Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Nature Notes

This is a complete departure from my Harlequin American Romance Authors blog post yesterday. This poem is attributed to Juliana Berners, who lived in St. Albans (England) in the 15th century and is thought to have been the prioress of Sopwell Priory.

In the early 1400s I’m sure this was a seriously informative piece. These days it’s also sure to make readers smile.

More about the Hare: Why the Hare Voids Its Dung Standing Up, and Makes Pellets of It

“Yet, master, I would know, if you’ll lend me your wit,
Why the hare voids dung standing and makes pellets of it,
When all other hunted beasts, game
Void standing or squatting, as we can see.”
“That I can surely tell thee,” the master answered then,
“Why the hare stands and makes pellets, as is known to men.
He stands because his body is so full of suet,
And he makes pellets, men say, because of all his fat.
And he crouches on his hocks when he lets it go—
No other game does that, as far as men know.”
“How many beasts void standing, I would fain find out,
And also I would learn, how many of them squat?”
“To tell you that,” said the master, “is a job done easily.
All beasts that bear suet, and stand upright, you must see,
Let their scat fall when they stand, you may be sure of that,
And other beasts—the squatting kind—get rid of it when they squat.”
So matter-of-fact. I love it!

Berner's work was compiled in The Book of St. Albans, a treatise on hunting published in 1486. She is also thought to be the author of The Booke of haukynge, huntyng and fysshyng, with all necessary properties and medicines that are to be kept. You can read it here in its entirety. It’s believed to be the first book about fishing ever written, which would also make it the first written by a woman.

Don't you find this fascinating? I do!

Until next time,


Gillian Layne said...

Thanks for the grins! Seriously, you are a wealth of historical research, is there a historical in your future?

Lee McKenzie said...

I'm afraid not. I'd spend all my time doing research and would never get any writing done!