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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other motion, except itself be killed by a violent mo-
tion, as in these instances of arrows ; for then the
motion of attraction bv similitude of substance be-


ginneth to shew itself. But we shall handle this point
of nature fully in due place.

Experiment solitary touching certain drinks in Turkey.

705. They have in Turkey and the east certain con-
fections, which they call servets, which are like to can-
died conserves, and are made of sugar and lemons, or
sugar and citrons, or sugar and violets, and some other
flowers; and some mixture of amber for the more de-
licate persons : and those they dissolve in water, and
thereof make their drink, because they are forbidden
wine by their law. But I do much marvel, that no
Englishman, or Dutchman, or German, doth set up
brewing in Constantinople ; considering they have
such quantity of barley. For as for the general sort
of men, frugality may be the cause of drinking water;
for that it is no small saving to pay nothing for one's
drink ; but the better sort might well be at the cost.
And yet I wonder the less at it, because I see France,
Italy, or Spain, have not taken into use beer or ale ;
which, perhaps, if they did, would better both their
healths and their complexions. It is likely it would
be matter of great gain to any that should begin it in

Experiments in consort touching sweat.

706. In bathing in hot water, sweat, nevertheless,
cometh not in the parts under the water. The cause
is ; first, for that sweat is a kind of colliquation, and
that kind of colliquation is not made either by an
over-dry heat, or an over-moist heat : for over-moisture
doth somewhat extinguish the heat, as we see that
even hot water quencheth fire ; and over-dry heat
shutteth the pores : and therefore men will sooner
sweat covered before the sun or fire, than if they stood
naked : and earthen bottles, filled with hot water, do
provoke in bed a sweat more daintily than brick-bats
hot. Secondly, hot water doth cause evaporation
from the skin ; so as it spcndcth the matter in those
parts under the water, before it issueth in sweat.
Again, sweat cometh more plentifully, if the heat be


increased by degrees, than if it be greatest at first, or
equal. The cause is, for that the pores are better
opened by a gentle heat, than by a more violent ; and
by their opening, tlie sweat issucth more abundantly.
And therefore jihysicians may do well when tliey pro-
voke sweat in bed by bottles, with a decoction of sudo-
rific herbs in hot water, to make two degrees of heat
in the bottles ; and to lay in the bed the less heated
fh'st, and after half an hour, the more heated.

707. Sweat is salt in taste ; the cause is, for that
that part of the nourishment which is frcsli and sweet,
turneth into blood and flesh ; and the sweat is only
that part wliich is separate and excerned. Blood also
raw hath some saltness more than flesh : because the
assimilation into flesh is not without a little and sub-
tile excretion from the blood.

708. Sweat cometh forth more out of the upper
parts of the body than the lower ; the reason is, be-
cause those parts are more replenished with spirits ;
and the spirits are they that put forth sweat : besides,
they are less fleshy, and sweat issueth, chiefly, out of
the parts that are less fleshy, and more dry ; as the
forehead and breast.

709. ^len sweat more in sleep than waking ; and
yet sleep doth rather stay other fluxions, than cause
them ; as rheums, looseness of the body, etc. The
cause is, for that in sleep the heat and spirits do natu-
rally move inwards, and there rest. But when they
are collected once within, the heat becometh more
violent and irritate ; and thereby expelleth sweat.

710. Cold sweats are, many times, mortal, and
near death ; and always ill, and suspected; as in great
fears, hypochondriacal passions, etc. The cause is,
for that cold sweats come by a relaxation or forsaking
of the spirits, whereby the moistiu*e of the body, which
heat did keep firm in the parts, severeth and issueth

711. In those diseases which cannot be discharged
by sweat, sweat is ill, and rather to be stayed ; as in
diseases of the lungs, and fliLxes of the belly : but in
those diseases which are expelled by sweat, it easeth


and lighteiieth ; as in agues, pestilences, etc. The
cause is, for that sweat in the latter sort is partly cri-
tical, and sendeth forth the matter that ofFendeth ; but
in the former, it either proceedeth from the labour of
the spirits, which sheweth them oppressed ; or from
motion of consent, when nature, not able to expel the
disease where it is seated, moveth to an expulsion in-
different over all the body.

Eocperiment solitary touching the glow-iuorm.

712. The nature of the glow-worm is hitherto not
well observed. Thus much we see ; that they breed
chiefly in the hottest months of summer; and that they
breed not in champain, but in bushes and hedges.
Whereby it may be conceived, that the spirit of them
is very fine, and not to be refined but by summer
heats : and again, that by reason of the fineness, it
doth easily exhale. In Italy, and the hotter coun-
tries, there is a fly they call Lucciole^ that shineth as
the glow-worm doth ; and it may be is the flying glow-
worm. But that fly is chiefly upon fens and marshes.
But yet the two former observations hold; for they are
not seen but in the heat of summer ; and sedge, or
other green of the fens, give as good shade as buslies.
It may be the glow-worms of the cold countries ripen
not so far as to be winged.

Experiments in consort toi/ching the inipressiofis, which iht
passions of the mind make upon the body.

71 3. The passions of the mind work ui)on the body
the impressions following. Fear causetli paleness,
trembling, the standing of the hair uinight, starting,
and shrieking. The paleness is caused, for that the
blood runneth inward to succoiu* the heart. The trem-
bling is caused, for that through the flight of the spi-
rits inward, the outward ])arts are destituted, and not
sustained. Standing upright of the hair is caused,
for that by shutting of the pores of the skin, the
hair that lieth asloi)e must needs rise. Starting is both
an apprehension of tlie thing feared, and in that kind
it is a motion of slirinking, and likewise an incjuisition


ill the beginning, what the matter should be ; and in
that kind it is a motion of erection : and therefore
vvlien a man would listen suddenly to any thing, he
starteth ; for tlie starting is an erection of the spirits
to attend. Shrieking is an appetite of expelling that
which suddenly strikcth the spirits : for it must be
noted, that many motions, though they be unprofitable
to expel that which hurteth, yet they are offers of
nature, and cause motions by consent ; as in groaning,
or crying upon pain.

714-. Grief and pain cause sighing, sobbing, groan-
ing, screaming, and roaring ; tears, distorting of the
face, grinding of the teeth, sweating. Sighing is
caused by the drawing in of a greater quantity of
breath to refresh the heart that laboureth ; like a
great draught when one is thirsty. Sobbing is the
same thing stronger. Groaning, and screaming, and
roaring, are caused by an appetite of expulsion, as
hath been said : for when the spirits cannot expel the
thing that hurteth, in their strife to do it, by motion
of consent, they exjiel the voice. And this is when
the sj)irits yield, and give over to resist : for if one do
constantly resist pain, he will not groan. Tears are
caused by a contraction of the spirits of the brain ;
which contraction by consequence astringeth the
moisture of the brain, and thereby scndeth tears into
the eyes. And this contraction or compression causeth
also wringing of the hands ; for wringing is a gesture
of expression of moisture. The distorting of the face
is caused by a contention, first to bear and resist, and
then to expel ; which maketh the ])arts knit first, and
afterwards open. Grinding of the teeth is caused,
likewise, by a gathering and serring of the spirits
together to resist, which maketh the teeth also to set
hard one against another. Sweating is also a com-
pound motion, by tlie labour of the spirits, first to
resist, and then to expel.

715. Joy causeth a cheerfulness and vigour in the
eyes, singing, leaping, dancing, and sometimes tears.
AH these are the effects of the dilatation and coming
forth of the spirits into the outward parts ; which


maketli them more lively and stirring. We know it
hath been seen, that excessive sudden joy hath caused
present death, while the spirits did spread so much as
they could not retire again. As for tears, they are the
effects of compression of the moisture of the brain,
upon dilatation of the spirits. For compression of
the spirits worketh an expression of the moisture of
the brain by consent, as hath been said in grief. But
then in joy, it worketh it diversely ; viz. by pro-
pulsion of the moisture, when the spirits dilate, and
occupy more room.

716. Anger causeth paleness in some, and the
going and coming of the colour in others : also trem-
bling in some : swelling, foaming at the mouth,
stamping, bending of the fist. Paleness, and going
and coming of the colour, are caused by the burning
of the spirits about the heart ; which to refresh them-
selves, call in more spirits from the outward parts.
And if the paleness be alone, without sending forth
the colour again, it is commonly joined with some
fear ; but in many there is no paleness at all, but
contrariwise redness about the cheeks and gills;
which is by the sending forth of the spirits in an ap-
petite to revenge. Trembling in anger is likewise by
a calling in of the spirits ; and is commonly when
anger is joined with fear. Swelling is caused, both
by a dilatation of the spirits by over-heating, and by
a liquefaction or boiling of the humours thereupon.
Foaming at the mouth is from the fame cause, being
an ebullition. Stamping, and bending of the fist,
are caused by an imagination of the act of revenge.

717. Light displeasure or dislike causeth shaking
of the head, frowning and knitting of the brows.
These effects arise from the same causes that trem-
bling and horror do ; namely, from the retiring of the
spirits, but in a less degree. For the shaking of the
head is but a slow and definite trembHng ; and is a
gesture of slight refusal ; and we see also, that a dis-
like causeth, often, that gesture of the hand, which
we use when we refuse a thing, or warn it away. The
frowning and knitting of the brows is a gathering, or


serring of tlic spirits, to resist in some measure. And
we sec also this knitting of the hrows will follow upon
earnest studying, or cogitation of any thing, though
it be without dislike.

718. Shame causeth blushing, and casting down
of the eyes. Blushing is the resort of blood to the
face ; which in the passion of shame is the part that
laboureth most. And although the blushing will be
seen in the whole breast if it be naked, yet that is
but in passage to the face. As for the casting down
of the eyes, it proceedeth of the reverence a man
beareth to other men ; whereby, when he is ashamed,
he cannot indure to look firmly upon others : and we
see, that blushing, and the casting down of the eyes
both, are more when we come before many ; " ore
Pompeii quid moUius ? nunquam non coram pluribus
erubuit : " and likewise when we come before great
or reverend persons.

719. Pity causeth sometimes tears; and a flexion
or cast of the eye aside. Tears come from the same
cause that they do in grief: for pity is but grief in
another's behalf. The cast of the eye is a gestm'e of
aversion, or lothness to behold the object of pity.

720. Wonder causeth astonishment, or an immove-
able posture of the body ; casting up of the eyes to
heaven, and lifting up of the hands. For astonish-
ment, it is caused by the fixing of the mind upon
one object of cogitation, whereby it doth not spatiate
and transcur, as it useth ; for in wonder the spirits
fly not, as in fear ; but only settle, and are made less
apt to move. As for the casting up of the eyes, and
lifting up of the hands, it is a kind of appeal to the
Deity, which is the author, by power and providence,
of strange wonders.

721. Laughing causeth a dilatation of the mouth
and lips ; a continued expulsion of the breath, with
the loud noise, which maketh the interjection of
laughing ; shaking of the breasts and sides ; running
of the eyes with water, if it be violent and continued.
Wherein first it is to be understood, that laughing is
scarce, properly, a passion, but hath its source from


the intellect; for in laughing there ever precedeth
a conceit of somewhat ridiculous. And therefore it
is proper to man. Secondly, that the cause of laugh-
ing is but a light touch of the spirits, and not so
deep an impression as in other passions. And there-
fore, that which hath no affinity with the passions of
the mind, it is moved, and that in great vehemency,
only by tickling some parts of the body : and we see
that men even in a grieved state of mind, yet cannot
sometimes forbear laughing. Thirdly, it is ever
joined with some degree of delight : and therefore
exhilaration hath some affinity with joy, though it
be a much lighter motion : " res severa est verum
gaudium." Fourthly, that the object of it is deformity,
absurdity, shrewd turns, and the like. Now to speak
of the causes of the effects before mentioned, where-
unto these general notes give some light. For the
dilatation of the mouth and lips, continued expulsion
of the breath and voice, and shaking of the breast
and sides, they proceed, all, from the dilatation of the
spirits ; especially being sudden. So likewise, the
running of the eyes with water, as hath been formerly
touched, where we spake of the tears of joy and grief,
is an effect of dilatation of the spirits. And for sud-
denness, it is a great part of the matter : for we see,
that any shrewd turn that lighteth upon another; or
any deformity, etc. moveth laughter in the instant ;
which after a little time it doth not. So we cannot
laugli at any thing after it is stale, but whilst it is
new : and even in tickling, if you tickle the sides,
and give warning ; or give a hard or continued touch,
it doth not move laughter so much.

722. Lust causcth a flagrancy in the eyes, and
priapism. The cause of both these is, for that in lust,
the siglit and the touch are the things desired ; and
tlierefore the spirits resort to tliose parts which are
most affected. And note well in general, for that
great use may be made of the observation, that, ever-
more, the spirits, in all passions, resort much to tlie
parts that labour most, or are most affected. As in
tlie last whicli liath been mentioned, tliey resort to


the eyes and vcnereous parts : in fear and anger to the
heart : in shame to the face : and in Hglit dislikes to
the head.

Experiments in cor/sort tonching drunkenness.

723. It hath heen observed by the ancients, and is
yet beheved, that the s])erni of drunken men is un-
fruitful. The cause is, for that it is over-moistened,
and wanteth spissitude : and we have a merry saying,
that they that go drunk to bed get daughters.

724. Drunken men are taken with a plain defect,
or destitution in voluntary motion. They reel ; they
tremble ; they cannot stand, nor speak strongly. The
cause is, for that the spirits of the wine oppress the
spirits animal, and occupy ])art of the place where they
are ; and so make them weak to move. And therefore
drunken men are apt to fall asleep : and opiates, and
stupefactives, as poppy, hen-bane, hemlock, etc. induce
a kind of drunkenness, by tlie grossness of their vajiour ;
as wine doth by the quantity of the vapour. Besides,
they rob the spirits animal of their matter, whereby
they are nourished : for the spirits of the wine prey
upon it as well as they : and so they make the spirits
less supple and apt to move.

725. Drunken men imagine every thing turneth
round ; they imagine also tliat things come upon them ;
they see not well things afar off ; those things that they
see near hand, they see out of their place ; and some-
times they see things double. The cause of the
imagination that things turn round is, for that the
sj)irits themselves turn, being compressed by the vapour
of the wine ; for any liquid body upon compression
turneth, as we see in water : and it is all one to the
sight, whether the visual spirits move, or the object
moveth, or the medium moveth. And we see that long
turning round breedeth the same imagination. The
cause of the imagination that things come upon them
is, for that the spirits visual themselves draw back ;
which maketh the object seem to come on ; and besides,
when they see things turn round and move, fear
maketh them think they come upon them. The

VOL. I. 2 I


cause that they cannot see things afar off, is the weak-
ness of the spirits ; for in every megrim or vertigo
there is an obtenebration joined with a semblance of
turning round ; which we see also in the lighter sort
of swoonings. The cause of seeing things out of their
place, is the refraction of the spirits visual ; for the
vapour is as an unequal medium ; and it is as the sight
of things out of place in water. The cause of seeing
things double, is the swift and unquiet motion of the
spirits, being oppressed, to and fro ; for, as was said
before, the motion of the spirits visual, and the motion
of the object, make the same appearances ; and for
the swift motion of the object, we see, that if you fillip
a lute-string, it sheweth double or treble.

726. Men are sooner drunk with small draughts
than with great. And again, wine sugared inebriateth
less than wine pure. The cause of the former is, for
that the wine descendeth not so fast to the bottom of
the stomach, but maketh longer stay in the upper part
of the stomach, and sendeth vapours faster to the head ;
and therefore inebriateth sooner. And for the same
reason, sops in wine, quantity for quantity, inebriate
more than wine of itself. The cause of the latter is,
for that the sugar doth inspissate the spirits of the
wine, and maketh them not so easy to resolve into
vapour. Nay farther, it is thought to be some remedy
against inebriating, if wine sugared be taken after
wine pure. And the same effect is wrought either by
oil or milk, taken upon much drinking.

Experiment solitary touching the help or hurt of ivine,
though moderately used.

727- The use of wine in dry and consumed bodies
is hurtful ; in moist and full bodies it is good. The
cause is, for that the spirits of the wine do prey upon
the dew or radical moisture, as they term it, of the
body, and so deceive the animal spirits. But where
there is moisture enough, or superfluous, there wine
helpeth to digest, and desiccate the moisture.

Experiment solitary touching caterpillars.
728. The caterpillar is one of the most general of



woniris, and breedeth of dew and leaves ; for we see
infinite number of caterpillars which breed upon trees
and hedges, by which the leaves of the trees or hedges
are in great part consumed ; as well by their breeding
out of the leaf, as by their feeding upon the leaf.
They breed in the spring chiefly, because then there
is both dew and leaf. And they breed commonly when
the east winds have much blown ; the cause whereof
is, the dryness of that wind ; for to all vivification upon
putrefaction, it is requisite the matter be not too moist :
and therefore we see they have cobwebs about them,
which is a sign of a slimy dryness ; as we see upon
the ground, whereupon, by dew and sun, cobwebs breed
all over. We see also the green caterpillar breedeth
in the inward parts of roses, especially not blown, where
the dew sticketh ; but especially caterpillars, both the
greatest, and the most, breed upon cabbages, which
have a fat leaf, and apt to putrify. The caterpillar,
towards the end of summer, waxeth volatile, and
turneth to a butterfly, or perhaps some other fly.
There is a caterpillar that hath a fur or down upon it,
and seemeth to have afiinity with the silk- worm.

Experiment solitary touching the Jlies cantharides.

729. The flies cantharides are bred of a worm or
caterpillar, but peculiar to certain fruit-trees ; as are
the fig-tree, the pine-tree, and the wild brier ; all which
bear sweet fruit, and fruit that hath a kind of secret
biting or sharpness : for the fig hath a milk in it that
is sweet and corrosive ; the pine-apple hath a kernel
that is strong and abstersive : the fruit of the brier is
said to make children, or those that eat them, scabbed.
And therefore no marvel, though cantharides have
such a corrosive and cauterising quality ; for there is
not any other of the insecta, but is bred of a duller
matter. The body of the cantharides is bright
coloured ; and it may be, that the delicate coloured
dragon-flies may have likewise some corrosive quality.

Experiments in consort touching lassitude.

730. Lassitude is remedied by bathing, or anointing

2 I 2


with oil and warm water. The cause is, for that all
lassitude is a kind of contusion, and compression of the
parts ; and bathing and anointing give a relaxation or
emollition ; and the mixture of oil and water is better
than either of them alone ; because water entereth
better into the pores, and oil after entry softeneth
better. It is found also, that the taking of tobacco
doth help and discharge lassitude. The reason whereof
is, partly, because by cheering or comforting of the
spirits, it openeth the parts compressed or contused ;
and chiefly because it refresheth the spirits by the
opiate virtue thereof, and so dischargcth weariness, as
sleep likewise doth.

731. In going up a hill, the knees will be most
weary ; in going down a hill, the thighs. The cause
is, for that in the lift of the feet, when a man goeth
up the hill, the weight of the body beareth most upon
the knees ; and in going down the hill, upon the thighs.

Experiment solitary touching the casting of the skin and
shell in some creatures.

732. The casting of the skin is by the ancients
compared to the breaking of the secundine, or caul,
but not rightly : for that were to make every casting
of the skin a new birth : and besides, the secundine
is but a general cover, not shaped according to the
parts, but the skin is shaped according to the parts.
The creatures that cast their skin arc, the snake, the
viper, the grasshopper, the lizard, tlie silk-worm, etc.
Those that cast their shell are, the lobster, the crab,
the crawfish, the hodmandod or dodman, the tortoise,
etc. The old skins arc found, but the old shells never :
so as it is like, they scale off, and crumble away by
degrees. And they are known by the extreme tender-
ness and softness of the new shell, and sometimes by
the freshness of the colour of it. The cause of the
casting of skin and shell should seem to be the great
quantity of matter in those creatures that is fit to
make skin or shell : and again, the looseness of the
skin or shell, that stickcth not close to the flesh. For
it is certain, that it is the new skin or shell that put-


tcth oif the old : so vvc sec, that in tleer it is the young
horn tliat putteth off the old ; and in birds, the young
feathers put off the old : and so birds that have much
matter for their beak, cast their beaks, the new beak
putting off the old.

Experiments in consort touching the postures of the body.

733. Lying not erect, but hollow, which is in the
making of the bed : or with the legs gathered up,
whicli is in the posture of the body, is the more whole-
some. The reason is, tlie better comforting of the
stomach, which is by that less pensile : and we see that
in weak stomachs, the laying up of tlie legs high, and
the knees almost to the mouth, helpeth and comforteth.
We see also, that galley-slaves, notwithstanding their
misery otherwise, are commonly fat and fleshy ; and
the reason is, because the stomach is supported some-
what in sitting, and is pensile in standing or going.
And therefore, for prolongation of life, it is good to
choose those exercises where the limbs move more than

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 49 of 52)