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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the stomach and belly ; as in rowing, and in sawing,
being set.

734. IMcgrims and giddiness are rather when we
rise after long sitting, than while we sit. The cause
is, for that tlie vapours, which were gathered by sitting,
by the sudden motion fly more up into the head.

735. Leaning long upon any part maketh it numb,
and, as we call it, asleep. The cause is, for that the
compression of the part suffereth not the spirits to
liave free access ; and therefore when we come out of
it, we feel a stinging or pricking, which is the re-
entrance of the spirits.

Experiment solilary touching pestilential years'.

736. It hath been noted, that those years are pesti-
lential and unwholesome, when there are great num-
bers of frogs, flies, locusts, etc. The cause is plain ;
for that those creatures being engendered of putre-
faction, when they abound, shew a general disposition
of the year, and constitution of tlie air, to diseases of
putrefaction. And the same prognostic, as hath been


said before, holdeth, if you find worms in oak-apples :
for the constitution of the air appeareth more subtilly
in any of these things, than to the sense of man.

Eocpenment solitary touching the prognostics of Jiard winters.

737- It is an observation amongst country people,
that years of store of haws and hips do commonly
portend cold winters ; and they ascribe it to God's
providence, that, as the Scripture saith, reacheth even
to the falling of a sparrow ; and much more is like to
reach to the preservation of birds in such seasons. The
natural cause also may be the want of heat, and abun-
dance of moisture, in the summer precedent ; which
putteth forth those fruits, and must needs leave great
quantity of cold vapours not dissipated ; which causeth
the cold of the winter following.

Experiment solitary touching medicines that condense
ana relieve the spirits.

738. They have in Turkey a drink called coffee,
made of a berry of the same name, as black as soot,
and of a strong scent, but not aromatical ; which they
take, beaten into powder, in water, as hot as they can
drink it : and they take it, and sit at it in their coffee-
houses, which are like our taverns. This drink com-
forteth the brain and heart, and helpeth digestion.
Certainly this berry coffee, tlie root and leaf beetle, the
leaf tobacco, and the tear of poppy, opium, of which
the Turks are great takers, supposing it expelleth all
fear, do all condense the spirits, and make them strong
and aleger. But it seemeth they are taken after several
manners ; for coffee and opium are taken down, tobacco
but in smoke, and beetle is but cliamped in the mouth
with a little lime. It is like there are more of them,
if they were well found out, and well corrected. Query,
of henbane-seed ; of mandrake ; of saffron, root and
flower; oi folium indicum ; of ambergrease ; of the
Assyrian amomum, if it may be had ; and of the
scarlet powder which they call kermes ; and, generally,
of all such things as do inebriate and provoke sleep.
Note that tobacco is not taken in root or seed, which
arc more forcible ever than leaves.


Experimeni solitary louching paintings oj the body.

739. The Turks have a l)Lick powder, made of a
mineral called alcohol, whicli with a fine long pencil
they lay under tlieir eye lids, which doth colour tlieni
black ; whereby tlie white of the eye is set off more
white. With the same powder they colour also the
hairs of their eye-lids, and of tlieir eye-brows, which
they draw into embowcd arches. You shall find that
Xenophon maketh mention, that the jNIedes used to
paint tlieir eyes. The Turks use with the same tinc-
ture to colour the hair of their heads and beards black.
And divers with us that are grown grey, and yet
would apjiear young, find means to make their hair
black, by combing it, as they say, with a leaden comb,
or the like. As for the Chineses, who are of an ill
complexion, being olivaster, they paint their cheeks
scarlet, especially their king and grandees. Generally,
barbarous people, that go naked, do not only paint
themselves, but they pounce and raise their skin,
that tlie painting may not be taken forth ; and make
it into works. So do the West Indians ; and so did
the ancient Picts and Britons ; so that it seemeth men
would liave the colours of birds feathers, if they could
tell how ; or at least they will have gay skins instead
of gay clothes.

Experiment solitary touching the use of bathing and

740. It is strange that the use of bathing, as a
part of diet, is left. With the Romans and Grecians
it was as usual as eating or sleeping ; and so is it
amongst the Turks at this day ; whereas with us it
remaineth but as a part of physic. I am of opinion,
that the use of it, as it was with the Romans, w^as -
hurtful to health ; for that it made the body soft, and
easy to waste. For the Turks it is more proper, be-
cause that their drinking w^ater and feeding upon rice,
and other food of small nourishment, maketh their
bodies so solid and hard, as you need not fear that
bathing should make them frothy. Besides, the Turks
are great sitters, and seldom walk ; whereby they sweat


less, and need bathing more. But yet certain it is that
bathing, and especially anointing, may be so used as
it may be a great help to health, and prolongation of
life. But hereof we shall speak in due place, when
we come to handle experiments medicinal.

Experiment solitary touching chambletting of paper.

74 1 . The Turks have a pretty art of chambletting
of paper, which is not with us in use. They take
divers oiled colours, and put them severally, in drops,
upon water, and stir the water lightly, and then wet
their paper, being of some thickness, with it, and the
paper will be waved and veined, like chamblet or

Experiment solitary touching cuttle-ink.

742. It is somewhat strange, that the blood of all
birds and beasts and fishes should be of a red colour,
and only the blood of the cuttle should be as black as
ink. A man would thiuk, that the cause should be
the high concoction of that blood ; for we see in ordi-
nary puddings, that the boiling turneth the blood to
be black ; and the cuttle is accounted a delicate meat,
and is much in request.

Experiment solitary touching increase of iveight in earth.

743. It is reported of credit, that if you take earth
from land adjoining to the river of Nile, and preserve
it in that manner tliat it neither come to be wet nor
wasted ; and weigh it daily, it will not alter weight
until the seventeenth of June, which is the day when
the river beginneth to rise ; and then it will grow more
and more ponderous, till the river cometh to its heiglit.
Which if it be true, it cannot be caused but by the
air, which then beginneth to condense ; and so turneth
within that small mold into a degree of moisture, which
j)roduceth weight. So it hath been observed, that
tobacco cut, and weighed, and then dried by the fire,
loseth weight ; and after being laid in the open air,
recovereth weight again. And it should seem, that
as soon as ever the river beginnetli to increase, the


whole body of the air thereabouts suffereth a change :
for, that which is more strange, it is credibly affirmed,
that upon that very day when the river first riseth,
great plagues in Cairo use suddenly to break up.

Experiments in consort touching sleep.

744. Those that are very cold, and especially in
their feet, cannot get to sleep : the cause may be, for
that in sleep is required a free respiration, which cold
doth shut in and hinder ; for we see that in great colds
one can scarce draw his breath. Another cause may
be, for that cold calleth the spirits to succour ; and
therefore they cannot so well close, and go together in
the head : which is ever requisite to sleep. And for
the same cause, pain and noise hinder sleep ; and dark-
ness, contrariwise, furthereth sleep.

745. Some noises, whereof we spake in the hundred
and twelfth experiment, help sleep : as the blowing of
the wind, the trickling of water, humming of bees,
soft singing, reading, etc. The cause is, for that they
move in the spirits a gentle attention ; and whatsoever
moveth attention witliout too much labour stilleth the.
natural and discursive motion of the spirits.

746. Sleep nourisheth, or at least preserveth bodies,
a long time, without other nourishment. Beasts that
sleep in winter, as it is noted of wild bears, during
their sleep wax very fat, though they eat nothing.
Bats have been found in ovens, and other hollow close
places, matted one upon another : and therefore it is
likely that they sleep in the winter time, and eat no-
thing. Queri/, whether bees do not sleep all winter,
and spare their honey ? Butterflies, and other flies,
do not only sleep, but lie as dead all winter ; and yet
with a little heat of sun or fire, revive again. A dor-
mouse, both winter and summer, will sleep some days
together, and eat nothing.

Experiments in consort touching teeth and hard substances
in the bodies of living creatures.

To restore teeth in age, were magnale natura. It
may be thought of. But howsoever, the nature of the


teeth deserveth to be inquired of, as well as the other
parts of living creatures bodies.

747. There be five parts in the bodies of living-
creatures, that are of hard substance ; the skull, the
teeth, the bones, the horns, and the nails. The
greatest quantity of hard substance continued is to-
wards the head. For there is the skull of an entire
bone ; there are the teeth ; there are the maxillary
bones ; there is the hard bone that is the instrument
of hearing ; and thence issue the horns ; so that the
building of living creatures bodies is like the building
of a timber house, where the walls and other parts
have columns and beams ; but the roof is, in the bet-
ter sort of houses, all tile, or lead, or stone. As for
birds, they have three other hard substances proper to
them ; the bill, which is of like matter with the teeth:
for no birds have teeth : the shell of the egg : and
their quills : for as for their spur, it is but a nail.
But no living creatures that have shells very hard, as
oisters, cockles, muscles, scallops, crabs, lobsters, craw-
fish, shrimps, and especially the tortoise, have bones
within them, but only little gristles.

748. Bones, after full growth, continue at a stay ;
and so doth the skull : horns, in some creatures, are
cast and renewed : teeth stand at a stay, except their
wearing : as for nails, they grow continually : and
bills and beaks will overgrow, and sometimes be cast ;
as in eagles and parrots.

749. JMost of the hard substances fly to the ex-
tremes of the body : as skull, horns, teeth, nails, and
beaks : only the bones are more inward, and clad with
flesh. As for the entrails, they are all without bones;
save that a bone is, sometimes, found in the heart of a
stag ; and it may be in some other creature.

750. The skull hath brains, as a kind of marrow,
within it. The back-bone hath one kind of marrow,
which liath an affinity with the brain ; and otlier
bones of the body have another. The jaw-bones have
no marrow severed, but a little pulp of marrow dif-
fused. Teeth likewise arc thouglit to have a kind of
marrow diffused, which causcth the sense and pain ;


but it is rather sinew ; for marrow hath no sense ; no
more than blootl. Horn is ahke throughout ; and so
is the nail.

751. None other of the hard substances have sense,
but the teeth ; and the teeth have sense, not only of
pain but of cold.

But we will leave the inquiries of other hard sub-
stances unto their several places; and now inquire
only of the teeth.

752. The teeth arc, in men, of three kinds ; sharp,
as the fore-teeth ; broad, as the back-teeth, which we
call the molar- teeth, or grinders ; and pointed teeth,
or canine, which are between both. But there have
been some men that have had their teeth undivided,
as of one whole bone, with some little mark in the
place of the division ; as Pyrrhus had. Some crea-
tures have over-long or out-growing teeth, which we
call fangs, or tusks : as boars, pikes, salmons, and
dogs, though less. Some living creatures have teeth
against teeth ; as men and horses ; and some have
teeth, especially their master-teeth, indented one
within another like saws, as lions ; and so again have
dogs. Some fishes have divers rows of teeth in the
roofs of their moutlis ; as pikes, salmons, trouts, etc.
And many more in salt waters. Snakes and other
serpents have venomous teeth ; which are sometimes
mistaken for their sting.

753. No beast that hath horns hath upper teeth ;
and no beast that hath teeth above wanteth them be-
low : but yet if they be of the same kind, it followeth
not, that if the hard matter goeth not into upper
teeth, it will go into horns ; nor yet e convei^so ; for
does, that have no horns, have no upper teeth.

754. Horses have, at three years old, a tooth put
forth, which they call the colt's tooth ; and at four
years old there cometh the mark tooth, which hath a
hole as big as you may lay a pea within it ; and that
weareth shorter and shorter every year ; till that at
eight years old the tooth is smooth, and the hole gone ;
and then they say, that the mark is out of the horse's


755. The teeth of men breed first, when the child
is about a year and half old : and then they cast them,

J and new come about seven years old. But divers
have backward teeth come forth at twenty, yea some
at thirty and forty. Query ^ of the manner of the
coming of them forth. They tell a tale of the old
Countess of Desmond, who lived till she was seven-
score years old, that she did dentire twice or thrice ;
casting her old teeth, and others coming in their

756. Teeth are much hurt by sweetmeats ; and
by painting with mercury ; and by things over-hot ;
and things over-cold ; and by rheums. And the pain
of the teeth is one of the sharpest of pains.

757. Concerning teeth, these things are to be con-
sidered. 1. The preserving of them. 2. The keep-
ing of them white. 3. The drawing of them with
least pain. 4. The staying and easing of the tootli-
ach. 5. The binding in of artificial teeth, wlicrc
teeth have been strucken out. 6. And last of all, that
great one of restoring teeth in age. The instances
that give any likelihood of restoring teeth in age,
are the late coming of teeth in some ; and the renew-
ing of the beaks in birds, which are commaterial witli
teeth. Query, therefore, more particularly how that
Cometh. And again, the renewing of horns. But
yet that hath not been known to have been provoked
by art ; therefore let trial be made, whether horns
may be procured to grow in beasts that are not horn-
ed, and how ? And whether they may be procured
to come larger than usual ; as to make an ox or a
deer have a greater head of horns? And whether
the head of a deer, that by age is more spitted, may
be brought again to be more branched? for these
trials, and the like, will shew, whether by art such
liard matter can be called and provoked. It may be
tried also, whether birds may not liave sometliing
done to them when they are young, whereby they
may be made to have greater or longer bills ; or
greater and longer talons ? And whether children
may not have some wash, or something to make their


teeth better and stronger ? Coral is in use as an help
to the teeth of children.

Experiments in consort touching the generation and bear-
ing of living creatures in tlie womb.

758. Some living creatures generate but at certain
seasons of tlie year ; as deer, sheep, wild conies, etc.
and most sorts of birds and fishes : others at any time
of the year, as men ; and all domestic creatures, as
horses, hogs, dogs, cats. etc. The cause of generation
at all seasons scemeth to be fulness : for generation is
from redundance. This fulness ariseth from two
causes ; either from the nature of the creature, if it
be hot, and moist, and sanguine ; or from plenty of
food. For the first, men, horses, dogs, etc. which
breed at all seasons, are full of heat and moisture ;
doves are the fullest of heat and moisture amongst
birds, and therefore breed often ; the tame dove al-
most continually. But deer are a melancholy dry
creature, as appeareth by their fearfulness, and the
hardness of their flesh. Sheep are a cold creature, as
appeareth by their mildness, and for that they seldom
drink. JMost sort of birds are of a dry substance in
comparison of beasts. Fishes are cold. For the se-
cond cause, fulness of food ; men, kine, swine, dogs,
etc. feed full ; and we see that those creatures, which
being wild, generate seldom, being tame, generate
often ; which is from warmth, and fulness of food.
We find, that the time of going to rut of deer is in
September ; for that they need the whole summer's
feed and grass to make them lit for generation. And
if rain come early about the middle of September,
they go to rut somewhat the sooner; if drought,
somewhat the later. So sheep, in respect of their
small heat, generate about the same time, or some-
what before. But for the most part, creatures that
generate at certain seasons, generate in the spring ; as
birds and fishes ; for that the end of the winter, and
the heat and comfort of the spring preparetli them.
There is also another reason why some creatures ge-
nerate at certain seasons ; and that is the relation of


their time of bearing to the time of generation ; for
no creature goeth to generate whilst the female is full ;
nor whilst she is busy in sitting, or rearing her yoimg.
And therefore it is found by experience, that if you
take the eggs or young ones out of the nests of birds,
they will fall to generate again three or four times
one after another.

759. Of living creatures, some are longer time in
the womb, and some shorter. Women go commonly
nine months ; the cow and the ewe about six months;
does go about nine months ; mares eleven months ;
bitches nine weeks ; elephants are said to go two
years ; for the received tradition of ten years is fabu-
lous. For birds there is double inquiry ; the dis-
tance between the treading or coupling, and tlie lay-
ing of the egg ; and again, betw^een the egg laid, and
the disclosing or hatching. And amongst birds, tliere
is less diversity of time than amongst other creatures ;
yet some there is ; for the hen sitteth but three weeks,
the turkey-hen, goose, and duck, a month : Query, of
others. The cause of the great difference of times
amongst living creatures is, either from the nature
of the kind, or from the constitution of the womb.
For the former, those that are longer in coming to
their maturity or growth are longer in the womb ; as
is chiefly seen in men : and so elephants, which are
long in the womb, are long time in coming to their
full growth. But in most other kinds, the constitu-
tion of the womb, that is, the hardness or dryness
thereof, is concurrent with the former cause. For the
colt hath about four years of growth; and so the fawn ;
and so the calf. But whelps, which come to their
growth, commonly, within three quarters of a year,
are but nine weeks in the womb. As for birds, as
there is less diversity amongst them in the time of
their bringing forth ; so there is less diversity in the
time of their growth : most of them coming to their
growth within a twelvemonth.

760. Some creatures bring forth many young ones
at a burden : as bitches, hares, conies, etc. Some or-
dinarily but one ; as women, lionesses, etc. This may


be caused, either by their quantity of sperm required
to the producing one of that kind ; which if less be
required, may admit greater number; if more, fewer:
or by the partitions and cells of the womb, which may
sever the sperm.

Experiments in consort touching species visible.

761. There is no doubt, but light by refraction
will shew greater, as well as things coloured. For
like as a shilling in the bottom of the water will shew
greater ; so will a candle in a lanthorn, in the bottom
of the water. I have heard of a practice, that glow-
worms in glasses were put in the water to make the
fish come. But I am not yet informed, whether when
a diver diveth, having his eyes open, and swimmeth
upon his back ; whether, I say, he see things in the
air, greater or less. For it is manifest, that when the
eye standeth in the finer medium, and the object is in
the grosser, things shew greater: but contrariwise, when
the eye is placed in the grosser medium, and the ob-
ject in the finer, how it worketh I know not.

762. It would be well bolted out, whether great
refractions may not be made upon reflexions, as well
as upon direct beams. For example, we see, that
take an empty bason, put an angel of gold, or what
you will, into it ; then go so far from the bason, till
you cannot see the angel, because it is not in a right
line ; then fill the bason with water, and you shall see
it out of its place, because of the reflexion. To pro-
ceed therefore, put a looking-glass into a bason of
water ; I suppose you shall not see the image in a
right line, or at equal angles, but aside. I know not
whether this experiment may not be extended so, as
you might see the image, and not the glass ; which
for beauty and strangeness were a fine proof: for then
you should see the image like a spirit in the air. As
for example, if there be a cistern or pool of water, you
shall place over against it a picture of the devil, or
what you will, so as you do not see the water. Then
put a looking-glass in the water : now if you can see
the devil's picture aside, not seeing the water, it would


look like a devil indeed. They have an old tale in
Oxford, that Friar Bacon walked between two steeples;
which was thought to be done by glasses, when he
walked upon the ground.

Experiments in consort touching impulsion and per-

763. A weighty body put into motion is more
easily impelled than at first when it resteth. The
cause is, partly because motion doth discuss the torpor
of solid bodies ; w^hich, beside their motion of gravity,
have in them a natural appetite not to move at all ;
and partly, because a body that resteth, doth get, by
the resistance of the body upon which it resteth, a
stronger compression of parts than it liath of itself:
and therefore needeth more force to be put in motion.
For if a weighty body be pensile, and hang but by a
thread, the percussion will make an impulsion very near
as easily as if it were already in motion,

764. A body over-great or over-small, will not be
thrown so far as a body of a middle size : so that, it
secmeth, there must be a commensuration, or propor-
tion between the body moved and the force, to make
it move well. The cause is, because to the impulsion
there is requisite the force of the body that moveth,
and the resistance of the body that is moved : and if
the body be too great, it yicldeth too little ; and if it
be too small, it resisteth too little.

765. It is common experience, that no weight will
press or cut so strong, being laid upon a body, as
falling or strucken from above. It may be the air
hath some part in furthering the percussion ; but the
chief cause I take to be, for that the parts of the body
moved have by impulsion, or by the motion of gravity
continued, a compression in them, as well- downwards,
as they have when they arc thrown, or shot through
the air, forwards. I conceive also, that the quick loss
of that motion preventeth the resistance of the body
below ; and priority of the force always is of great
efficacy, as appeareth in infinite instances.


Experiment solitary touching tilillation.

766. Tickling is most in the soles of the feet, and
under the arm-holes, and on the sides. The cause is
the thinness of the skin in those parts, joined with
the rareness of hcing touched there : for all tickling
is a light motion of the spirits, which the thinness of
the skin, and suddenness and rareness of touch do
further : for we see a feather, or a rush, drawn along
the lip or check, doth tickle ; whereas a thing more
obtuse, or a touch more hard, doth not. And for
suddenness, we see no man can tickle himself: we see
also that the palm of the iiand, though it hath as

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 50 of 52)