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and by cutting off some piece of those parts, and laying it to consume; to see whether it will work any effect towards the consumption of that part which was once joined with it.
998. It is constantly received and avouched, that the anointing of the weapon that maketh the wound, will heal the wound itself. In this experiment, upon the relation of men of credit, (though myself, as yet, am not fully inclined to believe it,) you shall note the points following. First, the ointment wherewith this is done is made of divers ingredients; whereof the strangest and hardest to come by, are the moss upon the skull of a dead man unburied, and the fats of a boar and a bear killed in the act of generation. These two last I could easily suspect to be prescribed as a starting-hole; that if the experiment proved not, it might be pretended that the beasts were not killed in the due time: for as for the moss, it is certain there is great quantity of it in Ireland, upon slain bodies, laid on heaps unburied.
The other ingredients are, the blood-stone in powder, and some other things, which seem to have a virtue to stanch blood; as also the moss hath. And the description of the whole ointment is to be found in the chemical dispensatory of Crollius. Secondly, the same kind of ointment applied to the hurt itself worketh not the effect; but only applied to
Thirdly, (which I like well,) they do not observe the confecting of the ointment under any certain constellation ; which commonly is the excuse of magical medicines when they fail, that they were
1 See his Basilica Chymica, p. 400. In the edition I have seen, that of 1643, nothing is said as to the time of killing the bear and the boar. On the subject of " unguenta armaria,” see a collection of tracts in the Theatrum Sympatheticum.
not made under a fit figure of heaven. Fourthly, it may be applied to the weapon, though the party hurt be at great distance. Fifthly, it seemeth the imagination of the party to be cured is not needful to concur; for it may be done without the knowledge of the party wounded : and thus much hath been tried, that the ointment (for experiment's sake) hath been wiped off the weapon, without the knowledge of the party hurt, and presently the party hurt hath been in great rage of pain, till the weapon was re-anointed. Sixthly, it is affirmed that if you cannot get the weapon, yet if you put an instrument of iron or wood, resembling the weapon, into the wound, whereby it bleedeth, the anointing of that instrument will serve and work the effect. This I doubt should be a device to keep this strange form of cure in request and use; because many times you cannot come by the
itself. Seventhly, the wound must be at first washed clean with white wine, or the party's own water; and then bound up close in fine linen, and no more dressing renewed till it be whole. Eighthly, the sword itself must be wrapped up close, as far as the ointment goeth, that it taketh no wind. Ninthly, the ointment, if you wipe it off from the sword and keep it, will serve again ; and rather increase in virtue than diminish. Tenthly, it will cure in far shorter time than ointments of wounds commonly do. Lastly, it will cure a beast, as well as a man; which I like best of all the rest, because it subjecteth the matter to an easy trial.
Experiment solitary touching secret proprieties. 999. I would have men know, that though I reprehend the easy passing over of the causes of things, by ascribing them to secret and hidden virtues and proprieties ; (for this hath arrested and laid asleep all true inquiry and indications ;) yet I do not understand but that in the practical part of knowledge, much will be left to experience and probation, whereunto indication cannot so fully reach: and this not only in specie, but in individuo. So in physic, if you will cure the jaundice, it is not enough to say that the medicine must not be cooling; for that will hinder the opening which the disease requireth: that it must not be hot; for that will exasperate choler: that it must go to the gall; for there is the obstruction which causeth the disease, &c. But you must receive from experience, that powder of Chamæpitys, or the like, drunk in beer, is good for the jaundice. So again, a wise physician doth not continue still the same medicine to a patient; but he will vary, if the first medicine doth not apparently succeed: for of those remedies that are good for the jaundice, stone, agues, &c., that will do good in one body which will not do good in another; according to the correspondence the medicine hath to the individual body.
Experiment solitary touching the general sympathy of
men's spirits. 1000. The delight which men have in popularity, fame, honour, submission and subjection of other men's minds, wills, or affections, (although these things may be desired for other ends,) seemeth to be a thing in itself, without contemplation of consequence, grateful and agreeable to the nature of man. This thing (surely) is not without some signification, as if all spirits and souls of men came forth out of one divine 1 jaundies in the original. — J. S.
2 See Pliny, xxiv. 20.
limbus ; else why should men be so much affected with that which others think or say? The best temper of minds desireth good name and true honour: the lighter, popularity and applause: the more depraved, subjection and tyranny; as is seen in great conquerors and troublers of the world ; and yet more in arch-heretics ; for the introducing of new doctrines is likewise an affectation of tyranny over the understandings and beliefs A TABLE OF THE EXPERIMENTS.*
7 7 8 9 10 10 12
Of Veins of Earth Medicinal
13 19 21 21 22 22 23 25 25 26 26 27
29 29 30 30
• For the first part of this Table see the end of vol. iv. of this edition.