The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher
Part 6 out of 6
and therefore the external parts are cold and shake with fear.
Q. Why doth a radish root help digestion and yet itself remaineth
undigested? A. Because the substance consisteth of divers parts; for
there are some thin parts in it, which are fit to digest meat, the which
being dissolved, there doth remain some thick and close substance in it,
which the heat cannot digest.
Q. Why do such as cleave wood, cleave it easier in the length than
athwart? A. Because in the wood there is a grain, whereby, if it be cut
in length, in the very cutting, one part naturally separateth from
Q. What is the reason, that if a spear be stricken on the end, the sound
cometh sooner to one who standeth near, than to him who striketh? A.
Because, as hath been said, there is a certain long grain in wood,
directly forward, filled with air, but on the other side there is none,
and therefore a beam or spear being stricken on the end, the air which
is hidden receiveth a sound in the aforesaid grain which serveth for its
passage; and, seeing the sound cannot go easily out of it is carried
into the ear of him who is opposite; as those passages do not go from
side to side, a sound cannot be distinctly heard there.
Q. Why are the thighs and calves of the legs of men flesh, seeing the
legs of beasts are not so? A. Because men only go upright; and therefore
nature hath given the lower parts corpulency, and taken it away from the
upper; and thus she hath made the buttocks, the thighs, and calves of
the legs fleshy.
Q. Why are the sensible powers in the heart; yet if the hinder part of
the brain be hurt, the memory suffereth by it; if the forepart, the
imagination; if the middle, the cogitative part? A. It is because the
brain is appointed by nature to cool the blood of the heart; whereof it
is, that in divers of its parts it serveth the powers and instruments
with their heart, for every action of the soul doth not proceed from one
measure of heat.
* * * * *
THE PROBLEMS OF
Q. Why doth the sun make a man black and dirt white, wax soft and dirt
hard? A. By reason of the disposition of the substance that doth suffer.
All humours, phlegm excepted, when heated above measure, do seem black
about the skin; and dirt, being full either of saltpetre, or salt
liquor, when the sun hath consumed its dregs and filth, doth become
white again. When the sun hath stirred up and drawn the humidity of the
wax, it is softened; but in the dirt, the sun doth consume the humidity,
which is very much and makes it hard.
Q. Why are round ulcers hard to be cured? A. Because they are bred of a
sharp choler, which eats and gnaws; and because it doth run, dropping
and gnawing, it makes a round ulcer; for which reason it requires dry
medicines, as physicians assert.
Q. Why is honey sweet to all men, but to such as have jaundice? A.
Because they have much bitter choler all over their bodies, which
abounds in the tongue; whence it happens when they eat honey the humours
are stirred, and the taste itself, by the bitterness of choler, causes
an imagination that the honey is bitter.
Q. Why doth water cast on serpents, cause them to fly? A. Because they
are dry and cold by nature, having but little blood, and therefore fly
from excessive coldness.
Q. Why doth an egg break if roasted, and not if boiled? A. When moisture
comes near the fire, it is heated very much, and so breeds wind, which
being put up in little room, forces its way out, and breaks the shell:
the like happens in tubs or earthen vessels when new wine is put into
them; too much phlegm breaks the shell of an egg in roasting; it is the
same with earthen pots too much heated; wherefore some people wet an egg
when they intend to roast it. Hot water, by its softness, doth dissipate
its humidity by little and little, and dissolves it through the thinness
and passages of the shell.
Q. Why do men wink in the act of copulation, and find a little
alteration in all other senses? A. Because, being overcome by the effect
of that pleasure, they do comprehend it the better.
Q. Why have children gravel breeding in their bladders, and old men in
their kidneys and veins? A. Because children have straight passages in
their kidneys, and an earthly thick humour is thrust with violence by
the urine to the bladder, which hath wide conduits or passages, that
give room for the urine and humour whereof gravel is engendered, which
waxes thick, and seats itself, as the manner of it is. In old men it is
the reverse, for they have wide passages of the veins, back and kidneys,
that the urine may pass away, and the earthly humour congeal and sink
down; the colour of the gravel shows the humour whereof the stone comes.
Q. Why is it, if the stone do congeal and wax hard through heat, we use
not contrary things to dissolve it by coldness, but light things, as
parsley, fennel and the like? A. It is thought, to fall out by an
excessive scorching heat, by which the stones do crumble into sand, as
in the manner of earthen vessels, which, when they are overheated or
roasted, turn to sand. And by this means it happens that small stones
are avoided, together with sand, in making water. Sometimes cold drink
thrusts out the stone, the kidneys being stretched and casting it out by
a great effort; thus easing the belly of its burden. Besides, it often
happens that immoderate heat of the kidneys, or of the veins of the back
(through which the stone doth grow) is quenched with coldness.
Q. Why is the curing of an ulcer or bile in the kidneys or bladder very
hard? A. Because the urine being sharp, doth ulcerate the sore. Ulcers
are worse to cure in the bladder than in the kidneys, because urine
stays in the former, but runs away from the latter.
Q. Why do chaff and straw keep water hot, but make snow cold? A. Because
the nature of chaff wants a manifest quantity; seeing, therefore that of
its own nature, it can easily be mingled, and consumed by that which it
is annexed onto, it easily assumes the same nature, and being put into
hot things, it is easily hot, heats again, and keeps hot; and on the
contrary, being made cold by the snow, and making the snow cold it keeps
in its coldness.
Q. Why have we oftentimes a pain in making water? A. Because sharp
choler issuing out, and pricking the bladder of the urine, doth provoke
and stir up the whole body to ease the part offended, and to expel the
humour moderately. This doth happen most of all unto children, because
they have moist excrements by reason of their often drinking.
Q. Why have some medicines of one kind contrary effects, as experience
proves; for mastich doth expel, dissolve and also knit; and vinegar
cools and heats? A. Because there are some small invisible bodies in
them, not in confusion, but by interposition; as sand moistened doth
clog together and seem to be but one body, though indeed there are many
small bodies in sand. And since this is so, it is not absurd that the
contrary qualities and virtues should be hidden in mastich, and that
nature hath given that virtue to these bodies.
Q. Why do nurses rock and move their children when they would rock them
to sleep? A. To the end that the humours being scattered by moving, may
move the brains; but those of more years cannot endure this.
Q. Why doth oil, being drunk, cause one to vomit, and especially yellow
choler? A. Because being light, and ascending upwards it provoketh the
nutriment in the stomach, and lifteth it up; and so, the stomach being
grieved, summoneth the ejective virtue to vomit, and especially choler,
because that is light and consisteth of subtle parts, and therefore the
sooner carried upward; for when it is mingled with any moist thing, it
runneth into the highest room.
Q. Why doth not oil mingle with moist things? A. Because, being pliant,
soft and thick in itself, it cannot be divided into parts, and so cannot
be mingled; neither if it be put on the earth can it enter into it.
Q. Why are water and oil frozen in cold weather, and wine and vinegar
not? A. Because that oil being without quality, and fit to be compounded
with anything, is cold quickly and so extremely that it is most cold.
Water being cold of nature, doth easily freeze when it is made colder
than its own nature. Wine being hot, and of subtle parts, suffereth no
Q. Why do contrary things in quality bring forth the same effect? A.
That which is moist is hardened and bound alike by heat and cold. Snow
and liquid do freeze with cold; a plaster and gravel in the bladder are
made dry with heat. The effect indeed is the same, but by two divers
actions; the heat doth consume and eat the abundance of moisture; but
the cold stopping and shutting with its over much thickness, doth wring
out the filthy humidity, like as a sponge wrung with the hand doth cast
out the water which it hath in the pores and small passages.
Q. Why doth a shaking or quivering seize us oftentimes when any fearful
matter doth happen, as a great noise or a crack made, the sudden
downfall of water, or the fall of a large tree? A. Because that
oftentimes the humours being digested and consumed by time and made thin
and weak, all the heat vehemently, suddenly and sharply flying into the
inward part of the body, consumeth the humours which cause the disease.
So treacle hath this effect, and many such like, which are hot and dry
when taken after connexion.
Q. Why do steel glasses shine so clearly? A. Because they are lined in
the inside with white lead, whose nature is shining, and being put to
glass, which is lucid and transparent, doth shine much more; and casts
its beams through its passages, and without the body of the glass; and
by that means the glass is very shining and clear.
Q. Why do we see ourselves in glasses and clear water? A. Because the
quality of the sight, passing into the bright bodies by reflection, doth
return again on the beam of the eyes, as the image of him who looketh on
Q. What is the reason that if you cast a stone in standing water which
is near the surface of the earth, it causes many circles, and not if the
water be deep in the earth? A. Because the stone, with the vehemence of
the cast, doth agitate the water in every part of it, until it come to
the bottom; and if there be a very great vehemence in the throw, the
circle is still greater, the stone going down to the bottom causing many
circles. For, first of all, it doth divide the outermost and superficial
parts of the water in many parts, and so, always going down to the
bottom, again dividing the water, it maketh another circle, and this is
done successively until the stone resteth; and because the vehemence of
the stone is slackened, still as it goes down, of necessity the last
circle is less than the first, because by that and also by its force the
water is divided.
Q. Why are such as are deaf by nature, dumb? A. Because they cannot
speak and express that which they never hear. Some physicians do say,
that there is one knitting and uniting of sinews belonging to the like
disposition. But such as are dumb by accident are not deaf at all, for
then there ariseth a local passion.
Q. Why doth itching arise when an ulcer doth wax whole and phlegm
ceases? A. Because the part which is healed and made sound doth pursue
the relic of the humours which remained there against nature, and which
was the cause of the bile, and so going out through the skin, and
dissolving itself, doth originally cause the itch.
Q. How comes a man to sneeze oftener and more vehemently than a beast?
A. Because he uses more meats and drinks, and of more different sorts,
and that more than is requisite; the which, when he cannot digest as he
would, he doth gather together much air and spirit, by reason of much
humidity; the spirits then very subtle, ascending into the head, often
force a man to void them, and so provoke sneezing. The noise caused
thereby proceeds from a vehement spirit or breath passing through the
conduit of the nostrils, as belching doth from the stomach or farting by
the fundament, the voice by the throat, and a sound by the ear.
Q. How come the hair and nails of dead people to grow? A. Because the
flesh rotting, withering and falling away, that which was hidden about
the root of the hair doth now appear as growing. Some say that it grows
indeed, because carcasses are dissolved in the beginning to many
excrements and superfluities by putrefaction. These going out at the
uppermost parts of the body by some passages, do increase the growth of
Q. Why does not the hair of the feet soon grow grey? A. For this reason,
because that through great motion they disperse and dissolve the
superfluous phlegm that breeds greyness. The hair of the secrets grows
very late, because of the place, and because that in carnal copulation
it dissolves the phlegm also.
Q. Why, if you put hot burnt barley upon a horse's sore, is the hair
which grows upon the sore not white, but like the other hair? A. Because
it hath the force of expelling; and doth drive away and dissolve the
phlegm, as well as all other unprofitable matter that is gathered
together through the weakness of the parts, or condity of the sore.
Q. Why doth the hair never grow on an ulcer or bile? A. Because man hath
a thick skin, as is seen by the thickness of his hair; and if the scar
be thicker than the skin itself, it stops the passages from whence the
hair should grow. Horses have thinner skins, as is plain by their hair;
therefore all passages are not stopped in their wounds and sores; and
after the excrements which were gathered together have broken a passage
through those small pores the hair doth grow.
Q. Why is Fortune painted with a double forehead, the one side bald and
the other hairy? A. The baldness signifies adversity, and hairiness
prosperity, which we enjoy when it pleaseth her.
Q. Why have some commended flattery? A. Because flattery setteth forth
before our eyes what we ought to be, though not what we are.
Q. Wherefore should virtue be painted girded? A. To show that virtuous
men should not be slothful, but diligent and always in action.
Q. Why did the ancients say it was better to fall into the hands of a
raven than a flatterer? A. Because ravens do not eat us till we be dead,
but flatterers devour us alive.
Q. Why have choleric men beards before others? A. Because they are hot,
and their pores large.
Q. How comes it that such as have the hiccups do ease themselves by
holding their breath? A. The breath retained doth heat the interior
parts of the body, and the hiccups proceeds from cold.
Q. How comes it that old men remember well what they have seen and done
in their youth, and forget such things as they see and do in their old
age? A. Things learned in youth take deep root and habitude in a person,
but those learned in age are forgotten because the senses are then
Q. What kind of covetousness is best? A. That of time when employed as
it ought to be.
Q. Why is our life compared to a play? A. Because the dishonest do
occupy the place of the honest, and the worst sort the room of the good.
Q. Why do dolphins, when they appear above the water, denote a storm or
tempest approaching? A. Because at the beginning of a tempest there do
arise from the bottom of the sea, certain hot exhalations and vapours
which heat the dolphins, causing them to rise up for cold air.
Q. Why did the Romans call Fabius Maximus the target of the people, and
Marcellus the sword? A. Because the one adapted himself to the service
of the commonwealth, and the other was very eager to revenge the
injuries of his country; and yet they were in the senate joined
together, because the gravity of the one would moderate the courage and
boldness of the other.
Q. Why doth the shining of the moon hurt the head? A. Because it moves
the humours of the brain, and cannot afterwards dissolve them.
Q. If water do not nourish, why do men drink it? A. Because water
causeth the nutriment to spread through the body.
Q. Why is sneezing good? A. Because it purgeth the brain as milk is
purged by the cough.
Q. Why is hot water lighter than cold? A. Because boiling water has less
ventosity and is more light and subtle, the earthly and heavy substance
being separated from it.
Q. How comes marsh and pond water to be bad? A. By reason they are
phlegmatic, and do corrupt in summer; the fineness of water is turned
into vapours, and the earthiness doth remain.
Q. Why are studious and learned men soonest bald? A. It proceeds from a
weakness of the spirits, or because warmth of digestion cause phlegm to
abound in them.
Q. Why doth much watching make the brain feeble? A. Because it increases
choler, which dries and extenuates the body.
Q. Why are boys apt to change their voices about fourteen years of age?
A. Because that then nature doth cause a great and sudden change of
voice; experience proves this to be true; for at that time we may see
that women's paps do grow great, do hold and gather milk, and also those
places that are above their hips, in which the young fruit would remain.
Likewise men's breasts and shoulders, which then can bear great and
heavy burdens; also their stones in which their seed may increase and
abide, and in their privy members, to let out the seed with ease.
Further all the body is made bigger and dilated, as the alteration and
change of every part doth testify, and the harshness of the voice and
hoarseness; for the rough artery, the wind pipe, being made wide in the
beginning, and the exterior and outward part being unequal to the
throat, the air going out the rough, unequal and uneven pipe doth then
become unequal and sharp, and after, hoarse, something like unto the
voice of a goat, wherefore it has its name called Bronchus. The same
doth also happen to them unto whose rough artery distillation doth
follow; it happens by reason of the drooping humidity that a slight
small skin filled unequally causes the uneven going forth of the spirit
and air. Understand, that the windpipe of goats is such by reason of the
abundance of humidity. The like doth happen unto all such as nature hath
given a rough artery, as unto cranes. After the age of fourteen they
leave off that voice, because the artery is made wider and reacheth its
natural evenness and quality.
Q. Why do hard dens, hollow and high places, send back the likeness and
sound of the voice? A. Because that in such places also by reflection do
return back the image of a sound, for the voice doth beat the air, and
the air the place, which the more it is beaten the more it doth bear,
and therefore doth cause the more vehement sound of the voice; moist
places, and as it were, soft, yielding to the stroke, and dissolving it,
give no sound again; for according to the quantity of the stroke, the
quality and quantity of the voice is given, which is called an echo.
Some do idly fable that she is a goddess; some say that Pan was in love
with her, which without doubt is false. He was some wise man, who did
first desire to search out the cause of the voice, and as they who love,
and cannot enjoy that love, are grieved, so in like manner was he very
sorry until he found out the solution of that cause; as Endymion also,
who first found out the course of the moon, watching all night, and
observing her course, and searching her motion, did sleep in the
daytime, and that she came to him when he was asleep, because she did
give the philosopher the solution of the course herself. They say also
that he was a shepherd, because that in the desert and high places, he
did mark the course of the moon. And they gave him also the pipe because
that the high places are blown with wind, or else because he sought out
the consonancy of figures. Prometheus also, being a wise man, sought the
course of the star, which is called the eagle in the firmament, his
nature and place; and when he was, as it were, wasted with the desire of
learning, then at last he rested, when Hercules did resolve unto him all
doubts with his wisdom.
Q. Why do not swine cry when they are carried with their snouts upwards?
A. Because that of all other beasts they bend more to the earth. They
delight in filth, and that they seek, and therefore in the sudden change
of their face, they be as it were strangers, and being amazed with so
much light do keep that silence; some say the windpipe doth close
together by reason of the straitness of it.
Q. Why do swine delight in dirt? A. As physicians do say, they are
naturally delighted with it, because they have a great liver, in which
desire it, as Aristotle saith, the wideness of their snout is the case,
for he that hath smelling which doth dissolve itself, and as it were
strive with stench.
Q. Why do many beasts when they see their friends, and a lion and a
bull beat their sides when they are angry? A. Because they have the
marrow of their backs reaching to the tail, which hath the force of
motion in it, the imagination acknowledging that which is known to them,
as it were with the hand, as happens to men, doth force them to move
their tails. This doth manifestly show some secret force to be within
them, which doth acknowledge what they ought. In the anger of lions and
bulls, nature doth consent to the mind, and causeth it to be greatly
moved, as men do sometimes when they are angry, beating their hands on
other parts; when the mind cannot be revenged on that which doth hurt,
it presently seeks out some other source, and cures the malady with a
stroke or blow.
Q. How come steel glasses to be better for the sight than any other
kind? A. Because steel is hard, and doth present unto us more
substantially the air that receiveth the light.
Q. How doth love show its greater force by making the fool to become
wise, or the wise to become a fool? A. In attributing wisdom to him that
has it not; for it is harder to build than to pull down; and ordinarily
love and folly are but an alteration of the mind.
Q. How comes much labour and fatigue to be bad for the sight? A.
Because it dries the blood too much.
Q. Why is goat's milk reckoned best for the stomach? A. Because it is
thick, not slimy, and they feed on wood and boughs rather than on grass.
Q. Why do grief and vexation bring grey hairs? A. Because they dry,
which bringeth on greyness.
Q. How come those to have most mercy who have the thickest blood? A.
Because the blood which is fat and thick makes the spirits firm and
constant, wherein consists the force of all creatures.
Q. Whether it is hardest, to obtain a person's love, or to keep it when
obtained? A. It is hardest to keep it, by reason of the inconstancy of
man, who is quickly angry, and soon weary of a thing; hard to be gained
and slippery to keep.
Q. Why do serpents shun the herb rue? A. Because they are cold, dry and
full of sinews, and that herb is of a contrary nature.
Q. Why is a capon better to eat than a cock? A. Because a capon loses
not his moisture by treading of the hens.
Q. Why is our smell less in winter than in summer? A. Because the air is
thick, and less moveable.
Q. Why does hair burn so quickly? A. Because it is dry and cold.
Q. Why is love compared to a labyrinth? A. Because the entry and coming
in is easy, and the going out almost impossible or hard.
* * * * *
DISPLAYING THE SECRETS OF
* * * * *
SECTION 1.--_Of Physiognomy, showing what it is, and whence it is
Physiognomy is an ingenious science, or knowledge of nature, by which
the inclinations and dispositions of every creature are understood, and
because some of the members are uncompounded, and entire of themselves,
as the tongue, the heart, etc., and some are of a mixed nature, as the
eyes, the nose and others, we therefore say that there are signs which
agree and live together, which inform a wise man how to make his
judgment before he be too rash to deliver it to the world.
Nor is it to be esteemed a foolish or idle art, seeing it is derived
from the superior bodies; for there is no part of the face of man but
what is under the peculiar influence or government, not only of the
seven planets but also of the twelve signs of Zodiac; and the
dispositions, vices, virtues and fatality, either of a man or woman are
plainly foretold, if the person pretending to the knowledge thereof be
an artist, which, that my readers may hereby attain it I shall set these
things in a clearer light.
The reader should remember that the forehead is governed by Mars; the
right eye is under the domination of Sol; the left is ruled by the Moon;
the right ear is under Jupiter; the left, Saturn, the rule of the nose
is claimed by Venus, which, by the way, is one reason that in all
unlawful venereal encounters, the nose is too subject to bear the scars
that are gotten in those wars; and nimble Mercury, the significator of
eloquence claims the dominion of the mouth, and that very justly.
Thus have the seven planets divided the face among them, but not with so
absolute a way but that the twelve signs of the Zodiac do also come in
with a part (see the engraving) and therefore the sign Cancer presides
in the upper part of the forehead, and Leo attends upon the right
eyebrow, as Saggittarius does upon the right eye, and Libra upon the
right ear, upon the left eyebrow you will find Aquarius; and Gemini and
Aries taking care of the left ear; Taurus rules in the middle of the
forehead, and Capricorn the chin; Scorpio takes upon him the protection
of the nose; Virgo claims the precedence of the right cheek, Pisces the
left. And thus the face of man is cantoned out amongst the signs and
planets; which being carefully attended to, will sufficiently inform
the artist how to pass a judgment. For according to the sign or planet
ruling so also is the judgment to be of the part ruled, which all those
that have understanding know easily how to apply.
In the judgment that is to be made from physiognomy, there is a great
difference betwixt a man and a woman; the reason is, because in respect
of the whole composition men more fully comprehend it than women do, as
may evidently appear by the manner and method we shall give. Wherefore
the judgments which we shall pass in every chapter do properly concern a
man, as comprehending the whole species, and but improperly the woman,
as being but a part thereof, and derived from the man, and therefore,
whoever is called to give judgment on such a face, ought to be wary
about all the lines and marks that belong to it, respect being also had
to the sex, for when we behold a man whose face is like unto a woman's
and we pass a judgment upon it, having diligently observed it, and not
on the face only, but on other parts of the body, as hands, etc., in
like manner we also behold the face of a woman, who in respect to her
flesh and blood is like unto a man, and in the disposure also of the
greatest part of the body. But does physiognomy give the same judgment
on her, as it does of a man that is like unto her? By no means, but far
otherwise, in regard that the conception of the woman is much different
from that of a man, even in those respects which are said to be common.
Now in those common respects two parts are attributed to a man, and a
third part to a woman.
Wherefore it being our intention to give you an exact account, according
to the rule of physiognomy of all and every part of the members of the
body, we will begin with the head, as it hath relation only to man and
woman, and not to any other creature, that the work may be more obvious
to every reader.
* * * * *
_Of the Judgment of Physiognomy._
Hair that hangs down without curling, if it be of a fair complexion,
thin and soft withal, signifies a man to be naturally faint-hearted, and
of a weak body, but of a quiet and harmless disposition. Hair that is
big, and thick and short withal, denotes a man to be of a strong
constitution, secure, bold, deceitful and for the most part, unquiet and
vain, lusting after beauty, and more foolish than wise, though fortune
may favour him. He whose hair is partly curled and partly hanging down,
is commonly wise or a very great fool, or else as very a knave as he is
a fool. He whose hair grows thick on his temples and his brow, one may
certainly at first sight conclude that such a man is by nature simple,
vain, luxurious, lustful, credulous, clownish in his speech and
conversation and dull in his apprehension. He whose hair not only curls
very much, but bushes out, and stands on end, if the hair be white or of
a yellowish colour, he is by nature proud and bold, dull of
apprehension, soon angry, and a lover of venery, and given to lying,
malicious and ready to do any mischief. He whose hair arises in the
corners of the temples, and is gross and rough withal, is a man highly
conceited of himself, inclined to malice, but cunningly conceals it, is
very courtly and a lover of new fashions. He who hath much hair, that is
to say, whose hair is thick all over his head, is naturally vain and
very luxurious, of a good digestion, easy of belief, and slow of
performance, of a weak memory and for the most part unfortunate. He
whose hair is of a reddish complexion, is for the most part, if not
always, proud, deceitful, detracting and full of envy. He whose hair is
extraordinarily fair, is for the most part a man fit for the most
praiseworthy enterprises, a lover of honour, and much more inclined to
do good than evil; laborious and careful to perform whatsoever is
committed to his care, secret in carrying on any business, and
fortunate. Hair of a yellowish colour shows a man to be good
conditioned, and willing to do anything, fearful, shamefaced and weak of
body, but strong in the abilities of the mind, and more apt to remember,
than to avenge an injury. He whose hair is of a brownish colour, and
curled not too much nor too little, is a well-disposed man, inclined to
that which is good, a lover of peace, cleanliness and good manners. He
whose hair turns grey or hoary in the time of his youth, is generally
given to women, vain, false, unstable, and talkative. [Note. That
whatever signification the hair has in men, it has the same in women
The forehead that riseth in a round, signifies a man liberally merry, of
a good understanding, and generally inclined to virtue. He whose
forehead is fleshy, and the bone of the brow jutting out, and without
wrinkles, is a man much inclined to suits of law, contentious, vain,
deceitful, and addicted to follow ill courses. He whose forehead is
very low and little, is of a good understanding, magnanimous, but
extremely bold and confident, and a great pretender to love and honour.
He whose forehead seems sharp, and pointed up in the corners of his
temples, so that the bone seems to jut forth a little, is a man
naturally weak and fickle, and weak in the intellectuals. He whose brow
upon the temples is full of flesh, is a man of a great spirit, proud,
watchful and of a gross understanding. He whose brow is full of
wrinkles, and has as it were a seam coming down the middle of the
forehead, so that a man may think he has two foreheads, is one that is
of a great spirit, a great wit, void of deceit, and yet of a hard
fortune. He who has a full, large forehead, and a little round withal,
destitute of hair, or at least that has little on it is bold, malicious,
full of choler and apt to transgress beyond all bounds, and yet of a
good wit and very apprehensive. He whose forehead is long and high and
jutting forth, and whose face is figured, almost sharp and peaked
towards the chin, is one reasonably honest, but weak and simple, and of
a hard fortune.
Those eyebrows that are much arched, whether in man or woman, and which
by frequent motion elevate themselves, show the person to be proud,
high-spirited, vain-glorious, bold and threatening, a lover of beauty,
and indifferently inclined to either good or evil. He whose eyelids bend
down when he speaks to another or when he looks upon him, and who has a
kind of skulking look, is by nature a penurious wretch, close in all his
actions, of a very few words, but full of malice in his heart. He whose
eyebrows are thick, and have but little hair upon them, is but weak in
his intellectuals, and too credulous, very sincere, sociable, and
desirous of good company. He whose eyebrows are folded, and the hair
thick and bending downwards, is one that is clownish and unlearned,
heavy, suspicious, miserable, envious, and one that will cheat and cozen
you if he can. He whose eyebrows have but short hair and of a whitish
colour is fearful and very easy of belief, and apt to undertake
anything. Those, on the other side, whose eyebrows are black, and the
hair of them thin, will do nothing without great consideration, and are
bold and confident of the performance of what they undertake; neither
are they apt to believe anything without reason for so doing.
If the space between the eyebrows be of more than the ordinary distance,
it shows the person to be hard-hearted, envious, close, cunning,
apprehensive, greedy of novelties, of a vain fortune, addicted to
cruelty more than love. But those men whose eyebrows are at a lesser
distance from each other, are for the most part of a dull understanding;
yet subtle enough in their dealings, and of an uncommon boldness, which
is often attended with great felicity; but that which is most
commendable in them is, that they are most sure and constant in their
Great and full eyes in either man or woman, show the person to be for
the most part slothful, bold, envious, a bad concealer of secrets,
miserable, vain, given to lying, and yet a bad memory, slow in
invention, weak in his intellectuals, and yet very much conceited of
that little knack of wisdom he thinks himself master of. He whose eyes
are hollow in his head, and therefore discerns well at a great distance,
is one that is suspicious, malicious, furious, perverse in his
conversation, of an extraordinary memory, bold, cruel, and false, both
in words and deeds, threatening, vicious, luxurious, proud, envious and
treacherous; but he whose eyes are, as it were, starting out of his
head, is a simple, foolish person, shameless, very fertile and easy to
be persuaded either to vice or virtue. He who looks studiously and
acutely, with his eyes and eyelids downwards, denotes thereby to be of a
malicious nature, very treacherous, false, unfaithful, envious,
miserable, impious towards God, and dishonest towards men. He whose
eyes are small and conveniently round, is bashful and weak, very
credulous, liberal to others, and even in his conversation. He whose
eyes look asquint, is thereby denoted to be a deceitful person, unjust,
envious, furious, a great liar, and as the effect of all that is
miserable. He who hath a wandering eye and which is rolling up and down,
is for the most part a vain, simple, deceitful, lustful, treacherous, or
high-minded man, an admirer of the fair sex, and one easy to be
persuaded to virtue or vice. He or she whose eyes are twinkling, and
which move forward or backward, show the person to be luxurious,
unfaithful and treacherous, presumptuous, and hard to believe anything
that is spoken. If a person has any greenness mingled with the white of
his eye, such is commonly silly, and often very false, vain and
deceitful, unkind to his friends, a great concealer of his own secrets,
and very choleric. Those whose eyes are every way rolling up and down,
or they who seldom move their eyes, and when they do, as it were, draw
their eyes inwardly and accurately fasten them upon some object, such
are by their inclinations very malicious, vain-glorious, slothful,
unfaithful, envious, false and contentious. They whose eyes are addicted
to blood-shot, are naturally proud, disdainful, cruel, without shame,
perfidious and much inclined to superstition. But he whose eyes are
neither too little nor too big, and inclined to black, do signify a man
mild, peaceable, honest, witty, and of a good understanding; and one
that, when need requires, will be serviceable to his friends.
A long and thin nose, denotes a man bold, furious, angry, vain, easy to
be persuaded either to good or evil, weak and credulous. A long nose
extended, the tip of it bending downwards, shows the person to be wise,
discreet, secret and officious, honest, faithful and one that will not
be over-reached in bargaining.
A bottle-nose is what denotes a man to be impetuous in the obtaining of
his desires, also a vain, false, luxurious, weak and uncertain man; apt
to believe and easy to be persuaded. A broad nose in the middle, and
less towards the end, denotes a vain, talkative person, a liar, and one
of hard fortune. He who hath a long and great nose is an admirer of the
fair sex, and well accomplished for the wars of Venus, but ignorant of
the knowledge of anything that is good, extremely addicted to vice;
assiduous in the obtaining what he desires, and very secret in the
prosecution of it; and though very ignorant, would fain be thought very
A nose very sharp on the tip of it, and neither too long nor too short,
too thick nor too thin, denotes the person, if a man, to be of a fretful
disposition, always pining and peevish; and if a woman, a scold, or
contentious, wedded to her own humours, of a morose and dogged carriage,
and if married, a plague to her husband. A nose very round at the end of
it, and having but little nostrils, shows the person to be munificent
and liberal, true to his trust, but withal, very proud, credulous and
vain. A nose very long and thin at the end of it, and something round,
withal, signifies one bold in his discourse, honest in his dealings,
patient in receiving, and slow in offering injuries, but yet privately
malicious. He whose nose is naturally more red than any other part of
his face, is thereby denoted to be covetous, impious, luxurious, and an
enemy to goodness. A nose that turns up again, and is long and full at
the tip of it, shows the person that has it to be bold, proud, covetous,
envious, luxurious, a liar and deceiver, vain, glorious, unfortunate and
contentious. He whose nose riseth high in the middle, is prudent and
polite, and of great courage, honourable in his actions, and true to his
word. A nose big at the end shows a person to be of a peaceable
disposition, industrious and faithful, and of a good understanding. A
very wide nose, with wide nostrils, denotes a man dull of apprehension,
and inclined more to simplicity than wisdom, and withal vain,
contentious and a liar.
When the nostrils are close and thin, they denote a man to have but
little testicles, and to be very desirous of the enjoyment of women, but
modest in his conversation. But he whose nostrils are great and wide, is
usually well hung and lustful; but withal of an envious, bold and
treacherous disposition and though dull of understanding, yet confident
A great and wide mouth shows a man to be bold, warlike, shameless and
stout, a great liar and as great a talker, also a great eater, but as to
his intellectuals, he is very dull, being for the most part very simple.
A little mouth shows the person to be of a quiet and pacific temper,
somewhat reticent, but faithful, secret, modest, bountiful, and but a
He whose mouth smells of a bad breath, is one of a corrupted liver and
lungs, is oftentimes vain, wanton, deceitful, of indifferent intellect,
envious, covetous, and a promise-breaker. He that has a sweet breath, is
The lips, when they are very big and blubbering, show a person to be
credulous, foolish, dull and stupid, and apt to be enticed to anything.
Lips of a different size denote a person to be discreet, secret in all
things, judicious and of a good wit, but somewhat hasty. To have lips,
well coloured and more thin than thick, shows a person to be
good-humoured in all things and more easily persuaded to good than evil.
To have one lip bigger than the other, shows a variety of fortunes, and
denotes the party to be of a dull, sluggish temper, but of a very
indifferent understanding, as being much addicted to folly.
When the teeth are small, and but weak in performing their office, and
especially if they are short and few, though they show the person to be
of a weak constitution, yet they denote him to be of a meek disposition,
honest, faithful and secret in whatsoever he is intrusted with. To have
some teeth longer and shorter than others, denotes a person to be of a
good apprehension, but bold, disdainful, envious and proud. To have the
teeth very long, and growing sharp towards the end, if they are long in
chewing, and thin, denotes the person to be envious, gluttonous, bold,
shameless, unfaithful and suspicious. When the teeth look very brown or
yellowish, whether they be long or short, it shows the person to be of a
suspicious temper, envious, deceitful and turbulent. To have teeth
strong and close together, shows the person to be of a long life, a
desirer of novelties, and things that are fair and beautiful, but of a
high spirit, and one that will have his humour in all things; he loves
to hear news, and to repeat it afterwards, and is apt to entertain
anything on his behalf. To have teeth thin and weak, shows a weak,
feeble man, and one of a short life, and of a weak apprehension; but
chaste, shame-faced, tractable and honest.
A tongue to be too swift of speech shows a man to be downright foolish,
or at best but a very vain wit. A stammering tongue, or one that
stumbles in the mouth, signifies a man of a weak understanding, and of a
wavering mind, quickly in a rage, and soon pacified. A very thick and
rough tongue denotes a man to be apprehensive, subtle and full of
compliments, yet vain and deceitful, treacherous, and prone to impiety.
A thin tongue shows a man of wisdom and sound judgment, very ingenious
and of an affable disposition, yet somewhat timorous and too credulous.
A great and full voice in either sex shows them to be of a great spirit,
confident, proud and wilful. A faint and weak voice, attended with but
little breath, shows a person to be of good understanding, a nimble
fancy, a little eater, but weak of body, and of a timorous disposition.
A loud and shrill voice, which sounds clearly denotes a person
provident, sagacious, true and ingenious, but withal capricious, vain,
glorious and too credulous. A strong voice when a man sings denotes him
to be of a strong constitution, and of a good understanding, a nimble
fancy, a little eater, but weak of body, and of a timorous disposition.
A strong voice when a man sings, denotes him to be of a strong
constitution, and of a good understanding, neither too penurious nor too
prodigal, also ingenious and an admirer of the fair sex. A weak and
trembling voice shows the owner of it to be envious, suspicious, slow in
business, feeble and fearful. A loud, shrill and unpleasant voice,
signifies one bold and valiant, but quarrelsome and injurious and
altogether wedded to his own humours, and governed by his own counsels.
A rough and hoarse voice, whether in speaking or singing, declares one
to be a dull and heavy person, of much guts and little brains. A full
and yet mild voice, and pleasing to the hearer, shows the person to be
of a quiet and peaceable disposition (which is a great virtue and rare
to be found in a woman), and also very thrifty and secret, not prone to
anger, but of a yielding temper. A voice beginning low or in the bass,
and ending high in the treble, denotes a person to be violent, angry,
bold and secure.
A thick and full chin abounding with too much flesh, shows a man
inclined to peace, honest and true to his trust, but slow in invention,
and easy to be drawn either to good or evil. A peaked chin and
reasonably full of flesh, shows a person to be of a good understanding,
a high spirit and laudable conversation. A double chin shows a peaceable
disposition, but dull of apprehension, vain, credulous, a great
supplanter, and secret in all his actions. A crooked chin, bending
upwards, and peaked for want of flesh, is by the rules of physiognomy,
according to nature, a very bad man, being proud, imprudent, envious,
threatening, deceitful, prone to anger and treachery, and a great thief.
The hair of young men usually begins to grow down upon their chins at
fifteen years of age, and sometimes sooner. These hairs proceed from the
superfluity of heat, the fumes whereof ascend to their chin, like smoke
to the funnel of a chimney; and because it cannot find an open passage
by which it may ascend higher, it vents itself forth in the hairs which
are called the beard. There are very few, or almost no women at all,
that have hairs on their cheeks; and the reason is, that those humours
which cause hair to grow on the cheeks of a man are by a woman
evacuated in the monthly courses, which they have more or less,
according to the heat or coldness of their constitution, and the age and
motion of the moon, of which we have spoken at large in the first part
of this book. Yet sometimes women of a hot constitution have hair to be
seen on their cheeks, but more commonly on their lips, or near their
mouths, where the heat most aboundeth. And where this happens, such
women are much addicted to the company of men, and of a strong and manly
constitution. A woman who hath little hair on her cheeks, or about her
mouth and lips, is of a good complexion, weak constitution, shamefaced,
mild and obedient, whereas a woman of a more hot constitution is quite
otherwise. But in a man, a beard well composed and thick of hair,
signifies a man of good nature, honest, loving, sociable and full of
humanity; on the contrary, he that hath but a little beard, is for the
most part proud, pining, peevish and unsociable. They who have no
beards, have always shrill and a strange kind of squeaking voices, and
are of a weak constitution, which is apparent in the case of eunuchs,
who, after they are deprived of their virility are transformed from the
nature of men into the condition of women.
Great and thick ears are a certain sign of a foolish person, or a bad
memory and worse understanding. But small and thin ears show a person to
be of a good wit, grave, sweet, thrifty, modest, resolute, of a good
memory, and one willing to serve his friend. He whose ears are longer
than ordinary, is thereby signified to be a bold man, uncivil, vain,
foolish, serviceable to another more than to himself, and a man of small
industry, but of a great stomach.
A face apt to sweat on every motion, shows a person to be of a very hot
constitution, vain and luxurious, of a good stomach, but of a bad
understanding, and a worse conversation. A very fleshy face shows the
person to be of a fearful disposition, but a merry heart, and withal
bountiful and discreet, easy to be entreated, and apt to believe
everything. A lean face, by the rules of physiognomy, denotes the person
to be of a good understanding, but somewhat capricious and disdainful in
his conversation. A little and round face, shows a person to be simple,
very fearful, of a bad memory, and a clownish disposition. A plump face,
full of carbuncles, shows a man to be a great drinker of wine, vain,
daring, and soon intoxicated. A face red or high coloured, shows a man
much inclined to choler, and one that will be soon angry and not easily
pacified. A long and lean face, shows a man to be both bold, injurious
and deceitful. A face every way of a due proportion, denotes an
ingenious person, one fit for anything and very much inclined to what is
good. One of a broad, full, fat face is, by the rules of physiognomy, of
a dull, lumpish, heavy constitution, and that for one virtue has three
vices. A plain, flat face, without any rising shows a person to be very
wise, loving and courtly in his carriage, faithful to his friend and
patient in adversity. A face sinking down a little, with crosses in it,
inclining to leanness, denotes a person to be very laborious, but
envious, deceitful, false, quarrelsome, vain and silly, and of a dull
and clownish behaviour. A face of a handsome proportion, and more
inclining to fat than lean, shows a person just in his actions, true to
his word, civil, and respectful in his behaviour, of an indifferent
understanding, and of an extraordinary memory. A crooked face, long and
lean, denotes a man endued with as bad qualities as the face is with ill
features. A face broad about the brows, and sharper and less as it grows
towards the chin, shows a man simple and foolish in managing his
affairs, vain in his discourse, envious in his nature, deceitful,
quarrelsome and rude in his conversation. A face well-coloured, full of
good features, and of an exact symmetry, and a just proportion in all
its parts, and which is delightful to look upon, is commonly the index
of a fairer mind and shows a person to be well disposed; but withal
declares that virtue is not so impregnably seated there, but that by
strong temptations (especially by the fair sex) it may be supplanted and
overcome by vice. A pale complexion, shows the person not only to be
fickle, but very malicious, treacherous, false, proud, presumptuous, and
extremely unfaithful. A face well-coloured, shows the person to be of a
praiseworthy disposition and a sound complexion, easy of belief, and
respectful to his friend, ready to do a courtesy, and very easy to be
drawn to anything.
A great head, and round, withal, denotes the person to be secret, and of
great application in carrying on business, and also ingenious and of a
large imaginative faculty and invention; and likewise laborious,
constant and honest. The head whose gullet stands forth and inclines
towards the earth, signifies a person thrifty, wise, peaceable, secret,
of a retired temper, and constant in the management of his affairs. A
long head and face, and great, withal, denotes a vain, foolish, idle and
weak person, credulous and very envious. To have one's head always
shaking and moving from side to side, denotes a shallow, weak person,
unstable in all his actions, given to lying, a great deceiver, a great
talker, and prodigal in all his fortunes. A big head and broad face,
shows a man to be very courageous, a great hunter after women, very
suspicious, bold and shameless. He who hath a very big head, but not so
proportionate as it ought to be to the body, if he hath a short neck and
crooked gullet is generally a man of apprehension, wise, secret,
ingenious, of sound judgment, faithful, true and courteous to all. He
who hath a little head, and long, slender throat, is for the most part a
man very weak, yet apt to learn, but unfortunate in his actions. And so
much shall suffice with respect to judgment from the head and face.
* * * * *
_Of Judgments drawn from several other parts of Man's Body._
In the body of man the head and feet are the principal parts, being the
index which heaven has laid open to every one's view to make a judgment
therefrom, therefore I have been the larger in my judgment from the
several parts thereof. But as to the other parts, I shall be much more
brief as not being so obvious to the eyes of men; yet I would proceed in
The throat, if it be white, whether it be fat or lean, shows a man to be
vain-glorious, timorous, wanton, and very much subject to choler. If the
throat be so thin and lean that the veins appear, it shows a man to be
weak, slow, and a dull and heavy constitution.
A long neck shows one to have a long and slender foot, and that the
person is stiff and inflexible either to good or evil. A short neck
shows one to be witty and ingenious, but deceitful and inconstant, well
skilled in the use of arms, and yet cares not to use them, but is a
great lover of peace and quietness.
A lean shoulder bone, signifies a man to be weak, timorous, peaceful,
not laborious, and yet fit for any employment. He whose shoulder bones
are of a great bigness is commonly, by the rule of physiognomy, a strong
man, faithful but unfortunate; somewhat dull of understanding, very
laborious, a great eater and drinker, and one equally contented in all
conditions. He whose shoulder bone seems to be smooth, is by the rule of
nature, modest in his look, and temperate in all his actions, both at
bed and board. He whose shoulder bone bends, and is crooked inwardly, is
commonly a dull person and deceitful.
Long arms, hanging down and touching the knees, though such arms are
rarely seen, denotes a man liberal, but withal vain-glorious, proud and
inconstant. He whose arms are very short in respect to the stature of
his body, is thereby signified to be a man of high and gallant spirit,
of a graceful temper, bold and warlike. He whose arms are full of bones,
sinews and flesh, is a great desirer of novelties and beauties, and one
that is very credulous and apt to believe anything. He whose arms are
very hairy, whether they be lean or fat, is for the most part a
luxurious person, weak in body and mind, very suspicious and malicious
withal. He whose arms have no hair on them at all, is of a weak
judgment, very angry, vain, wanton, credulous, easily deceived himself,
yet a great deceiver of others, no fighter, and very apt to betray his
* * * * *
_Of Palmistry, showing the various Judgments drawn from the Hand._
Being engaged in this fourth part to show what judgment may be drawn,
according to physiognomy, from the several parts of the body, and coming
in order to speak of the hands, it has put me under the necessity of
saying something about palmistry, which is a judgment made of the
conditions, inclinations, and fortunes of men and women, from the
various lines and characters nature has imprinted in their hands, which
are almost as serious as the hands that have them.
The reader should remember that one of the lines of the hand, and which
indeed is reckoned the principal, is called the line of life; this line
encloses the thumb, separating it from the hollow of the hand. The next
to it, which is called the natural line, takes its beginning from the
rising of the forefinger, near the line of life, and reaches to the
table line, and generally makes a triangle. The table line, commonly
called the line of fortune, begins under the little finger, and ends
near the middle finger. The girdle of Venus, which is another line so
called begins near the first joint of the little finger, and ends
between the fore-finger and the middle finger. The line of death is that
which plainly appears in a counter line to that of life, and is called
the sister line, ending usually as the other ends; for when the line of
life is ended, death comes, and it can go no farther. There are lines in
the fleshy parts, as in the ball of the thumb, which is called the mount
of Venus; under each of the fingers are also mounts, which are governed
by several planets; and the hollow of the hand is called the plain of
I proceed to give judgment from these several lines:--In palmistry, the
left hand is chiefly to be regarded, because therein the lines are most
visible, and have the strictest communication with the heart and brain.
In the next place, observe the line of life, and if it be fair, extended
to its full length, and not broken with an intermixture of cross lines,
it shows long life and health, and it is the same if a double line
appears, as there sometimes does. When the stars appear in this line, it
is a signification of great losses and calamities; if on it there be the
figures of two O's or a Q, it threatens the person with blindness; if it
wraps itself about the table line, then does it promise wealth and
honour to be attended by prudence and industry. If the line be cut and
jagged at the upper end, it denotes much sickness; if this line be cut
by any lines coming from the mount of Venus, it declares the person to
be unfortunate in love and business also, and threatens him with sudden
death. A cross below the line of life and the table line, shows the
person to be very liberal and charitable, one of a noble spirit. Let us
now see the signification of the table line.
The table line, when broad and of a lively colour, shows a healthful
constitution, and a quiet contented mind, and a courageous spirit, but
if it has crosses towards the little finger, it threatens the party with
much affliction by sickness. If the line be double, or divided into
three parts at any of the extremities, it shows the person to be of a
generous temper, and of a good fortune to support it; but if this line
be forked at the end, it threatens the person shall suffer by jealousies
and doubts, and loss of riches gotten by deceit. If three points such as
are found in it, they denote the person prudent and liberal, a lover of
learning, and of a good temper, if it spreads towards the fore and
middle finger and ends blunt, it denotes preferment. Let us now see what
is signified by the middle line. This line has in it oftentimes (for
there is scarce a hand in which it varies not) divers very significant
characters. Many small lines between this and the table line threaten
the party with sickness, and also gives him hopes of recovery. A half
cross branching into this line, declares the person shall have honour,
riches, and good success in all his undertakings. A half moon denotes
cold and watery distempers; but a sun or star upon this line, denotes
prosperity and riches; this line, double in a woman, shows she will have
several husbands, but no children.
The line of Venus, if it happens to be cut or divided near the
forefinger, threatens ruin to the party, and that it shall befall him by
means of lascivious women and bad company. Two crosses upon the line,
one being on the forefinger and the other bending towards the little
finger, show the party to be weak, and inclined to modesty and virtue,
indeed it generally denotes modesty in women; and therefore those who
desire such, usually choose them by this standard.
The liver line, if it be straight and crossed by other lines, shows the
person to be of a sound judgment, and a piercing understanding, but if
it be winding, crooked and bending outward, it draws deceit and
flattery, and the party is not to be trusted. If it makes a triangle or
quadrangle, it shows the person to be of a noble descent, and ambitious
of honour and promotion. If it happens that this line and the middle
line begin near each other, it denotes a person to be weak in his
judgment, if a man; but if a woman, in danger by hard labour.
The plain of Mars being in the hollow of the hand, most of the lines
pass through it, which renders it very significant. This plain being
crooked and distorted, threatens the party to fall by his enemies. When
the lines beginning at the wrist are long within the plain, reaching to
the brawn of the hand, that shows the person to be much given to
quarrelling, often in broils and of a hot and fiery spirit, by which he
suffers much damage. If deep and long crosses be in the middle of the
plain, it shows the party shall obtain honour by martial exploits; but
if it be a woman, she shall have several husbands and easy labour with
The line of Death is fatal, when crosses or broken lines appear in it;
for they threaten the person with sickness and a short life. A clouded
moon appearing therein, threatens a child-bed woman with death. A bloody
spot in the line, denotes a violent death. A star like a comet,
threatens ruin by war, and death by pestilence. But if a bright sun
appears therein, it promises long life and prosperity.
As for the lines of the wrist being fair, they denote good fortune; but
if crossed and broken, the contrary.
* * * * *
_Judgments according to Physiognomy, drawn from the several parts
of the Body, from the Hands to the Feet._
A large and full breast, shows a man valiant and courageous, but withal
proud and hard to deal with, quickly angry, and very apprehensive of an
injury; he whose breast is narrow, and which riseth a little in the
middle of it, is, by the best rule of physiognomy, of a clear spirit, of
a great understanding, good in counsel, very faithful, clean both in
mind and body, yet as an enemy to this, he is soon angry, and inclined
long to keep it. He whose breast is somewhat hairy, is very luxurious,
and serviceable to another. He who hath no hair upon his breast, is a
man weak by nature, of a slender capacity and very timorous, but of a
laudable life and conversation, inclined to peace, and much retired to
The back of the chin bone, if the flesh be anything hairy and lean, and
higher than any other part that is behind, signifies a man shameless,
beastly and withal malicious. He whose back is large, big and fat, is
thereby denoted to be a strong and stout man, but of a heavy
disposition, vain, slow and full of deceit.
He or she whose belly is soft over all the body, is weak, lustful, and
fearful upon little or no occasion, of a good understanding, and an
excellent invention, but little eaters, faithful, but of various
fortune, and meet with more adversity than prosperity. He whose flesh is
rough and hard, is a man of strong constitution and very bold, but vain,
proud and of a cruel temper. A person whose skin is smooth, fat and
white, is a person, curious, vain-glorious, timorous, shame-faced,
malicious, false, and too wise to believe all he hears.
A thigh, full of strong, bristly hair, and the hair inclined to curl,
signifies one lustful, licentious, and fit for copulation. Thighs with
but little hair, and those soft and slender, show the person to be
reasonably chaste, and one that has no great desire to coition, and who
will have but few children.
The legs of both men and women have a fleshy substance behind, which are
called calves, which nature hath given them (as in our book of living
creatures we have observed), in lieu of those long tails which other
creatures have pendant behind. Now a great calf, and he whose legs are
of great bone, and hair withal, denotes the person to be strong, bold,
secure, dull in understanding and slow in business, inclined to
procreation, and for the most part fortunate in his undertakings.
Little legs, and but little hair on them, show the person to be weak,
fearful, of a quick understanding, and neither luxurious at bed nor
board. He whose legs do much abound with hair, shows he has great store
in another place, and that he is lustful and luxurious, strong, but
unstable in his resolution, and abounding with ill humours.
The feet of either men or women, if broad and thick with flesh, and long
in figure, especially if the skin feels hard, they are by nature of a
strong constitution, and gross nutriment, but of weak intellect, which
renders the understanding vain. But feet that are thin and lean, and of
a soft skin, show the person to be but weak of body, but of a strong
understanding and an excellent wit.
The soles of the feet do administer plain and evident signs, whereby the
disposition and constitution of men and women may be known, as do the
palms of their hands, as being full of lines, by which lines all the
fortunes and misfortunes of men and women may be known, and their
manners and inclinations made plainly to appear. But this in general we
may take notice, as that many long lines and strokes do presage great
affliction, and a very troublesome life, attended with much grief and
toil, care, poverty, and misery; but short lines, if they are thick and
full of cross lines, are yet worse in every degree. Those, the skin of
whose soles is very thick and gross, are, for the most part, able,
strong and venturous. Whereas, on the contrary, those the skin of whose
soles of their feet is thin, are generally weak and timorous.
I shall now, before I conclude (having given an account of what
judgments may be made by observing the several parts of the body, from
the crown of the head to the soles of the feet), give an account of what
judgments may be drawn by the rule of physiognomy from things extraneous
which are found upon many, and which indeed to them are parts of the
body, but are so far from being necessary parts that they are the
deformity and burden of it, and speak of the habits of the body, as they
_Of Crooked and Deformed Persons._
A crooked breast and shoulder, or the exuberance of flesh in the body
either of man or woman, signifies the person to be extremely
parsimonious and ingenious, and of a great understanding, but very
covetous and scraping after the things of the world, attended also with
a very bad memory, being also very deceitful and malicious; they are
seldom in a medium, but either virtuous or extremely vicious. But if
the person deformed hath an excrescence on his breast instead of on the
back, he is for the most part of a double heart, and very mischievous.
_Of the divers Manners of going, and particular Posture both of Men and
He or she that goes slowly, making great steps as they go, are generally
persons of bad memory, and dull of apprehension, given to loitering, and
not apt to believe what is told them. He who goes apace, and makes short
steps, is most successful in all his undertakings, swift in his
imagination, and humble in the disposition of his affairs. He who makes
wide and uneven steps, and sidelong withal, is one of a greedy, sordid
nature, subtle, malicious, and willing to do evil.
_Of the Gait or Motion in Men and Women._
Every man hath a certain gait or motion, and so in like manner hath
every woman; for a man to be shaking his head, or using any light motion
with his hands or feet, whether he stands or sits, or speaks, is always
accompanied with an extravagant motion, unnecessary, superfluous and
unhandsome. Such a man, by the rule of physiognomy is vain, unwise,
unchaste, a detractor, unstable and unfaithful. He or she whose motion
is not much when discoursing with any one, is for the most part wise and
well bred, and fit for any employment, ingenious and apprehensive,
frugal, faithful and industrious in business. He whose posture is
forwards and backwards, or, as it were, whisking up and down, mimical,
is thereby denoted to be a vain, silly person, of a heavy and dull wit,
and very malicious. He whose motion is lame and limping, or otherwise
imperfect, or that counterfeits an imperfection is denoted to be
envious, malicious, false and detracting.
_Judgment drawn from the Stature of Man._
Physiognomy draws several judgments also from the stature of man, which
take as followeth; if a man be upright and straight, inclined rather to
leanness than fat, it shows him to be bold, cruel, proud, clamorous,
hard to please, and harder to be reconciled when displeased, very
frugal, deceitful, and in many things malicious. To be of tall stature
and corpulent with it, denotes him to be not only handsome but valiant
also, but of no extraordinary understanding, and which is worst of all,
ungrateful and trepanning. He who is extremely tall and very lean and
thin is a projecting man, that designs no good to himself, and suspects
every one to be as bad as himself, importunate to obtain what he
desires, and extremely wedded to his own humour. He who is thick and
short, is vain, envious, suspicious, and very shallow of apprehension,
easy of belief, but very long before he will forget an injury. He who is
lean and short but upright withal, is, by the rules of physiognomy, wise
and ingenious, bold and confident, and of a good understanding, but of a
deceitful heart. He who stoops as he goes, not so much by age as custom,
is very laborious, a retainer of secrets, but very incredulous and not
easy to believe every vain report he hears. He that goes with his belly
stretching forth, is sociable, merry, and easy to be persuaded.
* * * * *
_Of the Power of the Celestial Bodies over Men and Women._
Having spoken thus largely of Physiognomy, and the judgment given
thereby concerning the dispositions and inclinations of men and women,
it will be convenient here to show how all these things come to pass;
and how it is that the secret inclinations and future fate of men and
women may be known from the consideration of the several parts of the
bodies. They arise from the power and dominion of superior powers to
understand the twelve signs of the Zodiac, whose signs, characters and
significations are as follows:--
_Aries_, the Ram, which governs the head and face.
_Taurus_, the Bull, which governs the neck.
_Gemini_, the Twins, which governs the hands and arms.
_Cancer_, the Crab, governs the breast and stomach.
_Leo_, the Lion, governs the back and heart
_Virgo_, the Virgin, governs the belly and bowels.
_Libra_, the Balance, governs the veins and loins.
_Scorpio_, the Scorpion, governs the secret parts.
_Sagittary_, the Centaur, governs the thighs.
_Capricorn_, the Goat, governs the knees.
_Aquarius_, the Water-Bearer, governs the legs and ankles.
_Pisces_, the Fish, governs the feet.
It is here furthermore necessary to let the reader know, that the
ancients have divided the celestial sphere into twelve parts, according
to the number of these signs, which are termed houses; as in the first
house, Aries, in the second Taurus, in the third Gemini, etc. And
besides their assigning the twelve signs of the twelve houses, they
allot to each house its proper business.
To the first house they give the signification of life.
The second house has the signification of wealth, substances, or riches.
The third is the mansion of brethren.
The fourth, the house of parentage.
The fifth is the house of children.
The sixth is the house of sickness or disease.
The seventh is the house of wedlock, and also of enemies, because
oftentimes a wife or husband proves the worst enemy.
The eighth is the house of death.
The ninth is the house of religion.
The tenth is the signification of honours.
The eleventh of friendship.
The twelfth is the house of affliction and woe.
Now, astrologically speaking, a house is a certain place in the heaven
or firmament, divided by certain degrees, through which the planets have
their motion, and in which they have their residence and are situated.
And these houses are divided by thirty degrees, for every sign has so
many degrees. And these signs or houses are called the houses of such
and such planets as make their residence therein, and are such as
delight in them, and as they are deposited in such and such houses are
said to be either dignified or debilitated. For though the planets in
their several revolutions go through all the houses, yet there are some
houses which they are more properly said to delight in. As for instance,
Aries and Scorpio are the houses of Mars; Taurus and Libra of Venus;
Gemini and Virgo of Mercury; Sagittarius and Pisces are the houses of
Jupiter; Capricorn and Aquarius are the houses of Saturn; Leo is the
house of the Sun; and Cancer is the house of the Moon.
Now to sum up the whole, and show how this concerns Physiognomy, is
this:--as the body of man, as we have shown, is not only governed by the
signs and planets, but every part is appropriated to one or another of
them, so according to the particular influence of each sign and planet,
so governing is the disposition, inclination, and nature of the person
governed. For such and such tokens and marks do show a person to be born
under such and such a planet; so according to the nature, power and
influences of the planets, is the judgment to be made of that person. By
which the reader may see that the judgments drawn from physiognomy are
grounded upon a certain verity.
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