whiche thynges hit is to be [folio 50b] aduertede that the extremites of the worlde schyne in newe wondres and meruailes, as if that nature scholde schyne and play more in priuate places and remouede then in open places and also nye.