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in the ama golden colour; beards yellow Lad bushy; and eyebrows more elewhted than the others, underneath and rich are eyes of a stern and terrible by one d'apect. In their tortuous windings wherder the earth, they make a noise were that of brass: their crests are whid, and from them flashes a flame another reighter than that of a torch. These fagons conquer the elephant, and ancient
=appear 23 Fus of Tex
ful size by cies of
their turn are conquered by the dians in the manner following: hey spread a scarlet cloth before eir holes, embroidered with golden tters, which, being charmed, bring
a sleep that at last subdues those yes which would be otherwise inclonincible. Other spells, consisting of ording to any words extracted from their saccult philosophy, are used, by evehich the dragon is so fascinated, elke hat he puts his head out of his hole mannd falls asleep over the letters. ted inteWhilst he remains in this situation, Indiahe Indians rush upon him with of Ape pole-axes, and after cutting off his ns of a head, strip it of all its precious stones. with a The stones found in the head of s and the these mountain dragons are said to d the have a transparent lustre, to emit a arons de variety of colours, and to possess 10 crests that kind of virtue attributed to the scales ring of Gyges, [which could render male the wearer invisible.] But it often all bad happens that these dragons seize the ey are Indian in spite of his pole-axe and hich they his cunning, and carry him off to remaks their dens, making the whole mounimalstain tremble. We are told of their
inhabiting the mountains near the
ely dare Red Sea, from which are heard -and terrible hissings; and that they are sometimes known to go down to the
of the at sea, and swim to a great distance and mag from shore.' (Book iii., chapters The 6, 7, 8. We quote from the I when that translation made in 1809 by the
Rev. Mr. Berwick, who observes in a note, that he believes the dragons described by Philostratus to be the same as the basilisk or cockatrice, which has fiery eyes, a sharp head, and a crest like a cock's comb, and
silver the very sound of whose voice puts
f the ba
all other serpents to flight, forcing them at the same time to relinquish their prey.)
The precious jewels' which the 'ugly and venomous' dragon of the mountains wears in his head,' are said by some writers to be an antidote to poison; but, according to
VOL. XLV. NO. CCLXVI.
Pliny, they must be extracted from the creature while he is alive, for his envy and malice is such, that the moment he perceives himself dying, he takes care to destroy their virtue.'
Even among the aborigines of America, who were long cut off from all communication with the
Old World, we may, as before remarked, discover the existence of this prodigious fable, which has furthermore taken root in the minds of the learned of all ages, and been curiously exhibited in the frequent use of the word 'Dragon' in Astronomy, Natural History, and other sciences. Thus, in Astronomy, we have the terms Dragon's Head and Dragon's Tail; and a constellation of the northern hemisphere is called Draco Dragon. Among meteorologists, the appellation Draco Volans is applied to a certain meteor appearing in the shape of a flying dragon. In
Ichthyology, a fish, known in England by the name of the weever,' is denominated Draco Marinus or the Sea Dragon. A particular kind of crystal is called in Latin, Dracontia lapis, or Draconitis: we have already mentioned it as being thought to exist in the heads of dragons. The Dragon-fly, that radiant and delicate haunter of our summer gardens, will immediately suggest itself to the minds of every one. In Botany, we have Dragon's Head, Dragon-wort, Snap-Dragon, and Dracontium; and a species of palms is called the Dragon-tree, from a fable, current amongst botanists, of the figure of a dragon being discoverable beneath the rind of its fruit. This tree yields a gummy or resinous juice, much used in medicinal preparations, and known by the name of Dragon's-blood, from the redness of its colour. In Architecture, we have Dragon-beams; and, in military affairs, the word dragoon, as applied to a certain division of cavalry, is said by some to have been derived from dragon; 'because,' says Bailey, at first they were as destructive to the enemy as dragons.'
But this fiction has left its stamp on other things as well as on science. It has imbued the minds of men in all ages, and been reflected by them
on many of the objects which surround us.
Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish.
The pictured dragon beneath the rind of the fruit above alluded to, is only another instance of the facility with which any idea, however fantastic, may be realized to the bodily sight by those whose minds are prepossessed by that idea. Stanislaus Lubienetski, a Polish author, has left us an account, in his Theatrum Cometicum, of a comet which appeared in the shape of a dragon, with its head covered with snakes; and we have already seen how a meteor is made to assume-in a great degree from the imagination of those who behold it a similar form. The Italians, we are told, call the old, crooked, and decaying branches of a vine' dragoni, from some fancied resemblance in them to dragons; and in the same nation a superstition is current concerning a plant called Dragonvalo or Serpentaria, which,' says Florio, in his Dictionary before cited, groweth two foot high when snakes begin to appear in springtime, and vanisheth in the beginning of winter; and at its vanishing, all snakes hide themselves.' This mysterious sympathy, as it is supposed to be, between the plant and the animal, is very grand; but a little reflection shows us that it is but a poetical interpretation of a simple ad natural fact. The plant spoken of is probably one of those which die down to the earth at the approach of winter, and shoot up again in the spring; and the same skyey influences' which cause the vegetable dragon to vanish,' as Florio finely expresses it, at one season and reappear at another, induce the snakes
which, as we all know, are hybernating animals-to look out for places of shelter during the cold weather, and issue forth when it has passed.
Before we conclude, it may be as well to glance at the probable origin of the fable under consideration.
Upon a careful scrutiny, it may be discovered that the dragon is a compound of the serpent and the crocodile; a circumstance which, more than any other, tends to confirm the supposition that the fable originated in the East, where such animals are common, and was
propagated thence over the s Europe. If the reader wit any picture of a dragon wid may have in his possession, ix. perceive that the head, the les i the scaly appearance of the bear a great resemblance current representations crocodile; while the long nd s wreathed tail, and the power the creature evidently possesse winding itself round any animal and crushing it to desin as manifestly derived from a serpent. The word dragos defined by Bailey, a sort of pent,' and by Johnson, a b of winged serpent, perhaps w ginary. In Virgil's poem of Gnat, as translated by Spee we have a description of a sz in which many of the characterise of the dragon-such as its m armour of scales, eyes that thes forth flames of fire, and blood sprinkled jaws are included; a
in many old writers the w 'dragon' and 'serpent' or 'sak appear to be synonymous, as reader may already have observedz the story from North's Plutari inserted in an earlier part of t article, and in the passage fa Florio, quoted a short way had Thus, also, in the early Engi romance, entitled, The History & the Renowned Prince Arthur, Ast of Britain, Sir Launcelot is r quested by the people of a certa country to deliver them from serpent that is in a tomb; and in mediately after, the same creature is alluded to as a Dragon. (Se chap. i., part 3.) Pliny has left u an account of some Indian and Ethiopic dragons, in which, though largely mixed with fable, we may clearly perceive that the boa-ostrictor is the animal really alluded to. 'India,' says he, 'brings forth the biggest elephants, as also the biggest dragons, that are continually & variance with them, and evermore fighting; and of such greatness are they, (i.e., the dragons,) that they can easily clasp and wind round about the elephants, and withal tie them fast with a knot.' Modern travellers affirm that, in their combats with tigers, the boa-constrictors of the Indian jungles disable their enemy precisely after this fashion. Diodorus Siculus, too, testifies to the
cumstance of frequent and terble scuffles' happening between ephants and serpents in the Indian serts, whenever they meet at a ring. What Pliny goes on to ayate, however, is evidently a fable,
aving no foundation at all in fact; tut it is a fable which could only be eld of serpents. In Ethiopia there de as great dragons bred as in India:
o wit, twenty cubits long. It is geported, that upon their coasts they
rap themselves, four or five of them festogether, one within another, like to The hurdle or lattice-work, and thus bass the seas to find better pasturage an Arabia, cutting the waves, and dbearing up their heads aloft, which Iserve them instead of sails.'-(Old tfolio translation, 1601.) Milton, in des book 10 of Paradise Lost, describes
the transformation of Satan into
a monstrous serpent' (v. 514); and in a few lines farther down (v. 529), sofhe alludes to him as a dragon: Larger than whom the sun dr Ingender'd in the Pythian vale on slime, Huge Python.
It is a well-known fact that serpents are frequently in the habit of devouring domestic birds.
A recent commentator on the first chapter of Genesis conceives that the twenty-first verse (And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth,' &c.) should be translated thus:- Then the Word and Power of God also created dragons, which could only suffer by being crushed,' &c. His remarks upon this new reading are so curious, that they must be transferred to the present place.— 'Dragons, which could only suffer by being crushed, were created before any of the land animals. Geologists name this creature the plesiosaurus,' [a kind of sea-serpent of enormous dimensions;] and its remains are found in the shale or slaty clay which, at a remote period, was the mud of vast tracts over our
globe. Its most remarkable characteristic is the great length of its neck, which contains forty-one vertebræ, while in all other reptiles there are only from three to eight. It was capable of paddling through mud, and could repose at the bottom of a shallow bog, with its head high above the surface. At what period in the history of the earth these creatures ceased to exist, we have no record; but a passage in Goldsmith's Roman History is so forcibly descriptive of some monster of which we have no other account (being serpentine, and so scaly as only to suffer death after being crushed), that we may be permitted to consider it the dragon of Genesis, the leviathan of Job, and the plesiosaurus of the geologists. Goldsmith states that Regulus, while leading his forces along the banks of the river Bagrada, in Africa, had his men attacked, as they went for water, by a serpent of enormous size, which placed itself so as to guard the banks of the river. It was one hundred and twenty feet long, with scales impenetrable to any weapon. Some of the boldest troops at first went to oppose its fury; but they soon fell victims to their rashness, being either killed by its devouring jaws, or crushed to pieces by the windings of its tail. The poisonous vapour that issued from it was still more formidable; and the men were so much terrified at its appearance, that they asserted they would much more joyfully have faced the whole Carthaginian army. For some time it seemed uncertain which should remain masters of the river, as, from the hardness of its scales, no ordinary efforts could drive it away. At last, Regulus was obliged to make use of the machines employed in battering down the walls of cities. Notwithstanding this, the serpent for a long time withstood all his efforts, and destroyed numbers of his men; but at length a very large stone, which was flung from an engine, happened to break its spine, and destroyed its marrow. By these means, the soldiers surrounded and killed it. Regulus, not less pleased with his victory than if he had gained a battle, ordered its skin to be sent to Rome, where it continued to be seen till the time of Pliny.'
If the reader will compare the sentences in italics in the above
passage, with Spenser's description of a dragon, previously referred to, he will perceive many points of resemblance; such as, the scales which were impenetrable to any weapon' -the devouring jaws'-the length and perpetual involutions of the creature's tail-and the poisonous vapour' which it had the power of casting forth. Who does not perceive in these details (themselves, in all probability, exaggerations of the truth) the germs, not only of Spenser's dragon, but of every other in the range of poetical fiction?
There can, however, be no doubt that the crocodile has had its share in the origin of the fable now under consideration. Scales impenetrable
to any weapon' are not a characteristic of serpents generally speaking, though the particular serpent encountered by Regulus may have been thus protected: crocodiles, on the contrary, are invariably provided
with a defensive armour of such
closeness and hardness as to blunt many of the weapons employed The head, also, has eviagainst it. dently suggested that of the dragon: the similarity, indeed, is so great, that for a long time a large fossilized crocodile's head was exhibited at Aix as a veritable relic of the dragon vanquished by St. Martha. Mr. Hurdis, and other commen
tators on the Bible, are of opinice
Babylon, therefore, it might pro-
THE STATE AND PROSPECTS OF ENGLAND.
WHETHER the democracy of Europe, as we are assured by the official Gazette of Paris, is struck down by the successful combination of despotic governments; whether the Pope is once more firmly reestablished in that unlimited power which enabled his predecessors in the good old times to give away, as Voltaire says, every kingdom-except the kingdom of Heaven, which they sold; whether a war of territorial aggrandizement is in contemplation to sweep over the ranges of the Jura, and, pouring once more the trumpets and lances of France into the track of the Simplon, to devastate the republics of the Alps; whether Sardinia and Belgium are to be obliterated from the map, and absorbed by the insatiate ambition of a neighbouring state; or whether Prince Louis Napoleon is training his eagles in the Court of the Tuileries to let them loose upon the coast of England, with somewhat more effect than he fluttered the tame eagle of the Colosseum up the heights of Boulogne-are matters upon which, whatever we or others may think of them now, a very little time cannot fail to enlighten the world. In the meanwhile, it is not to be concealed that a feeling of uneasiness, founded, not unreasonably, on the condition of our defences, and the present unsatisfactory attitude of the Cabinet, has taken possession of the public mind in this country. The main questions involved in the apprehensions arising out of the strange events that have happened on the Continent during the last two months, can no longer be evaded; nor is it well for our own ecurity or for the sake of the e world, of which Engeet-anchor, that they ed with indifference ther out of too sanun the prestige of fear of atever it
ple di repr
ruler of France has ever contemplated a design so wild and hazardous as the invasion of England. We have had undeniable proofs of that remarkable individual's capacity for any eccentricities of fraud or violence within the compass of a despotic abuse of power, and a supreme independence of oaths and laws; but that he should seriously meditate an expedition, the inevitable effect of which would be to shake all the existing relations of the European powers, and to place himself in a position of the most imminent peril, is something which appears to us almost incredible. In France, sustained by some three or four hundred thousand bayonets against the just indignation of a people whose rights and traditions he has trampled into dust, he is, for a term, comparatively safe, except from the dagger or the bullet of the assassin ; but out of France it is clearly another affair. The moment he steps beyond the frontier, without a legitimate casus belli, to seek in a war of naked and unprovoked aggression the means of giving employment to the hordes of desperate mercenaries he has called into existence, he becomes embroiled in difficulties from which no coup-d'état can extricate him, and which, instead of tending to the extension or consolidation of the power he has usurped, will be the sure signal for the outbreak of those plots and conspiracies which are destined, sooner or later, to rend it to the centre. He may have deluded himself into the belief that he is a second Napoleon; the debasement of the people through the late crisis of terror, when he came upon them like a thief in the night, has probably inflated his vanity to the full dimensions of that gigantic conception; he may be looking forward with immeasurable confidence to a round of laurelled slumbers in the state beds of Berlin and Vienna, the German States, Italy, and the Low Countries; a future Jena, a more dazzling Austerlitz, may pass in visions of glory before his disturbed fancy; but amongst his confederates and advisers there must be some