The Roe or Gazelle


The roe belongs to the class of antelopes-animals very much resembling
the deer; they are equally innocent and beautiful, and are often
mentioned together in the Bible. The form of the antelope is, if
possible, still more graceful than that of the deer, and its limbs still
more delicate; but the principal difference between them is in the
horns. Those of the deer grow from the bone of the forehead, and are at
first small; but they are renewed every spring-the old horns falling
off, and being succeeded by larger ones which grow in their place. They
are at first covered with a soft, downy substance, called "the velvet;"
but this soon comes off in fragments, leaving the horn white and smooth.
The antelope never sheds its horns.

The roe or gazelle is the smallest animal of the antelope kind; it is
only about two feet in height, and not more than half the size of the
fallow-deer. Its eyes are remarkably soft and expressive; so that the
people of those countries sometimes say of a beautiful woman, "She has
the eyes of a gazelle." Like the hart and hind, it is noted for its
swiftness: so we read, in 1st Chronicles, 12 : 8, of men who were "as
swift as the roes upon the mountains." In 2d Samuel, 2 : 18, it is
said, "And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe;" and in the Song
of Solomon, "The voice of my beloved ! behold he cometh leaping upon the
mountains, skipping upon the hills: my beloved is like a roe or a young

The gazelle is often pursued in the chase; so Solomon says, "Deliver
thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter." They go in very large
companies, sometimes as many as two or three thousand; and they are
still found in great numbers on the hills of Judea, the land where our
Savior lived and died.

"The wild gazelle o'er Judah's hills

'Exulting, still may bound,

"And drink from all the living rills

"That gush on holy ground."