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On the cock's song.

One asks further about the cock's song. First, whether its voice has to be higher pitched than the hen's voice.

And it seems not. Because according to the Philosopher women have higher-pitched voices than men, and similarly for the hen.

Second, one asks why before his song he strikes himself with his wings.

And this seems a contrary thing, because such striking is more a cause of pain and not a cause for song and joy. Therefore, etc.

Third, one asks why he sings at certain hours.

To the first, one must reply that the properties and parts of the male, or the disposition of the male's parts, very frequently differ from the female's in the harshness or gentleness of the voice. But now it is the case that the hen has a good complexion, and the smaller it is the better it is, and this is why it is given to sick people, because it is more temperate [in complexion]. But the cock departs a little bit from this temperament and inclines toward dryness; likewise, it is hotter than the hen. It is owing to the heat that its path for giving voice is opened, and on account of its dryness its voice is harsher. This is why the cock's voice is harsher than the hen's, and most often this is due to a greater abundance of the heat and spirit.

To the second argument one must respond that the reason why the cock beats itself with its wings is the same as why people stretch out their arms when they yawn, especially if they are suffering from a quartan fever, because whenever the fumes are collected in humans under the arms they struggle to get out. They cause people to extend their arms, and, when the arms are extended many times, the fumes are purged, and as a result the mouth opens and the emission of such fumes follows. So too in the cock the fumes are collected under its wings, and they irritate and tickle it, and this is why it extends its wings and strikes itself with them. And because these fumes exit when it extends its wings, its nature is relieved, and the cock sings for joy after beating itself. Now the hen also lifts up its wings, its feet, and its tail just as other animals do for the same reason, etc.

To the third argument one should reply that those things below follow the motion of the celestial bodies. Thus, although there are four humors in the body, their dominion varies according to the variation or change of the weather, since in hot and humid weather blood dominates, whereas in hot and dry weather bile dominates, and in cold and dry weather melancholy dominates, and in cold and humid weather phlegm dominates. But the cock is a choleric animal, to which the dryness of its brain and the small size of its head in proportion to the rest of its body attest, because it has a small head and a dry brain. But according to the physicians the movement of bile is by thirds: either every third year, or every third month, or every third day, or every third hour. And this is evident in plants, because certain plants in which bile dominates bear fruit only every third year, and some herbs bear fruit every third month, and one suffering a fever from an abundance of bile struggles every third day. And the cock, since it is a choleric animal, is moved every third hour. Thus, especially at those hours when bile dominates, it sings, because it is then that the bile bubbles forth in the gall bladder, and the heart draws much of this bile to itself, because the heart is nourished by bile, and this is why it sings at those hours. Moreover, the song often anticipates the motion of the bile, and this is evident because it sings especially when the weather is calm and it is not rainy, etc.

Still, one must understand that bile and indeed the humors are in motion at all hours, yet they are more in motion at one hour than at another, and it is then that choleric parts like the heart draw bile to themselves owing to their likeness, because every like rejoices in its like. And this is the reason why, if a person who has recently been killed is cast into the water and a red shield drifts down in the water, when it approaches the body lying a little beyond it in the water, it stops there or is moved in a circle and no further. This is not so for other shields, because of all the colors it is the red that especially multiplies itself, which is evident from a linen cloth suspended in a window in a ray of sun. Thus if one who has recently been killed is placed in the water, and if the blood either bubbles forth from him or is bubbling in him still, that blood multiplies its appearance [species] through the parts of the water, and likewise the red shield multiplies its appearance through the water. Thus when a shield floating through the water approaches reddened water, it does not withdraw from that place because it finds something like itself and like rejoices in something like itself. Thus Avicenna says that a certain person clothed in red crossed through a stream whose beaches were red, and since the appearance of his cloth was multiplied in the water, the water and its shore then rose up to the man and enveloped him. And the only explanation for this is that like draws its like to itself. Thus the water was reddened by the beaches, and the clothes were made more intensely red by this, and this is why both the water and the beaches moved at the same time to the clothes, by reason of their likeness. Thus too, when the bile is moved, the choleric members draw more bile to themselves, and bile is of a penetrating and bitter nature. This is why, in order to allay and shake off the penetrating bile, the cock extends its wings at that time and moves them to the front and to the rear and especially toward its chest, so that the choleric fumes may exit, and then, after their exit and after they have been shaken out, it sings. And because this movement of the bile occurs at certain times, as has been determined, it sings at these certain times and hours just like a clock, and especially after midnight, because then the sun begins to approach our hemisphere and to rise, and the warm humors begin to move then. For this reason, etc.

 
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