From The New Found Worlde, or Antarctike, ...

André Thevet

(English edition published in London, 1568.)


Of an Ilande named the Ascention.
Cap.21.

The twentie sixth day of October [1555], being eight degrees beyonde our lyne Equinoctiall, we founde an Ilande not inhabited, the which at the firste we thought to name the Ile of Birdes, bicause of the greate multitude of Birdes that are in the sayde Ilande, but looking in our carde Marin, we found that before tyme it was founde out by the Portingals, and named the Ile of the Ascention, bicause that on that day, they arived thither. We therefore seing those Birdes flying on the sea, made us to thinke that there was some Ilande neere hande, and the neerer we came, we sawe such a multitude of birdes of divers sortes with coloured feathers, that the lyke was never seene in our tyme, the which came flying to our ships, and woulde reste upon us, so that we might take them with our handes, and with great payne coulde we be ridde of them. For if one had stretched out his Arme they woulde have rested upon it, even lyke tame birdes, and not one of them lyke to the birdes of our countrey, the which to some semeth uncredible. Being caste of from our handes they flyed not away, but let them selves be taken agayne as before.

Furthermore in this Ilande there is a certayne kinde of greate birdes that I have heard called Aponars, they have little wings, and therefore they cannot flye. They are great and hye, lyke hearnshawes, the belly white and the backe blacke as cole, the byll lyke to a cormorant, when they are killed they crye lyke hogs.

I thought good to speake of this birde among others, for that there are founde a greate number of them in an Ilande lying towarde the Caape, of good Speede, on the coste or borders of newe founde lande, the which was named the Ile of Aponards: Also there are such a multitude, that on a tyme three greate ships of Fraunce, going to Canada, did lade eche of them two tymes their cockboates with these birdes on the brinke of the sayde Ilande, and it is no maistrie to goe into the Iland and to drive them before them to their boates lyke sheepe. This therefore hath given me occasion to speake so much thereof. As touching the reste of the Ile of Ascention, it is indifferent faire and pleasant, being of circute six leagues, with mountaines garnished with faire greene trees, herbes, and floures. Not forgetting the number of birdes, of the which we have spoken, I suppose that if it were labored and tilled with many others that are in the Weaste, as well beyonde, as on this side the Equinoctiall, it woulde render as good profit, as Tenedos, Lemnos, Metelin, Negrepont, Rhodes, and Candia, or any others that are in the sea Helispont, and the Cyclades: for in this greate Weaste sea, there are Islandes that are more then. 80. leagues compasse, and some lesse, among the which the greatest parte are desert, and not inhabited. Nowe after that we had passed this Ilande, there dyd appeare foure starrs of a wonderful greatnesse made in manner of a crosse, neverthelesse farre ynough from the Pole Antartike. The Mariners that sayle that way name them charets. Some of them thinke that among these is the South Starre, the which is fixed and unmoveable, as the North starre that we call the lesser beare, the which was hyd before that were under the Equator, and many others that are not sene at this side to the Northwarde.


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