The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Part 1 out of 6

Produced by Jonathan Ingram and PG Distributed Proofreaders





Containing his Complete Masterpiece and
Family Physician; his Experienced
Midwife, his Book of Problems
and his Remarks on


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[Illustration: Medical Knowledge]


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_On marriage and at what age young men and virgins are capable of
it: and why so much desire it. Also, how long men and women are
capable of it._

There are very few, except some professional debauchees, who will not
readily agree that "Marriage is honourable to all," being ordained by
Heaven in Paradise; and without which no man or woman can be in a
capacity, honestly, to yield obedience to the first law of the creation,
"Increase and Multiply." And since it is natural in young people to
desire the embraces, proper to the marriage bed, it behoves parents to
look after their children, and when they find them inclinable to
marriage, not violently to restrain their inclinations (which, instead
of allaying them, makes them but the more impetuous) but rather provide
such suitable matches for them, as may make their lives comfortable;
lest the crossing of those inclinations should precipitate them to
commit those follies that may bring an indelible stain upon their
families. The inclination of maids to marriage may be known by many
symptoms; for when they arrive at puberty, which is about the fourteenth
or fifteenth year of their age, then their natural purgations begin to
flow; and the blood, which is no longer to augment their bodies,
abounding, stirs up their minds to venery. External causes may also
incline them to it; for their spirits being brisk and inflamed, when
they arrive at that age, if they eat hard salt things and spices, the
body becomes more and more heated, whereby the desire to veneral
embraces is very great, and sometimes almost insuperable. And the use of
this so much desired enjoyment being denied to virgins, many times is
followed by dismal consequences; such as the green weesel colonet,
short-breathing, trembling of the heart, etc. But when they are married
and their veneral desires satisfied by the enjoyment of their husbands,
these distempers vanish, and they become more gay and lively than
before. Also, their eager staring at men, and affecting their company,
shows that nature pushes them upon coition; and their parents
neglecting to provide them with husbands, they break through modesty and
satisfy themselves in unlawful embraces. It is the same with brisk
widows, who cannot be satisfied without that benevolence to which they
were accustomed when they had their husbands.

At the age of 14, the menses, in virgins, begin to flow; then they are
capable of conceiving, and continue generally until 44, when they cease
bearing, unless their bodies are strong and healthful, which sometimes
enables them to bear at 65. But many times the menses proceed from some
violence done to nature, or some morbific matter, which often proves
fatal. And, hence, men who are desirous of issue ought to marry a woman
within the age aforesaid, or blame themselves if they meet with
disappointment; though, if an old man, if not worn out with diseases and
incontinency, marry a brisk, lively maiden, there is hope of him having
children to 70 or 80 years.

Hippocrates says, that a youth of 15, or between that and 17, having
much vital strength, is capable of begetting children; and also that the
force of the procreating matter increases till 45, 50, and 55, and then
begins to flag; the seed, by degrees, becoming unfruitful, the natural
spirits being extinguished, and the humours dried up. Thus, in general,
but as to individuals, it often falls out otherwise. Nay, it is
reported by a credible author, that in Swedland, a man was married at
100 years of age to a girl of 30 years, and had many children by her;
but his countenance was so fresh, that those who knew him not, imagined
him not to exceed 50. And in Campania, where the air is clear and
temperate, men of 80 marry young virgins, and have children by them;
which shows that age in them does not hinder procreation, unless they be
exhausted in their youths and their yards be shrivelled up.

If any would know why a woman is sooner barren than a man, they may be
assured that the natural heat, which is the cause of generation, is more
predominant in the man than in the woman; for since a woman is more
moist than a man, as her monthly purgations demonstrate, as also the
softness of her body; it is also apparent that he does not much exceed
her in natural heat, which is the chief thing that concocts the humours
in proper aliment, which the woman wanting grows fat; whereas a man,
through his native heat, melts his fat by degrees and his humours are
dissolved; and by the benefit thereof are converted into seed. And this
may also be added, that women, generally, are not so strong as men, nor
so wise or prudent; nor have so much reason and ingenuity in ordering
affairs; which shows that thereby the faculties are hindered in

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_How to beget a male or female child; and of the Embryo and perfect
Birth; and the fittest time for the copula._

When a young couple are married, they naturally desire children; and
therefore adopt the means that nature has appointed to that end. But
notwithstanding their endeavours they must know that the success of all
depends on the blessing of the Gods: not only so, but the sex, whether
male or female, is from their disposal also, though it cannot be denied,
that secondary causes have influence therein, especially two. First, the
general humour, which is brought by the arteria praeparantes to the
testes, in form of blood, and there elaborated into seed, by the
seminifical faculty residing in them. Secondly, the desire of coition,
which fires the imagination with unusual fancies, and by the sight of
brisk, charming beauty, may soon inflame the appetite. But if nature be
enfeebled, some meats must be eaten as will conduce to afford such
aliment as makes the seed abound, and restores the exhaustion of nature
that the faculties may freely operate, and remove impediments
obstructing the procreating of children. Then, since diet alters the
evil state of the body to a better, those subject to barrenness must eat
such meats as are juicy and nourish well, making the body lively and
full of sap; of which faculty are all hot moist meats. For, according to
Galen, seed is made of pure concocted and windy superfluity of blood,
whence we may conclude, that there is a power in many things, to
accumulate seed, and also to augment it; and other things of force to
cause desire, as hen eggs, pheasants, woodcocks, gnat-snappers,
blackbirds, thrushes, young pigeons, sparrows, partridges, capons,
almonds, pine nuts, raisins, currants, strong wines taken sparingly,
especially those made of the grapes of Italy. But erection is chiefly
caused by scuraum, eringoes, cresses, crysmon, parsnips, artichokes,
turnips, asparagus, candied ginger, acorns bruised to powder and drank
in muscadel, scallion, sea shell fish, etc. But these must have time to
perform their operation, and must be used for a considerable time, or
you will reap but little benefit from them. The act of coition being
over, let the woman repose herself on her right side, with her head
lying low, and her body declining, that by sleeping in that posture,
the cani, on the right side of the matrix, may prove the place of
conception; for therein is the greatest generative heat, which is the
chief procuring cause of male children, and rarely fails the
expectations of those that experience it, especially if they do but keep
warm, without much motion, leaning to the right, and drinking a little
spirit of saffron and juice of hissop in a glass of Malaga or Alicant,
when they lie down and arise, for a week.

For a female child, let the woman lie on her left side, strongly
fancying a female in the time of procreation, drinking the decoction of
female mercury four days from the first day of purgation; the male
mercury having the like operation in case of a male; for this concoction
purges the right and left side of the womb, opens the receptacles, and
makes way for the seminary of generation. The best time to beget a
female is, when the moon is in the wane, in Libra or Aquaries. Advicenne
says, that when the menses are spent and the womb cleansed, which is
commonly in five or seven days at most, if a man lie with his wife from
the first day she is purged to the fifth, she will conceive a male; but
from the fifth to the eighth a female; and from the eighth to the
twelfth a male again: but after that perhaps neither distinctly, but
both in an hermaphrodite. In a word, they that would be happy in the
fruits of their labour, must observe to use copulation in due distance
of time, not too often nor too seldom, for both are alike hurtful; and
to use it immoderately weakens and wastes the spirits and spoils the
seed. And this much for the first particular.

The second is to let the reader know how the child is formed in the
womb, what accidents it is liable to there, and how nourished and
brought forth. There are various opinions concerning this matter;
therefore, I shall show what the learned say about it.

Man consists of an egg, which is impregnated in the testicles of the
woman, by the more subtle parts of the man's seed; but the forming
faculty and virtue in the seed is a divine gift, it being abundantly
imbued with vital spirit, which gives sap and form to the embryo, so
that all parts and bulk of the body, which is made up in a few months
and gradually formed into the likely figure of a man, do consist in, and
are adumbrated thereby (most sublimely expressed, Psalm cxxxix.: "I will
praise Thee, O Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.")

Physicians have remarked four different times at which a man is framed
and perfected in the womb; the first after coition, being perfectly
formed in the week if no flux happens, which sometimes falls out
through the slipperiness of the head of the matrix, that slips over like
a rosebud that opens suddenly. The second time of forming is assigned
when nature makes manifest mutation in the conception, so that all the
substance seems congealed, flesh and blood, and happens twelve or
fourteen days after copulation. And though this fleshy mass abounds with
inflamed blood, yet it remains undistinguishable, without form, and may
be called an embryo, and compared to seed sown in the ground, which,
through heat and moisture, grows by degrees to a perfect form in plant
or grain. The third time assigned to make up this fabric is when the
principal parts show themselves plain; as the heart, whence proceed the
arteries, the brain, from which the nerves, like small threads, run
through the whole body; and the liver, which divides the chyle from the
blood, brought to it by the vena porta. The two first are fountains of
life, that nourish every part of the body, in framing which the faculty
of the womb is bruised, from the conception of the eighth day of the
first month. The fourth, and last, about the thirtieth day, the outward
parts are seen nicely wrought, distinguished by joints, from which time
it is no longer an embryo, but a perfect child.

Most males are perfect by the thirtieth day, but females seldom before
the forty-second or forty-fifth day, because the heat of the womb is
greater in producing the male than the female. And, for the same reason,
a woman going with a male child quickens in three months, but going with
a female, rarely under four, at which time its hair and nails come
forth, and the child begins to stir, kick and move in the womb, and then
the woman is troubled with a loathing for meat and a greedy longing for
things contrary to nutriment, as coals, rubbish, chalk, etc., which
desire often occasions abortion and miscarriage. Some women have been so
extravagant as to long for hob nails, leather, horse-flesh, man's flesh,
and other unnatural as well as unwholesome food, for want of which thing
they have either miscarried or the child has continued dead in the womb
for many days, to the imminent hazard of their lives. But I shall now
proceed to show by what means the child is maintained in the womb, and
what posture it there remains in.

The learned Hippocrates affirms that the child, as he is placed in the
womb, has his hands on his knees, and his head bent to his feet, so that
he lies round together, his hands upon his knees and his face between
them, so that each eye touches each thumb, and his nose betwixt his
knees. And of the same opinion in this matter was Bartholinus. Columbus
is of opinion that the figure of the child in the womb is round, the
right arm bowed, the fingers under the ear, and about the neck, the head
bowed so that the chin touches the breast, the left arm bowed above both
breast and face and propped up by the bending of the right elbow; the
legs are lifted upwards, the right so much that the thigh touches the
belly, the knee the navel, the heel touches the left buttock, and the
foot is turned back and covers the secrets; the left thigh touches the
belly, and the leg lifted up to the breast.

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_The reason why children are like their parents; and that the
Mother's imagination contributes thereto; and whether the man or
the woman is the cause of the male or female child._

In the case of similitude, nothing is more powerful than the imagination
of the mother; for if she fix her eyes upon any object it will so
impress her mind, that it oftentimes so happens that the child has a
representation thereof on some part of the body. And, if in act of
copulation, the woman earnestly look on the man, and fix her mind on
him, the child will resemble its father. Nay, if a woman, even in
unlawful copulation, fix her mind upon her husband, the child will
resemble him though he did not beget it. The same effect has imagination
in occasioning warts, stains, mole-spots, and dartes; though indeed they
sometimes happen through frights, or extravagant longing. Many women, in
being with child, on seeing a hare cross the road in front of them,
will, through the force of imagination, bring forth a child with a hairy
lip. Some children are born with flat noses and wry mouths, great
blubber lips and ill-shaped bodies; which must be ascribed to the
imagination of the mother, who has cast her eyes and mind upon some
ill-shaped creature. Therefore it behoves all women with child, if
possible, to avoid such sights, or at least, not to regard them. But
though the mother's imagination may contribute much to the features of
the child, yet, in manners, wit, and propension of the mind, experience
tells us, that children are commonly of the condition with their
parents, and possessed of similar tempers. But the vigour or disability
of persons in the act of copulation many times cause it to be otherwise;
for children begotten through the heat and strength of desire, must
needs partake more of the nature and inclination of their parents, than
those begotten at a time when desires are weaker; and, therefore, the
children begotten by men in their old age are generally weaker than,
those begotten by them in their youth. As to the share which each of the
parents has in begetting the child, we will give the opinions of the
ancients about it.

Though it is apparent that the man's seed is the chief efficient being
of the action, motion, and generation: yet that the woman affords seed
and effectually contributes in that point to the procreation of the
child, is evinced by strong reasons. In the first place, seminary
vessels had been given her in vain, and genital testicles inverted, if
the woman wanted seminal excrescence, for nature does nothing in vain;
and therefore we must grant, they were made for the use of seed and
procreation, and placed in their proper parts; both the testicles and
the receptacles of seed, whose nature is to operate and afford virtue to
the seed. And to prove this, there needs no stronger argument, say they,
than that if a woman do not use copulation to eject her seed, she often
falls into strange diseases, as appears by young men and virgins. A
second reason they urge is, that although the society of a lawful bed
consists not altogether in these things, yet it is apparent the female
sex are never better pleased, nor appear more blythe and jocund, than
when they are satisfied this way; which is an inducement to believe they
have more pleasure and titulation therein than men. For since nature
causes much delight to accompany ejection, by the breaking forth of the
swelling spirits and the swiftness of the nerves; in which case the
operation on the woman's part is double, she having an enjoyment both by
reception and ejection, by which she is more delighted in.

Hence it is, they say, that the child more frequently resembles the
mother than the father, because the mother contributes more towards it.
And they think it may be further instanced, from the endeared affection
they bear them; for that, besides their contributing seminal matters,
they feed and nourish the child with the purest fountain of blood, until
its birth. Which opinion Galen affirms, by allowing children to
participate most of the mother; and ascribes the difference of sex to
the different operations of the menstrual blood; but this reason of the
likeness he refers to the power of the seed; for, as the plants receive
more nourishment from fruitful ground, than from the industry of the
husbandman, so the infant receives more abundance from the mother than
the father. For the seed of both is cherished in the womb, and then
grows to perfection, being nourished with blood. And for this reason it
is, they say, that children, for the most part, love their mothers best,
because they receive the most of their substance from their mother; for
about nine months she nourishes her child in the womb with the purest
blood; then her love towards it newly born, and its likeness, do clearly
show that the woman affords seed, and contributes more towards making
the child than the man.

But in this all the ancients were very erroneous; for the testicles, so
called in women, afford not only seed, but are two eggs, like those of
fowls and other creatures; neither have they any office like those of
men, but are indeed the ovaria, wherein the eggs are nourished by the
sanguinary vessels disposed throughout them; and from thence one or more
as they are fecundated by the man's seed is separated and conveyed into
the womb by the ovaducts. The truth of this is plain, for if you boil
them the liquor will be of the same colour, taste and consistency, with
the taste of birds' eggs. If any object that they have no shells, that
signifies nothing: for the eggs of fowls while they are on the ovary,
nay, after they are fastened into the uterus, have no shell. And though
when they are laid, they have one, yet that is no more than a defence
with which nature has provided them against any outward injury, while
they are hatched without the body; whereas those of women being hatched
within the body, need no other fence than the womb, by which they are
sufficiently secured. And this is enough, I hope, for the clearing of
this point.

As for the third thing proposed, as whence grow the kind, and whether
the man or the woman is the cause of the male or female infant--the
primary cause we must ascribe to God as is most justly His due, who is
the Ruler and Disposer of all things; yet He suffers many things to
proceed according to the rules of nature by their inbred motion,
according to usual and natural courses, without variation; though indeed
by favour from on high, Sarah conceived Isaac; Hannah, Samuel; and
Elizabeth, John the Baptist; but these were all extraordinary things,
brought to pass by a Divine power, above the course of nature. Nor have
such instances been wanting in later days; therefore, I shall wave them,
and proceed to speak of things natural.

The ancient physicians and philosophers say that since these two
principles out of which the body of man is made, and which renders the
child like the parents, and by one or other of the sex, viz., seed
common to both sexes and menstrual blood, proper to the woman only; the
similitude, say they, must needs consist in the force of virtue of the
male or female, so that it proves like the one or the other, according
to the quantity afforded by either, but that the difference of sex is
not referred to the seed, but to the menstrual blood, which is proper to
the woman, is apparent; for, were that force altogether retained in the
seed, the male seed being of the hottest quality, male children would
abound and few of the female be propagated; wherefore, the sex is
attributed to the temperament or to the active qualities, which consists
in heat and cold and the nature of the matter under them--that is, the
flowing of the menstruous blood. But now, the seed, say they, affords
both force to procreate and to form the child, as well as matter for its
generation; and in the menstruous blood there is both matter and force,
for as the seed most helps the maternal principle, so also does the
menstrual blood the potential seed, which is, says Galen, blood well
concocted by the vessels which contain it. So that the blood is not only
the matter of generating the child, but also seed, it being impossible
that menstrual blood has both principles.

The ancients also say that the seed is the stronger efficient, the
matter of it being very little in quantity, but the potential quality of
it is very strong; wherefore, if these principles of generation,
according to which the sex is made were only, say they, in the menstrual
blood, then would the children be all mostly females; as were the
efficient force in the seed they would be all males; but since both have
operation in menstrual blood, matter predominates in quantity and in the
seed force and virtue. And, therefore, Galen thinks that the child
receives its sex rather from the mother than the father, for though his
seed contributes a little to the natural principle, yet it is more
weakly. But for likeliness it is referred rather to the father than to
the mother. Yet the woman's seed receiving strength from the menstrual
blood for the space of nine months, overpowers the man's in that
particular, for the menstrual blood rather cherishes the one than the
other; from which it is plain the woman affords both matter to make and
force and virtue to perfect the conception; though the female's be fit
nutriment for the male's by reason of the thinness of it, being more
adapted to make up conception thereby. For as of soft wax or moist clay,
the artificer can frame what he intends, so, say they, the man's seed
mixing with the woman's and also with the menstrual blood, helps to
make the form and perfect part of man.

But, with all imaginary deference to the wisdom of our fathers, give me
leave to say that their ignorance of the anatomy of man's body have led
them into the paths of error and ran them into great mistakes. For their
hypothesis of the formation of the embryo from commixture of blood being
wholly false, their opinion in this case must of necessity be likewise.
I shall therefore conclude this chapter by observing that although a
strong imagination of the mother may often determine the sex, yet the
main agent in this case is the plastic or formative principle, according
to those rules and laws given us by the great Creator, who makes and
fashions it, and therein determines the sex, according to the council of
his will.

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_That Man's Soul is not propagated by their parents, but is infused
by its Creator, and can neither die nor corrupt. At what time it is
infused. Of its immortality and certainty of its resurrection._

Man's soul is of so divine a nature and excellency that man himself
cannot comprehend it, being the infused breath of the Almighty, of an
immortal nature, and not to be comprehended but by Him that gave it. For
Moses, relating the history of man, tells us that "God breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul." Now, as for
all other creatures, at His word they were made and had life, but the
creature that God had set over His works was His peculiar workmanship,
formed by Him out of the dust of the earth, and He condescended to
breathe into his nostrils the breath of life, which seems to denote both
care and, if we may so term it, labour, used about man more than about
all other living creatures, he only partaking and participating of the
blessed divine nature, bearing God's image in innocence and purity,
whilst he stood firm; and when, by his fall, that lively image was
defaced, yet such was the love of the Creator towards him that he found
out a way to restore him, the only begotten son of the Eternal Father
coming into the world to destroy the works of the devil, and to raise up
man from that low condition to which sin and his fall had reduced him,
to a state above that of the angels.

If, therefore, man would understand the excellency of his soul, let him
turn his eyes inwardly and look unto himself and search diligently his
own mind, and there he shall see many admirable gifts and excellent
ornaments, that must needs fill him with wonder and amazement; as
reason, understanding, freedom of will, memory, etc., that clearly show
the soul to be descended from a heavenly original, and that therefore it
is of infinite duration and not subject to annihilation.

Yet for its many operations and offices while in the body it goes under
several denominations: for when it enlivens the body it is called the
soul; when it gives knowledge, the judgment of the mind; and when it
recalls things past, the memory; when it discourses and discerns,
reason; when it contemplates, the spirit; when it is the sensitive part,
the senses. And these are the principal offices whereby the soul
declares its powers and performs its actions. For being seated in the
highest parts of the body it diffuses its force into every member. It is
not propagated from the parents, nor mixed with gross matter, but the
infused breath of God, immediately proceeding from Him; not passing from
one to another as was the opinion of Pythagoras, who held a belief in
transmigration of the soul; but that the soul is given to every infant
by infusion, is the most received and orthodox opinion. And the learned
do likewise agree that this is done when the infant is perfected in the
womb, which happens about the twenty-fourth day after conception;
especially for males, who are generally born at the end of nine months;
but in females, who are not so soon formed and perfected, through defect
of heat, until the fiftieth day. And though this day in either case
cannot be truly set down, yet Hippocrates has given his opinion, that it
is so when the child is formed and begins to move, when born in due
season. In his book of the nature of infants, he says, if it be a male
and be perfect on the thirtieth day, and move on the seventieth, he will
be born in the seventh month; but if he be perfectly formed on the
thirty-fifth day, he will move on the seventieth and will be born in the
eighth month. Again, if he be perfectly formed on the forty-fifth day,
he will move on the ninetieth and be born in the ninth month. Now from
these paring of days and months, it plainly appears that the day of
forming being doubled, makes up the day of moving, and the day, three
times reckoned, makes up the day of birth. As thus, when thirty-five
perfects the form, if you double it, makes seventy the day of motion;
and three times seventy amounts to two hundred and ten days; while
allowing thirty days to a month makes seven months, and so you must
consider the rest. But as to a female the case is different; for it is
longer perfecting in the womb, the mother ever going longer with a girl
than with a boy, which makes the account differ; for a female formed in
thirty days does not move until the seventieth day, and is born in the
seventh month; when she is formed on the fortieth day, she does not move
till the eightieth and is born in the eighth month; but, if she be
perfectly formed on the forty-fifth day she moves on the ninetieth, and
the child is born in the ninth month; but if she that is formed on the
sixtieth day, moves on the one hundred and tenth day, she will be born
in the tenth month. I treat the more largely of love that the reader may
know that the reasonable soul is not propagated by the parents, but is
infused by the Almighty, when the child has its perfect form, and is
exactly distinguished in its lineaments.

Now, as the life of every other creature, as Moses shows, is in the
blood, so the life of man consists in the soul, which although subject
to passion, by reason of the gross composures of the body, in which it
has a temporary confinement, yet it is immortal and cannot in itself
corrupt or suffer change, it being a spark of the Divine Mind. And that
every man has a peculiar soul plainly appears by the vast difference
between the will, judgment, opinions, manners, and affections in men.
This David observes when he says: "God hath fashioned the hearts and
minds of men, and has given to every one his own being and a soul of its
own nature." Hence Solomon rejoiced that God had given him a soul, and a
body agreeable to it. It has been disputed among the learned in what
part of the body the soul resides; some are of opinion its residence is
in the middle of the heart, and from thence communicates itself to every
part, which Solomon (Prov. iv. 23) seems to confirm when he says: "Keep
thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." But
many curious physicians, searching the works of nature in man's anatomy,
do affirm that its chief seat is in the brain, from whence proceed the
senses, the faculties, and actions, diffusing the operations of the soul
through all parts of the body, whereby it is enlivened with heat and
force to the heart, by the arteries, corodities, or sleepy arteries,
which part upon the throat; which, if they happen to be broken or cut,
they cause barrenness, and if stopped an apoplexy; for there must
necessarily be ways through which the spirits, animal and vital, may
have intercourse and convey native heat from the soul. For though the
soul has its chief seat in one place, it operates in every part,
exercising every member which are the soul's instruments, by which she
discovers her power. But if it happen that any of the original parts are
out of tune, its whole work is confused, as appears in idiots and mad
men; though, in some of them, the soul, by a vigorous exertion of its
power, recovers its innate strength and they become right after a long
despondency in mind, but in others it is not recovered again in this
life. For, as fire under ashes, or the sun obscured from our sight by
thick clouds, afford not their native lustre, so the soul, overwhelmed
in moist or morbid matter, is darkened and reason thereby overclouded;
and though reason shines less in children than it does in such as are
arrived at maturity, yet no man must imagine that the soul of an infant
grows up with the child, for then would it again decay; but it suits
itself to nature's weakness, and the imbecility of the body wherein it
is placed, that it may operate the better. And as the body is more
capable of recovering its influence, so the soul does more and more
exert its faculties, having force and endowment at the time it enters
the form of a child in the womb; for its substance can receive nothing
less. And thus much to prove that the soul does not come from the
parents, but is infused by God. I shall next prove its immortality and
demonstrate the certainty of our resurrection.


That the soul of man is a Divine ray, infused by the Sovereign Creator,
I have already proved, and now come to show that whatever immediately
proceeds from Him, and participates of His nature, must be as immortal
as its original; for, though all other creatures are endowed with life
and motion, they yet lack a reasonable soul, and from thence it is
concluded that their life is in their blood, and that being corruptible
they perish and are no more; but man being endowed with a reasonable
soul and stamped with a Divine image, is of a different nature, and
though his body is corruptible, yet his soul being of an immortal nature
cannot perish; but at the dissolution of the body returns to God who
gave it, either to receive reward or punishment. Now, that the body can
sin of itself is impossible, because wanting the soul, which is the
principle of life, it cannot act nor proceed to anything either good or
evil; for could it do so, it might even sin in the grave. But it is
plain that after death there is a cessation; for as death leaves us so
judgment will find us.

Now, reason having evidently demonstrated the soul's immortality, the
Holy Scriptures do abundantly give testimony of the truth of the
resurrection, as the reader may see by perusing the 14th and 19th
chapters of Job and 5th of John. I shall, therefore, leave the further
discussion of this matter to divines, whose province it is, and return
to treat of the works of nature.

* * * * *


_Of Monsters and Monstrous Births; and the several reasons thereof,
according to the opinions of the Ancients. Also, whether the
Monsters are endowed with reasonable Souls; and whether the Devils
can engender; is here briefly discussed._

By the ancients, monsters are ascribed to depraved conceptions, and are
designated as being excursions of nature, which are vicious in one of
these four ways: either in figure, magnitude, situation, or number.

In figure, when a man bears the character of a beast, as did the beast
in Saxony. In magnitude, when one part does not equalise with another;
as when one part is too big or too little for the other parts of the
body. But this is so common among us that I need not produce a

[Illustration: There was a Monster at Ravenna in Italy of this kind, in
the year 1512.]

I now proceed to explain the cause of their generation, which is either
divine or natural. The divine cause proceeds from God's permissive will,
suffering parents to bring forth abominations for their filthy and
corrupt affections, which are let loose unto wickedness like brute
beasts which have no understanding. Wherefore it was enacted among the
ancient Romans that those who were in any way deformed, should not be
admitted into religious houses. And St. Jerome was grieved in his time
to see the lame and the deformed offering up spiritual sacrifices to God
in religious houses. And Keckerman, by way of inference, excludes all
that are ill-shapen from this presbyterian function in the church. And
that which is of more force than all, God himself commanded Moses not to
receive such to offer sacrifice among his people; and he also renders
the reason Leviticus, xxii. 28, "Lest he pollute my sanctuaries."
Because of the outward deformity, the body is often a sign of the
pollution of the heart, as a curse laid on the child for the
incontinency of its parents. Yet it is not always so. Let us therefore
duly examine and search out the natural cause of their generation, which
(according to the ancients who have dived into the secrets of nature) is
either in the mother or in the agent, in the seed, or in the womb.

The matter may be in default two ways--by defect or by excess: by
defect, when the child has only one arm; by excess, when it has four
hands or two heads. Some monsters are begotten by a woman's unnatural
lying with beasts; as in the year 1603, there was a monster begotten by
a woman's generating with a dog; which from the navel upwards had the
perfect resemblance of its mother: but from its navel downwards it
resembled a dog.


The agent or womb may be in fault three ways; firstly, the formative
faculty, which may be too strong or too weak, by which is procured a
depraved figure; secondly, to the instrument or place of conception, the
evil confirmation or the disposition whereof will cause a monstrous
birth; thirdly, in the imaginative power at the time of conception;
which is of such a force that it stamps the character of the thing
imagined on the child. Thus the children of an adulteress may be like
her husband, though begotten by another man, which is caused through the
force of imagination that the woman has of her own husband at the act
of coition. And I have heard of a woman, who, at the time of conception,
beholding the picture of a blackamoor, conceived and brought forth an
Ethiopian. I will not trouble you with more human testimonies, but
conclude with a stronger warrant. We read (Gen. xxx. 31) how Jacob
having agreed with Laban to have all the spotted sheep for keeping his
flock to augment his wages, took hazel rods and peeled white streaks on
them, and laid them before the sheep when they came to drink, which
coupling together there, whilst they beheld the rods, conceived and
brought forth young.

"Where children thus are born with hairy coats
Heaven's wrath unto the kingdom it denotes"]

Another monster representing a hairy child. It was all covered with hair
like a beast. That which made it more frightful was, that its navel was
in the place where its nose should stand, and its eyes placed where the
mouth should have been, and its mouth placed in the chin. It was of the
male kind, and was born in France, in the year 1597, at a town called
Arles in Provence, and lived a few days, frightening all that beheld it.
It was looked upon as a forerunner of desolations which soon after
happened to that kingdom, in which men to each other were more like
brutes than human creatures.

There was a monster born at Nazara in the year 1530. It had four arms
and four legs.

The imagination also works on the child, after conception, of which we
have a pregnant instance.

A worthy gentlewoman in Suffolk, who being with child and passing by a
butcher who was killing his meat, a drop of blood sprung on her face,
whereupon she said her child would have a blemish on its face, and at
the birth it was found marked with a red spot.


Likewise in the reign of Henry III, there was a woman delivered of a
child having two heads and four arms, and the bodies were joined at the
back; the heads were so placed that they looked contrary ways; each had
two distinct arms and hands. They would both laugh, both speak, and
both cry, and be hungry together; sometimes the one would speak and the
other keep silence, and sometimes both speak together. They lived
several years, but one outlived the other three years, carrying the dead
one (for there was no parting them) till the survivor fainted with the
burden, and more with the stench of the dead carcase.


It is certain that monstrous births often happen by means of undue
copulation; for some there are, who, having been long absent from one
another, and having an eager desire for enjoyment, consider not as they
ought, to do as their circumstances demand. And if it happen that they
come together when the woman's menses are flowing, and notwithstanding,
proceed to the act of copulation, which is both unclean and unnatural,
the issue of such copulation does often prove monstrous, as a just
punishment for doing what nature forbids. And, therefore, though men
should be ever so eager for it, yet women, knowing their own condition,
should at such times positively refuse their company. And though such
copulations do not always produce monstrous birth, yet the children,
thus begotten, are generally heavy, dull, and sluggish, besides
defective in their understandings, lacking the vivacity and loveliness
with which children begotten in proper season are endowed.



In Flanders, between Antwerp and Mechlin, in a village called Uthaton, a
child was born which had two heads, four arms, seeming like two girls
joined together, having two of their arms lifted up between and above
their heads, the thighs being placed as it were across one another,
according to the figure on p. 39. How long they lived I had no account

By the figure on p. 40 you may see that though some of the members are
wanting, yet they are supplied by other members.

It remains now that I make some inquiry whether those that are born
monsters have reasonable souls, and are capable of resurrection. And
here both divines and physicians are of opinion that those who,
according to the order of generations deduced from our first parents,
proceed by mutual means from either sex, though their outward shape be
deformed and monstrous, have notwithstanding a reasonable soul, and
consequently their bodies are capable of resurrection, as other men's
and women's are; but those monsters that are not begotten by men, but
are the product of women's unnatural lusts in copulating with other
creatures shall perish as the brute beasts by whom they were begotten,
not having a reasonable soul nor any breath of the Almighty infused into
them; and such can never be capable of resurrection. And the same is
also true of imperfect and abortive births.

Some are of opinion that monsters may be engendered by some infernal
spirit. Of this mind was Adigus Fariur, speaking of a deformed monster
born at Craconia; and Hieronimus Cardamnus wrote of a maid that was got
with child by the devil, she thinking it had been a fair young man. The
like also is recorded by Vicentius, of the prophet Merlin, that he was
begotten by an evil spirit. But what a repugnance it would be both to
religion and nature, if the devils could beget men; when we are taught
to believe that not any was ever begotten without human seed, except the
Son of God. The devil then being a spirit and having no corporeal
substance, has therefore no seed of generation; to say that he can use
the act of generation effectually is to affirm that he can make
something out of nothing, and consequently to affirm the devil to be
God, for creation belongs to God only. Again, if the devil could assume
to himself a human body and enliven the faculties of it, and cause it to
generate, as some affirm he can, yet this body must bear the image of
the devil. And it borders on blasphemy to think that God should so far
give leave to the devil as out of God's image to raise his own
diabolical offspring. In the school of Nature we are taught the
contrary, viz., that like begets like; therefore, of a devil cannot man
be born. Yet, it is not denied, but the devils, transforming themselves
into human shapes, may abuse both men and women, and, with wicked
people, use carnal copulation; but that any unnatural conjunction can
bring forth a human creature is contrary to nature and all religion.

* * * * *


_Of the happy state of matrimony, as it is appointed by God, the
true felicity that rebounds thereby to either sex; and to what end
it is ordained._

Without doubt the uniting of hearts in holy wedlock is of all conditions
the happiest; for then a man has a second self to whom he can reveal his
thoughts, as well as a sweet companion in his labours, toils, trials,
and difficulties. He has one in whose breast, as in a safe cabinet, he
can confide his inmost secrets, especially where reciprocal love and
inviolable faith is centred; for there no care, fear, jealousy, mistrust
or hatred can ever interpose. For base is the man that hateth his own
flesh! And truly a wife, if rightly considered, as Adam well observed,
is or ought to be esteemed of every honest man as "Bone of his bone and
flesh of his flesh," etc. Nor was it the least care of the Almighty to
ordain so near a union, and that for two causes; the first, for the
increase of posterity; the second, to restrain man's wandering desires
and affections; nay, that they might be yet happier, when God has joined
them together, he "blessed them," as in Gen. ii. An ancient writer,
contemplating this happy state, says, in the economy of Xenophon, "that
the marriage bed is not only the most pleasant, but also profitable
course of life, that may be entered on for the preservation and increase
of posterity. Wherefore, since marriage is the most safe, and delightful
situation of man he does in no ways provide amiss for his own
tranquillity who enters into it, especially when he comes to maturity of

There are many abuses in marriage contrary to what is ordained, the
which in the ensuing chapter I shall expose to view. But to proceed:
Seeing our blessed Saviour and His holy apostles detested unlawful
lusts, and pronounced those to be excluded the kingdom of heaven that
polluted themselves with adultery and whoring, I cannot conceive what
face people have to colour their impieties, who hating matrimony, make
it their study how they may live licentiously: for, in so doing, they
take in themselves torment, enmity, disquietude, rather than certain
pleasure, not to mention the hazard of their immortal soul; and certain
it is that mercenary love (or as the wise man called it harlot-smiles)
cannot be true and sincere and therefore not pleasant, but rather a net
laid to betray such as trust in them with all mischief, as Solomon
observes of the young man void of understanding, who turned aside to the
harlot's house, "as a bird to the snare of the fowler, or as an ox to
the slaughter, till a dart was struck through his liver." Nor in this
case can they have children, those endearing pledges of conjugal
affection; or if they have, they will rather redound to their shame than
comfort, bearing the odious brand of bastards. Harlots, likewise are
like swallows, flying in the summer season of prosperity; but the black
stormy weather of adversity coming, they take wing and fly into other
regions--that is, seek other lovers; but a virtuous, chaste wife, fixing
her entire love upon her husband, and submitting to him as her head and
king, by whose directions she ought to steer in all lawful courses,
will, like a faithful companion, share patiently with him in all
adversities, run with cheerfulness through all difficulties and dangers,
though ever so hazardous, to preserve and assist him, in poverty,
sickness, or whatsoever misfortunes befall him, acting according to her
duty in all things; but a proud, imperious harlot will do no more than
she lists, in the sunshine of prosperity; and like a horse-leech, ever
craving, and never satisfied; still seeming displeased, if all her
extravagant cravings be not answered; not regarding the ruin and misery
she brings on him by those means, though she seems to doat upon him,
used to confirming her hypocrisy with crocodile tears, vows and
swoonings, when her cully has to depart awhile, or seems but to deny
immediate desires; yet this lasts no longer than she can gratify her
appetite, and prey upon his fortune.

Now, on the contrary, a loving, chaste and even-tempered wife, seeks
what she may to prevent such dangers, and in every condition does all
she can to make him easy. And, in a word, as there is no content in the
embraces of a harlot, so there is no greater joy in the reciprocal
affection and endearing embraces of a loving, obedient, and chaste wife.
Nor is that the principal end for which matrimony was ordained, but that
the man might follow the law of his creation by increasing his kind and
replenishing the earth; for this was the injunction laid upon him in
Paradise, before his fall. To conclude, a virtuous wife is a crown and
ornament to her husband, and her price is above all rubies: but the
ways of a harlot are deceitful.

* * * * *


_Of Errors in Marriages; Why they are, and the Injuries caused by

By errors in marriage, I mean the unfitness of the persons marrying to
enter into this state, and that both with respect to age and the
constitution of their bodies; and, therefore, those who design to enter
into that condition ought to observe their ability and not run
themselves into inconveniences; for those that marry too young may be
said to marry unseasonably, not considering their inability, nor
examining the forces of nature; for some, before they are ripe for the
consummation of so weighty a matter, who either rashly, of their own
accord, or by the instigation of procurers or marriage-brokers, or else
forced thereto by their parents who covet a large dower take upon them
this yoke to their prejudice; by which some, before the expiration of a
year, have been so enfeebled, that all their vital moisture has been
exhausted; which had not been restored again without great trouble and
the use of medicines. Therefore, my advice is: that it is not convenient
to suffer children, or such as are not of age, to marry, or get

He that proposes to marry, and wishes to enjoy happiness in that state,
should choose a wife descended from honest and temperate parents, she
being chaste, well bred, and of good manners. For if a woman has good
qualities, she has portion enough. That of Alcmena, in Plautus, is much
to the purpose, where he brings in a young woman speaking thus:--

"I take not that to be my dowry, which
The vulgar sort do wealth and honour call;
That all my wishes terminate in this:----
I'll obey my husband and be chaste withall;
To have God's fear, and beauty in my mind,
To do those good who are virtuously inclined."

And I think she was in the right, for such a wife is more precious than

It is certainly the duty of parents to bring up their children in the
ways of virtue, and to have regard to their honour and reputation; and
especially to virgins, when grown to be marriageable. For, as has been
noted, if through the too great severity of parents, they may be crossed
in their love, many of them throw themselves into the unchaste arms of
the first alluring tempter that comes in the way, being, through the
softness and flexibility of their nature, and the strong desire they
have after what nature strongly incites them to, easily induced to
believe men's false vows of promised marriage, to cover their shame: and
then too late, their parents repent of their severity which has brought
an indelible stain upon their families.

First Month
Second Month
Third Month
Fourth Month]

Fifth Month
Sixth Month
Seventh Month
Eighth Month
Ninth Month]

Another error in marriage is, the inequality of years in the parties
married; such as for a young man, who, to advance his fortune, marries a
woman old enough to be his grandmother: between whom, for the most part,
strife, jealousies, and dissatisfaction are all the blessings which
crown the genial bed, is being impossible for such to have any children.
The like may be said, though with a little excuse, when an old doting
widower marries a virgin in the prime of her youth and her vigour, who,
while he vainly tries to please her, is thereby wedded to his grave.
For, as in green youth, it is unfit and unseasonable to think of
marriage, so to marry in old age is just the same; for they that enter
upon it too soon are soon exhausted, and fall into consumptions and
divers other diseases; and those who procrastinate and marry
unseemingly, fall into the like troubles; on the other side having only
this honour, if old men, they become young cuckolds, especially if their
wives have not been trained up in the paths of virtue, and lie too much
open to the importunity and temptation of lewd and debauched men. And
thus much for the errors of rash and inconsiderate marriages.

* * * * *


_The Opinion of the Learned concerning Children conceived and born
within Seven Months; with Arguments upon the Subject to prevent
Suspicion of Incontinency, and bitter Contest on that Account. To
which are added Rules to Know the Disposition of Man's Body by the
Genital Parts._

Many bitter quarrels happen between men and their wives upon the man's
supposition that the child comes too soon, and by consequence, that he
could not be the father; whereas, it is the want of understanding the
secrets of nature which brings the man into that error; and which, had
he known, might have cured him of his suspicion and jealousy.

To remove which, I shall endeavour to prove, that it is possible, and
has been frequently known, that children have been born at seven months.
Paul, the Counsel, has this passage in the 19th Book of Pleadings, viz.:
"It is now a received truth, that a perfect child may be born in the
seventh month, by the authority of the learned Hippocrates; and
therefore, we must believe that a child born at the end of the seventh
month in lawful matrimony may be lawfully begotten."

Galen is of opinion that there is no certain time set for the bearing of
children; and that from Pliny's authority, who makes mention of a woman
that went thirteen months with child; but as to what concerns the
seventh month, a learned author says, "I know several married people in
Holland that had twins born in the seventh month, who lived to old age,
having lusty bodies and lively minds. Wherefore their opinion is absurd,
who assert that a child at seven months cannot be perfect and long
lived; and that it cannot in all parts be perfect until the ninth
month." Thereupon the author proceeds to tell a passage from his own
knowledge, viz.: "Of late there happened a great disturbance among us,
which ended not without bloodshed; and was occasioned by a virgin, whose
chastity had been violated, descending from a noble family of unspotted
fame. Several charged the fact upon the Judge, who was president of a
city in Flanders, who firmly denied it, saying he was ready to take his
oath that he never had any carnal copulation with her, and that he would
not father that, which was none of his; and farther argued, that he
verily believed it was a child born in seven months, himself being many
miles distant from the mother of it when it was conceived. Upon which
the judges decreed that the child should be viewed by able physicians
and experienced women, and that they should make their report. They
having made diligent inquiry, all of them with one mind, concluded the
child, without discussing who was the father, was born within the space
of seven months, and that it was carried in the mother's womb but
twenty-seven weeks and some odd days; but if she should have gone full
nine months, the child's parts and limbs would have been more firm and
strong, and the structure of the body more compact; for the skin was
very loose, and the breast bone that defends the heart, and the gristles
that lay over the stomach, lay higher than naturally they should be,
not plain, but crooked and sharp, rigid or pointed, like those of a
young chicken hatched in the beginning of spring. And being a female, it
wanted nails upon the joints of the fingers; upon which, from the
masculous cartilaginous matter of the skin, nails that are very smooth
do come, and by degrees harden; she had, instead of nails, a thin skin
or film. As for her toes, there were no signs of nails upon them,
wanting the heat which was expanded to the fingers from the nearness of
the heart. All this was considered, and above all, one gentlewoman of
quality that assisted, affirming that she had been the mother of
nineteen children, and that divers of them had been born and lived at
seven months, though within the seventh month. For in such cases, the
revolution of the month ought to be observed, which perfects itself in
four bare weeks, or somewhat less than twenty-eight days; in which space
of the revolution, the blood being agitated by the force of the moon,
the courses of women flow from them; which being spent, and the matrix
cleansed from the menstruous blood which happens on the fourth day,
then, if a man on the seventh day lie with his wife, the copulation is
most natural, and then the conception is best: and the child thus
begotten may be born in the seventh month and prove very healthful. So
that on this report, the supposed father was pronounced innocent; the
proof that he was 100 miles distant all that month in which the child
was begotten; as for the mother she strongly denied that she knew the
father, being forced in the dark; and so, through fear and surprise, was
left in ignorance."

As for coition, it ought not to be used unless the parties be in health,
lest it turn to the disadvantage of the children so begotten, creating
in them, through the abundance of ill humours, divers languishing
diseases. Wherefore, health is no better discerned than by the genitals
of the man; for which reasons midwives, and other skilful women, were
formerly wont to see the testicles of children, thereby to conjecture
their temperature and state of body; and young men may know thereby the
signs and symptoms of death; for if the cases of the testicles be loose
and feeble, which are the proofs of life, are fallen, but if the secret
parts are wrinkled and raised up, it is a sign that all is well, but
that the event may exactly answer the prediction, it is necessary to
consider what part of the body the disease possesseth; for if it chance
to be the upper part that is afflicted, as the head or stomach, then it
will not so then appear by the members, which are unconnected with such
grievances; but the lower part of the body exactly sympathising with
them, their liveliness, on the contrary, makes it apparent; for nature's
force, and the spirits that have their intercourse, first manifest
themselves therein; which occasions midwives to feel the genitals of
children, to know in what part the gulf is residing, and whether life or
death be portended thereby, the symptoms being strongly communicated to
the vessels, that have their intercourse with the principal seat of

* * * * *


_Of the Green-Sickness in Virgins, with its causes, signs and
cures; together with the chief occasions of Barrenness in Women,
and the Means to remove the Cause, and render them fruitful._

The green-sickness is so common a complaint amongst virgins, especially
those of a phlegmatic complexion, that it is easily discerned, showing
itself by discolouring the face, making it look green, pale, and of a
dusty colour, proceeding from raw and indigested humours; nor doth it
only appear to the eye, but sensibly affects the person with difficulty
of breathing, pains in the head, palpitation of the heart, with unusual
beatings and small throbbings of the arteries in the temples, back and
neck, which often cast them into fevers when the humour is over vicious;
also loathing of meat and the distention of the hypochondriac part, by
reason of the inordinate effluxion of the menstruous blood of the
greater vessels; and from the abundance of humours, the whole body is
often troubled with swellings, or at least the thighs, legs and ankles,
all above the heels; there is also a weariness of the body without any
reason for it.

The Galenical physicians affirm, that this distemper proceeds from the
womb; occasioned by the gross, vicious and rude humours arising from
several inward causes; but there are also outward causes which have a
share in the production of it; as taking cold in the feet, drinking of
water, intemperance of diet, eating things contrary to nature, viz., raw
or burnt flesh, ashes, coals, old shoes, chalk, wax, nutshells, mortar,
lime, oatmeal, tobacco pipes, etc., which occasion both a suppression of
the menses and obstructions through the whole body; therefore, the first
thing necessary to vindicate the cause, is matrimonial conjunction, and
such copulation as may prove satisfactory to her that is afflicted, for
then the menses will begin to flow according to their natural and due
course, and the humours being dispersed, will soon waste themselves; and
then no more matter being admitted to increase them, they will vanish
and a good temperament of body will return; but in case this best remedy
cannot be had soon enough, then let blood in the ankles, and if she be
about sixteen, you may likewise do it in the arm, but let her be bled
sparingly, especially if the blood be good. If the disease be of any
continuance, then it is to be eradicated by purging, preparation of the
humour being first considered, which may be done by the virgin's
drinking the decoction of guaiacum, with dittany of erete; but the best
purge in this case ought to be made of aloes, agaric, senna, rhubarb;
and for strengthening the bowels and removing obstructions, chaly-beate
medicines are chiefly to be used. The diet must be moderate, and sharp
things by all means avoided.

And now, since barrenness daily creates discontent, and that discontent
breeds indifference between man and wife, or, by immediate grief,
frequently casts the woman into one or another distemper, I shall in the
next place treat thereof.


Formerly, before women came to the marriage-bed, they were first
searched by the mid-wife, and those only which she allowed of as
fruitful were admitted. I hope, therefore, it will not be amiss to show
you how they may prove themselves and turn barren ground into fruitful
soil. Barrenness is a deprivation of the life and power which ought to
be in the seed to procreate and propagate; for which end men and women
were made. Causes of barrenness may be over much cold or heat, drying up
the seed and corrupting it, which extinguishes the life of the seed,
making it waterish and unfit for generation. It may be caused also, by
the not flowing or over-flowing of the courses by swellings, ulcers, and
inflammation of the womb, by an excrescence of flesh growing about the
mouth of the matrix, by the mouth of the matrix being turned up to the
back or side by the fatness of the body, whereby the mouth of the matrix
is closed up, being pressed with the omentum or caul, and the matter of
the seed is turned to fat; if she be a lean and dry body, and though she
do conceive, yet the fruit of her body will wither before it come to
perfection, for want of nourishment. One main cause of barrenness is
attributed to want of a convenient moderating quality, which the woman
ought to have with the man; as, if he be hot, she must be cold; if he be
dry, she must be moist; as, if they be both dry or both moist of
constitution, they cannot propagate; and yet, simply considering of
themselves, they are not barren, for she who was before as the barren
fig-tree being joined to an apt constitution becomes as the fruitful
vine. And that a man and woman, being every way of like constitution,
cannot create, I will bring nature itself for a testimony, who hath made
man of a better constitution than woman, that the quality of the one,
may moderate the quality of the other.


If barrenness proceeds from overmuch heat, if she is a dry body, subject
to anger, has black hair, quick pulse, and her purgations flow but
little, and that with pain, she loves to play in the courts of Venus.
But if it comes by cold, then the signs are contrary to the above
mentioned. If through the evil quality of the womb, make a suffumigation
of red styrax, myrrh, cassia-wood, nutmeg, and cinnamon; and let her
receive the fumes into her womb, covering her very close; and if the
odour so received passes through the body to the mouth and nostrils,
she is fruitful. But if she feels not the fumes in her mouth and
nostrils, it argues barrenness one of these ways--that the spirit of the
seed is either extinguished through cold, or dissipated through heat. If
any woman be suspected to be unfruitful, cast natural brimstone, such as
is digged out of mines, into her urine, and if worms breed therein, she
is not barren.


Barrenness makes women look young, because they are free from those
pains and sorrows which other women are accustomed to. Yet they have not
the full perfection of health which other women enjoy, because they are
not rightly purged of the menstruous blood and superfluous seed, which
are the principal cause of most uterine diseases.

First, the cause must be removed, the womb strengthened, and the spirits
of the seed enlivened. If the womb be over hot, take syrup of succory,
with rhubarb, syrup of violets, roses, cassia, purslain. Take of endive,
water-lilies, borage flowers, of each a handful; rhubarb, mirobalans, of
each three drachms; make a decoction with water, and to the straining of
the syrup add electuary violets one ounce, syrup of cassia half an
ounce, manna three drachms; make a potion. Take of syrup of mugwort one
ounce, syrup of maiden-hair two ounces, pulv-elect triasand one drachm;
make a julep. Take prus. salt, elect. ros. mesua, of each three drachms,
rhubarb one scruple, and make a bolus; apply to the loins and privy
parts fomentations of the juice of lettuce, violets, roses, malloes,
vine leaves and nightshade; anoint the secret parts with the cooling
unguent of Galen.

If the power of the seed be extinguished by cold, take every morning two
spoonfuls of cinnamon water, with one scruple of mithridate. Take syrup
of calamint, mugwort and betony, of each one ounce; waters of
pennyroyal, feverfew, hyssop and sage, of each two ounces; make a julep.
Take oil of aniseed two scruples and a half; diacimini,
diacliathidiamosei and diagla-ongoe, of each one drachm, sugar four
ounces, with water of cinnamon, and make lozenges; take of them a drachm
and a half twice a day, two hours before meals; fasten cupping glasses
to the hips and belly. Take of styrax and calamint one ounce, mastick,
cinnamon, nutmeg, lign, aloes, and frankincense, of each half ounce;
musk, ten grains, ambergris, half a scruple; make a confection with
rosewater, divide it into four equal parts; one part make a pomatum
oderation to smell at if she be not hysterical; of the second, make a
mass of pills, and let her take three every other night: of the third
make a pessary, dip it in oil of spikenard, and put it up; of the
fourth, make a suffumigation for the womb.

If the faculties of the womb be weakened, and the life of the seed
suffocated by over much humidity flowing to those parts: take of betony,
marjoram, mugwort, pennyroyal and balm, of each a handful; roots of alum
and fennel, of each two drachms; aniseed and cummin, of each one drachm,
with sugar and water a sufficient quantity; make a syrup, and take three
ounces every morning.

Purge with the following things; take of the diagnidium, two grains,
spicierum of castor, a scruple, pill foedit two scruples, with syrup of
mugwort, make six pills. Take apeo, diagem. diamoser, diamb. of each one
drachm; cinnamon, one drachm and a half; cloves, mace and nutmeg, of
each half a drachm; sugar six ounces, with water of feverfew; make
lozenges, to be taken every morning. Take of decoction of sarsaparilla
and virga aurea, not forgetting sage, which Agrippa, wondering at its
operation, has honoured with the name of _sacra herba_, a holy herb. It
is recorded by Dodonoeus in the _History of Plants_, lib. ii. cap. 77,
that after a great mortality among the Egyptians, the surviving women,
that they might multiply quickly, were commanded to drink the juice of
sage, and to anoint the genitals with oil of aniseed and spikenard. Take
mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, styrax and amber, of each one drachm; cloves,
laudanum, of each half a drachm; turpentine, a sufficient quantity;
trochisks, to smooth the womb. Take roots of valerian and elecampane, of
each one pound; galanga, two ounces; origan lavender, marjoram, betony,
mugwort, bay leaves, calamint, of each a handful; make an infusion with
water, in which let her sit, after she hath her courses.

If barrenness proceed from dryness, consuming the matter of the seed;
take every day almond milk, and goat's milk extracted with honey, but
often of the root satyrion, candied, and electuary of diasyren. Take
three wethers' heads, boil them until all the flesh comes from the
bones, then take melilot, violets, camomiles, mercury, orchia with their
roots, of each a handful; fenugreek, linseed, valerian roots, of each
one pound; let all these be decocted in the aforesaid broth, and let the
woman sit in the decoction up to the navel.

If barrenness be caused by any proper effect of the womb, the cure is
set down in the second book. Sometimes the womb proves barren where
there is no impediment on either side, except only in the manner of the
act; as when in the emission of the seed, the man is quick and the woman
is slow, whereby there is not an emission of both seeds at the same
instant as the rules of conception require. Before the acts of coition,
foment the privy parts with the decoction of betony, sage, hyssop and
calamint and anoint the mouth and neck of the womb with musk and civet.

The cause of barrenness being removed, let the womb be strengthened as
follows; Take of bay berries, mastic, nutmeg, frankincense, nuts,
laudanum, giapanum, of each one drachm, styracis liquid, two scruples,
cloves half a scruple, ambergris two grains, then make a pessary with
oil of spikenard.

Take of red roses, lapididis hoematis, white frankincense, of each half
an ounce. Dragon's blood, fine bole, mastic, of each two drachms;
nutmeg, cloves, of each one drachm; spikenard, half a scruple, with oil
of wormwood; make a plaster for the lower part of the belly, then let
her eat candied eringo root, and make an injection only of the roots of

The aptest time for conception is instantly after the menses have
ceased, because then the womb is thirsty and dry, apt both to draw the
seed and return it, by the roughness of the inward surface, and besides,
in some, the mouth of the womb is turned into the back or side, and is
not placed right until the last day of the courses.

Excess in all things is to be avoided. Lay aside all passions of the
mind, shun study and care, as things that are enemies to conception, for
if a woman conceive under such circumstances, however wise the parents
may be, the children, at best, will be but foolish; because the mental
faculties of the parents, viz., the understanding and the rest (from
whence the child derives its reason) are, as it were, confused through
the multiplicity of cares and thought; of which we have examples in
learned men, who, after great study and care, having connection with
their wives, often beget very foolish children. A hot and moist air is
most suitable, as appears by the women in Egypt, who often bring forth
three or four children at one time.

* * * * *


_Virginity, what it is, in what it consists, and how vitiated;
together with the Opinions of the Learned about the Change of Sex
in the Womb, during the Operation of Nature in forming the Body._

There are many ignorant people that boast of their skill in the
knowledge of virginity, and some virgins have undergone harsh censures
through their ignorant conclusions; I therefore thought it highly
necessary to clear up this point, that the towering imaginations of
conceited ignorance might be brought down, and the fair sex (whose
virtues are so illustriously bright that they excite our wonder and
command our imitation), may be freed from the calumnies and detractions
of ignorance and envy; and so their honour may continue as unspotted, as
they have kept their persons uncontaminated and free from defilement.

Virginity, in a strict sense, signifies the prime, the chief, the best
of anything; and this makes men so desirous of marrying virgins,
imagining some secret pleasure is to be enjoyed in their embraces, more
than in those of widows, or of such as have been lain with before,
though not many years ago, a very great personage thought differently,
and to use his own expression:--"The getting a maidenhead was such a
piece of drudgery, that it was fitter for a coal heaver than a
prince."[1] But this was only his opinion, for I am sure that other men
think differently.

The curious inquirers into the secrets of Nature, have observed, that in
young maidens in the _sinus pudoris_, or in what is called the neck of
the womb, is that wonderful production usually called the _hymen_, but
in French _bouton de rose_, or rosebud, because it resembles the
expanded bud of a rose or a gilly flower. From this the word _defloro_,
or, deflower, is derived, and hence taking away virginity is called
deflowering a virgin, most being of the opinion that the virginity is
altogether lost when this membrane is fractured and destroyed by
violence; when it is found perfect and entire, however, no penetration
has been effected; and in the opinion of some learned physicians there
is neither hymen nor expanded skin which contains blood in it, which
some people think, flows from the ruptured membrane at the first time of
sexual intercourse.

Now this _claustrum virginale_, or flower, is composed of four little
buds like myrtle berries, which are full and plump in virgins, but hang
loose and flag in women; and these are placed in the four angles of the
_sinus pudoris_, joined together by little membranes and ligatures, like
fibres, each of them situated in the testicles, or spaces between each
bud, with which, in a manner, they are proportionately distended, and
when once this membrane is lacerated, it denotes _Devirgination_. Thus
many ignorant people, finding their wives defective in this respect on
the first night, have immediately suspected their chastity, concluding
that another man had been there before them, when indeed, such a rupture
may happen in several ways accidentally, as well as by sexual
intercourse, viz. by violent straining, coughing, or sneezing, the
stoppage of the urine, etc., so that the entireness or the fracture of
that which is commonly taken for a woman's virginity or maidenhead, is
no absolute sign of immorality, though it is more frequently broken by
copulation than by any other means.[2]

And now to say something of the change of the sexes in the womb. The
genital parts of the sexes are so unlike each other in substance,
composition, situation, figure, action and use that nothing is more
unlike to each other than they are, and the more, all parts of the body
(the breasts excepted, which in women swell, because Nature ordained
them for suckling the infant) have an exact resemblance to each other,
so much the more do the genital parts of one sex differ, when compared
with the other, and if they be thus different in form, how much more are
they so in their use.

The venereal feeling also proceeds from different causes; in men from
the desire of emission, and in women from the desire of reception. All
these things, then, considered I cannot but wonder, he adds, how any one
can imagine that the female genital organs can be changed into the male
organ, since the sexes can be distinguished only by those parts, nor
can I well impute the reason for this vulgar error to anything but the
mistake of inexpert midwives, who have been deceived by the faulty
conformation of those parts, which in some males may have happened to
have such small protrusions that they could not be seen, as appears by
the example of a child who was christened in Paris under the name of
_Ivan_, as a girl, and who afterwards turned out to be a boy, and on the
other hand, the excessive tension of the clytoris in newly-born female
infants may have occasioned similar mistakes. Thus far Pliny in the
negative, and notwithstanding what he has said, there are others, such
as Galen, who assert the affirmative. "A man," he says, "is different
from a woman, only by having his genitals outside his body, whereas a
woman has them inside her." And this is certain, that if Nature having
formed a male should convert him into a female, she has nothing else to
do but to turn his genitals inward, and again to turn a woman into a man
by a contrary operation. This, however, is to be understood of the child
whilst it is in the womb and not yet perfectly formed, for Nature has
often made a female child, and it has remained so for a month or two, in
its mother's womb; but afterwards the heat greatly increasing in the
genital organs, they have protruded and the child has become a male, but
nevertheless retained some things which do not befit the masculine sex,
such as female gestures and movements, a high voice, and a more
effeminate temper than is usual with men; whilst, on the other hand, the
genitals have become inverted through cold humours, but yet the person
retained a masculine air, both in voice and gesture. Now, though both
these opinions are supported by several reasons, yet I think the latter
are nearer the truth, for there is not that vast difference between the
genitals of the two sexes as Pliny asserts; for a woman has, in a way,
the same _pudenda_ as a man, though they do not appear outwardly, but
are inverted for the convenience of generation; one being solid and the
other porous, and that the principal reason for changing sexes is, and
must be attributed to heat or cold, which operates according to its
greater or lesser force.


[1] Attributed to George IV (Translator).

[2] A young man was once tried at Rutland Assizes for violating a
virgin, and after close questioning, the girl swearing positively in the
matter, and naming the time, place and manner of the action, it was
resolved that she should be examined by a skilful surgeon and two
midwives, who were to report on oath, which they did, and declared that
the membranes were intact and unlacerated, and that, in their opinion,
her body had not been penetrated. This had its due effect upon the jury,
and they acquitted the prisoner, and the girl afterwards confessed that
she swore it against him out of revenge, as he had promised to marry
her, and had afterwards declined.

* * * * *


_Directions and Cautions for Midwives; and, first, what ought to be
the qualifications of a midwife._

A midwife who wishes to acquit herself well in her employment, ought
certainly not to enter upon it rashly or unadvisedly, but with all
imaginable caution, remembering that she is responsible for any mischief
which may happen through her ignorance or neglect. None, therefore,
should undertake that duty merely because of their age or because they
themselves have had many children, for, in such, generally, many things
will be found wanting, which she should possess. She ought to be neither
too old nor too young, neither very fat, nor so thin, as to be weak, but
in a good habit of body; not subject to illness, fears, nor sudden
frights; well-made and neat in her attire, her hands small and smooth,
her nails kept well-trimmed and without any rings on her fingers whilst
she is engaged in her work, nor anything upon her wrists that may
obstruct her. And to these ought to be added activity, and a due amount
of strength, with much caution and diligence, nor should she be given to
drowsiness or impatience.

She should be polite and affable in her manners, sober and chaste, not
given to passion, liberal and compassionate towards the poor, and not
greedy of gain when she attends the rich. She should have a cheerful and
pleasant temper, so that she may be the more easily able to comfort her
patients during labour. She must never be in a hurry, though her
business may call her to some other case, lest she should thereby
endanger the mother or the child.

She ought to be wary, prudent, and intelligent, but above all, she ought
to be possessed by the fear of God, which will give her both "knowledge
and discretion," as the wise man says.

* * * * *


_Further Directions to Midwives, teaching them what they ought to
do, and what to avoid._

Since the duties of a midwife have such a great influence on the
well-doing or the contrary of both women and children, in the first
place, she must be diligent in gaining all such knowledge as may be
useful to her in her practice, and never to think herself so perfect,
but that it may be possible for her to add to her knowledge by study and
experience. She should, however, never try any experiments unless she
has tried them, or knows that they can do no harm; practising them
neither upon rich nor poor, but freely saying what she knows, and never
prescribing any medicines which will procure abortion, even though
requested; for this is wicked in the highest degree, and may be termed
murder. If she be sent for to people whom she does not know, let her be
very cautious before she goes, lest by attending an infectious woman,
she runs the danger of injuring others, as sometimes happens. Neither
must she make her dwelling a receiving-house for big-bellied women to
discharge their load, lest it get her a bad name and she by such means
loses her practice.

In attending on women, if the birth happens to be difficult, she must
not seem to be anxious, but must cheer the woman up and do all she can
to make her labour easy. She will find full directions for this, in the
second part of this book.

She must never think of anything but doing well, seeing that everything
that is required is in readiness, both for the woman and for receiving
the child, and above all, let her keep the woman from becoming unruly
when her pains come on, lest she endanger her own life, and the child's
as well.

She must also take care not to be hurried over her business but wait
God's time for the birth, and she must by no means allow herself to be
upset by fear, even if things should not go well, lest that should make
her incapable of rendering that assistance which the woman in labour
stands in need of, for where there is the most apparent danger, there
the most care and prudence are required to set things right.

And now, because she can never be a skilful midwife who knows nothing
but what is to be seen outwardly, I do not think it will be amiss but
rather very necessary, modestly to describe the generative parts of
women as they have been anatomised by learned men, and to show the use
of such vessels as contribute to generation.

* * * * *


_The External, and Internal Organs of Generation in Women._

If it were not for the public benefit, especially for that of the
professors and practitioners of the art of midwifery, I would refrain
from treating the secrets of Nature, because they may be turned to
ridicule by lascivious and lewd people. But as it is absolutely
necessary that they should be known for the public good, I will not omit
them because some may make a wrong use of them. Those parts which can be
seen at the lowest part of the stomach are the _fissure magna_, or the
_great cleft_, with its _labia_ or lips, the _Mons Veneris_, or Mountain
of Venus, and the hair. These together are called the _pudenda_, or
things to be ashamed of because when they are exposed they cause a woman
_pudor_, or shame. The _fissure magna_ reaches from the lower part of
the _os pubis_, to within an inch of the _anus_, but it is less and
closer in virgins than in those who have borne children, and has two
lips, which grow thicker and fuller towards the pubis, and meeting on
the middle of the _os pubis_, form that rising hill which is called the
_Mons Veneris_, or the Hill of Venus.

Next come the _Nymphae_ and the _Clitoris_, the former of which is a
membrany and moist substance, spongy, soft and partly fleshy, of a red
colour and in the shape of two wings, which are joined at an acute angle
at their base, producing a fleshy substance there which covers the
clitoris, and sometimes they extend so far, that an incision is required
to make room for a man's instrument of generation.

The _Clitoris_ is a substance in the upper part of the division where
the two wings meet, and the seat of venereal pleasure, being like a
man's _penis_ in situation, substance, composition and power of
erection, growing sometimes to the length of two inches out of the body,
but that never happens except through extreme lustfulness or some
extraordinary accident. This _clitoris_ consists of two spongy and
skinny bodies, containing a distinct original from the _os pubis_, its
tip being covered with a tender skin, having a hole or passage like a
man's yard or _penis_, although not quite through, in which alone, and
in its size it differs from it.

The next things are the fleshy knobs of the great neck of the womb, and
these knobs are behind the wings and are four in number, resembling
myrtle berries, and being placed quadrangularly one against the other,
and here the orifice of the bladder is inserted, which opens into the
fissures, to evacuate the urine, and one of these knobs is placed before
it, and closes up the passage in order to secure it from cold, or any
suchlike inconvenience.

The lips of the womb, which appear next, disclose its neck, if they are
separated, and two things may be observed in them, which are the neck
itself and the _hymen_, or more properly, the _claustrum virginale_, of
which I have spoken before. By the neck of the womb we must understand
the channel that lies between the above-mentioned knobs and the inner
bone of the womb, which receives the penis like a sheath, and so that it
may be more easily dilated by the pleasure of procreation, the substance
is sinewy and a little spongy. There are several folds or pleats in this
cavity, made by tunicles, which are wrinkled like a full blown rose. In
virgins they appear plainly, but in women who are used to copulation
they disappear, so that the inner side of the neck of the womb appears
smooth, but in old women it is more hard and gristly. But though this
channel is sometimes crooked and sinks down yet at the times of
copulation, labour, or of the monthly flow, it is erected or distended,
which overtension occasions the pain in childbirth.

The hymen, or _claustrum virginale_, is that which closes the neck of
the womb, and is broken by the first act of copulation; its use being
rather to check the undue menstrual flow in virgins, rather than to
serve any other purpose, and usually when it is broken, either by
copulation, or by any other means, a small quantity of blood flows from
it, attended with some little pain. From this some observe that between
the folds of the two tunicles, which constitute the neck of the womb
there are many veins and arteries running along, and arising from, the
vessels on both sides of the thighs, and so passing into the neck of the
womb, being very large; and the reason for this is, that the neck of the
bladder requires to be filled with great vigour, so as to be dilated, in
order that it may lay hold of the penis better; for great heat is
required in such motions, and that becomes more intense by the act of
friction, and consumes a considerable amount of moisture, for supplying
which large vessels are absolutely necessary.

Another cause of the largeness of the vessels is, that menses make their
way through them, which often occasions pregnant women to continue
menstruating: for though the womb be shut up, yet the passages in the
neck of the womb through which these vessels pass, are open. In this
case, we may further observe, that as soon as the _pudenda_ are
penetrated, there appear two little pits or holes which contain a
secretion, which is expelled during copulation, and gives the woman
great pleasure.

* * * * *


_A description of the Fabric of the Womb, the preparing Vessels and
Testicles in Women. Also of the Different and Ejaculatory Vessels._

The womb is joined to its neck in the lower part of the _Hypogastrium_
where the hips are the widest and broadest, as they are greater and
broader there than those of men, and it is placed between the bladder
and the straight gut, which keeps it from swaying, and yet gives it
freedom to stretch and dilate, and again to contract, as nature
requires. Its shape is somewhat round and not unlike a gourd, growing
smaller and more acute towards one end, being knit together by its
own ligaments; its neck likewise is joined by its own substance and by
certain membranes that fasten into the _os sacrum_ and the share-bone.
Its size varies much in different women, and the difference is
especially great between those who have borne children and those who
have had none. Its substance exceeds a thumb's breadth in thickness, and
so far from decreasing conception, it rather increases; and in order to
strengthen it it is interwoven with fibres which cross it from side to
side, some of which are straight and some winding, and its proper
vessels are veins, arteries and nerves. Amongst these there are two
small veins which pass into the womb from the spermatic vessels, and two
larger ones from the neck: the mouth of these veins pierces as far as
the inward cavity.

[Illustration: Position of a Child in the Womb just before delivery.]

[Illustration: The action of quickening]

The womb has two arteries on both sides of the spermatic vessels and the
hypogastric, which accompany the veins; and besides these, there are
several little nerves in the form of a net, which extend throughout it,
from the bottom of the _pudenda_; their chief function is sensibility
and pleasure, as they move in sympathy between the head and the womb.

It may be further noted that the womb is occasionally moveable by means
of the two ligaments that hang on either side of it, and often rises and
falls. The neck of the womb is extremely sensitive, so that if it be at
any time out of order through over fatness, moisture or relaxation, it
thereby becomes subject to barrenness. With pregnant women, a glutinous
matter is often found at the entrance to the womb so as to facilitate
the birth; for at the time of delivery, the mouth of the womb is opened
as wide as the size of the child requires, and dilates equally from top
to bottom.

The spermatic vessels in women, consist of two veins and two arteries,
which differ from those of men only in size and the manner of their
insertion; for the number of veins and arteries is the same as in men,
the right vein issuing from the trunk of the hollow vein descending and
besides them there are two arteries, which flow from the aorta.

These vessels are narrower and shorter in women than in men; but it must
be noticed that they are more intertwined and contorted than in men, and
shrink together by reason of their shortness that they may, by their
looseness, be better stretched out when necessary: and these vessels in
women are carried in an oblique direction through the lesser bowels and
testicles but are divided into two branches half way. The larger goes to
the stones and forms a winding body, and wonderfully inoculates the
lesser branches where it disperses itself, and especially at the higher
part of the bottom of the womb, for its nourishment, and that part of
the courses may pass through the vessels; and seeing that women's
testicles are situated near the womb, for that cause those vessels do
not fall from the peritoneum, nor do they make so much passage as in
men, as they do not extend to the share-bone.

The stones of woman, commonly called _testicles_, do not perform the
same function as in men, for they are altogether different in position,
size, temperature, substance, form and covering. They are situated in
the hollow of the muscles of the loins, so that, by contracting greater
heat, they may be more fruitful, their office being to contain the ova
or eggs, one of which, being impregnated by the man's seed engenders the
child. They are, however, different from those of the male in shape,
because they are smaller and flatter at each end, and not so round or
oval; the external superficies is also more unequal, and has the
appearance of a number of knobs or kernels mixed together.

There is a difference, also, in the substance, as they are much softer
and more pliable, and not nearly so compact. Their size and temperature
are also different for they are much colder and smaller than in men, and
their covering or enclosure is likewise quite different; for as men's
are wrapped in several covers, because they are very pendulous and would
be easily injured unless they were so protected by nature, so women's
stones, being internal and thus less subject to being hurt, are covered
by only one membrane, and are likewise half covered by the peritoneum.

The ejaculatory vessels are two small passages, one on either side,
which do not differ in any respect from the spermatic veins in
substance. They rise in one place from the bottom of the womb, and do
not reach from their other extremity either to the stones or to any
other part, but are shut up and impassable, and adhere to the womb as
the colon does to the blind gut, and winding half way about; and though
the testicles are not close to them and do not touch them, yet they are
fastened to them by certain membranes which resemble the wing of a bat,
through which certain veins and arteries passing from the end of the
testicles may be said to have their passages going from the corners of
the womb to the testicles, and these ligaments in women are the
_cremasters_[3] in men, of which I shall speak more fully when I come to
describe the male parts of generation.


[3] Muscles by which the testicles are drawn up.

* * * * *


_A Description of the Use and Action of the several Generative
Parts in Women._

The external parts, commonly called the _pudenda_, are designed to cover
the great orifice and to receive the man's penis or yard in the act of
sexual intercourse, and to give passage to the child and to the urine.
The use of the wings and knobs, like myrtle berries, is for the security
of the internal parts, closing the orifice and neck of the bladder and
by their swelling up, to cause titillation and pleasure in those parts,
and also to obstruct the involuntary passage of the urine.

The action of the clitoris in women is similar to that of the penis in
men, viz., _erection_; and its lower end is the glans of the penis, and
has the same name. And as the _glans_ of man are the seat of the
greatest pleasure in copulation, so is this in the woman.

The action and use of the neck on the womb is the same as that of the
penis, viz., erection, brought about in different ways: first, in
copulation it becomes erect and made straight for the passage of the
penis into the womb; secondly, whilst the passage is filled with the
vital blood, it becomes narrower for embracing the penis; and the uses
of this erection are twofold:--first, because if the neck of the womb
were not erected, the man's yard could find no proper passage to the
womb, and, secondly, it hinders any damage or injury that might ensue
through the violent striking of the _penis_ during the act of

The use of the veins that pass through the neck of the womb, is to
replenish it with blood and vigour, that so, as the moisture is consumed
by the heat engendered by sexual intercourse, it may be renewed by those
vessels; but their chief business is to convey nutriment to the womb.

The womb has many properties belonging to it: first, the retention of
the impregnated egg, and this is conception, properly so called;
secondly, to cherish and nourish it, until Nature has fully formed the
child, and brought it to perfection, and then it operates strongly in
expelling the child, when the time of its remaining has expired,
becoming dilated in an extraordinary manner and so perfectly removed
from the senses that they cannot injuriously affect it, retaining within
itself a power and strength to eject the foetus, unless it be rendered
deficient by any accident; and in such a case remedies must be applied
by skilful hands to strengthen it, and enable it to perform its
functions; directions for which will be given in the second book.

The use of the preparing vessels is this; the arteries convey the blood
to the testicles; some part of it is absorbed in nourishing them, and in
the production of these little bladders (which resemble eggs in every
particular), through which the _vasa preparantia_ run, and which are
absorbed in them; and the function of the veins is to bring back
whatever blood remains from the above mentioned use. The vessels of this
kind are much shorter in women than in men, because they are nearer to
the testicles; this defect is, however, made good by the many intricate
windings to which those vessels are subject; for they divide themselves
into two branches of different size in the middle and the larger one
passes to the testicles.

The stones in women are very useful, for where they are defective, the
work of generation is at an end. For though those bladders which are on
the outer surface contain no seed, as the followers of Galen and
Hippocrates wrongly believed, yet they contain several eggs, generally
twenty in each testicle; one of which being impregnated by the animated
part of the man's seed in the act of copulation, descends through the
oviducts into the womb, and thus in due course of time becomes a living

* * * * *


_Of the Organs of Generation in Man._

Having given a description of the organs of generation in women, with
the anatomy of the fabric of the womb, I shall now, in order to finish
the first part of this treatise, describe the organs of generation in
men, and how they are fitted for the use for which Nature intended them.

The instrument of generation in men (commonly called the yard, in Latin,
_penis_, from _pendo_, to hang, because it hangs outside the belly), is
an organic part which consists of skin, tendons, veins, arteries, sinews
and great ligaments; and is long and round, and on the upper side
flattish, seated under the _os pubis_, and ordained by Nature partly for
the evacuation of urine, and partly for conveying the seed into the
womb; for which purpose it is full of small pores, through which the
seed passes into it, through the _vesicula seminalis_,[4] and discharges
the urine when they make water; besides the common parts, viz., the two
nervous bodies, the septum, the urethra, the glans, four muscles and the
vessels. The nervous bodies (so called) are surrounded with a thick
white, penetrable membrane, but their inner substance is spongy, and
consists chiefly of veins, arteries, and nervous fibres, interwoven like
a net. And when the nerves are filled with animal vigour and the
arteries with hot, eager blood, the penis becomes distended and erect;
also the neck of the _vesicula urinalis_,[5] but when the influx of
blood ceases, and when it is absorbed by the veins, the penis becomes
limp and flabby. Below those nervous bodies is the urethra, and whenever
they swell, it swells also. The penis has four muscles; two shorter ones
springing from the _Cox endix_ and which serve for erection, and on that
account they are called _erectores_; two larger, coming from _sphincters
ani_, which serve to dilate the urethra so as to discharge the semen,
and these are called dilatantes, or wideners. At the end of the penis is
the _glans_, covered with a very thin membrane, by means of which, and
of its nervous substance, it becomes most extremely sensitive, and is
the principal seat of pleasure in copulation. The outer covering of the
_glans_ is called the _preputium_ (foreskin), which the Jews cut off in
circumcision, and it is fastened by the lower part of it to the _glans_.
The penis is also provided with veins, arteries and nerves.

The _testiculi_, stones or testicles (so called because they testify one
to be a man), turn the blood, which is brought to them by the spermatic
arteries into seed. They have two sorts of covering, common and proper;
there are two of the common, which enfold both the testes. The outer
common coat, consists of the _cuticula_, or true skin, and is called the
scrotum, and hangs from the abdomen like a purse; the inner is the
_membrana carnosa_. There are also two proper coats--the outer called
_cliotrodes_, or virginales; the inner _albugidia_; in the outer the
cremaster is inserted. The _epididemes_, or _prostatae_ are fixed to the
upper part of the testes, and from them spring the _vasa deferentia_, or
_ejaculatoria_, which deposit the seed into the _vesicule seminales_
when they come near the neck of the bladder. There are two of these
_vesiculae_, each like a bunch of grapes, which emit the seed into the
urethra in the act of copulation. Near them are the _prostatae_, about
the size of a walnut, and joined to the neck of the bladder. Medical
writers do not agree about the use of them, but most are of the opinion
that they produce an oily and sloppy discharge to besmear the urethra so
as to defend it against the pungency of the seed and urine. But the
vessels which convey the blood to the testes, from which the seed is
made, are the _arteriae spermaticae_ and there are two of them also.
There are likewise two veins, which carry off the remaining blood, and
which are called _venae spermaticae_.


[4] Seminal vesicle.

[5] Urinary vesicle.

* * * * *


_A word of Advice to both Sexes, consisting of several Directions
with regard to Copulation._

As Nature has a mutual desire for copulation in every creature, for the
increase and propagation of its kind, and more especially in man, the
lord of creation and the masterpiece of Nature, in order that such a
noble piece of divine workmanship should not perish, something ought to
be said concerning it, it being the foundation of everything that we
have hitherto been treating of, since without copulation there can be no
generation. Seeing, therefore, so much depends upon it, I have thought
it necessary, before concluding the first book, to give such directions
to both sexes, for the performance of that act, as may appear
efficacious to the end for which nature designed it, but it will be done
with such caution as not to offend the chastest ear, nor to put the fair
sex to the blush when they read it.

In the first place, then, when a married couple from the desire of
having children are about to make use of those means that Nature has
provided for that purpose, it is well to stimulate the body with
generous restoratives, that it may be active and vigorous. And the
imagination should be charmed with sweet music, and if all care and
thoughts of business be drowned in a glass of rosy wine, so that their
spirit may be raised to the highest pitch of ardour, it would be as
well, for troubles, cares or sadness are enemies to the pleasures of
Venus. And if the woman should conceive when sexual intercourse takes
place at such times of disturbance, it would have a bad effect upon the
child. But though generous restoratives may be employed for invigorating
nature, yet all excess should be carefully avoided, for it will check
the briskness of the spirits and make them dull and languid, and as it
also interferes with digestion, it must necessarily be an enemy _to_
copulation; for it is food taken moderately and that is well digested,
which enables a man to perform the dictates of Nature with vigour and
activity, and it is also necessary, that in their mutual embraces they
meet each other with equal ardour, for, if not, the woman either will
not conceive, or else the child may be weak bodily, or mentally
defective. I, therefore, advise them to excite their desires mutually
before they begin their conjugal intercourse, and when they have done
what nature requires, a man must be careful not to withdraw himself from
his wife's arms too soon, lest some sudden cold should strike into the
womb and occasion miscarriage, and so deprive them of the fruits of
their labour.

And when the man has withdrawn himself after a suitable time, the woman
should quietly go to rest, with all calmness and composure of mind, free
from all anxious and disturbing thoughts, or any other mental worry. And
she must, as far as possible, avoid turning over from the side on which
she was first lying, and also keep from coughing and sneezing, because
as it violently shakes the body, it is a great enemy to conception.

* * * * *





* * * * *


* * * * *


_Treating of the several Maladies incident to the womb, with proper
remedies for the cure of each._

The womb is placed in the _hypogastrium_, or lower part of the body, in
the cavity called the _pelvis_, having the straight gut on one side to
protect it against the hardness of the backbone, and the bladder on the
other side to protect it against blows. Its form or shape is like a
virile member, with this exception, that the man's is outside, and the
woman's inside.

It is divided into the neck and body. The neck consists of a hard fleshy
substance, much like cartilage, and at the end of it there is a membrane
placed transversely, which is called the hymen. Near the neck there is a
prominent pinnacle, which is called the door of the womb, because it
preserves the _matrix_ from cold and dust. The Greeks called it
_clitoris_, and the Latins _praeputium muliebre_, because the Roman
women abused these parts to satisfy their mutual unlawful lusts, as St.
Paul says, Romans 1. 26.

The body of the womb is where the child is conceived, and this is not
altogether round, but dilates itself into two angles; the outward part
is full of sinews, which are the cause of its movements, but inside it
is fleshy. It is wrongly said, that in the cavity of the womb there are
seven divided cells or receptacles for the male seed, but anatomists
know that there are only two, and also that those two are not divided by
a partition, but only by a line or suture running through the middle of

At the bottom of the cavity there are little holes called
_cotyledones_, which are the ends of certain veins or arteries, and
serve breeding women to convey nourishment to the child, which is
received by the umbilical and other veins, to carry the courses to the

As to menstruation, it is defined as a monthly flow of bad and useless
blood, and of the super-abundance of it, for it is an excrement in
quality, though it is pure and incorrupt, like the blood in the veins.
And that the menstruous blood is pure in itself, and of the same quality
as that in the veins, is proved in two ways.--First, from the final
object of the blood, which is the propagation and preservation of
mankind, that man might be conceived; and that, being begotten, he might
be comforted and preserved both in and out of the womb, and all allow
that it is true that a child in the matrix is nourished by the blood.
And it is true that when it is out of it, it is nourished by the same;
for the milk is nothing but the menstruous blood made white in the
breast. Secondly, it is proved to be true by the way it is produced, as
it is the superfluity of the last aliment of the fleshy parts.

The natural end of man and woman's being is to propagate. Now, in the
act of conception one must be an active agent and the other passive, for
if both were similarly constituted, they could not propagate. Man,
therefore, is hot and dry, whilst woman is cold and moist: he is the
agent, and she the passive or weaker vessel, that she may be subject to
the office of the man. It is necessary that woman should be of a cold
constitution, because a redundancy of Nature for the infant that depends
on her is required of her; for otherwise there would be no surplus of
nourishment for the child, but no more than the mother requires, and the


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