Obrázky na stránke

racter of extraordinary sanctity for the future," p. 6. After touching upon Deer casting their horns, he mentions, on the subject of Griffins, having seen in Sir Rob. Cotton's library a griffin's claw, p. 7. Discussing the story of the ostrich swallowing iron, he mentions having seen one eat pellets of chewed paper as large as a walnut. He gives also, as a parallel, the following story :-“ About 1638, as I walked London streets, I sawe the picture of a strange fowle hang out upon a .......8 and my selfe, with one or two more then in company, went in to see it. It was kept in a chamber, and was a great fowle, somewhat bigger than the largest turkeycock, and so legged and footed, but shorter and thicker, and of a more erect shape, coulourd before like the breast of


cock fesan, and on the back of dunn or deare coulour. The keeper called it a Dodo, and in the ende of a chimney in the chamber there lay an heap of large pebble stones, whereof hee gave it many in our sight, some as bigg as nutmegs, and the keeper told us shee eate them, conducing unto digestion; and though I remember not how far the keeper was questioned herein, yet I am confident that afterwards he cast them all agayne.” He goes on to mention other instances of birds swallowing stones, &c. for the same purposewhich he concludes to be the most probable solution of the alleged fact that the ostrich (or estridge, as he calls it,) swallowing iron, pp. 8–12. Then follows a lengthened notice of the five kinds of one-horned animals noticed by Browne;—the Indian ox and ass, the oryx, rhinoceros, and monoceros. His opinion is that three “might exist; some one or more of several sorts of monsters in nature, through some errour or vitiosity in generation or conception, which might bear one horne; and such a creature once seen might multiply fast enough in report, and (ex traduce) naturalists readily follow one another, as wild geese flye.” He concludes the unicorn of Job to be the rhinoceros, after many pages of careful and argumentative examination of his “shape and strength, and the seate, position, and portage of his horne,” pp. 13—26. At p. 27, we find the notice (adverted to in his letter to Browne) of the whale, beginning thus: “In June, 1626, a whale was cast up upon my shoare or sea liberty, sometyme parcel of the possessions of the abbey of Ramsey, &c.” Notices of the dolphin, the toad and spider, seal, dottrel, basilisk, swallows in mud, &c. occupy from P.

28 to p. 46:—from the last of which I must extract the following very lively incident—"About 16 or 20 years since, upon a hot, bright, and cleare daye, (a little before noone,) hapning in the midst of March, as I leaned over my garden wall, and looking steadfastly into my mote, (which is on that syde very cleare, leane, and hungry water,) I espied sundry small creatures (of a dark or dusky coulour, longwise shaped, and of forme of beetle or scarabee) to rise out of the mud from the bottom of the mote to the topp of the water, and some of them to settle hemselves speedily downe againe into the mud, others to rayse themselves above the water

8 A burnt hole occurs here in MS.

five or six inches, others a foote, others more, and some some yards, with a slanting or sloaping mount, and a like descent and falling downe hastened to the bottome;9 and being much pleased with this speculation, I hastily rann unto mine house, and called out mine eldest sonne, (then a man growne and of yeares,) both to participate and bee a witnesse of this discovery; wee observed againe as before, and att last (among sundry essayes of many of these creatures, we perceived one of them to rise from the bottom to the top of the water, and found itselfe so full sunned and perfected as it raysed it selfe above the water, and after two or three turnes and circinations in the ayre, it mounted cleane out of sight,” p. 40. He proceeds to remark on the passenger falcon, (p. 42, 43,) toads found in oaks, shell stones, (Pholas,) p. 44, St. Hierome, p. 46, and last, but not least, Pope Joan, whose existence he believes, and devotes the remaining forty pages of his paper to a most learned and ingenious examination of the arguments for and against the story—and still further to a discussion of the sense in which those Apocalyptic passages are to be understood-in which the whore of Babylon is foretold and denounced, concluded by a courteous expression of personal respect to many who are of that faith,

pp. 47–85.

9 I must suspect that the Knight was deceived, probably by reflection, as to “these creatures” (which must be supposed the larvæ of libellulæ, or dragon flies,) having mounted out of the water before they acquired their wings—or having returned into the water after they had once taken their leave of it.


Would truth dispense, we could be content, with Plato, that knowledge were but remembrance; that intellectual acquisition were but reminiscential evocation, and new impressions but the colourishing of old stamps which stood pale in the soul before. For (what is worse) knowledge is made by oblivion, and, to purchase a clear and warrantable body of truth, we must forget and part with much we know ;-our tender enquiries taking up learning at large, and, together with true and assured notions, receiving many, wherein our reviewing judgements do find no satisfaction. And therefore in this encyclopædie and round of knowledge, like the great and exemplary wheels of heaven, we must observe two circles; that, while we are daily carried about and whirled on by the swing and rapt of the one, we may maintain a natural and proper course in the slow and sober wheel of the other. And this we shall more readily perform, if we timely survey our knowledge; impartially singling out those encroachments which junior compliance and popular credulity hath admitted. Whereof at present we have endeavoured a long and serious adviso; proposing not only a large and copious list, but from experience and reason attempting their decisions.

And first we crave exceeding pardon in the audacity of the attempt; humbly acknowledging a work of such concernment unto truth, and difficulty in itself, did well deserve the con

the colourishing, fc.] “ The pictures colours ; and if not sometimes refreshed, drawn in our minds are laid in fading vanish and disappear."-Locke. VOL. 11.


[ocr errors]

junction of many heads. And surely more advantageous had it been unto truth, to have fallen into the endeavours of some co-operating advancers, that might have performed it to the life, and added authority thereto; which the privacy of our condition, and unequal abilities cannot expect. Whereby notwithstanding we have not been diverted; nor have our solitary attempts been so discouraged, as to despair the favourable look of learning upon our single and unsupported endeavours.

Nor have we let fall our pen upon discouragement of contradiction, unbelief, and difficulty of dissuasion from radicated beliefs, and points of high prescription; although we are very sensible how hardly teaching years do learn, what roots old age contracteth unto errors, and how such as are but acorns in our younger brows grow oaks in our elder heads, and become inflexible unto the powerfullest arm of reason.

Although we have also beheld, what cold requitals others have found in their several redemptions of truth; and how their ingenuous enquiries have been dismissed with censure, and obloquy of singularities.” Some consideration we hope fro

the course of our profession, which though it leadeth us into many truths that pass undiscerned by others, yet doth it disturb their communica- . tions, and much interrupt the office of our pens in their well intended transmissions. And therefore surely in this work attempts will exceed performances; it being composed by snatches of time, as medical vacations, and the fruitless importunity of uroscopy * would permit us." And therefore also, perhaps it hath not found that regular and constant style, those infallible experiments, and those assured determinations, which the subject sometime requireth, and might be expected from others, whose quiet doors and unmolested hours afford no such distractions. Although whoever shall indifferently perpend the exceeding difficulty, which either the obscurity of the subject or unavoidable paradoxology must often put upon the attemptor, he will easily discern a work of this nature is

* Inspection of urines. ? Although we have also beheld, &c.] 3 fruitless importunity, &c.] See book Nota justam Doctoris querimoniam.-Ulr. i, chap. 3.

« PredošláPokračovať »