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BOOK OF NATURE.
JOHN MASON GOOD, M.D. F.R.S. F.R.S.L.
Miemi, am. Phil, soc. AND F. L. s. of Phili,Adriphia.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
BOOK OF NATURE.
ON ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMS, AND THE DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS OF ANIMALS.
While every department of nature displays an unbounded scope to the contemplative mind, — a something on which it may perpetually dwell with new and growing delight, and new and growing improvement; we behold in the great division of the animal kingdom a combination of allurements that draw us, and fix us, and fascinate us with a sort of paramount and magical captivity, unknown to either of the other branches of natural history; and which seem to render them chiefly or alone desirable and interesting, in proportion as they relate to animal life. There is, indeed, in the mineral domain, an awe, and a grandeur, and a majesty, irresistibly impressive and sublime; and that cannot fail to lift up the heart to an acknow
VOL. II. B
ledgment of the mighty power which piled the massy cliffs upon each other, and rent the mountains asunder, and flung their scattered fragments over the vallies. There is in the realm of vegetables an immeasurable profusion of bounty and of beauty, of every thing that can delight the external eye, and gratify the desire; simple, splendid, variegated, exquisite. But the moment we open the gates of the animal kingdom a new world pours upon us, and a new train of affections take possession of the bosom; it is here, for the first time, that we behold the nice lineaments of feeling, motion, spontaneity; we associate and sympathise with every thing around us, we insensibly acknowledge an approximation (often indeed very remote, but an approximation nevertheless,) to our own nature, and run over with avidity the vast volume that lies before us, of tastes, and customs, and manners, and propensities, and passions, and consummate instincts.
But where shall we commence the perusal of this volume? the different pages of which, though each intrinsically interesting, lie scattered, like the sibyl leaves of antiquity, over every part of the globe, and require to be collected and arranged in order, to give us a just idea of their relative excellence, and to enable us to contemplate them as a whole.
The difficulty has been felt in all ages} and hence multiplied classifications, or schemes for assorting, and grouping into similar divisions,