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OF SEVERAL RIVERS, AND SOME OBSERVATIONS OF FISH.
Well, scholar, since the ways and weather do both favour us, and that we yet see not Tottenham-Cross, you shall see my willingness to satisfy your desire. And first, for the rivers of this nation : there be, as you may note out of Doctor Heylin's Geography, and others, in number three hundred and twenty-five; but those of chiefest note he reckons and describes as followeth :
The chief is Thamisis, compounded of two rivers, Thame and Isis; whereof the former, rising somewhat beyond Thame, in Buckinghamshire, and the latter near Cirencester, in Gloucestershire, meet together about Dorchester, in Oxfordshire; the issue of which happy conjunction is the Thamisis, or Thames. Hence it flieth betwixt Berks, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Essex; and so weddeth himself to the Kentish Medway in the very jaws of the ocean. This glorious river feeleth the violence and benefit of the sea more than any river in Europe, ebbing and flowing, twice a-day, more than sixty miles; about whose banks are so many fair towns, and princely palaces, that a German poet thus truly spake:
Tot campos, &c.
2. The second river of note, is Sabrina, or Severn; it hath its beginning in Plinlimmon-Hill, in Montgomeryshire, and his end seven miles from Bristol ; washing, in the mean space, the walls of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester, and divers other places and palaces of note.
3. Trent, so called for thirty kind of fishes that are found in it, or for that it receiveth thirty lesser rivers ; who, having his fountain in Staffordshire, and gliding through the counties of Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, and York, augmenteth the turbulent current of Humber, the most violent stream of all the isle. This Humber is not, to say truth, a distinct river having a spring-head of his own, but it is rather the mouth or estuarium of divers rivers here confluent and meeting together; namely, your Derwent, and especially of Ouse and Trent; and as the Danow, having received into its channel the rivers Dravus, Savus, Tabiscus, and divers others, changeth his name into this of Humberabus, as the old geographers call it.
4. Medway, a Kentish river, famous for harbouring the royal navy.
5. Tweed, the north-east bound of England; on whose northern banks is seated the strong and impregnable town of Berwick.
6. Tyne, famous for Newcastle, and her inexhaustible coal-pits. These, and the rest of principal note, are thus comprehended in one of Mr. Drayton's Sonnets.
Our flood's queen, Thumes, for ships and swans is crown'd,
And stately Severn for her shore is prais'd ;
And Avon's fame to Albion's cliffs is rais'd ;
Carlegion Chester vaunts her holy Dee,
York many wonders of her Ouse can tell;
And Kent will say her Medway doth excel ;
Cotswold commends her Isis to the Thame,
Our northern borders boast of Tweed's fair flood ;
And the old Lea brags of the Danish blood.
These observations are out of learned Dr. Heylin, and my old deceased friend, Michael Drayton; and because you say, you love such discourses as these of rivers and fish, and fishing, I love you the better, and love the more to impart them to you. Nevertheless, scholar, if I should begin but to name the several sorts of strange fish that are usually taken in many of those rivers that run into the sea, I might beget wonder in you, or unbelief, or both : and yet I will venture to tell you a real truth concerning one lately dissected by Dr. Wharton, a man of great learning and experience, and of equal freedom to communicate it; one that loves me and my art; one to whom I have been be