The Gold Fish, pp.254-255.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS very beautiful, about the same size and shape as the silver fish, except that it has not such long fins. This animal was originally brought from China, and first introduced into England in 1661; but they are now become quite common in this kingdom, and will breed as freely in open water as the carp. It seldom exceeds the length of seven inches and a half, and very few attain that size. They are here as well as in China, highly valued by people of fashion. Nothing is more pleasing than to see them glide along and play in the transparent crystal of a piece of water in a garden or park, whilst their smooth and broad scales, reflecting the versatile rays of the sun, shoot the richest sparks of light to the eye of the beholder. They are often kept within the small compass of a glass bowl, where they acquire a certain tameness and docility, most pleasing to their keepers whom they seem to know after having been fed there for some time. 

   The Silver Fish is about the size and shape of a small carp, and resembles it in taste as well as in shape. It is of a white colour, transversely striped with silvery lines. It is a native of the shores near the Cape of Good Hope. As it does not differ much from the preceding, we have not thought necessary to give a figure of it. They both seem to belong to the beautiful order called Cyprinus, which received its name from the goddess of beauty, VENUS, supposed by the ancients, to have arisen from the sea, in the neighbourhood of the island of Cyprus, from which circumstance she is often called CYPRIS by the poets. The lively imagination of the Greeks, and their good sense, observes La Cepéde in his most interesting history of the finny race, induced them to find a cradle for Venus in the wave of the sea; a most appropriate allegory, as the inhabitants of the deep are blessed with three great natural gifts by Providence; namely, beauty, fecundity, and longevity. The gold and silver fish exhibits the liveliest colours; the cod and carp boast of their fecundity; and the pike is known to live to a great age. 

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