Yew (Maplet)

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This is the entry for Yew from Maplet's A Greene Forest.

Of the Yewe tree.

The Yewe tree in Greke is called Smilax, the Romaines call it

Taxus. It is in bignesse of leafe like the Firre tree. Diascorides saieth that it first grue in Caronia a part of Italie and Spaine. It hath that secret maner of working, that whosoever sitteth or lyeth on slæpe under it, keatcheth no good thereby: for oftentimes hurt hath come thereby, and somtimes also death. It was tolde us of it saith Diascorides, that we should not suffer their sheepe to be feede neyther under this, neyther under the Juniper tree, neyther under those trees whose shadowe is hurtfull. As in his Georgickes he warneth also, how the swarmes of Bees whould be kept away in any case from the Yewes of the Isle of Cirse or Corsica in this verse and the like.

Et tua Cyrneas fugiant examina Tacus.

If that thou wilt thy Bees to be

In weale and in good case

Take care of Cirsies Yewes I say

and of that daungerous place.

And Plinie also in his naturall Historie and xvi. booke recordeth of this, that in Arcadie the Yewes are of that force to weaken and enfeble the vitall powers in any man sleeping under them, that sometime he forthwith and presently dieth. And Plutarch in his Sympose rendreth the reason, for that the Braine being distempered with so noisome and deadly a fent or smell, causeth the rest of the head not to be well, but undoeth his good feeling, and all at once bereveth him of all. Thus saith Plinie it doth, whensoever any long tariance is made under it. But then doeth it especially cumber and hurt, yea, most often kill, when as it newlye shooteth out and buddeth forth flowers.