Chap. III.

Of the Picture of a Grashopper.

THERE is also among us a common description and picture of a Grashopper, as may be observed in the pictures of Emblematists, in the coats of severals families, and as the word Cicada is usually translated in Dictionaries. Wherein to speak strictly, if by this word Grashopper, we understand that animal which is implied by τέτιξ with the Greeks, and by Cicada with the Latines; we may with safety affirm the picture is widely mistaken, and that for ought enquiry can inform, there is no such insect in England.[1] Which how paradoxical soever, upon a strict enquiry, will prove undeniable truth.

For first, That animal which the French term Sauterelle, we a Grashopper, and which under this name is commonly described by us, is named Ἄκρις by the Greeks, by the Latines Locusta, and by our selves in proper speech a Locust; as in the diet of John Baptist, and in our Translation,2 The Locusts have no King, yet go they forth all of them by bands. Again, Between the Cicada and that we call a Grashopper, the differences are very many, as may be observed in themselves, or their descriptions in Mathiolus, Aldrovandus and Muffetus. For first, They are differently cucullated or capuched upon the head and back, and in the Cicada the eyes are more prominent: the Locusts have Antennæ or long horns before, with a long falcation or forcipated tail behind; and being ordained for saltation, their hinder legs do far exceed the other. The Locust or our Grashopper hath teeth, the Cicada none at all; nor any mouth according unto Aristotle: the Cicada is most upon trees; and lastly, the fritinnitus or proper note thereof is far more shrill then that of the Locust; and its life so short in Summer, that for provision it needs not have recourse unto the providence of the Pismire in Winter.

And therefore where the Cicada must be understood, the pictures of Heralds and Emblematists are not exact, nor is it safe to adhere unto the interpretation of Dictionaries; and we must with candour make our owne Translations: for in the plague of Ægypt, Exodus 10. the word Ἄκρις is translated a Locust, but in the same sense and subject, Wisdom 16. It is translated a Grashopper; For them the bitings of Grashoppers and flIes killed: whereas we have declared before, the Cicada hath no teeth, but is conceived to live upon dew; and the possibility of its subsistence is disputed by Licetus. Hereof I perceive Muffetus hath taken notice, dissenting from Langius and Lycostenes, while they deliver, the Cicada's destroyed the fruits in Germany, where that insect is not found; and therefore concludeth, Tam ipsos quam aliios deceptos fuisse autumo, dum locustas cicadas esse vulgari errore crederent.

And hereby there may be some mistake in the due dispensation of medicines desumed from this animal; particularly of Diatettigon commended by Ætius in the affections of the kidnies. It must be likewise understood with some restriction what hath been affirmed by Isidore, and yet delivered by many, that Cicadas are bred out of Cuccow spittle or Woodsear; that is, that spumous, frothy dew or exudation or both, found upon Plants, especially about the joynts of Lavender and Rosemary, observable with us about the latter end of May. For here the true Cicada is not bred, but certain it is, that out of this, some kind of Locust doth proceed; for herein may be discovered a little insect of a festucine or pale green, resembling in all parts a Locust, or what we call a Grashopper.

Lastly, The word it self is improper, and the term of Grashopper not appliable unto the Cicada; for therein the organs of motion are not contrived for saltation, nor are the hinder legs of such extension, as is observable in salient animals, and such as move by leaping. Whereto the Locust is very well conformed; for therein the legs behind are longer than all the body, and make at the second joynt acute angles, at a considerable advancement above their backs.

The mistake therefore with us might have its original from a defect in our language; for having not the insect with us, we have not fallen upon its proper name, and so make use of a term common unto it and the Locust; whereas other countries have proper expressions for it. So the Italian calls it Cicada, the Spaniard Cigarra, and the French Cigale; all which appellations conform unto the original, and properly express this animal. Whereas our word is borrowed from the Saxon Gærsthopp, which our forefathers, who never beheld the Cicada, used for that insect which we yet call a Grashopper.


* [My or others' notes are in square brackets]; Browne's marginalia is unmarked; {passages or notes from unpublished material by Browne is in curly braces}.

1 [Wilkin, in a note of rare (and justifiable) ire: It is perfectly true that, till recently, no species of the true Linnæan Cicadæ, (Tettigonia, Fab.) had been discovered in Great Britain. About twenty years since, I had the pleasure of adding this classical and most interesting genus to the British Fauna. Having, about that time, engaged Mr. Daniel Bydder (a weaver in Spitalfields, and a very enthusiastic entomologist) to collect for me in the New Forest, Hampshire, I received from him thence many valuable insects from time to time, and at length, to my surprise and great satisfaction, a pair of cicadæ! Mr. John Curtis (since deservedly well known as the author of British Entomology) was then residing with me as draughtsman; and no doubt our united examinations were diligently bestoed to find the little stranger among the described species of the continent. I quite forget whether he bestowed a MS. name; probably not: as scarcely hoping that the first species discovered to be indigenous, would also prove to be peculiar to our country, and be distinguished by the national appellation of Cicada anglica. Yet so it has proved: Mr. Samouelle, I believe, first gave it that name; and Mr. Curtis has given an exquisite figure,and full description of it, in the 9th vol. of his British Entomology, No. 392. I cannot however speak in so high terms of his account of its original discovery. I cannot understand why he has thus dryly noticed it: "C. Anglica was first discovered in the New Forest, about twenty years ago." I should have supposed that it might have given him some pleasure to attach to his narrative the name of an old friend, from whom he had received early and valuable assistance, and to whom he was indebted for his acquaintance with the art he has so long and so successfully pursued. At all events he ought to have recorded the name of the poor man by whose industry and perseverance the discovery was effected."]

2 Prov. 30[.27:
[24] There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
[25] The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
[26] The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
[27] The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
[28] The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.
See Pseudodoxia VII.ix for more on the John the Baptist and the locust; see also the Miscellany Tract On Scripture Plants. Browne refers to the present chapter of Pseudodoxia in answering one of the Queries relating to Birds, Fishes, Insects.]

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