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Notwithstanding, upon enquiry we find no mention hereof in ancient zoographers, and such as have particularly discoursed upon animals, as Aristotle, Elian, Pliny, Solinus, and many more; who seldom forget proprieties of such a nature, and have been very punctual in less considerable records. Some ground hereof I confess we may allow, nor need we deny a remarkable affection in pelicans toward their young; for Elian, discoursing of storks, and their affection toward their brood, whom they instruct to fly, and unto whom they redeliver up the provision of their bellies, concludeth at last, that herons and pelicans do the like.
As for the testimonies of ancient fathers, and ecclesiastical writers, we may more safely conceive therein some emblematical, than any real story: so doth Eucherius confess it to be the emblem of Christ. And we are unwilling literally to receive that account of Jerom, that perceiving her young ones destroyed by serpents, she openeth her side with her bill, by the blood whereof they revive and return unto life again. By which relation they might indeed illustrate the destruction of man by the old serpent, and his restorement by the blood of Christ: and in this sense we shall not dispute the like relations of Austin, Isidore, Albertus, and many more; and under an emblematical intention, we accept it in coat-armour.
As for the hieroglyphick of the Egyptians, they erected the same upon another consideration, which was parental affection; manifested in the protection of her young ones, when her nest was set on fire. For as for letting out her blood, it was not the assertion of the Egyptians, but seems translated unto the pelican from the vulture, as Pierius hath plainly delivered. Sed quòd pelicanum (ut etiam aliis plerisque persuasum est) rostro pectus dissecantem pingunt, ita ut suo sanguine filios alat, ab Egyptiorum historia valde alienum est, illi enim vulturem tantùm id facere tradiderunt.
And lastly, as concerning the picture, if naturally examined, and not hieroglyphically conceived, it containeth many improprieties, disagreeing almost in all things from the true and proper description. For, whereas it is commonly set forth green or yellow, in its proper colour it is inclining to white, excepting the extremities or tops of the wing feathers, which are brown. It is described in the bigness of a hen,
whereas it approacheth and sometimes exceedeth the magnitude of a swan.2. It is commonly painted with a short bill; whereas that of the pelican3 attaineth sometimes the length of two spans. The bill is made acute or pointed at the end, whereas it is flat and broad,4 though somewhat inverted at the extreme. It is described like fissipedes, or birds which have their feet or claws divided: whereas it is palmipedous, or fin-footed, like swans and geese, according to the method of nature in latirostrous or flat-billed birds, which being generally swimmers, the organ is wisely contrived unto the action, and they are framed with fins or oars upon their feet, and therefore they neither light, nor build on trees, if we except cormorants, who make their nests like herons. Lastly, there is one part omitted more remarkable than any other; that is, the chowle or crop adhering unto the lower side of the bill, and so descending by the throat; a bag or sachel very observable, and of a capacity almost beyond credit; which, notwithstanding, this animal could not want; for therein it receiveth oysters, cockles, scollops, and other testaceous animals, which being not able to break, it retains them until they open, and vomiting them up, takes out the meat contained. This is that part preserved for a rarity, and wherein (as Sanctius delivers) in one dissected, a negro child was found.
A possibility there may be of opening and bleeding their breast, for this may be done by the uncous and pointed extremity of their bill; and some probability also that they sometimes do it for their own relief, though not for their
2 whereas it approacheth, &c.] This bird, says Buffon, would be the largest of water-birds, were not the body of the albatross more thick, and the legs of the flamingo so much longer. It is sometimes six feet long from point of bill to end of tail, and twelve feet from wing-tip to wing-tip.
3 that of the pelican.] This description of the authors agrees (per omnia) with that live pellican, which was to bee seen in King-street, Westminster, 1647, from whence (doubtles) the author maketh this relation ἐξ αὐτοψία.—Wr.
flat and broad.] From hence itt is that many ancients call this bird the shoveller: and the Greeks derive πελεκὰν from πελεκᾷν, to wound as with an axe, which suites with the shape of his beake in length and breadthe like a rooting axe, per omnia.-Wr.
But the term shoveller is now applied to a species of duck; Anas clypeata.
young ones; that is, by nibbling and biting themselves on the itching part of their breast, upon fulness or acrimony of blood. And the same may be better made out, if (as some relate) their feathers on that part are sometimes observed to be red and tinctured with blood.5
Of the Picture of Dolphins.
THAT dolphins are crooked, is not only affirmed by the hand of the painter, but commonly conceived their natural and proper figure, which is not only the opinion of our times, but seems the belief of elder times before us. For, beside the expressions of Ovid and Pliny, the portraits in some ancient coins are framed in this figure, as will appear in some thereof in Gesner, others in Goltsius, and Lævinus Hulsius in his description of coins from Julius Cæsar unto Rodolphus the second.
Notwithstanding, to speak strictly, in their natural figure they are straight, nor have their spine convexed, or more considerably embowed, than sharks, porpoises, whales, and
5 A possibility, &c.] This paragraph was first added in 6th edition. 6 porpoises.] Reade porkpisces. The porkpisce (that is the dolphin) hath his name from the hog hee resembles in convexity and curvitye of his backe, from the head to the tayle: nor is hee otherwise curbe, then as a hog is except that before a storme, hee tumbles just as a hog runs. That which I once saw, cutt up in Fish-street, was of this forme and above five foote longe: his skin not skaly, but smoothe and black, like bacon in the chimney; and his bowels in all points like a hog: and yf instead of his four fins you imagine four feete, hee would represent a black hog (as it were) sweal'd alive.- Wr.
This creature, so graphically described by the dean, is probably the common dolphin,-Delphinus Delphis; but the porpoise is a different animal, Delphis phocana, now constituted a distinct genus. Ray, however, says that the porpoise is the dolphin of the ancients. The following passage from his Philosophical Letters, p. 46, corroborates the dean's proposed etymology. It occurs in a letter to Dr. Martin Lister, May 7, 1669. "Totum corpus copiosâ et densâ pinguedine (piscatores blubber vocant), duorum plus minus digitorum crassitie undique integebatur, immediate sub cute, et supra carnem musculosam sita, ut in porcis; ob quam rationem, et quod porcorum grunnitum quadanter.us imitetur, porpesse,-i. e. porcum piscem, dictum eum existimo."
other cetaceous animals, as Scaliger plainly affirmeth; Corpus habet non magis curvum quàm reliqui pisces. As ocular enquiry informeth; and as, unto such as have not had the opportunity to behold them, their proper portraits will discover in Rondeletius, Gesner, and Aldrovandus. And as indeed is deducible from pictures themselves; for though they be drawn repandous, or convexedly crooked in one piece, yet the dolphin that carrieth Arion is concavously inverted, and hath its spine depressed in another. And answerably hereunto may we behold them differently bowed in medals, and the dolphins of Tarus and Fulius do make another flexure from that of Commodus and Agrippa.8
And therefore what is delivered of their incurvity, must either be taken emphatically, that is, not really, but in appearance; which happeneth when they leap above water and suddenly shoot down again: which is a fallacy in vision, whereby straight bodies in a sudden motion protruded obliquely downward appear to the eye crooked; and this is the construction of Bellonius: or, if it be taken really, it must not universally and perpetually; that is, not when they swim and remain in their proper figures, but only when they leap, or impetuously whirl their bodies any way; and this is the opinion of Gesnerus. Or lastly, it may be taken neither really nor emphatically, but only emblematically; for being the hieroglyphick of celerity, and swifter than other animals,
7 yet the dolphin that carrieth Arion.] "The Persian authors of high antiquity say, that the delfin will take on his back persons in danger of being drowned, from whence comes the fable of Arion. The word is derived from stillare, fluere, delf; because the dolphin was considered as the king of the sea, and Neptune a monarch represented under the image of this fish. Dolphins were the symbols of maritime towns and cities. See Spanheim, 4to. 141, ed. 1671."-Dr. S. Weston's Specimen of the Conformity of the European with the Oriental Languages, &c. 8vo. 1803, pp. 75, 76. See also Alciati Emblem. xc.
8 And answerably, &c.] First added in 3rd edition.
the hieroglyphick of celerity.] Sylvanus Morgan in his Sphere of Gentry (fol. 1661), p. 69, says that the dolphin is the hieroglyphick of society! "there being no fish else that loves the company of men."
"Some authors, more especially the ancients, have asserted that dolphins have a lively and natural affection towards the human species, with which they are easily led to familiarize. They have recounted many marvellous stories on this subject. All that is known with certainty is, that when they perceive a ship at sea, they rush in a crowd
men best expressed their velocity by incurvity, and under some figure of a bow; and in this sense probably do heralds also receive it, when, from a dolphin extended, they distinguish a dolphin embowed.
And thus also must that picture be taken of a dolphin clasping an anchor; that is, not really, as is by most conceived out of affection unto man, conveying the anchor unto the ground; but emblematically, according as Pierius hath expressed it, the swiftest animal conjoined with that heavy body, implying that common moral, festina lentè: and that celerity should always be contempered with cunctation.
Of the Picture of a Grasshopper.
THERE is also among us a common description and picture of a grasshopper, as may be observed in the pictures of emblematists, in the coats of several families, and as the word cicada is usually translated in dictionaries. Wherein to speak strictly, if by this word grasshopper, we understand that animal which is implied by TETTIE with the Greeks, and by cicada with the Latins, we may with safety affirm the picture is widely mistaken, and that for aught enquiry can inform, there is no such insect in England.2 Which how
before it, surround it, and express their confidence by rapid, varied, and repeated evolutions, sometimes bounding, leaping, and manoeuvering in all manner of ways; sometimes performing complicated circumvolutions, and exhibiting a degree of grace, agility, dexterity, and strength, which is perfectly astonishing. Perhaps however they follow the track of vessels with no other view than the hopes of preying on something that may fall from them."-Cuvier, by Griffith.
a dolphin clasping an anchor.] The device of the family of Manutius, celebrated as learned printers at Venice and Rome. See Alciati Emblem. cxliv.
no such insect in England.] It is perfectly true that, till recently, no species of the true Linnæan Cicada (Tettigonia, Fab.) had been discovered in Great Britain. About twenty years since, I had the pleasure of adding this classical and most interesting genus to the British Fauna. Having, about that time, engaged Mr. Daniel Bydder (a weaver in Spitalfields, and a very enthusiastic entomologist) to collect for me in the New Forest, Hampshire, I received from him thence