« PreviousContinue »
261. But both of them, in their own proper action, do work three manifest effects. The first, in that the strongest species drowneth the lesser; as the light of the sun, the light of a glow-worm; the report of an ordnance, the voice: The second, in that an object of surcharge or excess destroyeth the sense; as the light of the sun the eye; a violent sound near the ear the hearing: The third, in that both of them will be reverberate; as in mirrors, and in echos.
262. NEITHER of them doth destroy or hinder the species of the other, although they encounter in the same medium; as light or colour hinder not sound, nor e contra.
263. Both of them affect the sense in living creatures, and yield objects of pleasure and dislike: yet nevertheless the objects of them do also, if it be well observed, affect and work upon dead things; namely, such as have some conformity with the organs of the two senses; as visibles work upon a looking-glass, which is like the pupil of the eye; and audibles upon the places of echo, which resemble in some sort the cavern and structure of the ear.
264. Both of them do diversly work, as they have their medium diversly disposed. So a trembling medium, as smoke, maketh the object seem to tremble, and a rising or falling medium, as winds, maketh the sounds to rise or fall.
265. To both, the medium, which is the most propitious and conducible, is air; for glass or water, etc. are not comparable.
266. In both of them, where the object is fine and accurate, it conduceth much to have the sense intentive and erect; insomuch as you contract your eye when you would see sharply; and erect your ear when you would hear attentively; which in beasts that have ears moveable is most manifest.
267. The beams of light, when they are multiplied and conglomerate, generate heat; which is a different action from the action of sight: and the multiplication and conglomeration of sounds doth generate an extreme rarefaction of the air; which is
an action materiate, differing from the action of sound ; if it be true, which is anciently reported, that birds with great shouts have fallen down.
Dissents of visibles and audibles. 268. The species of visibles seem to be emissions of beams from the objects seen, almost like odours, save that they are more incorporeal: but the species of audibles seem to participate more with local motion, like percussions, or impressions made upon the air. So that whereas all bodies do seem to work in two manners, either by the communication of their natures, or by the impressions and signatures of their motions; the diffusion of species visible seemeth to participate more of the former operation, and the species audible of the latter.
269. The species of audibles seem to be carried more manifestly through the air than the species of visibles : for I conceive that a contrary strong wind will not much hinder the sight of visibles, as it will do the hearing of sounds.
270. THERE is one difference above all others between visibles and audibles, that is the most remarkable, as that whereupon many smaller differences do depend: namely, that yisibles, except lights, are carried in right lines, and audibles in arcuate lines. Hence it cometh to pass, that visibles do not intermingle and confound one another, as hath been said before; but sounds do. Hence it cometh, that the solidity of bodies doth not much hinder the sight, so that the bodies be clear, and the pores in a right line, as in glass, crystal, diamonds, water, etc. but a thin scarf or handkerchief, though they be bodies nothing so solid, hinder the sight; whereas, contrariwise, these porous bodies do not much hinder the hearing, but solid bodies do almost stop it, or at the least attenuate it. Hence also it cometh, that to the reflection of visibles small glasses suffice; but to the reverberation of audibles are required greater spaces, as hath likewise been said before. 271. VISIBLES are seen farther off than sounds are heard; allowing nevertheless the rate of their bigness; for otherwise a great sound will be heard farther off than a small body seen.
272. Visibles require, generally, some distance between the object and the eye, to be better seen; whereas in audibles, the nearer the approach of the sound is to the sense, the better. But in this there may be a double error. The one because to seeing there is required light; and any thing that toucheth the pupil of the eye all over excludeth the light. For I have heard of a person very credible, who himself was cured of a cataract in one of his eyes, that while the silver needle did work upon the sight of his eye, to remove the film of the cataract, he never saw any thing more clear or perfect than that white needle: which, no doubt, was, because the needle was lesser than the pupil of the eye, and so took not the light from it. The other error may be, for that the object of sight doth strike
the pupil of the eye directly without any interception; whereas the cave of the ear doth hold off the sound a little from the organ: and so nevertheless there is some distance required in both.
273. VISIBLES are swiftlier carried to the sense than audibles; as appeareth in thunder and lightning, flame and report of a piece, motion of the air in hewing of wood. All which have been set down heretofore, but are proper for this title.
274. I CONCEIVE also, that the species of audibles do hang longer in the hair than those of visibles : for although even those of visibles do hang some time, as we see in rings turned, that shew like spheres; in lute-strings fillipped ; a firebrand carried along, which leaveth a train of light behind it; and in the twilight; and the like: yet I conceive that sounds stay longer, because they are carried up and down with the wind; and because of the distance of the time in ordnance discharged, and heard twenty miles off.
275. In visibles there are not found objects so odious and ingrate to the sense as in audibles. For foul
ligh. ho he ther
t the the i
their sights do rather displease, in that they excite the heard memory of foul things, than in the immediate objects.
And therefore in pictures, those foul sights do not
much offend; but in audibles, the grating of a saw, etter
when it is sharpened, doth offend so much, as it setmacht
teth the teeth on edge. And any of the harsh discords this? in music the ear doth straightways refuse.
276. In visibles, after great light, if you come suddenly into the dark, or contrariwise, out of the dark into a glaring light, the eye is dazzled for a time, and the sight confused; but whether any such effect be, after great sounds, or after a deep silence, may be better inquired. It is an old tradition, that those that dwell near the cataracts of Nilus, are strucken deaf: but we find no such effect in cannoniers, nor millers, nor those that dwell upon bridges.
277. It seemeth that the impression of colour is so weak, as it worketh not but by a cone of direct
beams, or right lines, whereof the basis is in the obSet ject, and the vertical point in the eye; so as there is
a corradiation and conjunction of beams; and those
I judge that
Experiments in consort touching the sympathy or an
tipathy of sounds one with another. 278. All concords and discords of music are, no doubt, sympathies and antipathies of sounds. And so, likewise, in that music which we call broken music, or consort music, some consorts of instruments are sweeter than others, a thing not sufficiently yet observed : as the Irish harp and bass viol agree well: the recorder and stringed music agree well: organs and the voice agree well, etc. But the virginals and the lute; or the Welsh harp and Irish harp; or the voice and pipes alone, agree not so well : but for the melioration of music, there is yet mueh left, in this point of exquisite consorts, to try and inquire.
279. THERE is a common observation, that if a lute or viol be laid upon the back, with a small straw upon one of the strings; and another lute or viol be laid by it; and in the other lute or viol the unison to that string be strucken, it will make the string move; which will appear both to the eye, and by the straw's falling off. The like will be, if the diapason or eighth to that string be strucken, either in the same lute or viol, or in others lying by: but in none of these there is any report of sound that can be discerned, but only motion.
280. It was devised, that a viol should have a lay of wire-strings below, as close to the belly as a lute; and then the strings of guts mounted upon a bridge as in ordinary viols; to the end that by this means the
upper strings strucken should make the lower resound by sympathy, and so make the music the better; which if it be to purpose, then sympathy worketh as well by report of sound as by motion. But this device I conceive to be of no use, because the upper strings, which are stopped in great variety, cannot maintain a diapason or unison with the lower, which are never stopped. But if it should be of use at all, it must be in instruments which have no stops, as virginals and harps; wherein trial may be made of two rows of strings, distant the one from the other.