Sings in proof of the introduction of the plant at any stated date. It is indigenous to our islands, and wreathes with its graceful festoons over hedge-rows, and moorland walls, in places hundreds of miles distant from any where the plant was ever known in cultivation. The so-called introduction of the plant was, in reality, the introduction of its culture. That it was before imported in a dried state, is shewn by the conplaints made of the adulterations used by "foreigners," who mixed acid with the hops; com-plaints which, doubtless, led to its cultivation in this country; and probably, also, its importation was the objectionable feature in the innocent plant, which called forth such hard names and so strong a prejudice against it, as its use was considered prejudicial to the interests of the ground-ivy, ale-hoof, sweet-gale, or bog-myrtle,* and other plants, which were previously employed to give a bitter taste to British ale; for, certainly, even a heresy in the Catholic Church could scarcely have excited more acrimonious feeling than the question between ale and beer.

* Each of these plants, with several others of lesser note, was of great importance before the cultivation of hops. In Sweden, in the year 1440, King Christopher confirmed an old law, which rendered punishable by fine the offence of cutting or injuring the sweet gale (Myrica gale), or collecting it on any other person's land, or gathering it on a common before a stated day. There is reason to suppose that the hop was at this period used to flavour beer in Sweden, but it was scarce, and its use not general; it must, however, be remembered that the gale was protected for another purpose - namely, for the use of its wax-like secretion in candles.

For a controversy between ale and beer, it was; and to say that hops and beer came together into England, is simply a truism; since, at first, beer signified an infusion of barley flavoured with the hop; while ale was a name restricted to the same infusion, flavoured with any other herb. Nor are the two terms very clearly defined in our lan-guage, even at the present day. To this distinc-tion the curious old song, "The Ex-ale-tation of Ale" refers;" -

"But now, so they say, beer bears it away,

The more is the pity, if right might prevail; For with this same beer came in heresy here, The old Catholic drink is a good pot of ale.

* * ****

And physic will favour ale as it's bound,

And be against beer both tooth and nail; They send up and down, all over the town,

To get for their patients a pot of good ale.

Their aleberries, cawdles, and possets each one,

And syllabubs made at the milking pail, Although they be many, beer comes not in any,

But all are composed with a pot of good ale;

And in very deed, the hop's but a weed,

Brought over 'gainst law, and here set to sale;

"Would the law were removed, and no more beer brewed, But all good men betake them to a pot of good ale.

***** * *

But to speak of killing, of that I'm not willing,

For that, in a manner, were but to rail; But beer hath its name 'cause it brings to the bier,

Therefore welfare, say I, to a pot of good ale.

Too many, I wis, with their death proved this, And, therefore (if ancient records do not fail),

He that first brewed with hop was rewarded with a rope, And found his beer far more bitter than ale," etc, etc.

Thomas Howell (brother of the Bishop of Bristol of that name), writing from Poissy in the year 1622, says: "some of the doctors and chirurgeons, that tended me, gave me a visit, and among other things they fell into discussion of wines, and one doctor in the company, who had been in England, told me that we have a drink in England called ale, which he thought was the wholesomest liquid that could go into one; for whereas the body of man is sup-ported by two columns, namely the natural heat and radical moisture, he said, there is no drink con-duceth more to the preservation of the one and the increase of the other than ale, for while the English drank ale they were strong and brawny able men, and could draw an arrow an ell long; but when they fall to wine and beer they are found to be much impaired in their strength and age, so the ale bore away the bell among the doctors".

Ale appears to have been used in this island at a very early period;* and Kemble, in his "Saxons in England," states that, "between 791 and 796, eighty hides of land at Westbury and Hanbury were relieved by Offa from the dues to kings, dukes, and their subordinates, except these payments, that is to say, the gafol at Westbury (sixty hides) two tons full of light ale, and a comb full of smooth ale, and a comb full of Welsh ale, and seven oxen, and six wethers and forty cheeses," and other contributions. But the oldest record of ale (or beer) is that of the zythus of ancient Egypt. Herodotus calls it barley-wine, and says it was in common use there. Diodorus considers that it was not inferior to wine, which from one who lived in a vine country was a high compliment, and shews that its qualities were equal to what we now make with hops. It was made from barley, and its flavour was obtained from the lupin, the skirret (Sium sisarum), and the root of an Assyrian plant. It was considered sufficiently good to be offered to the gods, and the residue of the malt has been found in Egyptian tombs. Xenophon, "Anabasis," 4, 5, men-tions the beer of the Armenians, which they drank through hollow reeds.

Zythus was, according to Plutarch, used to soften ivory for carving.

* V. infra, "Heath".

Reginald Scott, who lived in the year 1500, ap-pears to have been the first English writer who dis-tinctly treated of the culture of the hop, for which this country is now so celebrated. His work is en-titled "Perfect platforme of a Hoppe garden, Neces-sarie instructions for the makinge and maintenance thereof. London, 4°, 1578." It is now, I believe, a very scarce work.

Haller affirms that the Italians first used hops in their beer, but Beckmann doubts this assertion. During the existence of the Carlovingian dynasty they were cultivated in France, and undoubtedly for other than mere medicinal purposes, as, accord-ing to Beckmann, a letter of donation from King Pepin, mentions humolaria, which, of course, signifies hop-gardens. It is supposed that Pliny, in his Lupus salictarius, means the hop, which he affirms is eaten, and grows in willow-plantations. In speaking thus he probably refers to the use - still prevalent amongst us - of the young shoots as a spring vegetable, which closely resemble aspa-ragus in flavour, or to their employment, as men-tioned by Gerarde, in salads (where, as he observes,. quoting Pliny, "they are more toothsome than nourishing"),* rather than to the use of the flowers in flavouring beer. Cato, "Be Re Rustica" de-scribes a twining plant, which appears to mean the hop, as an excellent food for cattle. And the Arabian physician, Mesne, who died about 845, prescribes it under the name of Lupulus, as a medicine.

In which form it is still sometimes used as a sedative, stomachic, tonic, and its flowers are occasionally made into a pillow to procure sleep; though Gerarde tells us that they "hurte the head with their strong smelling." He adds, however, that they are good for the liver when taken internally, cure agues when boiled in whey, purify the blood, and by their "manifest virtues do argue wholesomenesse".

Hop. Humulus lupulus. (Female blossom).

Hop. Humulus lupulus. (Female blossom).

* See Hollande's translation.

The common hop {Humulus lupulus) takes its name from the word humus (rich soil), of which it is usually considered an indication. It is the female blossom or catkin, the pale green tassels of which give so exquisite a beauty to its dark and graceful vine-like wreaths which is infused for its flavour, whether for medicinal purposes or for beer; and the aspect of the plant when wreathed around the poles of a hop-garden, or, better still, when festooning some wild untrimmed hedge, cannot but be familiar to the reader, and any attempt to describe it would but interfere with the sense of its surpass-ing loveliness.

The Welsh name of Llewyg y blaidd, or wolf's-swoon, is evidently traceable to the same root as the Latin Lupulus, though it is difficult to ascertain to what origin they may be referred. Probably to some superstition regarding the plant. Pensoeg is merely a modern name, compounded from words signifying the head (or frothy working) of the brewing-tub.

Male Flower of the Hop (magnified).

Male Flower of the Hop (magnified).

Hop. (Male blossom.) Humulus lupulus.

Hop. (Male blossom.) Humulus lupulus.

The hop is very widely distributed, but especially in the Siberian steppes across the whole of the Asiatic continent, attaining to its maximum in its eastern districts, and circling almost every tree through countless miles of uncultivated country.