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The Old English Herbals   By:

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Transcriber's Note

Greek text has been transliterated, and is marked with plus signs, e.g. Peri Didaxeôn.

Oe ligatures are indicated with [oe].

Superscripted characters are surrounded with braces, e.g. y{e}.

Characters with macrons, which usually indicate omitted letters, are marked with square brackets and an equals sign, e.g. tha[=n]e.

Yogh is indicated as [gh], e.g. wyrt[gh]erd.

Apostrophus symbols, resembling a backwards C, are indicated with [C].

Tironian ampersands are indicated with [et].

A letter q with a small c above it, meaning the word 'qui', is indicated with [qui].

A letter u with a small o above it, indicating pronunciation, is marked as [ou].

Asterisms (three dots arranged in a triangle point up) are indicated with [.'.]. Reverse asterisms (three dots arranged in a triangle point down) are indicated with ['.'].

Other symbols are noted descriptively, and are enclosed in square brackets and marked with tildes, e.g. [~Sun~].

The parallel column text referred to on page 67 has been transcribed as two separate paragraphs in this version of the e text.




[Illustration: Illustration of the "lilie" from the Saxon translation of the Herbarium of Apuleius ]

Longmans, Green and Co. 1922

[Illustration: HERBS BEING DUG UP AND MADE INTO MEDICINES UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A SAGE From a 12th century copy of the Herbarium of Apuleius , now in the Library of Eton College]



"The Lely is an herbe wyth a whyte floure. And though the levys of the floure be whyte: yet wythin shyneth the lykenesse of golde." BARTHOLOMÆUS ANGLICUS ( circ. 1260).


The writing of this book on that fascinating and somewhat neglected[1] branch of garden literature the old English Herbals has been a labour of love, but it could not have been done without all the kind help I have had. My grateful thanks are due to the authorities at the British Museum, to Professor Burkitt of Cambridge, and very specially to Mr. J. B. Capper for invaluable help. I am indebted to Dr. James, the Provost of Eton, for his kind permission to reproduce an illustration from a twelfth century MS. in the Library of Eton College for the frontispiece. I find it difficult to express either my indebtedness or my gratitude to Dr. and Mrs. Charles Singer, the former for all his help and the latter for her generous permission to make use of her valuable bibliography of early scientific manuscripts. I am further indebted to Dr. Charles Singer for reading the chapter on the Anglo Saxon herbals in proof. For their kind courtesy in answering my inquiries concerning the MS. herbals in the libraries of their respective cathedrals, I offer my grateful thanks to the Deans of Lincoln and Gloucester Cathedrals, and to the Rev. J. N. Needham for information concerning the herbals in the library of Durham Cathedral; to the librarians of the following colleges All Souls' College, Oxford; Balliol College, Oxford; Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; Magdalene College, Cambridge; Peterhouse, Cambridge; Jesus College, Cambridge; St. John's College, Oxford, and Trinity College, Cambridge; to the librarians of Durham University, Trinity College, Dublin, the Royal Irish Academy, and the National Library of Wales; to the Honble. Lady Cecil for information respecting MSS. in the library of the late Lord Amherst of Hackney; and to the following owners of private libraries the Marquis of Bath, Lord Leconfield, Lord Clifden, Mr. T. Fitzroy Fenwick of Cheltenham, and Mr. Wynne of Peniarth, Merioneth. For information respecting incunabula herbals in American libraries I am indebted to Dr... Continue reading book >>

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