« PreviousContinue »
are covered aloft, and kept from the sun. Snowwater is held unwholesome; insomuch as the people that dwell at the foot of the snow mountains, or otherwise upon the ascent, especially the women, by drinking of snow-water, have great bags hanging under their throats. Well-water, except it be upon chalk, or a very plentiful spring, maketh meat red; which is an ill sign. Springs on the tops of hills are the best: for both they seem to have a lightness and appetite of mounting; and besides, they are most pure and unmingled; and again, are more percolated through a great space of earth. For waters in valleys join in effect under ground with all waters of the same level; whereas springs on the tops of hills pass through a great deal of pure earth with less mixture of other waters.
397. Seventhly, judgment may be made of waters by the soil whereupon the water runneth; as pebble is the cleanest and best tasted; and next to that, clay-water; and thirdly, water upon chalk; fourthly, that upon sand; and worst of all upon mud. Neither may you trust waters that taste sweet; for they are commonly found in rising grounds of great cities; which must needs take in a great deal of filth.
Experiment solitary touching the temperate heat under the equinoctial.
398. In Peru, and divers parts of the West Indies, though under the line, the heats are not so intolerable as they be in Barbary, and the skirts of the torrid zone. The causes are, first the great breezes which the motion of the air in great circles, such as are under the girdle of the world, produceth j which do refrigerate; 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 cause 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 lawny Moors.
399. The heat of the sun maketh men black in some countries, as in ^Ethiopia and Guinea, &c. 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 itj and therefore we see that all .ffithiopes 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 Meroe, which was the metropolis of ./Ethiopia, 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 iEthiopes, 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.
Experiment solitary touching motion after the instant 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, &c. 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 show 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 her head off. As for worms, and flies, and eels, the spirits are diffused almost all over; and therefore they move in their several pieces.
Erperiments in consort touching the acceleration of germination.
We will now inquire of plants or vegetables: and te shall do it with diligence. They are the principal part of the third day's work. They are the Srst 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 led 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 «ry much increased by the early coming. It may he 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 j other in water mixed with chalk powdered; other in water mixed with soot; other in water mixed with ashes; other in water miied with bay-salt; other in claret wine; other in malmsey; other in spirit of wine. The proportion of the mixture was a fourth part of the ingredients to the water; gave 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 bmc of the year October. There was also other *heat sown unsteeped, but watered twice a day with »arm water. There was also other wheat sown simple, to compare it with the rest. The event *as, that those that were in the mixture of dung, and mine, and soot, chalk, ashes, and salt, came up "ithin six days; and those that afterwards proved the highest, thickest, and most lusty, were first the wine; and then the dungs; next the chalk; next 'he soot; next the ashes; next the salt; next the "heat simple of itself, unsteeped and unwatered; r'txt 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, w^hich 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 maybe 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 south-west 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 germination 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 removing herbs and flowers into new earth once in two years, which is the same thing, for the new earth is ever looser, doth greatly further the prospering and earliness of plants.
407. But the most admirable acceleration by facilitating the nourishment is that of water. For a standard of a damask rose with the root on, was set in a chamber where no fire was, upright in an earthen pan, full of fair water, without any mixture, half a foot under the water, the standard being more than two foot high above the water: within the space of ten days the standard did put forth a fair green leaf, and some other little buds, which stood at a stay, without any show of decay or withering, more than seven days. But afterwards that leaf faded, but the young buds did sprout on; which afterward opened into fair leaves in the space of three months; and continued so a while after, till upon removal we left the trial. But note, that the leaves were somewhat paler and lighter-coloured than the leaves used to be abroad. Note, that the first buds were in the end of October; and it is likely that if it had been in the spring time, it would have put forth with greater strength, and, it may be, to have grown on to bear flowers. By this means you may have, as it seemeth, roses set in the midst of a pool, being supported with some stay; which is matter of rareness and pleasure, though of small use. This is the more strange, for that the like rosestandard was put at the same time into water mixed w:ith horse-dung, the horse-dung about the fourth part to the water, and in four months' space, while it was observed, put not forth any leaf, though divers buds at the first, as the other.
408. A Dutch flower that had a bulbous root, was likewise put at the same time all under water, some two or three fingers deep; and within seven days sprouted, and continued long after farther growing. There were also put in, a beet-root, a borage-root, and a radish-root, which had all their leaves cut almost close to the roots; and within six weeks had fair leaves; and so continued till the end of November.
409. Note, that if roots, or peas, or flowers, may be accelerated in their coming and ripening, there rs a double profit; the one in the high price that those things bear when they come early; the other in the swiftness of their returns: for in some grounds which are s'rong, you shall have a radish, &c. come in a month, that in other grounds will not come in two, and so make double returns.
410. Wheat also was put into the water, and came not forth at all; so as it seemeth there must be some strength and bulk in the body put into the water, as it is in roots; for grains, or seeds, the cold of the water will mortify. But casually some wheat lay under the pan, which was somewhat moistened by the suing of the pan; which in six weeks, as aforesaid, looked mouldy to the eye, but it was sprouted forth half a finger's length.
411. It seemeth by these instances of water, that for nourishment the water is almost all in all, and
that the earth doth but keep the plant upright, and save it from over-heat and over-cold; and therefore is a comfortable experiment for good drinkers. It proveth also that our former opinion, that drink incorporate with flesh or roots, as in capon-beer, &c. will nourish more easily, than meat and drink taken severally.
412. The housing of plants, I conceive, will both accelerate germination, and bring forth flowers and plants in the colder seasons: and as we house hotcountry plants, as lemons, oranges, myrtles, to save them ; so we may house our own country plants, to forward them, and make them come in the cold seasons; in such sort, that you may have violets, strawberries, peas, all winter: so that you sow or remove them at fit times. This experiment is to be referred unto the comforting of the spirit of the plant by warmth, as well as housing their boughs, &c. So then the means to accelerate germination, are in particular eight, in general three.
Experiments in consort touching the putting back or retardation of germination.
413. To make roses, or other flowers come late, it is an experiment of pleasure. For the ancients esteemed much of the rosa sera. And indeed the November rose is the sweetest, having been less exhaled by the sun. The means are these. First, the cutting off their tops immediately after they have done bearing; and then they will come again the same year about November: but they will not come just on the tops where they were cut, but out of those shoots which were, as it were, water boughs. The cause is, for that the sap, which otherwise would have fed the top, though after bearing, will, by the discharge of that, divert unto the side sprouts; and they will come to bear, but later.
414. The second is the pulling off the buds of the rose, when they are newly knotted: for then the side branches will bear. The cause is the same with the former; for cutting off the tops, and pulling off the buds, work the same effect, in retention of the sap for a time, and diversion of it to the sprouts that were not so forw-ard.
415. The third is the cutting off some few of the top boughs in the spring time, but suffering the lower boughs to grow on. The cause is, for that the boughs do help to draw up the sap more strongly; and we see that in polling of trees, many do use to leave a bough or two on the top, to help to draw up the sap. And it is reported also, that if you graft upon the bough of a tree, and cut off some of the old boughs, the new cions will perish.
416. The fourth is by laying the roots bare about Christmas some days. The cause is plain, for that it doth arrest the sap from going upwards for a time; which arrest is afterwards released by the covering of the root again with earth; and then the sap getteth up, but later.
417- The fifth is the removing of the tree some month before it buddeth. The cause is, for that some time will be-required after the remove for the re-settling, before it can draw the juice; and that time being lost, the blossom must needs come forth later.
418. The sixth is the grafting of roses in May, which commonly gardeners do not till July; and then they bear not till the next year; but if you graft them in May, they will bear the same year, but late.
419. The seventh isthe girding of the body of the tree about with some pack-thread; for that also in a degree restraineth the sap, and maketh it come up more late and more slowly.
420. The eighth is the planting of them in a shade, or in a hedge; the cause is, partly the keeping out of the Bun, which hasteneth the sap to rise; and partly the robbing them of nourishment by the staff in the hedge. These means may be practised r'on other, both trees and flowers, mutatis mutandis.
421. Men have entertained a conceit that slioweth prettily; namely, that if you graft a late-coming fruit upon a stock of a fruit-tree that cometh early, the graft will bear early; as a peach upon a cherry; and contrariwise, if an early-coming fruit upon a stock of a fruit-tree that cometh late, the ?raftwill bear fruit late; as a cherry upon a peach. But these are but imaginations, and untrue. The cause is, for that the cion overruleth the stock quite: and the stock is but passive only, and giveth aliment, tut no motion to the graft.
Eiferiments in consort touching the melioration of fruits, trees, and plants.
We will speak Bow, how to make fruits, flowers, and roots larger, in more plenty, and sweeter than (hey use to be: and how to make the trees themselves more tall, more spread, and more hasty and sudden than they use to be. Wherein there is no donbt but the former experiments of acceleration serve much to these purposes. And again, that these experiments, which we shall now set down, do serve also for acceleration, because both effects proceed from the increase of vigour in the tree; but yet to avoid confusion, and because some of the means are more proper for the one effect, and some for the other, we will handle them apart.
422. It is an assured experience, that a heap of lint or stone, laid about the bottom of a wild tree, as an oak, elm, ash, &c.; upon the first planting, doth make it prosper double as much as without it. The cause is, for that it retainefh the moisture which falleth at any time upon the tree, and suffereth it not to be exhaled by the sun. Again, it keepeth the tree warm from cold blasts, and frosts, as it were in a house. It may be also there is somewhat in the keeping of it steady at the first. Query, If laying of straw some height about the body of a tree, will not make the tree forwards. For though the root giveth the sap, yet it is the body that draweth it. But you must note, that if you lay stones about the stalk of lettuce, or other plants that are more soft, "will over-moisten the roots, so as the worms will cat them.
423. A tree, at the first setting, should not be shaken, until it hath taken root fully: and therefore some have put two little forks about the bottom of
their trees to keep them upright; but after a year's rooting, then shaking doth the tree good, by loosening of the earth, and, perhaps, by exercising, as it were, and stirring the sap of the tree.
424. Generally the cutting away of boughs and suckers at the root and body doth make trees grow high; and contrariwise, the polling and cutting of the top maketh them grow spread and bushy. As we see in pollards, &c.
425. It is reported, that to make hasty-growing coppice woods, the way is, to take willow, sallow, poplar, alder, of some seven years' growth; and to set them, not upright, but aslope, a reasonable depth under the ground; and then instead of one root they will put forth many, and so carry more shoots upon a stem.
426. When you would have many new roots of fruit trees, take a low tree and bow it, and lay all its branches aflat upon the ground, and cast earth upon them; and every twig will take root. And this is a very profitable experiment for costly trees, for the boughs will make stocks without charge; such as are apricots, peaches, almonds, cornelians, mulberries, figs, &c. The like is continually practised with vines, roses, musk-roses, &c.
427. From May to July you may take off the bark of any bough, being of the bigness of three or four inches, and cover the bare place, somewhat above and below-, with loam well tempered with horse-dung, binding it fast down. Then cut off the bough about Allhollontide in the bare place, and set it in the ground; and it will grow to be a fair tree in one year. The cause may be, for that the baring from the bark keepeth the sap from descending towards winter, and so holdeth it in the bough; and it may be also that the loam and horse-dung applied to the bare place do moisten it, and cherish it, and make it more apt to put forth the root. Note, that this may be a general means for keeping up the sap of trees in their boughs; which may serve to other effects.
428. It hath been practised in trees that show fair and bear not, to bore a hole through the heart of the tree, and thereupon it will bear. Which may be, for that the tree before had too much repletion, and was oppressed with its own sap; for repletion is an enemy to generation.
429. It hath been practised in trees that do not bear, to cleave two or three of the chief roots, and to put into the cleft a small pebble, which may keep it open, and then it will bear. The cause may be, for that a root of a tree may be, as it were, hide-bound, no less than the body of the tree; but it will not keep open without somewhat put into it.
430. It is usually practised, to set trees that require much sun upon walls against the south; as apricots, peaches, plums, vines, figs, and the like. It hath a double commodity: the one, the heat of the wall by reflexion; the other, the taking away of the shade; for when a tree groweth round, the upper boughs overshadow the lower; but when it is spread upon a wall, the sun cometh alike upon the upper and the lower branches.
431. It hath also been practised by some, to pull off some leaves from the trees so spread, that the sun may come upon the bough and fruit the better. There hath been practised also a curiosity, to set a tree upon the north side of a wall, and at a little height to draw it through the wall, and spread it upon the south side: conceiving that the root and lower part of the stock should enjoy the freshness of the shade; and the upper boughs, and fruit, the comfort of the sun. But it sorted not; the cause is, for that the root requireth some comfort from the sun, though under earth, as well as the body j and the lower part of the body more than the upper, as we see in compassing a tree below with straw.
432. The lowness of the bough where the fruit cometh, maketh the fruit greater, and to ripen better; for you shall ever see, in apricots, peaches, or melocotones upon a wall, the greatest fruits towards the bottom. And in France, the grapes that make the wine, grow upon low vines bound to small stakes; and the raised vines in arbours make but verjuice. It is true, that in Italy and other countries where they have hotter sun, they raise them upon elms and trees; but I conceive, that if the French manner of planting low were brought in use there, their wines would be stronger and sweeter. But it is more chargeable in respect of the props. It were good to try whether a tree grafted somewhat near the ground, and the lower boughs only maintained, and the higher continually pruned off, would not make a larger fruit.
433. To have fruit in great plenty, the way is to graft not only upon young stocks, but upon divers boughs of an old tree; for they will bear great numbers of fruit: whereas if you graft but upon one stock, the tree can bear but few.
434. The digging yearly about the roots of trees, which is a great means both to the acceleration and melioration of fruits, is practised in nothing but in vines: which if it were transferred unto other trees and shrubs, as roses, &c. I conceive would advance them likewise.
435. It hath been known, that a fruit tree hath been blown up, almost, by the roots, and set up again, and the next year bear exceedingly. The cause of this was nothing but the loosening of the earth, which comforteth any tree, and is fit to be practised more than it is in fruit-trees: for trees cannot be so fitly removed into new grounds, as flowers and herbs may.
436. To revive an old tree, the digging of it about the roots, and applying new mould to the roots, is the way. We see also that draught oxen put into fresh pasture gather new and tender flesh; and in all things better nourishment than hath been used doth help to renew; especially if it be not only better, but changed and differing from the former.
437. If an herb be cut off from the roots in the beginning of winter, and then the earth be trodden and beaten down hard with the foot and spade, the roots will become of very great magnitude in summer. The reason is, for that the moisture being forbidden to come up in the plant, stayeth longer in the root, and dilateth it. And gardeners use to
tread clown any loose ground after they have sown onions, or turnips, &c.
438. If panicum be laid below and about the bottom of a root, it will cause the root to grow to an excessive bigness. The cause is, for that being itself of a spongy substance, it draweth the moisture of the earth to it, and so feedeth the root. This is of greatest use for onions, turnips, parsnips, and carrots.
439. The shifting of ground is a means to better the tree and fruit; but with this caution, that all things do prosper best when they are advanced to the better: your nursery of stocks ought to be in a more barren ground than the ground is whereunto you remove them. So all graziers prefer their cattle from meaner pastures to better. We see also, that hardness in youth lengtheneth life, because it leaveth a cherishing to the better of the body in age: nay, in exercises, it is good to begin with the hardest, as dancing in thick shoes, &c.
440. It hath been observed, that hacking of trees in their bark, both downright and across, so as you may make them rather in slices than in continued hacks, doth great good to trees; and especially delivereth them from being hide-bound, and killeth their moss.
441. Shade to some plants conduceth to make them large and prosperous, more than sun; as in strawberries and bays, &e. Therefore among strawberries sow here and there some borage seed; and you 6hall find the strawberries under those leaves far more large than their fellows. And bays you must plant to the north, or defend them from the sun by a hedge-row; and when you sow the berries, weed not the borders for the first half year; for the weed giveth them shade.
442. To increase the crops of plants, there would be considered not only the increasing the lust of the earth, or of the plant, but the saving also of that which is spilt. So they have lately made a trial to set wheat; which nevertheless hath been left off, because of the trouble and pains: yet so much is true, that there is much saved by the setting, in comparison of that which is sown; both by keeping it from being picked up by birds, and by avoiding the shallow lying of it, whereby much that is sown taketh no root.
443. It is prescribed by some of the ancients, that you take small trees, upon which figs or other fruit grow, being yet unripe, and cover the trees in the middle of autumn with dung until the spring; and then take them up in a warm day, and replant them in good ground; and by that means the former year's tree will be ripe, as by a new birth, when other trees of the same kind do but blossom. But this seemeth to have no great probability.
444. It is reported, that if you take nitre, and mingle it with water, to the thickness of honey, and therewith anoint the bud after the vine is cut, it will sprout forth within eight days. The cause is like to be, if the experiment be true, the opening of the bud and of the parts contiguous, by the spirit of the nitre; for nitre is, as it were, the life, of vegetables.