The bodies of the sick were covered with black pustules...the symptoms of immediate death.

--Procopius in Constantinople, writing history for the emperor, in 541

Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another... And I, Agnolo di Tura...buried my five children with my own hands... So many died that all believed that it was the end of the world.

--Agnolo di Tura in Italy, written in his chronicle in 1348

They died in heaps and were buried in heaps.

--Daniel Defoe in England in 1665

Few days following the death of the rats,
Men pass away like falling walls!

--Shih Tao-nan in China, writing a poem in 1792

Woe is me of the shilling of the armpit... It is of the form of an apple, like the head of an onion, a small boil that spares no-one. Great is its seething, like a burning cinder, a grievous thing of ashy colour... They are similar to the seeds of the black peas, broken fragments of brittle sea-coal...cinders of the peelings of the cockle weed, a mixed multitude, a black plague like half pence, like berries...

--English manorial document, 14th century