Page images
[ocr errors]

the loss of his genitals, that is, in case of extremity, not strictly to endeavour the preservation of all, but to sit down in the enjoyment of the greater good, though with the detriment and hazard of the lesser, we may hereby apprehend a real and useful truth. In this latitude of belief, we are content to receive the fable of Hippomanes, who redeemed his life with the loss of a golden ball; and, whether true or false, we reject not the tragedy of Absyrtus, and the dispersion of his members by Medea, to perplex the pursuit of her father. But if any shall positively affirm this act, and cannot believe the moral, unless he also credit the fable, he is surely greedy of delusion, and will hardly avoid deception in theories of this nature. The error, therefore, and alogy, in this opinion, is worse than the last ; that is, not to receive figures for realities, but expect a verity in apologues, and believe, as serious affirmations, confessed and studied fables.

Again, if this were true, and that the beaver, in chace, makes some divulsion of parts, as that which we call castoreum, yet are not the same to be termed testicles or stones; for these cods or follicles are found in both sexes, though somewhat more protuberant in the male. There is, hereto, no derivation of the seminal parts, nor any passage from hence, unto the vessels of ejaculation : some perforations only in the part itself, through which the humour included doth exudate, as may be observed in such as are fresh, and not much dried with age. And lastly, the testicles, properly so called, are of a lesser magnitude, and seated inwardly upon the loins :1 and, therefore, it were not only a fruitless attempt, but impossible act, to eunuchate or castrate themselves; and might be an hazardous practice of art, if at all attempted by others.

Now, all this is confirmed from the experimental testimony of five very memorable authors ;-Bellonius, Gesnerus, Amatus, Rondeletius, and Matthiolus,—who, receiving the hint hereof from Rondeletius, in the anatomy of two beavers, did find all true that had been delivered by him; whose words are these, in his learned book, 'De Piscibus :- Fibri in inguinibus geminos tumores habent, utrinque unicum, ovi

9 alogy.] Unreasonableness, absurdity ; from an old French word, alogie.

i loins.] Idem Baricellus (ut supra).— Wr.


anserini magnitudine ; inter hos est mentula in maribus, in

fæminis pudendum: hi tumores testes non sunt, sed folliculi membraná contecti, in quorum medio singuli sunt meatus, è quibus exudat liquor pinguis et cerosus, quem ipse castor sæpe admoto ore lambit et exugit, postea veluti oleo, corporis partes oblinit.

Hos tumores testes non esse hinc maximè colligitur, quòd ab illis nulla est ad mentulam via neque ductus quò humor in mentulæ meatum derivetur, et foras emittatur ; præterea quòd testes intus reperiuntur, eosdem tumores moscho animalia inesse puto, è quibus odoratum illud pus emanat.

Than which words there can be no plainer, nor more evidently discovering the impropriety of this appellation. That which is included in the cod or visible bag about the groin, being not the testicle or any spermatical part, but rather a collection of some superfluous matter deflowing from the body, especially the parts of nutrition, as unto their proper emunctories, and as it doth in musk and civet cats ; though in a different and offensive odour; proceeding partly from its food—that being especially fishwhereof this humour may be a garouso excretion and olidous4 separation.

Most, therefore, of the moderns, before Rondeletius, and all the ancients, excepting Sestius, have misunderstood this part, conceiving castoreum the testicles of the beaver; as Dioscorides, Galen, Ægineta, Ætius, and others have pleased to name it. The Egyptians also failed in the ground of their hieroglyphic, when they expressed the punishment of adultery by the beaver depriving himself of his testicles, which was amongst them the penalty of such incontinency. Nor is Ætius, perhaps, too strictly to be observed, when he prescribeth the stones of the otter, or river-dog, as succedaneous unto castoreum. But most inexcusable of all, is Pliny ; who having before him, in one place, the experiment of Sestius



moscho, &c.] Hee means the civit cat.-Wr.

garous.] Resembling garum, a pickle in which fish had been preserved.

4 olidous.] Stinking.

5 ground of their hieroglyphic, &c.]-Pierius (131, c.) is the authority for this explanation ;--but he differs therein from Horapollo, who says, “quomodo hominem, qui sibi ipsi damni et perniciei autor sit.”Hor. Hier. p. 117. See note (9) at page 251-23.

against it, sets down in another, that the beavers of Pontus bite off their testicles ; and in the same place affirmeth the like of the hyæna : which was indeed well joined with the beaver, as having also a bag in those parts; if, thereby, we understand the hyæna odorata, or civet cat, as is delivered and graphically described by Castellus. *

Now, the ground of this mistake might be the resemblance and situation of these tumours about those parts, wherein we observe the testicles in other animals; which, notwithstanding, is no well-founded illation ; for the testicles are defined by their office, and not determined by place or situation: they having one office in all, but different seats in many. For,-- beside that no serpent or fishes oviparous, that neither biped nor quadruped oviparous, have any exteriorly or prominent in the groin,-some also that are viviparous contain these parts within, as beside this animal, the elephant and the hedgehog.®

If any, therefore, shall term these testicles, intending metaphorically, and in no strict acception, his language is tolerable, and offends our ears no more than the tropical names of plants, when we read in herbals, of dogs, fox, and goatstones. But if he insisteth thereon, and maintaineth a propriety in this language, our discourse hath overthrown his assertion, nor will logic permit his illation ; that is, from things alike, to conclude a thing the same, and from an accidental convenience, that is, a similitude in place or figure, to infer a specifical congruity or substantial concurrence in nature.

* Castellus de Hyæna Odorifera. 6 Which was indeed, &c.] First added in the 2nd edition.

? quadruped oviparous.] As the crocodile, which is both quadruped and oviparous, and next the tortoise.— Wr.

8 hedgehog.) And the porcupine.— Wr.


That a Badger hath the legs of one side shorter than of the other.

That a brock, or badger, hath the legs on one side shorter than of the other, though an opinion, perhaps, not very ancient, is yet very general; received not only by theorists and unexperienced believers, but assented unto by most who have the opportunity to behold and hunt them daily. Which, notwithstanding, upon enquiry, I find repugnant unto the three determinators of truth-authority, sense, and reason. For first, Albertus Magnus speaks dubiously, confessing he could not confirm the verity hereof; but Aldrovandus plainly affirmeth there can be no such inequality observed: and for my own part, upon indifferent enquiry, I cannot discover this difference, although the regardable side be defined, and the brevity by most imputed unto the left.

Again, it seems no easy affront unto reason, and generally repugnant unto the course of nature; for if we survey the total set of animals, we may, in their legs, or organs


progression, observe an equality of length, and parity of numeration; that is, not any to have an odd leg, or the supporters and movers of one side not exactly answered by the other. Although the hinder may be unequal unto the fore and middle legs, as in frogs, locusts, and grasshoppers ; or both unto the middle, as in some beetles and spiders, as is determined by Aristotle.* Perfect and viviparous quadrupeds, so standing in their position of proneness, that the opposite joints of neighbour legs consist in the same plane; and a line descending from their navel intersects at right angles the axis of the earth. It happeneth often, I confess, that a lobster hath the chely or great claw of one side longer than the other ;l but this is not properly their leg, but a part of

* De Incessu Animaliun. o assented unto, dc.] The popular belief among the peasantry is, that, in running through a ploughed field, the animal always runs with his longer legs in the furrow.

a lobster, &c.] This never happens, but when one is by chance wrung off, when they are young, by a bigger lobster, which growing out againe, can never reach the greatnes of the other: the fishermen finde


apprehension, and whereby they hold or seize upon their prey; for the legs and proper parts of progression are inverted backward, and stand in a position opposite unto these.

Lastly, the monstrosity is ill contrived, and with some disadvantage; the shortness being affixed unto the legs of one side, which might have been more tolerably placed upon the thwart or diagonal movers. For the progression of quadru- . peds being performed per diametrum, that is, the cross legs moving or resting together, so that two are always in motion, and two in station at the same time,2 the brevity had been more tolerable in the cross legs. For then the motion and station had been performed by equal legs; whereas, herein, they are both performed by unequal organs, and the imperfection becomes discoverable at every hand.

this continually to be true, and saye they seldome have a drafte of them, wherein some of them come not up thus grappled by the claw. I have often seene them brought up with half the claw newly nipt off, or else closed up againe with a cartilage, and sometimes with one only chlea, for soe itt should be written, cominge manifestly from xn», which signifies properly the tongs or pincher, the chlea of a lobster or of a crab. - Wr.

Upon this theory, the vulgar pronunciation, cla, is more correct than claw.

The dean assigns the true cause of that inequality often observed in the legs of crabs. But he is wrong in supposing the lost claw to have been bitten off by other crabs. There exists in this tribe (as well as in spiders and some other insects) a very curious provision, enabling the animal to throw off instantly a limb (or antenna) which has been so injured as to be useless ; thus making way for the reproduction of the part. In the great majority of cases, the mutilation observed has resulted from the exercise of this power. See some curious instances detailed by Dr. Heineken, in the Zoological Journal (vol. iv. p. 285); and Dr. Mac Culloch's anatomical description of the process, in the 20th vol. of the Journal of the Royal Institution.

2 For the progression, &c.] From this rule must be excepted the camel. “The mode of the camel's walk, as described by Aristotle (Hist. Anim. lib. ii. cap. i. p. 480, Casaubon. Lugdun. 1590), is, by raising the two legs of the same side, the one immediately after the other; not moving the legs diagonally, in the manner of most other quadrupeds.”Rees's Cyclopædia, article, CAMELUS.-Br.

« PreviousContinue »