Of Irlonde. Capitulum tricesimum secundum.
IRLONDE was somme tyme to Briteyne concorporate by ryȝhte of dominacion, whom Giraldus describenge in his Topographye extollethe hit with mony laudes. The titles here folowenge expresse and schewe the way. Therefore, hit schalle be seyde of the site and place of that londe, of the quantite and qualite of hit, and the defawtes of that londe, of the firste dwellers of hit, and of the maneres of the inhabitatores of hit.
Of the localle site of Irlonde. Irlonde, the laste of all the weste yles, toke the name of hit of Hiberus brother of Hermonius, whiche coniuncte to gedre gate that Page 331, vol.1 londe. Or elles hit was namede of a weste floode of Speyne callede Hiberus. And hit was callede also Sco|tia, of Scottes inhabitenge hit or that thei come to that other Scotlande. Wherefore hit is redde in the marti|logge: "Suche a day at Scotlande Seynte Brigida," whiche was at Irlonde. That londe hathe on the southe este to hit Spayne by the sailenge of thre dayes from hit as colaterally, and on the este to hit the more Briteyne beenge from hit by the saylenge of oon day, and on the weste to hit the occean infinite, of the north Islande from hit by the saylenge of iij. dayes. Solinus. The see that departethe hit from Briteyne is perellous and fulle of water, and inquiete of alle the yere, and vnnethe able to be passede with schippes in eny tyme; extente in latitude cxxti m. passes.
Of the quantite and qualite of hit. The yle of Irlonde, after Briteyne moste extendede in to the northe, conteyn|ethe from Brendan hille to the yle callede Columbina xvixx. myles, and from Dublyn to the hilles of Seynte Patrikke viijxx. myles, whiche londe is more streyte in the myddes then at the endes, but hyt is in contrary Page 333, vol.1 wyse of Briteyne; and lyke as Irlonde is more schorte to the northe then Briteyne, in lyke wise hit is more large at the sowthe. A londe inegalle fulle of hilles and water. Solinus. That londe is so plentuous in pastures to bestes that the fattenes of theyme scholde cause perelle, with oute the bestes were removede from hit oþer while. Giraldus. The flesche of that cuntre inducethe sanite to men of that londe, and causethe strongeours to haue the flux for the moisture of the noryschenge of theyme. The flesche of a kowe is wholsom there; but swyne flesche be nyenge moche: the dwellers of hit be not vexede with the axes excepte the scharpe axes, and that is but selde. Men of that londe thenke that the wholsomnes of that londe and wontenge of venom excelle and compense alle the prides of the este, as in wode, herbes, gemmes, and oþer clothes. The holsomnes of that cuntre semethe Page 335, vol.1 to be causede in that there is but lytelle excesse in coldenesse or in heete.
Of what thynges that londe is suffisiaunte. That londe is more habundaunte in kye then in oxen, in pasture then in corne. Neuerthelesse, hit habundethe in sal|mones, eles, lawmpreis, and in other fysche of the see; in egles, cranes, pokokkes, curlewes, sparrehowke, ffawken, and gentille gossehawke; hauenge wulphes and moste nyous myse, and weselles lytelle in body, but bolde in herte. Also there he bryddes whiche thei calle bernacles, lyke to wylde gese, whom nature producethe ageyne nature from firre trees, whom religious men do eite in fastenge daies, in that thei be not bredde and geten thro the acte off venery. But an obieccion may be made ageyne that cause; for and if a man scholde haue eiten of the flesche of Adam he scholde have eiten flesche with Page 337, vol.1 owte dowte thauȝhe hit come not of flesche; for like as the flesche of Adam was made of the erthe, so those bryddes comme of a tre, as a thynge to be hade in mer|uayle. Also that londe is habundante in mylke, hony, in wynes, but [not] in vynes. And also thauȝhe that grete clerke Bede seye that londe not to be experte of vynes, and Solinus and Isidorus*. [Ysodorus, Harl. MS.] seye hit to wonte bees, neuertheles thei scholde haue writen more circumspectely, if they hade seide that londe to wonte vynes, and to haue be habun|dante in bees. Also Bede seythe that yle to habunde in dere, sythe hit is provede by experience that londe to have wontede suche bestes, and no meruayle, sythe Bede provede not the trawthe of the commodites of that yle by his awne person, but by the relacioun of other men. A ston is gendrede there whiche is callede Iris, whiche putte to the sonne causethe a reynebawe to appere in the aier. Also a ston callede gagates, and a white margarite be founde there.
In what thynges that londe is defectiue. The cornes off whete be scarse there and lytelle. Also that londe Page 339, vol.1 wontethe fisches whiche haue theire originalle naturalle in fresche waters. Also that cuntre hathe not a kynde of hawkes that be callede lauerettes and grete|fawkones, partricche and fesaunte, pyes, nyȝhtegales, bucke and doo, wontes and other bestes of venom. Wherefore somme men feyne fauorably, seyenge Seynte Patrike to haue purgede and made clene that yle thro his preyers from nyous bestes. But hit is more probable to say that yle to haue wontede suche bestes from the begynnenge of hit. Also other bestes fulle of venom brouȝhte from other places to hit dye anoon. Also if poison be brouȝhte to that londe, hit losethe the strenȝhte of hit or that hit comme in þe myddes of the water nye to that londe. Also the erthe of that londe caste abrode in other cuntres or londes dothe expelle venomous bestes, in so moche that parte of that erthe putte to worme auther sleethe hit other elles constreynethe hit to entre in to the erthe. Cokkes in that cuntre begynne to crawe in the begynnenge of the nyȝhte; neuerthelesse day is supposede to drawe nye at the firste crawenge of the cocke.