« AnteriorContinuar »
Experiment solitary touching caterpillars.
728. THE caterpillar is one of the most general of worms, 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 putrefy. 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 affinity with the silkworm.
Experiment solitary touching the flies 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 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 dischargeth 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 are, the snake, the viper, the grasshopper, the lizard, the silkworm, etc. Those that cast their shell are, the lobster, the crab, the crawfish, the hodmandod or dodman, the tortoise, etc. The old skins are 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 tenderness 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 sticketh not close to the flesh. For it is certain, that it is the new skin or shell that putteth off the old: so we see, that in deer it is the young horn that 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
733. LYING not erect, but hollow, which is in the making of the bed or with the legs gathered up, which is in the posture of the body, is the more wholesome. The reason is, the better comforting of the stomach, which is by that less pensile: and we see that in weak stomachs, the laying up of the 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 somewhat 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 the stomach and belly; as in rowing, and in sawing, being set.
734. MEGRIMS and giddiness are rather when we rise after long sitting, than while we sit. The cause is, for that the 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 have 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 solitary touching pestilential years.
736. IT hath been noted, that those years are pestilential and unwholesome, when there are great
numbers of frogs, flies, locusts, etc. The cause is plain; for that those creatures being engendered of putrefaction, when they abound, shew, a general disposition of the year, and constitution of the 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.
Experiment solitary touching the prognostics
737. Ir 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 abundance 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
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
rink it: and they take it, and sit at it in their coffeehouses, which are like our taverns. This drink comforteth the brain and heart, and helpeth digestion. Certainly this berry coffee, the 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 champed 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; of 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 are more forcible ever than leaves.
Experiment solitary touching paintings of the body.
739. THE Turks have a black powder, made of a mineral called alcohol, which with a fine long pencil they lay under their eye-lids, which doth colour them black; whereby the white of the eye is set off more white. With the same powder they colour also the hairs of their eye-lids, and of their eye-brows, which they draw into embowed arches. You shall find that Xenophon maketh mention, that the Medes used to paint their eyes. The Turks use with the same tincture to colour the hair of their heads and beards black. And divers with us that are grown grey, and yet would appear 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 the 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 have 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 anointing.
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