They have reason for that, said Lamprias, because a hare is so like an ass which they detest;1 for in its color, ears, and the sparkling of its eyes, it is so like an ass, that I do not know any little creature that represents a great one so much as a hare doth an ass; unless in this likewise they imitate the Egyptians, and suppose that there is something of divinity in the swiftness of this creature, as also in its quickness of sense; for the eyes of hares are so unwearied that they sleep with them open. Besides they seem to excel all other creatures in quickness of hearing; whence it was that the Egyptians painted the ear of a hare amongst their other hieroglyphics, as an emblem of hearing. But the Jews do hate swine's flesh, because all the barbarians are naturally fearful of a scab and leprosy, which they presume comes by eating such kind of flesh. For we may observe that all pigs under the belly are overspread with a leprosy and scab; which may be supposed to proceed from an ill disposition of body and corruption within, which breaks out through the skin. Besides, swine's feeding is commonly so nasty and filthy, that it must of necessity cause corruptions and vicious humors; for, setting aside those creatures that are bred from and live upon dung, there is no other creature that takes so much delight to wallow in the mire, and in other unclean and stinking places. Hogs' eyes are said to be so flattened and fixed upon the ground, that they see nothing above them, nor ever look up to the sky, except when forced upon their back they turn their eyes to the sun against nature. Therefore this creature, at other times most clamorous, when laid upon his back, is still, as astonished at the [p. 310] unusual sight of the heavens; while the greatness of the fear he is in (as it is supposed) is the cause of his silence. And if it be lawful to intermix our discourse with fables, it is said that Adonis was slain by a boar. Now Adonis is supposed to be the same with Bacchus; and there are a great many rites in both their sacrifices which confirm this opinion. Others will have Adonis to be Bacchus's paramour; and Phanocles an amorous love-poet writes thus,
Bacchus on hills the fair Adonis saw,
And ravished him, and reaped a wondrous joy.