domingo, 7 de febrero de 2010

the generation of animals




"The only one among the bipeds that is viviparous is man.
Han is the only animal that repents of his first embraces ; sad
augury, indeed, of life, that its very origin should thus cause
repentance ! Other animals have stated times in the year for
their embraces; but man, as we have already 38 observed, em-
ploys for this purpose all hours both of day and night ; other
animals become sated with venereal pleasures, man hardly
knows any satiety. Messalina, 39 the wife of Claudius Caesar,
thinking this a palm quite worthy of an empress, selected, for
the purpose of deciding the question, one of the most notorious
of the women who followed the profession of a hired prosti-
tute; and the empress outdid her, after continuous intercourse,
night and day, at the twenty-fifth embrace. In the human
race also, the men have devised various substitutes for the more
legitimate exercise of passion, all of which outrage Nature ;
while the females have recourse to abortion. How much more
guilty than the brute beasts are we in this respect ! Hesiod
has stated that men j are more lustful in winter, women in
summer.

Coupling is performed back to back by the elephant, the
camel, the tiger, the lynx, the rhinoceros, the lion, the dasy-
pus, and the rabbit, the genital parts of all which animals lie
far back. Camels even seek desert places, or, at all events,
spots of a retired nature ; and to come upon them on such an
occasion is not unattended with danger. Coupling, with them,
lasts a whole day ; the only animal, indeed, of all those with
solid hoofs, with which such is the case. Among the quad-
rupeds, it is the smell that excites the passions of the male. In
this act, dogs also, seals, and wolves turn back to back, and
remain attached, though greatly against their will. In the
greater part of the animals above mentioned, the females
solicit the males ; in some, however, the males the females.
As to bears, they lie down, like the human race, as previous-
ly 40 mentioned by us ; while hedgehogs embrace standing
upright. In cats, the male stands above, while the female
assumes a crouching posture ; foxes lie on the side, the female
embracing the male. In the case of the cow and the hind,
the female is unable to endure the violence of the male, con-
sequently she keeps in motion during the time of coupling.
The buck goes from one hind to another in turn, and then
comes back to the first. Lizards couple entwined around each
other, like the animals without feet.


All animals, the larger they are in bulk, are proportionably
less prolific : the elephant, the camel, and the horse produce
but one, while the acanthis, a very small bird, produces
twelve. Those animals, also, which are the most prolific, are
the shortest time in breeding. The larger an animal is, the
longer is the time required for its formation in the womb ;
those, also, which are the longest -lived, require the longest
gestation ; the growing age, too, is not suitable for the purposes
of generation. Those animals which have solid hoofs bear but
a single young one, while those which have cloven hoofs bear
two. Those, again, whose feet are divided into toes, have a
still more numerous offspring ; but, while the others bring
forth their young perfect, these last bear them in an unformed
state, such, for instance, as the lioness and the she-bear. The
fox also brings forth its young in an even more imperfect state
than these ; it is a very uncommon thing, however, to find it
whelping. After the birth, these animals warm their young
by licking them, and thereby give them their proper shape ;
they mostly produce four at a birth.

PLINY

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