Francis Bacon.

The works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) online

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discharged, and heard twenty miles off.

275. In visibles there are not found objects so odi-
ous and ingrate to the sense as in audibles. For foul
sights do rather displease, in that they excite the me-
mory of foul things, than in the immediate objects. And
therefore in pictures, those foul sights do not much

V offend ; but in audibles, the grating of a saw, when it

is sharpened, doth offend so much, as it setteth the
teeth on edge. And any of the harsh discords in mu-
sic the car doth straightways refuse.

276. In visibles, after great light, if you come sud-
denly into tlic dark, or contrariwise, out of the dark
into a glaring light, the eye is dazzled for a time, and
the sight confused ; but whether any such effect be
after great sounds, or after a deep silence, may be bet-
ter inquired. It is an old tradition, that those that
dwell near the cataracts of Nilus, are strucken deaf:
but we find no such effect in cannoniers, nor millers,
nor those tliat dwell upon bridges.


277. It scemcth tliat the impression of colour is so
weak, as it worketh not but by a cone of direct beams,
or riglit lines, whereof the basis is in the object, and
the vertical point in the eye ; so as there is a corra-
diation and conjunction of beams ; and those beams
so sent forth, yet are not of any force to beget the like
borrowed or second beams, except it be by reflexion,
whereof we speak not. For the beams pass, and give
little tincture to that air which is adjacent ; which if
they did, we should see colours out of a right line. But
as this is in colours, so otherwise it is in the body of
light. For when there is a skreen between the can-
dle and the eye, yet the light passeth to the paper
whereon one writeth ; so that the light is seen where
the body of the flame is not seen, and where any co-
lour, if it were placed where the body of the flame is,
would not be seen. I judge that sound is of this lat-
ter nature ; for when two are placed on both sides of
a wall, and the voice is heard, I judge it is not only
the original sound which passeth in an arched line ;
but the sound which passeth above the wall in a right
line, bcgetteth the like motion round about it as the
first did, though more weak.

Experiments in consort touching the sympathy oi' antipathy
of sojinds 07ie with another.

278. All concords and discords of music are, no
doubt, sympathies and antipathies of sounds. And
so, likewise, in that music which we call broken mu-
sic, or consort music, some consorts of instruments are
sweeter than others, a thing not sufficiently yet ob-
served : as the Irish harp and base viol agree well :
the recorder and stringed music agree well : organs
and the voice agree well, etc. But the virginals and
the lute ; or the Welsh harp and Irish harp ; or the
voice and pipes alone, agree not so well : but for the
melioration of music, there is yet much left, in this
point of exquisite consorts, to try and inquire.

279- There is a common observation, that if a lute
or viol be laid upon the back, with a small straw upon
one of the strings ; and another lute or viol be laid


by it ; and in the other lute or vio' the unison to that
string be strucken, it will make the string move ; which
will appear both to the eye, and by the straw's falling
off. The like will be, if the diapason or eighth to that
string be strucken, either in the same lute or viol, or
in others lying by : but in none of these there is any
report of sound that can be discerned, but only motion.

280. It was devised, that a viol should have a lay
of wire-strings below, as close to the belly as a lute ;
and then the strings of guts mounted upon a bridge
as in ordinary viols ; to the end that by this means
the upper strings strucken should make the lower re-
sound by sympathy, and so make the music the better ;
wliich if it be to purpose, then sympathy worketh as
well by report of sound as by motion. But this de-
vice I conceive to be of no use, because the upper
strings, which are stopped in great variety, cannot
maintain a diapason or unison with the lower, which
are never stopped. But if it should be of use at all, it
must be in instruments which have no stops, as virgi-
nals and harps ; wherein trial may be made of two
rows of strings, distant the one from the other.

281. The experiment of sympathy may be trans-
ferred, perhaps, from instruments of strings to other
instruments of sound. As to try, if there were in one
steeple two bells of unison, whether the striking of
the one would move the other, more than if it were
another accord : and so in pipes, if they be of equal bore
and sound, whether a little straw or feather would move
in the one pipe, when the other is blown at an unison.

282. It seemeth, both in ear and eye, the instru-
ment of sense hath a sympathy or similitude with that
which giveth the reflection, as hath been touched be-
fore : for as the sight of the eye is like a crystal, or
glass, or water ; so is the car a sinuous cave, with a
hard bone to stop and reverberate the sound : which
is like to the places that report echos.

Ex/jerbnents in consort touching the hindering or helping
ojthe hearing.

283. When a man yawneth, he cannot hear so
well. Tlic cause is, for that the membrane of the ear


is extended ; and so rather casteth off the sound
than draweth it to.

284. We hear better when we hold our brcatli tlian
contrary : insomuch as in all listening to attain a sound
afar off men hold their breath. The cause is, for that
in all expiration tlie motion is outwards; and there-
fore rather driveth away the voice than draweth it: and
besides we see, that in all labour to do things with any
strength, we hold the breath ; and listening after any
sound that is heard with difficulty, is a kind of labour.

285. Let it be tried, for the help of the hearing,
and I conceive it likely to succeed, to make an in-
strument like a timnel ; the narrow part whereof may
be of the bigness of the hole of the ear ; and tlie
broader end much larger, like a bell at the skirts ;
and tlie length half a foot or more. And let the nar-
row end of it be set close to the ear : and mark whe-
ther any sound, abroad in the open air, will not be heard
distinctly from farther distance, than without that in-
strument ; being, as it were, an ear-spectacle. And
I liave heard there is in Spain an instrument in use
to be set to the ear, that helpeth somewhat those that
are thick of hearing.

28(). If the mouth be shut close, nevertheless there
is yielded by the roof of the mouth a murmur ; such
as is used by dumb men. But if the nostrils be like-
wise stopped, no such murmur can be made : except
it be in the bottom of the palate towards the throat.
Whereby it appeareth manifestly that a sound in the
mouth, except such as aforesaid, if the mouth be
stopped, passeth from the palate through the nostrils.

Experiments in consort touching the spiritual andjine nattire
of sounds.

287. The repercussion of sounds, which we call echo,
is a great argument of the spiritual essence of sounds.
For if it were corporeal, the repercussion should be
created in the same manner, and by like instruments,
with the original sound : but we see what a number
of exquisite instruments must concur in speaking of
words, whereof there is no such matter in the return-
ing of them, but only a })laiu stop and repercussion.


288. The exquisite differences of articulate sounds,
carried along in tlie air, shew that they cannot be
signatures or impressions in the air, as hath been well
refuted by the ancients. For it is true, that seals
make excellent impressions ; and so it may be thought
of sounds in their first generation : bvit then the dela-
tion and continuance of them without any new sealing,
shew apparently they cannot be impressions.

'289. All sounds are suddenly made, and do sud-
denly perish : but neither that, nor the exquisite dif-
ferences of them, is matter of so great admiration : for
the quaverings and warblings in lutes and pipes are as
swift ; and the tongue, which is no very fine instru-
ment, doth in speech make no fewer motions than
there be letters in all the words which are uttered.
But that sounds should not only be so speedily gene-
rated, but carried so far every way in such a monient-
any time, deserveth more admiration. As for exam-
ple, if a man stand in the middle of a field and speak
aloud, he shall be heard a furlong in round ; and
that shall be in articulate sounds ; and those shall be
entire in every little portion of the air ; and this shall
be done in the space of less than a minute.

290. The sudden generation and perishing of
sounds, must be one of these two ways. Either that
the air suffereth some force by sound, and then
restoreth itself, as water doth ; which being divided
maketh many circles, till it restore itself to the natural
consistence : or otherwise, that the air doth willingly
imbibe the sound as grateful, but cannot maintain it ;
for that the air hath, as it should seem, a secret and
hidden appetite of receiving the sound at the first ;
but then other gross and more materiate qualities of the
air straightways suffocate it ; like unto fiame, which
is generated with alacrity, but straight quenched by
the enmity of the air or other ambient bodies.

There be these differences in general, by whicii
sounds are divided : 1. JMusical, immusical. 2. Tre-
ble, base. a. Flat, sharp. 4. Soft, loud. 5. Exte-
rior, interior. 6. Clean, harsh, or purling. 7. Arti-
culate, inarticulate.


We have laboured, as may appear, in this inquisi-
tion of sounds diligently ; both because sound is one
of the most hidden portions of nature, as we said in
the beginning, and because it is a virtue which may
be called incorporeal and imniateriate ; Avhereof there
be in nature but few. Besides, we were willing, now
in these our first centuries, to make a pattern or pre-
cedent of an exact inquisition ; and we shall do the
like hereafter in some other subjects which require it.
For we desire that men should learn and perceive,
how severe a thing the true inquisition of nature is ;
and should accustom themselves by the light of par-
ticulars to enlarge their minds to the amplitude of the
world, and not reduce the world to the narrowness of
their minds.

Experiment solitary touching the orient colours in dissolution
of metals.

291. Metals give orient and fine colours in dis-
solutions ; as gold giveth an excellent yellow ; quick-
silver an excellent green ; tin giveth an excellent
azure : likewise in their putrefactions or rusts ; as
Vermillion, verdigrease, bise, cirrus, etc. and likewise
in their vitrifications. The cause is, for that by their
strength of body they are able to endure the fire or
strong waters, and to be put into an equal posture ;
and again to retain part of their principal spirit : which
two things, equal posture and quick spirits, are re-
quired chiefly to make colours lightsome.

Experiment solitary touching prolongation of life.

292. It conduceth unto long life, and to the more
placid motion of the spirits, which thereby do less prey
and consume the juice of the body, either that mens
actions be free and voluntary, that nothing be done
iiwita Minerva^ but secundum genium ; or on the
other side, that the actions of men be full of regulation
and commands \vithin themselves: for then the victory
and performing of the command giveth a good disposi-
tion to the spirits ; especially if there be a proceeding

VOL. I. z


from degree to degree ; for then the sense of the vic-
tory is the greater. An example of the former of these
is in a country life ; and of the latter in monks and phi-
losophers, and such as do continually enjoy themselves.

Experiment solitary touching appetite of union in bodies.

293. It is certain that in all bodies there is an
appetite of union, and evitation of solution of conti-
nuity : and of this appetite there be many degrees ;
but the most remarkable and fit to be distinguished
are three. The first in liquors ; the second in hard
bodies ; and the third in bodies cleaving or tenacious.
In liquors this appetite is weak : we see in liquors,
the threading of them in stillicides, as hath been said ;
the falling of them in round drops, which is the form
of union ; and the staying of them for a little time in
bubbles and froth. In the second degree or kind, this
appetite is strong ; as in iron, in stone, in wood, etc.
In the third, this appetite is in a medium between
the other two : for such bodies do partly follow the
toucli of another body, and partly stick and continue
to themselves ; and therefore they rope, and draw
themselves in threads ; as we see in pitch, glue, bird-
lime, etc. But note, that all solid bodies are cleaving
more or less : and that they love better the touch of
somewhat that is tangible, than of air. For water in
small quantity cleaveth to any thing that is solid : and
so would metal too, if the weight drew it not off. And
therefore gold foliate, or any metal foliate, cleaveth : but
those bodies which are noted to be clammy and cleav-
ing, are such as have a more indifferent appetite at once
to follow another body, and to hold to themselves. And
therefore they are commonly bodies ill mixed; and which
take more pleasure in a foreign body, than in preserv-
ing their own consistence ; and which have little pre-
dominance in drought or moisture.

Experiments solitary touching the like operations of
Iicat and time.

294. Time and heat are fellows in many effects.
Heat drieth bodies that do easily expire ; as parch-


meiit, leaves, roots, clay, etc. And so doth time or age
arefy ; as in the same bodies, etc. Heat dissolveth and
meltcth bodies that keep in their spirits; as in divers
liquefactions: and so dotli time in some bodies of a
softer consistence, as is manifest in honey, which by
age waxeth more liquid, and the like in sugar ; and
so in old oil, which is ever more clear and more hot in
medicinable use. Heat causeth the spirits to search
some issue out of the body ; as in the volatility of me-
tals ; and so doth time ; as in the rust of metals. But
generally heat doth that in small time which age doth
in long.

Experiment solitary touching the differing operations of
fire and time.

295. Some things which pass the fire are softest at
first, and by time grow hard, as the crumb of bread.
Some are harder when they come from the fire, and
afterwards give again, and grow soft, as the crust of
bread, bisket, sweetmeats, salt, etc. The cause is,
for that in those things which wax hard with time,
the work of the fire is a kind of melting; and in those
that wax soft with time, contrariwise, the work of
the fire is a kind of baking ; and whatsoever the fire
baketh, time doth in some degree dissolve.

Experiment solitary touching motions by imitation.

296. Motions pass from one man to another, not
so much by exciting imagination as by invitation ;
especially if there be an aptness or inclination before.
Therefore gaping, or yawning, and stretching do pass
firom man to man ; for that that causeth gaping and
stretching is, when tlic spirits are a little heavy by any
vapour, or the like. For then they strive, as it were,
to wring out and expel that which loadeth them. So
men drowsy, and desirous to sleep, or before the fit
of an ague, do use to yawn and stretch ; and do like-
wise yield a voice or sound, which is an interjection
of expulsion : so that if another be apt and prepared
to do the like, he followeth by the sight of another.
So the laughing of another maketh to laugh.

z 2


Experiment solitary touching infectious diseases.

297. There be some known diseases that are infec-
tious ; and others that are not. Those that are in-
fectious are, first, such as are chiefly in the spirits, and
not so much in the humours ; and therefore pass easily
from body to body ; such are pestilences, lippitudes,
and such like. Secondly, such as taint the breath,
which we see passeth manifestly from man to man ; and
not invisibly, as the affects of the spirits do ; such are
consumptions of the lungs, etc. Thirdly, such as
come forth to the skin, and therefore taint the air or
the body adjacent ; especially if they consist in an
unctuous substance not apt to dissipate ; such are scabs
and leprosy. Fourthly, such as are merely in the
humours, and not in the spirits, breath, or exhalations ;
and therefore they never infect but by touch only ; and
such a touch also as cometh within the epidermis ; as
the venom of the French pox, and the biting of a
mad dog.

Experiment solitarTj touching the incorporation of poivders
and liquors.

298. Most powders grow more close and coherent
by mixture of water, than by mixture of oil, though
oil be the thicker body ; as meal, etc. The reason is
the congruity of bodies ; which if it be more, maketh a
perfecter imbibition and incorporation ; which in most
powders is more between them and water, than between
them and oil ; but painters colours ground, and ashes,
do better incorporate with oil.

Experiment solitary touching exercise (ft fie body.

299. Much motion and exercise is good for some
bodies ; and sitting and less motion for others. If the
body be hot and void of superfluous moistures, too
much motion hurtcth : and it is an erior in physicians,
to call too much upon exercise. Likewise men ought
to beware, that they use not exercise and a spare diet
both : but if much exercise, then a plentiful diet ;
and if sparing diet, then little exercise. The benefits
that come of exercise are, first, that it sendeth nourish-


meiit into the parts more forcibly. Secondly, that it
helpeth to excern by sweat, and so maketh the parts
assimilate the more perfectly. Thirdly, that it maketh
the substance of the body more solid and compact ;
and so less apt to be consumed and depredated by the
spirits. Tlie evils that come of exercise are, first, that
it maketh the spirits more hot and predatory. Second-
ly, that it doth absorb likewise, and attenuate too
much the moisture of the body. Thirdly, that it
maketli too great concussion, especially if it be violent,
of the inward parts, which delight more in rest. But
generally exercise, if it be much, is no friend to pro-
longation of life ; which is one cause why women live
longer than men, because they stir less.

Experimenl solitary touching meats that induce satiety.

300. Some food we may use long, and much, with-
out glutting ; as bread, flesh that is not fat or rank, etc.
Some other, though pleasant, glutteth sooner; as
sweet-meats, fat meats, etc. The cause is, for that
appetite consisteth in the emptiness of the mouth of
the stomach ; or possessing it with somewhat that is
astringent ; and therefore cold and dry. But things
that are sweet and fat are more filling ; and do swing
and hang more about the mouth of the stomach ; aind
go not down so speedily : and again turn sooner to
choler, which is hot, and ever abateth the appetite.
We see also that another cause of satiety is an over-
custom ; and of appetite is novelty ; and therefore
meats, if the same be continually taken, induce loath-
ing. To give the reason of the distaste of satiety, and
of the pleasure in novelty ; and to distinguish not only
in meats and drinks, but also in motions, loves, com-
pany, delights, studies, what they be that custom
maketh more grateful, and what more tedious, were a
large field. But for meats, the cause is attraction,
which is quicker, and more excited towards that which
is new, than towards that whereof there remaineth a
relish by fonner use. And, generally, it is a rule,
that whatsoever is somewhat ingrate at first, is made
gratefid by custom ; but whatsoever is too pleasing at
first, groweth quickly to satiate.



Experimenis in consort touching tlie clarification of liquors,
and the accelerating thereof.

Acceleration of time, in works of nature, may well
be esteemed inter mag)ialia naturce. And even in
divine miracles, accelerating of the time is next to the
creating of the matter. We will now therefore proceed
to the inquiry of it : and for acceleration of germi-
nation, we will refer it over unto the place where we
shall handle the subject of plants generally ; and will
now begin with other accelerations.

301. Liquors are, many of them, at the first thick
and troubled ; as muste, wort, jidces of fruits, or herbs
expressed, etc. and by time they settle and clarify.
But to make them clear before the time is a great work ;
for it is a spur to nature, and putteth her out of her
pace : and, besides, it is of good use for making drinks
and sauces potable and serviceable speedily. But to
know the means of accelerating clarification, wc must
first know the causes of clarification. The first cause
is, by the separation of the grosser parts of the liquor
from the finer. The second, by the equal distribution
of the spirits of the liquor with the tangible parts :
for that ever representeth bodies clear and luitroublcd.
The third, by the refining the spirit itself, wliich
thereby giveth to the liquor more splendour and more

.'302. First, for separation, it is wrought by weight,
as in the ordinary residence or settlement of liquors ;
by heat, by motion, by precipitation, or sublimation,
that is, a calling of the several parts either up or down,
wliich is a kind of attraction ; by adhesion, as wlien a
body more viscous is mingled and agitated with the


liquor, which viscous body, afterwards severed, draweth
with it the grosser parts of the liquor ; and lastly, by
percolation or passage.

303. iSccondly, for the even distribution of the
spirits, it is wrought by gentle heat ; and by agitation
or motion, for of time we speak not, because it is that
we would anticipate and represent ; and it is wrought
also by mixture of some other body which hath a vir-
tue to open the liquor, and to make the spirits the
better pass through.

304. Thirdly, for the refining of the spirit, it is
wrought likewise by heat ; by motion ; and by mixture
of some body which hath virtue to attenuate. So
therefore, having shewn the causes, for the accelerating
of clarification in general, and the inducing of it, take
these instances and trials.

305. It is in common practice to draw wine or beer
from the lees, which we call racking, whereby it will
clarify much the sooner ; for the lees, though they keep
the drink in heart, and make it lasting, yet withal they
cast up some spissitude : and this instance is to be
referred to separation.

306. On the other side it were good to try, what
the adding to the liquor more lees than his own will
work ; for though the lees do make the liquor turbid,
yet they refine the spirits. Take therefore a vessel of
new beer, and take another vessel of new beer, and rack
the one vessel from the lees, and pour the lees of the
racked vessel into the unracked vessel, and see the
effect : this instance is referred to the refining of the

307- Take new beer, and put in some quantity of
stale beer into it, and see whether it will not accelerate
the clarification, by opening the body of the beer, and
cutting the grosser parts, wliercby they may fall down
into lees. And this instance again is referred to

308. The longer malt or herbs, or the like, are in-
fused in liquor, the more thick and troubled the liquor
is ; but the longer they be decocted in the liquor, the
clearer it is. The reason is plain, because in infusion,


the longer it is, the greater is the part of the gross
body that goeth into the liquor : but in decoction,
though more goeth forth, yet it either purgeth at the
top, or settleth at the bottom. And therefore the
most exact way to clarify is, first, to infuse, and then
to take off the liquor and decoct it ; as they do in beer,
which hath malt first infused in the liquor, and is after-
wards boiled with the hop. This also is referred to

309. Take hot embers, and put them about a bottle
filled with new beer, almost to the very neck ; let the
bottle be well stopped, lest it fly out : and continue it,
renewing the embers every day, by the space of ten
days ; and then compare it with another bottle of the

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 37 of 52)