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Green, azare, gold, his dazzling train displays,
Observe the CROCODILE's* amazing length,
His form affrighting, and his mighty strength.
* This creature being little known, perhaps a description of it may not only give light to the poetical part, but also in itself afford some amusement to the reader : and therefore I have subjoined such a one, as I could collect from the best writers.
It is a creature living both by land and water, which from an egg (not a great deal bigger than a turkey's) arrives sometimes to eight or ten yards in length; for whereas other creatures have a certain period to their growth, this, as 'tis said, still grows larger to the end of it's life, which is reported to last one hundred years, Its head is flat above and below, with jaws wide enough to swallow a man a whole; a sharp long snout, full of teeth, but no tongue : the eyes very large, and of a darkish colour. The body all of a size, covered on the back with high scales like the heads of broad nails, of a greenish colour, and so hard, that an halbert cannot pierce them. Its tail is long, and covered with such scales as the back; its belly white, and pretty tender, being the only place where it can easily be wounded. It has four short legs, with
With scales of brass encompass'd all around,
From him the rattling javelins rebound,
Broken their points, but guiltless of a wound.
Like op'ning gates his threat’ning jaws divide,
With rows of teeth like spears on either side.
In ambush on the river's bank he lies,
Thirsting for blood: around he rolls his eyes,
With hunger pain’d :- What can his fury stay?
Dreadful he rouses up, and rushes on the prey.
five claws on its fore, and four on its hinder feet. Contrary to all creatures, (except the Hippopotamus and Parrot,) it moves only the upper jaw in eating. Its flesh is not poisonous, but insipid. It is a very ravenous and subtile creature, hiding itself in the sands, and behind the projecting banks of rivers, to watch the beasts coming to drink, and when any one comes within its reach, rushes with it into the water, and holds it down till it is strangled. The only way to escape its pursuit, is by flying in circles, for its body being of a vast length, requires some time to turn about; but directly forward it can run with great swiftness, It lays its eggs in the sand, to be hatched by the sun's heat.
While yet an egg, and cover'd o'er with sand,
His parents left him, helpless on the strand,
And raise the monster crawling from the earth ?
The WHALE to him owes that enormous size,
Which makes the seas in foaming mountains rise.
Urg'd on by him the billows brave the shore,
And from his jaws ejected rivers pour.
With his wide tail he drives the ocean round,
Whilst hollow rocks reverberate the sound.
High o'er the floods in state he proudly rides,
And with his bulk beats back the flowing tides :
Not him the roaring hurricane affrights ;
Whate'er we find around, may justly raise
Our admiration, and command our praise :
Perfection and surprizing beauty shine,
Their mighty maker's over-ruling care,
Wisdom, and power, his creatures all declare,
See, to the sun the BUTTERFLY displays
The various glories of the painted bow.
Where love directs, a libertine it roves,
And courts the fair-ones thro' the verdant groves.
How glorious now! how chang’d since yesterday! When on the ground, a crawling worm it lay,
Where ev'ry foot might tread its life away...
Who rais’d it thence ? and bid it range the skies? Gave it's rich plumage, and it's brilliant dyes ? 'Twas God-it's God and thine, O Man; and he, 7
In this thy fellow-creature, let's thee see
The wond'rous change which is ordain'd for thee.
Thou too shalt leave thy reptile form behind,
And mount the skies, a pure etherial mind,
There range among the stars, all bright and un.
confin'd. 1 From him alone the SPIDER learns to spread
Her pendant snare, and twist the slender thread.*
Careful, she travels, 'till some place she finds
Safe from the rains, and shelter'd from the winds :
* Slender indeed! It has been calculated that thirty thousurd spider threads are not so large as a thread of sewing silk. STURM, in his “ Reflections," tells us, the Spiders are furnished with six papilla for spinning their web; that each papilla is composed of a thousand pores, through which so many threads pass : so that each visible thread of a spider is composed of six thousand smaller ones.