Page images
PDF

between: but otherwise it is a sign of a pestilential Tear.

808. As the discovery of the disposition of the air is good for the prognostics of wholesome and unwholesome years; so it is of much more use, for the choice of places to dwell in: at the least, for lodges, and retiring places for health: for mansionhouses respect provisions as well as health, wherein the experiments above mentioned may serve.

S09. But for the choice of places, or seats, it is good to make trial, not only of aptness of air to corrupt, but also of the moisture and dryness of the air, and the temper of it in heat or cold; for that may concern health diversely. We see that there be some houses, wherein sweet-meats will relent, and baked meats will mould, more than in others; and wainscots will also sweat more; so that they will almost run with water; all which, no doubt, are caused chiefly by the moistness of the air in those seats. But because it is better to know it before a man buildeth his house, than to find it after, take the experiments following.

810. Lay wool, or a sponge, or bread, in the place you would try, comparing it with some other places; and see whether it doth not moisten, and make the wool, or sponge, &c. more ponderous than the other: and if it do, you may judge of that place, as situate in a gross and moist air.

811. Because it is certain, that in some places, cither by the nature of the earth, or by the situation of woods and hills, the air is more unequal than in others; and inequality of air is ever an enemy to health; it were good to take two weather-glasses, matches in all things, and to set them, for the same hours of one day, in several places, where no shade is, nor enclosures; and to mark when you set them, how far the water cometh; and to compare them, when you come again, how the water standeth then; and if you find them unequal, you may be sure that the place where the water is lowest is in the warmer air, and the other in the colder. And the greater the inequality be, of the ascent or descent of the water, the greater is the inequality of the temper of the air.

812. The predictions likewise of cold and long winters, and hot and dry summers, are good to be known; as well for the discovery of the causes, as for divers provisions. That of plenty of haws, and Wps, and brier-berries, hath been spoken of before. If wainscot, or stone, that have used to sweat, be more dry in the beginning of winter, or the drops of the eaves of houses come more slowly down than 'hey use, it portendeth a hard and frosty winter. The cause is, for that it showeth an inclination of the air to dry weather; which in winter is ever joined with frost.

813. Generally a moist and cool summer portendeth a hard winter. The cause is, for that the vapours of the earth are not dissipated in the summer by the sun; and so they rebound upon the winter.

814. A hot and dry summer, and autumn, and 'specially if the heat and drought extend far into ^ptember, portendeth an open beginning of winter; and colds to succeed toward the latter part of

TOl. I. N

the winter, and the beginning of the spring: for till then the former heat and drought bear the sway, and the vapours are not sufficiently multiplied.

815. An open and warm winter portendeth a hot and dry summer; for the vapours disperse into the winter showers; whereas cold and frost keepeth them in, and transporteth them into the late spring and summer following.

816. Birds that use to change countries at certain seasons, if they come earlier, do show the temperature of weather, according to that country whence they came: as the winter birds, namely, woodcocks, feldfares, &c. if they come earlier, and out of the northern countries, with us show cold winters. And if it be in the same country, then they show a temperature of season, like unto that season in which they come: as swallows, bats, cuckoos, &c. that come towards summer, if they come early, show a hot summer to follow.

817. The prognostics, more immediate, of weather to follow soon after, are more certain than those of seasons. The resounding of the sea upon the shore, and the murmur of winds in the 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, hefore the air here below: and therefore the obscuring of the smaller stars, is a sign of tempests following. And of this kind you shall find a number of instances in our inquisition " De Vcntis."

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.

821. When wind expireth from under the sea, as it causeth some resounding of the water, whereof 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 j 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 whnt 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 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, flyeth 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.

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 approach the air till it groweth moist; and when it is dry, will fly it, and swim lower.

826. Beasts do take comfort generally in a moist air: and it makcth 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 hrr 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 earth-worms will come forth, and moles will cast up more, and fleas bite more, against rain.

830. Solidbodieslikewiseforeshowrain. Asstones and wainscot, when they sweat: and boxes and pegs of wood, when they draw and wind hard; though the former be but from an outward cause; for that the stone, or wainscot, turneth and beateth back the air against itself; but the latter is an inward swelling of the body of the wood itself.

Experiment solitary touching the nature of appetite 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.

Experiment solitary touching sweetness of odour from the rainbow.

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 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 drawingup: 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; lot 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. Certain it is, that bay-salt, which is but a kind of water congealed, will sometimes smell like violets.

Experiment solitary touching sweet smells.

833. To sweet smells heat is requisite to concoct the matter; and some moisture to spread the 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, wall-flowers, gilly-flowers, pinks; and generally all flowers that have cool and delicate spirits. Some continue both on the fire, and from the fire; as rose-water, &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 nothing that distance that the other do. It is true, 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.

Experiment solitary touching fetid and fragrant odours.

835. The excrements of most creatures smell ill; chiefly to the same creature that voideth them: for *e 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 show(th there is somewhat in their sense of smell differ">g from the smells of other beasts. But the cause ffhy excrements smell ill, is manifest; for that the Wy itself rejecteth 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 other 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 hotch-potch 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 a fish : and the moss we spake of from appletrees, 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 farther 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 smell 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 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.

Exjieriment solitary touching the causes of
putrefaction.

83G. AH 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 putrified; or by excitation and solicitation of the body putrified, 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 vivificalion, 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 discomposure of the tangible parts, and other passages of nature, and not by a conflict of heats.

Experiment solitary touching bodies imperfectly 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 imperfecta 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, arc likewise called 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, of one body into another, from crudity to perfect concoction; which is the ultimity of that action or process; and while the body to be converted and altered is too strong for the efficient that should convert or alter it, whereby it rcsisteth and holdeth fast in some degree the first form or consistence, it is all that while crude and inconcoct: and the process is to be called crudity and inconcoction. It is true, that concoction is in great part the work of heat, but not the work of heat alone: for all things that farther the conversion, 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 subaction; the other maturation; whereof the former is most conspicuous in the bodies of living creatures; in which there is an absolute conversion and assimilation of the nourishment into the body: and likewise in the bodies of plants: and again in metals, where there is a full transmutation. 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.

839. There are also divers other great alterations 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 alteratiomajor; as when meat is boiled, or roasted, or fried, &c.; or when bread and meat are baked; or when cheese is made of curds, or batter 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 consistences of bodies are very diverse: dense, rare; tangible, pneumatical; volatile, fixed; determinate, not determinate; hard, soft; cleaving, not cleaving; congelable, not congelable; liquefiable, not liquefiable; fragile, tough: flexible, inflexible; tractile, or to be drawn forth in length, intractile; porous, solid; equal and smooth, unequal; venous and fibrous, and with grains, entire; and divers others; all which to refer to heat, and cold, and moisture, and drought, is a compendious and inutile speculation. But of these see principally our "Abecedarium Naturffi;" and otherwise sparsim in this our " Sylva Sylvarum:" nevertheless, in some good part, we shall handle divers of them new presently.

Experiment solitary touching bodies liquefiable, and not liquefiable.

840. Liquefiable, and not liquefiable, proceed from these causes: liquefaction is ever caused by the detention of the spirits, which play within the body and open it. Therefore such bodies as are more turgid of spirit; or that have their spirits more straidy imprisoned; or, again, that hold them better pleased and content, are liquefiable: 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, wax, &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 heat: the cause of the latter proceedeth from the opening of the tangible parts, which desire to receive the liquor. Again, there are some bodies that dissolve with both; as gum, &c. 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 the 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 sUtter and fly in many places. Of fragility, the cr.use 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 quantity of spirits; for it is the spirit that farthereth the extension or dilatation of bodies; and it is ever concomitant with porosity, and with dryness in the tangible parts: contrariwise, tough bodies have more •pirit, and fewer pores, and moister tangible parts: therefore we see that parchment or leather will stretch, paper will not; woollen cloth will tenter, linen scarcely.

Experiment solitary touching the two kinds of pneumaticals in bodies.

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. "hence 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 exstimulation.

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 nltereth 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 w-ax, the wax riseth up at all; but only the depressed part giveth place, and the other rcmaineth 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, birdlime, 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,

« PreviousContinue »