Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

Natural Hiſtory; is moſt about Ponds. There is a Worm that breedeth of the Dregs of Wine
decayed, which aſter wards (as is obſerved by ſome of the Ancients) turneth in-
to a Gnat. It hath been obſerved by the Ancients, that there is a Worm that
breedeth in old Snow, and is of colour reddiſh, and dull of motion, and dieth
ſoon after it cometh out of Snow; which ſhould ſhew that Snow hath in it a
ſecret warmth, for elſe it could hardly vivifie. And the reaſon of the dying
of the Worm may be the ſudden exhaling of that little Spirit, as ſoon as it
cometh out of the cold, which had ſhut it in. For as Butter-flies quicken with
heat, which were benummed with cold; ſo Spirits may exhale with heat,
which were preſerved in cold. It is affirmed, both by the Ancient and Modern
obſervation, that in Furnaces of Copper and Braſs, where Chalcites is (which
is Vitriol) often caſt in to mend the working, there riſeth ſuddenly a Fly which
ſometimes moveth, as if it took hold on the Walls of the Furnace; ſome-
times is ſeen moving in the fire below, and dieth preſently as ſoon as it is out
of the Furnace. Which is a noble inſtance, and worthy to be weighed, for it
ſheweth that as well violent heat of fire, as the gentle heat of Living Crea-
tures will viviſie, if it have matter proportionable. Now the great axiom
of Vivification is, that there muſt be heat to dilate the Spirit of the Body, an
Active Spirit to be dilated, matter viſcous or tenacious to hold in the Spirit,
and that matter to be put forth and figured. Now a Spirit dilated by ſo ardent
a fire as that of the Furnace, as ſoon as ever it cooleth never ſo little, congeal-
eth preſently. And (no doubt) this action is furthered by the Chalcites, which
hath a Spirit that will put forth and germinate, as we ſee in Chymical Tryals. Briefly, moſt things putrefied bring forth Inſecta of ſeveral names, but we will
not take upon us now to enumerate them all.



The Inſecta have been noted by the Ancients to feed little: But this hath
not been diligently obſerved; for Graſhoppers eat up the Green of whole
Countreys, and Silk-worms devour Leaves ſwiftly, and Ants make great pro-
viſion. It is true, that Creatures that ſleep and reſt much, eat little, as Dor-
mice and Bits, & c. they are all without Blood; which may be, for that the
Juyce of their Bodies is almoſt all one; not Blood, and Fleſh, and Skin, and
Bone, as in perfect Creatures: The integral parts have extream variety, but
the ſimilar parts little. It is true, that they have (ſome of them) Diaphragm,
and an Inteſtine; and they have all Skins, which in moſt of the Inſecta, are
caſt oſten. They are not (generally) of long life; yet Bees have been known
to live ſeven years; and Snakes are thought, the rather for the caſting of their
ſpoil, to live till they be old; and Eels, which many times breed of putre-
faction, will live and grow very long; and thoſe that enterchange from Worms
to Flies in the Summer, and from Flies to Worms in the Winter, have been
kept in Boxes four years at the leaſt; yet there are certain Flies that are called
Ephemera that live but a day. The cauſe is, the exility of the Spirit, or per-
haps the abſence of the Sun; for that if they were brought in, or kept cloſe,
they might live longer. Many of the Inſecta (as Butter-flies and other Flies)
revive eaſily, when they ſeem dead, being brought to the Sun or Fire. The
cauſe whereof is, the diffuſion of the Vital Spirit, and the eaſie dilating of it
by a little heat. They ſtir a good while after their heads are off, or that they be
cut in pieces; which is cauſed alſo, for that their Vital Spirits are more dif-
fuſed through out all their parts, and leſs confined to Organs then in perfect



The Inſecta have voluntary Motion, and therefore imagination. And
whereas ſome of the Ancients have ſaid, that their Motion is indeterminate, and
their imagination indeſinite, it is negligently obſerved; for Ants go right


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