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CHAPTER VI.

That a Bear brings forth her Cubs informous or unshaped. That a bear brings forth her young informous and unshapen, which she fashioneth after by licking them over, is an opinion not only vulgar, and common with us at present, but hath been of old delivered by ancient writers. Upon this foundation it was an hieroglyphic with the Egyptians ;3 Aristotle seems to countenance it; Solinus, Pliny, and Ælian, directly affirm it, and Ovid smoothly delivereth it;

Nec catulus partu quem reddidit ursa recenti,
Sed malè viva caro est, lambendo mater in artuş

Ducit, et in formam qualem cupit ipsa reducit. Which, notwithstanding, is not only repugnant unto the sense of every one that shall enquire into it, but the exact and deliberate experiment of three authentic philosophers. The first, of Matthiolus in his Comment on Dioscorides, whose words are to this effect :-“In the valley of Anania, about Trent, in a bear which the hunters eventerated4 or opened, I beheld the young ones with all their parts distinct, and not without shape, as many conceive-giving more credit unto Aristotle and Pliny, than experience and their proper senses. Of the same assurance was Julius Scaliger, in his Exercitations ; Ursam fætus informes potius ejicere, quam parere, si vera dicunt, quos postea linctu effingat. Quid hujusce fabulæ authoribus fidei habendum, ex hac historia cognosces ; in nostris alpibus venatores foetam ursam cepere, dissectâ fætus planè formatus intus inventus est. And lastly, Aldrovandus, who from the testimony of his own eyes affirmeth, that in the cabinet of the senate of Bononia, there was preserved in a glass, a cub, taken out of a bear, perfectly formed, and complete in every part.

It is, moreover, injurious unto reason, and much impugneth

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3 it was an hieroglyphic.] Pierius, 131, c. and Horapollo, 117. See note 9, at page 251-53.

4 eventerated.) Ript up, by opening the belly. Browne is the only authority given in Johnson.

the course and providence of nature, to conceive a birth should be ordained before there is a formation. For the conformation of parts is necessarily required, not only unto the pre-requisites and previous conditions of birth, as motion and animation, but also unto the parturition or very birth itself: wherein not only the dam, but the younglings play their parts, and the cause and act of exclusion proceedeth from them both. For the exclusion of animals is not merely passive like that of eggs, nor the total action of delivery to be imputed unto the mother, but the first attempt beginneth from the infant, which, at the accomplished period, attempteth to change his mansion, and struggling to come forth, dilacerates and breaks those parts which restrained him before.

Besides (what few take notice of), men hereby do, in an high measure, vilify the works of God, imputing that unto the tongue of a beast, which is the strangest artifice in all the acts of nature; that is, the formation of the infant in the womb, not only in mankind, but all viviparous animals. Wherein the plastic or formative faculty, from matter appearing homogeneous, and of a similary substance, erecteth bones, membranes, veins, and arteries; and out of these contriveth every part in number, place, and figure, according to the law of its species : which is so far from being fashioned by any outward agent, that one omitted or perverted by a slip of the inward Phidias, it is not reducible by any other whatsoever: and therefore Mirè me plasmaverunt manus tuæ, though it originally respected the generation of man, yet is it appliable unto that of other animals; who, entering the womb in bare and simple materials, return with distinction of parts, and the perfect breath of life. He that shall consider these alterations without, must needs conceive there have been strange operations within : which to behold, it were a spectacle almost worth one's being—a sight beyond all ; except that man had been created first, and might have seen the show of five days after.

Now, as the opinion is repugnant both unto sense and

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5 Por the exclusion, &c.] The fætus is passive, and is expelled wholly by the efforts of the mother: a dead foetus is as readily born as a living one ; although a vulgar error prevails to the contrary.

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reason, so hath it probably been occasioned from some slight ground in either. Thus in regard the cub comes forth involved in the chorion, a thick and tough membrane obscuring the formation, and which the dam doth after bite and tear asunder; the beholder at first sight conceives it a rude and informous lump of flesh, and imputes the ensuing shape unto the mouthing of the dam ; which addeth nothing thereunto, but only draws the curtain, and takes away the vail which concealed the piece before. And thus have some endeavoured to enforce the same from reason; that is, the small and slender time of the bear's gestation, or going with her young; which lasting but a few days (a month some say), the exclusion becomes precipitous, and the young ones, consequently, informous, according to that of Solinus, Trigesimus dies uterum liberat urse : unde evenit ut præcipitata foecunditas informes creet partus. But this will overthrow the general method or nature in the works of generation. For therein the conformation is not only antecedent, but proportional unto the exclusion; and if the period of the birth be short, the term of conformation will be as sudden also. There may, I confess, from this narrow time of gestation, ensue a minority or smallness in the exclusion; but this, however, inferreth no informity, and it still receiveth the name of a natural and legitimate birth : whereas, if we affirm a total informity, it cannot admit so forward a term as an abortment,* for that supposeth conformation; so we must call this constant and intended act of nature, a slip or effluxion, that is, an exclusion before conformation, before the birth can bear the name of the parent, or be so much as properly called an embryon.

o informous.] The bearling, though blind like most other beastlings, is not informous. It owes the discipline in question to that instinct which secures to the young of all animals, on their first appearance, the same species of maternal attention. Cuvier describes the cub of the black bear as measuring six or eight inches, devoid of teeth, covered with hairs, and having the eyes closed.

There is, however, another popular saying about the young of the bear which does not seem so easily disposed of ;- its deriving nutriment from sucking its paws. The following graphic passage explains the fact. Speaking of a cub of the Norway bear, in the French Menagerie, Cuvier says, it “was particularly fond of sucking its paws, during which operation it always sent forth a uniform and constant murmur, something like the sound of a spinning-wheel. This appeared to be an imperious want with it, and it was surprising to observe the ardour with which it commenced the operation, and the enjoyment which it seemed to derive from it. The belief, which once so generally obtained, that these animals, during the season which they pass without eating, and gurrounded by snows, support themselves by sucking their paws, seems not utterly without foundation. In truth, every natural action must have a tendency to some useful end, though it has not been observed that the bear extracts any thing from its paws by the act of suction. After all, it is niore probable that bears lick their paws, as cats do, from a love of cleanliness, or merely in consequence of some pleasing sensation which nature has attached to the act, for inexplicable reasons, rather than for sustenance.”—Cuvier's Animal Kingdom, by Griffiths, vol. ii. 220.-Ed.

The following note occurs in Dr. Richardson's account of the quadru. peds and birds collected in Captain Parry's second voyage to the Arctic Regions, published in the Zoological Appendix to the journal of that voyage, p. 290.

“ The female black or brown bears conceal their retreats with such care that they are extremely rarely killed wben with young. Hence the ancients had an opinion that the bear brought forth

CHAPTER VII.

Of the Basilisk. Many opinions are passant concerning the basilisk, or little king of serpents, commonly called the cockatrice; some affirming, others denying, most doubting the relation made hereof. What, therefore, in these uncertainties we may more safely determine ; that such an animal there is, if we evade not the testimony of Scripture and human writers we cannot safely deny. So it is said, Psalm xci. Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, wherein the vulgar translation retaineth the word of the Septuagint, using in other places the

* "Έκρυσις. unformed masses, and afterwards licked them into shape and life. Sir Thomas Browne cites many facts in opposition to this notion, some of which are quoted in Shaw's Zoology and similar and more recent facts are noticed in Warden's Account of the United States, vol. i. p. 195. After numerous enquiries amongst the Indians of Hudson's Bay, only one was found who had killed a pregnant bear. He stated that the den she had constructed was smaller than that usually made by the unimpregnated female."--Br.

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Latin expression, regulus ; as Proverbs xxii. Mordebit ut coluber, et sicut regulus venena diffundet :) and Jeremy viii. Ecce ego mittam vobis serpentes regulos, &c.—that is, as ours translate it,“ Behold I will send serpents, cockatrices among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you.' And as for human authors, or such as have discoursed of animals, or poisons, it is to be found almost in all : in Dioscorides, Galen, Pliny, Solinus, Ælian, Ætius, Avicen, Ardoynus, Grevinus, and many more. In Aristotle, I confess, we find no mention thereof, but Scaliger in his Comment and Enumeration of Serpents hath made supply; and in his Exercitations delivereth, that a basilisk was found in Rome, in the days of Leo the Fourth. The like is reported by Sigonius; and some are so far from denying one, that they have made several kinds hereof; for such is the Catoblepas 8 of Pliny conceived to be by some, and the Dryinus of Ætius by others.

But although we deny not the existence of the basilisk, yet, whether we do not commonly mistake in the conception hereof, and call that a basilisk which is none at all, is surely to be questioned. For certainly that, which, from the conceit of its generation, we vulgarly call a cockatrice, and wherein (but under a different name) we intend a formal identity and adequate conception with the basilisk, is not the basilisk of the ancients, whereof such wonders are delivered. For this of ours is generally described with legs, wings, a serpentine and winding tail, and a crest or comb somewhat like a cock. But the basilisk of elder times was a proper kind of serpent, not above three palms long,' as some account, and differenced

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? diffundet.] Note the worde diffundet, which intimates a strange kind of poysoning (undequâque), most probably infecting the heart of him that approaches, by the breath drawne into the very heart immediately, then by the eye, which requires a longer way then the maner of infection is wont to take, killing in an instant, irrecoverablye, and diverse have perished by his spreading poyson in the dark holes, where they could never see the serpent. To which the story in Sennertus seems to add strong proofe.— Wr.

Catoblepas.] This name is now appropriated to a genus containing the gnoo, and several species. The animal so called by Ælian is supposed by Cuvier to have been of this genus.

was a proper kind of serpent, &c.] A distinction must be taken between the basilisk (or cockatrice) of Scripture, and that which is so called

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