Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

IT is affirmed conſtantly by many, as an uſual Experiment, That a lump of
Vre, in the bottom of a Mine, will be tumbled and ſtirred by two Mens
ſtrength; which if you bring it to the top of the Earth, will ask ſix Mens
ſtrength at the leaſt to ſtir it. It is a noble inſtance, and is fit to be tryed to
the full: For it is very probable, that the Motion of Gravity worketh weakly,
both far from the Earth, and alſo within the Earth: The former, becauſe the
appetite of Union of Denſe Bodies with the Earth, in reſpect of the diſtance
is more dull. The latter, becauſe the Body hath in part attained his nature,
when it is ſome depth in the Earth. For as for the moving to a point or place
(which was the opinion of the Antients) it is a meer vanity.


touching the
Decreaſe of the
Natural Mo-
tion of Gravi-
ty in great
diſtance ſrom
the Earth; or
within ſome
depth of the

IT is ſtrange, how the Antients took up Experiments upon credit, and yet did
build great Matters upon them. The obſervation of ſome of the beſt of
them, delivered confidently, is, That a Veſſel filled with Aſhes, will receive
the like quantity of Water, that it would have done if it had been empty. But
this is utterly untrue, for the Water will not go in by a fifth part; and I ſup-
poſe, that that fifth part is the difference of the lying cloſe, or open of the
Aſhes; as we ſee, that Aſhes alone, if they be hard preſſed, will lie in leſs
room; and ſo the Aſhes with Air between, lie looſer, and with Water
cloſer. For I have not yet found certainly, that the Water it ſelf by mix-
ture of Aſhes or Duſt, will ſhrink or draw into leſs room.


touching the
Contraction of
bodies in bulk,
by the mixture
of the more
Liquid Body,
with the more

IT is reported of credit, That if you lay good ſtore of Kernels of Grapes’,
about the Root of a Vine, it will make the Vine come earlier, and proſper
better. It may be tried with other Kernels, laid about the Root of a Plant of
the ſame kinde; as Figs, Kernels of Apples, & c. The cauſe may be, for that the
Kernels draw out of the Earth Juice fit to nouriſh the Tree, as thoſe that
would be Trees of themſelves, though there were no Root; but the Root
being of greater ſtrength, robbeth and devoureth the nouriſhment, when
they have drawn it; as great Fiſhes devour little.


touching the
Making Vines
more ſruitſul.

THe operation of Purging Medicines, and the cauſes thereof, have been
thought to be a great Secret; and ſo according to the ſlothful manner
of Men, it is referred to a Hidden Propriety, a Specifical Vertue, and a Fourth
Quality, and the like ſhifts of Ignorance. The Cauſes of Purging, are
divers, All plain and perſpicuous, and throughly maintained by experience. The firſt is, That whatſoever cannot be overcome and digeſted by the
Stomack, is by the Stomack, either put up by Vomit, or put down to the
Guts; and by that Motion of Expulſion in the Stomack and Guts, other
Parts of the Body (as the Orifices of the Veins, and the like) are moved to ex-
pel by Conſent: For nothing is more frequent then Motion of Conſent in the
Body of Man. This Surcharge of the Stomack, is cauſed either by the
Quality of the Medicine, or by the Quantity. The Qualities are three,
Extream Bitter, as in Aloes, Coloquintida, & c. Loathſome, and of horrible taſte,
as in Agarik Black Hellebore, & c. And of ſecret Malignity, and diſagree-
ment towards Mans Body, many times not appearing much in the taſte,
as in Scammony, Machoacham, Antimony, & c. And note well, that if there
be any Medicine that Purgeth, and hath neither of the firſt two Manifeſt
Qualities, is to be held ſuſpected as a kinde of Poyſon; For that it worketh
either by Corroſion, or by a ſecret Malignity, and Enmity to Nature; and
thereſore ſuch Medicines are warily to be prepared and uſed. The quantity
of that which is taken, doth alſo cauſe Purging, as we ſee in a great quan-
tity of new Milk from the Cow, yea, and a great quantity of Meat: For


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