Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Hiſtory of Life and Death. way they all end, eſpecially in thoſe Deaths which are cauſed by Indigence of Nature
rather than by Violence: although ſomething of this latter alſo muſt be inſerted, becauſe
of the connexion of things.

70. The Hiſtory.

THe living Spirit ſtands in need of three things that it may ſubſiſt; Convenient
Motion, Temperate Refrigeration, and Fit Aliment. Flame ſeems to ſtand in
need but of two of theſe, namely, Motion and Aliment; becauſe Flame is a
ſimple ſubſtance, the Spirit a compounded, inſomuch that if it approach ſome what too
near to a flamy nature, it overthroweth it ſelf.



Alſo Flame by a greater and ſtronger Flame is extinguiſhed and ſlain, as Ariſtotle well
noted, much more the Spirit.



Flame, if it be much compreſſed and ſtreightned, is extinguiſhed: as we may ſee in. a Candle having a Glaſs caſt over it; for the Air being dilated by the heat, doth con-
trude and thruſt together the Flame, and ſo leſſeneth it, and in the end extinguiſheth it; and fires on hearths will not flame if the fuel be thruſt cloſe together without any ſpace
for the flame to break forth.



Alſo things fired are extinguiſhed with compreſſion; as if you preſs a burning coal
hard with the Tongs or the foot, it is ſtreight extinguiſhed.



But to come to the Spirit: if Bloud or Phlegm get into the Ventricles of the
Brain, it cauſeth ſudden death, becauſe the Spirit hath no room to move it



Alſo a great blow on the head induceth ſudden death, the Spirits being ſtreightned
within the Ventricles of the Brain.



Opium and other ſtrong Stupefactives do coagulate the Spirit, and deprive it of the



A venemous Vapour, totally abhorred by the ſpirit, cauſeth ſudden death: as in deadly
poiſons, which work (as they call it) by a ſpecifical malignity; for they ſtrike a loath-
ing into the Spirit, that the ſpirit will no more move it ſelf, nor riſe againſt a thing ſo
much deteſted.



Alſo extreme Drunkenneſs or extreme Feeding ſometime cauſe ſudden death,
ſeeing the ſpirit is not onely oppreſſed with over much condenſing, or the malignity
of the vapour, (as in Opium and malignant poiſons) but alſo with the abundance of
the Vapours.



Extreme Grief or Fear, eſpecially if they be ſudden, (as it is in a ſad and unexpected
meſſage) cauſe ſudden death.



Not onely over-much Compreſſion, but alſo over-much Dilatation of the ſpirit, is



Joys exceſſive and ſudden have bereft many of their lives.


In greater Evacuations, as when they cut men for the Drepſie, the waters flow forth
abundantly; much more in great and ſudden fluxes of bloud oftentimes preſent
death followeth: and this happens by the mere flight of Vacuum within the body,
all the parts moving to fill the empty placcs, and amongſt the reſt the ſpirits
themſelves. For as for ſlow fluxes of blood, this matter pertains to the indigence
of nouriſhment, not to the diffuſion of the ſpirits. And touching the motion
of the ſpirit ſo far, either compreſſed or diffuſed, that it bringeth death, thus



We muſt come next to the want of Refrigeration. Stopping of the breath cauſeth
ſudden death, as in all ſuffocation or ſtrangling. Now it ſeems this matter is not ſo
much to be referred to the impediment of Motion, as to the impediment of Refri-
geration; for air over-hot, though attracted freely, doth no leſs ſuffocate than if
breathing were hindred; as it is in them who have been ſometime ſuffocated with
burning coals, or with char-coal, or with walls newly plaiſtered in cloſe chambers
where a fire is made: which kind of death is reported to have been the end of the
Emperor Jovinian. The like happeneth from dry Baths over heated, which was pra-
ctiſed in the killing of Fauſta, wifeto Conſtantine the Great.



It is a very ſmall time which Nature taketh to repeat the breathing, and in


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