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act of adoration to Anubis, or the Dog- Star, one of the chief deities of the

76 History of Nature. [BooK II.

the Dog-Star when it riseth, looking wistly upon it, and tes-
tifieth by sneezing, a Kind of Worship. As for Dogs, no
Man doubteth but all the Time of the canicular Days they
are most ready to run mad.


That the Stars have their several Influences in sundry Parts
of the Signs, and at divers Times.

MOREOVER 1 , the Parts of certain Signs have their peculiar
Force, as appeareth in the autumnal Equinox, and in Mid-
Winter ; at which Time we perceive that the Sun maketh
Tempests. And this is proved, not only by Rains and Storms,

Egyptians, will appear less absurd than at the first mention would
appear. For a similar reason Pliny ascribes religion to elephants, and
even poultry.

In his 28th book, the Author (ch. 2) has some observations on the
superstition of the Romans, relative to the act of sneezing ; and it is
not a little remarkable, that a similar practice, of imprecating a bless-
ing in such case, is not even now uncommon among ourselves. Wern.

1 In this chapter there is a confusion of cause and effect that is diffi-
cult to unravel ; and which can only be accounted for by involving what
are undoubtedly natural influences in modern times easily explained
with occult causes, the bounds of which the ancients were not able to
define. The influence of the sun's heat on currents of air, constituting
winds and tempests, and even its simple action on the texture of a
membrane, are thus confounded with the powers which the Signs of
the Zodiac were supposed to exert on the functions of the organs or re-
gions of the human body. According to this philosopy, each of the
twelve signs exerted a peculiar influence on a distinct portion ; beginning
with the head, which was governed by Aries; and proceeding downward
by regular spaces, each opposite sign in the Annual Circle became the
monarch of its season, until the Twins, opposite to Aries, displayed their
power over the feet. To the reproach of modern science, these imaginary
influences, which derived their origin in popular opinion, from a supposed
sympathetic connexion of the spirit pervading these signs a portion of
the great soul of the world (Note to ch. 1), and therefore a portion of
a very ancient idolatry maintains its place in the popular almanacs,
published under the superintendence of a public company especially
instituted for the promotion of an improved literature. Wern. Club.

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 77

but by many Experiments in Men's Bodies, and Accidents to
Plants in the Country. For some Men are struck by the
Planet, and blasted : others are troubled at certain Times in
their Bowels, Sinews, Head, and Mind. The Olive Tree, the
White Poplar, and Willows, turn their Leaves about at
Midsummer, at the Solstice. And contrariwise, in Mid-
winter, the Herb Pennyroyal flowereth fresh, even as it
hangs dry within the House. At which Time all Parch-
ments are so stretched with the Wind that they burst. A
Man might marvel hereat who marketh not by daily Expe-
rience, that one Herb called Heliotropium 1 , looketh toward
the Sun, ever as he goeth, turning with him at all hours,
notwithstanding he be shadowed under a Cloud. It is cer-
tain also, that the Bodies of Oysters, Mussels, Cockles, and
all Shell-fishes, grow and waste by the Power of the Moon ;
and some have found out by diligent Search, that the Fibres
in the Livers of Rats and Mice answer in Number to the
Days of the Moon's Age : also that the very little Creature,
the Emmet, feeleth the Power of this Planet, and always in
the Change of the Moon ceaseth from Work. It is the more
Shame to Man to be ignorant, especially seeing that he must
confess, that some labouring Beasts have certain Diseases in
their Eyes, which with the Moon do grow and decay. How-
beit the excessive Greatness of the Heaven and exceeding
Height thereof, divided as it is into seventy-two Signs, make
for him, and serve for his Excuse. These Signs are the
Resemblances of Things, or living Creatures, into which the
skilful Astronomers have digested -the Firmament. For Ex-
ample, in the Tail of Taurus there be seven, which they
have named Veryilice*; in the Forehead other seven called
SuculcB : and Bootes who followeth after the great Bear

1 This plant is again referred to (b. xxii. c. 21) as a good country-
man's weather-glass. It is a question whether it belong to the genus
Heliotropium of Linnaeus, or be not rather the Caltha PalustriSj or Marsh
Mary gold. Wern. Club.

3 Better known by the name of Pleiades. Wern. Club.

78 History of Nature. [BooK It.

The Causes of Rain, Showers, Winds, and Clouds.

I CANNOT deny, but without these Causes there arise
Rains and Winds : for it is certain there is exhaled from the
Earth a Mist, sometimes moist, at other Times smoky, by
Reason of hot Vapours. Also, that Clouds are produced by
Vapours which are gone up on high, or else of the Air
gathered into a watery Liquor : that they be thick, and of a
bodily Consistence, we collect by no doubtful Argument,
considering that they overshadow the Sun, which otherwise
may be seen through Water; as they know well that dive to
any good Depth,

Of Thunder and Lightning. 1

I WOULD not deny, therefore, that the fiery Impressions
from Stars above, may fall upon these Clouds, such as we
oftentimes see to shoot in clear and fair Weather : by the
forcible Stroke whereof, good Reason it is. that the Air
should be mightily shaken, seeing that Darts when they are
discharged, make a Noise as they fly. But when they en-
counter a Cloud, there ariseth a Vapour with a dissonant
Sound (as when a red-hot Iron maketh an Hissing when
thrust into Water), and Smoke rolls up in Waves. Hence
Storms are bred. And if this Flatus, or Vapour, do struggle
within the Cloud, Thunder is given out ; if it break through
still burning, then flieth out the Thunderbolt : if it be a

1 An attempt to explain the cause of thunder and lightning could
scarcely be otherwise than futile, in the entire absence of a knowledge of
the existence of such a matter as electricity. But any attempt at a natural
explanation was an effort of courage, and far in advance of the popular
opinion. On this account the Author is entitled to pardon, when, at the
conclusion of the chapter he finds himself disposed to make some conces-
sion, in admitting it to be possible, that some of these phenomena were
premonitory, and direct from the gods. Wern. Club.

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 79

longer Time in struggling, then Lightning-flashes are seen.
With these the Cloud is cloven ; with the other, burst in
sunder. The Thunders are the Blows given by the Fires
beating hard upon the Clouds : and therefore presently the
fiery Rifts of those Clouds do flash and shine. It is possible,
also, that the Wind, elevated from the Earth, being repelled,
and kept down by the Stars, and so restrained within a
Cloud, may thunder, while Nature choketh the rumbling
Sound all the while it striveth ; but sendeth forth a Crash
when it breaketh out, as we see in a Bladder puffed up with
Wind. Likewise it may be, that the same Wind or Spirit is
set on Fire by Attrition, as it violently passeth headlong
down. It may also be stricken by the Conflict of the Clouds,
as if two Stones hit one against another ; and so the Flashes
sparkle forth. But all these are Accidents. And from hence
come those insignificant and vain Lightnings, which have no
natural Cause. With these are Mountains and Seas smitten :
and of this Kind be all other Explosions that do no Hurt to
living Creatures. Those that come from above, and of fixed
Causes, yea, and from their proper Stars, foretel future
Events. In like Manner, it may be that the Winds, or rather
Blasts, proceed from a dry Exhalation of the Earth, void of
all Moisture : neither will I deny that they arise from Waters
breathing out an Air, which neither can thicken into a Mist,
nor gather into Clouds : also they may be driven by the
Impulsion of the Sun, because the Wind is conceived to be
Nothing else but the flowing of the Air, and that by many
means. For some we see to rise out of Rivers, Snows, and
Seas, even when they be still and calm : as also others out of
the Earth, which Winds they name Altani. And those verily
when they come back again from the Sea, are called Tropcei:
if they go onward, Apogcei.

What is the Reason of the Resounding of the Echo.

BUT the Windings of Hills, and their close Turnings,
their many Tops, their Ridges also bending like an Elbow,

80 History of Nature. [BooK II.

and arched, as it were, into Shoulders, together with the
Hollows of Vallies, do cut unequally the Air that reboundeth
from them : which is the Cause of reciprocal Voices called
Echoes, answering one another in many Places.

Of Winds again.

THERE are, again, certain Caves 1 which breed Winds with-
out end : such as that one which is in the Edge of Dalmatia,
gaping with a wide Mouth, and leading to a deep Cavern :
into which, if there be cast any Matter of light Weight, be
the Day never so calm, there ariseth presently a Tempest like
a Whirlwind. The Place's Name is Senta. Moreover, in
the Province Cyrenaica there is reported to be a Rock con-
secrated to the South-wind, which without Profanation may
not be touched with Man's Hand ; but if it be, presently the
South-wind doth arise and cast up Heaps of Sand. Also in
many Houses there be hollow Places devised by Man's Hand
for the Receipt of Wind ; which being enclosed with Shade,
gather their Blasts. Whereby we may see how all Winds
have a Cause. But great Difference there is between such
Blasts and Winds. As for these, they be settled, and conti-
nually blowing ; which, not some particular Places, but
whole Lands do feel ; which are not light Gales nor stormy
Puffs of the Sea, named Aurce and Procellce, but properly

1 That there is an intimate connexion between the interior of the
earth and the atmosphere, operating in the production or direction of the
nature or force of winds, is exceedingly probable ; although the particular
instances here given are either imaginary, or strangely misinterpreted.
A simple change in the pressure of the atmosphere a meteorological
phenomenon of which the ancients were ignorant, from not being aware
that air possessed positive weight will account for many of these sudden
gusts from caverns ; and for those hollow murmurs that have been popu-
larly remarked in hilly countries, before the approach of a storm ; and
the utility of these outbursts will appear when we remember, that with-
out them, poisonous exhalations, as marsh miasmata, and carbonic acid
gas, would be suffered to accumulate, to the destruction of a neighbour-
hood. Wern. Club.

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 81

called Winds, by the masculine Name Venti : which, whether
they arise by the continual Motion of the Heaven, and the
contrary Course of the Planets ; or whether this Wind be
that Spirit of Nature that engendereth all Things, wandering
to and fro, as it were, in some Womb ; or rather the Air,
beaten and driven by the unlike Influences of the Planets,
and the Multiplicity of their Beams : or whether all Winds
come from their own nearer Stars ; or rather fall from them
that be fixed in the Firmament : plain it is, that they
are guided by an ordinary Law of Nature, not altogether
unknown, although it be not yet thoroughly known.

The Natures and Observations of the Winds.

MORE than twenty of the old Greek Writers have re-
corded their Observations of the Winds. I marvel so much
the more, that the World being so at Discord, and divided
into Kingdoms, that is to say, dismembered ; so many Men
have employed their Care to seek after these Things, so diffi-
cult to be found out ; and the more especially in Time of
Wars, and amid those Places where was no safe Abode ; and
especially when Pirates, those common Enemies to Mankind,
held well near all Passages of Communication : I marvel,
also, that at this Day each Man in his own Tract of Country
obtaineth more Knowledge of some Things by their Com-
mentaries, who never set Foot there, than he doth by the
Skill and Information of home-born Inhabitants ; whereas
now in Time of such blessed and joyous Peace, and under a
Prince who taketh such Delight in the Progress of the State
and of all good Arts, no new Thing is learned by farther
Inquisition ; nay, nor so much as the Inventions of old Wri-
ters are thoroughly understood. And verily it cannot be
said, that greater Rewards were in those Days given, consi-
dering that the Bounty of Fortune was dispersed : and in
truth, most of these learned Men sought out these Secrets
for no other Regard than to do good to Posterity. But
now Men's Customs are waxed old and decay : and notwith-


82 History of Nature. [BooK II.

standing that the Fruit of Learning be as great as ever it
was, yet Men are become idle in this behalf. The Seas are
open to all, an infinite Multitude of Sailors have discovered
all Coasts whatsoever ; they sail through and arrive fami-
liarly at every Shore ; but all is for Gain, nothing for the
Sake of Knowledge. Their Minds altogether blinded, and
bent upon nothing but Covetousness, never consider that the
same might with more Safety be performed by Science. And
therefore, seeing there be so many thousand Sailors that
hazard themselves on the Seas, I will treat of the Winds more
curiously than, perhaps, would otherwise be necessary to the
present Work.

Many Sorts of Winds.

THE Ancients observed four Winds 1 only, according
to so many Quarters of the World (and therefore Homer
nameth no more) : a feeble Reason this, as soon after it was
judged. The Age ensuing added eight more, and they were
on the other Side in their Conceit, too subtle and concise.
The modern Sailors have found a Mean between both : and
they put unto that short Number of the first, four Winds
and no more ; which they took out of the latter. Therefore
every Quarter of the Heaven hath two Winds to itself.
From the equinoctial Sun-rising bloweth the East Wind, Sub-
solanus: from the Rising thereof in Midwinter the South-east,
Vulturnus. The former of these two the Greeks call Apeliotes,
and the latter Eurus. From the Midday riseth the South
Wind : and from the Sun-setting in Midwinter the South-west,
Africus. They also name these two, Notus and Libs. From
the equinoctial going down of the Sun, the West Wind,

1 The impression of this precise number of winds appears to have been
popular ; and is referred to in the Book of Revelation by St. John, vii. 1 :
" I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the
four winds of the earth." Pliny evidently supposes that the winds were
not simply determined according to the quarter from which they blew,
but by separate and inherent qualities of heat, moisture, violence, health,
or sickness. Wern. Club.

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 83

JFavonius, cometh : but from that in Summer, the North-
west, Corns: and by the Greeks they are termed Zephyrus
and Argestes. From the North bloweth the North Wind, Sep-
tentrio: between which and the Sunrising in Summer is the
North-east Wind, Aquilo, named Aparctias and Boreas by the
Greeks. A greater Reckoning than this for Number is
brought in by some, who have thrust in four more between :
namely, Thracias between the North and the Summer Setting
of the Sun ; in like Manner Ccecias, in the midst between the
North-east, Aquilo, and that of the Sunrising in the equi-
noctial, Sub-solanus. Also, after the Sunrising in Summer,
Phceniceas in the midst, between the South-east and the South.
Last of all, between the South and the South-west, Lybo-
notus, just in the midst, compounded of them both, namely,
between the Meridian and the Sun-setting in Winter. But
here they did not end. For others have set one more, called
Mese, between the North-east Wind Boreas and Ccecias: also
JSuronotuSj between the South and South-west Winds. Besides
all these, there be some Winds peculiar to every Nation,
and which pass not beyond one certain Region : as, namely,
Scyros among the Athenians, declining a little from Argestes;
a Wind unknown to other Parts of Greece. In some other
Place it is more aloft, and the same then is called Olympias
(as coming from the Mountain Olympus). But the usual
Manner of Speech understandeth by all these Names Ar-
gestes only. Some call Ccecias by the Name of Hellespontias,
and give the same Winds in sundry Places divers Names.
In the Province, likewise, of Narbonne, the most notorious
Wind is Circius, and for violence inferior to none, driving
directly before it, very often, the Current at Ostia into the
Ligurian Sea. The same Wind is not only unknown in all
other Parts of the Heaven, but reacheth not so much as to
Vienna, a City in the same Province. As great and bois-
terous a Wind as this is otherwise, yet it meets with a Re-
straint before it come thither, and is kept within narrow
Bounds by the Opposition of a small Hill. Fabianus also
avoucheth, that the South Winds enter not so far as into
Egypt. Whereby the Law of Nature sheweth itself plainly,
that even Winds have their Times and Limits appointed.

84 History of Nature. [BooK II.

To proceed, then, the Spring openeth the Sea for Sailors:
in the Beginning whereof, the West Winds mitigate the Win-
ter Weather at the Time when the Sun is in the 25th Degree
of Aquarius, and that is the sixth Day before the Ides of
February. And this Order holdeth for the most Part with
all other Winds, which I will set down one after another : so
that in every Leap Year we anticipate and reckon one Day
sooner, and then again keep the same Rule throughout all
the four Years following. Some call Favonius (which begin-
neth to blow about the seventh Day before the Calends of
March) by the Name of Chelidonius, upon the Sight of the
first Swallows 1 : but many name it Orinthias, coming the
seventy-first Day after the shortest Day in Winter ; by occa-
sion of the coming of Birds : which Wind bloweth for nine
Days. Opposite to Favonius is the Wind which we called
Sub-solanus. Unto this Wind is attributed the Rising of the
Vergilice, or Seven Stars, in as many Degrees of Taurus, six
Days before the Ides of May ; which Time is a southerly
Constitution : and to this Wind the North is contrary.
Moreover, in the hottest Season of the Summer the Dog-star
ariseth, when the Sun entereth into the first Degree of Leo,
which commonly is the fifteenth Day before the Calends of
August. Before the Rising of this Star for eight Days'
Space, or thereabout, the North-east Winds blow ; which the
Greeks call Prodromi, or Forerunners. And two Days after
it is risen, the same Winds hold still more stiffly for the
Space of forty Days, which they name Etesia. The Sun's

1 Ovid (" Fasti ") says, on the day which is equivalent to about the
25th of February:

" Fallimur ? an veris praenuntia venit hirundo ?
Et metuit, nequa versa recurrat hyems ? "

" Am I deceived ? is that the swallow's wing ?
That flits along, the herald of the spring.
Fearful of cold, she still seeks shelter here ;
And dreads that winter may reclaim the year."

In Sardinia it is noted on the last day of the same month, in the " Calendar
of the Transactions of the Royal Academy of Brussels." But these are
early appearances ; and in general this bird arrives in Italy in the first
ten days of March. Wern. Club.

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 85

Vapour, redoubled by the Hotness of that Star, is thought to
be assuaged by them : and no Winds keep their set Times
better than they. Next after them come the South Winds
again, which are usually up, until the Star Arcturus riseth,
and that is eleven Days before the autumnal Equinox. With
it entereth Corns, and thus Corns beginneth the Autumn ;
and to this Vulturnus is contrary. After that Equinox about
four-and-forty Days, the Vergilice go down and begin Win-
ter, which Season usually falleth upon the third Day before
the Ides of November. This is the Winter North-east Wind,
which is far unlike to that in Summer, opposite and contrary
to Africus. Seven Days before the Midwinter Day, and as
much after, the Sea is allayed and calm for the Sitting and
Hatching of the Birds Halciones 1 , from which these Days
took the Name Alcionis: the Time behind belongs to Winter.
And yet these boisterous Seasons, full of Tempests, shut not
up the Sea : for Pirates at first forced Men, with Peril of
Death, to run headlong upon their Death, and to hazard
themselves in Winter Seas ; and now Covetousness compels
them to do the like.

The coldest Winds of all other are those which, we said,
blow from the North, and together with them their Neigh-
bour, Corns. These Winds allay all others, and drive away
Clouds. Moist Winds are Africus, and especially the South
Wind of Italy, called Auster. Men report also, that Ccecias
in Pontus gathereth to itself Clouds. Corns and Vulturnus
are dry, but only when they cease. The North-east and the
North produce Snow. The North Wind also bringeth Hail,
as doth Corns. The South Wind is exceeding hot. Vulturnus
and Favonius be warm. They also be drier than the East :

1 Ovid relates the fable of the origin of the Halcyon, or Alcyon,
" Metamorphoses," book xi. fable 10; and Pliny describes the bird in his
book x. c. 32. 2Elian also speaks of it, book i. c. 36 ; and he describes the
wonders of the nest, b. ix. c. 17, in a manner which the ancients gene-
rally appear to have regarded as substantially true; but it is scarcely
necessary to remark, that modern observation has not corroborated this
belief in any particular. In book xxxii. c. 8, Pliny speaks of a medicine
which was supposed to be prepared from the nest of the Alcyon, or King-
fisher. Wern. Club.

86 History of Nature. [BOOK II.

and generally all Winds from the North and West are drier
than from the South and East. Of all Winds the Northern
is most healthful : the Southern Wind is noisome, and the
rather when it is dry ; haply, because that when it is moist
it is the colder. During the Time that it bloweth, living-
Creatures are thought to be less hungry. The Etesice give
over ordinarily in the Night, and arise at the third hour of
the Day. In Spain and Asia they blow from the East : but
in Pontus, from the North : in other Quarters, from the
South. They blow also after the Midwinter, when they be
called OrinthicB ; but those are more mild, and continue
fewer Days. Two there be that change their Nature with
their Place : the South Wind in Africa bringeth fair Weather,
and the North Wind there is cloudy. All Winds keep their
Course in Order for the more Part, or else when one ceaseth
the contrary beginneth. When some are laid and the next
to them arise, they go about from the left Hand to the right,
according to the Sun. Of their Manner and Order monthly,
the fourth Day after the Change of the Moon doth most
commonly determine. The same Winds will serve to sail
contrary Ways, by means of setting out the Sails : so as many
Times in the Night, Ships in sailing run one against another.
The South Wind raiseth greater Billows than the North : for
that the South Wind ariseth below, from the Bottom of the
Sea ; the other descends from on high. And, therefore, after
Southern Winds, Earthquakes are most hurtful. The South
Wind in the Night Time is more boisterous, the Northern
Wind in the Day. The Winds blowing from the East con-
tinue longer than those from the West. The Northern Winds
give over commonly with an odd Number : which Observa-
tion serveth to good use in many other Parts of natural
Things, and therefore the male Winds are judged by the odd
Number. The Sun both raiseth and also allayeth the Winds.
At rising and setting he causeth them to blow : at Noontide
he represseth them in Summer. And therefore at Mid-day
or Midnight commonly the Winds are allayed ; for both Cold
and Heat, if they be immoderate, do consume them. Also,
Rain doth lay the Winds : and most commonly from thence
they are looked for to blow, where Clouds break and lay

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 87

open the Sky. And Eudoxus is of opinion (if we list to ob-
serve the least Revolutions) that after the End of every
fourth Year, not only all Winds, but, for the most Part, other
Tempests and Constitutions of the Weather, return again to
the same Course as before. And always the Lustrum 1 or Com-
putation of the five Years, beginneth at the Leap Year, when
the Dog-star doth arise. And thus much concerning general

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