Essays book 2

Amongst all the predictions of elder times, the most ancient and the most certain were those taken from the flight of birds; we have nothing certain like it, nor any thing to be so much admired. That rule and order of the moving of the wing, whence they derived the consequences of future things, must of necessity be guided by some excellent means to so noble an operation: for to attribute this great effect to any natural disposition, without the intelligence, consent, and meditation of him by whom it is produced, is an opinion evidently false. That it is so, the cramp-fish has this quality, not only to benumb all the members that touch her, but even through the nets transmit a heavy dulness into the hands of those that move and handle them; nay, it is further said that if one pour water upon her, he will feel this numbness mount up the water to the hand, and stupefy the feeling through the water. This is a miraculous force; but 'tis not useless to the cramp-fish; she knows it, and makes use on't; for, to catch the prey she desires, she will bury herself in the mud, that other fishes swimming over her, struck and benumbed with this coldness of hers, may fall into her power. Cranes, swallows, and other birds of passage, by shifting their abode according to the seasons, sufficiently manifest the knowledge they have of their divining faculty, and put it in use. Huntsmen assure us that to cull out from amongst a great many puppies that which ought to be preserved as the best, the best way is to refer the choice to the mother; as thus, take them and carry them out of the kennel, and the first she brings back will certainly be the best; or if you make a show as if you would environ the kennel with fire, that one she first catches up to save. By which it appears they have a sort of prognostic which we have not; or that they have some virtue in judging of their whelps other and more certain than we have.

The manner of coming into the world, of engendering, nourishing, acting, moving, living and dying of beasts, is so near to ours that whatever we retrench from their moving causes, and add to our own condition above theirs, can by no means proceed from any meditation of our own reason. For the regimen of our health, physicians propose to us the example of the beasts' manners and way of living; for this saying (out of Plutarch) has in all times been in the mouth of these people: "Keep warm thy feet and head, as to the rest, live like a beast."

The chief of all natural actions is generation; we have a certain disposition of members which is the most proper for us to that end; nevertheless, we are ordered by Lucretius to conform to the gesture and posture of the brutes as the most effectual:—

More ferarum,
Quadrupedumque magis ritu, plerumque putantur
Concipere uxores:
Quia sic loca sumere possunt,
Pectoribus positis, sublatis semina lumbis;

and the same authority condemns, as hurtful, those indiscreet and impudent motions which the women have added of their own invention, to whom it proposes the more temperate and modest pattern and practice of the beasts of their own sex:—

Nam mulier prohibet se concipere atque rpugnt,
Clunibus ipsa viri Venerem si lta retractet,
Atque exossato ciet omni pectore fluctua.
Ejicit enim sulci recta regione viaque
Vomerem, atque locis avertit seminis ictum.

If it be justice to render to every one their due, the beasts that serve, love, and defend their benefactors, and that pursue and fall upon strangers and those who offend them, do in this represent a certain air of our justice; as also in observing a very equitable equality in the distribution of what they have to their young. And as to friendship, they have it without comparison more lively and constant than men have. King Lysimachus's dog, Hyrcanus, master being dead, lay on his bed, obstinately refusing either to eat or drink; and, the day that his body was burnt, he took a run and leaped into the fire, where he was consumed, As also did the dog of one Pyrrhus, for he would not stir from off his master's bed from the time he died; and when they carried him away let himself be carried with him, and at last leaped into the pile where they burnt his master's body. There are inclinations of affection which sometimes spring in us, without the consultation of reason; and by a fortuitous temerity, which others call sympathy; of which beasts are as capable as we. We see horses take such an acquaintance with one another that we have much ado to make them eat or travel, when separated; we observe them to fancy a particular colour in those of their own kind, and, where they meet it, run to it with great joy and demonstrations of good will, and have a dislike and hatred for some other colour. Animals have choice, as well as we, in their amours, and cull out their mistresses; neither are they exempt from our jealousies and implacable malice.

Desires are either natural and necessary, as to eat and drink; or natural and not necessary, as the coupling with females; or neither natural nor necessary; of which last sort are almost all the desires of men; they are all superfluous and artificial. For 'tis marvellous how little will satisfy nature, how little she has left us to desire; our ragouts and kickshaws are not of her ordering. The Stoics say that a man may live on an olive a day. The delicacy of our wines is no part of her instruction, nor the refinements we introduce into the indulgence of our amorous appetites:—

Neque ilia
Magno prognatum deposcit consule cunnum.

"Nature, in her pursuit of love, disclaims
The pride of titles, and the pomp of names."

These irregular desires, that the ignorance of good and a false opinion have infused into us, are so many that they almost exclude all the natural; just as if there were so great a number of strangers in the city as to thrust out the natural inhabitants, or, usurping upon their ancient rights and privileges, should extinguish their authority and introduce new laws and customs of their own. Animals are much more regular than we, and keep themselves with greater moderation within the limits nature has prescribed; but yet not so exactly that they have not sometimes an analogy with our debauches. And as there have been furious desires that have impelled men to the love of beasts, so there have been examples of beasts that have fallen in love with us, and been seized with monstrous affection betwixt kinds; witness the elephant who was rival to Aristophanes the grammarian in the love of a young herb-wench in the city of Alexandria, who was nothing behind him in all the offices of a very passionate suitor; for going through the market where they sold fruit, he would take some in his trunk and carry them to her. He would as much as possible keep her always in his sight, and would sometimes put his trunk under her handkerchief into her bosom, to feel her breasts. They tell also of a dragon in love with a girl, and of a goose enamoured of a child; of a ram that was suitor to the minstrelless Glaucia, in the town of Asopus; and we see not unfrequently baboons furiously in love with women. We see also certain male animals that are fond of the males of their own kind. Oppian and others give us some examples of the reverence that beasts have to their kindred in their copulations; but experience often shows us the contrary:—

Nec habetur turpe juvenc
Ferre patrem tergo; fit equo sua filia conjux;
Quasque creavit, init pecudes caper; ipsaque cujus
Semine concepta est, ex illo concipit ales.

"The heifer thinks it not a shame to take
Her lusty sire upon her willing back:
The horse his daughter leaps, goats scruple not
T' increase the herd by those they have begot;
And birds of all sorts do in common live,
And by the seed they have conceived conceive."

And for subtle cunning, can there be a more pregnant example than in the philosopher Thales's mule? who, fording a river, laden with salt, and by accident stumbling there, so that the sacks he carried were all wet, perceiving that by the melting of the salt his burden was something lighter, he never failed, so oft as he came to any river, to lie down with his load; till his master, discovering the knavery, ordered that he should be laden with wood? wherein, finding himself mistaken, he ceased to practise that device. There are several that very vividly represent the true image of our avarice; for we see them infinitely solicitus to get all they can, and hide it with that exceeding great care, though they never make any use of it at all. As to thrift, they surpass us not only in the foresight and laying up, and saving for the time to come, but they have, moreover, a great deal of the science necessary thereto. The ants bring abroad into the sun their grain and seed to air, refresh and dry them when they perceive them to mould and grow musty, lest they should decay and rot. But the caution and prevention they use in gnawing their grains of wheat surpass all imagination of human prudence; for by reason that the wheat does not always continue sound and dry, but grows soft, thaws and dissolves as if it were steeped in milk, whilst hasting to germination; for fear lest it should shoot and lose the nature and property of a magazine for their subsistence, they nibble off the end by which it should shoot and sprout.

As to what concerns war, which is the greatest and most magnificent of human actions, I would very fain know whether we would use it for an argument of some prerogative or, on contrary, for a testimony of our weakness and imperfection; as, in truth, the science of undoing and killing one another, and of ruining and destroying our own kind, has nothing in it so tempting as to make it be coveted by beasts who have it not.

Quando leoni Fortior eripuit vitam leo? quo nemore unquam
Expiravit aper majoris dentibus apri?

"No lion drinks a weaker lion's gore,
No boar expires beneath a stronger boar."

Yet are they not universally exempt; witness the furious encounters of bees, and the enterprises of the princes of the contrary armies:—

Spe duobus Regibus incessit magno discordia motu;
Continuoque animos vulgi et trepidantia bello
Gorda licet long prsciscere.

"But if contending factions arm the hive,
When rival kings in doubtful battle strive,
Tumultuous crowds the dread event prepare,
And palpitating hearts that beat to war."

I never read this divine description but that, methinks, I there see human folly and vanity represented in their true and lively colours. For these warlike movements, that so ravish us with their astounding noise and horror, this rattle of guns, drums, and cries,

Fulgur ibi ad coelum se tollit, totaque circum
re renidescit tellus, subterque virm vi
Excitur pedibus sonitus, clamoreque montes
Icti rejectant voces ad sidera mundi;

"When burnish'd arms to heaven dart their rays,
And many a steely beam i' th' sunlight plays,
When trampled is the earth by horse and man,
Until the very centre groans again,
And that the rocks, struck by the various cries,
Reverberate the sound unto the skies;"

in the dreadful embattling of so many thousands of armed men, and so great fury, ardour, and courage, 'tis pleasant to consider by what idle occasions they are excited, and by how light ones appeased:—

Paridis propter narratur amorem
Greci Barbari diro collisa duello:

"Of wanton Paris the illicit love
Did Greece and Troy to ten years' warfare move:"

all Asia was ruined and destroyed for the lust of Paris; the envy of one single man, a despite, a pleasure, a domestic jealousy, causes that ought not to set two oyster-wenches by the ears, is the mover of all this mighty bustle. Shall we believe those very men who are themselves the principal authors of these mischiefs? Let us then hear the greatest, the most powerful, the most victorious emperor that ever was, turning into a jest, very pleasantly and ingeniously, several battles fought both by sea and land, the blood and lives of five hundred thousand men that followed his fortune, and the strength and riches of two parts of the world drained for the expense of his expeditions:—

Quod futuit Glaphyran Antonius, hanc mihi poenam
Fulvia constituit, se quoqne uti futuam.
Fulviam ego ut futuam! quid, si me Manius oret
Podicem, faciam? Non puto, si sapiam.
Aut futue, aut pugnemus, ait
Quid, si mihi vitii
Charior est ips mentula? Signa canant.

Qui? moi, que je serve Fulvie!
Sufflt-il quelle en ait envie?
A ce compte, on verrait se retirer von moi
Mille pouses mal satisfaites.
Aime-moi, me dit elle, ou combattons. Mais quoi?
Elle est bien laide! Allons, sonnes trompettes.

'Cause Anthony is fired with Glaphire's charms
Fain would his Fulvia tempt me to her arms.
If Anthony be false, what then? must I
Be slave to Fulvia's lustful tyranny?
Then would a thousand wanton, waspish wives,

(I use my Latin with the liberty of conscience you are pleased to allow me.) Now this great body, with so many fronts, and so many motions, which seems to threaten heaven and earth:—

Quam multi Lybico volvuntur marmore fluctus,
Svus ubi Orion hibemis conditur undis,
Vel quam solo novo dens torrentur Arist,
Aut Hermi campo, aut Lyci flaventibus arvis;
Scuta sonant, pulsuque pedum tremit excita tellus:

"Not thicker billows beat the Lybian main,
When pale Orion sits in wintry rain;
Nor thicker harvests on rich Hermus rise,
Or Lycian fields, when Phobus burns the skies,
Than stand these troops: their bucklers ring around;
Their trampling turns the turf and shakes the solid ground:"

this furious monster, with so many heads and arms, is yet man—feeble, calamitous, and miserable man! 'Tis but an ant-hill disturbed and provoked:—

It nigrum campis agmen:

"The black troop marches to the field:"

a contrary blast, the croaking of a flight of ravens, the stumble of a horse, the casual passage of an eagle, a dream, a voice, a sign, a morning mist, are any one of them sufficient to beat down and overturn him. Dart but a sunbeam in his face, he is melted and vanished. Blow but a little dust in his eyes, as our poet says of the bees, and all our ensigns and legions, with the great Pompey himself at the head of them, are routed and crushed to pieces; for it was he, as I take it, that Sertorious beat in Spain with those fine arms, which also served Eumenes against Antigonus, and Surena against Crassus:—

"Swarm to my bed like bees into their hives.
Declare for love, or war, she said; and frown'd:
No love I'll grant: to arms bid trumpets sound."

Hi motus animorum, atque hoc certamina tanta,
Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescent.

"Yet at thy will these dreadful conflicts cease,
Throw but a little dust and all is peace."

Let us but slip our flies after them, and they will have the force and courage to defeat them. Of fresh memory, the Portuguese having besieged the city of Tamly, in the territory of Xiatine, the inhabitants of the place brought a great many hives, of which are great plenty in that place, upon the wall; and with fire drove the bees so furiously upon the enemy that they gave over the enterprise, not being able to stand their attacks and endure their stings; and so the citizens, by this new sort of relief, gained liberty and the victory with so wonderful a fortune, that at the return of their defenders from the battle they found they had not lost so much as one. The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mould; the weight and importance of the actions of princes considered, we persuade ourselves that they must be produced by some as weighty and important causes; but we are deceived; for they are pushed on, and pulled back in their motions, by the same springs that we are in our little undertakings. The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbour causes a war betwixt princes; the same reason that makes us whip a lackey, falling into the hands of a king makes him ruin a whole province. They are as lightly moved as we, but they are able to do more. In a gnat and an elephant the passion is the same.

As to fidelity, there is no animal in the world so treacherous as man. Our histories have recorded the violent pursuits that dogs have made after the murderers of their masters. King Pyrrhus observing a dog that watched a dead man's body, and understanding that he had for three days together performed that office, commanded that the body should be buried, and took the dog along with him. One day, as he was at a general muster of his army, this dog, seeing his master's murderers, with great barking and extreme signs of anger flew upon them, and by this first accusation awakened the revenge of this murder, which was soon after perfected by form of justice. As much was done by the dog of the wise Hesiod, who convicted the sons of Ganictor of Naupactus of the murder committed on the person of his master. Another dog being to guard a temple at Athens, having spied a sacrilegious thief carrying away the finest jewels, fell to barking at him with all his force, but the warders not awaking at the noise, he followed him, and day being broke, kept off at a little distance, without losing sight of him; if he offered him any thing to eat he would not take it, but would wag his tail at all the passengers he met, and took whatever they gave him; and if the thief laid down to sleep, he likewise stayed upon the same place. The news of this dog being come to the warders of the temple they put themselves upon the pursuit, inquiring of the colour of the dog, and at last found him in the city of Cromyon, and the thief also, whom they brought back to Athens, where he got his reward; and the judges, in consideration of this good office, ordered a certain measure of corn for the dog's daily sustenance, at the public charge, and the priests to take care of it. Plutarch delivers this story for a certain truth, and that it happened in the age wherein he lived.

As to gratitude (for I think we need bring this word into a little repute), this one example, which Apion reports himself to have been an eye-witness of, shall suffice.

"One day," says he, "at Rome, they entertained the people with the sight of the fighting of several strange beasts, and principally of lions of an unusual size; there was one amongst the rest who, by his furious deportment, by the strength and largeness of his limbs, and by his loud and dreadful roaring, attracted the eyes of all the spectators. Amongst other slaves that were presented to the people in this combat of beasts there was one Androdus, of Dacia, belonging to a Roman lord of consular dignity. This lion having seen him at a distance first made a sudden stop, as it were in a wondering posture, and then softly approached nearer in a gentle and peaceable manner, as if it were to enter into acquaintance with him. This being done, and being now assured of what he sought for, he began to wag his tail, as dogs do when they flatter their masters, and to kiss and lick the hands and thighs of the poor wretch, who was beside himself, and almost dead with fear. Androdus being by this kindness of the lion a little come to himself, and having taken so much heart as to consider and know him, it was a singular pleasure to see the joy and caresses that passed betwixt them. At which the people breaking into loud acclamations of joy, the emperor caused the slave to be called, to know from him the cause of so strange an event; who thereupon told him a new and a very strange story: "My master," said he, "being pro-consul in Africa, I was constrained, by his severity and cruel usage, being daily beaten, to steal from him and run away; and, to hide myself secretly from a person of so great authority in the province, I thought it my best way to fly to the solitudes, sands, and uninhabitable parts of that country, resolving that in case the means of supporting life should chance to fail me, to make some shift or other to kill myself. The sun being excessively hot at noon, and the heat intolerable, I lit upon a private and almost inaccessible cave, and went into it Soon after there came in to me this lion, with one foot wounded and bloody, complaining and groaning with the pain he endured. At his coming I was exceeding afraid; but he having spied me hid in the comer of his den, came gently to me, holding out and showing me his wounded foot, as if he demanded my assistance in his distress. I then drew out a great splinter he had got there, and, growing a little more familiar with him, squeezing the wound thrust out the matter, dirt, and gravel which was got into it, and wiped and cleansed it the best I could. He, finding himself something better, and much eased of his pain, laid him down to rest, and presently fell asleep with his foot in my hand. From that time forward he and I lived together in this cave three whole years upon one and the same diet; for of the beasts that he killed in hunting he always brought me the best pieces, which I roasted in the sun for want of fire, and so ate it. At last, growing weary of this wild and brutish life, the lion being one day gone abroad to hunt for our ordinary provision, I departed thence, and the third day after was taken by the soldiers, who brought me from Africa to this city to my master, who presently condemned me to die, and to be thus exposed to the wild beasts. Now, by what I see, this lion was also taken soon after, who has now sought to recompense me for the benefit and cure that he received at my hands." This is the story that Androdus told the emperor, which he also conveyed from hand to hand to the people; wherefore, at the general request, he was absolved from his sentence and set at liberty, and the lion was, by order of the people, presented to him. "We afterwards saw," says Apion, "Androdus leading this lion, in nothing but a small leash, from tavern to tavern at Rome, and receiving what money every body would give him, the lion being so gentle as to suffer himself to be covered with the flowers that the people threw upon him, every one that met him saying, 'There goes the lion that entertained the man; there goes the man that cured the lion.'"

We often lament the loss of beasts we love, and so do they the loss of us:—

Post, bellator equus, positis insignibus, thon
It lacrymans, guttisque humectt grandibus ora.

"To close the pomp, thon, the steed of state.
Is led, the fun'ral of his lord to wait.
Stripped of his trappings, with a sullen pace
He walks, and the big tears run rolling down his face."

As some nations have their wives in common, and some others have every one his own, is not the same seen among beasts, and marriages better kept than ours? As to the society and confederation they make amongst themselves, to league together and to give one another mutual assistance, is it not known that oxen, hogs, and other animals, at the cry of any of their kind that we offend, all the herd run to his aid and embody for his defence? The fish Scarus, when he has swallowed the angler's hook, his fellows all crowd about him and gnaw the line in pieces; and if, by chance, one be got into the bow net, the others present him their tails on the outside, which he holding fast with his teeth, they after that manner disengage and draw him out.

Mullets, when one of their companions is engaged, cross the line over their back, and, with a fin they have there, indented like a saw, cut and saw it asunder. As to the particular offices that we receive from one another for the service of life, there are several like examples amongst them. 'Tis said that the whale never moves that she has not always before her a little fish like the sea-gudgeon, for this reason called the guide-fish, whom the whale follows, suffering himself to be led and turned with as great facility as the rudder guides the ship; in recompense of which service also, whereas all the other things, whether beast or vessel, that enter into the dreadful gulf of this monster's mouth, are immediately lost and swallowed up, this little fish retires into it in great security, and there sleeps, during which time the whale never stirs; but so soon as ever it goes out he immediately follows it; and if by accident he loses the sight of his little guide, he goes wandering here and there, and strikes his sides against the rocks like a ship that has lost her helm; which Plutarch affirms to have seen in the island of Anticyra. There is a like society betwixt the little bird called the wren and the crocodile. The wren serves for a sentinel over this great animal; and if the ichneumon, his mortal enemy, approach to fight him, this little bird, for fear lest he should surprise him asleep, both with his voice and bill rouses him and gives him notice of his danger. He feeds of this monster's leavings, who receives him familiarly into his mouth, suffering him to peck in his jaws and betwixt his teeth, and thence to pick out the bits of flesh that remain; and when he has a mind to shut his mouth, he first gives the bird warning to go out by closing it by little and little, and without bruising or doing it any harm at all. The shell-fish called the naker, lives in the same intelligence with the shrimp, a little sort of animal of the lobster kind, which serves him in the nature of a porter, sitting at the opening of the shell, which the naker keeps always gaping and open till the shrimp sees some little fish, proper for their prey, within the hollow of the shell, where she enters too, and pinches the naker so to the quick that she is forced to close her shell, where they two together devour the prey they have trapped in their fort. In the manner of living of the tunnies we observe a singular knowledge of the three parts of mathematics. As to astrology, they teach it men, for they stay in the place where they are surprised by the brumal solstice, and never stir thence till the next equinox; for which reason Aristotle himself attributes to them this science. As to geometry and arithmetic, they always form their numbers in the figure of a cube, every way square, and make up the body of a battalion, solid, close, and environed round with six equal sides, and swim in this square order, as large behind as before; so that whoever in seeing them can count one rank may easily number the whole troop, by reason that the depth is equal to the breadth, and the breadth to the length.

As to magnanimity, it will be hard to exhibit a better instance of it than in the example of the great dog sent to Alexander the Great from the Indies. They first brought him a stag to encounter, next a boar, and after that a bear, all which he slighted, and disdained to stir from his place; but when he saw a lion he then immediately roused himself, evidently manifesting that he declared that alone worthy to enter the lists with him. Touching repentance and the acknowledgment of faults, 'tis reported of an elephant that, having in the impetuosity of his rage killed his keeper, he fell into so extreme a sorrow that he would never after eat, but starved himself to death. And as to clemency, 'tis said of a tiger, the most cruel of all beasts, that a kid having been put in to him, he suffered a two days' hunger rather than hurt it, and the third broke the grate he was shut up in, to seek elsewhere for prey; so unwilling he was to fall upon the kid, his familiar and his guest, And as to the laws of familiarity and agreement, formed by conversation, it ordinarily happens that we bring up cats, dogs, and hares, tame together.

But that which seamen by experience know, and particularly in the Sicilian Sea, of the quality of the halcyons, surpasses all human thought of what kind of animal has nature even so much honoured the birth? The poets indeed say that one only island, Delos, which was before a floating island, was fixed for the service of Latona's lying-in; but God has ordered that the whole ocean should be stayed, made stable and smooth, without waves, without winds or rain, whilst the halcyon produces her young, which is just about the solstice, the shortest day of the year; so that by her privilege we have seven days and seven nights in the very heart of winter wherein we may sail without danger. Their females never have to do with any other male but their own, whom they serve and assist all their lives, without ever forsaking him. If he becomes weak and broken with age, they take him upon their shoulders and carry him from place to place, and serve him till death. But the most inquisitive into the secrets of nature could never yet arrive at the knowledge of the wonderful fabric wherewith the halcyon builds her nest for her little ones, nor guess at the materials. Plutarch, who has seen and handled many of them, thinks it is the bones of some fish which she joins and binds together, interlacing them, some lengthwise and others across, and adding ribs and hoops in such manner that she forms at last a round vessel fit to launch; which being done, and the building finished, she carries it to the beach, where the sea beating gently against it shows where she is to mend what is not well jointed and knit, and where better to fortify the seams that are leaky, that open at the beating of the waves; and, on the contrary, what is well built and has had the due finishing, the beating of the waves does so close and bind together that it is not to be broken or cracked by blows either of stone or iron without very much ado. And that which is more to be admired is the proportion and figure of the cavity within, which is composed and proportioned after such a manner as not to receive or admit any other thing than the bird that built it; for to any thing else it is so impenetrable, close, and shut, nothing can enter, not so much as the water of the sea. This is a very dear description of this building, and borrowed from a very good hand; and yet me-thinks it does not give us sufficient light into the difficulty of this architecture. Now from what vanity can it proceed to despise and look down upon, and disdainfully to interpret, effects that we can neither imitate nor comprehend?

To pursue a little further this equality and correspondence betwixt us and beasts, the privilege our soul so much glorifies herself upon, of things she conceives to her own law, of striping all things that come to her of their mortal and corporeal qualities, of ordering and placing things she conceives worthy her taking notice of, stripping and divesting them of their corruptible qualities, and making them to lay aside length, breadth, depth, weight, colour, smell, roughness, smoothness, hardness, softness, and all sensible accidents, as mean and superfluous vestments, to accommodate them to her own immortal and spiritual condition; as Rome and Paris, for example, that I have in my fancy, Paris that I imagine, I imagine and comprehend it without greatness and without place, without stone, without plaster, and without wood; this very same privilege, I say, seems evidently to be in beasts; for a courser accustomed to trumpets, to musket-shots, and battles, whom we see start and tremble in his sleep and stretched upon his litter, as if he were in a fight; it is almost certain that he conceives in his soul the beat of a drum without noise, and an army without arms and without body:—

Quippe videbis equos fortes, cum membra jacebunt
In somnis, sudare tamen, spirareque spe,
Et quasi de palm summas contendere vires:

"You shall see maneg'd horses in their sleep
Sweat, snort, start, tremble, and a clutter keep,
As if with all their force they striving were
The victor's palm proudly away to bear:"

the hare, that a greyhound imagines in his sleep, after which we see him pant so whilst he sleeps, stretch out his tail, shake his legs, and perfectly represents all the motions of a course, is a hare without fur and without bones:—

Venantumque canes in molli spe quiete
Jactant crura tamen subito, vocesque repente
Mittunt, et crebras reducunt naribus auras,
Ut vestigia si teneant inventa ferarum:
Expergeftique sequuntur inania spe
Cervorum simulacra, fag quasi dedita cernant;
Donee discussis redeant erroribus ad se:

"And hounds stir often in their quiet rest,
Spending their mouths, as if upon a quest,
Snuff, and breathe quick and short, as if they went
In a full chase upon a burning scent:
Nay, being wak'd, imagin'd stags pursue,
As if they had them in their real view,
Till, having shook themselves more broad awake,
They do at last discover the mistake:"

the watch-dogs, that we often observe to snarl in their dreams, and afterwards bark out, and start up as if they perceived some stranger at hand; the stranger that their soul discerns is a man spiritual and imperceptible, without dimension, without colour, and without being:—

Consueta domi catulorum blanda propago
Degere, spe levem ex oculis volucremque soporem
Discutere, et corpus de terra corripere instant,
Proinde quasi ignotas facies atque ora tuantur.

"The fawning whelps of household curs will rise,
And, shaking the soft slumber from their eyes,
Oft bark and stare at ev'ry one within,
As upon faces they had never seen."

to the beauty of the body, before I proceed any further I should know whether or no we are agreed about the description. 'Tis likely we do not well know what beauty is in nature and in general, since to our own human beauty we give so many divers forms, of which, were there any natural rule and prescription, we should know it in common, as the heat of the fire. But we fancy the forms according to our own appetite and liking:—

Turpis Romano Belgicus ore color:

"A German hue ill suits, a Roman face."

The Indians paint it black and tawny, with great swelled lips, wide flat noses and load the cartilage betwixt the nostrils with great rings of gold, to make it hang down to the mouth; as also the under lip with great hoops, enriched with precious stones, that weigh them down to fall upon the chin, it being with them a singular grace to show their teeth, even below the roots. In Peru the greatest ears are the most beautiful, which they stretch out as far as they can by art. And a man now living says that he has seen in an eastern nation this care of enlarging them in so great repute, and the ear loaded with so ponderous jewels, that he did with great ease put his arm, sleeve and all, through the hole of an ear. There are elsewhere nations that take great care to black their teeth, and hate to see them white, whilst others paint them red. The women are reputed more beautiful, not only in Biscay, but elsewhere, for having their heads shaved; and, which is more, in certain frozen countries, as Pliny reports. The Mexicans esteem a low forehead a great beauty, and though they shave all other parts, they nourish hair on the forehead and increase it by art, and have great breasts in so great reputation that they affect to give their children suck over their shoulders. We should paint deformity so. The Italians fashion it gross and massy; the Spaniards gaunt and slender; and amongst us one has it white, another brown; one soft and delicate, another strong and vigorous; one will have his mistress soft and gentle, others haughty and majestic. Just as the preference in beauty that Plato attributes to the spherical figure the Epicureans gave rather to the pyramidal or square, and cannot swallow a god in the form of a bowl. But, be it how it will, nature has no more privileged us in this from her common laws than in the rest And if we will judge ourselves aright, we shall find that, if there be some animals less favoured in this than we, there are others, and in greater number, that are more; a multis animalibus decore vincimur "Many animals surpass us in beauty," even among the terrestrial, our compatriots; for as to those of sea, setting the figure aside, which cannot fall into any manner of proportion, being so much another thing in colour, clearness, smoothness, and arrangement, we sufficiently give place to them; and no less, in all qualities, to the aerial. And this prerogative that the poets make such a mighty matter of, our erect stature, looking towards heaven our original,

Pronaque cum spectent animalia ctera terrain,
Os homini sublime ddit, columque tueri
Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus,

"Whilst all the brutal creatures downward bend
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
He set man's face aloft, that, with his eyes
Uplifted, he might view the starry skies,"

is truly poetical; for there are several little beasts who have their sight absolutely turned towards heaven; and I find the gesture of camels and ostriches much higher raised and more erect than ours. What animals have not their faces above and not before, and do not look opposite, as we do; and that do not in their natural posture discover as much of heaven and earth as man? And what qualities of our bodily constitution, in Plato and Cicero, may not indifferently serve a thousand sorts of beasts? Those that most resemble us are the most despicable and deformed of all the herd; for those, as to outward appearance and form of visage, are baboons:—

Simia quam similis, turpissima bestia, nobis?

"How like to man, in visage and in shape,
Is, of all beasts the most uncouth, the ape?"

as to the internal and vital parts, the hog. In earnest, when I consider man stark naked, even in that sex which seems to have greatest share of beauty, his defects, natural subjection, and imperfections, I find that we have more reason than any other animal, to cover ourselves; and are to be excused from borrowing of those to whom nature has in this been kinder than to us, to trick ourselves out with their beauties, and hide ourselves under their spoils, their wool, feathers, hair, and silk. Let us observe, as to the rest, that man is the sole animal whose nudities offend his own companions, and the only one who in his natural actions withdraws and hides himself from his own kind. And really 'tis also an effect worth consideration, that they who are masters in the trade prescribe, as a remedy for amorous passions, the full and free view of the body a man desires; for that to cool the ardour there needs no more but freely and fully to see what he loves:—

Ille quod obscnas in aperto corpore partes
Viderat, in cursu qui fuit, hsit amor.

"The love that's tilting when those parts appear
Open to view, flags in the hot career,"

And, although this receipt may peradventure proceed from a nice and cold humour, it is notwithstanding a very great sign of our deficiencies that use and acquaintance should make us disgust one another. It is not modesty, so much as cunning and prudence, that makes our ladies so circumspect to refuse us admittance into their cabinets before they are painted and tricked up for the public view:—

Nec Veneres nostras hoc fallit; quo magis ips
Omnia summopere hos vit postscenia celant,
Quos retinere volunt, adstrictoque esse in amore:

"Of this our ladies are full well aware,
Which make them, with such privacy and care,
Behind the scene all those defects remove,
Likely to check the flame of those they love,"

whereas, in several animals there is nothing that we do not love, and that does not please our senses; so that from their very excrements we do not only extract wherewith to heighten our sauces, but also our richest ornaments and perfumes. This discourse reflects upon none but the ordinary sort of women, and is not so sacrilegious as to comprehend those divine, supernatural, and extraordinary beauties, which we see shine occasionally among us like stars under a corporeal and terrestrial veil.

As to the rest, the very share that we allow to beasts of the bounty of nature, by our own confession, is very much to their advantage. We attribute to ourselves imaginary and fantastic good, future and absent good, for which human capacity cannot of herself be responsible; or good, that we falsely attribute to ourselves by the license of opinion, as reason, knowledge, and honour, and leave to them for their dividend, essential, durable, and palpable good, as peace, repose, security, innocence, and health; health, I say, the fairest and richest present that nature can make us. Insomuch that philosophy, even the Stoic, is so bold as to say, "That Heraclitus and Pherecides, could they have trucked their wisdom for health, and have delivered themselves, the one of his dropsy, and the other of the lousy disease that tormented him, they had done well." By which they set a greater value upon wisdom, comparing and putting it into the balance with health, than they do with this other proposition, which is also theirs; they say that if Circe had presented Ulysses with the two potions, the one to make a fool become a wise man, and the other to make a wise man become a fool, that Ulysses ought rather to have chosen the last, than consent to that by which Circe changed his human figure into that of a beast; and say that wisdom itself would have spoke to him after this manner: "Forsake me, let me alone, rather than lodge me under the body and figure of an ass." How! the philosophers, then will abandon this great and divine wisdom for this corporeal and terrestrial covering? It is then no more by reason, by discourse, and by the soul, that we excel beasts; 'tis by our beauty, our fair complexion, and our fine symmetry of parts, for which we must quit our intelligence, our prudence, and all the rest. Well, I accept this open and free confession; certainly they knew that those parts, upon which we so much value ourselves, are no other than vain fancy. If beasts then had all the virtue, knowledge, wisdom, and stoical perfection, they would still be beasts, and would not be comparable to man, miserable, wicked, mad, man. For, in short, whatever is not as we are is nothing worth; and God, to procure himself an esteem among us, must put himself into that shape, as we shall show anon. By which it appears that it is not upon any true ground of reason, but by a foolish pride and vain opinion, that we prefer ourselves before other animals, and separate ourselves from their society and condition.

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