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geneous, or earthly body of the planets; which will appear, if we consider,
1. If these birds did, in the time of their absence from us, reside any where in this earth, it is likely, that some one would, in one age or other, have discovered the place; but I cannot, from any record of the learned, or distinct and reasonable account of other men, find that there is any man has seen them out of their seasons; and therefore I conclude, they are no where in this our earth; for, de non entibus et non apparentibus eadem est ratio. It is true, indeed, I have heard stories of no such certainty as a man's mind may acquiesce in them: One tells me of 'Swallows lying in clay lumps in the bottom of rivers ;' which I cannot persuade myself to believe, because the water and earth are too cold quarters, in the winter, for such summer birds : Besides, if they should have no occasion for breath, while they lie in their sweeven, or winter-sleep, yet, in the spring-morning, when they skould awake, it is scarce conceivable, how their feathers should be in a trim to lift them out of the water. Others tell us of Heaps of swallows lying in the clefts of the rocks near the sea ;' but I never yet could speak with any one that ever saw them so, though I have lived many years near the sea : And also, me thinks, it is very strange, that no curious persons, inquisitive into the nature of things, should procure any of those sleepingswallows, to observe the progress of nature concerning them. The like I have heard of the cuckow, found in hollow trees; but it is only rumour, and no more of woodcocks: I have been told, that one was taken on Midsummer-day, but he was all lousy: This (if true) might be; perhaps the poor crea. ture was sick, or wounded, at the time he should have been gone, and 80, perhaps, was left behind his fellows. And, indeed, I have often wondered, that none, who might have opportunities for it (as a walled garden, with a brook running through it) have, by pinioning them, preserved some of these alive all the year long, especially in those parts where they are most plentiful, and sometimes of very little value. Of snipes and fieldfares, I have heard of young ones found in desolate moors, and northern parts ; but then the same reporters tell us, • It is but very rare, and scarce one nest in many years has been found:' . But what is this to the multitude we have, especially of the fieldfare, which come in mighty flocks ? As to the wind-thrush, I never yet heard of any, that pretended to know any thing of their abode, or breed.
2. Consider their coming, which is so sudden (as to divers of the kinds) that it is as if they dropped down upon us from above. In woodcocks, especially, it is remarkable, that, upon a change of wind to the east, about Alhallows-tide, they will seem to have come all in a night; for, though the former day none are to be found, yet the next morning they will be in every bush: I speak of the West of England, where they are most plentiful : Nor is it observed, that they are in the eastern parts sooner than in the most western; nor that they fly westwards, when they are flushed, or raised to the wing, more than to any other quarters; whereas, if they came from any earthly coast, it is likely, their tendency to spread themselves farther would be from those coasts, from whence they came: They come not in flocks, as fieldfares and redwings, but are sprinkled singly all over the country, and in some parts are twenty for one what they are in others, especially where are plenty of springs and woody sides of hills; and perhaps mineral streams may contribute to the attraction of them.
It may, therefore, be supposed they hover aloft, where the attraction is weak; and, though they may come all together to the utmost parts of the atmosphere, they may there disperse themselves to take a gust of the air, and, when they meet with steams that are agreeable, they forthwith drop right down to the place that best pleases them. One single bird, in his dispersion, over-shot himself, and, it seems, rambled too far out of his way; for I have heard this remarkable story: „A ship out at sea, farther from land than any birds use to be found, discovered a bird aloft in the air, hovering over them, as high as they could discern; which bird descended towards them, and made divers rings over the vessel, and at last lighted on the deck: It was a woodcock, so wearied that they took it up with their hands. This relation I had from the Rev. Mr. Thomas Travers, of Cornwal, who received it from the captain, or master, of the vessel, a man of good credit and understanding: He said also, 'It came not from any coast, but down right from above; and (if I do not misremember) it was more southerly, than any such birds use to be found!
Now, if this be true (as I have no reason to doubt it, it either shews the creature to come from above, or at least thus much, if it come from any remote part of the earth, it first mounts above the attraction of the earthly globe, before it begins its journey towards us : Which, if it be gained, it fairly helps our supposal, as is before noted; for, if there be such an attraction (which is called Gravity), and it have bounds in a certain height, then it may as well serve their going to the moon, as to some other parts of the earth.
As to the fieldfare and redwings, they seem also to come as suddenly upon a change of the air ; but it is most on a northern wind, and therefore they may be thought to come from the northern parts of the earth ; and, by consequence, it doth not so clearly evince our hypothesis upon this consideration, though it may help it well enough upon some other considerations. This is to be noted of them, that they fly very high at their first coming (as doth the swallow) and this may hely a little, especially as to the attraction of the earth.
3. Consider the different state of these fowls, in their first coming, in what they are afterwards. This is noted of the woodcock, that, when it first comes, the taste of its flesh is quite another thing from what it is afterwards; it is short and tender ; whereas after it eats stringy, and of a fibrous flesh, as other of our fowls are: And, towards its going off, it is observed, if you shoot a cock, it will bleed plentifully at the wounds, which at the beginning of the winter it never does; and then also, when it is so full of blood, it seems inclined to chuse a mate for breeding; for about Candlemas you shall seldom flush a single cock out of a bush, which you always do, all the winter before. From this, the conjecture
is, that they have another kind of nourishment, before they come here, than what this earth doth afford, or else their flesh would be of the same constitution; or, if they had blood at their first setting out, it served them for a Viaticum, and was spent in their nourishment, throughout their long journey; and that their feeding here prepared them for breeding elsewhere, whither they travel with the companions of their choice.
4. Consider the flying of these birds, while they abide among us. It is manifest, that the woodcock and redwing make very short flights, when they are stirred; it is also manifest, that those of them, that are found near the sea-shore, do never, when disturbed, offer towards the sea, but shelter themselves again, as soon as they can, on the land : Besides, it may be observed, that the wing of that fowl, proportionable to its full body, is very inconsiderable to bear it a long flight, in such a course, where is necessarily required a constant support of its weight.
Hence, therefore, we conjecture, it never came from any part of the earth, that lies beyond our seas; for it would never venture at rights over any sea, or considerable breadth of water; · much less, that it should come from parts remote beyond man's travels; therefore, more probably, it is from above, where the main of the journey is performed without any gravitation.
As to the windthrush (or redwing) and fieldfare, it is observed also, what is of the woodcock, that their flights are short, and that they shun the seas; else why do they not better shift for themselves, in a very
cold - season, by getting over to France, or other warmer countries, rather
than starve here, as multitudes of them dos From this I conceive, that they are not beyond-sea birds, nor ever came into this island from ano. ther part of the earth; but that they come down directly upon us, when our land is presented fair for them, as they view it above in the atmosphere.
The swallow, cuckow, stork, and the other summer birds make but short flights and returns ; the swallow, swift, and marlet are almost almost always flying ; and these also shun the seas, though they sometimes, for flies, or drink, do dip and play over the fresh water: Therefore, surely, neither are these any beyond-sea birds.
5. Consider these fowls in or near the times of their departure: The woodcock (as was said) is full of blood, gets company, and, to which add, is stronger of flight, and mounts higher, when moved. The fieldfares and redwings gather into great flocks, so do the swallows and marlets; and all these, except the woodcock, are wont to make a chearful singing, or chattering noise, before they take their farewel; their flights are also high, but never over any sea-water, that I can hear of; there. fore, I conceive, they leave not the land to go beyond sea : Nor is it probable that they hide in the sand, or seek lurking places to sleep in; for then, methinks, they should be more dull and drooping towards their going to sleep: No; rather their chearfulness seems to intimate, that they have some noble design in hand, and some grcat attempt to set presently upon, namely, to get above the atmosphere, hie and fly away to the other world.
But, of all the remarkables, in this respect, nothing is more luminous in this matter than the proceedings of the stork in the Low Countries, of which I have had this account. The stork, when it hath bred, and the young fully fledged, and the time of departure drawing nigh, they all (to a bird) gather together about the Harlem Meer; then they continue some days chattering, and making a great noise, till the last are come into their rendezvous; then, in the midst of this noise, there is a sudden silence for a short time, where, I suppose, upon a signal given, they all rise together, and fly in one great fock, or cloud, fetch many great rounds, first near the earth, but after higher, like the spiral ascent of a goss-hawk when she lowers, till at last this great cloud, that at first darkened the air right over the place of their ascent, appears less and less by distance, till it utterly disappears. 1. And here I call to mind a story of Sir Anthony Welden's, in his Court and Character of King James: The King,' saith he, being at New-market, delighted much to Ay his goss-hawks at herons, and the manner of the conflict was this : The heron would mount, and the hawk would get much above it; then, when the hawk stopped at the game, the heron would turn up its belly, to receive her with his claws, and sharp bill; which the hawk perceiving, would dodge, and pass by, rather than endanger itself: This pass being over, both hawk and game would mount to the utmost of their power, till the hawk, being got above, would be at another attempt, and after divers such assaults, by some lucky hit or other, the hawk would bring her down. But,' saith my author, 'one day a most ex. cellent hawk, being at his game, in the King's presence, mounted with his game so high, that both hawk and heron got out of sight, and were Rever seen more, Enquiry was made, not only over all England, but in all the foreign princes courts in Europe, the hawk having the King's jesses, and marks sufficient, whereby it might be known, but all was to no purpose. Now, Whither should these creatures go, unless it were to the moon I confess, the hawk and heron might, being very weary, drop into the sea, and so be lost; though this be not very probable, because the heron's usual shift is, not by a stretch onwards, but only by mounting up, and then, when they were weary, they should drop near the place where they rose, which was far enough from the sea : But, as to the stork, there can be no such thing suggested, for then the whole kind would perish; nor is it a force that makes them mount, as the heron, but only their own choice; surely they seek a place where they may have a comfortable repose, but that cannot be any other land here, for directly upright is not the way to any part of this globe,
6. And, lastly, Consider some remarkable words in the text; one is their tempus itineris, the time of their journey; so, instead of coming, do the learned render it: From which thus much may be gained, that swallows do not lie in the clefts, as some pretend, for it is but a small journey for that swift flier from the clefts to the chimney-tops. It is probable therefore they come from such a distance as may deserve the name of a journey,
The other, and great, remarkable is, Ciconia in Cælis, the stork in the heavens; the note is, of the difference between the two original words you in the heaven, and Downt of the heaven. Now, whenever in the scripture other birds are spoken of with relation to the heaven, it is in the latter word, • Fowls of the heaven;' only this is said to be in the heavens,' when it knows its time of returning to us, which is not said of any other, that I know of: Nay, this I know, the former word is commonly ascribed to those things, that have the heaven for their proper place, and as contradistinct from the earth. A few of them I shall mention :
Exod. xx. 4. “Thou shalt not make any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, &c. that is, Thou shalt not pourtray any earthly thing, to make an idol of it, or make it a mean of worship, contrary to institution, nor of any heavenly body, as the sun, moon, or stars, to be either an object, or a mean, but thou shalt worship thy God spiritually, and immediately, and only as he hath appointed.
So, i Chron. xxix. 11. "All that is in the heaven and the earth is thine,' i. e. All the efficacy of terrestrial bodies, and all the influences of heavenly bodies are in thy disposal, therefore thine is the kingdom of kingdoms, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
So, Psal. cxiii. 6. • Who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in the heaven, and in the earth ;' i. e. Such is his majesty, that it is condescension in him to look down, and take notice of
any of his creatures. The lofty heavens, and all those luminous bodies, which we may well admire, yet are infinitely below him, and the glory of his throne. Now the scripture gives us notice of three heavens, the aerial, or heaven of the fowls; the ætherial, or heaven of the fixed stars and planets; and the Emsigreum, the seat of the blessed, or special presence-chamber of the Majesty on high; here the apostle was adınitted to behold unutterable glories. This last falls not under our present consideration; the question is of the former two, that is, whether the stork, that is said to be in the heaven, be only in the air, or some one of the planets, most likely the moon, which is nearest to us; I say, it seems probable, that other fowls, that are said to be of the heaven, are for a short time in the lowest ærial, the heaven, in which they freely, by flying, wander about; and, that being their excellency above other animals, that must only walk upon the earth, they are therefore called fowls of, or belonging to the heaven. But in the heaven' seems to be something more; namely, a steady abode in something that is called “heaven,' that cannot be the air, for six months together; therefore, it must be some solid heavenly body, such as the moon is found to be.
It is true indeed, I find one place where the word, in the heaven, is spoken of the aerial heaven, the place of meteors, Psal. Ixxviii. 26. He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven:' but then it is even here to be noted, that this heaven is the proper place of the wind; but this cannot be so to the stork, it cannot have there a resting place for so many months together; 'in the heaven' indeed, may signify to be in the airoraimosphere; but then it must be understood of such bodies as are by nature adapted to abide therein, but not of such as are there occasions
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