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There are a thousand other facts of this kind: and the same Nature has also bestowed upon many animals as well, the faculty of observing the heavens, and of presaging the winds, rains, and tempests, each in its own peculiar way. It would be an endless labour to enumerate them all; just as much as it would be to point out the relation of each to man.1 For, in fact, they warn us of danger, not only by their fibres and their entrails, to which a large portion of mankind attach the greatest faith, but by other kinds of warnings as well. When a building is about to fall down, all the mice desert it2 before-hand, and the spiders with their webs are the first to drop. Divination from birds has been made a science among the Romans, and the college of its priests is looked upon as peculiarly sacred.3 In Thrace, when all parts are covered with ice, the foxes are consulted, an animal which, in other respects, is baneful from its craftiness. It has been observed, that this animal applies its ear to the ice, for the purpose of testing its thickness; hence it is, that the inhabitants will never cross frozen rivers and lakes until the foxes have passed over them and returned.

1 "Quod persequi immensum est æque scilicet quam reliquam cum singulis homiaum societatem." The meaning of this passage is obscure, and extremely doubtful.

2 This is alluded to by Cicero in his letters to Atticus, and is mentioned by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. vi. c. 41; B. xi. c. 19; and Var. Hist. B. i. c. 11.—B. The same is still said of rats, whence our expression "to rat," i. e. to desert a falling cause.

3 The priests of this college, or augurs, were among the most important public functionaries in the Roman state, both from the rank of the indivi- duals and the political power which they derived from their office.—B. The augurs, or diviners by birds, held the highest rank in the state; but the power of their college greatly declined in the later period of the Roman history. It was finally abolished by the Emperor Theodosius.

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