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bulk. Job the celebrated African, aşsured me, that one of them carried away a live cow in its mouth, before his face.” But on this serpent's ejection of water, he professes his “ignorance of any fact to illustrate it.” I shall observe on the particulars of this dragon in their order.
ist, The dimensions of this dragon,“ great.” We may, 1 presume, seek the counterparts of this reptile among serpents of the largest size, for which we shall look to that class called by naturalists, boa.
The dragon is frequently mentioned by ancient naturalists: by Aristotle, lib. ix. Diod. Sicul. lib. iii. &c. St. Ambrose, de Mor. Brach. p. 63. says, there were dragons seen in the neighbourhood of the Ganges near seventy cubits in length.* Alexander and his army saw one of this size in a cave, to their great terror, Elian, lib. xv. cap. 21.
Three kinds of dragons were formerly distinguished in India. 1st, Those of the hills and mountains ; 2dly, those of the vallies and caves ; 3dly, those of the fens and marshes. The first is the largest, and covered with scales, as resplendent as burnished gold. They have a kind of beard hanging from their lower jaw, their aspect is frightful, their cry loud and shrill, their crest bright yellow, and they have a protuberance on their heads, the colour of a burning coal. 2dly, Those of the flat country are of a silver colour, and frequent rivers, to which the former never come. 3dly, Those of the marshes are black, slow, and have no crest. Strabo says, the painting serpents with wings is contrary to truth ; but other naturalists and travellers, ancient and modern, affirm that some species are winged. [There is much confusion on this subject. Some have mistaken the hood of the naja for wings; others for a crest; others have confounded the innocent lizarddragon with flying serpents ; and therefore report, as Pliny does, that their bite is not venomous, though the creatures be dreadful, which indeed is true of the boa, or proper dragon.]
The following is mostly translated, or abstracted, from count de la Cepede : The boa is among serpents, what the lion or the elephant is among quadrupeds; he usually reaches twenty feet in length, and to this species we must refer those described by travellers, as lengthened to forty or fifty feet, as related by Owen, Nat. Hist. Serp. p. 15. Kircher mentions a serpent forty palms in length ; and such a serpent is referred to by Job Ludolph, p. 166. as extant in Ethiopia. St. Jerom, in his life of Hilarion, denominates such a serpent, draco, a dragon ; saying, that they were called boas, because they could swallow, boves, beeves, and waste whole provinces. Bosman says, entire men have, frequently, been found in the gullets of serpents, on the Gold Coast;:
• A Loụ: 105 feet. •
out colours, but, so far as I recollect, the redness is rather fiat of brick than of blood. Our extracts assert, that this serpent strikes vehemently with his tail; which is according to the representation of the apocalyptie writer.
3dly, As to the seven heads of the great red dragon, it is well known, that there is a species of snake amphisbenæ, or double headed, but, the apparent heads of this snake are, one at each end of him, and one of these is apparent only, not real. There is, indeed, a kind of serpent which is so often found with two heads growing from one neck, that some have fancied it might form a species, but we have as yet no authority adequate to that effect. It follows, that the number of beads is entirely allegorical. I only remark, that this dragon of the apocalypse is not absolutely singular, if the fable of the dragon having seven heads, compared with the dragon having seven tails, was extant anciently.
4thly, The ten horns of this dragon must be allegorical also.
As to the flood of water ejected by this dragon, I do not know of any receptacle which serpents have for containing such a provision; and the nearest approach toward it, which I have been able to find, is the following:
Beverly, in his account of Virginia, mentions, pressing the roof of the mouth of a rattlesnake, whose head was recentiy cut off, and the venom spirited out like the curreni of blood in blood letting.
Gregory, the friend of Ludolph, says, Hist. Eth. lib. i. cap. 13.
We have in our province a sort of serpent as long as the arm. He is of a glowing red colour, but somewhat brownish ; he hides himself under bushes and grass. This animal has an offensive breath; and he breathes out [spirts oat, ejects, I rather think) a poison so venomous and stinking, that a man or beast within reach of it, is sure to perish quickly by it unless immediate assistance be given.”
“At Mouree, a great snake being half under a heap of stones, and the other half out, a man cut it in two at the part which was out from among the stones ; and as soon as the heap was removed, the reptile, turning, made up to the man, and spit such renom into his face as quite blinded him, and so he continued some days, but at last recovered his sight," Barbot, in Churchill, vol.
V. p. 213.
This history is remarkable, because the venom of poisonous serpents is usually ejected by a perforation in their cheek teeth, or fängs; this ejection accompanies the act of biting : and it does not appear that this man was biten. Moreover, whether the matter spirted by this serpent was venom, does not appear, nor what effect it had, or might have had on parts not so tender as the eye. Nevertheless, we learn from this instance, that serpents have a power of throwing out from their mouth a quantity