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upon things living, or that have been living, than things merely inanimate: and more force likewise upon light and subtile motions, than upon motions vehement or ponderous.
958. It is an usual observation, that if the body of one murdered be brought before the murderer, the wounds will bleed afresh. Some do affirm, that the dead body, upon the presence of the murderer, hath opened the eyes; and that there have been such like motions, as well where the parties murdered have been strangled or drowned, as where they have been killed by wounds. It may be, that this participateth of a miracle, by God's just judgment, who usually bringeth murders to light: but if it be natural, it must be referred to imagination.
959. THE tying of the point upon the day of marriage, to make men impotent towards their wives, which, as we have formerly touched, is so frequent in Zant and Gascony, if it be natural, must be referred to the imagination of him that tieth the point. I conceive it to have the less affinity with witchcraft, because not peculiar persons only, such as witches are, but any body may do it. Experiments in consort touching the secret virtue
of sympathy and antipathy. 960. THERE be many things that work upon the spirits of man by secret sympathy and antipathy: the virtues of precious stones worn, have been anciently and generally received, and curiously assigned to work several effects. So much is true; that stones have in them fine spirits, as appeareth by their splendor; and therefore they may work by consent upon the spirits of men, to comfort and exhilarate them. Those that are the best, for that effect, are the diamond, the emerald, the hyacinth oriental, and the gold stone, which is the yellow topaz. As for their particular proprieties, there is no credit to be given to them. But it is manifest, that light, above all things, excelleth in comforting the spirits of men : and it is very probable, that light varied doth the same effect,
with more novelty. And this is one of the causes why precious stones comfort. And therefore it were good to have tincted lanthorns, or tincted screens, of glass coloured into green, blue, carnation, crimson, purple, etc. and to use them with candles in the night. So likewise to have round glasses, not only of glass coloured through, but with colours laid between crystals, with handles to hold in one's hand. Prisms are also comfortable things. They have of Pariswork, looking-glasses, bordered with broad borders of small crystal, and great counterfeit precious stones, of all colours, that are most glorious and pleasant to behold ; especially in the night. The pictures of Indian feathers are likewise comfortable and pleasant to behold. So also fair and clear pools do greatly comfort the eyes and spirits, especially when the sun is not glaring, but over-cast; or when the moon shineth,
961. THERE be divers sorts of bracelets fit to comfort the spirits; and they be of three intentions ; refrigerant, corroborant, and aperient. For refrigerant, I wish them to be of pearl, or of coral, as is used; and it hath been noted that coral, if the party that weareth it be indisposed, will wax pale; which I believe to be true, because otherwise distemper of heat will make coral lose colour. I commend also beads, or little plates of lapis lazuli ; and beads of nitre, either alone, or with some cordial mixture.
962. FOR corroboration and confortation, take such bodies as are of astringent quality, without manifest cold. I commend bead-ainber, which is full of astriction, but yet is unctuous, and not cold; and is conceived to impinguate those that wear such beads; I commend also beads of hartshorn and ivory; which are of the like nature; also orange beads; also beads of lignum aloës, macerated first in rose-water, and dried.
963. For opening, I commend beads, or pieces of the roots of carduus benedictus : also of the roots of piony the male; and of orrice; and of calamus aromaticus; and of rue.
964. THE cramp, no doubt, cometh of contraction of sinews; which is manifest, in that it cometh either by cold or dryness; as after consumptions, and long agues; for cold and dryness do, both of them, contract and corrugate. We see also, that chafing a little above the place in pain, easeth the cramp; which is wrought by the dilatation of the contracted sinews by heat. There are in use, for the prevention of the cramp, two things; the one rings of sea-horse teeth worn upon the fingers; the other bands of green periwinkle, the herb, tied about the calf of the leg, or the thigh, etc. where the cramp useth to come. I do find this the more strange, because neither of these have any relaxing virtue, but rather the contrary. I judge therefore, that their working is rather upon the spirits, within the nerves, to make them strive less, than upon the bodily substance of the nerves.
965. I would have trial made of two other kinds of bracelets, for comforting the heart and spirits: the one of the trochisk of vipers, made into little pieces of beads; for since they do great good inwards, especially for pestilent agues, it is like they will be effectual outwards; where they may be applied in greater quantity. There would be trochisk likewise made of snakes; whose flesh dried is thought to have a very opening and cordial virtue. The other is, of beads made of the scarlet powder, which they call kermes ; which is the principal ingredient in their cordial confection alkermes : the beads would be made up with ambergrease, and some pomander.
966. It hath been long received, and confirmed by divers trials, that the root of the male-piony dried, tied to the neck, doth help the falling sickness; and likewise the incubus, which we call the mare. The cause of both these diseases, and especially of the epilepsy from the stomach, is the grossness of the vapours which rise and enter into the cells of the brain : and therefore the working is by extreme and subtile attenuation; which that simple hath. I judge the like to be in castoreum, musk, rue-seed, agnus castus seed, etc.
967. THERE is a stone which they call the bloodstone, which worn is thought to be good for them that bleed at the nose: which, no doubt, is by astriction and cooling of the spirits. Query, if the stone taken out of the toad's head, be not of the like virtue; for the toad loveth shade and coolness.
968. LIGHT may be taken from the experiment of the horse-tooth ring, and the garland of periwinkle, how that those things which assuage the strife of the spirits, do help diseases contrary to the intention desired: for in the curing of the cramp, the intention is to relax the sinews; but the contraction of the spirits, that they strive less, is the best help : so to procure easy travails of women, the intention is to bring down the child ; but the best help is, to stay the coming down too fast: whereunto they say, the toad-stone likewise helpeth. So in pestilent fevers, the intention is to expel the infection by sweat and evaporation : but the best means to do it is by nitre, diascordium, and other cool things, which do for a time arrest the expulsion, till nature can do it more quietly. For as one saith prettily ; “ In the quenching of the “ flame of a pestilent ague, nature is like people that
come to quench the fire of a house; which are so “ busy, as one of them letteth another.” Surely it is an excellent axiom, and of manifold use, that. whatsoever appeaseth the contention of the spirits, furthereth their action.
969. The writers of natural magic commend the wearing of the spoil of a snake, for preserving of health. I doubt it is but a conceit; for that the snake is thought to renew her youth, by casting her spoil. They might as well take the beak of an eagle, or a piece of a hart's horn, because those renew.
970. It hath been anciently received, for Pericles the Athenian used it, and it is yet in use, to wear little bladders of quicksilver, or tablets of arsenic, as preservatives against the plague: not as they conceive for any comfort they yield to the spirits, but for that being poisons themselves, they draw the venom to them from the spirits.
971. VIDE the experiments 95, 96, and 97, touching the several sympathies and antipathies for medicinal use.
972. It is said, that the guts or skin of a wolf, being applied to the belly, do cure the colic. It is true, that the wolf is a beast of great edacity and digestion ; and so it may be the parts of him comfort the bowels.
973. WE see scare-crows are set up to keep birds from corn and fruit; it is reported by some, that the head of a wolf, whole, dried, and hanged up in a dove-house will scare away vermin ; such as are weasles, pole-cats, and the like. It may be the head of a dog will do as much; for those vermin with us, know dogs better than wolves.
974. THE brains of some creatures, when their heads are roasted, taken in wine, are said to strengthen the memory; as the brains of hares, brains of hens, brains of deers, etc. And it seemeth to be incident to the brains of those creatures that are fearful.
975. THE ointment that witches use, is reported to be made of the fat of children digged out of their graves; of the juices of smallage, wolf-bane, and cinque-foil, mingled with the meal of fine wheat. But I suppose, that the soporiferous medicines are likest to do it; which are henbane, hemlock, mandrake, moonshade, tobacco, opium, saffron, poplarleaves, etc.
976. It is reported by some, that the affections of beasts when they are in strength do add some virtue unto inanimate things; as that the skin of a sheep devoured by a wolf, moveth itching; that a stone bitten by a dog in anger, being thrown at him, drunk in powder, provoketh choler.
977. IT hath been observed, that the diet of women with child doth work much upon the infant; as if the mother eat quinces much, and coriander-seed, the nature of both which is to repress and stay vapours that ascend to the brain, it will make the child ingenious; and on the contrary side, if the mother eat much onions or beans, or such vaporous food; or drink