Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Sargus; which, because none can express it better than he does, I shall give you in his own words; supposing it shall not have the less credit for being verse; for he hath gathered this and other observations out of Authors that have been great and industrious searchers into the secrets of nature.

The adult'rous Sargus doth not only change
Wives every day, in the deep streams, but, strange!
As if the honey of sea-love delight
Could not suffice his ranging appetite,
Goes courting she-goats on the grassy shore,

Horning their husbands that had horns before.
And the same Author writes con

oncerning the Cantharus, that which you shall also hear in his own words:

But, contrary, the constant Cantharus
Is ever constant to his faithful spouse;
In nuptial duties, spending his chaste life;

Never loves any but his own dear wife.
Sir, but a little longer, and I have done.

Ven. Sir, take what liberty you think fit, for your discourse seems to be music, and charms me to an attention.

Pisc. Why then, Sir, I will take a liberty to tell, or rather to remember you what is said of Turtle-doves: first, that they silently plight their troth, and marry; and that then the survivor scorns, as the Thracian women are said to do, to outlive his or her mate; and this is taken for a truth; and if the survivor shall ever couple with another, then, not only the living, but the dead, be it either the he or the she, is denied the name and honour of a true Turtle-dove.'

(1) of Swans, it is also said, that, if either of a pair die, or be otherwise separated from its mate, the other does not long survive; and that it is chiefly for this reason, that the stealing of Swans is by our law made penal ; so as that, “He who stealeth a Swan in an open and common river, lawfully marked; the same Swan shall be hung in a house by the beak; and he who stole it shall, in recompence thereof, give to the owner so much wbeat as may cover all the Swan, by putting and turning the wheat npon the head of the Swan, until the head of the Swan be covered with wheat." Coke's Reports, Part VII. The case of Swans.

And to parallel this land-rarity, and teach mankind moral faithfulness, and to condemn those that talk of religion, and yet come short of the moral faith of fish and fowl, men that violate the law affirmed by St. Paul, (Rom. ii. 14, 15,) to be writ in their hearts, and which, he says, shall at the Last Day condemn and leave them without excuse--I

pray
hearken to

Du Bartas, what Du Bartas sings, for the hearing of

fifth day. such conjugal faithfulness will be music to all chaste ears, and therefore I pray hearken to what Du Bartas sings of the Mullet.

But for chaste love the Mullet hath no peer;
For, if the fisher hath surpris'd her pheer,
As mad with wo, to shore she followeth,

Presta to consort him, both in life and death. On the contrary, what shall I say of the House-Cock, which treads any hen; and then, contrary to the Swan, the Partridge, and Pigeon, takes no care to hatch, to feed, or cherish his own brood, but is senseless, though they perish. And it is considerable, that the Hen, (which, because she also takes any Cock, expects it not,) who is sure the chickens be her own, hath by a moral impression her care and affection to her own brood more than doubled, even to such a height, that our Saviour in expressing his love to Jerusalem, Matt. xxiii. 37, quotes her for an example of tender affection; as his Father had done Job, for a pattern of patience.

And to parallel this Cock, there be divers fishes that cast their spawn on flags or stones, and then leave it uncovered, and exposed to become a prey and be devoured by vermin or other fishes. But other fishes, as namely

(1) Or Fellow ; so Bed-pheer, Bed-fellow.

(2) Prest, from the French prêt, Lat. paratus, ready, prepared. So Psalm 104. old version :

He maketh his spirites as heralds to go,

And lightnings, to serve, we see also prest. Vide GLOSSARY to Robert of Gloucester and to Peter Langtoft. edit. Hearne

the Barbel, take such care for the preservation of their seed, that (unlike to the Cock, or the Cuckoo) they mutually labour, both the spawner and the melter, to cover their

spawn with sand, or watch it, or hide it in some secret place, unfrequented by vermin or by any fish but themselves.

Sir, these examples may, to you and others, seem strange; but they are testified, some by Aristotle, some by Pliny, some by Gesner, and by many others of credit; and are believed and known by divers, both of wisdom and experience, to be a truth; and indeed are, as I said at the beginning, fit for the contemplation of a most serious and a most pious man. And, doubtless, this made the prophet David say, “ They that occupy themselves in deep waters, see the wonderful works of God:” indeed such wonders, and pleasures too, as the land affords not. And that they be fit for the contemplation of the most prudent, and pious, and peaceable men, seems to be testified by the practice of so many devout and contemplative men, as the Patriarchs and Prophets of old; , and of the Apostles of our Saviour in our latter times, of which twelve, we are sure, he chose four that were simple fishermen, whom he inspired, and sent to publish his blessed will to the Gentiles; and inspired them also with a power to speak all languages, and by their powerful eloquence to beget faith in the unbelieying Jews; and, themselves to suffer for that Saviour whom their forefathers and they had crucified; and, in their sufferings, to preach freedom from the incumbrances of the law, and a new way to everlasting life: this was the employment of these happy fishermen. Concerning which choice, some have made these observations:

First, that he never reproved these, for their employment or calling, as he did the Scribes and the Moneychangers. And secondly, he found that the hearts of

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
« ПредишнаНапред »