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this is no certain sign, as it may proceed from their corrupt breath, or other cause.
The bear is a great sleeper, and a sluggish in-' dolent creature, yet not observed to be long live' ed; they should rather seem to be short lived, from their very short period of gestation, scarce : reaching to forty days.
The fox seems well provided for long life; as being well covered, carnivorous, and living under ground; yet he is not observed to be long lived : : doubtless he is of the dog-kind, which is but short lived.
The camel is long lived; a lean sinewy creature, that commonly reaches to fifty, and sometimes to a hundred.
The horse shares a middle life, scarce attaining to forty, and usually not to more than twenty; but this shortness of life he probably owes to man: for the breed of the sun is now no more, that ranged at large in fresh pasture; yet the horse continues growing till six, and generates in old age. The mare also goes longer with young than the woman; and but seldom foals double. The ass has nearly the same age as the horse : but the mule is longer lived than either.
The stag is vulgarly famed for long life; but upon no certain history. There goes a report of a certain stag found with a chain about his neck, buried in fat. That he should be a long lived
creature seems less probable, because he comes to his full growth at five; soon after which his horns, which are yearly shed and renewed, grow from a narrower basis, and less branching.
The dog is a short lived creature, that lasts not above twenty years; and seldom sees fourteen : he is hot, and lives unequably; as being often in violent motion, and often sleeping. The bitch has many young ones at a litter; and goes with them nine weeks.
The bull or ox is very short lived for his size and strength, scarce exceeding sixteen years; though somewhat more lasting than the cow. She has seldom more than one calf at once; and goes about six months. This is a sluggish and fleshy creature, that easily grows fat, and feeds wholly upon herbage.
Sheep seldom live to ten, though a creature of a moderate size, and well covered; and though sharing but a very small proportion of gall, yet their coat is exceedingly curled, beyond that of any other animal. The ram generates not till the third year; and continues fit for generation to the eighth. The ewe continues to bear as long as she lives. It is a creature subject to disease, and seldom lives out its full course.
The goat approaches the sheep in age, and almost every thing else; though a more nimble creature, and of a somewhat former flesh; whence
he should seem longer lived: but he is much more salacious, and therefore shorter lived.
The hog sometimes lives to fifteen or even twenty; and though its flesh be the moistest of all animals, yet this seems to contribute nothing to the prolongation of life. But for the wild boar, there is no certain account of him.
The age of the cat terminates between six and ten; a nimble creature, abounding in spirit, that eats voraciously, and swallows without much chewing.
The hare and rabbit scarce last seven years : they are both great breeders, and have many young at once. They differ in this, that the rabbit lives under ground, and the hare above; and, that the flesh of the hare is the darkest.
Birds fall far short of quadrupeds in bulk of body: an eagle, or a swan, being but little things compared to an ox, or a horse ; or an ostrich compared to an elephant.
Birds are well covered; for feathers exceed wool and hair in point of warmth, and sitting close to the body.
Though birds have many young at once, yet they go not with them together, but lay their eggs at several times; whence the chick receives a more copious nourishment.
Birds masticate but little, if at all; whence their aliment is often found whole in their crop; yet they will break the shell of a nut, and pick out the kernel.
The flight of birds is a mixed motion, compounded of the motion of the limbs and that of carriage; which makes a very wholesome kind of exercise.
It is well observed by Aristotle, as to the production of birds, that the male seed contributes little to their generation; but supplies rather activity than matter: whence an egg productive of a chick is, in many respects, undistinguishable from one that is not.
Most birds come to their full growth the first year, or soon after : their age is reckoned by the the feathers in some, and by the beak in others; but not by the magnitude of their bodies.
The eagle is accounted long lived; though its years are not observed. And it is esteemed, a sign of his long life, that he casts his beak, and thence grows young again : whence the proverb Aquilæ Senectus. But perhaps it is not the renovation of the eagle that casts the beak, but the change of the beak that renews the eagle; for when the beak grows too hooked, the eagle must feed with difficulty.
The vulture is also said to be long lived; so as to last a hundred years. The kite likewise, and all carnivorous birds, and birds of prey, live long. But for the hawk, as she lives a degenerate
and servile life under the falconer, no true estimate can be made of the natural period of her duration : but the tame hawk has been sometimes observed to live thirty years, and the wild one forty. · The raven likewise is said to live long, sometimes to a hundred; a carnivorous bird, not much upon the wing; but rather sedentary, and having very black flesh. But the crow, which resembles the raven, except in size and voice, is somewhat shorter lived.
The swan is certainly found to be a very long lived creature, and often reaches to above a hundred: a bird excellently plumed, that feeds on fish, and delights in running waters.
The goose also is a long liver, but particularly the wild one; though a creature that feeds on herbage; whence the german proverb: older than a wild goose.
Storks must needs be long lived, if the ancient observation of them be just, that they never came to Thebes, because the city was often taken: for, if this were true, they must have had the memory of more than one age, or else the old ones must have taught the young ones history: but fables are endless.
And so much is fable interwove with the bistory of the phenix, as quite to bury the truth, if there were any in it; though there is no great wonder