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Experiments in consort touching drunkenness.
723. It hath been observed by the ancients, and is yet believed, that the sperm of drunken men is unfruitful. The cause is, for that it is over-moistened, and wanteth spissitude: and we have a merry saying, that they that go drunk to bed get daughters.
724. Drunken men are taken with a plain defect or destitution in voluntary motion. They reel; they tremble; they cannot stand, nor speak strongly. The cause is, for that the spirits of the wine oppress the spirits animal, and occupate part of the place where they are; and so make them weak to move. And therefore drunken men are apt to fall asleep and opiates and stupefactives (as poppy, henbane, hemlock, &c.) induce a kind of drunkenness, by the grossness of their vapour; as wine doth by the quantity of the vapour. Besides, they rob the spirits animal of their matter, whereby they are nourished: for the spirits of the wine prey upon it as well as they and so they make the spirits less supple and apt to move.
725. Drunken men imagine every thing turneth round; they imagine also that things come upon them; they see not well things afar off; those things that they see near hand they see out of their place; and (sometimes) they see things double. The cause of the imagination that things turn round is, for that the spirits themselves turn, being compressed by the vapour of the wine (for any liquid body upon compression turneth, as we see in water); and it is all one to the sight, whether the visual spirits move, or
1 For this and most of the statements in the next three paragraphs, see Arist. Prob. iii. 4, 5, 9, 10, and 12.
the object moveth, or the medium moveth. And we see that long turning round breedeth the same imagination. The cause of the imagination that things come upon them is, for that the spirits visual themselves draw back; which maketh the object seem to come on; and besides, when they see things turn round and move, fear maketh them think they come upon them. The cause that they cannot see things afar off, is the weakness of the spirits; for in every megrim or vertigo there is an obtenebration joined with a semblance of turning round; which we see also in the lighter sort of swoonings. The cause of seeing things out of their place, is the refraction of the spirits visual; for the vapour is an unequal medium; and it is as the sight of things out of place in water. The cause of seeing things double, is the swift and unquiet motion of the spirits (being oppressed) to and fro; for (as was said before) the motion of the spirits visual, and the motion of the object, make the same appearances and for the swift motion of the object, we see that if you fillip a lute-string, it sheweth double or treble.
726. Men are sooner drunk with small draughts than with great. And again, wine sugared inebriateth less than wine pure. The cause of the former is, for that the wine descendeth not so fast to the bottom of the stomach, but maketh longer stay in the upper part of the stomach, and sendeth vapours faster to the head; and therefore inebriateth sooner. And for the same reason, sops in wine (quantity for quantity) inebriate more than wine of itself. The cause of the latter is, for that the sugar doth inspissate the spirits of the wine, and maketh them
not so easy to resolve into vapour.
Nay further, it
is thought to be some remedy against inebriating, if wine sugared be taken after wine pure. And the same effect is wrought either by oil or milk, taken upon much drinking.
Experiment solitary touching the help or hurt of wine, though moderately used.
727. The use of wine in dry and consumed bodies is hurtful; in moist and full bodies it is good. The cause is, for that the spirits of the wine do prey upon the dew or radical moisture (as they term it) of the body, and so deceive the animal spirits. But where there is moisture enough, or superfluous, there wine helpeth to digest and desiccate the moisture.
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 him, and seemeth to have affinity with the silk-worm.
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 briar; 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 briar 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
1 All the species of the genus Cantharis, if not all the family of which this genus is the type, appear to have more or less the power of irritating the skin. The one commonly employed, namely Cantharis vesicatoria, seems to be preferred chiefly because on account of its gregarious habits it is more easily obtained. That it is only found on fruit-trees is an error. It is worth remarking, that by pine-apple Bacon means the cone of a pine. The name was transferred to the fruit of the Anana, in consequence of the resemblance the latter bears to a fir-cone.
with oil and warm water.1 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.2 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; 3
1 Arist. Prob. v. 6. So Pindar, Nem. iv.:
ἰατρός· αἱ δὲ σοφαὶ
Μοισῶν θυγατέρες ἀοιδαὶ
2 Id. ib. v. 19.
8 Arist. Hist. Anim. viii. 17.