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is, a generation consisting of many years, but for one year, or a single revolution of the sun; which is the remarkable measure of time, and within the compass whereof, we receive our perfection in the womb. So that by this construction, the years of a deer should be but thirty-six, as is discoursed at large in that tract of Plutarch, concerning the cessation of oracles, and whereto in his discourse of the crow, Aldrovandus also inclineth. Others, not able to make it out, have rejected the whole account, as may be observed from the words of Pliny ; Hesiodus qui primus aliquid de longævitate vitæ prodidit, fabulosè (reor) multa de hominum evo referens, cornici novem nostras attribuit ætates, quadruplum ejus cervis, id triplicatum corvis, et reliqua fabulosiùs de phoenice et nymphis. And this, how slender soever, was probably the strongest ground antiquity had for this longevity of animals; that made Theophrastus expostulate with nature concerning the long life of crows; that begat that epithet of deer* in Oppianus, and that expression of Juvenal,
-Longa et cervina senectus. The third ground was philosophical, and founded upon a probable reason in nature, that is, the defect of a gall: which part in the opinion of Aristotle and Pliny), this animal wanted, and was conceived a cause and reason of their long life: according (say they) as it happeneth unto some few men, who have not this part at all. But this assertion is first defective in the verity concerning the animal alleged: for though it be true, a deer hath no gall in the liver like many other animals, yet hath it that part in the guts, as is discoverable by taste and colour: and therefore Pliny doth well correct himself, when, having affirmed before, it had no gall, he after saith, some hold it to be in the guts; and that for their bitterness, dogs will refuse to eat them. The assertion is also deficient in the verity of the induction or connumeration of other animals conjoined herewith, as having also no gall; that is, as Pliny accounteth, equi, muli, &c. Horses, mules, asses, deer, goats, boars, camels, dolphins, have no gall. In dolphins and porpoises I confess I could find no gall . But concerning horses, what truth there is
herein we have declared before; as for goats, we find not them without it; what gall the camel hath, Aristotle declareth: that hogs also have it we can affirm; and that not in obscure place, but in the liver, even as it is seated in man.8
That, therefore, 'the deer is no short-lived animal, we will acknowledge; that comparatively, and in some sense longlived, we will concede ; and thus much we shall grant, if we commonly account its days' by thirty-six or forty; for thereby it will exceed all other cornigerous animals. But that it attaineth unto hundreds, or the years delivered by authors, since we have no authentic experience for it-since we have reason and common experience against it-since the grounds are false and fabulous which do establish it, we know no ground to assent.
Concerning deer, there also passeth another opinion, that the males thereof do yearly lose their pizzle: for men, observing the decidence of their horns, do fall upon the like conceit of this part, that it annually rotteth away, and successively reneweth again. Now the ground hereof, was surely the observation of this part in deer after immoderate venery, and about the end of their rut, which sometimes becomes so relaxed and pendulous, it cannot be quite retracted: and being often beset with flies, it is conceived to rot, and at last to fall from the body. But herein experience will contradict us ; for deer, which either die or are
8 Horses, dc.] This statement is correct. It is asserted that the gallbladder is common to all carnivorous animals possessing a liver, and that it seems to be wanting only in those which feed on vegetables alone. The gall-bladder is contained between the peritonæum and the liver.
9 days.] Yeares.— Wr.
I thirty-six or forty.] A correct conclusion. Ross, however, is not inclined to give up the opinion of the “ancient sages,” on
so weak grounds” as those advanced by Sir Thomas. His faith, however, might well admit such assertions as are here discussed ; since he avowed his belief that old men may grow young again ;—"that the decayed nature may be so renewed and repaired, as an old man may perform the function of a young man!”
this part, &c.] Itt may sometimes rott, as the deers often doe;yfa sharpe and stervinge winter take them before they can repaire the strength lost by immoderate rutt : whence it seemes the terme (rott) first came : but that part wherein the rott always beginnes to appeare, is never renewed.-Wr.
killed at that time, or any other, are always found to have that part entire. And reason will also correct us; for spermatical parts, or such as are framed from the seminal principles of parents, although homogeneous or similary, will not admit a regeneration; much less will they receive an integral restoration, which being organical and instrumental members, consist of many of those. Now this part, or animal of Plato, containeth not only sanguineous and reparable particles, but is made up of veins, nerves, arteries, and in some animals of bones ;4 whose reparation is beyond its own fertility, and a fruit not to be expected from the fructifying part itself. Which faculty, were it communicated unto animals whose originals are double, as well as unto plants whose seed is within themselves, we might abate the art of Taliacotius, and the new inarching of noses. And therefore the fancies of poets have been so modest, as not to set down such renovations, even from the powers of their deities; for the mutilated shoulder of Pelops was pieced out with ivory, and that the limbs of Hippolytus were set together, not regenerated by Æsculapius, is the utmost assertion of poetry.
3 such as are framed, &c.] There seems some difficulty in determin. ing the precise meaning of this phrase:—but Sir Thomas was not aware of what has been ascertained by the experiments of Bonnet and Spallanzani on snails and worms; and by those of Drs. Heineken and Mac Culloch on spiders and crabs ; viz. that these comparatively imperfect animals have the wonderful power (not bestowed on those of far more complete organization) of reproducing parts of which they have been deprived—limbs, antennæ, and even the head.
bones.] As in poll-cats and ferrets, which I caused to bee dissected, and found in one a bone as big as a walnut shaled.—Wr.
new inarching of noses.] In the Gents. Mag. vol. 54, p. 891, is an account of this operation as performed in India, in 1792. An old work, entitled Chirurgorum Comes, 1687, concludes with an account of a similar operation, performed two hundred before, at Lausanne, by a surgeon named Greffonius, on a young woman. The physiological principles, on which this celebrated process has been successful, are discussed by Dr. Bostock, in his Elementary System of Physiology, vol. i. p. 450. Sir Kenelm Digby adds this marvellous assertion, that when a man, whose nose had been lost by extreme cold, was supplied with an artificial nose made of the flesh of some other person, This new nose would putrify as soon as the person, out of whose substance it was taken, came to die !” 6 Pelops] So Virgil ;-Georgic. iii. 7:
Humeroque Pelops insignis eburno.
That a Kingfisher, hanged by the bill, showeth where the wind lay.
That a kingfisher, hanged by the bill, showeth in what quarter the wind is, by an occult and secret propriety, converting the breast to that point of the horizon from whence the wind doth blow, is a received opinion, and very strangeintroducing natural weathercocks, and extending magnetical positions as far as animal natures. A conceit
supported chiefly by present practice, yet not made out by reason or experience.
Unto reason it seemeth very repugnant, that a carcass or body disanimated, should be so affected with every wind, as to carry a conformable respect and constant habitude thereto. For although in sundry animals we deny not a kind of natural meteorology or innate presention both of wind and weather, yet, that proceeding from sense receiving impression from the first mutation of the air, they cannot in reason retain that apprehension after death, as being affections which depend on life, and depart upon disanimation. And therefore with more favourable reason may we draw the same effect or sympathy upon the hedgehog, whose presention of winds is so exact, that it stoppeth the north or southern hole of its nest, according to the prenotion of these winds ensuing ;7 which some men observing, have been able to make predictions which way the wind would turn, and been esteemed hereby wise men in point of weather. Now this proceeding from sense in the creature alive, it were not reasonable to hang up an hedgehog dead, and to expect a conformable motion unto its living conversion. And though in sundry plants their virtues do live after death—and we know that scammony, rhubarb, and senna will purge without
any vital assistance-yet in animals and sensible creatures, many actions are mixed, and depend upon their living form, as well as that of mistion; and though they wholly seem to retain unto the body, depart 7 whose presention of winds, &c.] The popular belief of this “
presention” (faculty of perceiving beforehand), in the hedgehog, seems to be without foundation.
upon disunion. Thus glow-worms alive project a lustre in the dark; which fulgour, notwithstanding, ceaseth after death; and thus the torpedo, which being alive stupifies at a distance, applied after death, produceth no such effect; which had they retained, in places where they abound they might have supplied opium, 8 and served as frontals in phrensies.
As for the experiment, we cannot make it out by any we have attempted; for if a single kingfisher be hanged up with untwisted silk in an open room, and where the air is free, it observes not a constant respect unto the mouth of the wind, but, variously converting, doth seldom breast it aright. If two be suspended in the same room, they will not regularly conform their breasts, but ofttimes respect the opposite points of heaven. And if we conceive that, for exact exploration, they should be suspended where the air is quiet and unmoved,
-that, clear of impediments, they may more freely convert upon their natural verticity-we have also made this way of inquisition, suspending them in large and capacious glasses closely stopped ; wherein nevertheless we observed a casual station, and that they rested irregularly upon conversion: wheresoever they rested, remaining inconverted; and possessing one point of the compass, whilst the wind, perhaps, had passed the two and thirty.
The ground of this popular practice might be the common opinion concerning the virtue prognostick of these birds ; as also the natural regard they have unto the winds, and they unto them again; more especially remarkable in the time of their nidulation and bringing forth their young. For at that time, which happeneth about the brumal solstice, it hath been observed, even unto a proverb,9 that the sea is calm, and the winds do cease, till the young ones are excluded, and forsake their nest; which floateth
sea, and by the roughness of winds, might otherwise be overwhelmed. But how far hereby to magnify their prediction we have no certain rule; for whether out of any particular prenotion they choose to sit at this time, or whether it be
opium.] This term, used before (page 254) to express the stupify. ing effect of the gymnotic electricity, is, of course, employed figuratively.
proverb.] Halcionian dayes, i. e. dayes of peace.-Wr.