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gether anywhere in great abundance, as it is a common and approved opinion of the well in Dalmatia; but to know such places of prisons, is very hard and difficult.

8. Optative. To work many fine, pleasant, and wonderful conceits by the motion of winds.

Next. We have not leisure to enter into consideration touching these things. Next to it is that common report of the duels of winds. Questionless many such pleasant things might very well be found out, both for motions and sounds of winds.






It is no marvel if nature be indebted to phi- | create out of nothing, and to reduce unto nothing, losophy and the sciences, seeing it was never yet and that by course of nature this can never be called upon to give an account, for there never was any diligent and dispensatory inquisition made of the quaintity of the matter, and how that had been distributed into bodies, (in some copiously, in others sparingly,) according to the true, or at least truest accounts that hath been truly received and approved of, that nothing is taken away and lost, or added unto the universal Likewise that place hath been treated upon by some, namely, how it can be loosened or contracted without intermixion or vacuity, according to more or less: but the natures of density and rarity, some have referred to the abundance or scarcity of the matter; another hath laughed at the same; the greatest part, following their author, to discuss and compose the whole matter by that cold and weak distinction of act and power. Those also who attribute them to the reasons of matter, (which is the true opinion,) do neither quite deprive the materia prima, or primary matter of its quantum, or quantity, though for other forms they will have it equal, but here do terminate and end the matter, and seek no further, nor do not perceive what followeth thereby; and either do not touch at all, or at least do not urge home that which hath a regard to infinites, and is, as it were, the basis and ground of natural philosophy.

First, therefore, that which is rightly set down must not be moved nor altered; namely, that there is no transaction made in any transmutation of bodies, either from nothing, or to nothing; but that they are works of the same omnipotence, to

done. Therefore the sum of the total matter stands still whole, nothing is added, nothing is diminished; yet that this sum is divided by portions amongst the bodies is unquestionable, for there can no man be so much beside himself through any subtile abstractions, as to think that there is as much matter in one vessel of water as in ten vessels of water, nor likewise in one vessel of air as much as in ten vessels of air; but in the same body there is no question but that the abundance of matter is multiplied according to the measure of the body, in divers bodies it is questionable. And if it be demonstrated that one vessel of water turned into air will yield ten vessels of air, (for we take this computation for a received opinion, though that of a hundred-fold be the truer,) it is well; for now they are no more divers bodies, water and air, but the same body of air in ten vessels; but one vessel of air (as it was but now granted) is but only the tenth part of ten vessels. Therefore it cannot be contradicted but that in one vessel of water there is ten times more matter than in one vessel of air: therefore, if one should affirm, that one whole vessel of water could be converted into one vessel of air, it were as much as if one should affirm that something could be reduced to nothing; forasmuch as one tenth part of water would suffice to do it, and the other nine parts must of necessity be reduced to nothing; and, contrariwise, if one should affirm that one vessel of air could be turned into a vessel of water, it would be as much as if he should say, that something could be created out


of nothing; for one vessel of air can attain and reach but unto the tenth part of a vessel of water, and the other nine parts must needs proceed from nothing. In the mean time we will plainly acknowledge and confess, that to understand the true means of the reasons and calculations of the how much part of the quantum, or how much of the matter which is in divers bodies, and by what industry and sagacity one may be truly informed thereof, is a high matter to be inquired; but such as the great and largely extended profit


which will accrue thereby will largely recompense. For to know the densities and rarities of the body, and much more, how to procure and effect the condensations and rarefactions, is of great importance and moment both to contemplative and to the practice. Seeing, then, it is a thing (if any there be at all) merely fundamental and universal, we must go carefully and prepared about it, seeing that all philosophy without it is loose and disjointed.



THE motion of gravity and lightness, the an- | any of the modern authors do any thing worth cients did illustrate with the name of natural speaking of concerning this, only by adding some motion, for they saw no external efficient, nor no apparent resistance; yea, the motion seemed swifter in its progress. This contemplation, or rather speech, they seasoned with that mathematical phantasy of the staying or stopping of heavy things at the centre of the earth, (although the earth should be bored quite thorow,) and that scholastical invention of the motion of bodies to their several places. Having laid, or set down these things, supposing they had done their parts, they looked no further, but only that which some of them more carefully inquired after, namely, of the centre of gravity in divers figures, and of such things as are carried by water. Neither did

few mechanical things, which they had also wrested with their demonstrations; but, laying many words aside, it is most certain that a body cannot suffer but by a body; neither can there be any local motion made, unless it be solicited or set forward, either by the parts of the body itself, which is moved, or by the adjacent bodies, which either touch it or are near unto it, or are, at least, within the orb of its activity. So that Gilbertus did not unknowingly introduce magnetic powers, he also becoming a loadstone, namely, drawing more things by those powers than he should have done, and building a ship, as it were, of a round piece of wood.



STRIFE and amity in nature, are the eggers on | impure, which also they call natural magic, and, of motions, and the keys of works. Hence proceeds the union and dissension of bodies; hence the mixion and separation of bodies; hence the high and intimate impressions of virtues, and that which they call joining of actives with passives; finally, they are the great and wonderful works of nature. But this part of philosophy, namely, of the sympathy and antipathy of things, is most

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(which always comes to pass,) where diligence and care hath wanted, there hath hope remained; but the operation thereof in men is merely like unto certain soporiferous medicines, which cast one asleep, and do, moreover, send and infuse inte him merry and pleasant dreams. For, first, it casts man's understanding into a sleep, representing unto him specifical properties and hidden vir


tues, whereby men awake no more, nor look after | bodies; and still they have in their mouths, and, the finding and searching out of true causes, but like undertakers or sureties, they call upon the acquiesce and lie still in these idle ways. Then it insinuates an innumerable company of fictions, like unto dreams; and vain men hope to know the nature by the outward shape and show, and, by extrinsical similitudes, to discover inward properties. Their practice, also, is very like unto their inquiry; for the precepts of natural magic are such as if men should be confident that they could subdue the earth, and eat their bread without the sweat of their brow, and to have power over things by idle and easy applications of

loadstone, and the consent which is between gold and quicksilver; and some few things of this kind they allege for to prove other things, which are not bound by any such like contract. God hath appointed the best of things to be inquired out, and be wrought by labours and endeavours. We will be a little more careful in searching out the law of nature and the mutual contracts of things, neither favouring miracles, nor making too lowly and straitened an inquisition.



THIS triple of principles hath been introduced by the chymists, and, as concerning speculatives, is of them which they bring the best invention. The most subtile and acute of these, and those who are most philosophical, will have the elements to be earth, water, air, and the sky; and those they will not have to be the matter of things, but the matrixes in which the specifical seeds of things do engender in the nature of a matrix. But, for the materia prima, or primary matter, (which scholars do lay down, as it were, naked and indifferent,) they substitute those three, sulphur, mercury, and salt; out of which all bodies are gathered together and mixed. We do accept of their words, but their opinions are not very sound. Yet that doth not ill agree with their opinion, namely, that we hold two of them, to wit, sulphur and mercury, (taken according to our sense,) to be very first and prime natures, and most inward figurations of matter, and almost chief amongst the forms of the first class. But we may vary the words of sulphur and mercury, and name them otherwise, oily, waterish, fat, crude, inflammable, not inflammable, or the like. For these seem to be two very great things of the three, and which possess and penetrate the universe, for, amongst subterraneal things, they are sulphur and mercury, as they are called; in

the vegetable and animal kind, they are oil and water; in the inferior spiritual things, they are air and flame; in the heavenly, the body of a star, and the pure sky; but of this last duality we yet say nothing, though it seem to be a probable deciphering; for, if they mean by salt the fixed part of the body which is not resolved either into flame or smoke, this belongeth to the inquisition of fluid and determinate things. But if we take salt according to the letter, without any parabolical meaning, salt is no third thing from sulphur and mercury, but mixed of both, connexed into one by an acrimonious and sharp spirit; for all manner of salt hath inflammable parts, and other parts, also, which not only will not take fire, but do also abhor it and fly from it: yet the inquisition of salt, being somewhat allied to the inquisition of the other two, and exceeding useful as being a tie and band of both natures, sulphureous and salt, and the very rudiment of life itself, we have thought fitting to comprehend it also within this history and inquisition; but, in the mean time, we give you notice, that those spiritual things, air, water, stars, and sky, we do (as they very well deserve it) reserve them for proper and peculiar inquisitions, and here in this place to set down the history only of tangible, that is to say, mineral or vegetable sulphur and mercury.



The entrance to this history will be found in the history itself, which follows next in order.








I AM to give advertisement, that there came forth of late a translation of this book by an unknown person, who, though he wished well to the propagating of his lordship's works, yet he was altogether unacquainted with his lordship's style and manner of expressions, and so published a translation lame and defective in the whole. Whereupon, I thought fit to recommend the same to be translated anew, by a more diligent and zealous pen, which hath since travelled in it; and, though it still comes short of that lively and incomparable spirit and expression, which lived and died with the author, yet, I dare avouch it to be much more warrantable and agreeable than the former. It is true, this book was not intended to have been published in English; but, seeing it hath already been made free of that language, whatsoever benefit or delight may redound from it, I commend the same to the courteous and judicious reader. W. R.



Although I had ranked the History of Life and Death as the last amongst my six monthly designations, yet I have thought fit, in respect of the prime use thereof, (in which the least loss of time ought to be esteemed precious,) to invert that order, and to send it forth in the second place. For I have hope, and wish, that it may conduce to a common good; and that the nobler sort of physicians will advance their thoughts, and not employ their times wholly in the sordidness of cures, neither be honoured for necessity only, but that they will become coadjutors and instruments of the Divine omnipotence and clemency in prolonging and renewing the life of man; especially, seeing I prescribe it to be done by safe, and convenient, and civil ways, though hitherto unassayed. For, though we Christians do continually aspire and pant after the land of promise, yet it will be a token of God's favour towards us in our journeyings through this world's wilderness, to have our shoes and garments (I mean those of our frail bodies) little worn or impaired.





It is an ancient saying and complaint, that life is short and art long; wherefore it behoveth us. who make it our chiefest aim to perfect arts, to take upon us the consideration of prolonging man's life, God, the author of all truth and life, prospering our endeavours. For, though the life of man be nothing else but a mass and accumulation of sins and sorrows, and they that look for an eternal life set but light by a temporary: yet the continuation of works of charity ought not to be contemned, even by us Christians. Besides, the beloved disciple of our Lord survived the other disciples; and many of the fathers of the church, especially of the holy monks and hermits, were long-lived; which shows, that this blessing of long life, so often promised in the old law, had less abatement after our Saviour's days than other earthly blessings had; but to esteem of this as the chiefest good, we are but too prone. Only the inquiry is difficult how to attain the same, and so much the rather, because it is corrupted with false opinions and vain reports: for both those things, which the vulgar physicians talk of, radical moisture and natural heat, are but mere fictions; and the immoderate praises of chymical medicines first puff up with vain hopes, and then fail their admirers.

And as for that death which is caused by suffocation, putrefaction, and several diseases, we speak not of it now, for that pertains to a history of physic; but only of that death which comes by a total decay of the body, and the inconcoction of old age. Nevertheless, the last act of death. and the very extinguishing of life itself, which may so many ways be wrought outwardly and inwardly, (which, notwithstanding, have, as it were, one common porch before it comes to the point of death,) will be pertinent to be inquired of in this treatise; but we reserve that for the last place.

Tha. which may be repaired by degrees, without a total waste of the first stock, is potentially eternal, as the vestal fire. Therefore, when physicians and philosophers saw that living creatures were nourished and their bodies repaired, but that this did last only for a time, and afterwards came old age, and in the end dissolution; they sought death in somewhat which could not properly be repaired, supposing a radical moisture incapable of solid reparation, and which, from the first infancy, received a spurious addition, but no true reparation, whereby it grew daily worse and worse, and, in the end, brought the bad to none at all. This conceit of theirs was both ignorant and vain ; for all things in living creatures are in their youth repaired entirely; nay, they are for a time increased in quantity, bettered in quality, so as the matter of reparation might be eternal, if the manner of reparation did not fail, But this is the truth of it. There is in the declining of age an unequal reparation; some parts are repaired easily, others with difficulty and to their loss; so as from that time the bodies of men begin to endure the torments of Mezentius: that the living die in the embraces of the dead; and the parts easily repairable, through their conjunction with the parts hardly repairable, do decay; for the spirits, blood, flesh, and fat are, even after the decline of years, easily repaired; but the drier and more porous parts (as the membranes, all the tunicles, the sinews, arteries, veins, bones, cartilages, most of the bowels, in a word, almost all the organical parts) are hardly repairable, and to their loss. Now, these hardly repairable parts, when they come to their office of repairing the other, which are easily repairable, finding themselves deprived of their wanted ability and strength, cease to perform any longer their proper functions. By which means it comes to pass, that in process of time the whole tends to dissolution; and even those very parts which, in their own nature, are with much ease repairable, yet, through the decay of the organs of reparation, can no more receive reparation, but decline, and in the end utterly fail. And the cause of the termination of life is this, for that the spirits, like a gentle flame, continually preying upon bodies, conspiring with the outward air, which is ever sucking and drying of them, do, in time, destroy the whole fabric of the body, as also the particular engines and organs thereof, and make them unable for the work of reparation. These are the true ways of natural death, well and faithfully to be revolved in our minds; for he that knows not the way of nature, how can he succour her or turn her about?

Therefore, the inquisition ought to be twofold; the one touching the consumption or depredation of the body of man, the other touching the reparation and renovation of the same: to the end, that

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