Of the Swallow. chap. 21.
A Swallow is called Hirundo, as it were Arundo ab aere, and hath that name of the ayre, for hée taketh not his meate sitting, but flyeng in the ayre, as Isidore saith. And is a crieng fowle, and flyeth not euen but hether and thether, and sometime about, and is busie in making neastes, and in feeding of birds. And he saith also, in making of neasts, the Swallow is most cunning. For vnneth mans wit were sufficient to make of a∣ny matter, the worke that the Swallow maketh and shapeth of claye onely with her bill.
Moreouer, the Swallowe is full of feathers, and lyghtest and most swiftest in flight of Foules: and therefore other fowles réeseth nor distroubleth not the Swallow, neither the Swallow is pray to other Birdes. And flieth ouer the sea into hot countryes, in which Countryes he abideth in Winter, as men suppose. And also they kéepe certain times of their comming and going. Their againe com∣ming is token of springing time, and witnesse of the faire Summer, & resplen∣dishing weather, as Ambrose saith libro sexto.
Aristotle sayth, speaking of the swal∣lowe. li. 6. That a wilde fowle treadeth not nor laieth egges but once a yeare, ex∣cept the Swallowe which layeth egges twice a yere, but somtime the first egges be broke by coldnesse of Winter, and the latter egges be complete and bring forth birds.
Also there it is sayd, that birdes that eate flesh, lay not egges twice a yeere, ex∣cept the Swallowe, that hath sometime Birdes twice a yeare. Also there it is sayd, yt if a man put out the young swal∣lowes eien, yet their eien come agayne, for shee fetcheth an hearbe that is called Celidonia, and baumeth the eien of her birds with the iuyce thereof, and so their eien be restored to them againe. as Ma∣cro. saith.
I once proued this,*but it toke not that effect, yet founde I stones of straunge coulours.
Also in the Swallows wombe be two stones sound, of the which one is whi∣tish, and is called the Female, and the other is red, and is called the Male. For hée is more vertuous then the white. These stones bée called Celidonij, and bée precious stones, namelye when they be taken out of the birds ere they touch the ground, as it is sayde in Lapida•e: there their vertues be described, as Con∣stanine saith Bloud drawen out vnder the right wing is medicinable to eyen, as bloud of a Doue is. Their durt is full hot and full gnawing: and there∣fore it gréeueth eien. And the Swallowe techeth her birds to throw durt out of ye neast. And there be two manner of swal∣lowes, some are great of body, and haue blacke ridges and red breasts, and white wombes: and these loue mens compa∣nye, and make neasts in mens houses. The other bée lesse of bodye, and haue blacke breasts, and make their neasts in holes and chins of roches and of rockes, fast by waters. But both kindes make their neasts is earth or in clay, and both theyr tayles bée forked as a payre of shéeres.
These are called Martines,*and are good to eate.
Also it is saide, that among Swal∣lowes is one manner kinde, and other Fowles dread that kinde, yea, ye Eagle & the Goshauke dread and flie ye swallow, as it were their enimie, and dare not fall on their pray, while they sée ye swallow, for they dreade the biting of her. For peraduenture it is venimous, as Plinius sayth. And Swallowes fight agaynst Page [unnumbered] Sparrowes, and come into their neasts, and driue them out with biting & scrat∣ching.
(*This is called the sea Swallowe, that is as big bodied as a Thrush, and very short legged, and of a meruailous swiftnesse, all blacke sauing th•• toward the legges is gray.