The seating and situating of the Countrie Farme, with other his appurtenances.
ALthough euerie man in all things enquireth after his owne commoditie, and straineth himselfe to come as neere to perfection and excellencie as possible he can▪ notwithstanding, the well-instructed and modest House. holder contenteth himselfe with that, whatsoeuer it be, that commeth of the hand and grace of God, and accounteth for great bountifulnesse and liberalitie such Pittance, Grounds, and Seat as falleth vnto him, assuring himselfe, that choice and perpetuall fruition belong no more to him than Empi•es and Kingdomes vnto Princes. Wherefore, if the place wherein he was borne, which he enioyeth by right of Succession, or Purchase, be not naturally so sit and conuenient, as that he may there∣by be drawne and allured with the loue of it▪ then he must endeuour so to fit it by his skill,* and endeuour by his labour so carefully to amend and correct it, that it may be sufficient for the maintaining of him & those that belong vnto him, and the erecting and setting vp of an House.* For he should not learne to lust after, or desire, anie more (if the Prouerbe be true) than a Wheele-barrow for the first hundred yeares, and a Banner for the second hundred yeares.
If I should here goe about but once to imagine such a situation of a Countrie House, as should be so perfect and exquisite, at that nothing should be wanting therein, I might iustly seeme to my selfe to be void of all reason. It is verie true, that if anie such place could be found,* where the Aire, Water, and Earth did all affoord their best and most desired fauours and qualities, it would much auaile and make for the purpose: but so it is, that neither Emperours nor Kings could euer attaine the skill to content themselues otherwise than with the situation of their owne Coun∣tries: some of them sometimes being too hot, too cold, verie subiect to corruption and putrifaction; othersome lesse profitable for the bringing forth; and some againe of a meane and indifferent condition, and contrariwise. Notwithstanding, although the place be not so fertile as a man could wish, neither yet so commodious as that great Husbandman Cato doth desire it; yet it must be prouided and foreseene aboue all other things, that it haue the benefit of a good Aire: for suppose, that the grounds were verie fruitfull, and endued with all the best properties and qualities that a man cou•d possibly wish to be in a champian ground;* yet notwithstanding, if the Aire be pestilentiall and infectious, or not found, it should argue nothing but great foo∣lishnesse in a man thereto imploy his cost and paines. For where a man is in conti∣nuall danger of sicknesse, or of death, not onely the gathering of Fruits, but also the life of the Workman is continually hazarded: or rather, which is more truely said, death •s there more certaine than any profit. Wherefore (if it be possible) you must Page 5 make choice of a place farre from marishes, farre from the Sea shore, and where as neither the Southerne nor Northerne winds doe ordinarily blow, and which lyeth not altogether open to the South Sunne, nor yet vnto the North: but principally see that it be placed neere vnto some one or other good and honest neighbour,* seeing it is an insupportable thing to be daily haunted of a brawling and wicked neighbour: let it not be placed neere to Holds or Townes of Garrison, thereby to auoid the outrages of Tyrannie, and inrodes of Souldiors:* let it in like manner be farre from Riuers and Brookes, which are subiect to ouerflow, and that in respect of the vn∣auoidable charges for the repayring of such ruines and spoyle as such ouerflowings doe cause.* And yet I could willingly wish, and greatly desire, that it might not be farre off from some smooth and gentle streame, able to beare a ship, to the end that victuals may with the lesse cost be transported thence to other places for your better commoditie sake: as also neere some great good Towne, that so the things of readiest sale may be sold for the best aduancement and making of the most of the reuenues of the same. Although to wish to haue a Farme in euerie point so perfect and well seated, as that nothing should be wanting vnto it, were (as hath beene said) an vnreasonable thing: as it is also to expect or looke for grounds and fields so well conditioned, as a man could desire in a ground of speciall and principall praise and commendation. It is true, that besides that Necessitie doth beget skill, and prouoke and stirre vp men to take all possible paine, industrie, and care; it doth also procure, that there should not that discommoditie be found to offer it selfe, which shall not be recompenced and counteruailed either by one or other commoditie: as for ex∣ample, in hot places there are growne good Wines and Fruits of long continuance: in cold places, great store of sweet waters, and sometimes sea-water, which greatly encreaseth their profit: in others, for the most part, when the Earth is barren in the vpper part, it containeth some good things vnderneath, as it falleth in Stone-pits, Mynes,* and such other things, which make the change for the better. So then wee are to hold our selues content with such estate and condition as the place shall af∣foord, where we must dwell and settle our habitation: and if it be not such as some curious man in his desire, or one that is hard to please, might require and looke for, then wee shall straine our selues to mend it by the meanes see downe here∣after.
There are verie few Farmes to be found so seated, as that there is not something to be supplyed, as want of Water in high and ascending places; such as are the Coun∣tries of Beaux and Campaigne, notwithstanding that their grounds there be strong, as it happeneth in rising and mountainous places: too great store of water in fal∣ling grounds and long valleyes, such as are to be found in some places of Sauoy, Daulphine, Auuergne, and Gascoigne, in which places there is more pasture than til∣lage: other quarters are giuen by nature to be sandie, as towards the Towne of E∣stamps, Saint Marturin de l'Archaut, in Solongue, and in the Countrey of Lands, which notwithstanding cease not to be moist and waterish: other quarters are chal∣kie and clayie, as towards Rheims, Troy, and Chalons in Campaigne: othersome are stonie, as towards Saint Lou de S•rans, Tonnerre, Vezelay in Daulphine, and in the Pyrene Mountaines,* where is to be found great store of excellent Marble: and some are rockie, which are most fit for the Countries abounding with Vines. Howsoeuer the case stand, the building cannot happen in so inconuenient and strange a place, but that a man may make choice to take the best quarter for the Sunne-shine, as that which is most for the health and wholesomenesse of the inhabitants, and apply it euerie way for his vse and ease.
If therefore a high and flat place, as Beaux or high France, doe want Water, you must,* for a supply, make Pooles right ouer against your Courts, and Cesternes in your Gardens: and as for your grounds, you must draw furrowes therein in such sort, as that the earth, cast vp by the way, may retaine moisture a long time: and if the ground proue it selfe strong, you shall not need to manure and dung it so oft, neither yet to let it lye fallow more than euerie fourth yeare. If you cast Pits, Page 6 you must digge them of a conuenient widenesse and length, that is to say, foure∣square; but somewhat more long than wide,* after the fashion of the Pits Aranques, which are in vse in the gardens of Prouence and Languedoc, with their trough laid to the brinkes of the Pits, to receiue such water as is drawne: but if the water be so low in the ground, that such kind of Pits cannot be made, then there must Pits be made to go with a wheele, and those so large, as that at euerie draught you may draw vp halfe a pipe of water at the least, which you shall emptie into particular troughes, and keepe them for the vse of your People and Cattell: but aboue all other things, you must haue a speciall care to gather and keepe well all Raine water, either in C•∣sterne, or otherwise.
The Cesterne shall be set in such a place,* as that it may receiue all that commeth from such spouts as are belonging to roofes or lower lofts of the house. It must be firmely and closely paued with clay and mortar, and after drawne ouer and floored with the same mortar, to the end that the water be not made muddie, or •ast of the earth: and if there happen any clift or chinke, you must stop it with Cement made of cleane Haire, Tallow, vnquencht Lime, and yolkes of Egges well beat and made into powder, and then all of them well mixed together. The throat or passage for the water out of it, shall be such as that appointed for the Pits or Wells▪ Some cast into their Cesternes E•les and other fresh water fish for to be fed and kept there, to the end that the water may become the lighter by reason of their mouing and stirring of it, and that so it may the more resemble the nature of running water: but indeed such water is nothing wholesome for men, as neither yet for beasts; it were farre bet∣ter to straw with greene hearbes all the bottome of the said Cesterne, and cast in lit∣tle pebbles of the Riuer vpon them, for by this meanes rather the water would be made better.
Moreouer,* for the discommoditie of Wood, you shall make leane the earth in cer∣taine places neere vnto your lodging with grosse Sand, Fullers earth, and ashes from off the Earth: after that, you shall either sow or set there such Trees, as you shall thinke that may serue you; although indeed it were good to proue what kind of Trees would best prosper there, before you wholly sow or set it.
If your place extend and reach vnto some running streame,* your medowes shall not be so farre off from it as your house; which, to be too neere a neighbour vnto Ri∣uers, would be a cause of procuring Rheumes, and the falling down of some Roomes: and yet it is not good to haue it too farre off, as well in respect of watering of the Cattell, as for the washing of Buckes, Skinnes, Line, and H•mpe; for the whiting of Webs of Cloth, if so be that you intend or purpose any such thing; for the grinding of your Corne, as also (if onely the Riuer neere vnto you be nauigable) to send that which you reape from your Fields vnto the Towne: but you must chuse the highest peece of ground to build your dwelling house vpon.
I leaue out the pleasures of Princes and great noble Personages,* who for their de∣light sake doe dwell in Summer in wattie places, excellently trimmed and beautified with waters, and furnished with all delights: for our householder may not in any case charge himselfe with further costs, than this his state may well beare: for Princes haue wherewith they may be at their change and varietie of lodgings, according to the changes and alterations of the seasons of the yeare, and to turne at their pleasure the square into the round, and contrariwise.
In a drie place,* as Beaux and Champaigne, and the mountainous Countries, learn• to set your building so well, as that it may take the Easterne Equinoctiall, and not lose the rising of the Sunne in March and October, or rather in September.
If there be euer a Hill,* build vpon the edge thereof, making choise to haue your lights towards the East: but if you be in a cold Countrey, open your lights also on the South side, and little or nothing towards the North, if it be not in your Barnes where you put your Corne, or such other things, as are subiect to the Weasell and other vermine. Ouer-against the North you shall procure some row or tuft of Trees for to be a marke vnto you of your place, and defence also for the same against the Page 7 Northerne windes in the Winter time. But if you be in a hote countrey, you must set your said tuft of Trees on the South side, against such windes and heat of Sunne as come from thence, and boldly open your lights, especially in the said Barnes which lie on the North side.
Make good choice of the best parts of your Grounds, to be most fit for Fruits, Corne, and Medowes, and plant your Vineyard, to haue the South open vpon it. You shall make also certaine crosse Barnes with their counter-windowes, in the place towards the South, to open them in the time of a Northerne wind. Such places are found in Countries full of Mountaines, which doe greatly desire the East; and yet notwithstanding would therewithall take part of the South, which is so needfull for them.
In this and such like places Wells are in greater request, and much more necessa∣rie than in valleyes and plaine grounds, and that wee may find out the place where it is best to make them, wee must chuse the Easterne side, at the beginning of the des∣cent, somewhat therewithall bending towards the North, but wee may not haue any thing to doe with the Westerne side: and yet somewhat better toward the South, where hauing ouer night digged the earth in diuers places the quantitie of three feet ouer and fiue in depth, and after returning in the morning at the Sunne-rise, you must make triall how it soundeth, being strucken with the end of a Holly staffe, ar∣med at the said end with some round peece of Iron or Latten, after the manner of the end of a Shepheards staffe without the Crooke; and there, by the iudgement of the eare, to obserue and marke how it soundeth vnderneath, as whether it sound like a Mortar, or like fat Earth, Potters clay, or some other that is very hard, or like a Glasse halfe broken, or else like a very deepe Pit, that toucheth the Quarrie or Veine lying vnderneath: and this is the best way to iudge and make triall. Or otherwise in the moneth of August or September, at such time as the Earth is verie drie, a little before the Sunne rise, you must lye downe flat vpon the ground, hauing your face toward the East, and chuse out that place where you shall espie a vapour to rise vp out of the Earth, after the manner of little Clouds, for this is a token of a proud (or plentifull store of) water. Or else to make a shorter triall, to make deepe trenches of foure foot within the ground, and therein to put sponges or fleeces of Wooll verie drie and cleane, couering them with boughs of Trees, or leaues of Hearbes: then, after some time, to take them out of the Earth, and they being wet and moist, doe argue abun∣dance of water, according to the qualitie of moisture which they haue within them: whereas if on the contrarie they be drie when they be taken vp, it argueth that there is no water to be come by. Diuers there be that gather figures of the springing vp of water in place where, by their seeing of small clouds and vapours rising from thence into the ayre, in drie, faire, and calme seasons. But howsoever, it is not con∣uenient to content ones selfe with the bare viewing of the hearbes which grow there∣upon, without hauing first made some triall: for vnder Crowfoot, Folefoot, Plan∣taine, Dogtooth, Cinquefoile, Milfoile, and three-leaued Grasse, Water is not farre to seeke, but it is naught worth, if one digge not verie deepe, as is to be seene at Bagnolet Belle-Ville vpon the Sand, and other places of Liury. Vnder Veruaine is oftentimes found good Water, and deepe, according to the nature of the ground: and withall, if the head doe spring from grounds apt to boyle, as red Sand, or gray Rocke, and not from those sides which by and by are dried vp. Aboue all, to the end we may have Wells containing water of a good rellish,* and such as will neuer drie vp, we must make choice of a s••die, blacke, grauelly, or clayish ground, or such a one as is full of pebbles, and especially that which is mixed of pebbles and sand together, but neuer of that water which floweth from Fullers clay, mire, mudde, or springeth from the grounds where Sallowes, Roses, Reeds, and other such Plants, which are engendred of a watrie humour, doe grow: for although that such places doe yeeld great store of water, notwithstanding that water is naught worth, and will easily be dried vp. Wherefore as much as lyeth in you procure that your Wells be farre off from such ditches, as wherein they lay the dung of Stables, Cattell, or Swine∣coats Page 8 to rot, or any other place which may annoy in regard of the pissing of beasts, if they be not well digged and made verie deepe.* True it is, that Wells will be a great deal• the better, if they consist of a high rising water, and not such a one as lyeth deepe in the earth. For howsoeuer that such Wells be lesse hot in Winter, and in Summer lesse cold, yet notwithstanding it shall be infinitely better, because it hath more helpe of the Sunne and Aire, which are the two things which doe greatly a∣mend and make better the water: and if necessitie force the water to lye so deepe and low, wee must seeke to helpe the inconuenience, by drawing but a little, and oft, for the iumbling and stirring of the water will rectifie it: and amongst other things, you must haue speciall care not to keepe it couered.
Fountaines* in like manner rising from such places of Mountaines, are had in re∣quest, as well for the profit of the water, which is a great deale better and more plea∣sant than that drawne out of Wells,* as also for the beautifying of the Country Farme. And for to find their Head, or Spring, wee must vse the like meanes as wee haue layd downe for the finding of Wells, excepted that wee must make chiefe choice of such as breake forth vpon the North at the bottome of high and great Mountains, hauing hollow places, and compassed about with plaines, for in such plaine grounds the wa∣ter gathereth it selfe together, and distilleth through the earth. Now this kind of prouision of water is when you desire it in great aboundance: but if you stand vpon and desire the best and most excellent water, you must make choice of high places, and such as are not ouer-shadowed, the fall whereof doth enioy the Sunne-rising, for water out of such Fountaines is a great deale more light and pleasant in tast, and by how much it runneth the swifter and longer way in the Aire and Sunne before it come to the bottome, so much it groweth the better; as when it falleth from high Rocks, it is (as it were) beaten and broken in falling through the downe-right places of stones and craggednes•e of the Rocks. We must also see that such Mountaines, be full of Dogs-tooth, Plantaine, Fox-taile, wild Penny-ryall, transmarine Sage, which is called Adianthum, Milfoile, Chameleon, and generally, all other hearbes and plants, which grow without being planted, and are by nature greene, well branched, good and thicke, and well flowred.
The time most apt in all the yeare,* and affoording greatest perseuerance for the finding out of the heads of Wells and Fountaines, are the moneths of August or Sep∣tember, for then it is easie to know the greatnesse of the head, when the earth, by the great heat of Summer, hath no moisture of raine left remaining in it, and then also we may gather assurance of such as will neuer drie vp altogether.
If it happen that the head Fountaine be somewhat too farre from the Farme,* you may force the water to come thither by little Riuers, or rather more conueniently by cha•els and conduits made of Lead, Wood, or Pot-earth: the best are made of Aller tree, F•rre tree, or Pine tree, out of which distilleth Perro•en, because that such Trees haue an oylie humour, and hot, which easily resisteth the hurtes which water might cause: Next to them are those which are made of Pot-earth, if that the water carried along in them were not the cause of breeding obstruction. These must be two fingers thicke, and sharpe at one end the length of halfe a foot, to goe the one of them into the other: the worst sort is those made of Lead, because the water carried along by them purchaseth from the Lead an euill qualitie, and that because of the Ceruse thereof, so that it oftentimes causeth bloudie fluxes and other such like disea∣ses, if we beleeue Galen and them which for this cause call the inhabitants of Paris Squitters, because they vse Fountaine-water which runneth through Leaden pipes: which point notwithstanding seemeth not to be without all doubt, seeing that Ceruse cannot breed, nor be made of Lead, without vineger, and for that we see also diuers Countries doe drinke of such waters, without being troubled with bloudie fluxes: whatsoeuer it is, wee must set well together and soulder the pipes with a compound made of vnquenched lime, and the grea•e of a hogge, or of Perrosen and the whites of egges, or of lyme, whites of egges, oyle, and the filings of yron, because that all these things doe hinder corruptions and rottennesse which the water might cause. Page 9 If any Mountaine doe hinder the laying or bringing along of these Pipes, wee must make them way: if any Valley, we must reare arches, such as are to be seene in a Vil∣lage neere vnto Paris, called Ar•ueil, and that because of those said arches; or rayse pillars and other matter to support those water-passages.
But it is not sufficient to haue found out those Heads of Wells and Fountaines,* but we must further consider of the goodnesse and wholesomenesse of the Water, as Aristotle teacheth vs: For seeing the greatest part of our life dependeth vpon the vse of this element, it is requisite that the Master of the Household should haue care to procure good Water, in as much as Water must be the most of his seruants drinke, and that the Bread which he and his familie doe eat, is kneaded therewith, and the greatest part of his victuals boyled therein. The best and most wholesome Water of all others is Raine Water falling in Summer, when it thundereth and lightneth verie much; and yet notwithstanding, Raine Water causeth costiuenes•e and ob∣structions, especially that which is kept in Cesternes newly made, and that by rea∣son of their Mortar wherewith they are ouer-layd: It doth also corrupt very quick∣ly (that onely excepted which falleth in May) and being so corrupted, it ma•reth the voice, bringing Hoarsenesse, and a little Co•gh. Next to this in goodnesse is 〈◊〉 Fountaine Water, which falleth from the Mountaines, and runneth along a∣mo•gst Stones and Rocks. Next to this in goodnesse is Well Water, or that which issueth at the hanging parts of the Mountaines, or that which springeth in the bot∣tome of a Valley. The fourth different sort of Waters is that of the Riuer. The worst of all the rest is that of the Poole and Marish Grounds: and yet that which runneth not is worse than all the rest, and more apt to in•ect. The Water of Snow and Ice is the most vnwholesome of all, because it is the coldest and most earthie, as not hauing beene prepared by the heat and vertue of the Sunne. And as conce•ning the Water of Wells and Fountaines (seeing it is not found good alwaies and in all places) we shall know them to be good, if it haue neither tast, s••ell, nor any colour whatsoeuer, being notwithstanding verie cleere, and of the nature of the Ayre, ta∣king quickly the colour of anie thing that one shall cast into it, being also cleane, warme in Winter, and cold in Summer, easie to make hot, and as soone becomming cold againe; in which, Peason, Beanes, and other such like things, doe boyle easily, and which being put for some space in a Brasen, Copper, or Siluer Vessell, well scoured, leaueth no discoloured parts or spots in the same, and which, when it hath beene boyled in a Ca•ldron, made verie faire and cleane, doth not make any •etling or shew of filth in the bottome: if such as vse to drinke it, haue a cleere voice, a sound breast, and the die or colour of the face be neat and liuely: finally, that which toge∣ther with the rest of the markes, is verie light, and by consequent as principall of all the rest shall that be iudged, which excelleth in the foresaid markes and qualities: and for to know which is the lightest, weigh as much with as much of euerie sort of Water, or else take two, three, or •oure Clothes of one and the same webbe, length, and breadth, according to the quantitie and sorts of Water which you would compare together, and in euerie one wet a Cloth, distill the Clothes, or let the Water drop out of them, and then weigh them, for the Cloth which was moiste∣ned in the •ightest Water, will then weigh les•e than the rest. It is true, that the lightnesse of Water is not so truely tryed by weight as by drinking, not cau∣sing at such time anie burthenous weight in the places about the short Ribbes, and passeth through the bodie speedily, as also in being quickly hot and quick∣ly cold.
Drie Places,* and Countries abounding with Mountaines, doe commonly bring forth Stones, which is easily perceiued by the rough and boisterous handling of the Earth, and also by the Stones lying vpon the vpper part thereof, which otherwise might haue fallen and beene cast there: in manner as sometimes it falleth out, that men find vpon vntilled grounds the liuely shapes of Fruits and Corne gathered together and growne vnto the Stone, which is to bee seene neere to Mommi∣rall in Brie, where Wood is growne vnto the Stone: besides that, the Hearth Page 10 will make quicke and speedie triall hereof. This will doe you seruice in the en∣closing either of your Parke, or of your Vineyards, and other such like commodi∣ties, besides the profit you may make of it by the selling of Milstones and Stones to build withall.* But looke well to your selfe, and take good heed of Quarries, and ca∣sting of Stone-pits, and of their deceits, which oftentimes rewards vs with our paines for our labour.
And as for the Earth (taken and vnderstood generally) it beareth all manner of Corne,* Fruits, Hearbes, Timber-trees, Mettals, Stones, and other things, and this hath beene giuen vnto it euen since it was first made: and hereupon old Writers haue iustly giuen vnto it the due name of Mother. But although, in respect of the cold and drie substance and nature whereof it consisteth, it may be called all of one tempera∣ture, yet it purchaseth and getteth contrarie qualities, according to the seuerall situ∣ations it hath in diuers places, as also vpon occasion of affinitie, intercourse, and par∣ticipation it hath with things of repugnant qualitie: and hence doe rise the diuers sorts of the same, and so diuers, as that euerie ground will not beare euerie thing, but one or two at the most. For this cause, to auoid both cost and labour, see aboue all things, that you proue, either by your owne triall and experience, or else by such en∣quirie as you can make of your neighbors, what kind of Fruits, what kind of Corne, and what sorts of Trees,* doe prosper best thereon. Some places in Trance, and the free Countrey of Beaux, beareth no other graine than Rye, which is contrarie to the nature of the ground new broken vp: another loueth nothing but Wheat: Solonge loueth March corne, and sometime Mesling: Touraine, worthily called the Garden of France, is found most plentifull in Gardens and Fruit-trees, as that part called Brie or Braye (because it is situate betwixt the Riuers of Marne and Seine) doth bring forth Fruits and Corne for sustenance: and that quarter which lyeth betwixt Marne and the Riuer of Aube bringeth forth an infinite deale of Hay: Notwith∣standing,* the diligence of the Farmer may by his industrie ouercome the weaknesse of a ground, euen as well as all sorts of wild Beasts may be tamed by the paineful∣nesse of man.
In watrie and marish places it will stand vs vpon to make our profit of the water,* which you shall oftentimes by sluces turne from his naturall courses into your pasture grounds and ponds of running and standing water, for the profiting and helping of the same. About the brinkes and edges of the most commodious ones, you shall set rankes of such Trees and profitable Plants as you know to like and prosper in the water. And you must especially obserue and marke the diuersitie of the bottome and vndermost part of the ground,* which in watrie places is often found to differ much, and to be somewhat strange, and according to the nature thereof to set such Trees as may best agree therewith.
Your House being •eated in such places,* will be most strong and pleasant in Sum∣mer, but of greatest maintenance, preseruation, and safetie, if you enuiron it round about with water, after the manner of an Islet, as it is practised in manie places of Flanders, who make the vse thereof familiar among them, to reape thereby the be∣nefit of Fish in his season, the flesh of wild Fowle, Trees as well for Fruit as for Fire and Building, besides the helpes of their excellent pasture grounds: but indeed your owne health, as also the health of those of your familie, is impaired hereby, especially in Winter.* Wherefore it will be better to build vpon high ground, as the auncient Romans did, and to leaue the waters below, for the comforting of your •ight, if so be you haue not the meanes of closing in all the same round about, for your breed of young Colts and other Cattell, all which will like verie well vpon such grounds, ex∣cept it be your Cattell seruing to furnish you with Wooll.
If your Farme doe,* for the most part, consist of wild Grounds and Desarts, you shall make them arable by labour and paines, and recouer them, deluing them diligently, and raking them often: for the Bull-rush, B•akes, and such other hearbes will soone be killed, when the earth is often turned. But and if you de∣sire with more hast and certainetie to destroy them, you shall burne the ground Page 11〈◊〉 two first yeares, and sow therein Lupines or Beanes, to the end that together, with the curing of the disease of your fields, you may reape some profit and com∣•oditie.
Stonie grounds* are mended by taking away the stones, and if the quantitie be •reat, it will be best to cast them together in manner of some small hillock in certaine places of the ground, and so by that meanes the rest will be cleansed and freed: or ••ther, when the daies of handie-workes shall be got good cheape, it will be best to digge the earth verie deepe, and there burying the stones before-hand, afterward to •uer them with the earth.
If the Farme consist most of Forrests and Woods,* you shall make thereof arable ground, by plucking vp the Trees altogether, as also their rootes: but and if there be but small store, it will be ynough to cut them downe and burne them, and then to till the ground. And such grounds are wont the first yeare to bring forth much, because that the moisture and substance, which before was spent in the bringing forth and nourishing of Trees, Bushes, and Hea•bes, doth prepare it selfe wholly for the good of the Corne that is sowne vpon it; or for that it hauing beene fatted and growne better by the leaues and hearbes of manie yeares, which of it owne accord it brought forth before it was tilled, becommeth afterward sufficient to nourish and bring forth great abundance of fruits: and so it commeth to passe also, that being robbed of her former nourishment, in time it groweth leane, loosing the freshnesse and moisture which was maintained by the couert, and therefore continueth not so fruitfull as it was at the beginning.
Sandie places may be made better by Dung and Marle,* which yet notwithstan∣ding, euen without such Husbanding, by meanes of some currant of water running v•der the Earth in some Countries, ceaseth not to yeeld good profit to their owners: but these craue rest, which is the principall remedie to helpe their weake and feeble estate, and also to be sowne with varietie of graine, as after Rye, some kind of pulse. The way to know such grounds is common: when the great Sand is fast and yellow∣ish, it is then found to be good for Corne; and when it is white and drie, it is good for Wood and wild fruits. But it behoueth the Farmer to apply himselfe vnto the nature and temper of his field,* and according vnto it to sow and plant in euery place such things as are best agreeing with them, as Pulse, Millet, Panicke, Ryce, Lentils, Fetches, and other things, which doe not require great store of fatnesse. But in our English Soyles we find, that our sandie and hard grounds doe beare best Barley at their first breaking, or when they are fattest; after, Rye, Oats, Fetches, or Tare.
The strong,* heartie, and fat Soyle is good for Vineyards, and is apt to beare great store of Wheat-Corne, foreseene that the yeare be drie, especially in the moneth of May, but small store of any other encrease: yea, and if the times be much giuen to raine, they will beare but a little Corne, and great store of chaffe. Yet if the Seeds∣man haue a carefull hand in the bestowing of his seed, and doe not (as it were) cloy or choake his ground therewith, these fat Soyles will beare very well and sufficiently the first yeare, either whole Straw-Wheat, Pollard-Wheat, or Barley; and the se∣cond yeare, Beanes, Pease, or both mixed together; and the third yeare, Wheat or Rye, or both mixed together, which is called Maslyne or blend Corne.
A raw,* rough, and tough Soyle is hard to till, and will neither bring forth Corne, nor any other thing, without great labour, howsoeuer the seasons be tempe∣rate in moisture and drinesse. To helpe the same, you must labour it most exqui∣sitely, harrow it and manure it verie oft with great store of dung, so you shall make it better and lesse subiect to the iniuries of the Sunne, Winds, and Frost: but espe∣cially desire that they may not be watered with raine, for water is as good as a poy∣son to them.
The Clay and strong ground,* as that in Bresse and other pla•es of Partois, craueth great and deepe furrowes when it is eared, and euerie where else, as euen in the ve∣rie places where stones lye deepe and ouer-couered againe with good earth: and this to the end that the water may the better be conueyed away, which is Page 12 naturally mixt therewith, and cannot so easily depart, by reason of the clamm•e sliminesse of the earth. This plot is not so fit either for Trees or Vines, except it be for some fruit Trees, and those well husbanded and nourished. If you build there, then doe it vpon some high ground,* and neere ynough vnto the Riuer, and cause the Easterne and Northerne quarter, because such places are subiect verie much to putri∣faction, and verie vnwholesome.
The territories of Croye and Ardose are more sound and wholesome,* though they be more barren: but it must be made better, and much mended, and employed onely to that which it delighteth in: for the Baylife of the Husbandrie ought to know the nature of the ground, and not to force it to beare that which is contrarie vnto it,* notwithstanding whatsoeuer you doe vnto it for the bettering of it: for of forced grounds there comes as much profit as there doth of beasts, by violence vsed towards them. For suppose you may compell them, yet it shall be to your great cost and charges, by reason of their hurts, maladies, and otherwise, for such cattell com∣monly stand not in good plight and state.* The old Prouerbe also saith, That a Householder should giue greater heed vnto his profit, and the holding out or con∣tinuing of that which he hath vnder his hand, than to his pleasure and rare com∣moditie.
Euerie Countrie fit for good Vineyards is stonie and grauellie, or full of pebbles, and is found to be better on the South quarters, or on the descent of the Hill, lying on the side toward the Riuer: This place is not so good for Corne; in the plaine or •lat places thereof you must make it better, and dung it. Make your buildings there on the sloping side, which looketh into the Southeast, where you may not remoue your selfe farre from the Riuer, for the reason afore giuen.
The best Soyle is that which is blacke,* crumbling, and easily turned ouer, that is to say, which easily falleth into small pieces in ones hand, and feeleth light, sweet, and fat in handling, like to that which is found in the countrey of Tourraine, Maine, and Anjou, which are fertile in all manner of fruitfulnesse and aboundance of goods, rich in Hills, Vallies, Pasture-grounds, Vale-grounds, Vineyards, and all sorts of fruits: but vpon good cause they giue place to Prouence, part of Languedoc, and Guienne, and the better places of Aquitaine,* all which, by reason of the heat of the South Sunne, bring forth not onely in greater aboundance, but their fruits of all sorts of bet∣ter qualities and more forcible.* This is the land of Promise in our France, and hath no discommoditie saue that of the Southerne wind, which they call Austrault: which except it be tempered by the Northerne winds, doth almost euerie yeare engender vnhappie calamities both in men and beasts. Wherefore in this Countrie the dwel∣ling places and buildings must be set vpon a Hill, and the South wind shut out and den•ed all entrance by lights, except when it shall be needfull, in the depth of Winter.
But to speake generally,* the Soyle may be knowne to be good and to beare great store of fruits by these means: as, if it be somewhat blacke, or somewhat yellow; if it 〈◊〉 not when it is ill tilled; if it become not myrie when great store and abun∣dance of raine shall fall vpon it, but drinketh vp all the water that shall fall, and therewithall keepe this moisture and refreshment a long time; if in Winter time it become not hard in the vpper part thereof; if without being husbanded or mended by great labour, or fatnesse of dung, it bring forth flourishing hearbes, timber-trees, straight, thicke, hauing great a••es, and abounding with store of their seuerall fruits, and those good and well-rellished in their kinds: and if it yeeld great fruitfulnesse of Corne: if by being watered, or rained vpon, it become blowne vp, and as it were stretched out and blacke, and not hard bound, or turned white: if the water spring∣ing forth of it be sweet, or if the greene soddes thereof being broken in pieces, and steept two or three houres in water that is sweet and of a good tast, doe not marre or make worse the tast of such water, which must be tried by tasting of it, after that it hath beene strained and clarified: For naturally water issuing out from a spring, or wrung from something that hath beene steept in it, retaineth and carrieth with it the Page 13 tast of the Earth: and on the other side, if the Earth steept in Water, the same Water doe after such steeping yeeld a sweet and pleasant rellish: if cast vp, and two or three dayes after throwne into the said ditch againe, it gather on a heape, and rise higher than the said ditch; for in doing this, it shewes it selfe to be a fat Earth: and whereas one shall doe nothing but pare the said ditch, without doing anie more, it will be but indifferent: but and if he come not to touch the edges of the said ditch, it will be light earth: furthermore, if it be watred with raine, it yeeldeth a pleasant smell. On the contrarie,* the Earth must be iudged of no value, if it haue not all these signes of goodnesse: and principally, that which is cleauing like Glue, like Potters Clay, Chalkie, Whitish, which shaketh and trembleth, which is too hard, rough, and strong, which is watrie and marish, which hath a salt or bitter tast, which bringeth forth Trees and Hearbes that are bitter, cold, and thornie, as Brambles, Ferne, Bryers, Wormewood, Iuniper, Lauander, Broome, Butchers Broome, and other such like: as on the contrarie side, Rushes, Roses, small Grasse, three-leaued Grasses, Thornes, Dane-woort, wild Plum-trees, and such other things, doe shew the goodnesse and fruitfulnesse of the Soyle: for the things aboue named are not found or nourished anie where almost but in the sweet veines of the Earth. Yet, according to the opinion of Serres, all Clayes which are blacke, gray, or marlie, albeit a little tough and gluie, yet, if after their drying they become not hard, but crumble, and (as it were) fall to cynders, or if they be not much subiect to a kind of vomiting or casting vp of water, or to an extraordinarie excesse of coldnesse, they are to be reputed the fattest and best Soyles for Corne, though not for the Vine: and though they are lesse apt to breed or put forth Wood, yet the Wood growing vpon such Soyles is euer the best and the longest lasting.