De Melle cap. 54.
HOnnie is called Melle, and hath that name (as Isidore sayeth, lib. 20. of Mellisle in Greeke, as much to saye in English, as Bees. For the Greekes call Mellisle, Bees, for by wonderfull craft of kinde, Bees arayeth bunnye, that is first made of dew of the ayre, & is found in leaues of Reede. Therefore Virgil sayth.
Prutinus aer mellis coelestia dona.
The heauen giueth Honnie to the aire. And so yet in Inde and in Arabia honnie is founde in boughes and in leaues hanging as it were Salt, as hee sayeth. And generallye all honnye is sweete. But in Sardini, honny is bitter, for therein is full much Woormewoode, and Bees liueth thereby. Phisitions tel, that treate of kind of things, and name∣ly Galen, ye horne is vnprofitable meat, and greeuous to children and to young men, in the which to much heate, and ac∣cording to full olde men and cold, with wine and with hot meates. Huc vsque Isidorus, libro. 20. capitulo. 1.
Also honnie is most sweete lycour, by medicinall craft gendred of most pure matter, but by heate of the Bees that gendereth the honie, by medling of some hot thing with honnie, therein is sharp∣nesse meddeled with sweetnesse. The sweetnesse of honnie is more hotte and lesse moyst then other sweetnesse, as I∣saac sayeth. Then honnie hath much heate and ayre, and lesse of earth, and of water, and much drynesse both of fire and sharpnes also, and lesse cold humor. Therefore honnie is deemed hot and drye in the end of the second degree: But for the substance therof is nigh meane & temperate, honny cleanseth much, & wa∣sheth, and maketh subtill and thin, and carueth with heat thereof, and departeth thick humours in the body. And for hon∣ny is hot, it is nigh sharpe, and pricketh therefore the guts, and moueth them to put out drafts and dirt. Also such sweet∣nesse is the sweetnes of hony, with much sharpnesse and heat, and stoppeth not the waye of the splene and of the lyuer so much, as doth sweetenesse that is cleane & pure, and without medling of other sa∣uour, as Isaac saith in cap. of foure di∣uersities of sweetnesse and sauour. Also for honny is euen and temperate, honny is much according and friend to kinde, and likeneth it selfe much to the members & stancheth with thicknesse grieuous run∣nings, and straineth pores & holes that be too wide, and kepeth and laueth well temperate kind, & letteth humours that be ready & disposed to ye flure. Neuerthe∣lesse, yet hony laxeth grieuous humore. For honny hath contrary dispositions of matter in the which it worketh, for it hardneth matter that is soft, & losineth and departeth matter that is harde. Page [unnumbered] As Isaac sayeth, Honnie keepeth and sa∣ueth and clenseth and tempereth bitter∣nesse, and is therefore put in conserua∣tiues, and clenseth medicines to temper bitternesse of Spicery, as it is sayde in Antido. N. But rawe honnie not well clarified, is right venteous, and breedeth curling and swelling in the wombe, and turneth soone into euill humours, and stoppeth by his gleaming the liuer and the splene, and kindleth Cholera, & bree∣deth the Feauer that is called Diuina, and stretcheth and haleth the body vnder the small ribbes. And greeueth them yt haue the euills Collica passio, and Illi∣aca passio. Then as Constantine sayth and Isaac in Dietis, honnie hath diuers working, for some honnie is wholesome and keepeth and saueth health, and lax∣eth in some disposition, and breedeth euil humours and venime. And the more red it is, the more hot it is and sharpe, and departeth the more, and thirleth & clean∣seth. And the more white it is, the lesse hot it is and sharpe, and the more sweet it is, and more pure, and with good smel, the better it is.
(*Plinie, although in his 11. booke of his naturall historie. Chap. 8. hee writeth yt honnie is gathered of the flowres of all Trees, and Sets or Plants, except Sor∣rell, and the hearbe called Chenepode, (which some call Goosefoote) yet hee affir∣meth that it descendeth from the aire: for in ye 12. chap. of the same booke he wri∣teth thus: This commeth from ye ayre at ye rising of certeine starres, and especi∣ally at ye rising of Sirius, and not before the rising of Vergiliar, which are ye sea∣uen starres, called Pleades, in ye Spring of ye day, for then on ye leaues are found a fat dew yt tasteth sweete, and is clam∣mie, which after is become corrupt, &c. This is ye mill dewe, which Bees take least of, and is gone by ye heat of ye Sun, or euer the Bees flie abroad, Plinie heere∣in knew much but not all thinges, and they are not wise yt will leane so much vpon Plinie, as it there were no better knowledge found sithence his time.
Of the Elementall ayre proceedeth the originall of honnie, and is gathered by ye Bees from flowres and hearbes, & from the Trunke of ye Bees is distilled ye moist and then licour (and not vomited) ye cla∣mie substance gathered vpon ye smallest legges, and so brought to ye hiue, & there wrought by such arte, as passeth euerye dreaming skill to surmise.)