Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Hiſtory of Life and Death. excited it iſſueth not forth. Putrefaction is a mixed work of the Spirits and of the
groſſer parts: for the Spirit (which before reſtrained and bridled the parts of the
thing) being partly iſſued forth and partly infeebled, all things in the body do diſſolve
and return to their Homogeneities, or (if you will) to their Elements: that which was
Spirit in it is congregated to it ſelf, whereby things putrefied begin to have an ill ſa-
vour: the Oily parts to themſelves, whereby things putrefied have that ſlipperineſs
and unctuoſity; the watry parts alſo to themſelves: the Dregs to themſelyes: whence
followeth that confuſion in bodies putrefied. But Generation or Vivification is a work
alſo mixed of the Spirit and groſſer parts, but in a far different manner: for the Spirit
is totally detained, but it ſwelleth and moveth locally: and the groſſer parts are not
diſſolved, but follow the motion of the ſpirit, and are, as it were, blown out by it,
and extruded into divers figures, from whence cometh that Generation and Organiza-
tion: and therefore Vivification is always done in a matter tenacious and clammy, and
again, yielding and ſoft, that there may be both a detention of the ſpirit, and alſo a
gentle ceſſion of the parts, according as the ſpirit forms them. And this is ſeen in the
matter as well of all Vegetables as of living Creatures, whether they be engendred of
Putrefaction or of Sperm; for in all theſe things there is manifeſtly ſeen a matter
hard to break through, eaſie to yield.

78. Canon IV.

IN all living Creatures there are two kinds of Spirits: Liveleſs Spirits, ſuch as are in bo-
dies Inanimate; and a Vital Spirit ſuperadded.

79. The Explication.

IT was ſaid before, that to procure long life the Body of man muſt be conſidered,
firſt, as Inanimate, and not repaired by nouriſhment: ſecondly, as Animate, and
repaired by nouriſhment: for the former conſideration gives Laws touching (Conſump-
tion, the latter touching Reparation. Therefore we muſt know that there are in hu-
mane fleſh bones, M [?] embranes, Organs: finally, in all the parts ſuch ſpirits diffuſed
in the ſubſtance of them while they are alive, as there are in the ſame things (Fleſh,
Bones, Membranes, and the reſt) ſeparated and dead: ſuch as alſo remain in a Car-
kaſs: but the Vital Spirit, although it ruleth them, and hath ſome conſent with them,
yet it is far differing from them, being integral, and ſubſiſting by it ſelf. Now there
are two ſpecial differences betwixt the Liveleſs Spirits and the Vital Spirits. The one,
that the Liveleſs spirits are not continued to themſelves, but are, as it were, cut off,
and encompaſſed with a groſs body which intercepts them; as Air is mixed with
Snow or Froth: but the Vital Spirit is all continued to it ſelf by certain Conduit-pipes
through which it paſſeth, and is not totally intercepted. And this Spirit is two-fold
alſo: the one branched, onely paſſing through ſinall pipes, and, as it were, ſtrings: the other hath a Cell alſo, ſo as it is not onely continued to it ſelf, but alſo congre-
gated in an hollow ſpace in reaſonable good quantity, according to the Analogy of
the body, and in that Cell is the fountain of the Rivulets which branch from thence. That Cell is chiefly in the Ventricles of the Brain, which in the ignobler ſort of crea-
tures are but narrow, inſomuch that the ſpirits in them ſeem ſcattered over their whole
body rather than Celled; as may be ſeen in Serpents, Eels and Flies, whereoſ every of
their parts move long after they are cut aſſunder. Birds alſo leap a good while after
their heads are pulled off, becauſe they have little heads and little Cells. But the nobler
ſort of creatures have thoſe Ventricles larger, and Man the largeſt of all. The other
difference betwixt the Spirits is, that the Vital Spirit hath a kind of enkindling, and
is like a Wind or Breath compounded of Flame and Air, as the Juices of living
creatures have both Oil and water. And this enkindling miniſtreth peculiar motions
and faculties: for the ſmoke which is inflamable, even before the flame conceived, is
hot, thin and movable, and yet it is quite another thing after it is become flame: but the enkindling of the vital ſpirits is by many degrees gentler than the ſofteſt flame,
as of Spirit of Wine, or otherwiſe; and beſides, it is in great part mixed with an Aerial
ſubſtance, that it ſhould be a Myſtery or Miracle, both of a Flammeons and Aere-
ous nature.

80. Canon V.

THe Natural A Etions are proper to the ſeveral Parts, but it is the Vital Spirit that excites
and ſharpens them.


Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.

powered by Goobi viewer