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great piece of a root which did shine, and the shining part was cut off till no more shined; yet after two nights, though it were kept in a dry room, it got a shining.
Experiment solitary touching the acceleration of birth.
353. THE bringing forth of living creatures may be accelerated in two respects: the one, if the embryo ripeneth and perfecteth sooner; the other, if there be some cause from the mother's body, of expulsion or putting it down: whereof the former is good, and argueth strength; the latter is ill, and cometh by accident or disease. And therefore the ancient observation is true, that the child born in the seventh month doth commonly well; but born in the eighth month, doth for the most part die. But the cause assigned is fabulous; which is, that in the eighth month should be the return of the reign of the planet Saturn, which, as they say, is a planet malign; whereas in the seventh is the reign of the moon, which is a planet propitious. But the true cause is, for that where there is so great a prevention of the ordinary time, it is the lustiness of the child; but when it is less, it is some indisposition of the mother. Experiment solitary touching the acceleration of
growth and stature.
354. To accelerate growth or stature, it must proceed either from the plenty of the nourishment; or from the nature of the nourishment; or from the quickening and exciting of the natural heat. For the first, excess of nourishment is hurtful; for it maketh the child corpulent; and growing in breadth rather than in height. And you may take an experiment from plants, which if they spread much are seldom tall. As for the nature of the nourishment; first, it may not be too dry, and therefore children in dairy countries do wax more tall, than where they feed more upon bread and flesh. There is also a received tale; that boiling of daisy roots in milk, which it is certain are great driers, will make dogs little. But so much is true, that an over-dry nourish
373 ment in childhood putteth back stature. Secondly, the nourishment must be of an opening nature; for that attenuateth the juice, and furthereth the motion of the spirits upwards. Neither is it without cause, that Xenophon, in the nurture of the Persian children, doth so much commend their feeding upon cardamon; which, he saith, made them grow better, and be of a more active habit. Cardamon is in Latin nasturtium; and with us watercresses; which, it is certain, is an herb, that whilst it is young, is friendly to life. As for the quickening of natural heat, it must be done chiefly with exercise; and therefore no doubt much going to school, where they sit so much, hindereth the growth of children; whereas country people that go not to school, are commonly of better stature. And again men must beware how they give children any thing that is cold in operation; for even long sucking doth hinder both wit and stature. This hath been tried, that a whelp that hath been fed with nitre in milk, hath become very little, but extremely lively; for the spirit of nitre is cold. And though it be an excellent medicine in strength of years for prolongation of life; yet it is in children and young creatures an enemy to growth: and all for the same reason; for heat is requisite to growth; but after a man is come to his middle age, heat consumeth the spirits; which the coldness of the spirit of nitre doth help to condense and correct.
Experiments in consort touching sulphur and mercury, two of Paracelsus's principles.
THERE be two great families of things; you may term them by several names; sulphureous and mercurial, which are the chemists words, for as for their sal, which is their third principle, it is a compound of the other two; inflammable and not inflammable; mature and crude; oily and watery. For we see that in subterranies there are, as the fathers of their tribes, brimstone and mercury; in vegetables and living creatures there is water and oil: in the inferior order of pneumaticals there is air and flame; and in the
superior there is the body of the star and the pure sky. And these pairs, though they be unlike in the primitive differences of matter, yet they seem to have many consents: for mercury and sulphur are principal materials of metals; water and oil are principal materials of vegetables and animals; and seem to differ but in maturation or concoction: flame, in vulgar opinion, is but air incensed; and they both have quickness of motion, and facility of cession, much alike: and the interstellar sky, though the opinion be vain, that the star is the denser part of his orb, hath notwithstanding so much affinity with the star, that there is a rotation of that, as well as of the star. Therefore it is one of the greatest magnalia naturæ, to turn water or watery juice into oil or oily juice: greater in nature, than to turn silver or quicksilver into gold.
355. THE instances we have wherein crude and watery substance turneth into fat and oily, are of four kinds. First in the mixture of earth and water; which mingled by the help of the sun gather a nitrous fatness, more than either of them have severally; as we see in that they put forth plants, which need both juices.
356. THE Second is in the assimilation of nourishment, made in the bodies of plants and living creatures; whereof plants turn the juice of mere water and earth into a great deal of oily matter: living creatures, though much of their fat and flesh are out of oily aliments, as meat and bread, yet they assimilate also in a measure their drink of water, etc. these two ways of version of water into oil, namely, by mixture and by assimilation, are by many passages and percolations, and by long continuance of soft heats, and by circuits of time.
357. THE third is in the inception of putrefaction; as in water corrupted; and the mothers of waters distilled; both which have a kind of fatness or oil.
358. THE fourth is in the dulcoration of some metals; as saccharum Saturni, etc.
359. THE intention of version of water into a more oily substance is by digestion; for oil is almost no
thing else but water digested; and this digestion is principally by heat; which heat must be either outward or inward: again, it may be by provocation or excitation; which is caused by the mingling of bodies already oily or digested; for they will somewhat communicate their nature with the rest. Digestion also is strongly effected by direct assimilation of bodies crude into bodies digested; as in plants and living creatures, whose nourishment is far more crude than their bodies: but this digestion is by a great compass, as hath been said. As for the more full handling of these two principles, whereof this is but a taste, the inquiry of which is one of the profoundest inquiries of nature, we leave it to the title of version of bodies; and likewise to the title of the first congrégations of matter; which, like a general assembly of estates, doth give law to all bodies.
Experiment solitary touching chameleons.
360. A CHAMELEON is a creature about the bigness of an ordinary lizard: his head unproportionably big: his eyes great: he moveth his head without the writhing of his neck, which is inflexible, as á hog doth his back crooked; his skin spotted with little tumours, less eminent nearer the belly; his tail slender and long: on each foot he hath five fingers; three on the outside, and two on the inside; his tongue of a marvellous length in respect of his body, and hollow at the end; which he will launch out to prey upon flies. Of colour green, and of a dusky yellow, brighter and whiter towards the belly; yet spotted with blue, white, and red. If he be laid upon green, the green predominateth; if upon yellow, the yellow; not so if he be laid upon blue, or red, or white; only the green spots receive a more orient lustre; laid upon black, he looketh all black, though not without a mixture of green. He feedeth not only upon air, though that be his principal sustenance, for sometimes he taketh flies, as was said; yet some that have kept chameleons a whole year together, could never perceive that ever they fed upon any thing else
but air; and might observe their bellies to swell after they had exhausted the air, and closed their jaws; which they open commonly against the rays of the sun. They have a foolish tradition in magic, that if a chameleon be burnt upon the top of a house, it will raise a tempest; supposing, according to their vain dreams of sympathies, because he nourisheth with air, his body should have great virtue to make impression upon the air.
Experiment solitary touching subterrany fires.
361. It is reported by one of the ancients, that in part of Media there are eruptions of flames out of plains; and that those flames are clear, and cast not forth such smoke, and ashes, and pumice, as mountain flames do. The reason, no doubt, is, because the flame is not pent as it is in mountains and earthquakes which cast flame. There be also some blind fires under stone, which flame not out, but oil being poured upon them they flame out. The cause whereof is, for that it seemeth the fire is so choked, as not able to remove the stone, it is heat rather than flame; which nevertheless is sufficient to inflame the oil.
Experiment solitary touching nitre.
362. It is reported, that in some lakes the water is so nitrous, as, if foul clothes be put into it, it scoureth them of itself: and if they stay any whit long, they moulder away. And the scouring virtue of nitre is the more to be noted, because it is a body cold; and we see warm water scoureth better than cold. But the cause is, for that it hath a subtle spirit, which severeth and divideth any thing that is foul and viscous, and sticketh upon a body.
Experiment solitary touching congealing of air.
363. TAKE a bladder, the greatest you can get; fill it full of wind, and tie it about the neck with a silk thread waxed; and upon that put likewise wax very close; so that when the neck of the bladder drieth, no air may possibly get in nor out. Then bury it