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The Iguana (Cyclura colei) is not only of singular aspect, but it may be regarded as the type of a large and important group in the Saurian family, which formed so conspicuous a feature in the ancient fauna of this country. The iguana attains a large size in Jamaica, whence the present specimen was obtained, not unfrequently approaching four feet in length. In colour it is a greenish grey. It is entirely herbivorous, as are all its congeners. Its principal haunt in Jamaica is the low limestone chain of hills, along the shore from Kingston Harbour and Goat Island, on to its continuation in Vere.
[Illustration: THE IGUANA.]
The iguanas which are occasionally taken in the savannahs adjacent to this district are considered by Mr. Hill (an energetic correspondent of the Zoological Society who resides in Spanish Town, and who has paid great attention to the natural history of the island) to be only stray visitants which have wandered from the hills. The allied species of Cyclura, which are found on the American continent, occur in situations of a very different character, for they affect forests on the bank of rivers, and woods around springs, where they pass their time in trees and in the water, living on fruits and leaves. This habit is preserved by the specimen in the Zoological Society’s Gardens, which we have seen lying lazily along an elevated branch. Its serrated tail is a formidable weapon of defence, with which, when alarmed or attacked, it deals rapid blows from side to side. When unmolested it is harmless and inoffensive, and appears to live in perfect harmony with the smaller species of lizards which inhabit the same division of the house.
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How many thousands of my poorest
Are at this hour asleep! O gentle Sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness;
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush’d with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull’d with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull God! why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leav’st the kingly couch,
A watch-case to a common larum-bell?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the shipboy’s eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads,