Ephemeri vita, or, The natural history and anatomy of the Ephemeron, a fly that lives but five hours written originally in Low-Dutch by Jo. Swammerdam ...

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Ephemeri vita, or, The natural history and anatomy of the Ephemeron, a fly that lives but five hours written originally in Low-Dutch by Jo. Swammerdam ...
Swammerdam, Jan, 1637-1680.
London :: Printed for Henry Faithorne and John Kersey ...,

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Subject terms
Insects -- Anatomy.
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"Ephemeri vita, or, The natural history and anatomy of the Ephemeron, a fly that lives but five hours written originally in Low-Dutch by Jo. Swammerdam ..." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/A62018.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 20, 2024.


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THE account of so wonderful an Insect (and what is there indeed in the whole Creation, if curiosly examined, but would excite our greatest Admiration, and force us to adore the Infinite Wisdom of the Maker?) I doubt not but will be acceptable to the Ingeni∣ous. Our Author, the Accurate and laborious Dr. Swammerdam, as by his other Treatises so well received, so no less by this, hath highly deserved of the Learned; it containing so many Curious and New Discoveries. It was Printed in Low-Dutch in octavo. Anno 1675. containing above 420 pages: what made it so large, was his fre∣quent, Pious Meditations, and Poetry upon the various accidents of the Life, and extraordinary Mechanism of this Creature: so natural a guide such Philosophy is to Divinity, that the Apostle himself tells us,

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
The Wis∣dom

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of God receives small honour from those vulgar heads, that rudely stare about, and with a gross Rusticity admire His Works; Those highly Magnifie him, whose judicious inquiry into his Acts, and deliberate research into his Creatures, return the Duty of a devout and learned Admiration

But the Contemplations for some reasons are omitted in this Translation; and we here only present you with the Philosophical part, the Na∣tural History and Anatomy of this strange Fly: a Fly that in all Ages has exercised the Pens of the most Ingenious; but never any with that success and happiness, as our Authors.

My chief design in the Publication is the im∣provement of Natural History; which is better written from Natures own Copy, than the faulty Transcripts of her many Commentators. Besides, the most that hitherto we have had, is but the Shell; far greater Treasures lye hid within; and if we would understand how 'tis that Nature gives Life and Motion to these Automata, we must unloose the Case, and take asunder the several Wheels and Springs, and carefully observe how she joyns them all together. Not only Physick, but a great part of Philosophy will receive a vast improvement from such an Analysis of Animal bo∣dies: And an History of Animals can't rationally be writ without their Anatomy; unless we

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would content our selves in admiring their Cloth∣ing and Paint, and still remain ignorant how 'tis they live and differ from one another.

Of late several things have been done this way; enough to encourage a farther prosecution of it; and a great means to it, I think, may be, to make common, such helps and assistances, as others la∣bors and travails in it, have already furnished. The Anatomy of one Animal, will be a Key to open several others; and until such time as we can have the whole compleated; 'tis very desirable to have as many as we can of the most different, and anomalous. This curious piece being in a Lan∣guage less known to the generality of the Learned here, a Translation of it was undertaken, (tho' otherwise out of his way) by a person of my ac∣quaintance, who had no other design than to gratifie the Ingenious and Curious in these Stu∣dies, that are unacquainted with that Language; and since this was his aim, 'tis hoped he may receive a favourable Censure, if in all things he have not so fully answered Expectation.

I doubt not but upon a strict enquiry we may meet with Ephemerons here in England; if not the Haft of the Dutch, which is here described, yet several other sorts. Our May-fly will well deserve to be examined; and what is here per∣formed, will very much facilitate the Anatomy of other Insects too: Which if it shall have

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that success as to encourage other undertakers in such pleasant and no less useful Studies, how∣ever Ignorance may deride the Curiosity, I shall have fully attained my aim in handing this Tran∣slation to the Ingenious Reader.

Edw. Tyson, M. D.


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