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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 905

Pliny the Elder. (A.D. c. 23–A.D. 79) (continued)
    It has been observed that the height of a man from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot is equal to the distance between the tips of the middle fingers of the two hands when extended in a straight line.
          Natural History. Book vii. Sect. 77.
    When a building is about to fall down, all the mice desert it. 1
          Natural History. Book viii. Sect. 103.
    Bears when first born are shapeless masses of white flesh a little larger than mice, their claws alone being prominent. The mother then licks them gradually into proper shape. 2
          Natural History. Book viii. Sect. 126.
    It is asserted that the dogs keep running when they drink at the Nile, for fear of becoming a prey to the voracity of the crocodile. 3
          Natural History. Book viii. Sect. 148.
    It has become quite a common proverb that in wine there is truth. 4
          Natural History. Book xiv. Sect. 141.
    Cincinnatus was ploughing his four jugera of land upon the Vaticanian Hill,—the same that are still known as the Quintian Meadows,—when the messenger brought him the dictatorship, finding him, the tradition says, stripped to the work.
          Natural History. Book xviii. Sect. 20.
    The agricultural population, says Cato, produces the bravest men, the most valiant soldiers, and a class of citizens the least given of all to evil designs…. A bad bargain is always a ground for repentance.
          Natural History. Book xviii. Sect. 26.
Note 1.
This is alluded to by Cicero in his letters to Atticus, and is mentioned by Ælian (Animated Nature, book vi. chap. 41). It is like our proverb, “Rats leave a sinking ship.” [back]
Note 2.
See Burton, Quotation 7.

Not unlike the bear which bringeth forth
In the end of thirty dayes a shapeless birth;
But after licking, it in shape she drawes,
And by degrees she fashions out the pawes,
The head, and neck, and finally doth bring
To a perfect beast that first deformed thing.
Du Bartas: Divine Weekes and Workes, first week, first day. [back]
Note 3.
See Phædrus, Quotation 7. [back]
Note 4.
See Shakespeare, Othello, Quotation 38. [back]