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But in brutes observe how all things are accommodated to Nature. As to marriages, they tarry not till laws are passed against celibacy and late marriages, as Lycurgus and Solon's citizens did; they matter not the disgrace of wanting children; nor are they ambitious of the honor of having three children, as many Romans, who marry and get children, not that they may have heirs, but that they may get estates. Again, the male accompanies with the female not at all times, because not pleasure but procreation is his end. Therefore in the spring time, when the fruitful breezes blow and the air is of a pregnant temper, then the female approaches the male, gentle and desirable, wantoning in the sweet smell and peculiar ornament of her body, full of dew and pure grass; and when she perceives she has conceived, she modestly departs, and provides for her bringing forth and for the safety of what she shall be delivered of. What brutes do cannot be sufficiently expressed; in all of them their affection to their young is evident by their providence, patience, and continence. Indeed we call the bee wise, and we celebrate her who ‘deviseth the yellow honey,’ flattering her for glutting us with her sweetness; but the wisdom and art of other creatures, about their bringing forth and the rearing their young, we [p. 191] wholly neglect. For instance, first, the king-fisher, when she has conceived, makes her nest of the prickles of the sea-needle, weaving them one among another, in form of a long oval fishing-net; then she puts it under the dashing of the waters, that being by degrees beaten upon and milled, it may acquire a smooth surface, and become so solid that it cannot easily be divided by either stone or iron. And what is more wonderful, the mouth of the nest is so exactly fitted to the king-fisher, that neither a greater nor a less animal can enter it; and when she is in (as they say) it will not admit the sea-water. The sea-fish called γαλεοί give birth to their young within themselves, let them go abroad to feed, and then take them into their bellies again when they go to sleep. The bear, a most fierce and ugly beast, brings forth her young shapeless and without limbs, but with her tongue, as with a tool, she shapes the members; so that she seems not only to bring forth but to work out her young. And Homer's lioness,—
Thus in the centre of some gloomy wood,
With many a step the lioness surrounds
Her tawny young, beset by men and hounds;
Elate her heart, and rousing all her powers,
Dark o'er the fiery balls each hanging eyebrow lowers;

does she not, I say, look as if she were contriving how to make a bargain with the huntsman for her whelps? For generally the love of their young makes bold creatures timorous, the slothful industrious, and the voracious parsimonious. So Homer's bird ‘gives to her young, though with herself it go hard.’ 2 She feeds them by starving herself, and when she has taken up her food, she lays it down again, and keeps it down with her bill, lest she should swallow it unawares. In like manner,

For tender whelps, when strangers come in sight,
The barking bitch prepares herself to fight;

[p. 192] and fear for her young turns into a second passion. When partridges and their young are pursued, the old suffer the young to fly away before, so contriving it that the fowler may think to catch them. Thus they hover about, run forward a little, then turn again, and so detain the fowler till their young are safe. We daily behold hens, how they cherish their chickens, taking some of them under their spread wings, suffering others of them to run upon their backs, and taking them in again, with a voice expressing kindness and joy. When themselves are concerned, they fly from dogs and serpents; but to defend their chickens, they will venture beyond their strength and fight.

And shall we think that Nature has bred such affections in these creatures, because she is solicitous for the propagation of hens, dogs, and bears, and not that she may by these means make us ashamed? Certainly we must conclude that these creatures, following the duct of nature, are for our example, and that they much upbraid the remorselessness of humanity, of which human nature alone is culpable, in not being capable of gratuitous love, nor knowing how to be a friend without profit. Well therefore might the comedian be admired who said, For reward only man loves man. Epicurus thinks that after this manner children are beloved of their parents, and parents of their children. But if the benefit of speech were allowed to brutes, and if horses, cows, dogs, and birds were brought upon the stage, and the song were changed, and it were said that neither the bitch loved her whelps for gain, nor the mare her foal, nor fowls their chickens, but that they were all beloved gratis and by impulse of nature, then by the affection of all brutes this assertion would be approved as just and true. And is it not a shame, that the procreation of beasts, their birth, pains in birth, and their education, should be by nature and gratis, and yet for these things that man should require usury, rewards, and bribes?

[p. 193]

1 Il. XVII. 134.

2 Il. IX. 324.

3 Odyss. XX. 14.

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