Page images

cold is greater than of flesh, for that the flesh shrinketh, but the bone resisteth, whereby the cold becometh more eager the other is, for that the teeth are parts without blood; whereas blood helpeth to qualify the cold; and therefore we see that the sinews are much affected with cold, for that they are parts without blood; so the bones in sharp colds wax brittle: and therefore it hath been seen, that all contusions of bones in hard weather are more difficult to cure.

Experiment solitary touching the tongue.

689. IT hath been noted, that the tongue receiveth more easily tokens of diseases than the other parts; as of heats within, which appear most in the blackness of the tongue. Again, pyed cattle are spotted in their tongues, etc. The cause is, no doubt, the tenderness of the part, which thereby receiveth more easily. all alterations, than any other parts of the flesh.

Experiment solitary touching the taste.

690. WHEN the mouth is out of taste, it maketh things taste sometimes salt, chiefly bitter; and sometimes lothsome, but never sweet. The cause is, the corrupting of the moisture about the tongue, which many times turneth bitter, and salt, and lothsome; but sweet never; for the rest are degrees of corruption.

Experiment solitary touching some prognostics
of pestilential seasons.

691. It was observed in the great plague of the last year, that there were seen, in divers ditches and low grounds about London, many toads that had tails two or three inches long at the least; whereas toads usually have no tails at all. Which argueth a great disposition to putrefaction in the soil and air. It is reported likewise, that roots, such as carrots and parsnips, are more sweet and luscious in infectious years than in other years.

Experiment solitary touching special simples
for medicines.

692. WISE physicians should with all diligence inquire, what simples nature yieldeth that have extreme subtile parts, without any mordication or acrimony for they undermine that which is hard; they open that which is stopped and shut; and they expel that which is offensive, gently, without too much perturbation. Of this kind are elder-flowers; which therefore are proper for the stone: of this kind is the dwarf-pine; which is proper for the jaundice: of this kind is hartshorn; which is proper for agues and infections of this kind is piony; which is proper for stoppings in the head: of this kind is fumitory; which is proper for the spleen: and a number of others. Generally, divers creatures bred of putrefaction, though they be somewhat lothsome to take, are of this kind; as earth-worms, timber-sows, snails, etc. And I conceive that the trochisks of vipers, which are so much magnified, and the flesh of snakes some ways condited, and corrected, which of late are grown into some credit, are of the same nature. So the parts of beasts putrefied, as castoreum and musk, which have extreme subtile parts, are to be placed amongst them. We see also, that putrefactions of plants, as agaric and Jew's-ear, are of greatest virtue. The cause is, for that putrefaction is the subtilest of all motions in the parts of bodies: and since we cannot take down the lives of living creatures, which, some of the Paracelsians say, if they could be taken down, would make us immortal; the next is for subtilty of operation, to take bodies putrefied; such as may be safely taken.

Experiments in consort touching Venus.

693. IT hath been observed by the ancients, that much use of Venus doth dim the sight; and yet eunuchs, which are unable to generate, are nevertheless also dim-sighted. The cause of dimness of sight in the former, is the expense of spirits; in the latter, the over-moisture of the brain: for the over-moisture of the

brain doth thicken the spirits visual, and obstructeth their passages; as we see by the decay in the sight in age; where also the diminution of the spirits concurreth as another cause: we see also that blindness cometh by rheums and cataracts. Now in eunuchs, there are all the notes of moisture; as the swelling of their thighs, the looseness of their belly, the smoothness of their skin, etc.

694. THE pleasure in the act of Venus is the greatest of the pleasures of the senses: the matching of it with itch is improper, though that also be pleasing to the touch. But the causes are profound. First, all the organs of the senses qualify the motions of the spirits; and make so many several species of motions, and pleasures or displeasures thereupon, as there be diversities of organs. The instruments of sight, hearing, taste, and smell, are of several frame; and so are the parts for generation. Therefore Scaliger doth well to make the pleasure of generation a sixth sense; and if there were any other different organs, and qualified perforations for the spirits to pass, there would be more than the five senses: neither do we well know, whether some beasts and birds have not senses that we know not; and the very scent of dogs is almost a sense by itself. Secondly, the pleasures of the touch are greater and deeper than those of the other senses; as we see in warming upon cold; or refrigeration upon heat for as the pains of the touch are greater than the offences of other senses; so likewise are the pleasures. It is true, that the affecting of the spirits immediately, and, as it were, without an organ, is of the greatest pleasure; which is but in two things; sweet smells, and wine, and the like sweet vapours. For smells, we see their great and sudden effect in fetching men again when they swoon: for drink, it is certain that the pleasure of drunkenness is next the pleasure of Venus; and great joys, likewise, make the spirits move and touch themselves: and the pleasure of Venus is somewhat of the same kind.

695. IT hath been always observed, that men are more inclined to Venus in the winter, and women in

the summer. The cause is, for that the spirits, in a body more hot and dry, as the spirits of men are, by the summer are more exhaled and dissipated; and in the winter more condensed and kept entire but in bodies that are cold and moist, as women's are, the summer doth cherish the spirits, and calleth them forth; the winter doth dull them. Furthermore, the abstinence, or intermission of the use of Venus in moist and well habituate bodies, breedeth a number of diseases and especially dangerous imposthumations. The reason is evident; for that it is a principal evacuation, especially of the spirits; for of the spirits there is scarce any evacuation, but in Venus and exercise. And therefore the omission of either of them breedeth all diseases of repletion.

Experiments in consort touching the insecta.

THE nature of vivification is very worthy the inquiry and as the nature of things is commonly better perceived in small than in great; and in imperfect than in perfect; and in parts than in whole: so the nature of vivification is best inquired in creatures bred of putrefaction. The contemplation whereof hath many excellent fruits. First, in disclosing the original of vivification. Secondly, in disclosing the original of figuration. Thirdly, in disclosing many things in the nature of perfect creatures, which in them lie more hidden. And fourthly, in traducing, by way of operation, some observations in the insecta, to work effects upon perfect creatures. Note, that the word insecta agreeth not with the matter, but we ever use it for brevity's sake, intending by it creatures bred of putrefaction.

696. THE insecta are found to breed out of several matters: some breed of mud or dung; as the earthworms, eels, snakes, etc. For they are both putrefactions for water in mud doth putrefy, as not able to preserve itself: and for dung, all excrements are the refuse and putrefactions of nourishment. Some breed in wood, both growing and cut down. Query, in what woods most, and at what seasons? We see

that the worms with many feet, which round themselves into balls, are bred chiefly under logs of timber, but not in the timber; and they are said to be found also many times in gardens, where no logs are. But it seemeth their generation requireth a coverture, both from sun and rain or dew, as the timber is; and therefore they are not venomous, but contrariwise are held by the physicians to clarify the blood. It is observed also, that cimices are found in the holes of bedsides. Some breed in the hair of living creatures, as lice and tikes; which are bred by the sweat close kept, and somewhat arefied by the hair. The excrements of living creatures do not only breed insecta when they are excerned, but also while they are in the body; as in worms, whereto children are most subject, and are chiefly in the guts. And it hath been lately observed by physicians, that in many pestilent diseases, there are worms found in the upper parts of the body, where excrements are not, but only humours putrefied. Fleas breed principally of straw or mats, where there hath been a little moisture; or the chamber and bed-straw kept close and not aired. It is received, that they are killed by strewing wormwood in the rooms. And it is truly observed, that bitter things are apt rather to kill, than engender putrefaction; and they be things that are fat or sweet that are aptest to putrefy. There is a worm that breedeth in meal, of the shape of a large white maggot, which is given as a great dainty to nightingales. The moth breedeth upon cloth and other lanifices; especially if they be laid up dankish and wet. It delighteth to be about the flame of a candle. There is a worm called a wevil, bred under ground, and that feedeth upon roots; as parsnips, carrots, etc. Some breed in waters, especially shaded, but they must be standing waters; as the water-spider that hath six legs. The fly called the gad-fly, breedeth of somewhat that swimmeth upon the top of the water, and is most about ponds. There is a worm that breedeth of the dregs of wine decayed ; which afterwards, as is observed by some of the an

« PreviousContinue »