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such an opinion as this we have in the history of St. Paul, Acts, xxviii. whom the people of Melita, when they saw the viper leap upon his hand, presently concluded to be a murderer; and as readily made a god of him when, instead of having his hand infamed, or falling down dead, one or other of which is usually the effect of these bites, he without any harm shook the reptile into the fire: it being obvious enough to imagine, that he must stand in a near relation at least to the gods themselves, who could thus command the messengers of their vengeance, and counterwork the effects of such powerful agents. See Asp; CockATRICE.
Capt. Riley describes an exhibition of two Arab serpent eaters at Millah in Morocco, one of whom suffered himself to be bitten by two serpents; one of which was called El Effuh, and the other El Busehfah. The first he describes as “ about four feet long, and eighť inches in circumference. His colours were the most beautiful in nature, being bright and variegated with deep yellow, a purple, a cream colour, black and brown, spotted, &c. The other black, very shining, and appeared to be seven or eight feet long, but not more than two inches in diameter.” He
says, that he afterwards saw engravings of these two serpents in Jackson's Marocco, which are very correct resemblances. “ These are said to be very numerous on and about the south foot of the Atlas mountains, and border of the desert, where these were caught when young, and where they often attack and destroy both men and beasts. The effah's bite is said to be incurable, and its poison so subtle as to cause a man's death in fifteen minutes. When I saw the effah, it brought to my mind the story of the fiery serpents that bit the children of Israel in the deserts of Arabia, near Mount Hor, as recorded in the 21st chapter of the book of Numbers; merely because the effah resembled, in appearance, a brazen serpent. The two serpent eaters said they came from Egypt about three years ago ss.
Isajah, lix. 5, illustrating the mischievous character of wicked men, and the ruinous nature of sin, the prophet says, “They hatch cockatrice eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eata eth their eggs dieth; and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.” The cockatrice here undoubtedly means the viper; for the egg of one creature never produces one of a different species. When the egg is crushed, the young viper is disengaged, and leaps out, prepared for mischief. It may be objected, that the viper is not an oviparous but a viviparous animal; and consequently the prophet must refer to some other creature. But it is to be remembered, that although the viper brings forth its young alive, they are hatched from eggs perfectly formed in the belly of the mother. Hence Pliny says of it, “ Terrestrium eadem sola intra se parit ova unius coloris et molle ut piscium.” The viper alone, of all terrestrial animals,
33 Capt. Riley's Narrative, p. 415.
produces an egg of a uniform colour, and soft like the eggs or roe of fishes. This curious natural fact reconciles the statement of the sacred writer with the truth of natural history. If by any means the egg of the viper be separated from the body, the phenomenon which the prophet mentions may certainly, take place 34
UNICORN. ON REEM.
Occ. Numb. xxiii. 22; xxiv. 8; Deut. xxxiii. 17; Job, xxxix. 9, 10; Psal. xxii. 21; xxix. 6; xcii. 10; Isai. xxxiv. 7. In each of these places it is rendered in the Septuagint uovonepos, monoceros, except in Isaiah, where it is adgoi, the great or mighty
An animal which, as it is generally pictured, never existed any other way. It is represented as having the legs and body of a deer, the tail, mane, and head of a horse, and with only one long and straight horn placed in the middle of the forehead. Our translators have imagined this fabled animal to have really existed, and given its name to the Hebrew reem.
For all that can be now known of the opinions of the ancients respecting the unicorn, I refer the curious inquirer to the learned and ingenious work of Thomas Bartholinus, De unicornu observationes novæ : secunda editione auctiores et emendatiores edita a filio Casp. Bartholino. Amst. apud Wetstein, 1678, 12mo. to the chapter in Bochart, Quid veteres et recentiores scripserint de animalibus unicornibus. Tom. ii. p. 313--335, and to Barrow's Travels in Southern Africa, p. 294, who has given a drawing of the head of the unicorn, “a beast with a single horn projecting from the forehead;" accompanied with such details as, he thinks, offer strong arguments for the existence of such animals in the country of the Bosjesmans. He observes that this creature is represented as “a solid-ungulous animal resembling a horse, with an elegantly shaped body, marked from the shoulders to the Aanks with longitudinal stripes or bands.” Still he acknowledges that the animal, to which the writer of the book of Job, who was no mean natural historian, puts into the mouth of the Alinighty a poetical allusion, has been supposed, with great plausibility, to be the one-horned rhinoceros : and that Moses also very probably meant the rhinoceros, when he mentions the unicorn as having the strength of God."
" It is very remarkable,” says Mr. Bruce, “ that two such animals as the elephant and rhinoceros should have wholly escaped the description of the sacred writers. Moses and the children of Israel were long in the neighbourhood of the countries which produced them, both while in Egypt and in Arabia. The classing of the animals into clean and unclean seems to have led the legislator into a kind of necessity of describing, in one of the classes, an animal which made the food of the principal Pagan
34 Paxton's Ulustrations, v. j. p. 336.
nations in the neighbourhood. Considering the long and intimate connexion Solomon had with the south coast of the Red Sea, it is next to impossible that he was not acquainted with them, as both David his father and he made plentiful use of ivory, as they frequently mention in their writings, which, along with gold, came from the same part. Solomon, besides, wrote expressly on zoology, and we can scarce suppose was ignorant of two of the principal articles of that part of the creation, inhabitants of the great continent of Asia, east from bim, and that of Africa on the south, with both which territories he was in constant correspondence.
“There are two animals named frequently in scripture without naturalists being agreed what they are. The one is the behemoth, the other the reem; both mentioned as types of strength, courage, and independence on man; and as such exempted from the ordinary lot of beasts, to be subdued by him, or reduced under his dominion. Though this is not to be taken in a literal sense, for there is no animal without the fear or beyond the reach of the power of man; we are to understand it of animals possessed of strength and size so superlative as that in these qualities other beasts bear no proportion to them.
“ The behemoth, then, I take to be the elephant; his history is well known, and my only business is with the reem, which I suppose to be the rhinoceros. The derivation of this word, both in the Hebrew and Ethiopic, seems to be from erectness, or standing straight. This is certainly no particular quality in the animal itself, who is not more, nor even so much, erect as many other quadrupeds, for its knees are rather crooked; but it is from the circumstance and manner in which his horn is placed. The horns of all other animals are inclined to some degree of parallelism with the nose, or os frontis. The horn of the rhinoceros alone is erect and perpendicular to this bone, on which it stands at right angles; thereby possessing a greater purchase or power, as a lever, than any horn could possibly have in any other position.
“ This situation of the horn is very happily alluded to in the sacred writings: My horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of a reem; Psal. xcii. 10. And the horn here alluded to is not wholly figurative, but was really an ornament worn by great men in the days of victory, preferment, or rejoicing, when they were anointed with new, sweet, or fresh oil; a circumstance which David joins with that of erecting the horn.
“Some authors, for what reason I know not, have made the reem, or unicorn, to be of the deer or antelope kind, that is of a genus whose very character is fear and weakness, very opposite to the qualities by which the reem is described in Scripture: besides, it is plain the reem is not of the class of clean quadrupeds; and a late modern traveller very whimsically takes him for the
leviathan, which certainly was a fish. It is impossible to de termine which is the silliest opinion of the two. Balaam, a priest of Midian, and so in the neighbourhood of the haunts of the rhinoceros, and intimately connected with Ethiopia, for they themselves were shepherds of that country, in a transport, from contemplating the strength of Israel whom he was brought to curse, says, they had as it were the strength of the reem 35. Job makes frequent allusion to his great strength, ferocity, and indocility 36 He asks, Will the reem be willing to serve thee, or abide at thy crib? That is, will he willingly come into thy stable, and eat at thy manger ? and again, Canst thou bind the reem with a band in the furrow, and will he harrow the valleys after thee? In other words, canst thou make him to go in the plough or harrows ?
“ Isaiah 37, who of all the prophets seems to have known Egypt and Ethiopia the best, when prophesying about the destruction of Idumea, says, that the reem shall come down with the fat cattle: a proof that he knew his habitation was in the neighbourhood. In the same manner as when foretelling the desolation of Egypt, he mentions as one manner of effecting it, the bringing down the fly from Ethiopia 38, to meet the cattle in the desert and among the bushes, and destroy them there, where that insect did not ordinarily come but on command S9, and where the cattle fled every year, to save themselves from that insect.
“ The rhinoceros in Geez is called arwé harish, and in the Amharic auraris, both which names signify the large wild beast with the horn. This would seem as if applied to the species that had but one horn. On the other hand, in the country of the Shangalla, and in Nubia adjoining, he is called girnamgirn, or horn upon horn, and this would seem to denote that he bad two. The Ethiopic text renders the word reem, arwé harish, and this the Septuagint translates monoceros, or unicorn.
“ If the Abyssinian rhinoceros had invariably two horns, it seems to me improbable the Septuagint would call him monoceros, especially as they must have seen an animal of this kind exposed at Alexandria in their time, when first mentioned in history, at an exhibition given to Ptolemy Philadelphus, at his accession to the crown, before the death of his father.
“The principal reason for translating the word reem unicorn, and not rhinoceros, is from a prejudice that he must have but one horn. But this is by no means so well founded, as to be admitted as the only argument for establishing the existence of an animal, which never has appeared after the search of so many ages. Scripture speaks of the horns of the unicorn 40, so that even from this circumstance, the reem may be the rhinoce
37 Isai. xxxiv, 7.
35 Numb. xxiji. 22.
36 Job, xxxix. 9, 10. 38 Isai. vii, 18, 19.
39 Exod. viii. 22. 40 Deut. xxxiii, 17; Psalm xxii. 21.
ros, as the Asiatic and part of the African rhinoceros may be the unicorn 41."
The rhinoceros, in size, is only exceeded by the elephant; and in strength and power is inferior to no other creature. He is at least twelve feet in length, from the extremity of the snout to the insertion of the tail; six or seven feet in height, and the circumference of the body is nearly equal to its length. He is particularly distinguished from the elephant and all other animals, by the remarkable and offensive weapon he carries upon his nose. This is a very hard horn, solid throughout, directed forward, and has been seen four feet in length. There is also a two horned rhinoceros, as mentioned above by Mr. Bruce; one horn being placed above the other. Mr. Browne, in his travels, p. 299, says, that the Arabians call the rhinoceros " Abu-kurn," father of the one horn.
Mr. Salt, who travelled into the interior of Abyssinia, in the years 1809 and 1810, says " The only species of the shinoceros, which I could hear of, was the two horned rhinoceros, similar to that found in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope; of which a very admirable drawing is given by Mr. Barrow. This I believe was first described by Mr. Sparman. I myself never met with it alive, as it frequents only the low countries bordering on the Funge, or the wild forests of Wojjerat : but I procured several sets of the horns, fastened together by a portion of the skin ; whence it appears that they have no connexion whatever with the bone of the head, a fact which gives a considerable degree of probability to the notion, generally received among the natives of Africa, that this animal possesses a power of depressing or raising the horns at will. Bruce ridicules Sparrman for mentioning this circumstance; but as the drawing given by the former is evidently very incorrect 42, no great weight can be attached to his opinion.'
In the book of Job, xxxix. 9, 10, the reem is represented as an unmanageable animal, which, although possessed of sufficient strength to labour, sternly and pertinaciously refused to bend his neck to the yoke.
Will the reem submit to serve thee?
41 Bruce, Trav. vol. v. p. 89.
49 The drawing of Mr. Bruce appears to have been copied from Buffon's one horned rhinoceros, and to have had the second horn annexed to it, as the two horned rhinoceros wants the folds in the skin which are there given.