OF THE DESCRIPTION Of the Wonders of Nature.
The Ninth Classis. Wherein are set down the Wonders of Fishes.
Plin. l. 9. Natur. Hist. c. 2.
CHAP. I. Of Hornback, Sturgion or Elops, or the Dace or Groundling.
THe Hornback Fish hath a chap under her belly; wherein Rondeletius saith, he saw her eggs ly. For cutting that fish at the beginning of Winter, he found many eggs in that cleft. Yet after she is delivered, it closeth so fast, as if it grew together; which is no wonder, as may be seen in the English Pikes. It is covered in so hard a shell, that a sharp sword can hardly cut it. The Sturgions when they are taken lament their destiny, and seem to intreat; and leaping in the nets, strive to free themselves. Oviedus and Plutarch say, that with their sharp backs they will cut the line, and free their captive fellowes. The Dace of Phalera is so soft Page 290 and fat a fish, that if it be held long in the hand, it will melt; or if many of them be carried in Ships, they will drop fat, which is ga∣thered to make Candles with. Apitius, as Suidas reports, set the pictures of these Fishes, with Rape roots cut into long and slender pieces, boyl'd with oyl, and strewed with pepper and salt, before Nicomedes the King of Bithynia.
CHAP. II. Of the Eele.
ALl know, that Eeles are found in many fresh Waters; yet Nau∣clerus writes, That in the Danube there are none; but in the Rhein there are. Albertus makes the cold of Danubius to be the cause thereof; and this proceeds, because it runs before the mouth of the Alps from West to East, and receives the greatest part of its water from thence. These onely, contrary to other fishes, do not flote, being dead, Pliny. The reason is given by Aristotle, from the small belly it hath, and little fat. The swimming of Lampreys, Congers, and Muraenas, that abound with fat, confirm this to be true. They are so lusty, that being devoured whole by a Cormorant, they will come forth of his guts, nine times one after another; and when they are grown weak, then he retains them, Gesner. Held in a mans bo∣some, especially great eels, will twist about a mans neck and choke him, Cardanus. On the Land they dye, if the Sun shine on them; otherwise very hardly, as you may see them living when their skin is pull'd off. Athenaeus, Aelianus, and Plutarch do testifie, that in Are∣thusa of Chalcidon, there are tame ones, adorned with ear-rings of gold and silver, that will take their meat by hand. Nymphodorus reports the same of the River Elorus.
CHAP. III. Of the Whale, and the Barbel.
THe Whale is the greatest and chief of all Fishes. Pliny calls this the greatest creature in the Indian Sea, which was four Acres in bignesse; Massarius interprets this to be 960 foot long. Near∣chus saith, that there are Whales of 23 paces in length, and reports, that in the Island before Euphrates, he saw a Whale cast forth of the Sea, that was 150 cubits. That Whale which was taken in the Scald, ten miles from Antwerp, Anno 1577, on the second day of July, was of a blackish blew colour: he had a spout on his head wherewith he belched up water with great force: he was 58 foot long, and 16 foot high, his tail was 14 foot broad; from his Eye to the top of his nose the distance was 16 foot. His lower chap was 6 foot, of each Page 291 side, armed with 25 Teeth, and there were as many holes in the up∣per chap where there were no teeth, yet so many might have stood there. The longest of his Teeth, was not above 6 thumbs long. A Whale not long since was taken at Sceveling, a Village near the Hague in Holland, was 60 foot long. His head was about 3. cubits long, I saw him there. Platina observes, that the Barbels eyes are venomous, chiefly in May. Antonius Gazius found it so. For when he had eaten but two bits thereof, at Supper time his belly was so in∣flated, that he looked as pale as ashes; he was distemper'd all over, at last he fell into the cholerick passion. Nor did these symptomes abate, •ill the eyes were voided upward and downvvard.
CHAP. IV. Of the Carp, the Clupaea, and the Conger.
THe Carp, saith Gesner, hath a little white hard stone in his head, near his tongue, and in the middle of his head a thick substance like to a heart, that is flexible while it is new; but afterwards it grows hard. Sometimes it is found 20 pound weight. Jovius saith, That there was one found in the River Latium two hundred pound weight. When the Female finds her self great with young, when the time of bringing forth is past, by moving her mouth she rouseth the male, who casts on his milt, and then she bringeth forth. In Polonia, broad Carps being put into a fish-pond by one, when the waters were frozen, though he sought them diligently, he could not find them; when the Spring came, and the waters were thawed, they all appeared, Gesner.
Clupaea is a great fish. In Sagona a River in France, when the Moon increaseth, it is white; but black when it decreaseth. When the body is but a little augmented, it is destroy'd by its own prickles. In the head of it there is found a stone like a barley corn, which when the Moon decreaseth; some think it will cure the quartan Ague, if it be bound to the left side, Calisthenes Sybarita, citante Stobaeo. Congers contain their off-spring within them, but it is not equally so in all places, nor doth their increase appear in a fat grosse matrix, but it is contain'd in it, in a long rank, as in Serpents; which is manifest by putting it into the fire: For the fat consumes; but the eggs crackle, and they leap forth, Aristotle 6. Hist. c. 17.
CHAP. V. Of the Dogg-fish.
THe men of Nicea, saith Gellius, took a Dogg-fish that weighed 4000 pound; a whole man was found in the belly of it. Those of Massilia found a man in Armour. Rondeletius saw o•e on the shore at Xanton, the mouth and throat were so wide that they would take in a fat man. Bellonius saith, that each side of the mouth had 36, teeth, wherefore some think the Prophet Jonas was swallowed by this fish: and that this is that they call the Whale, it being so vast a crea∣ture. The same Bellonius writes, that this Fish at divers times brings forth 6, or 8, young ones, and somtimes more, each of a foot long, perfect with all their parts, and oft times the young one coming forth there are eggs yet raw in the matrix, and some hatcht, lying in the upper part toward the midriff; and some of them are contained in the right turning of the matrix some in the left. In her Whelps, this is chiefly wonderfull, that they were covered with no secondine, and they are fed from some part of the Navell that hath Veins. For since saith he, she doth not put forth her eggs, and they are tied by cer∣taine bands to the matrix, they seem to need no other coat than the Amnios; whereby the Whelp being now formed, and by a chink in the sternon, that passeth between the fins that are toward the gills, it receiveth nourishment from the matrix by a band, or the middle of it, that is so slender, as a Lute string; But this nutriment by that slender string is carried into a little bag, which you would say were the sto∣mach, which is alwaies full of it, like to the yolk of an egge: the position of it is in the middle of the belly, and under the two laps of the Liver. And that this is true, if you cut a Whelp taken out of the dams belly, through the belly, you shall find the true stomack of it to be alwaies empty. For it takes and devours nothing by the mouth. But you shall see the right intestine to swell with wan co∣lour'd excrements. If you take the young Whelp alive out of the dams belly, and do not hurt him, but cast him into the water, you shall see him to live and swim presently. Rondeletius observed the eggs to stick in the middle of the matrix toward the back bone; and when they increase they are translated into both the Sinus of the ma∣trix. The forme of the eggs is like to pillows we sleep upon under our heads; out of the corners there hang long and slender passages which Aristotle calls hairy pores, and they are rowled up like Vine tendrels; if you stretch them out at length, they are two cubits long. When the shell breaks, the young ones come forth.
CHAP. VI. Of Dracunculus.
DRacunculus is a fish with a great head, a compacted nose stick∣ing forth, a little mouth without any teeth, without any opening at the gils; but in the place of this, above the head there is a hole on both sides, wherewith it takes in and puts forth water. It hath great eyes set above the head, the head-bone ends at the prickles that tend to the tayl. The Fins are exceeding long, considering the body partly Silver, part Gold colour'd. Those about the Gills, are Gold-colour∣ed, and Silver colour'd in the root▪ These that are in the lower part, and next to the mouth, are longer than those that are next to the gils. On the back two stand up; the first is small, Gold colour'd, distin∣guished with Siver lines; the latter is very great on the middle of the back, not much unlike to butterflies wings, and is made of five bones like to ears of Barley, and a membrane. The former bones of radii are the longer, the hinder are the shorter, contrary to what it is in the membrane; which being as it were woven between all the distances of those radii, increaseth by degrees. The same also, is divers; for it is distinguished with Silver lines set between two black lines. This is hid in the middle hollow of the back, as in a sheath. There is also another Golden colour'd membrane from the tail to the Podex, ex∣cepting the fringes that are black.
CHAP. VII. Of the Dolphin, Exocaetus and the Fiatola.
THe Dolphins see so exactly, that they will see a fish hid, in a hole, Oppianus. They are so swift that Bellonius ob∣served one of them to swim faster than a ship could run un∣der sayle, before the wind that blew strongly. Some make their Fins to be the cause of it, others their light body. The famous Baudarcius thinks the membrane between their foreyards being extended, serves them for sails. They love one the other so well, that one being ta∣ken at Caria and wounded, a great multitude of them came to the Ha∣ven, and departed again when he was set free. When the Marriners whistle, they will stay the longer about the ship but when a tempest ris∣eth, the credulous Greeks say, if any man be in the ship that hath killed a Dolphin, they will all flock thither to be revenged. When then play on the calme Sea, they foreshew which way the wind will blow, and when they cast up water, the Sea being troubled, they foreshew a calme. Plin. l. 8. c. 35. Thomas thinks that exhalations rising from the bottom of the Sea, when a storm is at hand in Winter, is the cause of it; and he thinks that the Dolphins feel heat thereby, and Page 294 so break forth the oftner. But since more fishes also perceive a tem∣pest coming, Rondeletius thinks that they are affected in the water with the motion of the ayre, as those that are sick are wont to be, when the South wind begins to blow. Exocaetus lives long on the dry land. The cause is, the plenty of ayr; which being he doth not draw it in, too largely, he is not choked by it. Hence it is, that an Eele will live a long time under ground, Rondelet. Fiatola is a broad plain fish, with a taile like to a half Moon, a fleshy tongue; contrary to all other fish, he hath no sins under his belly, and he is wholly without them. His Liver hath but one lap, without any Gall, his stomach is made like the Letter V, the lower part of it ends in a point; and there are so many Appendixes of hairs unto it, that they cannot be num∣bred.
CHAP. VIII. Of Glanis and Glaucus.
WRiters report of Glanis, that it is a mighty and terrible fish, especially in the River Tissa that runs into the Danube. Hee riseth so boldly that he will not spare a Man. It is publikely said in Hungaria, that there was found in the belly of one, a hand with rings upon it, and peices of a Boy that swam in the Danube, that was de∣voured by it, Comes Martinengus. Gesner saith, he heard it of a learn∣ed Hungarian, that the same was taken in the River Tissa; it was 7, or 8, cubits long, and was carried in a Cart. This had layn hid in the River 16, yeares, neere the Kitchin of a Noble man; at last it was caught with a hook, when it had young ones to look to: when she found her self taken, she leaped forth; the fishers ran after her two miles, at last they wearied and took her, and carried her to a Town called Nadlac. There was in her belly a Mans head, with his right hand and three Gold Rings upon it. The Glaucus hath a spongy Li∣ver distinguished into two laps, the left is the larger. From the right lap there hangs a little Gall bladder, from a thred three fin∣gers long, so great as a pease; and it hath in the bottom of the sto∣mack a kind of Apophysis, not to be seen almost in other fishes, besides five others in the Pylorus, that fence the stomack about.
CHAP. IX. Of the Herring and Huso.
THat the Herring lives by water, the Author of the Book of Nature witnesseth; taken out of it, it will not live, as experience testi∣fies. In his belly there is nothing found, for it hath onely one hun∣gry gut. They swim together in such great sholes, that they cannot Page 295 be taken for multitudes. When they see light, they swim in flocks, and so they are caught in the autumnal equinoctiall. They shine in the water turning their bellies upward, and they send forth such a light, that the Sea seems to lighten. It is a miracle that some relate concerning the Inhabitants of the Island Terra Sancta of the German Ocean, namely, that in the year 1530, after the Virgins delivery, 2000 men lived by Herring-fishing there; but when they peevishly whipped one of them, they had taken with rods, these fishes did so diminish, that afterwards scarce 100 could live by that labour. The Husons have a grisle instead of a back bone, that hath a great empty hole, from head to tail as bored with a piercer. What Aelian, l. 14. c. 25. saith of the Autacea, that in time they grow as big as the grea∣test Tunie fish in the Danube, and their abdomen is so fat, that you would say their paps were as great as a Sowes that gave suck, and are covered with a rough skin that Spears are polished with them, with a membrane so tied from the brain to the tail, that dryed in the Sun, it will serve for a whip, that must be understood of these Husons: For Vadianus, in Epitome trium terrae partium, writes, that he saw some of 400 weight: They are so fearful, that the least fish will fright them. They follow the sound of Trumpets, that they will come to the bank over against it. Lastly, they are so strong in the water, that if they strike the fisher with their tail, they will strike him out of the Ship; so soon as they put their heads above water, they grow weak. They will drink strong wine, and live many days, being drunk they are carried to strangers, they will drink 4. Sextarii of Wine.
CHAP. X. Of the Pike and Luna.
ALbertus writes, that the Pike hath its stomach so joyn'd to the throat, that sometime it will cast it up for greedinesse of meat; but it hath many appendixes wherein the Chylus made is preserved, as Rondeletius observed. There was a very great one seen that had another great one in the belly; and this again had a vvater-mouse. Another was seen that had tvvo young Geese in it; another had a Moor-hen in its stomach. For great hunger it will feed on food at Land. It hath a natural Enmity with a frog. Hence it is that the Frog will oft times dig out his eyes. He cures his wounds by rub∣bing against a Tench, which he alwaies keeps company with. His jaw-bones boat into fine powder, given the quantity of an aureus, will break the stone. In England they cut off the belly of it two fingers breadth, and if they cannot find a Chapman, they will sew up the belly and put it into their fish-pond again vvhere Tench are. Though the cause may be attributed to friendship; yet it is better to attribute Page 296 it to the clammy matter the Tench abounds with, by which he may heal his wound. A Pike of Frederick the Emperour was said to have lived 267 years in a Lake, that was found out by a brasse ring that he hid under his skin in his gills, when he put him into the lake. It had a Greek Inscription on it; which is to this sense; I am that Fish that was first put into this Lake by Frederick the Second, Emperour of the World, on the fifth of October. Conradus Celtes saith, that ring was found upon that Pike, taken Anno 1497; as Gesner relates in Epistola nuncupatoria.
Luna is a fish exceeding beautiful, very small, broad bodied, of a blevvish colour; on the back it hath soft fins, which vvhilest it di∣lates in swimming, it makes a semicircle like to a half Moon, Aelian. ex Demostrato. Those that fish for Bream say, that at the full of the Moon it will grow dry and die; and, put on herbs, it will make them wither.
CHAP. XI. Of Manaty, and the Whiting.
MAnaty is a great Fish taken in the Rivers of Hispaniola; His head is like an Ox head, or bigger: His eyes in respect of his body are small; he hath two thick feet, like wings in the place of gills, with which he swims, they are set about his head; he hath a thick skin, and no scales. He is so great that there needs a yoke of Oxen to carry him. Sometimes he is above 14 or 15 foot long, and eight hands thick; near the tail he is narrower, and as it were girt in, from which straightnesse the tail growes longer and thicker. He hath two stones, or rather bones in his head, so great as little hand∣balls, or the bullet of a Crosse-bowe, and sometimes greater, as the fish is. He wants ears, but in place of them he hath small holes, by which he hears. His skin is like the skin of a shriveled Ox, a finger thick, ash-coloured, and thin set with hairs. The tail from that straight part unto the end of it, is all nervous. From that, cut into pieces, and then set five or six dayes in the Sun and dryed, and then boyled in a Cauldron, or rather fryed, much fat comes forth: for it all resolves into fat. It is good to fry eggs in a frying-pan. For it ne∣ver grows rank, nor unsavoury. He is made tame, and will be taught like a dog; but Franciscus Lopetius saith, he will remember Injuries. The petty King of Caramatexum, in the Island of Hispaniola, fed one of them 26 years in the Lake Guaynabo, and made him so tame, though he were grown great, as great as an old Dolpbin; for he would take meat by hand; and when they call'd him Mato, which in their Tongue signifies Magnificent, he would come forth of the Lake, and creep to the house for meat, and then go back to the Lake again. Boyes and Men going with him, and when they sang, he seemed to be delighted with it: and he would let them sometimes ride on his back; he would easily carry ten at a time from one part Page 297 of the Lake to the other. But when a certain Spaniard would make triall whether his skin were so hard or no, and threw a dart at him, he grew so angry, that if he saw any clothed in Christians habit, though he were called, he would not come forth of the water. After that, the River Haibon swelled extreamly and ran into the Lake Guaynabo: so he found his way to the Sea; and the peo∣ple were very sorry that he was gon. The Whiting eats nothing, unlesse he see it is dead, Aelian. The male is very jealous. For he stays at home, and fearing his young ones should be caught, he stays to pre∣serve them.
CHAP. XII. Of Mirus, Mola, and Monoceros.
THe Fish Mirus is briefly described by Ambrosius Pareus. In the Venetian Sea, saith he, between the Venetians and Ravenna, two miles above Clodia, Anno 1550, there was a flying Fish taken, very ter∣rible and monstrous, four feet long; he had a very thick head, and two eys not set one against the other, with two ears, and a double mouth, a very fleshy nose green colourd, with two wings, and five holes in his throat as Lampreys have; his tail was an ell long, and in the top of it were two little wings. Also Mo∣la is a Fish, that was taken on the calends of March, Anno 1552, not farr from Venice; at first sight it seem'd rather a peice of Flesh than a Fish. It was round, it had a skin without skales or hairs. The mouth was so straight, that it was miraculous considering the great∣nesse of the Creature. The eyes were large, stretching out, and greater than Oxe eyes. The gills were uncovered, fleshy, and beat; the fins on the sides were a span long. It had a very hard knot. The Jaws on both sides were fenced with a solid continued bone, the tongue of it stuck fast to the lower mandible, that he seem'd to have no tongue, the tayle was about 4, foot long. There were three fins on the taile, so that the taile with the fins, were 9, foot long. The Fish was 8, foot long, 5, foot high and more; and turn which way it would, it was so high: when it was unbowelled, the heart, liver, milt, were greater than of an Oxe; and it had one gut coming to the passage for excrements placed under the belly. In the bottom of this gut there was a kind of bottom, made as it were of bruised nervs, like fiddle strings bruised. The Flesh of the creature was white as milk, and solid, as in a hog that is 5, or 6, fingers thick with fat, as in Whales. Clusius calls the Monoceros or Unicorn, a Fish; which the Dutch coming from the East-Indies brought along with them. Anno, 1601. A Merchant valewed it so high that hardly any mony would buy it. From the outmost part of the mouth, unto the fins of the tail it was not much more than three inches, the middle of the body was little above an inch broad; from the top of the head, where a horn stuck forth between the eyes, unto the lowest part of the belly, which also ended in a sharp point, it was an inch and half broad; the body Page 298 was covered with a dark rough skin, moreover it had a little narrow mouth sticking out half an inch long, set with two bony little teeth, which seem'd divided into ten above, but beneath into fewer, un∣lesse they were broken out. The eyes that were put out, seem'd to have been very great, over which on the head, a little slender Horn stuck forth, that was four square, about an inch long, armed with ten pins like hooks tending downward, on both sides, from which to the fin, which from the middle of the back stretched out to the taile, there was an inch in length, pressed down like to a furrow, into which when he swims, he seems to incline his horn, &c. Clusius, l. 6. exotic. c. 27.
CHAP. XIII. Of the Mullet and the Barbel.
THe Mugil is a most temperate fish, if he light upon another, he will not touch it, till he move the taile. If it move he leaves it, if it moves not, he preys upon it, Aelian. l. 1. c. 3. It is so sa∣lacious, that in Phoenicia, and the province of Narbon, at the time of copulation, that the male being taken out of Fish-ponds, and with a long line drawn through his mouth and fastned to his gills, cast into the Sea, and drawn back againe by the same line, the females will follow him to the shore, and the Males again will follow the Females at the time they bring forth, Plin. l. 9. c. 13. They are so fleet that when they are hungry they will cast themselves over ships in their way. The Mullet was formerly so noted for luxury amongst the An∣tients, that it was sold for a mighty price; and private Romans would often buy it for the weight in Silver, saith Jovius, if it were above a foot long. Also Pliny writes that Asinius Cel•r a Consul, was so proud of this Fish, that when Claudius was Emperour, he Mer∣chandised with one of them for 8000 peices of money, that is about, 400 rich Dollers. Macrobius, l. 3. Saturnal, c. 16. adds more, that the Luxury of that age may be esteem'd the greater, because Pliny, saith in his time no Barbel was found, above two pound weight. Scaliger saith, exerc. 226, s. 15, that the Liver of it, lies next the left side, the milt next the right. But Albertus saith, that lust is extinguished by feeding on them, and it is so strong that it will make a Man that eats of it, to smell like it. Athenaeus saith, that strangled in Wine, it spoils the Wine. Pliny saith, that if it be stale, it will make one vomit.
CHAP. XIV. Of the River-Powt, and Lamprey.
THe River-Powt is so sweet meat, that in Thuringia, the Wife of one of the Earls of Bichling, is reported to have spent all her Estate, in feeding on them. They are chiefly commended before Christs-Mas day; but they are not good when they are with young, for then in some waters they are meazly. Some Hucksters, cut out their Livers, and turn them into the waters againe, having sewed up the wound. Encelius writes that the stomack of it, with the appurtenances hath a wonderfull vertue. Let it be, saith he, never so old, in Saxonie, the Women give it in drink, and it will draw out the secon∣dine staying behind, after Child birth; and is of great concernment for all de∣fects of the matrix. They say also that oyle is collected out of the Li∣ver, hanged in a glassy Vessel against the Sun, or in an Oven: this is thought to be so excellent for suffusions of the eyes, and for spots, that Forestus in observat. saith, it will miraculously make a dark sight clear. Nicander saith that Lampreys are wonderfull bold; for often coming forth of fish ponds, they will bite the painfull Fisher-men, and flye to the Sea, and will cast them headlong from the ships into the Sea; yet that they may be made tame, is apparent by the exam∣ple of that Lamprey, which Macrobius and Aelian, & others do testifie, that L. Crassus who was Censor with Cn. Domitius, did adorn with Gold-earings and Jewells, and a brave neck-lace. This knew Crassus his voyce when he called her, and being call'd would swim to him; and when he offerd him any thing, she would leap with delight, and lay hold of it. Crassus wept for her when she was dead, and buried her honorably. And when Domitius taunted him sharply, saying, Fool Crassus, thou weptst for a dead Lamprey. He answer'd, I wept for the death of my Beast, but thou weepst for none, not when thy three Wives died; thou buriedst them, but lamentedst them not. Pliny, l. 9. c. 23. saith, that it will grow mad by tasting Vinegar. But that is a wonder that Aelian writes, l. 1. c. 37, That if you give them one stroke they will endure it, and stand senselesse; but if you strike them again, they will be enraged.
CHAP. XV. Of the Perch and Sea-Calf.
FIshermen in the Lake Lemanus have observed, as Gesner saith, that Perches will send forth a little red bladder that hangs out of their mouth, and they will escape by that means; for it will make them swim over the nets, even against their wills: But it is thought this proceeds from anger, that they fell into the nets. This falls out Page 300 especially when they drag them. But it is wonderful that this falls out onely in Winter. Their young ones do stick so close together, that the Fishermen in that Lake make them up in •eaps. All of them have a measly Liver: Georgius Mangoldas writes it, and Gesner quotes him for it.
Sea-Calfs, when they sleep, s•ort so much, that you would think they lowed. Rondeletius saith, that the clammy humour that sticks in their sharp artery being agitated by breathing in and out, is the cause of it. They love the Sea exceedingly: For when their skins are tanned, if there be any hair left, they will turn as the Sea lies, by a naturall instinct. For if the Sea be troubled and tosse, they will stand upright; but if the Sea be quiet, they lye flat down. When Pliny would not credit this, he made tryall of it in the Indian Sea, and about the Island Hispaniola, he found it to be no fable, as Cardan saith. Rondeletius saith, That by their skin, changes are foreshew'd; for when the South winds blow, their hair sticks up; but when the wind is in the North they fall so flat, that you would think they had none. Aldrovandus saw one Calf taught by a Mountebank, who would rejoyce at the name of any Christian Prince, and would seem to mutter some words; but he was silent when the Turk or an Here∣tick was named.
CHAP. XVI. Of the Scales, and the Indian Reversus like an Eele.
THe Scales do bring forth two or three young ones at one time; but at many times they bring forth more. Their eggs are first seen without a shell, in the upper part of their matrix. Some of them are as big as Hen egs, some lesse, some scarce so big as chi•h-peasen. Aldrovandus counted above a hundred in one of them; those that are next to be laid, are put into the lower part of the matrix, and are covered with a shell, wherein there is contain'd both the white and the yelk. When he much admired at this, and sought for the cause of it, he boyl'd hen-eggs, in which appeared no white at all, being but newly formed; and he observed the white severed from the yelk by the heat of the fire. Hence he found, that at first they lye confused, but are separated by degrees by heat, and the shell that compasseth them, is made of the grosser part grown hard. Olaus, in tabula Septentrionali, pictures forth a Scale in the Sea, defending a man from a kennel of Dog-fish, in a place a little beyond the borders of Denmark.
The Indian Reversus like an Eel, is a Fish of an unusuall figure, like to a great Eel in body, and it hath on the hinder part of the head a capacious skin, like to a great purse. The Inhabitants hold this fish bound at the side of the ship, with a cord, and onely let it down, so Page 301 far as the fish may stick by the keel of the ship, for it cannot any wayes endure the ayr; and when it sees any fish or Tortoise, which are there greater than a great Target, they let loose the fish; he so soon as he is loose, flies swifter than an arrow on the other fish or Tortoise, and casting that skin purse upon them, layes hold of his prey so fast, that no force can unloose it, unlesse they draw up the cord a little, and pull him to the brink of the water. For so soon as he sees the light of the ayr he forsakes his prey, Martyr. Rondele∣tius ascribes to him the understanding of an Elephant, for he will be tame, and know what is said to him.
CHAP. XVII. Of the Remora, and the Sea-Scarus.
THe Antients believed, that the Remora would stay Ships; and it hath been found true by examples of late. Petrus Melaras of Bononia reports, that the ship of Francis Cardinal of Troas, when he went by Sea out of France, was held fast in the swiftnesse of its course. Many have sought for the cause, but no man hath certainly found it. Some things are alwayes immoveable to do their office, as the Poles; some things in respect of their place, as the Center of the Earth, which naturally never moves. Contrarily some things are to move alwaies to do their office, as the Heavens; some things in re∣gard of their place, as Rivers. So some things have a faculty of mo∣ving, as the Loadstone; some to stop motion, as the Remora. But since no reason can be given, why cold is an enemy to heat, so not for these things, why such things that have efficient principles in them of motion, do cause motion; and those that have principles of resting, should cause rest. Keckermannus seems to ascribe this to a cold humour that the Remora sends forth, that he freezeth the water about the rudder, In Disput. Physica.
Aristotle, l. 2. Hist. c. 17. saith, That of all Fishes the Scarus onely chews the cud. Ovid testifieth, that when it is caught in a net, it breaks not forth with the head foremost, but turns his tail, and breaks his way forth with that, often striking the net. They roast them in Candie, thrusting a spit through their mouth, and there the Fisher∣men eat greedily their maws, stuft with more delicate meat. They mash their Livers, that are very great, and without any gall, and their excrements also, together, adding to them salt and vinegar, Bel∣lonius.
CHAP. XVIII. Of the Sea-Serpent, and the Sturgeon.
IT is most certain, that there are Serpents in the Sea; and Histories shew, that they are of divers magnitudes. Aristotle reports, that in Africa they will overthrow their Galleys, and kill Men. Olaus Magnus writes, that about Norwey, when the Sea is calm, Serpents will shew themselves that are 100 or 200 foot long, and sometimes they will catch men from the Ships. Schiltbergerus a Hollander, hath described the Combat between the Sea and Land-Serpents. His words are; In the Kingdom of Genyck, there is a City call'd Sampson: at what time I resided with Ureiasita King of the Turks, Water-Snakes, and Land-Serpents innumerable did surround that City for a mile on all sides. These came forth of the Woods that are many in the Countries adjoyning, and those forth of the Sea. Whilest these met, for 9. dayes no man for fear durst stirre forth; yet they hurt neither man, nor any other living Creature. On the tenth day, these two kinds of Serpents began to fight early in the morning, and continued till Sun-set, and the Water-Serpents yielded to the Land-Ser∣pents; and the next day 8000 of them were found dead.
Many suppose that the Sturgion will pine away in the Albis. Gesner writes, that Johannes Fredericus Elector of Saxony, bought a Sturgion that weighed above 260 pound weight, for so many Franks. He is so strong with his tail, that he will cut wood in sunder, strike down a strong man, and strike fire out of hard stones; and the same is done by the rubbing of those little bones that are prickly all his body over.
CHAP. XIX. Of the Salmon, and the Turdus.
A Salmon about Colen is two cubits long, and they are greater amongst the Miseni; and at Dessavia, neere the River Albis, from 24, to 36, pounds weight. In Helvetia neere Tigurus they are ta∣ken somtimes above 36, pound weight. Albertus saith, the intestine of it, is divided into many parts like to fingers. Gesner writes, that he observed two passages from the very throat of one that he dissected: they stretched downward, one to the Maw by the Wezand, and the other was namelesse. In the River Mulda neere to Dessavia, if the Sal∣mon striving to overcome the precipice of the water, be frustrated at the second or third leap, he swims to the foard, and there he will lye hid under stones and gravel, and pine away: he is full of brasse co∣lour'd spots, and his beck is bent like a great hook. In Scotland in Autumn they meet in little Rivers or places fordable, where they joyne bellies, and lay eggs, and cover them in the gravel▪ at which time Page 303 the male is so spent, spending his milt and seed, and the female with her spawn, that they are nothing but bones and prickels and skin. That leannesse is infectious, for they will infect all the Salmons they come neere. It is an argument thereof, that oft times they are taken, and one side is consumed, the other not so. From their eyes covered in the sand, little fishes breed the next spring that are so soft, that untill they be no bigger than a mans finger, if you presse them with your fingers, they will run as from congeled moysture. Then first, as Nature leads them, they hasten to the Sea, and in 20, days, or a little more, it is incredible how great they will grow, when they come from the Sea, against a River that runs thither, they shew a wonder. For the Rivers that are straightned with Rocks, and Banks, on every side, and therefore run down swiftly, when they fall with a great fall, the Salmons do not presently swim forth by the Channel, but they fling themselves up crooked by force of the water, and so are carried in the Ayre, before they fall. That they are live∣ly, is seen by their heart taken forth. Robertus Constantinus testifies that he saw the heart of a Salmon that was unbowelled, that was wet with a moyst sanies, and it lived after it was taken forth above a day. There are some different kinds of Turdi. Some have as it were some skiny yellowish Apophyses hanging down from their lower chop▪ somtimes they vary, and are all for the most part Gold colour, or colour of the Amethyst or blew. Their eyes are extreme great, and a black circle goes about a Golden Apple▪ a Golden circle about the black, and lastly a black circle goes about them all. The fins by the gills are wholly Gold colour, but of the brest they are all blew, except their nervs that are Gold colour'd. The fin that is from the anus, and that which is on the back, and taile, where they are joyn'd to the rump, are Gold colour'd, but sprinkled with little red blood spots, the rest are blew.
CHAP. XX. Of the Torpedo, and the Tunie.
I Have nothing to say of the Torpedo, but that he benums the hands; and hence he hath his name. And he doth this, so ef∣fectually, that before he is taken, he will do it by the net, or the rod. He useth this cunning, that covering himself with mud and dirt, he will catch little fish very strangely, Plin. l. 1. utr. anim. The Tunies though they be caught in many places, yet chiefly about Constantinople; for when they come to the Islands Cyaneae, and are past by the shore of Chalcedonia, a certain white rock appears to them, and doth so terrifie the Tunies, that immediately they put over to the far∣ther bank; and being taken away with the swift current of the wa∣ters, the natural fitnesse of the place turns the course of the Sea to Constantinople, and the winding thereof, so that being driven thither Page 304 by force of Nature, it is no wonder, that they fall into snares. They are also ingendred in the Lakes of Maeotis; and when they are a little grown, they break forth of the mouth of the Lake in sholes, and run by the Asiatick shore so far as Trapezunda; but because they cannot endure tempests and cold weather, whereby their eyes grow dim; they stay in a very deep place of the Thracian Sea, that harbours them, it is called Melas, and it hath hollow and muddy places fit to cherish fish in, and they grow till the Spring. They seem to understand the blowings of the winds. For Pliny saith, they stay for the North wind, that they may get out of the Pontick Sea, with the flowing of the wa∣ter to help them. They enter into Pontus one way, and go forth an∣other. For Aristotle, l. 8. Histor. c. 13. saith, they lye on their right side next the Earth when they no in, and come forth on the contrary side; for they turn on the left side; which, saith he, they are therefore said to do, because naturally they see clearest with their right eye, and duller with the left. The old Oracle of the Prophet Amphyllus in Herodotus, proves that they go forth in the night. And this is again confirmed by ancient medalls, such as Bellonius writes that he saw at Paris, on one side was an Ear of Corn; and on the other side the Tunie; and above this, the Moon with an Inscription of Phillips. They sleep so soundly, that they may be taken napping.
CHAP. XXI. Of the Uranoscopus, and the Sword-fish.
URanoscopus is a fish that swims alone, and eats flesh; so lively, saith Bellonius, that if you take out all his Entrals, yet he will move still: It is the greediest eater of all fish, he hath an apophysis hanging forth of his mouth, and with that he ensnares the fish. This shews he is an insatiable paunch, that if you cast meat to him, he will feed so long, till the meat come up to his throat.
The Sword-fish hath a beck on both chaps, but the lower of them is short and triangular; the upper is more bony and harder, and far longer, sometimes two cubits long. In the Indian Sea they grow so great, that they will pierce the sides of the strongest Ships, a hand and half in thicknesse sometimes, Jovius. Gesner writes from the re∣lation of a faithfull friend of his, who saw a man when he sailed in∣to Syria, that swam by the Ship side, and he was cut in the middle by the beck of this fish. He fears a Whale, and when he sees one, he claps his sword into the earth, or some place of the Foard that he can, and so forms himself like to a log; and the Whale neglects him, and swims by him.
CHAP. XXII. Of some other Wonders concerning Fishes.
IN Minerals and Quarreys also fishes are found, especially if the places be moyst, though there be no water. Theophrastus observed this in many places of Pontus; Eudoxus in Paphlagonia; Agricola at Orterantum, beyond the Albis. There is a plain by the River Narbon, by this run the Rivers, Iliberis and Roschinus; there are fossil fish found therein. The earth is tender there, and brings much grasse; about two or three cubits under this, runs the water of the Rivers that hath dilated it self. If at any time they overflow, they fill the plain with fish from underground, Polyb. in Histor. There are two sorts of them, some round like to Eels, but they want a tuff skin; they are scaly as Gudgeons, their flesh is hard, and not well savoured. The great ones are two fingers thick, the smaller but one. Those are four hands breadth long; these but three: they make a sharp noise. Apothe∣caries shut them up in glasses, and hang them down from a beam, and feed them with bread for a long time. Sometimes they come forth of Rivers that run in Fenny grounds, and come far into the Land by the veins of the banks, and sometimes into Cellars. Theophrastus writes, That in Caves they feel nothing, because their senses are stupified; but when they are boyl'd in a pot, and when they are dug up they will stirre.
In a certain River of the East-Indies there are fishes call'd Tu∣berones; they are so greedy, that one of them catcht at a man stand∣ing on the side of the Ship, and first bit off his foot, and next his hand, Linschotten. in Navigat. It is almost incredible, that the same man writes, namely, That a Ship coming from Mozambique, went back∣ward 14 dayes, though the wind were good for it, and nothing to hin∣der it, and that was found by every dayes observation of the Suns heighth. And when the doubtful Marriners enquired for the cause of it, and thought they had been bewitched, at last a fish was found under the Ship, and they collected, that this fish carried the Ship on his back the contrary way against the force of the wind. For so soon as with much ado, they had driven this fish away, they sailed for∣ward very well. The History is painted in the Palace of the Deputy-King of Goanum, with the Name of the Pilote, the Year and the Month.
Blefhenius writes, in his description of Islandia, That in the Island Sea there is a Monster, the name he knowes not, but they take it to be a kind of Whale; when he puts his head above the Sea, he doth so fright men, that they will fall down almost dead. He hath a head is four square, flaming eyes, and it is fenced about with black horns; His body is black, and set about with black feathers. Page 306 If he be seen at Night at any time, his eyes seem fiery, that all his head that is thrust above the Sea may be seen by it. Olaus, l. 12. makes mention of it, and saith, it is 12 cubits long. So much for Fish.