Page images

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 putrified. 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 putrify. 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

cients, turneth into a gnat. It hath been observed by the ancients, that there is a worm that breedeth in old snow, and is of colour reddish, and dull of motion, and dieth soon after it cometh out of snow. Which should shew, that snow hath in it a secret warmth; for else it could hardly vivify. And the reason of the dying of the worm, may be the sudden exhaling of that little spirit, as soon as it cometh out of the cold, which had shut it in. For as butterflies. quicken with heat, which were benumbed with cold; so spirits may exhale with heat, which were preserved in cold. It is affirmed both by the ancient and modern observation, that in furnaces of copper and brass, where chalcites, which is vitriol, is often cast in to mend the working, there riseth suddenly a fly, which sometimes moveth as if it took hold on the walls of the furnace; sometimes is seen moving in the fire below; and dieth presently as soon as it is out of the furnace: which is a noble instance, and worthy to be weighed; for it sheweth, that as well violent heat of fire, as the gentle heat of living creatures, will vivify, if it have matter proportionable. Now the great axiom of vivification is, that there must be heat to dilate the spirit of the body; an active spirit to be dilated; matter viscous or tenacious to hold in the spirit; and that matter to be put forth and figured. Now a spirit dilated by so ardent a fire as that of the furnace, as soon as ever it cooleth never so little, congealeth presently. And, no doubt, this action is furthered by the chalcites, which hath a spirit that will put forth and germinate, as we see in chemical trials. Briefly, most things putrified bring forth insecta of several names; but we will not take upon us now to enumerate them all.

697. THE insecta have been noted by the ancients to feed little but this hath not been diligently observed; for grasshoppers eat up the green of whole countries; and silk-worms devour leaves swiftly; and ants make great provision. It is true, that creatures that sleep and rest much, eat little; as dormice and bats, etc. They are all without blood: which may

be, for that the juice of their bodies is almost all one; not blood, and flesh, and skin, and bone, as in perfect creatures; the integral parts have extreme variety, but the similar parts little. It is true, that they have, some of them, a diaphragm and an intestine; and they have all skins; which in most of the insecta are cast often. They are not, generally, of long life; yet bees have been known to live seven years: and snakes are thought, the rather for the casting of their spoil, to live till they be old: and eels, which many times breed of putrefaction, will live and grow very long: and those that interchange from worms to flies in the summer, and from flies to worms in the winter, have been kept in boxes four years at the least. Yet there are certain flies that are called ephemera that live but a day. The cause is the exility of the spirit, or perhaps the absence of the sun; for that if they were brought in, or kept close, they might live longer. Many of the insecta, as butterflies and other flies, revive easily when they seem dead, being brought to the sun or fire. The cause whereof is the diffusion of the vital spirit, and the easy dilating of it by a little heat. They stir a good while after their heads are off, or that they be cut in pieces; which is caused also, for that their vital spirits are more diffused throughout all their parts, and less confined to organs than in perfect creatures.

698. THE insecta have voluntary motion, and therefore imagination; and whereas some of the ancients have said, that their motion is indeterminate, and their imagination indefinite, it is negligently observed; for ants go right forwards to their hills; and bees do admirably know the way from a flowery heath two or three miles off to their hives. It may be, gnats and flies have their imagination more mutable and giddy, as small birds likewise have. It is said by some of the ancients, that they have only the sense of feeling, which is manifestly untrue; for if they go forth-right to a place, they must needs have sight; besides they delight more in one flower or herb than in another, and therefore have taste: and bees are

called with sound upon brass, and therefore they have hearing; which sheweth likewise, that though their spirit be diffused, yet there is a seat of their senses in their head.

OTHER observations concerning the insecta, together with the enumeration of them, we refer to that place, where we mean to handle the title of animals in general.

Experiment solitary touching leaping.

699. A MAN leapeth better with weights in his hands than without. The cause is, for that the weight, if it be proportionable, strengtheneth the sinews by contracting them. For otherwise, where no contraction is needful, weight hindereth. As we see in horse-races, men are curious to foresee, that there be not the least weight upon the one horse more than upon the other. the other. In leaping with weights the arms are first cast backwards, and then forwards, with so much the greater force; for the hands go backward before they take their rise. Query, if the contrary motion of the spirits, immediately before the motion we intend, doth not cause the spirits as it were to break forth with more force? as breath also, drawn and kept in, cometh forth more forcibly: and in casting of any thing, the arms, to make a greater swing, are first cast backward.

Experiment solitary touching the pleasures and displeasures of the senses, especially of hearing.

700. OF musical tones and unequal sounds we have spoken before; but touching the pleasure and displeasure of the senses, not so fully. Harsh sounds, as of a saw when it is sharpened; grinding of one stone against another; squeaking or shrieking noise; make a shivering or horror in the body, and set the teeth on edge. The cause is, for that the objects of the ear do affect the spirits, immediately, most with pleasure and offence. We see there is no colour that affecteth the eye much with displeasure: there be sights that are horrible, because they excite the memory of things

that are odious or fearful; but the same things painted do little affect. As for smells, tastes, and touches, they be things that do affect by a participation or impulsion of the body of the object. So it is sound alone that doth immediately and incorporeally affect most; this is most manifest in music, and concords and discords in music; for all sounds, whether they be sharp or flat, if they be sweet, have a roundness and equality; and if they be harsh, are unequal; for a discord itself is but a harshness of divers sounds meeting. It is true that inequality not stayed upon, but passing, is rather an increase of sweetness; as in the purling of a wreathed string; and in the raucity of a trumpet; and in the nightingale-pipe of a regal; and in a discord straight falling upon a concord; but if you stay upon it, it is offensive: and therefore there be these three degrees of pleasing and displeasing in sounds, sweet sounds, discords, and harsh sounds, which we call by divers names, as shrieking or grating, such as we now speak of. As for the setting of the teeth on edge, we see plainly what an intercourse there is between the teeth and the organ of the hearing, by the taking of the end of a bow between the teeth, and striking upon the string.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »