Chap. XXI.

Of the Chameleon.

CONCERNING the Chameleon there generally passeth an opinion that it liveth only upon air, and is sustained by no other aliment: Thus much is in plain terms affirmed by Solinus, Pliny, and others,[1] and by this periphrasis is the same described by Ovid.[2] All which notwithstanding, upon enquiry I find the assertion mainly controvertible, and very much to fail in the three inducements of belief.

And first for its verity, although asserted by some, and traditionally delivered by others, yet is it very questionable. For beside Ælian, who is seldom defective in these accounts: Aristotle distinctly treating hereof, hath made no mention of this remarkable propriety: which either suspecting its verity, or presuming its falsity, he surely omitted: for that he remained ignorant of this account it is not easily conceiveable: it being the common opinion, and generally received by all men.[3] Some have positively denied it, as Augustinus, Niphus, Stobæus, Dalechampius, Fortunius, Licetus, with many more;[4] others have experimentally refuted it, as namely Johannes Landius, who in the relation of Scaliger, observed a Chameleon to lick up a fly from his breast:[5] But Bellonius6 hath been more satisfactorily experimental, not only affirming they feed on Flies, Caterpillars, Beetles and other Insects, but upon exenteration he found these Animals in their bellies: whereto we might also add the experimental decisions of the worthy Peireschius and learned Emanuel Vizzanius, in that Chameleon which had been often observed to drink water, and delight to feed on Meal-worms.[7] And although we have not had the advantage of our own observation, yet have we received the like confirmation from many ocular spectators.

As touching the verisimility or probable truth of this relation, several reasons there are which seem to overthrow it. For first, there are found in this Animal, the guts, the stomack, and other parts official unto nutrition; which were its aliment the empty reception of air, their provisions had been superfluous. Now the wisdom of nature abhorring superfluities, and effecting nothing in vain, unto the intention of these operations, respectively contriveth the Organs; and therefore where we find such Instruments, we may with strictness expect their actions; and where we discover them not, we may with safety conclude the non-intention of their operations. So when we perceive that Bats have teats, it is not unreasonable to infer they suckle their younglings with milk; but whereas no other flying Animal hath these parts, we cannot from them expect a viviparous exclusion; but either a generation of eggs, or some vermiparous separation, whose navel is within it self at first, and its nutrition after not connexedly depending of its original.

Again, Nature is so far from leaving any one part without its proper action, that she oft-times imposeth two or three labours upon one, so the Pizel in Animals is both official unto Urine and to generation, but the first and primary use is generation; for some creatures enjoy that part which urine not. So the nostrils are useful both for respiration and smelling, but the principal use is smelling; for many have nostrils which have no lungs, as fishes, but none have lungs or respiration, which have not some shew, or some analogy of nostrils. Thus we perceive the providence of Nature, that is, the wisdom of God, which disposeth of no part in vain, and some parts unto two or three uses, will not provide any without the execution of its proper office, nor where there is no digestion to be made, make any parts inservient to that intention.

Beside the remarkable teeth, the tongue of this animal is a second argument to overthrow this airy nutrication: and that not only in its proper nature, but also its peculiar figure. For of this part properly taken there are two ends; that is, the formation of the voice, and the execution of tast: for the voice, it can have no office in Chameleons, for they are mute Animals; as beside fishes, are most other sorts of Lizards. As for their tast, if their nutriment be air, neither can it be an Instrument thereof, for the body of that element is ingustible, void of all sapidity, and without any action of the tongue, is by the rough artery or wezon conducted into the lungs. And therefore Pliny much forgets the strictness of his assertion, when he alloweth excrements unto that Animal, that feedeth only upon Air; which notwithstanding the urine of an Ass, he commends as a magicall Medicine upon our enemies.[8]

The figure of the tongue seems also to overthrow the presumption of this aliment, which according to exact delineation, is in this Animal peculiar, and seemeth contrived for prey, For in so little a creature it is at the least a palm long, and being it self very slow in motion, hath in this part a very great agility; withall its food being flies and such as suddenly escape, it hath in the tongue a mucous and slimy extremity, whereby upon a sudden emission it inviscates and tangleth those Insects. And therefore some have thought its name not unsuitable unto its nature; the nomination in Greek is a little Lion;9 not so much for the resemblance of shape, as affinity of condition; that is for vigilancy in its prey, and sudden rapacity thereof, which it performeth not like the Lion with its teeth, but a sudden and unexpected ejaculation of the tongue. This exposition is favoured by some, especially the old gloss upon Leviticus, whereby in the Translation of Jerome and the Septuagint, this Animal is forbidden:[10] what ever it be, it seems as reasonable as that of Isidore, who derives this name à Camelo & Leone, as presuming herein resemblance with a Camell.[11]

As for the possibility hereof, it is not also unquestionable; and wise men are of opinion, the bodies of Animals cannot receive a proper aliment from air; for beside that tast being (as Aristotle terms it) a kind of touch, it is required the aliment should be tangible, and fall under the palpable affections of touch; beside also that there is some sapor in all aliments, as being to be distinguished and judged by the gust; which cannot be admitted in air: Beside these, I say, if we consider the nature of aliment, and the proper use of air in respiration, it will very hardly fall under the name hereof, or properly attain the act of nutrication.

And first concerning its nature, to make a perfect nutrition into the body nourished, there is required a transmutation of the nutriment; now where this conversion or aggeneration[12] is made, there is also required in the aliment a familiarity of matter, and such a community or vicinity unto a living nature, as by one act of the soul may be converted into the body of the living, and enjoy one common soul. Which cannot be effected by air, it concurring only with our flesh in common principles, which are at the largest distance from life, and common also unto inanimated constitutions. And therefore when it is said by Fernelius,[13] and asserted by divers others, that we are only nourished by living bodies, and such as are some way proceeding from them, that is, the fruits, effects, parts, or seeds thereof; they have laid out an object very agreeable unto assimulation; for these indeed are fit to receive a quick and immediate conversion, as holding some community with our selves, and containing approximate dispositions unto animation.

Secondly, (as is argued by Aristotle against the Pythagorians[14]) whatsoever properly nourisheth before its assimulation, by the action of natural heat it receiveth a corpulency or incrassation progressional unto its conversion; which notwithstanding cannot be effected upon air; for the action of heat doth not condense but rarifie that body, and by attenuation, rather then for nutrition, disposeth it for expulsion.

Thirdly, (which is the argument of Hippocrites[15]) all aliment received into the body, must be therein a considerable space retained, and not immediately expelled. Now air but momentally remaining in our bodies, it hath no proportionable space for its conversion; only of length enough to refrigerate the heart; which having once performed, lest being it self heated again, it should suffocate that part, it maketh no stay, but hasteth back the same way it passed in.

Fourthly, The use of air attracted by the lungs, and without which there is no durable continuation in life, is not the nutrition of parts, but the contemperation and ventilation of that fire always maintained in the forge of life; whereby although in some manner it concurreth unto nutrition, yet can it not receive the proper name of nutriment. And therefore by Hippocrates it is termed Alimentum non Alimentum,16 a nourishment and no nourishment. That is, in a large acception, but not in propriety of language; conserving the body, not nourishing the same; not repairing it by assimulation, but preserving it by ventilation; for thereby the natural flame is preserved from extinction, and so the individuum supported in some way like nutrition.

And though the air so entreth the Lungs, that by its nitrous Spirit, doth affect the heart, and several ways qualifie the blood; and though it be also admitted into other parts, even by the meat we chew, yet that it affordeth a proper nutriment alone, is not easily made out.

Again, Some are so far from affirming the air to afford any nutriment, that they plainly deny it to be any Element, or that it entreth into mixt bodies as any principle in their compositions, but performeth other offices in the Universe; as to fill all vacuities about the earth or beneath it, to convey the heat of the sun, to maintain fires and flames, to serve for the flight of volatils, respiration of breathing Animals, and refrigeration of others. And although we receive it as an Element, yet since the transmutation of Elements and simple bodies, is not beyond great question, since also it is no easie matter to demonstrate that air is so much as convertible into water; how transmutable it is into flesh, may be of deeper doubt.

And although the air attracted may be conceived to nourish the invisible flame of life, in as much as common and culinary flames are nourished by the air about them; we make some doubt whether air is the pabulous supply of fire, much less that flame is properly air kindled. And the same before us, hath been denied by the Lord of Verulam, in his Tract of life and death,[17] and also by Dr. Jorden in his book of Mineral waters.[18] For that which substantially maintaineth the fire, is the combustible matter in the kindred body, and not the ambient air, which affordeth exhalation to its fuliginous atomes; nor that which causeth the flame properly to be termed air, but rather as he expresseth it, the accension of fuliginous[19] exhalations, which contain an unctuosity in them, and arise from the matter of fuel, which opinion will salve may doubts, whereof the common conceit affordeth no solution.

As first, How fire is stricken out of flints? that is, not by kindling the air from the collision of two hard bodies; for then Diamonds should do the like better then Flints: but rather from sulphureous[20] inflamed and even vitrified effluviums and particles, as hath been observed of late.[21] The like saith Jorden we observe we observe in canes and woods, that are unctuous and full of oyl, which will yield fire by frication, or collision, not by kindling the air about them, but the inflamable oyl within them.[22] Why the fire goes out without air? that is, because the fuliginous exhalations wanting evaporation recoil upon the flame and choak it, as is evident in cupping glasses; and the artifice of charcoals, where if the air be altogether excluded, the fire goes out. Why some lamps included in those bodies have burned many hundred years, as that discovered in the Sepulchre of Tullia, the sister of Cicero, and that of Olibius many years after, near Padua,[23] because whatever was their matter, either a preparation of gold, or Naptha, the duration proceeded from the purity of their oyl which yielded no fuliginous exhalations to suffocate the fire; For if air had nourished the flame, it had not continued many minutes, for it would have been spent and wasted by the fire. Why a piece of flax will kindle, although it touch not the flame? because the fire extendeth further, then indeed it is visible, being at some distance from the week, a pellucide and transparent body, and thinner then the air it self. Why Mettals in their liquation, although they intensly heat the air above their surface, arise not yet into a flame, nor kindle the air about them; because their sulphur is more fixed, and they emit not inflamable exhalations. And lastly, why a lamp or candle burneth only in the air about it, and inflameth not the air at a distance from it? because the flame extendeth not beyond the inflamable effluence, but closely adheres unto the original of its inflamation; and therefore it only warmeth, not kindleth the air about it. Which notwithstanding it will do, if the ambient air be impregnate with subtile inflamabilities, and such as are of quick accension; as experiment is made in a close room; upon an evaporation of spirits of wine and Camphire; as subterraneous fires do sometimes happen; and as Creusa and Alexanders boy in the bath were set on fire by Naptha.[24]

Lastly, The Element of air is so far from nourishing the body, that some have questioned the power of water; many conceiving it enters not the body in the power of aliment, or that from thence there proceeds a substantial supply. For beside that some creatures drink not at all; Even unto our selves, and more perfect Animals, though many ways assistent thereto, it performs no substantial nutrition, serving for refrigeration, dilution of solid aliment, and its elixation in the stomack; which from thence as a vehicle it conveys through less accessible cavities, and so in a rorid substance through the capillary cavities, into every part; which having performed, it is afterward excluded by Urine, sweat and serous separations. And this opinion surely possessed the Ancients; for when they so highly commended that water which is suddenly hot and cold, which is without all savour, the lightest, the thinnest, and which will soonest boil Beans or Pease, they had no consideration of nutrition; whereunto had they had respect, they would have surely commended gross and turbid streams, in whose confusion at least, there might be contained some nutriment; and not jejune or limped water, nearer the simplicity of its Element. Although, I confess, our clearest waters and such as seem simple unto sense, are much compounded unto reason, as may be observed in the evaporation of large quantities of water; wherein beside a terreous residence some salt is also found, as is also observable in rain water; which appearing pure and empty, is full of seminal principles, and carrieth vital atomes of plants and Animals in it, which have not perished in the great circulation of nature; as may be discovered from several Insects generated in rain water, from the prevalent fructification of plants thereby; and (beside the real plant of Cornerius25) from vegetable figurations, upon the sides of glasses, so rarely delineated in frosts.

All which considered, severer heads will be apt enough to conceive the opinion of this Animal, not much unlike that of the Astomi, or men without mouths, in Pliny;[26] sutable unto the relation of the Mares in Spain, and their subventaneous conceptions, from the Western wind;[27] and in some way more unreasonable then the figment of Rabican the famous horse in Ariosto, which being conceived by flame and wind, never tasted grass, or fed on any grosser provender then air: for this way of nutrition was answerable unto the principles of his generation.[28] Which being of no airy, but gross and seminal in the Chameleon; unto its conservation there is required a solid pasture, and a food congenerous unto the principles of its nature.

The grounds of this opinion are many; the first observed by Theophrastus,[29] was the inflation or swelling of the body, made in this Animal upon inspiration or drawing in its breath; which people observing, have thought it to feed upon air. But this effect is rather occasioned upon the greatness of its lungs, which in this Animal are very large, and by their backward situation, afford a more observable dilatation; and though their lungs be less, the like inflation is also observable in Toads, but especially in Seatortoises.[30]

A second is the continual hiation or holding open its mouth, which men observing, conceive the intention thereof to receive the aliment of air; but this is also occasioned by the greatness of its lungs; for repletion whereof not having a sufficient or ready supply by its nostrils; it is enforced to dilate and hold open the jaws.

The third is the paucity of blood observed in this Animal, scarce at all to be found but in the eye, and about the heart; which defect being observed, inclined some into thoughts, that the air was a sufficient maintenance for these exanguious parts. But this defect or rather paucity of blood, is also agreeable unto many other Animals, whose solid nutriment we do not controvert; as may be observed in other sorts of Lizards, in Frogs and divers Fishes; and therefore an Horse-leech will not readily fasten upon every fish; and we do not read of much blood that was drawn from Frogs by Mice, in that famous battel of Homer.[31]

The last and most common ground which begat or promoted this opinion, is the long continuation hereof without any visible food, which some observing, precipitously conclude they eat not any at all. It cannot be denied it is (if not the most of any) a very abstemious Animal, and such as by reason of its frigidity, paucity of blood, and latitancy in the winter (about which time the observations are often made) will long subsist without a visible sustentation. But a like condition may be also observed in many other Animals; for Lizards and Leeches,[32] as we have made trial, will live some months without sustenance; and we have included Snails in glasses all winter, which have returned to feed again the in spring. Now these notwithstanding, are not conceived to pass all their lives without food; for so to argue is fallacious, and is moreover sufficiently convicted by experience. And therefore probably other relations are of the same verity, which are of the like affinity; as is the conceit of the Rhintace in Persia, the Canis Levis of America, and the Manucodiata or bird of Paradise in India.[33]

To assign a reason of this abstinence in Animals, or declare how without a supply there ensueth no destructive exhaustion, exceedeth the limits and intention of my discourse. Fortunius Licetus, in his excellent Tract, de his qui diu vivunt sine alimento, hath very ingeniously attempted it; deducing the cause hereof from an equal conformity of natural heat and moisture, at least no considerable exuperancy in either; which concurring in an unactive proportion, the natural heat consumeth not the moisture (whereby ensueth no exhaustion) and the condition of natural moisture is able to resist the slender action of heat (whereby it needeth no reparation) and this is evident in Snakes, Lizards, Snails, and divers Insects latitant many months in the year; which being cold creatures, containing a weak heat in a crass or copious humidity, do long subsist without nutrition. For the activity of the agent, being not able to over-master the resistance of the patient, there will ensue no deperdition. And upon the like grounds it is, that cold and phlegmatick bodies, and (as Hippocrates determineth) that old men will best endure fasting.[34] Now the same harmony and stationary constitution, as it happeneth in many species, so doth it fall out sometime in Individuals. For we read of many who have lived long time without aliment; and beside deceits and impostures, there may be veritable Relations of some, who without a miracle, and by peculiarity of temper, have far out-fasted Elias.[35] Which notwithstanding doth not take off the miracle; for that may be miraculously effected in one, which is naturally causable in another. Some naturally living unto an hundred; unto which age, others notwithstanding could not attain without a miracle.


* [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}.

A Chameleon. From Topsell's Historie of Serpents. Topsell omits the tongue, about whose length there was some dispute.

Ross defends the ancient opinion, Arcana Microcosmi, Book II, Chap. 7; his reasoning is astonishing. Wilkin remarks: "A. Ross so resolutely withstands the Doctor's arguments against the common opinion, as even to assert that flies are eaten by the chameleon, 'rather out of wantonness or for physic'. He adverts indeed to the fact, only as giving a reason for the animal being provided with digestive organs; but says that the slime on the tongue is not intended for catching the flies, but for destroying serpents, on whose approach the chameleon drops some of the slime on the head of the serpent, which presently dies."

1 [Solinus, XL; in the translation of Golding (1587), chapter XLII:

Throughout all Asia is great store of Chameleons, a fourefooted beast, in making like a Lucert, but that hee hath straight and somewhat longer legges growing to hys belly, with a long tayle wrythed rounde in, with hooked talants finely bowing inwarde, slowe of gate, and in a manner trayling like a Snayle: rough bodyed, wyth such a hyde as we see Crocodiles have, and hollowe eyes suncke farre into his head, which he never shadoweth with twinckling. Moreover, he beholdeth thinges not with rolling the bals of his eies, but with staring continually forward. His mouth is ever gaping, and serveth to do no kind of thing wyth all: for he neyther eateth meate, nor is nourished with drink but liveth onely by drawing in the ayre, which is hys onely sustenaucne. Hys colour is variable, and everie moment changable: so that to what thing he ever beleaneth himsefe, hee becommeth of the same colour.]

Pliny HN viii(122); as Englished by Holland, Book VIII, Chap. XXXIII. The Robbins edition adduces Leo Africanus as one of the "others"; in his Historie of Africa, Book IX, he informs us "It is nourished by the element of ayer, and the sun-beames, at the rising whereof it gapeth, and turneth it selfe up and downe." Aelian mentions the changing colors of the chameleon as well as its propensity for poisoning serpents, but says nothing of its dietary peculiarities.]

2 [Ovid Metamorph. 15.411-412.]

3 [Aelian, De natura animalium, II.xiv (on changing colors) and IV.xxxiii (on killing serpents); Aristotle Hist. animal. II.xi.]

4 [There is much amiss with this list; for "Augustinus, Niphus" sc. Augustinus Niphus, in his Expositiones in omnes Aristotelis libros : de historia animalium lib. IX : de partibus animalium, & earum causis lib. IIII : ac de generatione animalium lib. V on Aristotle II.11: "De cibo vero nihil assert Aristoteles, sunt enim qui putant chamaeleontem solo aere enutriri, quod id falsum est, quoniam interiora, ut Aristoteles inquit, similia omnia habet lacertae. Modo lacerta non solo aere nutritur. Ergo nec chamaeleo quare melius puto. Chameleontem rore enutriri, vivereque ut Theophrastus ait, id autem quod hoc decepit est, quoniam longo tempore vivit sine cibo & rore, name paucitate caloris potest diu vivere sine cibe & rore"; the word "chamaeleon" does not occur in the famous Stobaeus (nor it seems does the beast under other guises), and the lesser Stobaeus is too late for Browne; Dalechamps, the editor of Pliny, in a note on VIII. cap. LI: "Theophrasto auctore, parum abest quin pulmo totum corpus impleat, ideoque dum auram captat, et consectatur avidius, ea vivere sola creditur: eadem quoque causa et colorem mutare idem censet, nempe raro et pellucente corpore, ob aeris copiam distendentis"; "Fortunius, Licetus", sc. Fortunius Licetus, in his De his qui diu vivunt sine alimento, as later cited by Browne.]

5 [According to Scaliger, Exercitationes CXCVI.]

6 Comment. in Ocell. Lucan. [Pierre Belon, in his Observations. Browne's marginal comment, though placed here, belongs on the next page and with the next note.]

7 [On Pereiscius and his chamaeleons, see Gassendi's The Life of Pereskius; Vizzanius, in his comments on De universi natura then thought to be of Ocellus.]

8 [Pliny, HN xxviii(117), reporting the writing of Democritus; the dung of the chamaeleon and the urine of an ape; Pliny does not believe a word of it. The relevant passage, as Englished by Holland (1601): "Furthermore, the guts, and the dung therein contained (and that is worthie to be noted, considering this beast liveth upon no meat at all) being striked upon the doore of an enemies house, togither with the urine of apes, cause him to be hated of all the world."]

9 χαμαιλέων.

10 [Lev. 11:30; the Hebrew כח, "strength, force" etc., occurs some 125 times in the Bible; its exact meaning here is unclear.]

11 [1646 goes on: "for this derivation offendeth the rules of Etymology, wherein indeed the notation of names should be Orthographicall, not exchanging dipthongs for vowells, or converting consonants into each other." Wilkin adds: "but notwithstanding this observation, he has spelled the word cameleon in every edition. Dean Wren criticised the spelling, and noticed its inconsistency with the above remark of that author, who was probably induced, in every edition subsequent to the first, to suppress the observation, lest he might seem to condemn himself." Wilkin's comment on the spelling is not accurate; the spelling, as one might expect, varies, chameleon, camelion; indeed, the chapter begins, in the 1646 edition, "Chap. XXI. Of the Cameleon. Concerning the Chameleon...".; in 1672, it is spelled "chameleon" throughout. Wren wants chamæleon "with an (æ) dipthong and not with a single (e)". "Cameleon" and "camelion" were the most common spellings up until the nineteenth century.]

12 [Stanley History of Philosophy (1655) Vol. I, Part VI (The Peripatetics), chap. VIII, "Of generation, Corruption, Alteration, Augmentation, and Diminution", explaining Aristotle's concept of augmentation:

Accession of parts, according to matter, is not augmentation, for by materialls only (destitute of that form, which the parts to be augmented have) the whole living creatures cannot encrease. Aliment therefore, whereby the living creature is augmented, must be the same potentially which the things augmented is in act. At first, it is contrary, and dissimilar, being in power the part of a living creature, in act something else: at last it becommeth assimilate to the living creature, taking the form of a part (by aggeneration) through the digestive power of the animate body, which changeth the aliment into its own substance.

Dr. Johnson: "the state of growing or uniting to another body". Wilkin: "the transmutation of that which is eaten from its own nature into that of the animal receiving it; it becomes assimilated, generically, to the nature of that animal".]

13 [In Jean Fernel's (1560) De abditis rerum causis, Lib. II, cap. 17, available on line in PDF format at Gallica, bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France; chapter 17 begins on page 382.]

14 [Specifically, in De sensu, part 5, but consistent with many passages in Aristotle:

The theory held by certain of the Pythagoreans, that some animals are nourished by odours alone, is unsound. For, in the first place, we see that food must be composite, since the bodies nourished by it are not simple. This explains why waste matter is secreted from food, either within the organisms, or, as in plants, outside them. But since even water by itself alone, that is, when unmixed, will not suffice for food — for anything which is to form a consistency must be corporeal — it is still much less conceivable that air should be so corporealized [and thus fitted to be food]. But, besides this, we see that all animals have a receptacle for food, from which, when it has entered, the body absorbs it. Now, the organ which perceives odour is in the head, and odour enters with the inhalation of the breath; so that it goes to the respiratory region. It is plain, therefore, that odour, qua odour, does not contribute to nutrition; that, however, it is serviceable to health is equally plain, as well by immediate perception as from the arguments above employed; so that odour is in relation to general health what savour is in the province of nutrition and in relation to the bodies nourished.]

15 [Hippocrates De corde ]

16 De Alimento.

17 [Francis Bacon (1638) The History of Life and Death, pp. 293-294, something of a throw-away argument in another context.]

18 [Edward Jorden (1631) A Discourse of Naturall Bathes, and Minerall Waters, Chapter 5; in the edition of 1633, pp. 24-25:

If Sulphur, as in pyrite, it [a stone] will likewise melt and strike fire. And whereas the striking of fire out of a flint or pyrites, or any other thing that will strike fire, is held by all men to proceede from the kindling of ayre, by the collision of two hard substances together, they are mistaken. For then Diamonds, Chrystall Glasse, &c. should strike fire as well as flints; but it is the Sulphur contained in them: and G. Fabricius in his observations, although he observed not the reason of this fire, yet he confesseth that out of any Pyrites è quo excuitur ignis, etiamm excoquitur sulphur. Pliny gives the reason of the name, quia inest ignis illi. The like we observe in Indian Canes, and some Woods that are unctuous, and full of oyle, which will yeeld fire by frication, or collision, not by kindling the ayre thereby, but the inflammable oyle in them. For ayre being cold and moyst, as hath beene proved before, hath no agreement with fire, no more then oyle hath with waater. And therefore flame is not the kindling of ayre (flamma non est aer accensus) but of fuliginous vapours, which have some unctuousnesse in them, and arise from the matter of fewell, and have some inflamable parts remaining in them: which neere unto the matter of fewell doe cause a manifest flame; but farther off, no flame doth appeare: yet so as if you hold flaxe neere unto the flame, though it touch it not, yet it will kindle, by reason the fire extends further then it is visible, being a pellucide and transparent body, and thinner then the ayre it selfe." A marginal annotation at flammas non est aer accensus refers us to "Verulanius de vita & morte, pag. 418 & 453".]

19 [accension: kindling; fuliginous: sooty]

20 [Wren: Itt is manifest to sense, that in the collision of the steele and the flint there is a sulphureous odour, which thoughe but fainte (in regard of the small splinters from whence it comes) yet to an acute and unobstructed braine is plainly perceptible.]

21 [By Hooke; Micrographia, (1665) Observation VIII, pp. 44-47.]

22 [Brayley in Wilkin, commenting on the passage from Jorden cited above: "Dr. Jordan's observation appears to have been an anticipation of Sir H. Davy's, who having been informed that two pieces of bonnet cane rubbed together produced a faint light, examined the phænomenon, and found that all canes of this kind 'when briskly rubbed together, produced sparks of white light. The luminous appearance was much more vivid on collision. When the canes were violently struck together, sparks nearly as vivid as those from the gun-lock were produced.' The cause he ascertained to be that the epidermis of the cane was composed chiefly of silica."]

23 [Tullia was Cicero's daughter. For an overview of these lamps, see this page and its related pages; see also the note on Olybius' lamp in Christian Morals; Jorden, p. 26; and Henry Peacham's Valley of Varietie, Chap. VI.]

24 [Both stories are found in Plutarch, Alexander Chap. 35, ss. 5ff.. On Creusa and Medea, see also Pliny HN ii(235) (as englished by Holland, Book II, Chap, 105). Alexander's little escapade is touched on by Strabo XVI.1.15. Jorden gives both stories, out of Plutarch.]

25 Zibavius tom. 4. Chym. [Sc. Libavius. Libavius and a long letter to him from Coronerius are quoted in Kircher's Ars magna lucis & umbrae, Sect. I, Exp. III, which also gives an illustration of the plant growing in distilled water.]

26 [Astomi in Pliny, HN vii(25) (englished by Holland, Book VII, Chap. II); they live on "the aire, and smelling to sweet odours" and are killed by "any thing strong or stinking", thus outdoing the chameleon.]

27 [Mares in Spain, whose foals are begotten by the wind: Pliny HN viii(166) (englished by Holland, Book VIII, Chap. XLII); HN iv(116) (englished); Varro De Agri Cultura II {i.19, but there are no local links in the on-line version} ("res incredibilis, sed vera", says Varro).]

28 [Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Capitolo 15, canto 41. An outstanding horse in many other ways as well.]

29 [Theophrastus, Frag. 172, sect. 4; for a Latin translation from the Wimmer edition, Frag. 172.]

30 [1672: Sentortoises. The passage "but especially in Seatortoises" was first added in the last edition.]

31 [In the pseudo-Homeric Batrachomyomachia; the gore seems to me fairly evenly split between the parties. Wren notes "This passage was but a friske of his stile".]

32 [Wren: "Leeches are kept by all apothecaryes in glasses of water, without any other nourishment: which can bee little or none at all. The often change of the water serving for two intentions, and both contrary to the worke of nourishment; viz. first to preserve itt from putrefaction, which is the principal aliment which they sucke from thick and muddye standing waters; and secondly, to cleanse them from that venome, which they had formerlye contracted, which nothing could soe properly or speedily effect as the dailye supply of fresh cleere water; by which consequentially they become the more hungry, and apte to catche holde, and to holde the faster when they are on: evident arguments that from the pure water alone they drew no aliment, but fedd on that store which they had formerlye contracted in putrified standing waters." Blood-eating leeches are greedy feeders and can eat several times their weight; but their digestive systems are markedly slow, so that they can survive for several months after a feeding.]

33 [The rhintace (or rhyntace or ryntace), a bird mentioned by Plutarch (Artaxerxes), among others, as living on air: Artaxerxes, 1020E. In the North translation (edition of 1676, p. 794): "In Persia there is a little Bird, of which all the Parts are excellent good to eat, and are full of fat within [and with no excrement in its guts]; so that it is thought it liveth by Air and Dew, and in the Persian Tongue they call it Ryntaces." Browne mentions it in III.xii in connection with the phoenix; canis levis, ; on the manucodiata, see Arcana Microcosmi, II.vii and notes.]

34 [Hippocrates, Aphorismes, Sect. I, Aph. 13; as translated in The Aphorismes of Hippocrates Prince of Physitians (1655; s.n.), page 9: "Old men easily endure fasting, those who are in their declining age not so well, young men worse, and children worst of all, especially those who are of a more lively spirit"; to which is added the comment Old men when they are above 50 until 70, for those who are decrepit ought to feed often, but a little at a time.]

35 [Elias, in 1 Kings 19:5-8: "And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God." On marvels of abstinence, including Eva Flegen, see Eva Flegen and Hakewill and links therein.]

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