Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

Century VI. them in Water gently boiled; and if they be good, they will ſprout within half
an hour.



It is ſtrange which is reported, That Baſil too much expoſed to the Sun,
doth turn into Wilde Time: Although thoſe two Herbs ſeem to have ſmall
Affinity; but Baſil is almoſt the onely hot Herb that hath fat and ſucculent
Leaves; which Oylineſs if it be drawn forth by the Sun, it is like it will make
a very great change.



There is an old Tradition, that Boughs of Oak put into the Earth, will put
ſorth Wilde Vines; which if it be true, (no doubt) it is not the Oak that turneth
into a Vine, but the Oak-bough putrifying, qualifieth the Earth to put forth a
Vine of it ſelf.



It is not impoſſible, and I have heard it verified, that upon cutting down
of an old Timber-Tree, the Stub hath put out ſometimes a Tree of another
kinde; as that Beech hath put ſorth Birch: Which if it be true, the cauſe may
be, for that the old Stub is too ſcant of Juyce to put forth the former Tree; and therefore putteth forth a Tree of ſmaller kinde, that needeth leſs Nou-



There is an opinion in the Countrey, That if the ſame Ground be oft
ſown with the Grain that grew upon it, it will, in the end, grow to be of a
baſer kinde.



It is certain, that in Sterile Years, Corn ſown will grow to an other



29. Grandia ſæpe quibus mandavimus Hordea Sulcis,
Infœlix Lolium, & ſteriles dominatur Avenæ.

And generally it is a Rule, that Plants that are brought forth by Culture,
as Corn, will ſooner change into other Species, than thoſe that come of them-
ſelves: For that Culture giveth but an Adventitious Nature, which is more
eaſily put off.

This work of the Tranſmutation of Plants, one into another, is inter Mag-
nalia Naturæ: For the Tranſmu [?] tation of Species is, in the vulgar Philoſophy, pro-
nounced impoſſible: And certainly, it is a thing of difficulty, and requireth
deep ſearch into Nature: But ſeeing there appear ſome manifeſt inſtances of
it, the opinion of impoſſibility is to be rejected, and the means there of to
be found out. We ſee that in Living Creatures, that come of Putrefaction,
there is much Tranſmutation of one into another. As Caterpillers turn into
Flies, & c. And it ſhould ſeem probable, that what ſoever Creature having
life, is generated without Seed, that Creature will change out of one Spe-
cies into another; for it is the Seed, and the Nature of it, which locketh
and boundeth in the Creature, that it doth not expatiate. So as we may
well conclude, that ſeeing the Earth of it ſelf, doth put forth Plants with-
out Seed; therefore Plants may well have a Tranſmigration of Species. Wherefore wanting Inſtances, which do occur, we ſhall give Directions of
the moſt likely tryals: And generally, we would not have thoſe that read
this work of Sylva Sylvarum, account if ſtrange, or think that it is an over-
haſte, that we have let down particulars untried: For contratiwiſe, in our
own eſtimation, we account ſuch particulars more worthy than thoſe that
are already tryed and known. For theſe latter muſt be taken as you
finde them, but the other do level point blank at the inventing of cauſes,
and Axioms.


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