Page images
PDF
EPUB

woods, without apparent wind, show wind to follow; for such winds breathing chiefly out of the earth, are not at the first perceived, except they be pent by water or wood. And therefore a murmur out of caves likewise portendeth as much.

818. The upper regions of the air perceive the collection of the matter of tempests and winds, before the air here below; and therefore the obscuring of the smaller stars is a sign of tempest following. And of this kind you shall find a number of instances in our inquisition De ventis. 819. Great mountains have a perception of the disposition of the air to tempests, sooner than the valleys or plains below: and therefore they say in Wales, when certain hills have their night-caps on, they mean mischief. The cause is, for that tempests, which are for the most part bred above in the middle region, as they call it, are soonest perceived to collect in the places next it. 820. The air, and fire, have subtile perceptions of wind rising, before men find it. We see the trembling of a candle will discover a wind that otherwise we do not feel; and the flexuous burning of flames doth show the air beginneth to be unquiet; and so do coals of fire by casting off the ashes more than they use. The cause is, for that no wind at the first, till it hath struck and driven the air, is apparent to the sense; but flame is easier to move than air: and for the ashes, it is no marvel, though wind unperceived shake them off; for we usually try which way the wind bloweth, by casting up grass, or chaff, or such light things into the air.

is, pleasure that both kinds take in the moistness and density of the air; and so desire to be in motion, and upon the wing, whithersoever they would otherwise go; for it is no marvel, that water-fowl do joy most in that air which is likest water and land-birds also, many of them, delight in bathing, and moist air. For the same reason also, many birds do prune their feathers; and geese do gaggle; and crows seem to call upon rain: all which is but the comfort they seem to receive in the relenting of the air.

824. The heron, when she soareth high, so as sometimes she is seen to pass over a cloud, showeth winds: but kites flying aloft show fair and dry weather. The cause may be, for that they both mount most into the air of that temper wherein they delight: and the heron being a water-fowl, taketh pleasure in the air that is condensed; and besides, being but heavy of wing, needeth the help of the grosser air. But the kite affecteth not so much the grossness of the air, as the cold and freshness thereof: for being a bird of prey, and therefore hot, she delighteth in the fresh air, and many times flieth against the wind, as trouts and salmons swim against the stream. And yet it is true also, that all birds find an ease in the depth of the air, as swimmers do in a deep water. And therefore when they are aloft, they can uphold themselves with their wings spread, scarce moving them.

is dry, will fly it, and swim lower.

825. Fishes, when they play towards the top of the water, do commonly foretell rain. The cause is, for that a fish hating the dry, will not 821. When wind expireth from under the sea, approach the air till it groweth moist; and when as it causeth some resounding of the water, where-it of we spake before, so it causeth some light motions of bubbles, and white circles of froth. The cause is, for that the wind cannot be perceived by the sense, until there be an eruption of a great quantity from under the water; and so it getteth into a body whereas in the first putting up it cometh in little portions.

822. We spake of the ashes that coals cast off; and of grass and chaff carried by the wind; so any light thing that moveth when we find no wind showeth a wind at hand; as when feathers, or down of thistles, fly to and fro in the air.

For prognostics of weather from living creatures it is to be noted, that creatures that live in the open air, sub dio, must needs have a quicker impression from the air, than men that live most within doors; and especially birds who live in the air freest and clearest; and are aptest by their voice to tell tales what they find, and likewise by the motion of their flight to express the same. 823. Water-fowls, as sea-gulls, moor-hens, &c., when they flock and fly together from the sea towards the shores; and contrariwise, land-birds, as crows, swallows, &c., when they fly from the land to the waters, and beat the waters with their wings, do foreshow rain and wind. The cause

826. Beasts do take comfort generally in a moist air: and it maketh them eat their meat better; and therefore sheep will get up betimes in the morning to feed against rain: and cattle, and deer, and conies, will feed hard before rain; and a heifer will put up her nose, and snuff in the air against rain.

827. The trefoil against rain swelleth in the stalk; and so standeth more upright: for by wet, stalks do erect, and leaves bow down. There is a small red flower in the stubble-fields, which country-people call the wincopipe; which if it open in the morning, you may be sure of a fair day to follow.

828. Even in men, aches, and hurts, and corns, do engrieve either towards rain, or towards frost: for the one maketh the humours more to abound; and the other maketh them sharper. So we see both extremes bring the gout.

829. Worms, vermin, &c., do foreshow likewise rain: for earthworms will come forth, and moles will cast up more, and fleas bite more, against rain.

830. Solid bodies likewise foreshow rain. As stones and wainscot, when they sweat: and boxes and pegs of woods, when they draw and wind

hard; though the former be but from an outward | Certain it is, that bay-salt, which is but a kind cause; for that the stone, or wainscot, turneth of water congealed, will sometimes smell like and beateth back the air against itself; and the latter is an inward swelling of the body of the wood itself.

violets.

Experiment solitary touching sweet smells. 833. To sweet smells heat is requisite to conExperiment solitary touching the nature of appetite coct the matter; and some moisture to spread the

in the stomach.

831. Appetite is moved chiefly by things that are cold and dry; the cause is, for that cold is a kind of indigence of nature, and calleth upon supply; and so is dryness: and therefore all sour things, as vinegar, juice of lemons, oil of vitriol, &c., provoke appetite. And the disease which they call appetitus caninus, consisteth in the matter of an acid and glassy phlegm in the mouth of the stomach. Appetite is also moved by sour things; for that sour things induce a contraction in the nerves placed in the mouth of the stomach, which is a great cause of appetite. As for the cause why onions, and salt, and pepper in baked meats, move appetite, it is by vellication of those nerves; for motion whetteth. As for wormwood, olives, capers, and others of that kind, which participate of bitterness, they move appetite by abstersion. So as there be four principal causes of appetite; the refrigeration of the stomach joined with some dryness, contraction, vellication, and abstersion; besides hunger; which is an emptiness; and yet over-fasting doth, many times, cause the appetite to cease; for that want of meat maketh the stomach draw humours, and such humours as are light and choleric, which quench appetite most.

breath of them. For heat, we see that woods and spices are more odorate in the hot countries than in the cold: for moisture, we see that things too much dried lose their sweetness: and flowers growing, smell better in a morning or evening than at noon. Some sweet smells are destroyed by approach to the fire; as violets, wallflowers, gillyflowers, pinks; and generally all flowers that have cool and delicate spirits. Some continue both on the fire, and from the fire; as rosewater, &c. Some do scarce come forth, or at least not so pleasantly, as by means of the fire; as juniper, sweet gums, &c., and all smells that are enclosed in a fast body: but generally those smells are the most grateful, where the degree of heat is small; or where the strength of the smell is allayed; for these things do rather woo the sense, than satiate it. And therefore the smell of violets and roses exceedeth in sweetness that of spices and gums; and the strongest sort of smells are best in a weft afar off.

Experiment solitary touching the corporeal substance of smells.

834. It is certain, that no smell issueth but with emission of some corporeal substance; not as it is in light, and colours, and in sounds. For we see plainly, that smell doth spread noExperiment solitary touching sweetness of odour thing that distance that the other do. It is true,

from the rainbow.

that some woods of oranges, and heaths of rosemary, will smell a great way into the sea, perhaps twenty miles; but what is that, since a peal of ordnance will do as much, which moveth in a small compass? Whereas those woods and heaths are of vast spaces; besides, we see that smells do adhere to hard bodies; as in perfuming of gloves, &c., which showeth them corporeal; and do last a great while, which sounds and light do not.

odours.

832. It hath been observed by the ancients, that where a rainbow seemeth to hang over or to touch, there breatheth forth a sweet smell. The cause is, for that this happeneth but in certain matters, which have in themselves some sweetness; which the gentle dew of the rainbow doth draw forth: and the like do soft showers; for they also make the ground sweet: but none are so delicate as the dew of the rainbow where it falleth. It may be also that the water itself hath some sweetness; for the rainbow consisteth Experiment solitary touching fetid and fragrant of a glomeration of small drops, which cannot possibly fall but from the air that is very low; and therefore may hold the very sweetness of the herbs and flowers, as a distilled water; for rain, and other dew that fall from high, cannot preserve the smell, being dissipated in the drawing up: neither do we know, whether some water itself may not have some degree of sweetness. It is true, that we find it sensibly in no pool, river, nor fountain; but good earth, newly turned up, hath a freshness and good scent; which water, if it be not too equal, for equal objects never move the sense, may also have.

835. The excrements of most creatures smell ill; chiefly to the same creature that voideth them: for we see, besides that of man, that pigeons and horses thrive best, if their houses and stables be kept sweet, and so of cage birds: and the cat burieth that which she voideth and it holdeth chiefly in those beasts which feed upon flesh. Dogs almost only of beasts delight in fetid odours, which showeth there is somewhat in their sense of smell differing from the smells of other beasts. But the cause why excrements smell ill is manifest; for that the body itself rejecteth

to the more general axioms by scale. And of these kinds of processes of natures and characters of matter, we will now set down some instances.

tion.

836. All putrefactions come chiefly from the inward spirits of the body; and partly also from the ambient body, be it air, liquor, or whatsoever else. And this last by two means: either by ingress of the substance of the ambient body into the body putrefied; or by excitation and solicitation of the body putrefied, and the parts thereof, by the body ambient. As for the received opinion, that putrefaction is caused, either by cold, or peregrine and preternatural heat, it is but nugation: for cold, in things inanimate, is the greatest enemy that is to putrefaction; though it extinguisheth vivification, which ever consisteth in spirits attenuate, which the cold doth congeal and coagulate. And as for the peregrine heat, it is thus far true, that if the proportion of the adventive heat be greatly predominant to the natural heat and spirits of the body, it tendeth to dissolution, or notable alteration. But this is wrought by emission, or suppression, or suffocation, of the native spirits; and also by the disordination and discomposture of the tangible parts, and other passages of nature, and not by a conflict of heats.

them; much more the spirits: and we see that those excrements that are of the first digestion, smell the worst; as the excrements from the belly; those that are from the second digestion less ill as urine; and those that are from the third, yet less: for sweat is not so bad as the Experiment solitary touching the causes of putrefacother two; especially of some persons, that are full of heat. Likewise most putrefactions are of an odious smell: for they smell either fetid or mouldy. The cause may be, for that putrefaction doth bring forth such a consistence, as is most contrary to the consistence of the body whilst it is sound: for it is a mere dissolution of that form. Besides, there is another reason, which is profound and it is, that the objects that please any of the senses have all some equality, and, as it were, order in their composition; but where those are wanting, the object is ever ingrate. So mixture of many disagreeing colours is ever unpleasant to the eye: mixture of discordant sounds is unpleasant to the ear: mixture, or hotchpotch of many tastes, is unpleasant to the taste; harshness and ruggedness of bodies is unpleasant to the touch; now it is certain, that all putrefaction, being a dissolution of the first form, is a mere confusion and unformed mixture of the part. Nevertheless it is strange, and seemeth to cross the former observation, that some putrefactions and excrements do yield excellent odours, as civet and musk; and, as some think, ambergrease: for divers take it, though improbably, to come from the sperm of fish: and the moss we spake of from apple-trees is little better than an excretion. The reason may be, for that there passeth in the excrements, and remaineth in the putrefactions, some good spirits; especially where they proceed from creatures that are very hot. But it may be also joined with a further cause, which is more subtile; and it is, that the senses love not to be over-pleased, but to have a commixture of somewhat that is in itself ingrate. Certainly, we see how discords in music, falling upon concords, make the sweetest strains: and we see again, what strange tastes delight the taste: as red herrings, caviary, parmesan, &c. And it may be the same holdeth in smells: for those kind of smells that we have mentioned, are all strong, and do pull and vellicate the sense. And we find also, that places where men urine, commonly have some smells of violets: and urine, if one hath eaten nutmeg, hath so too.

The slothful, general, and indefinite contemplations, and notions, of the elements and their conjugations; of the influences of heaven; of heat, cold, moisture, drought, qualities active, passive, and the like, have swallowed up the true passages, and processes, and affects, and consistences of matter and natural bodies. Therefore they are to be set aside, being but notional and ill limited; and definite axioms are to be drawn out of measured instances: and so assent to be made VOL. II.-15

Experiment solitary touching bodies unperfectly mixed.

837. In versions, or main alterations of bodies, there is a medium between the body, as it is at first, and the body resulting; which medium is corpus imperfecte mistum, and is transitory, and not durable; as mists, smokes, vapours, chylus in the stomach, living creatures in the first vivification; and the middle action, which produceth such imperfect bodies, is fitly called, by some of the ancients, inquination, or inconcoction, which is a kind of putrefaction: for the parts are in confusion, till they settle one way or other.

Experiment solitary touching concoction and crudity.

838. The word concoction, or digestion, is chiefly taken into use from living creatures and their organs; and from thence extended to liquors and fruits, &c. Therefore they speak of meat concocted; urine and excrements concocted; and the four digestions, in the stomach, in the liver, in the arteries and nerves, and in the several parts of the body, are likewise call concoctions: and they are all made to be the works of heat; all which notions are but ignorant catches of a few things, which are most obvious to men's observations. The constantest notion of concoction is, that it should signify the degrees of alteration,

K 2

Experiment solitary touching bodies liquefiable, and not liquefiable.

of one body into another, from crudity to perfect | quefiable, not liquefiable; fragile, tough; flexibleconcoction; which is the ultimity of that action inflexible; tractile, or to be drawn forth in length, or process; and while the body to be converted intractile; porous, solid; equal and smooth, un, and altered is too strong for the efficient that equal; venous and fibrous, and with grains, entire; should convert or alter it, whereby it resisteth and divers others; all which to refer to heat, and and holdeth fast in some degree the first form or cold, and moisture, and drought, is a compendious consistence, it is all that while crude and incon- and inutile speculation. But of these see princicoct and the process is to be called crudity and pally our " Abecedarium naturæ ;" and otherwise inconcoction. It is true, that concoction is in "sparsim" in this our "Sylva Sylvarum:" great part the work of heat, but not the work of nevertheless, in some good part, we shall handle heat alone for all things that further the conver- divers of them now presently. sion or alteration, as rest, mixture of a body already concocted, &c., are also means to concoction. And there are of concoction two periods; the one assimilation, or absolute conversion and 840. Liquefiable, and not liquefiable, proceed subaction; the other maturation; whereof the from these causes; liquefaction is ever caused by former is most conspicuous in the bodies of living the detention of the spirits, which play within the creatures in which there is an absolute conver-body and open it. Therefore such bodies as are sion and assimilation of the nourishment into the more turgid of spirit; or that have their spirits body and likewise in the bodies of plants: and more straitly imprisoned; or, again, that hold again in metals, where there is a full transmuta-them better pleased and content, are liquefiable: tion. The other, which is maturation, is seen in liquors and fruits; wherein there is not desired, nor pretended, an utter conversion, but only an alteration to that form which is most sought for man's use; as in clarifying of drinks, ripening of fruits, &c. But note, that there be two kinds of absolute conversions; the one is, when a body is converted into another body, which was before; as when nourishment is turned into flesh; that is it which we call assimilation. The other is, when the conversion is into a body merely new, and which was not before; as if silver should be turned to gold, or iron to copper: and this conversion is better called, for distinction sake, transmutation.

Experiment solitary touching alterations, which may be called majors.

wax,

for these three dispositions of bodies do arrest the emission of the spirits. An example of the first two properties is in metals; and of the last in grease, pitch, sulphur, butter, wax, &c. The disposition not to liquefy proceedeth from the easy emission of the spirits, whereby the grosser parts contract; and therefore bodies jejune of spirits, or which part with their spirits more willingly, are not liquefiable; as wood, clay, free-stone, &c. But yet even many of those bodies that will not melt, or will hardly melt, will notwithstanding soften: as iron in the forge; and a stick bathed in hot ashes, which thereby becometh more flexible. Moreover there are some bodies which do liquefy or dissolve by fire; as metals, &c. and other bodies which dissolve in water; as salt, sugar, &c. The cause of the former proceedeth from the dilatation of the spirits by 839. There are also divers other great altera-heat: the cause of the latter proceedeth from the tions of matter and bodies, besides those that tend to concoction and maturation; for whatsoever doth so alter a body, as it returneth not again to that it was, may be called "alteratio major;" as when meat is boiled, or roasted, or fried, etc., or when bread and meat are baked; or when cheese is made of curds, or butter of cream, or coals of wood, or bricks of earth; and a number of others. But to apply notions philosophical to plebeian terms; or to say, where the notions cannot fitly be reconciled, that there wanteth a term or nomenclature for it, as the ancients used, they be but shifts of ignorance; for knowledge will be ever a wandering and indigested thing, if it be but a commixture of a few notions that are at hand and occur, and not excited from sufficient number of instances, and those well collated.

The consistence of bodies are very diverse dense, rare; tangible, pneumatical; volatile, fixed; determinate, not determinate; hard, soft; cleaving, not cleaving; congelable, not congelable, li

opening of the tangible parts, which desire to receive the liquor. Again, there are some bodies that dissolve with both as gum, etc. And those be such bodies, as on the one side have good store of spirit; and on the other side, have the tangible parts indigent of moisture; for the former helpeth to the dilating of the spirits by fire; and the latter stimulateth the parts to receive the liquor.

Experiment solitary touching bodies fragile and tough.

841. Of bodies, some are fragile: and some are tough, and not fragile; and in the breaking, some fragile bodies break but where the force is; some shatter and fly in many pieces. Of fragility, the cause is an impotency to be extended; and therefore stone is more fragile than metal; and so fictile earth is more fragile than crude earth; and dry wood than green. And the cause of this unaptness to extension, is the small quan

[blocks in formation]

842. All solid bodies consist of parts of two several natures, pneumatical and tangible; and it is well to be noted, that the pneumatical substance is in some bodies the native spirit of the body, and in some other, plain air that is gotten in; as in bodies desiccate by heat or age: for in them when the native spirit goeth forth, and the moisture with it, the air with time getteth into the pores. And those bodies are ever the more fragile; for the native spirit is more yielding and extensive, especially to follow the parts, than air. The native spirits also admit great diversity; as hot, cold, active, dull, &c., whence proceed most of the virtues and qualities, as we call them, of bodies: but the air intermixed is without virtues, and maketh things insipid, and without any ex

stimulation.

Experiment solitary touching concretion and dissolution of bodies.

843. The concretion of bodies is commonly solved by the contrary; as ice, which is congealed by cold, is dissolved by heat; salt and sugar, which are excocted by heat; are dissolved by cold and moisture. The cause is, for that these operations are rather returns to their former nature, than alterations; so that the contrary cureth. As for oil, it doth neither easily congeal with cold, nor thicken with heat. The cause of both effects, though they be produced by contrary efficients, seemeth to be the same; and that is, because the spirit of the oil by either means exhaleth little, for the cold keepeth it in: and the heat, except it be vehement, doth not call it forth. As for cold, though it take hold of the tangible parts, yet as to the spirits, it doth rather make them swell than congeal them: as when ice is congealed in a cup, the ice will swell instead of contracting, and sometimes rift.

Experiment solitary touching hard and soft bodies. 844. Of bodies, some we see are hard, and some soft: the hardness is caused chiefly by the jejuneness of the spirits, and their imparity with the tangible parts: both which, if they be in a greater degree, make them not only hard, but fragile, and less enduring of pressure; as steel, stone, glass, dry wood, &c. Softness cometh, contrariwise, by the greater quantity of spirits, which ever helpeth to induce yielding and cession, and by the more

equal spreading of the tangible parts, which thereby are more sliding and following: as in gold, lead, wax, &c. But note, that soft bodies, as we use the word, are of two kinds; the one, that easily giveth place to another body, but altereth not bulk, by rising in other places: and therefore we see that wax, if you put any thing into it, doth not rise in bulk, but only giveth place; for you may not think, that in printing of wax, the wax riseth up at all; but only the depressed part giveth place, and the other remaineth as it was. The other that altereth bulk in the cession, as water, or other liquors, if you put a stone or any thing into them, they give place indeed easily, but then they rise all over; which is a false cession; for it is in place, and not in body.

Experiment solitary touching bodies ductile and

tensile.

845. All bodies ductile and tensile, as metals, that will be drawn into wires; wool and tow, that will be drawn into yarn or thread, have in them the appetite of not discontinuing strong, which maketh them follow the force that pulleth them out; and yet so as not to discontinue or forsake their own body. Viscous bodies likewise, as pitch, wax, bird-lime, cheese toasted, will draw forth and rope. But the difference between bodies fibrous and bodies viscous is plain: for all wool, and tow, and cotton, and silk, especially raw silk, have, besides their desire of continuance, in regard of the tenuity of their thread, a greediness of moisture; and by moisture to join and incorporate with other thread; especially if there be a little wreathing; as appeareth by the twisting of thread, and the practice of twirling about of spindles. And we see also, that gold and silver thread cannot be made without twisting.

Experiment solitary touching other passions of matter, and characters of bodies.

846. The differences of impressible and not impressible; figurable and not figurable; mouldable and not mouldable; scissile and not scissile, and many other passions of matter, are plebeian notions applied unto the instruments and uses which men ordinarily practise; but they are all but the effects of some of these causes following, which we will enumerate without applying them, because that will be too long. The first is the cession, or not cession of bodies, into a smaller space or room, keeping the outward bulk, and not flying up. The second is the stronger or weaker appetite in bodies to continuity, and to fly discontinuity. The third is the disposition of bodies to contract, or not contract: and again, to extend, or not extend. The fourth is the small quantity, or great quantity of the pneumatical in bodies. The fifth is the nature of the pneumatical, whether it be native spirit of the body, or common air. The sixth is the nature of the native spirits in the body,

« PreviousContinue »