¶Of a Riuer. Cap. 3.
A Riuer is called Flunius, & hath that name of Affluendo, running. For as Isidore saith, it is euerlasting running: for it runneth continually, and ceasseth not to runne, but if the head thereof be stopped or turned and let. It is to know in a Riuer is euerlasting running and déepnesse of place, and winding and tur∣ning of mouing: for ofte a riuer runneth, by ful long space of countries & lands: al∣so ye head is knowen of ye well spring, & the finall end whetherward it runneth, and the maner of springing. For euery riuer commeth originally out of the sea, by priuie wayes, and springeth out in Well heads, and passe oft into the sea, by waies and passages that be knowen, as the Glose sayth, super Eccle. pri. there it is sayd, that all the riuers runne into the sea. There Ierome sayth thus, Phi∣losophers tell, that swéete Waters that runne into the sea, be consumpt and wasted by heate of the Sunne, or els they be foode and nourishing of saltnesse of the sea. But our Ecclesiastes, the ma∣ker of waters sayeth, That they come agayne by priuie veynes of the earth, to the Well heades, and commeth out of the mother, that is the sea, and walmeth and springeth out in Well heades.
Also it is to be considered, in a riuer the corpes, and the mouing betwéene, & from the the beginning to the ende, and also the sauour and swéetnesse, for riuer water is driued end clensed in veynes of wels, by whom he passeth, and is spoiled of saltnesse, and taketh fauour, & is able to be dronke, and turneth into sweéetnes as Isidore saith.
Also as to the sight, the faire cléernes thereof is to be considered. For the sub∣stance thereof taketh lyght, and is cléere, Page 191 as a myrrour, and so images & things, that be obiect thereto be seene in waters of riuers. Also touching the substaunce of a riuer the cleannesse and purenesse is to be considered, & the course thereof is downward & swift, & swiftnes is more vertuous: for it beareth downe all lets that it findeth in his course, and no∣thing withstandeth the rauishing there∣of. For with his swiftnesse he beareth forth with his course all that is throw∣en therein, or els driueth it to ye brinke, and brimme, and moueth and beareth shippes laden, and putteth them foorth with his course, and moueth about, and turneth full swiftly full heauie whéeles by violence and strength, and taketh in himselfe hoare and filth, that is throw∣en therein: but by swiftnesse of moo∣uing, he departeth and disperpleth such filth and hoare. And a riuer clenseth him selfe and the place that he passeth by, & reneweth waters of lakes and of ponds, there he commeth in, and kéepeth them from corruption, and féedeth and nouri∣sheth fish of diuers kindes, and clenseth and doth away stench and euill sauour, and changeth ye qualities of fish of lakes and of marches.
Also touching the effect and doing, a riuer hath many profitable things, that be couenable to the vse of men: For he warneth to nothing his benefice, but cō∣muneth to all men as much as it selfe, for he serueth euen lyke both men and beasts, lesse and more, and cleanseth and doth away filth and vncleannesse both of bodies, and of cloathing, and refresheth & cooleth them that be hot, and féedeth with drinke them that be a thirst, and moyst∣eth and maketh plenteous the place that is nigh thereto by influence of his hu∣mours, and moysteth rootes and féedes, & maketh them great and fat, as it fareth in Aegypt. There when séedes lye sow∣en as it were in gardens, all the fieldes take moysture of the riuer Nilus, as Ra∣banus saith super Deut. cap. 11. with his course about the Cities, he wardeth and strengtheneth them, and other dwelling places, and bringeth to Cities victualls, and Merchaundises, & maketh men rich, and gathereth together heapes of grauel and earth, and maketh Ilards, and also couenable place for succour and strength. Constantine speaketh of Riuer water & saith, that riuer water is best that run∣neth Eastward,* and springeth and com∣meth out of high Mountaines: and the riuer water that runneth West warde, lesse worthy. Also he sayth, that the far∣ther the riuere be from Cities, the more cleane they be and pure, and the more couenable to féeding of fish. Also filth & hoare of cities be cast into riuers, & wa∣shing & bathing of siex & of other things, of the which the riuer water sometime taketh corruption, as he saith. Riuer wa∣ter is good, that runneth swiftly: strōg∣ly vpon smal stones & grauelly ground, or vpon clay ground, sad, sauory & cleere, for it taketh sauour and coulour of the ground that it passeth by and therefore as well the names, is the properties of Riuers be diuers as the Glose saith 〈…〉per Gen. 2. And though riuers haue cō∣mon head spring of the Sea, yet neuer∣thelesse of the place that 〈◊〉 springeth vp in, and of the country, that he passeth by, he taketh sauour and colour and name. And though a riuer taketh in it self ma∣ny waters and streames, that run there∣to, yet as long as the proper well sprin∣geth of a lake, he léseth not soone the first name: for he corporeth and ioyn∣eth to himselfe waters, and runneth ther¦to, both in name & in substance. There∣fore though a Riuer be little and small, when he beginneth to spring out of the first well, yet ye farther he passeth frō the head spring, the more he wexeth by run∣ning & comming of waters & streames, as it doth in Danubio, a riuer of Ger∣many, yt is called Downow in ye cōmon speach, wherof Isi. li. 13. speaketh & saith, yt this riuer springeth & cōmeth out of ye hils of Germany in ye west side, out of a litle well, & runneth Eastward, & taketh to it selfe lx. riuers, & falleth into the sea, named Pontitū in 7. mouths: & alwaies alike that riuer is profitable, while hée passeth not the bonds of his brinke, bor∣ders & brims: but sometime by great raine, or by melting of snow the water ariseth, & passeth the chanell & brimmes. And then ofte he destroyeth and drow∣neth Page [unnumbered] the playnes of the countrie, that is there nigh.
Of riuers be two manner kindes, as Isidore sayth. One is called a lyuing ri∣uer. Whereof Virgil saieth, Donec me flumine viuo abluero, &c. That other maner riuer is called Torrens, and is a water that commeth with a swift réese, and passeth: and is called Torrens, for it increaseth in great raine, and fadeth in drye weather. And the Gréekes gaue thereto a name of Winter, when it in∣creaseth, and we gaue thereto a name of Summer, when it falleth and dryeth: & the course of such a water is full swifte and strong, and therefore it ouerthrow∣eth and beareth downe all that it méet∣eth with, it selfe is swifte and strong in mouing, and there it runneth it breketh earth, and diggesh and maketh dennes therein, and gathereth strawe and stones on a heape, and leaueth behinde a marke and token, and destroyeth waies, & drow∣neth things that be nigh therto, and fal∣leth into the sea.