Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The motion of Birds in their flying is a mixt motion, conſiſting of a moving
of the limbs, and of a kind of carriage; which is the moſt wholſome kind of Ex-



Ariſtotle noted well touching the generation of Birds, (but he transferred it ill to
other living Creatures) that the ſeed of the Male confers leſs to generation than the
Female, but that it rather affords Activity than Matter; ſo that fruitful Eggs and un-
fruitful Eggs are hardly diſtinguiſhed.



Birds (almoſt all of them) come to their full growth the firſt year, or a little after. It is true, that their Feathers in ſome kinds, and their Bills in others, ſhew their years,
but for the growth of their Bodies it is not ſo.



The Eagle is accounted a long liver, yet his years are not ſet down; and it is alledged
as a ſign of his long life, that he caſts his Bill, whereby he grows young again: from
whence comes that old Proverb, The old age of an Eagle. Notwithſtanding perchance
the matter may be thus, That the renewing of the Eagle doth not caſt his bill, but the
caſting of his bill is the renewing ofthe Eagle, for after that his bill is grown to a great
crookedneſs, the Eagle feeds with much difficulty.



Vultures are alſo affirmed to be long livers, inſomuch that they extend their life
well near to an hundred years. Kites likewiſe, and ſo all Birds that feed upon fleſh,
and Birds of prey live long. As for Hawks, becauſe they lead a degenerate and ſervile
life for the delight of men, the term of their natural life is not certainly known: not-
withſtanding amongſt Mewed Hawks ſome have been found to have lived thirty years, and
amongſt u [?] ild Hawks forty years.



The Raven likewiſe is reported to live long, ſometimes to an hundred years: he
feeds on Carrion, and flies not often, but rather is a ſedentry and malanchollick Bird,
and hath very black fleſh. But the crow, like unto him in moſt things, (except in
greatneſs and voice) lives not altogether ſolong, and yet is reckoned amongſt the long



The Swan is certainly found to be a long liver, and exceeds not unfrequently an
hundred years. Hc is a Bird excellently plumed, a feeder upon fiſh, and is always car-
ried, and that in running waters.



The Gooſe alſo may paſs amongſt the long livers, though his food be commonly
graſs, and ſuch kind of nouriſhment; eſpecially the Wild-Gooſe; whereupon this
Proverb grew amongſt the Germans, Magis ſenex quam Anſer nivalis, Older than a
Wild Gooſe.



Storks muſt needs be long livers, if that be true which was anciently obſerved of
them, that they never came to Thebes, becauſe that City was often ſacked. This if it
were ſo, then either they muſt have the knowledge of more ages than one, or elſe
the old ones muſt tell their young the Hiſtory. But there is nothing more frequent than



For Fables do ſo abound touching the Phœnix, that the truth is utterly loſt if
any ſuch Bird there be. As for that which was ſo much admired, That ſhe was
ever ſeen abroad with a great troop of Birds about her, it is no ſuch wonder; for
the ſame is uſually ſeen about an Owl flying in the day-time, or a Parrot let out of a



The Parro hath been certainly known to have lived threeſcore years in England,
how old ſoever he was before he was brought over: a Bird eating almoſt all kind of
meats, chewing his meat, and renewing his bill; likewiſe curſt and miſchievous, and of
a black fleſh.



The Peacock lives twenty years; but he comes not forth with his Argus Eyes before
he be three years old; a Bird ſlow of pace, having whitiſh flew.



The Dunghill-Cock is venerious, martial, and but of a ſhort life; a crank Bird,
having alſo white fleſh.



The Indian-Cock, commonly called the Turkey-Cock, lives not much longer than
the Dunghill-Cock: an angry Bird, and hath exceeding white fleſh.



The Ring-Doves are of the longeſt ſort of livers, inſomuch that they attain ſome-
times to fifty years of age: an aiery Bird, and both builds and ſits on high. But Doves
and Turtles are but ſhort-liv’d, not exceeding eight years.



But Pheaſants and Partiges may live to ſix [?] teen years. They are great breeders, but
not ſo white of fleſh as the ordinary Pullen.



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