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997. THE sympathy of individuals, that have been entire, or have touched, is of all others the most incredible; yet according unto our faithful manner of examination of nature, we will make some little mention of it. The taking away of warts, by rubbing them with somewhat that afterwards is put to waste and consume, is a common experiment; and I do apprehend it the rather because of my own experience. I had from my childhood a wart upon one of my fingers: afterwards, when I was about sixteen years old, being then at Paris, there grew upon both my hands a number of warts, at the least an hundred, in a month's space. The English ambassador's lady, who was a woman far from superstition, told me one day, she would help me away with my warts: whereupon she got a piece of lard with the skin on, and rubbed the warts all over with the fat side; and amongst the rest, that wart which I had had from my childhood: then she nailed the piece of lard, with the fat towards the sun, upon a post of her chamber window, which was to the south. The success was, that within five weeks space all the warts went quite away: and that wart which I had so long endured, for company. But at the rest I did little marvel, because they came in a short time, and might go away in a short time again : but the going away of that which had stayed so long doth yet stick with me. They say the like is done by the rubbing of warts with a green elder stick, and then burying the stick to rot in muck. It would be
tried with corns and wens, and such other excrescences. I would have it also tried with some parts of living creatures that are nearest the nature of excrescences; as the combs of cocks, the spurs of cocks, the horns of beasts, etc. And I would have it tried both ways; both by rubbing those parts with lard, or elder, as before; 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 the weapon. 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 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 has 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 has 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 weapon 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 any easy trial.
Experiment solitary touching secret proprieties.
999. I WOULD have men know, that though I reprehend the easy passing over 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, etc. But you must receive from experience that powder of Chamæpytis, 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, etc. 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 mens spirits.
1000. THE delight which men have in popularity, fame, honour, submission, and subjection of other mens 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 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 archheretics; for the introducing of new doctrines is likewise an affectation of tyranny over the understandings and beliefs of men.