Page images

rate; and therefore in those parts noon is nothing so hot, when the breezes are great, as about nine or ten of the clock in the forenoon. Another cause is, for that the length of the night, and the dews thereof, do compensate the heat of the day. 'A third càuse is the stay of the sun; not in respect of day and night, for that we spake of before, but in respect of the season; for under the line the sun crosseth the line, and maketh two summers and two winters, but in the skirts of the torrid zone it doubleth and goeth back again, and so maketh one long summer. Experiment solitary touching the coloration of black

and tawny Moors. 399. The heat of the sun maketh men black in some countries, as in Æthiopia and Guiney, etc. Fire doth it not, as we see in glass-men, that are continually about the fire. The reason may be, because fire doth lick up the spirits and blood of the body, so as they exhale; so that it ever maketh men look pale and sallow; but the sun, which is a gentler heat, doth but draw the blood to the outward parts; and rather concocteth it than soaketh it; and therefore we see that all Æthiopes are fleshy and plump, and have great lips; all which betoken moisture retained, and not drawn out. We see also, that the Negroes are bred in countries that have plenty of water, by rivers or otherwise ; for Meroë, which was the metropolis of Æthiopia, was upon a great lake; and Congo, where the Negroes are, is full of rivers. And the confines of the river Niger, where the Negroes also are, are well watered : and the region above Cape Verde is likewise moist, insomuch as it is pestilent through moisture : but the countries of the Abyssenes, and Barbary, and Peru, where they are tawny, and olivaster, and pale, are generally more sandy and dry. As for the Æthiopes, as they are plump and fleshy, so, it may be, they are sanguine and ruddy-coloured, if their black skin would suffer it to be seen.

[blocks in formation]

Experiment solitary touching motion after the in

stant of death. 400. SOME creatures do move a good while after their head is off; as birds : some a very little time; as men and all beasts : some move, though cut in several pieces; as snakes, eels, worms, flies, etc. First therefore it is certain, that the immediate cause of death is the resolution or extinguishment of the spirits; and that the destruction or corruption of the organs

is but the mediate cause. But some organs are so peremptorily necessary, that the extinguishment of the spirits doth speedily follow; but yet so as there is an interim of a small time. It is reported by one of the ancients of credit, that a sacrificed beast hath lowed after the heart hath been severed, and it is a report also of credit, that the head of a pig hath been opened, and the brain put into the palm of a man's hand, trembling, without breaking any part of it, or severing it from the marrow of the back-bone; during which time the pig hath been, in all appearance, stark dead, and without motion; and after a small time the brain hath been replaced, and the skull of the pig closed, and the pig hath a little after gone about. And certain it is, that an eye upon revenge hath been thrust forth, so as it hanged a pretty distance by the visual nerve; and during that time the eye hath been without any power of sight; and yet after being replaced recovered sight. Now the spirits are chiefly in the head and cells of the brain, which in men and beasts are large; and therefore, when the head is off, they move little or nothing. But birds have small heads, and therefore the spirits are a little more dispersed in the sinews, whereby motion remaineth in them a little longer; insomuch, as it is extant in story, that an emperor of Rome, to shew the certainty of his hand, did shoot a great forked arrow at an ostrich, as she ran swiftly upon the stage, and struck off her head; and yet she continued the race a little way with the head off. As for worms, and flies, and eels, the spirits are diffused almost all over; and therefore they move in their several pieces.



Experiments in consort touching the acceleration of

germination. We will now inquire of plants or vegetables : and we shall do it with diligence. They are the principal part of the third day's work. They are the first producat, which is the word of animation : for the other words are but the words of essence. And they are of excellent and general use for food, medicine, and a number of mechanical arts.

401. THERE were sown in a bed, turnip-seed, radish-seed, wheat, cucumber-seed, and peas. The bed we call a hot-bed, and the manner of it is this: there was taken horse-dung, old and well rotted; this was laid upon a bank half a foot high, and supported round about with planks; and upon the top was cast sifted earth, some two fingers deep; and then the seed sprinkled upon it, having been steeped all night in water mixed with cow-dung. The turnip-seed and the wheat came up half an inch above ground within two days after, without any watering. The rest the third day. The experiment was made in October ; and, it may be, in the spring, the accelerating would have been the speedier. This is a noble experiment; for without this help they would have been four times as long in coming up. But there doth not occur to me, at this present, any use thereof for profit ; except it should be for sowing of peas, which have their price very much increased by the early coming. It may be tried also with cherries, strawberries, and other fruit, which are dearest when they come early.

402. THERE was wheat steeped in water mixed with cow-dung; other in water mixed with horsedung; other in water mixed with pigeon-dung; other in urine of man; other in water mixed with chalk powdered; other in water mixed with soot; other in water mixed with ashes; other in water mixed with bay-salt; other in claret wine; other in malmsey; other in spirit of wine. The proportion of the mix. ture was a fourth part of the ingredients to the water; save that there was not of the salt above an eighth part. The urine, and wines, and spirit of wine, were simple without mixture of water. The time of the steeping was twelve hours. The time of the year October. There was also other wheat sown unsteeped, but watered twice a day with warm water. There was also other wheat sown simple, to compare it with the rest. The event was ; that those that were in the mixture of dung, and urine, and soot, chalk, ashes, and salt, came up within six days : and those that afterwards proved the highest, thickest, and most lusty, were first the urine; and then the dungs; next the chalk; next the soot; next the ashes; next the salt; next the wheat simple of itself, unsteeped and unwatered; next the watered twice a day with warm water; next the claret wine. So that these three last were slower than the ordinary wheat of itself; and this culture did rather retard than advance. As for those that were steeped in malmsey, and spirit of wine, they came not up at all. This is a rich experiment for profit; for the most of the steepings are cheap things; and the goodness of the crop is a great matter of gain; if the goodness of the crop answer the earliness of the coming up; as it is like it will ; both being from the vigour of the seed; which also partly appeared in the former experiments, as hath been said. This experiment would be tried in other grains, seeds, and kernels : for it may be some steeping will agree best with some seeds. It would be tried also with roots steeped as before, but for longer time. It would be tried also in several seasons of the year, especially the spring.

403. STRAWBERRIES watered now and then, as once in three days, with water wherein hath been steeped sheeps-dung or pigeons-dung, will prevent and come early. And it is like the same effect would follow in other berries, herbs, flowers, grains, or trees. And therefore it is an experiment, though vulgar in strawberries, yet not brought into use generally : for it is usual to help the ground with muck; and likewise to recomfort it sometimes with muck put to the roots; but to water it with muck water, which is like to be more forcible, is not practised.

404. DUNG, or chalk, or blood, applied in substance, seasonably, to the roots of trees, doth set them forwards. But to do it unto herbs, without mixture of water or earth, it may be these helps are too hot.

405. The former means of helping germination, are either by the goodness and strength of the nourishment; or by the comforting and exciting the spirits in the plant, to draw the nourishment better. And of this latter kind, concerning the comforting of the spirits of the plant, are also the experiments that follow; though they be not applications to the root or seed. The planting of trees warm upon a wall against the south, or south-east sun, doth hasten their coming on and ripening; and the south-east is found to be better than the south-west, though the southwest be the hotter coast. But the cause is chiefly, for that the heat of the morning succeedeth the cold of the night: and partly, because many times the south-west sun is too parching. So likewise the planting of them upon the back of a chimney where a fire is kept, doth hasten their coming on and ripening: nay more, the drawing of the boughs into the inside of a room where a fire is continually kept, worketh the same effect; which hath been tried with grapes, insomuch as they will come a month earlier than the grapes abroad.

406. Besides the two means of accelerating ger. mination formerly described ; that is to say, the mending of the nourishment; and comforting of the spirit of the plant; there is a third, which is the making way for the easy coming to the nourishment, and drawing it. And therefore gentle digging and loosening of the earth about the roots of trees; and the re

« PreviousContinue »