Imágenes de páginas

moved have, by impulsion or by the motion of gravity continued, a compression in them as well downwards, as they have, when they are thrown or shot through the air, forwards. I conceive also that the quick loose 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 titillation. 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 being 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 cheek, doth tickle ; whereas a thing more obtuse, or a touch more hard, doth not. And for suddenness, we see no inan can tickle himself: 1 we see also that the palm of the hand, though it hath as thin a skin as the other parts mentioned, yet is not ticklish, because it is accustomed to be touched. Tickling also causeth laughter. The cause may be the emission of the spirits, and so of the breath, by a flight from titillation ; for upon tickling we see there is ever a starting or shrinking away of the part to avoid it; and we see also, that if you tickle the nostrils with a feather, or straw, it procureth sneezing; which is a sudden emission of the spirits, that do likewise expel the moisture. And tickling is ever painful, and not well endured.

· See Arist. Prob. xxxv. 2. and 6.; and compare Scaliger, Exercit. adv. Cardanum, 317.5.

Experiment solitary touching the scarcity of rain in

Egypt.) 767. It is strange, that the river of Nilus overflowing, as it doth, the country of Egypt, there should be nevertheless little or no rain in that country. The cause must be either in the nature of the water, or in the nature of the air, or of both. In the water, it may be ascribed either unto the long race of the water; for swift-running waters vapour not so much as standing waters ; or else to the concoction of the water; for waters well concocted vapour not so much as waters raw; no more than waters upon the fire do vapour so much after some time of boiling as at the first. And it is true that the water of Nilus is sweeter than other waters in taste ; and it is excellent good for the stone, and hypochondriacal melancholy ; which sheweth it is lenifying; and it runneth through a country of a hot climate, and flat, without shade either of woods or hills ; whereby the sun must needs have great power to concoct it. As for the air, (from whence I conceive this want of showers cometh chiefly,) the cause must be, for that the air is of itself thin and thirsty ; and as soon as ever it getteth any moisture from the water, it imbibeth and dissipateth it in the whole body of the air ; and suffereth it not to remain in vapour, whereby it might breed rain.

Experiment solitary touching clarification. 768. It hath been touched in the title of percolations (namely, such as are inwards), that the whites of eggs and milk do clarify ; and it is certain that in Egypt they prepare and clarify the water of Nile, by putting it into great jars of stone, and stirring it about with a few stamped almonds; wherewith they also besmear the mouth of the vessel ; and so draw it off, after it hath rested some time. It were good to try this clarifying with almonds in new beer or must, to hasten and perfect the clarifying. Experiment solitary touching plants without leaves. 769. There be scarce to be found any vegetables

i The substance of this and the next paragraph is taken from Sandys, i Sandys, p. 85. The word long is, as we see on referring to Sandys, an erratum. It ought to be lov.

· . that have branches and no leaves, except you allow y coral for one. But there is also in the deserts of S. Macario in Egypt, a plant which is long, leafless, brown of colour, and branched like coral, save that it closeth at the top. This being set in water within house, spreadeth and displayeth strangely; and the people thereabout have a superstitious belief, that in the labour of women it helpeth to the easy deliverance.1

Experiment solitary touching the materials of glass.

770. The crystalline Venice glass is reported to be a mixture in equal portions of stones brought from Pavia by the river Ticinum, and the ashes.of a weed, called by the Arabs kall, which is gathered in a desert between Alexandria and Rosetta ; and is by the Egyptians used first for fuel ; and then they crush the ashes into lumps like a stone, and so sell them to the Venetians for their glass-works.?


2 Ib. p. 90.

Experiment solitary touching prohibition of putrefaction,

and the long conservation of bodies. 771. It is strange, and well to be noted, how long carcasses have continued uncorrupt, and in their former dimensions; as appeareth in the mummies of Egypt; having lasted, as is conceived, (some of them) three thousand years. It is true, they find means to draw forth the brains, and to take forth the entrails, which are the parts aptest to corrupt. But that is nothing to the. wonder: for we see what a soft and corruptible substance the flesh of all the other parts of the body is. But it should seem that, according to our observation and axiom in our hundredth experiment, putrefaction, which we conceive to be so natural a period of bodies, is but an accident; and that matter maketh not that haste to corruption that is conceived. And therefore bodies in shining amber, in quicksilver, in balms (whereof we now speak), in wax, in honey, in gums, and it may be) in conservatories of snow, &c., are preserved very long. It need not go for repetition, if we resume again that which we said in the aforesaid experiments concerning annihilation ; namely, that if you provide against three causes of putrefaction, bodies will not corrupt : the first is, that the air be excluded; for that undermineth the body, and conspireth with the spirit of the body to dissolve it. The second is, that the body adjacent and ambient be not commaterial, but merely heterogeneal towards the body that is to be preserved; for if nothing can be received by the one, nothing can issue from the other ; such are quicksilver and white amber, to herbs and flies, and such bodies. The third is, that the body

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


to be preserved be not of that gross that it may corrupt within itself, although no part of it issue into the body adjacent: and therefore it must be rather thin and small, than of bulk. There is a fourth remedy also; which is, that if the body to be preserved be of bulk, as a corpse is, then the body that incloseth it must have a virtue to draw forth and dry the moisture of the inward body; for else the putrefaction will play within, though nothing issue forth. I remember Livy doth relate, that there were found at a time two coffins of lead in a tomb; whereof the one contained the body of King Numa; it being some four hundred years after his death ; and the other, his books of sacred rites and ceremonies, and the discipline of the pontiffs; and that in the coffin that had the body, there was nothing at all to be seen, but a little light cinders about the sides but in the coffin that had the books, they were found as fresh as if they had been but newly written, being written in parchment, and covered over with watch-candles of wax three or four fold. By this it seemeth that the Romans in Numa's time were not so good embalmers as the Egyptians were ; which was the cause that the body was utterly consumed. But I find in Plutarch and others, that when Augustus Cæsar visited the sepulchre of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, he found the body to keep his dimension ; but withal, that notwithstanding all the embalming, (which no doubt was of the best,) the body was so tender, as Cæsar, touching but the nose of it, defaced it. Which

1 This story is not mentioned by Plutarch, nor, so far as I am aware, by any authorities except Suetonius and Dio Cassius. The latter mentions that Augustus broke off a piece of the nose. See Suet. in Aug. ii. 18., and Dio Cassius, li. § 16. The opening of Numa's coffin is described by Livy, xl. 29., who, however, does not say that any cinders were found in it.

« AnteriorContinuar »