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That this herb is the cause thereof, shepherds affirm and deny; whether it hath a cordial virtue by sudden refection, sensible experiment doth hardly confirm, but that it may have a balsamical and resumptive virtue, whereby it becomes a good medicine in catarrhs and consumptive dispositions, practice and reason conclude. That the lentous drops upon it are not extraneous, and rather an exudation from itself, than a rorid concretion from without; beside other grounds, we have reason to conceive: for having kept the roots moist and earthed in close chambers, they have, though in lesser plenty, sent out these drops as before.2

That flos Africanus is poison, and destroyeth dogs, in two experiments we have not found.3

That yew, and the berries4 thereof, are harmless, we know.

That a snake will not endure the shade of an ash, we can deny.5 Nor is it inconsiderable what is affirmed by Bellonius :* for if his assertion be true, our apprehension is often

* Lib. 1. Observat, disease as certain paludal effluvia, from whatever circumstances of locality of soil, or vegetation, such effluvia may be occasioned.

2 That shcep, &c.] Added in the 3rd edition.
3 not found.]

There are diverse sorts of them. Some, by longe translations into our colder clymes, now grown harmlesse : as it happened in peaches, which in their original soyle were counted pernicious in an extreme degree of cold, and moyst; but by transplantation and long mangonization among us, prove to bee beneficial to hot complexions : and with Spanish wine not much hurtful to any in a small quantitye.- Wr.

4 That yew, &c.] I have often seen children eate them without hurt; but in hot countries the ixia grows to such a hight of clammines, as cannot bee dissolved in the stomack.- Wr.

“Nihil æque facere ad viperæ morsum, quam taxi arboris succum.-Sueton. Claud. § 16.

“ Cativulcus-taxo-se exanimavit."-Cæsar. de Bell. Gall. 1. v. 31.

See an instance of two cows being killed by eating the leaves of yew, at High Lorton, Cuinberland, in 1817. Hampshire Chronicle, Jan. 26, 1807. "Three cows died a few days ago, at Drayton, in consequence of eating yew leaves.”Evening Mail, May 3rd, 1811.-“Two horses killed by eating yew in a close near Chelmsford ; a great quantity being found in the stomachs of the dead animals. A filly was saved by powerful antidotes being quickly administered.”Phil. "Gazette, Feb. 12, 1823.—Jef.

5 deny.) Edit. 1646 and 1650 add here the following sentence :“That cats have such delight in the herb nereta, called therefore

times wide in ordinary simples, and in common use we mistake one for another. We know not the true thyme; the savory in our gardens is not that commended of old; and that kind of hyssop the ancients used, is unknown unto us, who make great use of another.

We omit to recite the many virtues and endless faculties ascribed unto plants, which sometimes occur in grave and serious authors; and we shall make a bad transaction for

a truth to concede a verity in half. To reckon up all, it were employment for Archimedes, who undertook to write the number of the sands. Swarms of others there are, some whereof our future endeavours may discover : common reason, I hope, will save us a labour in many, whose absurdities stand naked unto every eye ; errors, not able to deceive the emblem of justice, and needing no Argus to descry them. Herein there surely wants expurgatory animadversions, whereby we might strike out great numbers of hidden qualities; and having once a serious and conceded list, we might, with more encouragement and safety, attempt their THE THIRD BOOK:


cattaria, our experience cannot discover.” -I have met with the probable reason for the suppression of this passage (3rd edit. 1658, and subsequent editions) in a letter from Dr. How to the author, dated 1655. “I have numbered, about two rootes of nep. in my garden, 16 cats, who never destroyed those plants, but have totally despoyled the neighbouring births in that bed to a yard's distance, rendring the place hard and smooth, like a walke with their frequent treddings."




That an Elephant hath no joints, &c. THE first shall be of the elephant, whereof there generally passeth an opinion it hath no joints :6 and this absurdity is seconded with another, that, being unable to lie down, it sleepeth against a tree; which the hunters observing do saw


6 The first shall be of the elephant, dc.) The “popular and received tenet” concerning this animal, which it is the main object of the chapter before us to refute, appears either to have been first delivered, or first recorded from tradition, by Ctesias the Cnidian, who is the earliest writer to whom I have been able to trace it; and who, according to Professor Schlegel, was the first among the Greeks who gave, from his own personal observation, a description of the elephant in any way copious, which was written about 380 A.C. The probability that Ctesias was the originator, or the first recorder, of this vulgar error, is confirmed by the circumstance that many idle tales, regarding other animals, appear to have been also first promulgated by him; and also by the fact, that Aristotle, in his details on the elephant, twice refutes the assertions of Ctesias, naming him ; and when refuting this particular error, does so in such a manner, that although no name is given, his allusions, as Professor Schlegel has shown, can refer only to that writer. The absurdity respecting the elephant's posture in sleep and the consequent mode of capturing him, is also derived from Ctesias.

It is very true, therefore, that, the “conceit” in question “is not the daughter of later times, but an old and grey-headed error;" and it is also true that it is delivered as such by Aristotle. I have found it necessary, for reasons that will be evident in the course of these annotations,

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it almost asunder; whereon the beast relying, by the fall of the tree falls also down itself, and is able to rise no more.

always to compare what our author has attributed to that philosopher, with the original statements made in his works ; and as there are several curious points in the history of our knowledge respecting the elephant connected with the subject, and which contribute to elucidate Browne's remarks, I shall here introduce Aristotle's observasions.

It will be proper to premise, however, that it has been shown by Professor Schlegel, in his learned and interesting History of the Elephant and Sphinx, (Class. Journ. vol. xxxi.), that the first battle between any of the nations of the western world and those of the eastern, in which elephants were used, was that of Arbela, and that some of these, taken by Alexander, and sent by him into Greece, were the first elephants seen in that country, and very probably the actual subjects of the admirable natural history of this animal contained in the works of Aristotle, which is manifestly, and indeed professedly, the result of frequent and minute actual examination of elephants of both sexes. And, “what he himself could not ascertain," as Professor Schlegel remarks, “ viz. the beast's mode of life in his wild state, he doubtless ascertained from the Indian conductors who led the ele. phants.” (Ib. p. 53.)

Aristotle, in the ninth chapter of his book, On the Progressive Motion of Animals, when showing that without inflexion there could be no progression, to which demonstration Browne's argument on the subject is greatly indebted (as he indeed indirectly acknowledges), has occasion to notice some partial exceptions to this rule, which he introduces thus : “It is possible, however, for the leg to be moved when not inflected, in the same manner as infants creep. And there is an ancient report of this kind about elephants, which is not true; for such animals as these are moved in consequence of an inflexion taking place either in their shoulders or hips. No animal, however, is capable of moving with a continued progressive motion, and with security, with its members straight; but it may be moved as they are in the palæstræ, who proceed on their knees through the dust.”—T. Taylor's Treatises of Aristotle on the Parts and Progressive Motion of Animals, p. 181.

In the second book of his History of Animals, chap. i. when treating of the accordance of viviparous animals in general with each other, and with man, in configuration and in motions, the Stagyrite observes: “The legs, however, of other animals, as well the fore as the hind legs, have flexions contrary to each other, and to the flexions of the legs and arms of man, the elephant being excepted . What is asserted of the elephant, however, by some, is not true (i. e. that he cannot bend his legs, nor sit); for he can do both, except that he cannot, on account of his weight, at one and the same time, bend each fore leg, and recline on each side, but he can alone bend one leg, either the right or the left, and alone recline on one side, and in this manner he sleeps (leaning against some wall or tree). But he bends his hind legs in the


Which conceit is not the daughter of later times, but an old and grey-headed error, even

in the days of Aristotle, as he delivereth in his book, De Incessu Animalium, and stands successively related by several other authors; by Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Ambrose, Cassiodore, Solinus, and many

Now, herein, methinks, men much forget themselves, not well considering the absurdity of such assertions.

For first, they affirm it hath no joints, and yet concede it walks and moves about;" whereby they conceive there may same manner as men.”Taylor's Translation of Aristotle's History of Animals, p. 36.

In the latter passage, however, Aristotle, though he corrects the error of Ctesias in a satisfactory manner, appears, on another point, to be mistaken himself. For it would seem to imply that the elephant, having bent one fore-leg, cannot then bend the other so as to kneel with both—which is contrary to the fact. And, what is perhaps still more curious in the history of the subject, Mr. Taylor, in his concluding interpolation, has actually adopted a portion of the original error of Ctesias, to complete the sense of his author. Something, certainly, appears to be wanting, in order to complete the sense. But, that a statement by a writer who is never mentioned by Aristotle except for the purpose of refuting him, and which is in itself so well known to be untrue, should have been employed for the purpose, is very extraordinary. As the amplifications of Mr. Taylor's version of this passage also tend in some degree to obscure the sense, I will add the closer and more concise version of Du Val. “ Flectunt autem crura, priora contrà, atque posteriora : et e contrario, quàm homo, membra inflectunt, excepto elephanto. Elephas non, ut aliqui retulerunt, agit; sed considendo crura inflectit, nequit tamen præ nimio pondere utrumque in latus equilibrio quodam vergere : sed aut lævo incubat, aut dex, tro, atque eo ipso habitu requiescit.”-Arist. Opera Omnia, curâ Du Val, tom. i. p. 771, B.-Br.

? Por first, they affirm it hath no joints, &c.] This argument of our author, showing, from reason, anatomy, and general analogy with other animals, the absurdity of the error he is refuting, is exceedingly logical and pertinent.

Ross, with his usual dogmatism, represents that “the doctor, prying too narrowly into the sayings of the ancients, reckoneth them amongst his Vulgar Errors, which being rightly understood, are no errors at all; as when they say the elephant hath no joynts, they meant their joynts were stiffe, and not so easily flexible as those of other animals.” (Arcan. Microc. p. 152). But unfortunately for this explanation, Ctesias explicitly affirms, “ that the elephant hath no joints in the bone of his leg,” which fully justifies the importance given by Browne to the popular misrepresentation founded on the statement of that writer.

Robinson, by implication, condemns Browne for censuring the views of the ancients on this subject; observing, that elephants have no

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