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Ethiopia. St. Jerom, in his life of Hilarion, denom composes a beautiful maculated pattern ; so that the inates such a serpent, draco, a dragon ; saying, that idea of red, but not exclusively blood red, in this inthey were called boas, because they could swallow, stance, is drawn from nature ; and perhaps the colboves, beeves, and waste whole provinces. Bosman ours of some individuals of this species may be of a says, entire men have, frequently, been found in the deeper red than those of others. - It is impossible to gullets of serpents, on the Gold Coast; but, the convey the idea of this redness, and its application to longest serpent I have read of, is that mentioned by the boa, without colours, but, so far as I recollect, the Livy, and by Pliny, which opposed the Roman army redness is rather that of bricks than of blood. Our under Regulus, at the river Bagrada in Africa. extracts assert, that this serpent strikes vehemently devoured several of the soldiers ; and so hard were with his tail; which is according to the representaits scales, that they resisted darts and spears : at tion of the apocalyptic writer. length it was, as it were, besieged, and the military 3dly, As to the seven heads of the great red dragengines were employed against it, as against a fortified on, it is well known, that there is a species of snake city. It was an hundred and twenty feet in length. amphisbena, or double beaded, but, the apparent Its skin was sent to Rome as a trophy, and was pre- heads of this snake are, one at each end of him, and served in one of the temples there, Pliny, lib. xviii. one of these is apparent only, not real. There is, incap. 14. Add the following testimonies :
deed, a kind of serpent which is so often found with “At Batavia was once taken a serpent, which had two heads growing
from one neck, that some have fanswallowed an entire stag of a large size: one taken at cied it might form a species, but we have as yet no Bauda had done the same, by a negro woman,” Bal- authority adequate to that effect. It follows, that the deus, in Churchill, vol. iii. p. 732.
number of heads is entirely allegorical. I only re“Leguat in his Travels says, there are serpents mark, that this dragon of the apocalypse is not absofifty feet long in the island of Java. At Batavia they lutely singular, if the fable of the dragon having sevstill keep the skin of one, which though but twenty en heads, compared with the dragon having seven feet in length, is said to have swallowed a young tails, was extant anciently. maid whole,” Barbot, in Churchill, vol. v. p. 560. 4thly, The ten horns of this dragon must be aile
“The serpent guaku, or liboya, [boa) is question. gorical also. less the biggest of all serpents; some being eighteen, As to the flood of water ejected by this dragon, I twenty-four, nay, thirty feet long, and of the thickness do not know of any receptacle which serpents have of a man in the middle. The Portuguese call it ko- for containing such a provision; and the nearest apbre de hado, or the roebuck serpent, because it will proach toward it, which I have been able to find, is swallow a whole roebuck, or other deer; and this is the following: performed by sucking it through the throat, which is Beverly, in his account of Virginia, mentions, presspretty narrow, but the belly vastly big. Such an ing the roof of the mouth of a rattlesnake, whose one I saw near Paraiba, which was thirty feet long, head was recently cut off, and the venom spirted and as big as a barrel. Some negroes accidentally out like the current of blood in blood letting. saw it swallow a roebuck, whereupon thirteen musket Gregory, the friend of Ludolph, says, Hist. Eth. eers were sent out, who shot it, and cut the roebuck lib. i. cap. 13. “We have in our province a sort of out of its belly : It is pot venomous ... This ser serpent as long as the arm. He is of a glowing red pent, being a very devouring creature, greedy of prey, colour, but somewhat brownish; he hides hiinself unleaps from among the hedges and woods, and standing der bushes and grass. This animal has an offensive upright on its tail, wrestles both with men and wild breath; and he breaths out (spirts out, ejects, I rather beasts: sometimes it leaps from the trees upon the think] a poison so venomous and stinking, that a man traveller, whom it fastens on, and beats the breath or beast within reach of it, is sure to perish quickly out of his body with its tail," Nieuhoff, in Churchill, by it, unless immediate assistance be given.' vol. ii. p. 13.
“ At Mouree, a great snake being half under a heap 2dly, I would call the attention of the reader to the of stones, and the other half out, a man cut it in two immense serpent of Regulus, especially because there at the part which was out from among the stones; is a strong probability that it might have been in the and as soon as the heap was removed, the reptile, mind of the writer of the Revelations; who, as we turning, made up to the man, and spit such venom bave seen, describes a power most terribly distress- into his face as quite blinded him, and so he continued ing, under the figure of a dragon: a red dragon. On some days, but at last recovered his sight," Barbot, which observe, 1st, That the dragon of antiquity was, in Churchill, vol. v. p. 213. no doubt, a prodigious serpent, such as is described This history is remarkable, because the venom of in our extracts above ; for which acceptation Jerom's poisonous serpents is usually ejected by a perforation authority may be at present sufficient. 2dly, That in their cheek teeth, or fangs; this ejection accompa the colour most conspicuous in the great boa is red, nies the act of biting: and it does not appear that which is very handsomely formed into figures, and this man was bitten. Moreover, whether the matter
spirted by this serpent was venom, does not appear, self by the ship's side was seized by the middle by a nor what effect it had, or might have had, on parts serpent of enormous size, that dragged him under Fa. not so tender as the eye. Nevertheless, we learn ter at once in the sight of the whole fleet," Harris, from this instance, that serpents have a power of Voyages, vol. ii. p. 475. throwing out from their mouth a quantity of fluid, of • P. van den Broek says, that at Golconda there an injurious nature, and a quantity of such fiuid pro are serpents of prodigious size, the bite of which is portionate to the immense size of his dragon, is what instantly mortal; and observes further, that whenever in the Revelations is called a stream, which, happily these creatures are seen at séa, it is a certain sign of for the woman at whom it was aimed, was received their being near the Indian coast.” by the opening earth. [I rather think this was not “ Admiral Verhoven tells us a singular story of a properly venom, and the writer of the apocalypse sea serpent in the straits of Sincapoua. A seaman, does not say it was; these great serpents not being washing himself by the ship's side, was seized by one venomous, strictly speaking.)
of these creatures, on which he roared so loud, that Having thus admitted the real dragon of Scripture one of his companions threw him a rope, and pulled to its proper place, and proved not only the existence, him into the ship: but the serpent had torn such a but the manners of this reptile, in conformity to piece out of his side, that he died immediately. The Scripture accounts, it may not be amiss to consider, serpent continued about the ship, till at last it was whether he does not pretty closely represent the He- taken, and was the largest they had ever seen. On brew nahash; which, perhaps, is sometimes taken opening its belly, they found therein the piece of generically for all the serpent tribes; and sometimes flesh which he had torn from the sailor, and which for the largest kind, “the serpent,” or dragon, by they buried with him," Harris, ib. Adm. Verhoven's eminence. Of the first acceptation of the word na Voyage, p. 92. hash, we have an instance, Jer. viii. 17. where we I see no reason for doubting the existence of true read of serpents, nahashim, which is explained by sea serpents at least equal in dimensions with land tjephonim, hereby determining what kind of naha- serpents : I think I have read of some eight or nine shim should be selected as most venomous and fatal. feet long; but whether these possess venom I do not The second acceptation of this word is not uncom know. However, the stories quoted may justify the mon; and Parkhurst assimilates it to the dragon of sacred writers in speaking of sea serpents, which they the Greeks.
call nahash: as Amos ix. 3. “Though they hide in But we ought to observe the application of this the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the word, nahash, to a sea serpent also; and here I con serpent, nahash, and he shall bite them.” fess want of information. Is there more than one kind The reader will connect with this, the recollection of sea serpent? if so, what are their differences ? that we have a nahash also in the heavens ; for so These questions I have not been so happy as to an Job expresses himself, xxvi. 13. “By his Spirit he swer to my own satisfaction; but, observe, 1st, That hath garnished the heavens ; his hand bath formed most serpents are amphibious, and take to the water the crooked serpent." This crooked serpent, whatreadily. 2dly, That the great boa is not afraid even ever constellation it may be, is clearly referred to the of wide rivers, and high waves: he may be destroyed heavens; and whether it is, as some bave supposed, by fire, but water he does not fear. Let us combine a constellation around the north pole, or, as others our evidence on this difficult article.
think, the milky way, whose tortuous course not unThere seems to be at least one kind of large ser aptly represents the windings of a serpent's form and pent, which ventures a considerable distance out to track, can only be hinted at, not fully discussed, in sea ; this appears to be a land serpent, equally as it
this place. is a water serpent; but, I have read of proper water I would merely hint further, that since it was a naserpents, seen too far out at sea to be supposed na hash which tempted Eve, not a peten, nor a tjephon, tives of the land : these are true hydras; but their it is of consequence to notice the application of this varieties, colours, manners, and other particularities, word; lest, peradventure, we should attribute that are not, I believe, well understood. The following his- action to a serpent of a kind totally different from tories seem rather to belong to amphibious serpents. what was designed by the sacred writer ; which error
“Serpents are very common all over the isle of could only be the occasion of others, perhaps not Ceylon: the SEA SERPENTS are sometimes eight, equally innoxious. nine, or ten yards long. The most dangerous ser 'I take the present opportunity of suggesting a pents are the cobras di capellas. The Malabars call thought or two, on the existence of flying serpents; the serpents pambo and naja, and give their cattle as Scripture is usually understood to mention them. and children their names; nay, they feed them be Michaelis says, Quest. Ixxxiii. speaking of such cause they should do them no harm,” Baldæus in serpents, “ Although modern naturalists have not Churchill, vol. iii. p. 731.
communicated any satisfactory information respecting “ Peter van Coerden, admiral of the Dutch fleet in Aying serpents, yet they are so often spoken of by the East Indies, says, that while he was at anchor on the ancient writers of nations near to the equator, who the coast of Mozambic, a boy that was washing him may be better acquainted with the nature of serpents
than we are, that I dare boldly recommend further inevitable death,” p. 308. 8vo. The reader will obinquiries to travellers, respecting the existence of fly- serve, this is report. ing serpents. If there be any, and if they have been To conclude by returning to the dragon : seen by witnesses deserving of credit, I beg every The following is the latest, and most distinct, acinformation, name, &c.” This inquiry is interesting; count of one of these large serpents which I have and though we are unable to affirm, that serpents, fly been able to procure: 1 hope no apology is necessaing by means of wings, inbabit those countries to which ry for alluding to an inhabitant of South America ; I Scripture more particularly refers, yet if they exist have been extremely jealous on such excursions. It now in any country, it will be so much in proof of the combines several particulars which coincide with our possibility, that they formerly might exist in other purpose, though it differs certainly from the red countries.
dragon of Asia or Africa. Barbot, after mentioning serpents on the coast of “We had not gone above twenty yards through Guinea thirty feet long, as the blacks assured him, says, mud and water, the negro looking every way with an “ They also told me, there are winged serpents or uncommon degree of vivacity and attention ; when, dragons, having a forked tail, and a prodigious wide starting behind me, be called out, “ Me see snakee !” mouth, full of sharp teeth; extremely mischievous to and in effect, there lay the animal, rolled up under mankind, more particularly to small children. If we the falling leaves and rubbish of the trees; and so may credit this account of the blacks, these are of the well covered, tbat it was some time before I distinct. same sort of winged serpents, which some authors ly perceived the head of this monster, distant from assure us, are to be found in Abyssinia, being very me not above sixteen feet, moving its forked tongue, great enemies to the elephants, Barbot, in Churchill, while its eyes, from their uncommon brightness, apvol. v. p. 213.
peared to emit sparks of fire. I now, resting my “ In the woods of Java are certain flying snakes, or piece upon a branch, for the purpose of taking a surer rather drakes, [drakos) they have four legs, a long aim, fired; but missing the head, the ball went through tail, and their skins speckled with many spots; their the body, when the animal struck round, and with wings are not unlike those of a bat, wbich they move such astonishing force as to cut away all the underin flying, but otherwise keep them almost unperceiv. wood around him with the facility of a sithe mowing ed close to the body. They fly nimbly, but cannot grass; and by flouncing his tail, caused the mud and hold it long, so that they fly from tree to tree, dirt to fly over our heads to a considerable distance. at about twenty or thirty paces distance. On the Of this proceeding however we were not torpid specoutside of the throat are two bladders, which, being tators, but took to our heels, and crowded into the extended when they fly, serve them instead of a sail. canoe ... I now found the spake a little removed from They feed on flies and other insects. The Javan his former station, but very quiet, with his head as eses do not in the least account them poisonous, but before, lying out among the fallen leaves, rotten bark, handle them just like common snakes, without the
and old moss. I fired at it immediately, but with no least danger,” Nieuhoff in Churchill, vol. ii. p. 296. better success than the other time: and now, being [These are flying lisards, not serpents.]
but slightly wounded, he sent up such a cloud of dust Niebuhr says, “There are at Bazra a sort of ser. and dirt, as I never saw but in a whirlwind, and made pents called heie sursurie, or heie thiâre. They com us once more suddenly retreat ... Having once more monly keep on the date-trees; and as it would be discovered the snake, we discharged both our pieces troublesome to them to come down a high tree, and at once, and with this good effect, that he was now by creep up another, they hang by the tail to a branch one of us shot through the head. David, who was of one tree, and by swinging that about, take advan made completely bappy by this successful conclusion, tage of its motion to leap to a second. These the ran leaping with joy, and lost no time in bringing the modern Arabs call Aying serpents, heie thiâre. I do boat rope, in order to drag him down to the canoe; not know whether the ancient Arabs saw any other but this again proved not a very easy undertaking, kind of flying serpent. Some Europeans from Bom- since the creature, notwithstanding its being mortally bay assured me, that they had seen serpents with two wounded, still continued to writhe and twist about, heads; and others with two feet,” (which is certainly in such a manner as rendered it dangerous for any per: true.) Then he alludes to Anson's Voyage in fur son to approach him. The negro, however, having ther proof.
made a running noose on the rope, after some fruitThe words in Anson's Voyage are, " The Span- less attempts to make an approach, threw it over his iards too, informed us, that there was often found in head with much dexterity, and now, all taking hold the woods a most mischievous serpent, called the fly of the rope, we dragged him to the beach, and tied ing snake ; which, they said, darted itself from the bim to the stern of the canoe, to take him in tow. boughs of trees, on either man or beast that came Being still alive, he kept swimming like an eel; and I within its reach, and whose sting they believed to be having no relish for such a shipmate on board, whose
length, notwithstanding, to my astonishment, all the spotted with irregular black rings, with a pure white in negroes declared it to be but a young one come to the middle. Its head is broad and flat, small in propor. about half its growth, I found upon measuring it to be tion to the body, with a large mouth, and a double row twenty-two feet and some inches; and its thickness of teeth; it has two bright prominent eyes ; is covered about that of my black boy Quaco, who might then all over with scales, some about the size of a shilling; be about twelve years old, and round whose waist I and under the body, near the tail, armed with two strong since measured the creature's skin.
claws like cockspurs, to help it in seizing its prey. It The negro David having climbed up a tree with is an amphibious animal, that is, it delights in low and the end of the rope, let it down over a strong forked marshy places, where it lies coiled up like a rope, and bough, and the other negroes hoisted up the snake, concealed under moss, rotten timber, and dried leaves, and suspended him from the tree. This done, Da- to seize its prey by surprise, which from its immense vid, with a sharp knife between his teeth, now left bulk it is not active enough to pursue. When hunthe tree, and clung fast upon the monster, which was gry, it will devour any animal, that comes within its still twisting, and began his operations by ripping it reach, and is indifferent whether it is a sloth, a wild up, and stripping down the skin as he descended. boar, a stag, or even a tiger; round which having Though I perceived that the animal was no longer twisted itself by the help of its claws, so that the able to do him any injury, I confess I could not with creature cannot escape, it breaks, by its irresistible out emotion see a man stark naked, black and bloody, force, every bone in the animal's body, which it then clinging with arms and legs round the slimy and yet covers over with a kind of slime or slaver from its living monster. This labour, however, was not with- mouth, to make it slide ; and at last gradually sucks out its use, since he not only dexterously finished the it in, till it disappears; after this, the aboma cannot operation, but provided me, besides the skin, with shift its situation, on account of the great knob or above four gallons of fine clarified fat, or rather oil, knot which the swallowed prey occasions in that part though there was wasted perhaps as much more. When of the body where it rests, till it is digested; for till I signified my surprise to see the snake still living, then it would hinder the snake from sliding along the after he was deprived of his intestines and skin, Cara- ground. During that time the aboma wants no other maco, the old negro, whether from experience or tra- subsistence. I have been told of negroes being dedition, assured me he would not die till after sunset. voured by this animal, and am disposed to credit the
This wonderful creature in the colony of Surinam account; for should they chance to come within its is called Aboma. Its length, when full grown, is said reach when hungry, it would as certainly seize them to be sometimes forty feet, and more than four feet in as any other animal.
as any other animal. The bite of this snake is said circumference; its colour is a greenish black on the not to be venomous; nor do I believe it bites at all back; a fine brownish yellow on the sides, and a dir- from any other impulse than hunger,” Stedman's Exty white under the belly; the back and sides being pedition to Surinam, vol. i. p. 170. THE GREAT RED BOA OF AFRICA.
OF THE CERASTES, AND SIMILAR SERPENTS.
The cerastes, or borned viper, is among the most
The cerastes is mentioned by name in Lucan, fatal of the serpent tribe. It is, moreover, well dis- and without warranting the separate existence of any tinguished from all others, by the peculiarity of its of the rest, I can see several that are but the cerashorns; and it is abundant in Égypt and in Syria, so tes under another term. The thebanus ophites, the that it could not escape the notice and allusions of ammodytes, the torrida dipsas, and the prester (Luthe sacred writers. I believe it is agreed, on all hands, can, lib. ix.] all of them are but this viper described that this serpent is mentioned in Scripture ; but the from the form of its parts, or its colours. The cerasdifficulty is to determine which of the Hebrew ap- tes hides itself all day in holes in the sand, where it pellations of serpents describes this species especial- lives in contiguous and similar houses to those of the ly.
jerboa; and I have already said, that I never but Mr. Bruce has favoured us with a figure of this once found any animal in this viper’s belly, but one jercreature, and with a considerable account of its man- boa, in a gravid female cerastes. pers, part of which we shall extract.
“I kept two of these last mentioned creatures in a “There is no article of natural history the ancients glass jar, such as is used for keeping sweetmeats, for bave dwelt on more than that of the viper, whether two years, without baving given them any food: they poets, physicians, or historians. All have enlarged did not sleep, that I observed, in winter, but cast their apon the particular sizes, colours, and qualities, yet sking the last days of April. the knowledge of their manners is but little extended. “ The cerastes moves with great rapidity, and in all
“I have travelled across the Cyrenaicum in all its directions, forward, backward, and sideways. When directions, and never saw but one species of viper, he inclines to surprise any one who is too far from which was the cerastes, or horned viper, now before him, he creeps with his side toward the person, and us : neither did I ever see any of the snake kind that his head averted, till judging his distance, he turng could be mistaken for the viper.
round, springs upon him, and fastens upon the part next “ The basilisk is a species of serpent, frequently to him ; for it is not true what is said, that the cerastes made mention of in Scripture, though never describ- does not leap or spring. I saw one of them at Cairo, ed, further than that he cannot be charmed so as to in the house of Julian and Rosa, crawl up the side of do no hurt, nor trained so as to delight in music: a box, in which there were many, and there lie still as if which all travellers who have been in Egypt know is hiding himself, till one of the people who brought exceeding possible, and frequently seen. « For be them to us came near him, and, ihough in a very dishold I will send basilisks among you,” saith the advantageous posture, sticking, as it were, perpendicSeripture, “which will not be charmed; and they ular to the side of the box, he leaped nearly ihe disshall bite you, saith the Lord.” (Jer. viii. 17.] tance of three feet, and fastened between the man's And (Psalo ix. 13.) “Thou shalt tread upon the fore finger and thumb, so as to bring the blood. The lion and basilisk," &c. It is to be observed here, it fellow showed no signs of either pain or fear; and we is the Greek test that calls it basilisk: the Hebrew, kept him with us full four hours, without applying any for the most part, calls it tsepha, which are a species sort of remedy, or his seeming inclined to do so. of serpents real and known. Our English transla “ To make myself assured that the animal was in tion, very improperly, renders it cockatrice, a fabu- its perfect state, 1 made the man hold him by the lous animal, that never did exist. I shall only fur- neck, so as to force him to open his mouth, and lacether observe, that the basilisk, in Scripture, would seem rate the thigh of a pelican, a bird I had famed, as big to be a snake, not a viper, as there are frequent men
The bird died in about 13 minutes, tion made of their eggs, as in Isai. Ixix. 5. whereas it though it was apparently affected in 50 seconds; and is known to be the characteristic of the viper to bring we cannot think this was a fair trial, because a very forth living young.
few minutes before it bad bit and so discharged part “ I shall mention one name more, under which the of its virus, and it was made to scratch the pelican cerastes goes, because it is equivocal, and has been mis. by force, without any irritation or action of its own. understood in Scripture; that is tseboa, which name “ The cerastes inhabits the greatest part of the is given it in Hebrew from its different colours and spots. eastern continent, especially the desert sandy parts And hence the Greeks, [Elian, Hist. lib. i. cap. 25; of it. It abounds in Syria, in the three Arabias, and Horia. Hieroglyph. lib. ii. chap. 65.] bave called it by in Africa. I never saw so many of them as in the the name of hyæna, because it is of the same reddish Cyrenaicum, where the jerboa is frequent in proporcolour, marked with black spots, as that quadruped tion. He is a great lover of beat; for though the sun is. And the same fable is applied to the serpent and was burning hot all day, when we made a fire at night, the quadruped, that they change their sex yearly. by digging a hole, and burning wood to charcoal in it,
as a swan.