Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
the Staechad Islands; Spica Celtica from the land of the Celtic Gauls, and so throughout a great many other, which were tedious to enumerate.  Some others, again, have obtained their denominations by way of antiphrasis, or contrariety; as Absinth, because it is contrary to Psinthos, for it is bitter to the taste in drinking; Holosteon, as if it were all bones, whilst, on the contrary, there is no frailer, tenderer, nor brittler herb in the whole production of nature than it.

There are some other sorts of herbs which have got their names from their virtues and operations, as Aristolochia, because it helpeth women in childbirth; Lichen, for that it cureth the disease of that name; Mallow, because it mollifieth; Callithricum, because it maketh the hair of a bright colour; Alyssum, Ephemerum, Bechium, Nasturtium, Aneban (Henbane), and so forth through many more.

Other some there are which have obtained their names from the admirable qualities that are found to be in them, as Heliotropium, which is the marigold, because it followeth the sun, so that at the sun rising it displayeth and spreads itself out, at his ascending it mounteth, at his declining it waneth, and when he is set it is close shut; Adianton, because, although it grow near unto watery places, and albeit you should let it lie in water a long time, it will nevertheless retain no moisture nor humidity; Hierachia, Eringium, and so throughout a great many more.  There are also a great many herbs and plants which have retained the very same names of the men and women who have been metamorphosed and transformed in them, as from Daphne the laurel is called also Daphne; Myrrh from Myrrha, the daughter of Cinarus; Pythis from Pythis; Cinara, which is the artichoke, from one of that name; Narcissus, with Saffron, Smilax, and divers others.

Many herbs likewise have got their names of those things which they seem to have some resemblance to; as Hippuris, because it hath the likeness of a horse’s tail; Alopecuris, because it representeth in similitude the tail of a fox; Psyllion, from a flea which it resembleth; Delphinium, for that it is like a dolphin fish; Bugloss is so called because it is an herb like an ox’s tongue; Iris, so called because in its flowers it hath some resemblance of the rainbow; Myosota, because it is like the ear of a mouse; Coronopus, for that it is of the likeness of a crow’s foot.  A great many other such there are, which here to recite were needless.  Furthermore, as there are herbs and plants which have had their names from those of men, so by a reciprocal denomination have the surnames of many families taken their origin from them, as the Fabii, a fabis, beans; the Pisons, a pisis, peas; the Lentuli from lentils; the Cicerons; a ciceribus, vel ciceris, a sort of pulse called chickpease, and so forth.  In some plants and herbs the resemblance or likeness hath been taken from a higher mark or object, as when we say Venus’ navel, Venus’ hair,

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.