« AnteriorContinuar »
quarter of a pint, unboiled, will arise to a pint boiled. The cause no doubt is, for that the more close and compact the body is, the more it will dilate : now barley is the most hollow; wheat more solid than that; and rice most solid of all. It may be also that some bodies have a kind of lentour, and more depertible nature than others; as we see it evident in coloration ; for a small quantity of saffron will tincture more than a very great quantity of brasil or wine. Experiment solitary touching the dulcoration of
fruits. 858. Fruit groweth sweet by rolling, or pressing them gently with the hand; as rolling pears, damascenes, etc. by rottenness; as medlars, services, sloes, hips, etc. by time; as apples, wardens, pomegranates, etc. by certain special maturations; as by laying them in hay, straw, etc. and by fire; as in roasting, stewing, baking, etc. The cause of the sweetness by rolling and pressing, is emollition, which they properly induce; as in beating of stock-fish, flesh, etc. by rottenness is, for that the spirits of the fruit by putrefaction gather heat, and thereby digest the harder part, for in all putrefactions there is a degree of heat: by time and keeping is, because the spirits of the body do ever feed upon the tangible parts, and attenuate them: by several maturations is, by some degree of heat: and by fire is, because it is the proper work of heat to refine, and to incorporate; and all sourness consisteth in some grossness of the body; and all incorporation doth make the mixture of the body more equal in all the parts; which ever induceth a milder taste.
Experiment solitary touching flesh edible, and not
edible. 859. Of fleshes, some are edible; some, except it be in famine, not. For those that are not edible, the cause is, for that they have commonly too much bitterness of taste; and therefore those creatures which are fierce and choleric are not edible; as lions, wolves, squirrels, dogs, foxes, horses, etc. As for kine, sheep,
goats, deer, swine, conies, hares, etc. we see they are mild and fearful. Yet it is true, that horses, which are beasts of courage, have been, and are eaten by some nations; as the Scythians were called Hippophagi; and the Chinese eat horse-flesh at this day ; and some gluttons have used to have colts-flesh baked. In birds, such as are carnivore, and birds of prey, are commonly no good meat; but the reason is, rather the cholerie nature of those birds, than their feeding upon flesh: for pewets, gulls, shovellers, ducks, do feed upon flesh, and yet are good meat. And we see that those birds which are of prey, or feed upon flesh, are good meat when they are very young ; as hawks, rooks out of the nest, owls, etc. Man's flesh is not eaten. The reasons are three: first, because men in humanity do abhor it: secondly, because no living creature that dieth of itself is good to eat: and therefore the cannibals themselves eat no man's flesh of those that die of themselves, but of such as are slain. The third is, because there must be generally some disparity between the nourishment and the body nourished; and they must not be over-near, or like: yet we see, that in great weaknesses and consumptions, men have been sustained with woman's milk; and Ficinus, fondly, as I conceive, adviseth, for the prolongation of life, that a vein be opened in the arm of some wholesome young man, and the blood to be sucked. It is said that witches do greedily eat man's flesh ; which if it be true, besides a devilish appetite in them, it is likely to proceed, for that man's flesh may send up high and pleasing vapours, which may stir the imagination ; and witches felicity is chiefly in imagination, as hath been said.
Experiment solitary touching the salamander.
860. THERE is an ancient received tradition of the salamander, that it liveth in the fire, and hath force also to extinguish the fire. It must have two things, if it be true, to this operation : the one a very close skin, whereby flame, which in the midst is not so hot, cannot enter; for we see that if the palm of the hand be anointed thick with white of egg, and then aqua vite be poured upon it, and inflamed, yet one may endure the flame a pretty while. The other is some extreme cold and quenching virtue in the body of that creature, which choketh the fire. We see that milk quencheth wild-fire better than water, because it entereth better. Experiment solitary touching the contrary opera
tions of time upon fruits and liquors., 861. TIME doth change fruit, as apples, pears, pomegranates, etc. from more sour to more sweet : but contrariwise liquors, even those that are of the juice of fruit, from more sweet to more sour: as wort, muste, new verjuice, etc. The cause is, the congregation of the spirits together : for in both kinds the spirit is attenuated by time; but in the first kind it is more diffused, and more mastered by the grosser parts, which the spirits do but digest: but in drinks the spirits do reign, and finding less opposition of the parts, become themselves more strong; which causeth also more strength in the liquor; such as if the spirits be of the hotter sort, the liquor becometh apt to burn : but in time, it causeth likewise, when the higher spirits are evaporated, more sourness. Experiment solitary touching blows and bruises.
862. It hath been observed by the ancients, that plates of metal, and especially of brass, applied presently to a blow, will keep it down from swelling. The cause is repercussion, without humectation or entrance of any body: for the plate hath only a virtual cold, which doth not search into the hurt; whereas all plaisters and ointments do enter. Surely, the cause that blows and bruises induce swellings is, for that the spirits resorting to succour the part that laboureth, draw also the humours with them: for we see, that it is not the repulse and the return of the humour in the part strucken that causeth it ; for that gouts and tooth-aches cause swelling, where there is no percussion at all.
Experiment solitary touching the orrice root.
863. The nature of the orrice root is almost singular; for there be few odoriferous roots; and in those that are in any degree sweet, it is but the same sweetness with the wood or leaf: but the orrice is not sweet in the leaf; neither is the flower any thing so sweet as the root. The root seemeth to have a tender dainty heat; which when it cometh above ground to the sun and the air, vanisheth: for it is a great mollifier; and hath a smell like a violet. Experiment solitary touching the compression of
liquors. 864. It hath been observed by the ancients, that a great vessel full, drawn into bottles, and then the liquor put again into the vessel, will not fill the vessel again so full as it was, but that it may take in more liquor : and that this holdeth more in wine than in water. The cause may be trivial ; namely, by the expence of the liquor, in regard some may stick to the sides of the bottles : but there may be a cause more subtile; which is, that the liquor in the vessel is not so much compressed as in the bottle; because in the vessel the liquor meeteth with liquor chiefly; but in the bottles a small quantity of liquor meeteth with the sides of the bottles, which compress it so that it doth not open again. Experiment solitary touching the working of water
upon air contiguous. 865. WATER, being contiguous with air, cooleth it, but moisteneth it not, except it vapour. The cause is, for that heat and cold have a virtual transi. tion, without communication of substance; but moisture not: and to all madefaction there is required an imbibition : but where the bodies are of such several levity and gravity as they mingle not, there can follow no imbibition. And therefore, oil likewise lieth at the top of the water, without commixture: and a drop of water running swiftly over a straw or smooth body, wetteth not.
Experiment solitary touching the nature of air.
866. STAR-LIGHT nights, yea, and bright moonshine nights, are colder than cloudy nights. The cause is, the dryness and fineness of the air, which thereby becometh more piercing and sharp; and therefore great continents are colder than islands : and as for the moon, though itself inclineth the air to moisture, yet when it shineth bright, it argueth the air is dry. Also close air is warmer than open air ; which, it may be, is, for that the true cause of cold is an expiration from the globe of the earth, which in open places is stronger; and again, air itself, if it be not altered by that expiration, is not without some secret degree of heat; as it is not likewise without some secret degree of light : for otherwise cats and owls could not see in the night; but that air hath a little light, 'proportionable to the visual spirits of those creatures. Experiments in consort touching the eyes and sight.
867. The eyes do move one and the same way; for when one eye moveth to the nostril, the other moveth from the nostril. The cause is motion of consent, which in the spirits and parts spiritual is strong. But yet use will induce the contrary; for some can squint when they will: and the common tradition is, that if children be set upon a table with a candle behind them, both eyes will move outwards, as affecting to see the light, and so induce squinting.
868. We see more exquisitely with one eye shut, than with both open. The cause is, for that the spirits visual unite themselves more, and so become stronger. For you may see, by looking in a glass, that when you shut one eye, the pupil of the other eye that is open dilateth.
869. THE eyes, if the sight meet not in one angle, see things double. The cause is, for that seeing two things, and seeing one thing twice, worketh the same effect: and therefore a little pellet held between two fingers laid across, seemeth double.
870. PORE-BLIND men see best in the dimmer lights; and likewise have their sight stronger near hand,