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ever break up, first in the skirts, and last in the midst. We see likewise, that much water draweth forth the juice of the body infused; but little water is imbibed by the body and this is a principal cause, why in operation upon bodies for their version or alteration, the trial in great quantities doth not answer the trial in small; and so deceiveth many; for that, I say, the greater body resisteth more any alteration of form, and requireth far greater strength in the active body that should subdue it,
Experiment solitary touching the producing of feathers and hairs of divers colours.
93. We have spoken before, in the fifth instance, of the cause of orient colours in birds; which is by the fineness of the strainer; we will now endeavour to reduce the same axiom to a work. For this writing of our Sylva Sylvarum is, to speak properly, not natural history, but a high kind of natural magic. For it is not a description only of nature, but a breaking of nature into great and strange works. Try there fore the anointing over of pigeons, or other birds, when they are put in their down; or of whelps, cutting their hair as short as may be; or of some other beast; with some ointment that is not hurtful to the flesh, and that will harden and stick very close; and see whether it will not alter the colours of the feathers or hair. It is received, that the pulling off the first feathers of birds clean, will make the new come forth white: and it is certain that white is a penurious colour, and where moisture is scant. So blue violets, and other flowers, if they be starved, turn pale and white; birds and horses, by age or sears, turn white; and the hoar hairs of men come by the same reason. And therefore in birds, it is very likely, that the feathers that come first will be many times of divers colours, according to the nature of the bird, for that the skin is more porous; but when the skin is more shut and close, the feathers will come white. This is a good experiment, not only for the producing of birds and beasts of strange
colours; but also for the disclosure of the nature of colours themselves; which of them require a finer porosity, and which a grosser.
Experiment solitary touching the nourishment of living creatures before they be brought forth.
94. It is a work of providence, that hath been truly observed by some, that the yolk of the egg conduceth little to the generation of the bird, but only to the nourishment of the same; for if a chicken be opened, when it is new hatched, you shall find much of the yolk remaining. And it is needful, that birds that are shaped without the female's womb have in the egg, as well matter of nourishment, as matter of generation for the body. For after the egg is laid, and severed from the body of the hen, it hath no more nourishment from the hen, but only a quickening heat when she sitteth. But beasts and men need not the matter of nourishment within themselves, because they are shaped within the womb of the female, and are nourished continually from her body.
Experiments in consort touching sympathy and
95. It is an inveterate and received opinion, that cantharides applied to any part of the body, touch the bladder and exulcerate it, if they stay on long. It is likewise received, that a kind of stone, which they bring out of the West Indies, hath a peculiar force to move gravel, and to dissolve the stone: insomuch, as laid but to the wrist, it hath so forcibly sent down gravel, as men have been glad to remove it, it was so violent.
96. It is received, and confirmed by daily experience, that the soles of the feet have great affinity with the head and the mouth of the stomach; as we see going wet-shod, to those that use it not, affecteth both applications of hot powders to the feet attenuate first, and after dry the rheum: and therefore a physician that would be mystical, prescribeth, for the cure of the rheum, that a man should walk continu
ally upon a camomile-alley; meaning, that he should put camomile within his socks. Likewise pigeons bleeding, applied to the soles of the feet, ease the head and soporiferous medicines applied unto them, provoke sleep.
97. It seemeth, that as the feet have a sympathy with the head, so the wrists and hands have a sympathy with the heart; we see the effects and passions of the heart and spirits are notably disclosed by the pulse and it is often tried, that juices of stock-gilly-flowers, rose-campian, garlick, and other things applied to the wrists, and renewed, have cured long agues. And I conceive, that washing with certain liquors the palms of the hands doth much good and they do well in heats of agues, to hold in the hands eggs of alabaster and balls of crystal.
Of these things we shall speak more, when we handle the title of sympathy and antipathy in the proper place.
Experiment solitary touching the secret processes of nature.
98. THE knowledge of man hitherto hath been determined by the view or sight; so that whatsoever is invisible, either in respect of the fineness of the body itself, or the smallness of the parts, or of the subtilty of the motion, is little inquired. And yet these be the things that govern nature principally; and without which you cannot make any true analysis and indication of the proceedings of nature. The spirits or pneumaticals, that are in all tangible bodies, are scarce known. Sometimes they take them for vacuum; whereas they are the most active of bodies. Sometimes they take them for air; from which they differ exceedingly, as much as wine from water; and as wood from earth. Sometimes they will have them to be natural heat, or a portion of the element of fire; whereas some of them are crude and cold. And sometimes they will have them to be the virtues and qualities of the tangible parts which
they see; whereas they are things by themselves. And then, when they come to plants and living creatures, they call them souls. And such superficial speculations they have; like prospectives, that shew things inward, when they are but paintings. Neither is this a question of words, but infinitely material in nature. For spirits are nothing else but a natural body, rarified to a proportion, and included in the tangible parts of bodies, as in an integument. And they be no less differing one from the other, than the dense or tangible parts; and they are in all tangible bodies whatsoever, more or less; and they are never almost at rest: and from them, and their motions, principally proceed arefaction, colliquation, con tion, maturation, putrefaction, vivification, and most of the effects of nature: for, as we have figured them in our Sapientia veterum, in the fable of Proserpina, you shall in the infernal regiment hear little doings of Pluto, but most of Proserpina: for tangible parts in bodies are stupid things; and the spirits do in effect all. As for the differences of tangible parts in bodies, the industry of the chemists hath given some light, in discerning by their separations the oily, crude, pure, impure, fine, gross parts of bodies, and the like. And the physicians are content to acknowledge, that herbs and drugs have divers parts; as that opium hath a stupefactive part, and a heating part; the one moving sleep, the other a sweat following; and that rhubarb hath purging parts, and astringent parts, etc. But this whole inquisition is weakly and negligently handled. And for the more subtle differences of the minute parts, and the posture of them in the body, which also hath great effects, they are not at all touched: as for the motions of the minute parts of bodies, which do so great effects, they have not been observed at all; because they are invisible, and incur not to the eye; but yet they are to be deprehended by experience: as Democritus said well, when they charged him to hold, that the world was made of such little motes, as were seen in the sun Atomus, saith he, necessitate rationis et ex
perientia esse convincitur; atomum enim nemo unquam vidit. And therefore the tumult in the parts of solid bodies, when they are compressed, which is the cause of all flight of bodies through the air, and of other mechanical motions, as hath been partly touched before, and shall be throughly handled in due place, is not seen at all. But nevertheless, if you know it not, or inquire it not attentively and diligently, you shall never be able to discern, and much less to produce, a number of mechanical motions. Again, as to the motions corporal, within the enclosures of bodies, whereby the effects, which were mentioned before, pass between the spirits and the tangible parts, which are arefaction, colliquation, concoction, maturation, etc. they are not at all handled. But they are put off by the names of virtues, and natures, and actions, and passions, and such other logical words.
Experiment solitary touching the power of heat.
99. It is certain, that of all powers in nature heat is the chief; both in the frame of nature, and in the works of art. Certain it is likewise, that the effects of heat are most advanced, when it worketh upon a body without loss or dissipation of the matter; for that ever betrayeth the account. And therefore it is true, that the power of heat is best perceived in distillations which are performed in close vessels and receptacles. But yet there is a higher degree; for howsoever distillations do keep the body in cells and cloisters, without going abroad, yet they give space unto bodies to turn into vapour; to return into liquor; and to separate one part from another. So as nature doth expatiate, although it hath not fall liberty: whereby the true and ultime operations of heat are not attained. But if bodies may be altered by heat, and yet no such reciprocation of rarefaction, and of condensation, and of separation, admitted; then it is like that this Proteus of matter, being held by the sleeves, will turn and change into many metamorphoses. Take therefore a square vessel of iron, in form of a cube, and let it have good thick and strong sides.