Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

Century X. of Green Perwinckle (the Herb) tied about the Calf of the Leg, or the
Thigh, & c. where the Cramp uſeth to come. I do finde this the more
ſtrange, becauſe neither of theſe have any Relaxing Virtue, but rather the
contrary. I judge therefore that their working is rather upon the Spirits
within the Nerves to make them ſtrive leſs, then upon the Bodily ſubſtance
of the Nerves.

35.1.

964.

I would have tryal made of two other kindes of Bracelets for com-
forting the Heart and Spirits. The one of the Trochiſch of Vipers made into
little pieces of Beads; for ſince they do great good inwards (eſpecially for
Peſtilent Agues) it is like they will be effectual outwards, where they may be
applied in greater quantity. There would be Trchiſchs likewiſe made of
Snakes, whoſe fleſh dried is thought to have a very opening and Cordial
Virtue. The other is of Beads made of the Scarlet Powder, which they call
Kermes, which is the principal Ingredient in their Cordial-Confection Alkermen. The Beads would be made up with Amber-Griece, and ſome Pomander.

35.1.

965.

It hath been long received, and confirmed by divers tryals, that the
Root of the Male-Peony dried, tied to the Neck, doth help the Falling-
ſickneß; and likewiſe the Incubus, which we call the Mare. The cauſe of both
theſe Diſeaſes, and eſpecially of the Epilepſie from the Stomack, is the groſs-
neſs of the Vapors which riſe and enter into the Cells of the Brain: And
therefore the working is by extream and ſubtil Attenuation, which that
Simple hath. I judge the like to be in Caſtoreum, Musk, Ren-Seed, Agnus
Caſtus Seed & c.

35.1.

966.

There is a Stone which they call the Blood-Stone, which worn, is thought
to be good for them that bleed at the Noſe; which (no doubt) is by aſtricti-
on and cooling of the Spirits. Quare, if the Stone taken out of the Toads
Head, be not of the like virtue, for the Toad loveth Shade and Coolneſs.

35.1.

967.

Light may be taken from the Experiment of the Horſe-tooth Ring, and the
Garland of Perwinckle, how that thoſe things which aſſwage the ſtrife of the
Spirits, do help diſeaſes, contrary to the Intention deſired; for in the curing
of the Cramp, the Intention is to relax the Sinews; but the contraction of
the Spirits, that they ſtrive leſs, is the beſt help: So to procure eaſie Tra-
vails of Women, the Intention is to bring down the Childe; but the help is,
to ſtay the coming down too ſaft; whereunto they ſay the Toad-ſtone like-
wiſe helpeth. So in Peſtilent Fevers, the Intention is to expel the Infection by
Sweat and Evaporation; but the beſt means to do it, is by Nitre, Diaſcordium,
and other cool things, which do for a time arreſt the Expulſion, till Nature
can do it more quietly. For as one ſaith prettily, In the quenching of the flame
of a Peſtilent Ague, Nature is like People that come to quench the Fire of an Houſe; which are ſo buſie, as one of them letteth another. Surely it is an excellent Axiome
and of manifold uſe, that whatſoever appeaſeth the contention of Spirits
furthereth their action.

35.1.

968.

The Writers of Natural Magick commend the wearing of the ſpoil of
a Snake, for preſerving of Health. I doubt it is but a conceit; for that the
Snake is thought to renew her youth by caſting her ſpoil. They might as
well take the Beak of an Eagle, or a piece of a Harts-horn, becauſe thoſe
renew.

35.1.

969.

It hath been anciently received, (for Pericles the Athenian uſed it) and
it is yet in uſe, to wear little Bladders of Quick-ſilver, or Tablets of Arſe-
nick, as preſervatives againſt the Plague: Not, as they conceive, for any
comfort they yield to the Spirits; but for that being poyſons themſelves,
they draw the venome to them from the Spirits.

35.1.

970.

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