Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

Nitre is given with good ſucceſs in burning Agues, and Peſtilential Fevers, to miti-
gate and bridle their pernicious heats.



It is manifeſt, that Nitre in Gun-powder doth mightily abhor the Flame, from
whence is cauſed that horrible Crack and puffing.



Nitre is found to be, as it were, the Spirit of the Earth: for this is moſt cer-
tain, that any Earth, though pure and unmixt with Nitrous matter, if it be ſo laid up
and covered, that it be free from the Sun-beams, and putteth forth no Vegetable,
will gather Nitre, even in good abundance. By which it is clear, that the Spirit of
Nitre is not onely inferiour to the Spirit of living Creatures, but alſo to the Spirit
of Vegetables.



Cattle which drink of Nitrous water do manifeſtly grow fat, which is a ſign of the
cold in Nitre.



The manuring of the Soil is chiefly by Nitrous ſubſtances; for all Dung is Nitrous,
and this is a ſign of the Spirit in Nitre.



From hence it appears, that the Spirits of Man may be cooled and condenſed
by the Spirit of Nitre, and be made more crude, and leſs eager. And therefore,
as ſtrong Wines, and Spices, and the like, do burn the Spirits, and ſhorten life; ſo on the contrary ſide, Nitre doth compoſe and repreſs them, and furthereth to



Nitre may be uſed with meat, mixed with our Salt, to the tenth part of the Salt; in Broths taken in the morning, for three grains to ten, alſo in Beer: but howſoever
it be uſed, with moderation, it is of prime force to long life.



As Opium holds the preheminence in condenſing the Spirits, by putting them to
flight, and hath withal his Subordinates, leſs potent, but more ſafe, which may be
taken both in greater quantity, and in more frequent uſe, of which we have for-
merly ſpoken: ſo alſo Nitre, which condenſeth the Spirits by cold, and by a kind of
Freſcour, (as wenow a-days ſpeak) hath alſo his Subordinates.



Subordinates to Nitre are all thoſe things which yield an Odour ſomewhat Ear-
thy, like the ſmell of Earth, pure and good, newly digged or turned up; of this ſort
the chief are, Borage, Bugloſs, Langue de Bœuf, Burnet, Strawberry leaves and
Strawberries, Frambois or Raſpis, raw Cucumers, raw Pearmains, Vine-leaves, and Buds; alſo Violets.



The next in order are thoſe which have a certain ft [?] eſhneſs of ſmell, but ſomewhat
more inclined to heat; yet not altogether void of that vertue of refreſhing by cool-
neſs; ſuch as are Balm, green Citrons, green Orenges, Roſe-water diſtilled, roasted Wardens; alſo the Damask, Red, and Musk Roſes.



This is to be noted, that Subordinates to Nitre do commonly confer more to
this Intenſion, Raw, then having paſſed the Fire, becauſe that the Spirit of Cooling
is diſſipated by the Fire; therefore they are beſt taken, either infuſed in ſome liquor,
or raw.



As the condenſation of the Spirits by Subordinates to Opium is, in ſome ſort, per-
formed by Odours, ſo alſo that which is by Subordinates to Nitre; therefore the ſmell
of new and pure Earth, taken either by following the Plough, or by digging, or by
weeding, excellently refreſheth the Spirits. Alſo the Leaves of Trees in Woods, or
Hedges, falling towards the middle of Autumn, yield a good refreſhing to the Spi-
rits, but none ſo good as Strawberry-leaves dying. Likewiſe the ſmell of Violets, or
Wall-flowers, or Bean-flowers, or Sweet-briar, or Hony-ſuckles, taken as they grow, in
paſſing by them onely, is of the ſame nature.



Nay, and we know a certain great w [?] ord who lived long, that had every morning
immediately after ſleep, a Clod of freſh Earth laid in a fair Napkin under his Noſe, that
he might take the ſmell thereof.



There is no doubt, but the cooling and tempering of the blood by cool things, ſuch
as are Endive, Succory, Liver wort, Purſlain, and the like, do alſo by conſequent
cool the Spirits; but this is about, whereas vaponrs cool immediately.



And as touching the condenſing of the Spirits by Cold, thus much: The third way
of condenſing the Spirits, we ſaid to be by that which we call ſtroaking the Spirits: The fourth, by quieting the alacrity and unrulineſs of them.



Such things ſtroke the Spirits as are pleaſing and friendly to them, yet they al-
lure them not to go abroad; but rather prevail, that the Spirits contented, as it were,


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