The Dragon, p.355.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   THIS fabulous animal, well known in the works of ancient poets and romancers, was supposed the tutelary genius of fresh water springs in the bosom of dark forests and enchanted rocks. Dragons were harnessed to the car of Ceres; they were the guardians of the golden apples of the Hesperides; of the golden fleece of Cholchis, and in several parts of the world set as trustees to the carbuncles and other precious stones, hidden at the bottom of wells and fountains. They are represented as scaly serpents with webbed feet and with wings similar to those of a bat; having been, it seems, originally an hieroglyphic emblem of the dangerous influence of undue combination of air and water. Thus the serpent Python was the allegory of a pestilence, originating from an union of mephitic air and moisture. They have been long supporters to the arms of the city of London, as if the guardians of the wealth which commerce brings here from all the parts of the world. Four of them are placed in fanciful attitudes, and beautifully carved, on the pedestal of the monument on Fish-street Hill, London. 

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