« PreviousContinue »
of such fiery parts, that, as we read in "Galen, they have of themselves conceived fire, and burnt a house about them. And therefore, when, in the famine of Samaria (wherein the fourth part of a cab of pigeon's dung was sold for five pieces of silver), it is delivered by Josephus, that men made use hereof instead of common salt: although the exposition seem strange, it is more probable than many other. For, that it containeth very much salt, as besides the effects before expressed, is discernible by taste, and the earth of columbaries or dove-houses, so much desired in the artifice of saltpetre. And to speak generally, the excrement of birds hath more of salt and acrimony, than that of any other pissing animals. Now if, because the dove is of a mild and gentle nature, we cannot conceive it should be of an hot temper, our apprehensions are not distinct in the measure of constitutions, and the several parts which evidence such conditions. For the irascible passions do follow the temper of the heart, but the concupiscible distractions the crasis of the liver. Now, many have hot livers, which have but cool and temperate hearts; and this was probably the temper of Paris, a contrary constitution to that of Ajax, and both but short of Medea, who seemed to exceed in either.
Lastly, it is repugnant to experience; for anatomical enquiry discovereth in them a gall;' and that, according to the determination of Aristotle, not annexed unto the liver, but adhering unto the guts. Nor is the humour contained in smaller veins or obscurer capillations, but in a vesicle or little bladder, though some affirm it hath no bag at all. And therefore the hieroglyphic of the Egyptians, though allowable in the sense, is weak in the foundation: who, expressing meekness and lenity by the portrait of a dove with à tail erected, affirmed it had no gall in the inward parts, but only in the rump, and as it were out of the body. And therefore also, if they conceived their gods were pleased with the sacrifice of this animal, as being without gall, the ancient heathens were surely mistaken in the reason, and in the very oblation. Whereas, in the holocaust or burntoffering of Moses, the gall was cast away : for, as Ben Maimon instructeth, the inwards, whereto the gall adhereth, were taken out with the crop (according unto the law), which the priest did not burn, but cast unto the east; that is, behind his back, and readiest place to be carried out of the sanctuary. And if they also conceived that for this reason they were the birds of Venus, and, wanting the furious and discording part, were more acceptable unto the deity of love, they surely added unto the conceit; which was, at first, venereal, and in this animal may be sufficiently made out from that conception.
anatomical enquiry discovereth, &c.] It is now known that the gallbladder does not exist in the dove : the vessel mentioned by our author is merely a dilation of the hepatic or of the hepatocystic duct, serving to contain the bile. This fact is in agreement with the statements of Aristotle and Pliny, which are cited in this and in the preceding page. --Br.
2 And therefore, &c.] This statement is from Pierius, on the authority of Horapollo or Orus Apollo, in his Hieroglyphica, curâ Pauw, p. 105. See note 9, p. 251-3.
The ground of this conceit is partly like the former, the obscure situation of the gall, and out of the liver, wherein it is commonly enquired. But this is a very unjust illation, not well considering with what variety this part is seated in birds. In some, both at the stomach and the liver, as in the capriceps; in some at the liver only, as in cocks, turkeys, and pheasants; in others at the guts and liver, as in hawks and kites ; in some at the guts alone, as crows, doves, and many
And these, perhaps, may take up all the ways of situation, not only in birds, but also other animals; for what is said of the anchovy—that (answerable unto its name*) it carrieth the gall in the head, is farther to be enquired. And though the discoloured particles in the skin of an heron be commonly termed gall, yet is not this animal deficient in that part, but containeth it in the liver. And thus, when it is conceived that the eyes of Tobias were cured by the gall of the fish callionymus or scorpius marinus, commended to that effect by Dioscorides, although that part were not in the liver, yet there were no reason to doubt that probability. And whatsoever animal it was, it may be received without exception, when it is delivered, the married couple, as a testimony of future concord, did cast the gall of the sacrifice behind the altar.
* 'Εγκρασίχολος. 3 doves.] Sparows, swalows (as before).— Wr.
A strict and literal acception of a loose and tropical expression was a second ground hereof.4 For while some affirmed it had no gall, intending only thereby no evidence of anger or fury; others have construed it anatomically, and denied that part at all. By which illation we may infer (and that from sacred text), a pigeon hath no heart; according to that expression, Factus est Ephraim sicut columba seduc non habens cor. * And so, from the letter of Scripture, we may conclude it is no mild, but a fiery and furious animal, according to that of Jeremy,t Facta est terra in desolationem, à facie ire columbæ : and again, I revertamur ad terram nativitatis nostre, à facie gladii columbæ. Where, notwithstanding, the dove is not literally intended; but thereby may be implied the Babylonians, whose queen, Semiramis, was called by that name, and whose successors did bear the dove in their standard. So is it proverbially said, Formice sua bilis inest, habet et musca splenem; whereas we know philosophy doubteth these parts, nor hath anatomy so clearly discovered them in those insects.5
* Hosea vii. + Cap. xxv. 38. I Cap. xlvi. 16. 4 A strict and literal acception, &c.] This, and the concluding paragraph, furnish a very satisfactory explanation of the error discussed in the chapter; but it is probable that the absence of the gall-bladder in the dove, by being supposed to imply that of the bile itself, has also contributed to it. -Br.
See the English version of the passages referred to in Jeremiah.
5 doubteth these parts, &c.] I doe believe that, as the gall has severall receptacles in severall creatures (as above is mentioned) soe there's scarce any creature but bath that emunctorye somewhere. What is the poyson in the tayle of the scorpion, and the sting raye or male thornback but his gall ? And soe in hornets, bees, wasps, the same. What is the poyson in the tooth of serpents, and of the lamprey, and the mus araneus, and the tarantula, but the gall ? which according to the condition and qualitye of the creature, as the spirits that accompany those ejaculations are more subtile, aerial, or fierye, soe they appeare more or lesse furious in their effects ; whereas, those parts (by which they ejaculate this gall) being taken away, the other parts become not only edible and of high nourishment, as in the thornback and lamprey, and in the honey of the bee; but in some they become the most soveraigne antidotes, as in the flesh of vipers : nay, the very spirits of some of these being received into apte bodyes, in their full strength, imprint such an alexipharmacal or alexitarial virtue into those bodyes, against all poyson, as seemes almost miraculous, as in viper wine and oyle of scorpions.— Wr.
If, therefore, any affirm a pigeon hath no gall, implying no more thereby than the lenity of this animal, we shall notes controvert his affirmation. Thus may we make out that. assertions of ancient writers, and safely receive the expres- sa sions of divines and worthy fathers. But if, by a transition or from rhetoric to logic, he shall contend it hath no such part or humour, he committeth an open fallacy, and such as was probably first committed concerning Spanish mares, whose swiftness tropically expressed from their generation by the wind, might after be grossly taken, and a real truth conceived in that conception.
That a Beaver, to escape the hunter, bites off his testicles or stones. THAT a beaver, to escape the hunter, bites off his testicles or stones, is a tenet very ancient; and hath had, thereby, advantage of propagation. For the same we find in the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians; in the Apologue of Æsop, an author of great antiquity, who lived in the beginning of the Persian monarchy, and in the time of Cyrus; the same is touched by Aristotle in his Ethics ; but seriously delivered by Ælian, Pliny, and Solinus ; the same we meet with in Juvenal, who by an handsome and metrical expression, more welcomely engrafts it into our junior memories ;
imitatus castora, qui se
Testiculorum, aded medicatum intelligit inguen ; it hath been propagated by emblems; and some have been
6 That a beaver, &c.] The arrangement, conduct, and logic, of tie entire train of arguments in this chapter, are equally admirable. It displays, also, extensive and accurate knowledge of natural history and comparative anatomy.
Ross, after himself delivering a tissue of gross errors relating to eunuchs, first repeats that of the beaver, as just refuted by our author; of course, quoad true testicles; and then, by a singular inconsistency contends, that Browne checks the ancients for this opinion without cause; and, after admitting the extirpated organs not to be true testicles, that, “ if then, this be an error, it is nominal, not real.”-Arcan. 117.Br.
bad grammarians as to be deceived by the name, deriving astor à castrando; whereas the proper Latin word is fiber, nd castor but borrowed from the Greek, so called quasi aotwp, that is, animal ventricosum, from his swaggy and prominent belly.
Herein, therefore, to speak compendiously, we first preume to affirm that, from a strict enquiry, we cannot mainain the evulsion or biting off any parts; and this is leclarable from the best and most professed writers : for though some have made use hereof in a moral or tropical way, yet have the professed discoursers by silence deserted, or by experience rejected, this assertion. Thus was it in ancient times discovered, and experimentally refuted, by one Sestius, a physician, as it stands related by Pliny--by Dioscorides, who plainly affirms that this tradition is false—by the discoveries of modern authors, who have expressly discoursed hereon, as Aldrovandus, Matthiolus, Gesnerus, Bellonius8_by Olaus Magnus, Peter Martyr, and others, who have described the manner of their venations in America ; they generally omitting this way of their escape, and
have delivered several other, by which they are daily taken. : The original of the conceit was probably hieroglyphical,
which after became mythological unto the Greeks, and so E set down by Æsop; and by process of tradition, stole into a
total verity, which was but partially true, that is, in its 2 covert sense and morality. Now, why they placed this invention
upon the beaver (beside the medicable and merchantable commodity of castoreum, or parts conceived to be bitten away), might be the sagacity and wisdom of that ani
mal, which from the works it performs, and especially its & artifice in building, is very strange, and surely not to be
matched by any other. Omitted by Plutarch, De Solertia
Animalium, but might have much advantaged the drift of I that discourse.
If, therefore, any affirm a wise man should demean himself like the beaver, who, to escape with his life, contemneth
? fiber. Which the Polonians by a more elegant name call bi-fer, quasi animal biferum quod tam in terra quam in mari prædetur : and from (bifer) wee call itt (corruptlye) bever.-Wr.
8 Bellonius.] And particularly Baricellus, in his Hortus Genealis, p. 288.-Wr.