« PreviousContinue »
one belonging to the stalk, another to the fruit or seed, but the artichoke. No flower hath that kind of spread that the woodbine hath. This may be arge field of contemplation; for it sheweth that in the frame of nature, there is, in the producing of some species, a composition of matter, which happeneth oft, and may be much diversified: be much diversified: in others, such as happeneth rarely, and admitteth little variety: for so it is likewise in beasts: dogs have a resemblance with wolves and foxes; horses with asses; kine with buffles; hares with coneys, etc. And so in birds: kites and kestrels have a resemblance with hawks; common doves with ring-doves and turtles; blackbirds with thrushes and mavises: crows with ravens, daws, and choughs, etc. But elephants and swine amongst beasts; and the bird of paradise and the peacock amongst birds; and some few others, have scarce any other species that have affinity with them.
We leave the description of plants, and their virtues, to herbals, and other like books of natural history; wherein men's diligence hath been great, even to curiosity: for our experiments are only such as do ever ascend a degree to the deriving of causes, and extracting of axioms, which we are not ignorant but that some both of the ancient and modern writers have also laboured; but their causes and axioms are so full of imagination, and so infected with the old received theories, as they are mere inquinations of experience, and concoct it not.
Experiment solitary touching healing of wounds.
677. IT hath been observed by some of the ancients, that skins, especially of rams, newly pulled off, and applied to the wounds of stripes, do keep them from swelling and exulcerating; and likewise heal them and close them up; and that the whites of eggs do the same. The cause is a temperate conglutination; for both bodies are clammy and viscous, and do bridle the deflux of humours to the hurts, without penning them in too much.
Experiment solitary touching fat diffused in flesh.
678. You may turn almost all flesh into a fatty substance, if you take flesh and cut it into pieces, and put the pieces into a glass covered with parchment; and so let the glass stand six or seven hours in boiling water. It may be an experiment of profit for making of fat or grease for many uses; but then it must be of such flesh as is not edible; as horses, dogs, bears, foxes, badgers, etc.
Experiment solitary touching ripening of drink before the time.
679. It is reported by one of the ancients, that new wine put into vessels well stopped, and the vessels let down into the sea, will accelerate very much the making of them ripe and potable. The same would be tried in wort.
Experiment solitary touching pilosity and plumage.
680. BEASTS are more hairy than men, and savage men more than civil; and the plumage of birds exceedeth the pilosity of beasts. The cause of the smoothness in men is not any abundance of heat and moisture, though that indeed causeth pilosity; but there is requisite to pilosity, not so much heat and moisture, as excrementitious heat and moisture; for whatsoever assimilateth, goeth not into the hair; and excrementitious moisture aboundeth most in beasts, and men that are more savage. Much the same reason is there of the plumage of birds; for birds assimilate less, and excern more than beasts; for their excrements are ever liquid, and their flesh generally more dry: besides, they have not instruments for urine; and so all the excrementitious moisture goeth into the feathers: and therefore it is no marvel, though birds be commonly better meat than beasts, because their flesh doth assimilate more finely, and secerneth more subtilly. Again, the head of man hath hair upon the first birth, which no other part of the body hath. The cause may be want of perspiration; for much of the matter of hair, in the other parts of the
body, goeth forth by insensible perspiration; and besides, the skull being of a more solid substance, nourisheth and assimilateth less, and excerneth more; and so likewise doth the chin. We see also, that hair cometh not upon the palms of the hands, nor soles of the feet; which are parts more perspirable. And children likewise are not hairy, for that their skins are more perspirable.
Experiment solitary touching the quickness of
681. BIRDS are of swifter motion than beasts; for the flight of many birds is swifter than the race of any beasts. The cause is, for that the spirits in birds are in greater proportion, in comparison of the bulk of their body, than in beasts: for as for the reason that some give, that they are partly carried, whereas beasts go, that is nothing; for by that reason swimming should be swifter than running: and that kind of carriage also is not without labour of the wing.
Experiment solitary touching the different clearness of the sea.
682. THE sea is clearer when the north wind bloweth, than when the south wind. The cause is, for that salt water hath a little oiliness in the surface thereof, as appeareth in very hot days: and again, for that the southern wind relaxeth the water somewhat; and no water boiling is so clear as cold water.
Experiment solitary touching the different heats of fire and boiling water.
683. FIRE burneth wood, making it first luminous; then black and brittle; and lastly, broken and incinerate; scalding water doth none of these. The cause is, for that by fire the spirit of the body is first refined, and then emitted; whereof the refining or attenuation causeth the light; and the emission, first the fragility, and after the dissolution into ashes; neither doth any other body enter: but in water the spirit of the body is not refined so much; and besides part of
the water entereth, which doth increase the spirit, and in a degree extinguish it: therefore we see that hot water will quench fire. And again we see, that in bodies wherein the water doth not much enter, but only the heat passeth, hot water worketh the effects of fire; as in eggs boiled and roasted, into which the water entereth not at all, there is scarce difference to be discerned; but in fruit, and flesh, whereinto the water entereth in some part, there is much more difference.
Experiment solitary touching the qualification
684. THE bottom of a vessel of boiling water, as hath been observed, is not very much heated, so as men may put their hand under the vessel and remove it. The cause is, for that the moisture of water as it quencheth coals where it entereth, so it doth allay heat where it toucheth: and therefore note well, that moisture, although it doth not pass through bodies, without communication of some substance, as heat and cold do, yet it worketh manifest effects; not by entrance of the body, but by qualifying of the heat and cold; as we see in this instance: and we see, likewise, that the water of things distilled in water, which they call the bath, differeth not much from the water of things distilled by fire. We see also, that pewter dishes with water in them will not melt easily, but without it they will; nay we see more, that butter, or oil, which in themselves are inflammable, yet by virtue of their moisture will do the like.
Experiment solitary touching yawning.
685. IT hath been noted by the ancients, that it is dangerous to pick one's ear whilst he yawneth. The cause is, for that in yawning the inner parchment of the ear is extended, by the drawing in of the spirit and breath; for in yawning, and sighing both, the spirit is first strongly drawn in, and then strongly expelled.
Experiment solitary touching the hiccough. 686. IT hath been observed by the ancients, that sneezing doth cease the hiccough. The cause is, for that the motion of the hiccough is a lifting up of the stomach, which sneezing doth somewhat depress, and divert the motion another way. For first we see that the hiccough cometh of fulness of meat, especially in children, which causeth an extension of the stomach: we see also it is caused by acid meats, or drinks, which is by the pricking of the stomach; and this motion is ceased either by diversion, or by detention of the spirits; diversion, as in sneezing; detention, as we see holding of the breath doth help somewhat to cease the hiccough; and putting a man into an earnest study doth the like, as is commonly used: and vinegar put to the nostrils, or gargarised, doth it also.; for that it is astringent, and inhibiteth the motion of the spirits.
Experiment solitary touching sneezing.
687. LOOKING against the sun doth induce sneezing. The cause is not the heating of the nostrils, for then the holding up of the nostrils against the sun, though one wink, would do it; but the drawing down of the moisture of the brain: for it will make the eyes run with water; and the drawing of moisture to the eyes, doth draw it to the nostrils by motion of consent; and so followeth sneezing: as contrariwise, the tickling of the nostrils within, doth draw the moisture to the nostrils, and to the eyes by consent; for they also will water. But yet it hath been observed, that if one be about to sneeze, the rubbing of the eyes till they run with water will prevent it. Whereof the cause is, for that the humour which was descending to the nostrils, is diverted to the eyes.
Experiment solitary touching the tenderness
688. THE teeth are more by cold drink, or the like, affected than the other parts. The cause is double; the one, for that the resistance of bone to