Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

It was deviſed, That a Vial ſhould have a Lay of Wire-ſtrings below,
as cloſe to the Belly as a Lute, and then the Strings of Guts mounted upon
a Bridge, as in ordinary Vials; to the end, that by this means, the upper
Strings ſtrucken, ſhould make the lower reſound by Sympathy, and ſo make
the Muſick the better; which, if it be to purpoſe, than Sympathy worketh as
well by report of Sound, as by Motion. But this device, I conceive, to be
of no uſe, becauſe the upper Strings which are ſtopped in great variety, can-
not maintain a Diapaſon or a Vniſon with the lower, which are never ſtopped,
But if it ſhould be of uſe at all, it muſt be in Inſtruments which have no ſtops,
as Virginals and Harps; wherein tryal may be made of two rows of Strings,
diſtant the one from the other.



The Experiment of Sympathy may be transferred (perhaps) from In-
ſtruments of Strings, to other Inſtruments of Sound. Astotry, if there were
in one Steeple two Bells of Uniſon, whether the ſtriking of the one would
move the other, more than if it were another accord: And ſo in Pipes, if they
be of equalbore and ſound,) whether a little Straw or Feather would move
in the one Pipe, when the other is blown at an Vniſon.



It ſeemeth both in Ear and Eye, the Inſtrument of Senſe hath a Sympathy
or Similitude with that which giveth the Reſlexion (as hath been touched be-
fore.) For as the ſight of the Eye is like a Chryſtal, or Glaſs, or Water; ſo is
the Ear a ſinuous Cave with a hard Bone, to ſtop and reverberate the Sound: Which is like to the places that report Eccho’s.



WHen a Man yawneth, he cannot hear ſo well. The cauſeis, ſor that the
Membrane of the Ear is extended; and ſo rather caſteth oſſ the Sound,
than draweth it to.


in Conſort,
touching the
Hindring or
Helping of the

We Hear better when we hold our Breath, than contrary, inſomuch, as
in all liſtening to attain a Sound a ſar off, Men hold their Breath. The cauſe
is, for that in all Expiration, the motion is outwards, and thereſore rather
driveth away the voice than draweth it: And beſides, we ſee that in all labor
to do things with any ſtrength, we hold the Breath; and liſtening after any
Sound that is heard with difficulty, is a kinde of labor.



Let it betryed, for the help of the Hearing, (and I conceive it likely to
ſucceed) to make an Inſtrument like a Tunnel; the narrow part whereof
may be of the bigneſs of the hold of the Ear; and the broader end much
larger; like a Bell at theskirts, and the length half a foot or more. And let
the narrow end of it be ſet cloſe to the Ear. And mark whether any Sound
abroad in the open Air, will not be heard diſtinctly, from further diſtance,
than without that Inſtrument; being (as it Were) an Ear ſpectacle. And I have
heard there is in Spain, an Inſtrument in uſe to be ſet to the Ear, that helpeth
ſomewhat thoſe that are Thick of Hearing.



If the Mouth be ſhut cloſe, nevertheleſs there is yielded by the Roof
of the Mouth, a Murmur; ſuch as is uſed by Dumb men: Butif the Noſtrils
be like wiſe ſtopped, no ſuch Murmur can be made, except it be in the bottom
of the Pallate to Wards the Throat. Where by it appeareth manifeſtly, that a
Sound in the Mouth, except ſuch as aforeſaid, if the Mouth be ſtopped,
paſſeth from the Pallate through the Noſtrils.


in Conſort,
touching the
Spiritual and
Fine Nature
of Sounds.

THe Repercußion of Sounds, (which we call Eccho) is a great Argument
of the Spiritual Eſſence of Sounds. For if it were Corporeal, the Reper-
cuſſing ſhould be created in the ſame manner, and by like Inſtruments, with

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