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only offensive insects, as hornets, wasps, and the like, but sanguineous corticated animals, as serpents, toads, and lizards, do lie hid and betake themselves to coverts in the winter. Whereby most countries enjoying the immunity of Ireland and Candy, there ariseth a temporal security from their venoms, and an intermission of their mischiefs, mercifully requiting the time of their activities.
Å second ground of this effect was conceived, the justice of nature, whereby she compensates the death of the father by the matricide or murder of the mother; and this was the expression of Nicander. But the cause hereof is as improbable as the effect; and were indeed an improvident revenge in the young ones, whereby in consequence, and upon defect of provision, they must destroy themselves. And whereas he expresseth this decollation of the male by so full a term as åtoKÓTTELV, that is, to cut or lop off, the act is hardly conceivable ; for the female viper hath but two considerable teeth, and those so disposed, so slender and needlepointed, that they are apter for puncture than any act of incision. And if any like action there be, it may be only some fast retention or sudden compression in the orgasmus or fury of their lust, according as that expression of Horace is construed concerning Lydia and Telephus;
Sive puer furens,
Impressit memorem dente labris notam. Others ascribe this effect unto the numerous conception of the viper; and this was the opinion of Theophrastus ; who,
; though he denieth the exesion or forcing through the belly, conceiveth nevertheless that, upon a full and plentiful impletion there may, perhaps, succeed a disruption of the matrix, as it happeneth sometimes in the long and slender fish acus. Now, although in hot countries, and very numerous conceptions, in the viper or other animals, there may sometimes ensue a dilaceration of the genital parts, yet is this a rare and contingent effect, and not a natural and constant way of exclusion. For the wise Creator hath formed the organs of animals unto their operations, and in whom he ordaineth a
* Needle-fish ; found sometimes upon the sea-shore, consisting of four lines unto the vent, and six from thence unto the head.
numerous conception, in them he hath prepared convenient receptacles, and a suitable way of exclusion.
Others do ground this disruption upon their continued or protracted time of delivery, presumed to last twenty days; whereat, excluding but one a day, the latter brood, impatient, by a forcible proruption anticipate their period of exclusion; and this was the assertion of Pliny, Cæteri tarditatis impatientes prorumpunt latera, occisa parente; which was occasioned upon a mistake of the Greek text in Aristotle, TikTEL DE εν μία ημέρα καθ' έν, τίκτει δε πλείω ή είκοσιν, which are literally thus translated, Parit autem una die secundùm unum, parit autem plures quàm viginti, and may be thus Englished: “She bringeth forth in one day, one by one, and sometimes more than twenty :” and so hath Scaliger rendered it, Sigillatim parit, absolvit una die, interdum plures quàm viginti ; but Pliny, whom Gaza followeth, hath differently translated it, Singulos diebus singulis parit, numero fere viginti; whereby he extends the exclusion unto twenty days, which in the textuary sense is fully accomplished in one.
But what hath most advanced it, is a mistake in another text of Aristotle, which seemeth directly to determine this disruption, τίκτει μικρά έχίδεια εν υμέσιν, αι περιρρήγνωνται τριταίοι, ενίοτε δε και έσωθεν διαφαγόντα αυτά εξέρχεται, which Gaza hath thus translated: Parit catulos obvolutos membranis, quæ tertio die rumpuntur, evenit interdum ut qui in utero adhuc sunt abrosis membranis prorumpant. Now herein probably Pliny, and many since have been mistaken ; for the disruption of the membranes or skins, which include the young ones, conceiving a dilaceration of the matrix and belly of the viper; and concluding, from a casual dilaceration, a regular and constant disruption.
As for the Latin word, vipera, which in the etymology of Isidore promoteth this conceit, more properly it may imply vivipera. For whereas other serpents lay eggs, the viper excludeth living animals; and though the cerastes be also viviparous, and we have found formed snakes in the belly of the cæcilia or slow-worm, yet may the viper emphatically bear the name. For the notation or etymology is not of necessity adequate unto the name; and therefore, though animal be deduced from anima, yet are there many animations beside, and plants will challenge a right therein as well as sensible creatures.
4 A8 for the Latin word, &c.] The correct derivation of the word is here assigned.
5 eggs.] That the eele is vivipara, see my demonstrative note 1,
supra, p. 281.
As touching the texts of Scripture, and compellation of the Pharisees by "generation of vipers," although constructions be made hereof conformable to this tradition, and it may be plausibly expounded, that out of a viperous condition they conspired against their prophets and destroyed their spiritual parents ; yet (as Jansenius observeth) Gregory and Jerome do make another construction; apprehending thereby what is usually implied by that proverb, Mali corvi, malum ovum; that is, “ of evil parents, an evil generation," a posterity not unlike their majority, of mischievous progenitors a venomous and destructive progeny,
And lastly, concerning the hieroglyphical account, according to the vulgar conception set down by Orus Apollo, the authority thereof is only emblematical; for were the conception true or false, to their apprehensions it expressed filial impiety :6 which strictly taken, and totally received for truth, might perhaps begin, but surely promote this conception.
More doubtful assertions have been raised of no animal than the viper, as we have dispersedly noted; and Francisco Redi hath amply discovered in his noble observations of vipers :7 from good reasons and iterated experiments affirming, that a viper containeth no humour, excrement, or part which, either drank or eat, is able to kill any; that the remorsores or dog-teeth, are not more than two in either ser; that these teeth are hollow, and though they bite and prick therewith, yet are they not venomous, but only open a way and entrance unto the poison, which notwithstanding is not poisonous except it touch or attain unto the blood ; and that there is no other poison in this animal, but only that almost insipid liquor like oil of almonds, which stagnates in the sheaths and cases that cover the teeth ; and that this pro
6 it expressed filial impiety.] Correct, so far as the vulgar conception set down by Orus Apollo, 115. See Champollion, Précis
, p. 303. ? Francisco Redi, &c.] Redi's experiments, as detailed in this paragraph, have been confirmed by later observations.
ceeds not from the bladder of gall, but is rather generated in the head, and perhaps demitted and sent from thence into these cases by salival conduits and passages, which the head communicateth unto them.8
That Hares are both male and female. The double sex of single hares, or that every hare is both male and female, beside the vulgar opinion, was the affirmative of Archelaus, of Plutarch, Philostratus, and many more. Of the same belief have been the Jewish rabbins. The same is likewise confirmed from the Hebrew word, * which, as though there were no single males of that kind, hath only obtained a name of the feminine gender. As also from the symbolical foundation of its prohibition in the law,t and what vices therein it figured ; that is, not only pusillanimity and timidity from its temper, feneration or usury from its fæcundity and superfetation, but from this mixture of sexes, unnatural venery and degenerous effemination. Nor are there hardly any who either treat of mutation or mixtion of sexes, who have not left some mention of this point; some speaking positively, others dubiously, and most resigning it unto the enquiry of the reader. Now hereof to speak distinctly, they must be male and female by mutation and succession of sexes, or else by composition, mixture, or union thereof.
As for the mutation of sexes, or transition into one another, we cannot deny it in hares, it being observable in man. For hereof, beside Empedocles or Tiresias, there are not a few examples: and though very few, or rather none which have emasculated or turned women, yet very many, who from an esteem or reality of being women, have infallibly proved men. * Arnabeth.
+ Levit. ii. 8 More doubtful, &c.] This paragraph was first added in 6th edition.
feneration.] Usury. · Of the same belief, &c.] This passage was first added in the 3rd
Some at the first point of their menstruous eruptions ; some in the day of their marriage; others many years after, which occasioned disputes at law, and contestations concerning a restore of the dowry. And that not only mankind, but many other animals, may suffer this transexion, we will not deny, or hold it at all impossible; although I confess, by reason of the postick and backward position of the feminine parts in quadrupeds, they can hardly admit the substitution of a protrusion effectual unto masculine generation, except it be in retromingents, and such as couple backward.
Nor shall we only concede the succession of sexes in some, but shall not dispute the transition of reputed species in others; that is, a transmutation, or (as Paracelsians term it) transplantation of one into another. Hereof in perfect animals of a congenerous seed, or near affinity of natures, examples are not unfrequent, as in horses, asses, dogs, foxes, pheasants, cocks, &c., but in imperfect kinds, and such, where the discrimination of sex is obscure, these transformations are more common, and in some within themselves without commixion, as particularly in caterpillars or silkworms, wherein there is a visible and triple transfiguration. But in plants, wherein there is no distinction of sex, these transplantations are conceived more obvious than any; as that of barley into oats, of wheat into darnel; and those grains which generally arise among corn, as cockle, aracus, ægilops, and other degenerations, which come up in unexpected shapes, when they want the support and maintenance of the primary and master-forms. And the same do some affirm concerning other plants in less analogy of figures ; as the mutation of mint into cresses, basil into serpoil, and turnips into radishes. In all which, as Severinus* conceiveth, there may be equivocal seeds and hermaphroditical principles, which contain the radicality and power of different forms; thus in the seed of wheat their lieth obscurely the seminality of darnel, although in a secondary or inferior way, and at some distance of production; which, nevertheless, if it meet with convenient promotion, or a conflux and conspiration of
auses more powerful than the other, it then beginneth to edify in chief, and contemning the superintendent form, produceth the signatures of itself.
* In Idea Medicince Philosophicæ.