Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/185

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

each side, the first approximated to the canine teeth; tongue smooth; snout prominent; eyes small and furnished with a military membrane. Mr. Pennant, speaking of the polar bear says, "those which are brought alive to England, are always in motion, restless, and furious, but in a state of nature they are dreadfully ferocious. They will attack and attempt to board armed vessels, far distant from the shore, and have been with great difficulty repelled. They seem to give a preference to human blood, and will greedily tear up the graves of the buried to devour the cadaverous contents." I have collected the following interesting historical particulars, concerning this ferocious animal. The polar bear is considered the natural lord of these regions: he preys indiscriminately on quadrupeds, fowls, reptiles, and fishes; these all behold him with dread and flee his presence, as his approach is the signal of immediate destruction. The seals either retire to their submarine dwellings, or conceal themselves in the crevices of the ice; while he, stalking along with solemn majesty, faces the breeze, raises his head, and snuffs the passing scent, until he discovers the nearest route to his odorous banquet. Thomson thus beautifully describes him:

————————The shapeless bear,
With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;
Slow-paced, and sourer, as the storms increase.
He makes his bed beneath the inclement drift,
And, with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
Hardens his heart against assailing want.