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though many be false, yet one there passeth amongst us of more intolerable delusion, somewhat paler than the true stone, and given by women in the extremity of great diseases, which, notwithstanding is no stone, but seems to be the stony seed of some lithospermum or greater grumwell; or the lobus echinatus of Clusius, called also the bezoar nut; for being broken, it discovereth a kernel of a leguminous smell and taste, bitter like a lupine, and will swell and sprout if set in the ground, and therefore more serviceable for issues, than dangerous and virulent diseases.5
Sixthly, although we were satisfied we had the unicorn's horn, yet were it no injury unto reason to question the efficacy thereof, or whether those virtues pretended do properly belong unto it. For what we observed (and it escaped not the observation of Paulus Jovius many years past), none of the ancients ascribed any medicinal or antidotal virtue unto the unicorn's horn; and that which Ælian extolleth, who was the first and only man of the ancients who spake of the medical virtue of any unicorn, was the horn of the Indian ass; whereof, saith he, the princes of those parts make bowls and drink therein, as preservatives against poison, convulsions, and the falling sickness. Now the description of that horn is not agreeable unto that we commend; for that (saith he) is red above, white below, and black in the middle; which is very different from ours, or any to be seen amongst us. And thus, though the description of the unicorn be very ancient, yet was there of old no virtue ascribed unto it; and although this amongst us receive the opinion of the same virtue, yet is it not the same horn whereunto the ancients ascribed it.
Lastly, although we allow it an antidotal efficacy, and such as the ancients commended, yet are there some virtues ascribed thereto by moderns not easily to be received ; and it hath surely fallen out in this, as other magnified medicines, whose operations, effectual in some diseases, are presently extended unto all. That some antidotal quality it may have, we have no reason to deny; for since elk's hoofs and horns are magnified for epilepsies, since not only the bone in the hart, but the horn of the deer is alexipharmical,* and ingredient into the confection of hyacinth, and the electuary of Maximilian, we cannot without prejudice except against the efficacy of this. But when we affirm it is not only antidotal to proper venoms, and substances destructive by qualities we cannot express; but that it resisteth also sublimate, arsenick, and poisons which kill by second qualities, that is, by corrosion of parts; I doubt we exceed the properties of its nature, and the promises of experiment will not secure the adventure. And therefore in such extremities, whether there be not more probable relief from fat and oily substances, which are the open tyrants over salt and corrosive bodies, than precious and cordial medicines which operate by secret and disputable properties; or whether he that swallowed lime, and drank down mercury water, did not more reasonably place his cure in milk, butter, or oil, than if he had recurred unto pearl and bezoar, common reason at all times, and necessity in the like case, would easily determine.
5 The like deceit, &c.] These two paragraphs were first added in the 2nd edition.
Since therefore, there be many unicorns; since that whereto we appropriate a horn is so variously described, that it seemeth either never to have been seen by two persons, or not to have been one animal; since though they agreed in the description of the animal, yet is not the horn we extol the same with that of the ancients; since what horns soever they be that pass among us, they are not the horns of one, but several animals : since many in common use and high esteem are no horns at all; since if they were true horns, yet might their virtues be questioned; since though we allowed some virtues, yet were not others to be received; with what security a man may rely on this remedy, the mistress of fools hath already instructed some, and to wisdom (which is never too wise to learn), it is not too late to consider.
are to be
That all Animals of the Land are in their kind in the Sea. That all animals of the land are, in their kind, in the sea, although received as a principle, is a tenet very questionable, and will admit of restraint. For some in the sea are not to be matched by any enquiry at land, and hold those shapes which terrestrious forms approach not; as may be observed in the moon-fish, or orthragoriscus, the several sorts of rays, torpedos, oysters, and many more ; and some there are in the land which were never maintained to be in the sea, as panthers, hyænas, camels, sheep, moles, and others, which carry no name in icthyology, nor found in the exact descriptions of Rondeletius, Gesner, or Aldrovandus.
Again, though many there be which make out their nominations, as the hedgehog, sea serpents, and others; yet are there also very many that bear the name of animals at land, which hold no resemblance in corporal configuration; in which account, we compute vulpecula, canis, rana, passer, cuculus, asellus, turdus, lepus, &c. Wherein while some are called the fox, the dog, the sparrow or frog fish, and are known by common names with those at land ; yet as their describers attest, they receive not these appellations from a total similitude in figure, but any concurrence in common accidents, in colour, condition or single conformation. As for sea-horses, which much confirm this assertion, in their common descriptions, they are but grotesco delineations, which fill up empty spaces in maps, and mere pictorial inventions, not any physical shapes : suitable unto those which (as Pliny delivereth) Praxiteles long ago set out in the temple of Domitius. For that which is commonly called a sea-horse, is properly called a morse, and makes not out
descriptions.] But Scaliger, in his 187th exercitation, relates a particular description of them, and that 2 of them having got from the Portugals (watching at Capo Viride in the mouth of Gambra) as soone as they sawe the men returne to the long boote, set upon them most fiercely, and were not driven away with blowes; but as despairinge of doing any hurt to the men.- -Wr.
that shape. That which the ancients named hippocampus, is a little animal about six inches long, and not preferred beyond the class of insects. That which they termed
? hippopotamus, an amphibious animal, about the river Nile, so little resembleth an horse, that, as Matthiolus observeth, in all except the feet it better makes out a swine. That which they termed a lion, was but a kind of lobster; that which they called the bear, was but one kind of crab; and that which they named bos marinus, was not as we conceive a fish resembling an ox, but a skait or thornback, so named from its bigness, expressed by the Greek word bous, which is a prefix of augmentation to many words in that language.
And therefore, although it be not denied that some in the water do carry a justifiable resemblance to some at land, yet are the major part which bear their names, unlike; nor do they otherwise resemble the creatures on earth, than they on earth the constellations which pass under animal names in heaven; nor the dog-fish at sea much more make out the dog of the land, than that his cognominal or namesake in the heavens. Now if from a similitude in some, it be reasonable to infer a correspondence in all, we may draw this analogy of animals upon plants; for vegetables there are which carry a near and allowable similitude unto animals.* We might also conclude that animal shapes were generally made out in minerals : for several stones there are that bear their names in relation to animals or their parts, as lapis anguinus, conchites, echinites, encephalites, ægophthalmus, and many more; as will appear in the writers of minerals, and especially in Boëtius and Aldrovandus.
Moreover, if we concede that the animals of one element might bear the names of those in the other, yet in strict reason the watery productions should have the prenomina-tion, and they of the land rather derive their names than nominate those of the sea ; for the watery plantations were first existent, and as they enjoyed a priority in form, had
* Fab. Column. de stirp. rarioribus, Orchis, Cercopithecophora, Anthropophora.
not preferred, dc.] A mistake. The hippocampus is one of the osseous fishes, belonging to the tribe called, by Cuvier, lophobranches :syngnathus hippocampus, Lin.; but now constituted a distinct genus, hippocampus vulgaris.
also in nature precedent denominations; but falling not under that nomenclature of Adam, which unto terrestrious animals assigned a name appropriate unto their natures, from succeeding spectators they received arbitrary appellations, and were respectively denominated unto creatures known at land, who in themselves had independent names, and not to be called after them which were created before them.
Lastly, by this assertion we restrain the hand of God, and abridge the variety of the creation, making the creatures of one element, but an acting over those of another, and conjoining as it were the species of things which stood at distance in the intellect of God, and though united in the chaos, had several seeds of their creation. For although in that indistinguished mass all things seemed one, yet separated by the voice of God, according to their species, they came out in incommunicated varieties, and irrelative seminalities, as well as divided places, and so although we say the world was made in six days, yet was there as it were a world in every one, that is, a distinct creation of distinguished creatures; a distinction in time of creatures divided in nature, and a several approbation and survey in every one.
Concerning the common course of our Diet, in making choice of some
animals, and abstaining from eating others. Why we confine our food unto certain animals, and totally reject some others, how these distinctions crept into several nations, and whether this practice be built upon solid reason, or chiefly supported by custom or opinion, may admit consideration.
For first, there is no absolute necessity to feed on any, and if we resist not the stream of authority, and several deductions from Holy Scripture, there was no sarcophagy* before
* Eating of flesh. we restrain the hand of God.] This is a greate inconsequent, for both baboons and tritons imitate the shape of man, without disparagement to him, or (the Creator) Him that made man.- Wr.
9 This chapter was new in 2nd edition.