Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Hiſtory of Life and Death. Bald betimes have lived long. Alſo early gray hairs (howſoever they may ſeem fore-
runners of old age approaching) are no ſure ſigns; for many that have grown gray be-
times have lived to great years: nay, haſty gray hairs without Baldneſs is atoken of long
life; contrarily, if they be accompanied with Baldneſs.



Hairineſs of the upper parts is a ſign of ſhort life, and they that have extraordinary
much hair on their breaſts live not long: but hairineſs of the lower parts, as of the Thighes
and Legs, is a ſign of long life.



Talneſs of Stature (if it be notimmoderate) with convenient making, and not too
ſlender, eſpecially if the body be active withal, is a ſign of long life: Alſo on the con-
trary, men of low ſtature live long, if they be not too active and ſtirring.



In the proportion of the body, they which are ſhort to the waſtes, with long Leggs, are
longer-liv’d than they which are long to the waſtes, and have ſhort Leggs: alſo they which
are large in the neather parts, and ſtreight in the upper, (the making of their body riſing,
as it were, into a ſharp figure) are longer-liv’d than they that have broad ſhoulders, and
are ſlender downwards.



Leanneſs, where the affections are ſetled, calm, and peaceable; alſo a more fat ha-
bit of body, joyned with Choler, and a diſpoſition ſtirring and peremptory, ſignifie
long life: but Corpulency in Youth foreſhews ſhort life, in Age it is a thing more



To be long and ſlow in growing is a ſign of long life; if to a greaterſtature, the greater
ſign, if to a leſſer ſtature, yet a ſign though: contrarily, to grow quickly to a great
ſtature is an evil ſign; if to a ſmall ſtature, the leſs evil.



Firm Fleſh, a raw-bone body, and veins lying higher than the fleſh, betoken long
life; the contrary to theſe, ſhort life.



A Head ſomewhat leſſer than to the proportion of the body; a moderate Neck, not
long, nor ſlender, nor ſlat, nor too ſhort; wide Noſtrils, whatſoever the form of the Noſe
be; a large Mouth; and Ear griſtly, not fleſhy; Teeth ſtrong and contiguous, ſmall, or
thin-ſet, fore-token long liſe; and much more if ſomenew Teeth put forth in our elder



A broad Breaſt, yet not bearing out, but rather bending inwards; Shoulders ſome-
what crooked, and (as they call ſuch perſons) round-back’d; a flat Belly; a Handlarge,
and with few lines in the Palm; a ſhortand round Foot, Thighs not fleſhy, and Calves
of the Leggs not hanging over, but neat, are ſigns of long life.



Eyes ſomewhat large, and the Circles of them inclined to greenneſs; Senſes not too
quick; the Pulſe in youth ſlower, towards old age quicker; Facility of holding the
B [?] reath, and longer than uſual; the body in youth inclined to be bound, in the decline
of years more laxative, are alſo ſigns of long life.



Concerning the Times of Nativity, as they refer to long life, nothing hath been ob-
ſerved worthy the ſetting down, ſave onely Aſtrological Obſervations, which we reje-
cted in our opicks. A Birth at the eighth month is not onely long-liv’d, but not likely
to live. Alſo Winter births are accounted the longer-liv’d.



A Pythagorical or Monaſtical Diet, according to ſtrict rules, and always exactly e-
qual, (as that of Cornarus was) ſeemeth to be very effectual for long life. Yet on the
contrary, amongſt thoſe that live freely and after the common ſort, ſuch as have good
ſtomachs, and feed more plentifully, are often the longeſt-liv’d. The middle diet, which
we account the temperate, is commended, and conduceth to good health, but not to
long life: for the spare diet begets few Spirits, and dull, and ſo waſteth the body leſs; and the liberal diet yieldeth more ample nouriſhment, and ſo repaireth more: but the
middle diet doth neither of both, for where the Extreamsare hurtful, there the Mean is
beſt; but where the Extreams are helpful, there the Mean is nothing worth.



Now to that spare diet there are requiſite Watching, leſt the Spirits being few
ſhould be oppreſſed with much ſleep; little Exerciſe, leſt they ſhould exhale; ab-
ſtinence from Venery, leſt they ſhould be exhauſted: but to the liberal diet, on the
other ſide, are requiſite much Sleep, frequent Exerciſes, and a ſeaſonable uſe of Venery. Baths and Anointings (ſuch as were anciently in uſe) did rather tend to delici-
ouſneſs than to prolonging of life. But of all theſe things we ſhall ſpcak more ex-
actly when we come to the Inquiſition according to Intentions. Mean while that of
celſus, who was not onely a learned Phyſician, but a wiſe man, is not to be omitted,
who adviſeth interchanging and alternation of the diet, but ſtill with an inclina-
tion to the more benign: as that a man ſhould ſometimes accuſtom himſelf to


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