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that smell doth spread nothing that distance that the other do. It is true, that some woods of oranges, and heaths of rosemary, will smell a great way into the sea, perhaps twenty miles; but what is that, since a peal of ordnance will do as much, which moveth in a small compass? Whereas those woods and heaths are of vast spaces; besides, we see that smells do adhere to hard bodies; as in perfuming of gloves, etc. which sheweth them corporeal; and do last a great while, which sounds and light do not.
Experiment solitary touching fetid and fragrant odours.
835, THE excrements of most creatures smell ill; chiefly to the same creature that voideth them: for we see, besides that of man, that pigeons and horses thrive best, if their houses and stables be kept sweet; and so of cage-birds: and the cat burieth that which she voideth and it holdeth chiefly in those beasts which feed upon flesh. Dogs almost only of beasts delight in fetid odours; which sheweth there is somewhat in their sense of smell differing from the smells of other beasts. But the cause why excrements smell ill, is manifest; for that the body itself rejecteth them; much more the spirits: and we see that those excrements that are of the first digestion, smell the worst; as the excrements from the belly; those that are from the second digestion less ill: as urine; and those that are from the third, yet less; for sweat is not so bad as the other two; especially of some persons, that are full of heat. Likewise most putrefactions are of an odious smell: for they smell either fetid or mouldy. The cause may be, for that putrefaction doth bring forth such a consistence, as is most contrary to the consistence of the body whilst it is sound: for it is a mere dissolution of that form. Besides, there is another reason, which is profound: and it is, that the objects that please any of the senses have all some equality, and, as it were, order in their composition; but where those are wanting, the object is ever ingrate. So mixture of many disagreeing colours is
ever unpleasant to the eye: mixture of discordant sounds is unpleasant to the ear: mixture, or hotchpotch of many tastes, is unpleasant to the taste: harshness and ruggedness of bodies is unpleasant to the touch: now it is certain, that all putrefaction, being a dissolution of the first form, is a mere confusion and unformed mixture of the part. Nevertheless it is strange, and seemeth to cross the former observation, that some putrefactions and excrements do yield excellent odours, as civet and musk; and, as some think, ambergrease: for divers take it, though improbably, to come from the sperm of a fish: and the moss we spake of from apple-trees, is little better than an excretion. The reason may be, for that there passeth in the excrements, and remaineth in the putrefactions, some good spirits; especially where they proceed from creatures that are very hot. But it may be also joined with a further cause, which is more subtile ; and it is, that the senses love not to be over-pleased, but to have a commixture of somewhat that is in itself ingrate. Certainly, we see how discords in music, falling upon concords, make the sweetest strains and we see again, what strange tastes delight the taste; as red herrings, caviary, parmesan, etc. And it may be the same holdeth in smells: for those kind of smells that we have mentioned, are all strong, and do pull and vellicate the sense. And we find also, that places where men urine, commonly have some smell of violets: and urine, if one hath eaten nutmeg, hath so too.
THE slothful, general, and indefinite contemplations, and notions, of the elements and their conjugations; of the influences of heaven; of heat, cold, moisture, drought, qualities active, passive, and the like; have swallowed up the true passages, and processes, and affects, and consistences of matter and natural bodies. Therefore they are to be set aside, being but notional and ill limited; and definite axioms are to be drawn out of measured instances: and so assent to be made to the more general axioms by scale. And of these kinds of processes of natures and
characters of matter, we will now set down some instances.
Experiment solitary touching the causes of putrefaction.
836. ALL putrefactions come chiefly from the inward spirits of the body; and partly also from the ambient body, be it air, liquor, or whatsoever else. And this last, by two means : either by ingress of the substance of the ambient body into the body putrified; or by excitation and solicitation of the body putrified, and the parts thereof, by the body ambient. As for the received opinion, that putrefaction is caused, either by cold, or peregrine and preternatural heat, it is but nugation: for cold in things inanimate, is the greatest enemy that is to putrefaction; though it extinguisheth vivification, which ever consisteth in spirits attenuate, which the cold doth congeal and coagulate. And as for the peregrine heat, it is thus far true, that if the proportion of the adventive heat be greatly predominant to the natural heat and spirits of the body, it tendeth to dissolution, or notable alteration. But this is wrought by emission, or suppression, or suffocation, of the native spirits; and also by the disordination and discomposure of the tangible parts, and other passages of nature, and not by a conflict of
Experiment solitary touching bodies unperfectly mired.
837. IN versions, or main alterations of bodies, there is a medium between the body, as it is at first, and the body resulting; which medium is corpus imperfecte mistum, and is transitory, and not durable; as mists, smokes, vapours, chylus in the stomach, living creatures in the first vivification: and the middle action, which produceth such imperfect bodies, is fitly called, by some of the ancients, inquination, or inconcoction, which is a kind of putrefaction: for the parts are in confusion, till they settle one way or other.
Experiment solitary touching concoction and crudity.
838. THE word concoction, or digestion, is chiefly taken into use from living creatures and their organs; and from thence extended to liquors and fruits, etc. Therefore they speak of meat concocted; urine and excrements concocted; and the four digestions, in the stomach, in the liver, in the arteries and nerves, and in the several parts of the body, are likewise called concoctions: and they are all made to be the works of heat; all which notions are but ignorant catches of a few things, which are most obvious to mens observations. The constantest notion of concoction is, that it should signify the degrees of alteration, of one body into another, from crudity to perfect concoction; which is the ultimity of that action or process; and while the body to be converted and altered is too strong for the efficient that should convert or alter it, whereby it resisteth and holdeth fast in some degree the first form or consistence, it is all that while crude and inconcoct; and the process is to be called crudity and inconcoction. It is true, that concoction is in great part the work of heat, but not the work of heat alone: for all things that further the conversion, or alteration, as rest, mixture of a body already concocted, etc. are also means to concoction. And there are of concoction two periods; the one assimilation, or absolute conversion and subaction; the other maturation; whereof the former is most conspicuous in the bodies of living creatures; in which there is an absolute conversion and assimilation of the nourishment into the body: and likewise in the bodies of plants: and again in metals, where there is a full transmutation. The other, which is maturation, is seen in liquors and fruits; wherein there is not desired, nor pretended, an utter conversion, but only an alteration to that form which is most sought for man's use; as in clarifying of drinks, ripening of fruits, etc. But note, that there be two kinds of absolute conversions; the one is, when a body is converted into another body, which was before; as when nou
rishment is turned into flesh; that is it which we call assimilation. The other is, when the conversion is into a body merely new, and which was not before; as if silver should be turned to gold, or iron to copper: and this conversion is better called, for distinction sake, transmutation.
Experiment solitary touching alterations, which may be called majors.
839. THERE are also divers other great alterations of matter and bodies, besides those that tend to concoction and maturation; for whatsoever doth so alter a body, as it returneth not again to that it was, may be called alteratio major; as when meat is boiled, or roasted, or fried, etc. or when bread and meat are baked; or when cheese is made of curds, or butter of cream, or coals of wood, or bricks of earth; and a number of others. But to apply notions philosophical to plebeian terms; or to say, where the notions cannot fitly be reconciled, that there wanteth a term or nomenclature for it, as the ancients used, they be but shifts of ignorance; for knowledge will be ever a wandering and indigested thing, if it be but a commixture of a few notions that are at hand and occur, and not excited from sufficient number of instances, and those well collated.
THE consistences of bodies are very diverse: dense, rare; tangible, pneumatical; volatile, fixed; determinate, not determinate; hard, soft; cleaving, not cleaving; congelable, not congelable; liquefiable, not liquefiable; fragile, tough; flexible, inflexible; tractile, or to be drawn forth in length, intractile; porous, solid; equal and smooth, unequal; venous and fibrous, and with grains, entire; and divers others; all which to refer to heat, and cold, and moisture, and drought, is a compendious and inutile speculation. But of these see principally our Abecedarium nature; and otherwise sparsim in this our Sylva Sylvarum: nevertheless, in some good part, we shall handle divers of them now presently.