Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The quantity of meat and drink which a man, eating two meals a day, receiveth into
his body is not ſmall; much more than he voideth again either by ſtool, or by urine,
or by ſweating. You will ſay, No marvel, ſeeing the remainder goeth into the juices
and ſubſtance of the body. It is true; but conſider then that this addition is made twice
a day, and yet the body aboundeth not much. In like manner, though the ſpirit be re-
paired, yet it grows not exceſſively in the quantity.



It doth no good to have the Aliment ready, in a degree removed, but to have it of that
kind, and ſo prepared and ſupplied that the ſpirit may work upon it: for the ſtaff of
a Torch alone will not maintain the flame, unleſs it be fed with wax, neither can men
live upon herbs alone. And from thence comes the Inconcoction of old age, that though
there be fleſh and bloud, yet the ſpirit is become ſo penurious and thin, and the
juices and bloud ſo heartleſs and obſtinate, that they hold no proportion to Ali-



Let us now caſt up the accounts of the Needs and Indigences, according to the ordi
nary and uſual courſe of nature. The Spirit hath need of opening and moving it ſelf
in the Ventricles of the Brain and Nerves even continually, of the motion of the Heart
every third part of a moment, of breathing every moment, of ſleep and nouriſhment
once within three days, of the power of nouriſhment commonly till eighty years be
paſt: And if any of theſe Indigences beneglected, Death enſueth. So there are plainly
three Porches of Death; Deſtitution of the Spirit in the Motion, in the Refrigeration,
in the Aliment.



It is an error to think that the Living Spirit is perpetually generated and extinguiſhed,
as Flame is, and abideth not any notable time: for even Flame it ſelf is not thus out of
its own proper nature, but becauſe it liveth amongst enemies, for Flame within Flame
endureth. Now the Living Spirit liveth amongſt friends, and all due obſequiouſneſs. So
then, as Flame is a momentany ſubſtance, Air is a ſixed ſubſtance, the Living Spirit is
betwixt both.

Touching the extinguiſhing of the Spirit by the deſtruction of the Organs (which is
cauſed by Diſeaſes and Violence) we enquire not now, as we foretold in the beginning, al-
though that alſo endeth in the ſame three Porches. And touching the Form of Death it
ſelf thus much.

There are two great forerunners of Death, the one ſent from the Head, the other
from the Heart; Convulſion, and the extreme labour of the Pulſe; for, as for the deadly
Hiccough, it is a kind of Convulſion. But the deadly labour of the Pulſe hath that
unuſual ſwiftneſs, becauſe the Heart at the point of death doth ſo tremble, that
the Syſtole and Diaſtole thereof are almoſt confounded. There is alſo conjoyned
in the Pulſe a weakneſs and lowneſs, and oftentimes a great intermiſſion, becauſe
the motion of the Heart faileth, and is not able to riſe againſt the aſſault ſtoutly or



The immediate proceeding ſigns of Death are, great unquietneſs and toſſing in the
bed, fumbling with the hands, catching and graſping hard, gnaſhing with the teeth; ſpeaking hollow, trembling of the neather lip, paleneſs of the face, the memory con-
fuſed, ſpeechleſs, cold ſweats, the body ſhooting in length, lifting up the white of
the eye, changing of the whole viſage, (as the noſe ſharp, eyes hollow, cheeks fallen)
contraction and doubling of the coldneſs in the extreme parts of the body; in ſome,
ſhedding of bloud or ſperm, ſhrieking, breathing thick and ſhort, falling of the nea-
ther chap, and ſuch like.



There follow Death a privation of all ſenſe and motion, as well of the Heart and
Arteries as of the Nerves and Joynts, an inability of the body to ſupport it ſelf upright,
ſtiffneſs of the Nerves and parts, extream coldneſs of the whole body; after a little
while, putrefaction and ſtinking.



Eeles, serpents and the Inſecta will move a long time in every part after they are cut
aſunder, inſomuch that Country people think that the parts ſtrive to joyn together
again. Alſo Birds will flutter a great while after their heads are pulled off; and the
hearts of living creatures will pant a long time after they are plucked out. I remem-
ber I have ſeen the heart of one that was bowelled, as ſufſ [?] ering for High Treaſon, that
being caſt into the fire, leaped at the firſt at leaſt a foot and half in height, and after
by degrees lower and lower, for the ſpace, as I remember, of ſeven or eight minutes. There is alſo an ancient and credible Tradition of an O [?] x lowing aſter his bowels were
plucked out. But there is a more certain tradition of a man, who being under the


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