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If one 01 the meanest capacity were asked, What was the wonder of 
the world ? I think the most proper answer would be, Man ; he being the 
little world, to whom all things are subordinate ; agreeing in genus with 
sensitive things, all being animals, but different in the species; for man 
alone is endowed with reason ; and therefore the Deity, at man's crea- 
tion, (as the inspired penman tells us,) said, " Let us make man in our 
own image, after our own likeness." As if the Lord had said, Let us 
make man in our own image, that he, as a creature, may be like Us : and 
the same in his likeness, that he may be after our image. Some of the 
fathers do distinguish, as if by the image the Lord doth plant the reason- 
able powers of the soul, will, and memory ; and by likeness, the qualities 
of the mind, charity, justice, patience, &c. But Moses confounded this 
distinction, if you compare these texts of Scripture, Gen. i. 7, and v. 1, 
Colos. x. Eph. v. 14. And the apostle, where he saith, "He was created 
after the image of God, in knowledge, and the same in righteousness." 

The Greeks represent him as one turning his eyes upwards, towards 
him whose image and superscription he bears. 

See how the heavens' high Architect 

Hath framed man in this wise, 
To stand, to go, to look erect, 

With body, face, and eyes ! 

And Cicero says, like Moses, all creatures were made to rot on the earth 
except man, to whom was given an upright frame to contemplate his Ma 
ker, and behold the mansion prepared for him above. 

Now, to the end that so noble and glorious a creature might not quilts 
perish, it pleased the Creator to give unto woman the field of generation, 
for the reception of human seed ; whereby that natural and vegetable soul, 
which lies potentially in the seed, may, by the plastic power, be reduced 
into act; that man, who is a mortal creature, by leaving his offspring, be- 
hind him, may become immortal, and survive in his posterity. And be- 
cause this field of generation, the womb, is the place where this excellent 
creature is formed, and in so wonderful a manner, that the royal Psalmist, 
having meditated thereon, cries out, as one in extacy, " I am fearfully and. 
wonderfully made !" it will be necessary so treat largely thereon in this 
Work ; which to that end is divided into Two Books. 

The first whereof treats of the manner and parts of generation in both 
gexes. For from the mutual desire they have to each other, which Naturo 
has implanted in them to that end, and from the delight which they take in 


the act of copulation, does the whole race of mankind proceed : and a par- 
ticular account of what tilings are previous to that act; and also, what 
are consequential to it ; and how each member concerned in it is adapted 
and filled to that work to which Nature has designed it. Aud though, in 
uttering these things, something may be said which those who are unclean 
may make bad use of, and use it as a motive to stir up their bestial appe- 
tites ; yet such may know this was never intended for them ; nor do I know 
any reason that those sober persons for whose use this was meant, should 
want the help hereby designed them, because vain and loose persons will 
be ready to abuse it. 

The second part of this treatise is wholly designed for the female sex, 
and does treat largely not only of the distempers of the womb, and the va- 
rious causes, but also gives you proper remedies for the cure of them. For 
such is the ignorance of most women, that when by any distemper those 
parts are afflicted, they never know from whence it proceeds, nor how to 
apply a remedy : and such is their modesty also, that they are unwilling to 
ask that they may be informed. For the help of such is this designed ; 
for having my being from a woman, I thought none had more right to the 
grapes than she that planted the vine. And, therefore, observing that 
among all the diseases incident to the body, there are none more frequent 
and perilous than those that do arise from the ill state of the womb; for 
through the evil quality thereof, the heart, the liver, and the braiu are 
affected; from whence the actions, vital, natural and animal are hurt; 
and the virtues, concoctive, sanguificative, distributive, attractive, expul- 
sive, retentive, with the rest, are all weakened, so that from the womb 
come convulsions, epilepsies, apoplexies, palsies, and fevers, dropsies, 
malignant ulcers, &c. And there is no disease so bad, but may grow worse 
from the evil quality of it. 

How necessary, therefore, is the knowledge of these things, let every 
unprejudiced reader judge : for, that many women labour under them, 
through their ignorance and modesty (as I said before) woeful experience 
makes manifest. Here, therefore, as in a mirror, they may be acquainted 
with their own distempers, and have suitable remedies without applying 
themselves to physicians, to which they have so great reluctance. 





Of 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 arc capable of having Children. 

There are very few, except some professed deba 
chees,but what will 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 peo- 
ple to desire these mutual 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 inclina- 
tions (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 their inclinations 
should precipitate them to commit those follies 
that may bring an indelible stain upon their fami- 

The inclination of maids to marriage is to be 
known by many symptoms : for, when they arrive 

8 Aristotle's master -piece. 

at puberty, which is about the fourteenth or fif- 
teenth year of their age, then their natural purga- 
tions begin to flow; and the blood, which is no 
longer taken to augment their bodies, abounding, 
stirs up their minds to venery. External causes 
also may incite 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 de- 
sire to venereal embraces is very great, and some- 
times 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 wesel colonet, short breathing, 
trembling of the heart, ccc. But when they axe 
married, and their venereal desires satisfied by the 
enjoyment of their husbands, those distempers 
vanish, and they become more gay and lively than 
before. Also, their eager staring at men, and af- 
^Rcting their company, shews that nature pushes 
them upon coition ; and their parents neglecting 
to provide them with husbands, they break 
through modesty to 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 hus- 

At the age of 14, the menses, in virgins, begin 
to flow, when they are capable of conceiving, and 
continue, generally, to 44, when they cease bear- 
ing, unless their bodies are strong and healthful, 
which sometimes enables them to bear at 55. But 
many times the menses proceed from some vio- 
lence done to nature, or some morbific matter, 
which often proves fatal. And, therefore, 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, not worn out by diseases and incontinency, 
marry a brisk lively lass, there is hope of his hav- 
ing children to 70 or 89 years. 

Hippocrates says, that a youth of 15, or between 
that and 17, having much vital strength, is capable 
of getting children : and also, that the force of 
procreating matter increases till 45, 50, and 55, 
and then begins to flag ; the seed, by degrees, be- 
coming unfruitful, the natural spirits being extin- 
guished, and the humours dried up. Thus in 
general, but as to particulars 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 hinders not procreation, 
unless they be exhausted in their youth, and their 
yards shrivelled up. 

If any would know why a woman is sooner bar- 
ren than a man, they may be assured that the na- 
tural heat, which is the cause of generation, is 
more predominant in the latter than in the former ; 
for since a woman is truly more moist than a man, 
as her monthly purgations demonstrate, as also 
the softness of her body ; it is also apparent, that 
he doth much exceed her in natural heat, which 
is the chief thing that concocts the humours into 
proper aliment, which the woman wanting grows 
fat ; when a man, through his native heat, melts 
his fat by degrees, and his humours are dissolved j 
and by the benefit thereof, are elaborated into 
seed. And this may also be added, that wimen, 
generally, are not so strong as men, nor so wise 
or prudent* nor have so much reason and inge- 

10 Aristotle's master-piece. 

nuity in ordering affairs ; which shows, that 
thereby their faculties are hindered in operation 


How to get a Male or Female Child ; and of the Embryo, and 
-perfect Birth; and the fitted Time for Copulation. 

When a young couple is married, they natural- 
ly desire children, and therefore use the means 
that nature has appointed to that end. But not- 
withstanding their endeavours, they must know, 
the success of all depends on the blessing of God : 
not only so, but the sex, whether male or female, 
is from his disposal also; though it cannot be de- 
nied, but secondary causes have influence therein, 
especially two. First, the genital humour, which 
is brought by the arteria praiparantes to the tes- 
tes, in form of blood, and there elaborated into 
seed, by the seminifical faculty residing in them. 
Secondly, the desire of coition, which fires the ima- 
gination with unusual fancies, and by the sight of 
brisk charming beauty may soon inflame the ap- 
petite. But if nature be enfeebled, such meats 
must be eaten as will conduce to afford such ali- 
ment as makes the seed abound, and restores the 
decays of nature, that the faculties may freely 
operate, and remove impediments obstructing the 
procreation 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, there is a power in many things 

Aristotle's master-piece. 11 

to accumulate seed, and also to augment it ; and 
other things of force to cause erection, as hen 
eggs, pheasants, woodcocks, gnat-snappers, black- 
birds, thrushes, young pigeons, sparrows, partrid- 
ges, 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, galings, acorns bruised to powder 
and drank in muscadel, scallion, sea shell-fish, &c. 
But these must have time to perform their opera- 
tion, and must be used for a considerable time, or 
you will reap but little benefit by them. The act 
of coition being ov r er, let the woman repose her- 
self 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 the conception : for therein 
is the greatest generative heat, which is the chief 
procuring cause of male children, and rarely fails 
the expectation of those that experience it, espe- 
cially if they do but keep warm, without much 
motion, leaning to the right, and drinking a little 
spirit of saffron and juice of hyssop 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 purga- 
tion ; 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 recep- 
tacles, and makes way for the seminary of gene- 
ration. The best time to beget a female is, when 
the moon is in the wane, in Libra or Aquarius. 
Advicene says, when the menses are spent and the 

12 Aristotle's masteb-piece. 

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 dis- 
tinctly, but both in an hermaphrodite. In a word, 
they that would be happy in the fruits of their la- 
bour, must observe to use copulation in due dis- 
tance 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 thus 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 learn- 
ed say about it. 

Man consists of an egg, which is impregnated 
in the testicles of the woman, by the more subtle 
part of the man's seed ; but the forming faculty 
and virtue in the seed is a divine gift, it being 
abundantly endued with a 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 lovely 
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, 
in which a man is framed and perfected in the 
womb : the first moon after coition, being perfect- 
ed in the first week, if no flux happens j which 
sometimes falls out through the slipperiness of the 
head of the matrix, that slips over like a rose-bud, 
and opens suddenly. The second time of forming 

Aristotle's master-piece. 13 

is assigned, when nature makes manifest mutation 
in the conception, so that all the substance seems 
congealed flesh and blood, and happens 12 or 14 
days after copulation. And though this fleshy- 
mass abounds with inflamed blood, yet it remains 
undistinguishable, without form, and may be call- 
ed 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 j the 
brain, from which the nerves, like small threads, 
run through the whole body ; and the liver that 
divides the chyle from the blood, brought to it by 
the venna porta. The two first are fountains of 
life, that nourish every part of the body ; in fra- 
ming which, the faculty of the womb is buried, from 
the conception to the eight day of the first month. 
The fourth and last, about the thirtieth day, the 
outward parts are seen nicely wrought, distinguish- 
ed 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 to 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 fe- 
male, 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 wo- 
man is troubled with a loathing of her meat, and 
greedy longing for things contrary to nutriment, 
as coals, rubbish, chalk, &c. which desire often 
occasions abortion and miscarriage. Some wo 
men have been so extravagant as to long for hob- 
nails leather, man's flesh, horse flesh, and other 

14 Aristotle's master-piece. 

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 real 
means the child is sustained in the womb, and 
what posture it there remains in. 

The Effigies of a MAID all Hairy, and an INFANT thai 
was born Black, by the imaginations of the Parents. 

Various are the opinions about nourishing the 
foetus in the womb. Some say by blood only, 
from the umbilical vein ; others, by chyle taken 
in by the mouth. But it is nourishrd diversely, 
according to the several degrees of perfection ; 
and an egg passes from a conception to a fcetus 
ready for birth. But, first, let us explain the 
meaning of the ovum or egg. fn the generation 
of the fcetus there are two principles, active and 
passive; the active^s the man's seed, elaborated 
in the testicles, out of the arterial blood and ani- 
mal spirits ; the passive is an egg, impregnated 

,-i...^t 5 MASTER-PIECE. 15 

by the man's seed. The nature of conception is 
thus : the most spirituous part of man's seed, in 
the act of generation, reaching up to the testicles 
of the women, which containing divers eggs, im- 
pregnates one of them ; and, being conveyed by 
the ovaducts to the bottom of the womb, presently 
begins to swell bioorer and big-orer, and drinks in 
the moisture that is plentifully sent thither, as 
seeds suck moisture in the ground to make them 
sprout out. When the parts of the embryo begin 
to be a little more perfect, and that, at the same 
time, the chorin is so very thick, that the liquor 
cannot soak through it, the umbilical vessels be- 
gin to be formed, and to extend the side of the 
amnion, which they pass through, and all through 
the aliantreides and chorin and are implanted in 
the placenta, which gathering upon the chorin, 
joins to the uterus. And now the arteries that 
before sent out the nourishment into the cavity 
of the womb, open by the orifice into the placenta, 
where they deposit the said juice, which is drunk up 
by the umbilical vein ; conveyed by it to the liver of 
the foetus, then to the heart, where its thin and 
spirituous part is turned into blood, while the 
grosser part, descending by the aorta, enters the 
umbilical arteries, and is discharged into its cavity 
by those branches that run through the amnion. 

As soon as the mouth, stomach, gullet, &c. are 
formed so perfectly that the fetus- can swallow, it 
sucks in some of the grosser nutricious juice that 
is deposited in the amnion by the umbilical arte- 
ries, Avhich, descending into the stomach and in- 
testines, is received by the lacteal veins, as in 
adult persons. 

The fetus being perfected, at the time before 
specified, in all parts, it lies equally balanced in 
the centre of the womb, on its head, and being 
long turned over, so that the head a little inclines, 


Aristotle's master-piece. 

it lays its chin upon its breast, its heels and ancles 
upon its buttocks, its hand on its cheeks, and its 
thumbs to its eyes j but its legs and thighs are 
carried upwards, with its hams bending, so that 
they touch the bottom of its belly ; the former, and 
that part of the body which is over against us, as 
the forehead, nose, and face, are towards the 
mother's back, the head inclining downwards to- 
wards the rump-bone, that joins the os sacrum j 
which bone is loosed at the time of birth. 


The learned Hippocrates affirms, that the child 

Aristotle's master-piece. 17 

as he is placed in the womb, hath 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 above the neck, the 
head bowed, so that the chin toucheth 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 toucheth the belly, the knee the navel, 
the heel toucheth the left buttock, and the foot is 
turned back, and covereth the secrets; the left 
thigh toucheth the belly, and the leg lifted up to 
the breast. See wood-cut. 


The Reason why Children are like their Parents, and that 
the Mother's Imagination contributes thereto ; and whether 
the Man or Woman is the cause of the Male or Female 

In the case of similitude, nothing is more power- 
ful 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 
its body. And if, in the act of copulation, the 
woman earnestly look upon the man, and fix her 
mind upon him, the child will resemble its father. 
Nay, if a woman, even in unlawful copulation, fix 
her mind on her husband, the child will resemble 
him, though he did not beget it. The same effect 

18 .aristotie's master-piece. 

hath imagination in occasioning warts, stains, 
mole-spots, and dartes ; though indeed they some- 
times happen through frights, or extravagant long- 
ing. Many women, being with child, on seeing a 
hare cross the road before 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 imagina- 
tion of the mother, who hath 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 T s imagination may contri- 
bute much to the features of the child, yet, in 
manners, wit, and propension of the mind, expe- 
rience tells us, that children are commonly of the 
condition with their parents, and same tempers. 
But the vigour or disability of persons in the act 
of copulation many times causes it to be other- 
wise j for children got through the heat and 
strength of desire, must needs partake more of 
the nature and inclinations of their parents, than 
those begotten with desires more weak ; 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 opinion of the ancients about it. 

Though it is apparent, say they, that the man's 
seed is the chief efficient beginning of the action, 
motion, and generation ; yet that the woman af- 
fords seed, and effectually contributes in that 
point to the procreation of the child, is evinced by 
strong reasons. In the first place, seminary ves- 
sels had been given her in vain, and genical testi- 
cles inverted, if the woman wanted seminal ex- 
crescence, for nature does nothing in vain j and 

Aristotle's master-piece. 19 

therefore we must grant, they are made for the 
use of seed and procreation, and placed in their 
proper parts, both the testicles and 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 wo- 
men and virgins. A second reason they urge is, 
that although the society of a lawful bed consists 
not although in these things, yet it is apparent the 
female sex are never better pleased, nor appear 
nore blithe and jocund, than when they are satis- 
fied 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 wo- 
man's part is double, she having an enjoyment 
both by ejection and reception, by which she is 
more delighted in the act. 

Hence it is, say they, that the child more fre- 
quently resembles the mother than the father, be- 
cause the mother contributes most towards it. 
And they think it may be further instanced, from 
the endeared affection they bear them ; for that, 
besides their contributing seminal matter, they 
feed and nourish the child with the purest fount- 
ain 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 operation of the menstrual blood ; but 
the reason of the likeness, he refers to the power 
of the seed : for, as the plants receive more nour- 
ishment from fruitful ground, than from the in- 
dustry of the husbandman; so the infant receives 
more abundance from the mother than the father. 

20 Aristotle's master-piece. 

For the seed of both is cherished in the womb, 
and there grows to perfection, being nourished 
with blood. And for this reason it is, say they, 
that children, for the most part, love their mother 
best, because they receive the most of their sub- 
stance from their mother : for about nine months 
she nourishes her child in the womb with her 
purest blood j then her love towards it newly born 
and its likeness, do clearly show, that the woman 
affordeth seed, and contributes more towards ma- 
king the child than the man. 

But in this all the ancients were very erroneous ; 
for the testicles, so called in women, afford not any 
seed, but are two eggs, like those of fowls, and 
other creatures ; neither have they any office, as 
those of men, but are indeed the ovaria, wherein 
the eggs are nourished by the sanguinary vessels 
dispersed through 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 ova- 
ducts. The truth of this is plain, for if you boil 
them, their liquor will be the same colour, taste, 
and consistency, with the taste of bird-eggs. If 
any object that they have no shells, that signifies 
nothing : for the eggs of fowls, while they are in 
the ovary, nay, after they are fastened into the ute- 
rus, have no shell. And though, when they are 
laid, they have one, yet that is no more that a de- 
fence 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 

As for the third thing proposed, as whence 
grow the kind, and whether the man or woman is 
the cause of the male or female infant. The pri- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 21 

mary 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 ac- 
cording to the rules of nature, by their inbred 
motion, according to usual and natural course^ 
without variation ; though indeed by favour from 
on high. Sarah conceived Isaac ; Hannah, Samuel ; 
and Elizabeth, John the Baptist : but these were 
all very extraordinary things, brought to pass by 
a divine power, above the course of nature ; nor 
have such instances been wanting in latter days : 
therefore I shall wave them, and proceed to speak 
of things natural. 

The ancient physicians and philosophers say, 
that since there are two principles out of which the 
body of man is made, and which render 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 and vir- 
tue of the male or female ; so that it proves like 
the one or other, according to the quantity afford- 
ed by either ; but that the difference of the 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 of the active qualities, which con- 
sists in heat and cold, and the nature of the mat- 
ter under them, that is, the flowing of the mens- 
truous blood : but now the seed, say they, affords 
both force to procreate and form the child, and 
matter for its generation ; and in the menstruous 
blood there is both matter and force; for as the 
seed most helps the material principles, so also 
does the menstrual blood the potential seed ; which 

22 Aristotle's master-piece. 

is, says Galen, blood well concocted by the vessels 
that contain it. So that blood is not only the mat- 
ter of generating the child, but also seed, it being 
impossible that menstrual blood hath both princi- 

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 genera- 
tion, 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 the 
child receives its sex rather from the mother than 
from the father ; for, though his seed contributes 
a little to the material 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 as to that particular ; for the menstrual blood 
flowing in vessels, rather cherishes the one than 
the other ; from which it is plain, the woman af- 
fords both matter to make, and force and virtue 
to perfect the conception : though the female's 
seed 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 and 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 imaginable deference to the wis- 
dom of our fathers, give me leave to say, that 
their ignorance in the anatomy of man's body hath 

aristoti-e's master -piece. 23 

ied them into the paths of error, and run them into 
great mistakes. For their hypothesis of the for- 
mation of the embryo, form cotomixture of seed, 
and the nourishment of it too in the menstruous 
blood, being wholly false, their opinion, in this 
case, must of necessity be so likewise. 

I shall therefore conclude this chapter with ob- 
serving, 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 prin- 
ciple, according to those laws and rules given to 
us by the wise Creator, who makes and fashions 
it, and therein determines the sex, according to the 
council of his will. 


That Man's Soul is not propagated by the Parents, but is infu- 
sed, 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 excel- 
lency, that man himself cannot comprehend it, be- 
ing the infused breath of the Almighty, of an im- 
mortal nature, and not to be comprehended but by 
him that gave it. For Moses, by holy inspiration, 
relating the original 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 conde- 
scended 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 

24 Aristotle's master-piece. 

about all other 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 im- 
age 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 his sin and fall had reduced 
him, to a state above that of angels. 

If, therefore, man would understand the excel- 
lency of his soul, let him turn his eyes inwardly, 
and look into 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 un- 
derstanding, freedom of will, memory, &c. that 
plainly show the soul to be descended from a heav- 
enly original ; and that therefore it is of an infinite 
duration, and not subject to annihilation. Yet, 
for its many offices and operations whilst 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 recals things past, the memory ; 
whilst it discourses and discerns, reason ; whilst 
it contemplates, the spirit ; while it is the sensitive 
parts, the senses. And these are the principal 
offices, whereby the soul declares its powers, and 
performs its action. For, being seated in the 
highest parts of the body, it diffuseth its force into 
every member. It is not propagated from the 
parents, nor mixed with gross matter, but the in- 
fused breath of God, immediately proceeding from 
him ; not passing from one to another, as was the 
opinion of Pythagoras, who held a transmigration 
of the soul j but that the soul is given to every in- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 25 

fant by infusion, is the most received and ortho- 
dox opinion. And the learned do likewise agree, 
that this is done when the infant is perfected in 
the womb, which happens about the 24th 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, not till the 50th day. And though 
this day, in all cases, 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 na- 
tures, of infants, he says, if it be a. male, and he be 
perfect on the 30th day, and move on the 70th, he 
will be born in the seventh month ; but if he be 
perfectly formed on the 35th day, he will move on 
the 70th, and be born in the eighth month. Again 
if he be perfectly formed on the 45th day, he will 
move on tiie 90th, and be born in the nine month. 
Now, from these passing of days and months, it 
plainly appears, that the day of forming being 
doubled, makes up the day of moving, and that 
day, three times reckoned, makes up the day of 
birth. As thus, when 35 perfects the form, if you 
double it, makes 70 the day of mction ; and three 
times 70 amounts to 210 days ; which, allowing 30 
days to a month, make 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 a boy, which makes the account differ ; for a 
female formed in 30 days, moves not till the 70th 
day, and is born in the seventh month ; when she 
is formed on the 40th, she moves not till the 80th, 
and is born in the eighth month ; but if she be per- 
fectly formed on the 45th day, she moves on the 
90th, and is born in the ninth month : but if she 
that is formed on the b'Oth day, moves on the 110th 

26 Aristotle's master-piece. 

day, she will be born in the 10th month. I treat 
the more largely hereof, that the reader may know 
that the reasonable soul is not propagated by the 
parents, but is infused by the Almighty, when 
the child hath its perfect form, and is exactly dis- 
tinguished in its lineaments. 

Now, as the life of every other creature, as 
Moses shows, is in the blood, so the life of man 
consisteth 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 vnst difference between the will, 
judgment, opinion, 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 arc of 
opinion, its residence is in the middle of the heart 
and from thence communicates itself to every 
part; which Solomon (Frov. iv.) 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, 
faculties, and actions, diffusing the operation 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 ; the which, if they 
happen to be broken or cut, they cause barren- 
ness, and if stopped, an apoplexy ; for there must 

Aristotle's master-piece. 27 

necessarily be ways through which the spirits, 
animal and vital, may have intercourse, and con- 
vey 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 organical 
parts are out of tune, its whole work is confused, 
as appears in idiots and madmen : though in some 
of them the soul, by a vigorous exertion of its 
power, recovers its innate strength, and they be- 
come 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 lawful 
lustre, so the soul, overwhelmed in moist or mor- 
bid matter, is darkened, and reason thereby over- 
clouded ; and though reason shines less in children 
than in such as are arrived to 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 
and more capable of receiving its influnce, so the 
soul does more and more exert its faculties, hav- 
ing force and endowments 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 comes not from the parents, but is 
infused by God. I shall next prove its immortal- 
ity, and so demonstrate the certainty of our resur- 

Of the Immortality of the Soul. 

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 pro- 
ceeds from him, and participates of his nature, 

28 Aristotle's master-piece. 

must be as immortal as its original ; for, though 
all other creatures are endowed with life and mo- 
tion, yet they want 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 the Divine image, is of a 
different nature ; and though his body be corrup- 
tible, yet his soul, being of an immortal nature, 
cannot perish ; but must, at the dissolution of his 
body, return 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 any thing 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 abun- 
dantly give testimony of the truth of the resurrec- 
tion ; as the reader may see by perusing the 14th 
and 19th chapters of Job, and 5th of John. I shall 
therefore leave the further discoursing of this mat- 
ter to divines, whose proper province it is, and re- 
turn to treat of the works of nature. 


Of Monsters and monstrous Births ; and the several Reasons 
thereof, according to the opinion of the Jlncients. Jllso, 
whether Monsters are endowed with reasonable Souls ; and 
whether Devils can engender ; is here briefly discussed. 

By the ancients, monsters are ascribed to de- 
praved conceptions, and are designated to be ex- 
cursions of nature, which are vicious one of these 

Aristotle's master-piece. 


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 doth not equalize with another ; as 
when one part is too big or too little. 

There was a Monster born at Ravenna, in Itahj, of this kind. 
I proceed to explain the cause of their genera- 
tion, which is either divine or natural. The di- 
vine cause proceeds from God's permissive will 
suffering parents to bring forth abomination for 
their filthy and corrupt affections, which are let 
loose unto wickedness, like brute beasts that hive 
no understanding. Wherefore it was enacted 
among the ancient Romans, that those who were 
in any way deformed, should not be admitted into 
religous houses. And St. Jerome was grieved, in 
his rime, to see the deformed and lame offering 
up spiritual sacrifices to God in religious houses. 
And Keckerman, by way of inference, excludeth 
all that are ill-shaped from this presbvterian func- 

30 aristotle's 

tion 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 renders the reason, Lev. xxii. 28. " Lest 
he pollute my sanctuaries." Because the outward 
deformity of the body is often a sign of the pollu- 
tions of the heart, as a curse laid upon the child 
for the incontinency of the parents. Yet it is not 
always so. Let us therefore duly examine, and 
search out the natural cause of there generation; 
which (according to the ancients, who Have dived 
into the secrets of nature,) is either in the matter 
or in the agent ; in the seed, or in the womb. 

The matter may be in default two ways — bv de- 
fect or by excess ; by defect, when the child hath 
but one arm ; by excess, when it hath three hands 
or two heads. Some monsters are begot by a wo- 
man's unnatural lying with beasts : as in the vear 
J J03, there was a monster begotten by a woman's 
j enerating with a dog; which monster, from the 
navel upwards, had the perfect resemblance of its 

Aristotle's master-piece. 31 

mother ; but from its navel downwards it resem- 
bled a dog, as you may see by the foregoing figure. 
The agent, or womb, may be in fault three ways : 
1st, the formative faculty, which may be too strong 
or too weak, by which is procured a depraved fig- 
ure : 2dly, In the instrument, or place of concep- 
tion ; the evil conformation or disposition whereof 
will cause a monstrous birth : 3dly, In the imagi- 
native power at the time of conception ; which is 
of such a force, that it stamps the character of the 
thing imagined on the child. So that the children 
of an adultress may be like her own husband, 
though begot by another man, which is caused 
through the force of imagination that the woman 
hath of her own husband in 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, con- 
ceived and brought forth young. 

Another monster representing an hairy child. 
It was all covered with hair like a beast. That 
which rendered it more frightful was, that its na- 
vel was in the place where the nose should stand, 
and its eyes placed where the mouth should have 
been ; and its mouth was in the chin. It was of 
the male kind, and was born in France, in the 
year 1597, at a town called Aries, in Provence, 
and lived a few days, frightening all that beheld 
it. It was looked upon as a forerunner of those 
desolations which soon after happened in that 



kingdom, where ( men towards each other were 
more like beasts than human creatures., 

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

There was a Monster born at Nazara, in the Year 1530. It had four 
arms and four legs, being of the same form as the Figure below. 

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 

Aristotle's mastkr-piece. 


side ; the heads were so placed, that they looked 
contrary ways ; each had two distinct Tirms and 
hands: they would both laugh, both speak, and 
both cry, and be hungry together ; sometimes the 
one would speak, and the other would keep silence, 
and sometimes both speak together. It lived sev- 
eral years, but one outlived the other three years, 
carrying the dead one (for there was no parting 
them,) till it fainted with the burden, and more 
with the stench of the dead carcase. 

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

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

It is certain, that monstrous birth 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, consid- 


aristoi-le's master-piece. 

cr not as they ought to do as their circumstances 
require. And if it happen that they come togeth- 
er when the woman's menses are flowing, and not- 
withstanding proceed to the act of copulation, 
which is both unclean and unnatural, the issue of 
such copulation dose 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 con- 
ditions, should at such times refuse their company. 
And though such copulations do not always pro- 
duce monstrous births, yet the children, then be- 
gotten, are generally heavy, dull and sluggish, and 
defective in tbeir understandings, wanting the vi- 
vacity and liveliness with which children got in 
proper seasons are endowed. 

By the following figure you may see that though 
some of the members may be wanting, yet they 
are%upplied by other members. 

J&sT 53 *^ 

It remains now that I make some inquiry, wheth- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 35 

er those that are horn monsters have reasonable 
souls, and are capable of resurrection. And here 
both divines and physicians are generally of opin- 
ion that those who, according to the order of ge- 
neration deduced from our first parents, proceed 
by natural means from either sex, though their 
outward shape may be deformed and monstrous, 
have notwithstanding a reasonable soul, and con- 
sequently their bodies are capable of a resurrec- 
tion, 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, or any breath of the Almighty 
infused into them; and such can never be capable 
of a resurrection. And the same is also true of 
imperfect and abortive births. 

Some are of opinion, that monsters may be en- 
gendered by some infernal spirit. Of this mind 
was Agidus Facius, speaking of a deformed mon- 
ster born at Cracovis ; and Hironamus Gardanus. 
wrote of a maid that was got with child of a 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 would it be both to religion 
and nature, if the devils could beget men ; when 
we are taught to belive, that not any was ever be- 
gotten without human seed, except the Son of 
God ; the devil then being a spirit, and having no 
corporeal substance, has therefore no seed of ge- 
neration : to say that he can use the act of gene- 
ration effectually is to affirm, that he can make 
something of nothing, and consequently to affirm 
the devil to be God, for creation belongs to God 
only. Again, if the devil could assume to him- 
self a human body and enliven the faculties of it 

36 Aristotle's master-piece. 

and cause it to generate, us some affirm he can, 
yet this body must bear the image of the devil. 
And it borders upon 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 can- 
not man be born. Yet it is not denied, but that 
devils transforming themselves into human shapes 
may abuse both men and women, and with wick- 
ed people use carnal copulation ; but that any 
such unnatural conjunction can bring forth a hu- 
man creature is contrary to nature and religion. 


Oftlie happy State of Matrimony, as it is appointed by God; 
the true Felicity that redounds 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 lie can reveal 
his thoughts; as well as a sweet companion in his 
labour ; he has one in whose breast, as in a safe 
cabinet, he may repose his inmost secrets, espe- 
cially where reciprocal love and inviolate faith is 
settled : for there no care, fear, jealousy, mi 
or hatred can ever interpose. For what man ever 
hated his own flesh 1 And truly a wife, if rightly 
considered, as our grandfather Adam well observ- 
ed, is or ought to be esteemed of every honest 
man, "Bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh," &c. 
Nor was it the least care of the Almighty to or- 
dain so near a union, and that for two causes ; the 
1st, for increase of posterity ; the 2d, to bridle 
man's wandering desires and affections ; nay, that 

Aristotle's master -piece. 37 

they might be yet happier, when God had joined 
them together he " blessed them ;" as in Gen. ii. 
Columila, contemplating this happy state, tells, 
out of the Economy of Xenophon, that the mar- 
riage-bed is not only the most pleasant, but pro- 
fitable course of life, that may be entered on for 
the preservation and increase of posterity. Where- 
fore, since marriage is the most safe, sure, and 
delightful situation of mankind, who is exceeding 
prone, by the dictates of nature, to propagate his 
like, he does in no ways provide amiss for his own 
tranquillity who enters into it, especially when he 
comes to maturity of years. 

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 persons have to colour their 
impieties, who, hating matrimony, make it their 
study how they may live licentiously ; for, in so 
doing, they rather seek to themselves torment, 
anxie-ty, and disquietude, than certain pleasure ; 
besides the hazard of their immortal soul ; and 
certain it is, mercenary love, (or, as the wise man 
calls it, harlot-smiles,) cannot be true and sincere, 
and therefore not pleasant, but rather a net laid 
to betray such as trust in them into 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 conju- 
gal affection: or, if they have, they will rather re- 
dound to their shame than comfort, bearing the 

38 Aristotle's master-piece. 

odious brand of bastards. Harlots, likewise, arc 
like swallows, flying in the summer season of 
prosperity ; but the black stormy weather of adver- 
sity coming, they take wings and fly into other re- 
gions — that is, seek after other lovers ; but a vir- 
tuous 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 dan- 
gers, though ever so hazardous, to preserve or as- 
sist him, in poverty, sickness, or whatever other 
misfortunes may befall him, acting according to 
her duty in all things : but a proud imperious har- 
lot will do no more than she lists, in the sunshine 
of prosperity ; and, like a horse-leech, ever cra- 
ving, and never satisfied ; still seeming displeased, 
if all her extravagant cravings be not answered ; 
not regarding the ruin and misery which she 
brings upon him by those means, though she seem 
to doat upon him,, using to confirm her hypocrisy 
with crocodile tears, vows, and swoonings, when 
her cully is to depart awile, or seems but to deny 
her immoderate desires 5. 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 do to pre- 
vent such dangers, and in every condition does all 
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 than 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 j for this was 

Aristotle's master-piece. 39 

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 rubies ; but the ways of a harlot are de- 


Qf Errors in Marriage ; Wliy they are ; and the Prejudice* 
of them. 

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 that design to 
enter into that condition ought to observe their 
ability, and not run themselves into inconvenien- 
ces ; for those that marry too young may be said 
to marry unseasonably, not considering their in- 
ability, nor examining the force 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 dowry, take upon them 
this yoke to their prejudice ; by which some, be- 
fore the expiration of a year, have been so enfee- 
bled, that all their vital moisture has been exhaust- 
ed ; which hath not been restored again without 
great trouble, and the use of medicines. Where- 
fore, my advice is, that it is no ways convenient 
to suffer children, or such as are not of age, to 
marry or get children. 

He that proposes to marry, and wishes to enjoy 
happiness in that state, should choose a wife de- 
scended from honest and temperate parents ; she 
being chaste, well bred, and of good manners. 

40 abistotle's master-piece. 

For if a woman hath good qualities, she hath por- 
tion 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 jort do wealth and honour call, 
But all my wishes terminate in this, 

T' obey my husband, and be chaste withal ; 
To have God's fear, and beauty, in my mind, 
To do those good wh'are virtuously inclined. 

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

It is certainly the duty of parents to be careful 
in bringing up their children in the ways of virtue, 
and to have regard to their honour and reputation j 
and especially of virgins, w"hen grown to be mar- 
riageable. For, as has been before noted, if through 
the too much severity of parents, they may be 
crossed in their love, many of them throw them- 
selves into the unchaste arms of the next 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 strong- 
ly incites them to easily induced to beleive 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. ' 

Another error in marriage is, the inequality of 
years in the parties married j 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 discon- 
tents, are all the blessings which crown the genial 
bed, it being impossible for such to have any chil- 
dren. 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 vio-our 
who. while he vainly strives to please her, is thc-o. 

Aristotle's master-piece. 41 

by 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 altogether the same ; for. 
they that enter upon it too soon are soon exhausted 
and fall into consumptions and divers other dis- 
eases, and those that procrastinate and marry un- 
seemly, fall into the like inconveniences ; 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 vir- 
tue, 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 mar- 


The Opinion of the Learned concerning Children conceived and 
horn within Seven Montiis ; with Arguments upon the Subject 
to prevent Suspicion of Incontinency, and bitter Contests on 
that Account. To which are added, Rules to know the Dis- 
position of Man's Body by the Genital Parts. 

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

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. 
The cases of this nature that have happened have 
made work for the lawyers, who have left it to the 
physicians to judge, by viewing the child, whether 

42 ABISTOTX.E'9 mastek-piege. 

it be a child of seven, eight, or ten months. Paul, 
the counsel, has this passage in his 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 ho certain time 
set for the bearing of children ; and that from 
Pliny's authority, who makes mention of a woman 
that went 13 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 
njjnds. Wherefore their opinion is absurb who as- 
sert that a child at seven months cannot be per- 
fect and long-lived ; and that it cannot in all parts 
be perfect till the ninth month." Thereupon this 
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 of 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 give his oath that he never had any car- 
nal copulation with her, and that he would not 
father that which was none of his ; and farther 
argued, that he verily believed that it was a child 
born in seven months, himself being many milea 
distant from the mother of it, when it was conceiv- 
ed. Upon which the judges decreed, that the 
child should be viewed by able physicians and ex- 
perienced women, and that they should make their 
report. They having made diligent inquiry, all 

Aristotle's master-piece. 43 

of them, with one mind, concluded the child, with- 
out respecting who was the father, was born with- 
in the space of seven months, and that it was car- 
ried in the mother's womb but 27 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 gristle that lay over the stomach, lay 
higher than naturally they should be, not plain, 
but crooked and sharp, ridged or pointed like those 
of a young chicken hatched in the beginning of 

" And being a female it wanted nails upon the 
joints of the fingers ; upon which, from themascu- 
lous 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 was no sign of nails upon them, 
wanting the heat which was expanded to the fin- 
gers from the nearness of the heart. All this be- 
ing considered, and above all, one gentlewoman 
of quality that assisted affirming, that she had 
been the mother of 19 children, and that divers of 
them had been born and lived at seven months ; 
they, without favour to any party, made their re- 
port, that the infant was a child of seven months, 
though within the seventh month. For in such 
cases, the revolution of the moon ought to be ob- 
served, which perfects itself in four bare weeks, 
or somewhat less than 28 days ; in which space 
of the revolution, the blood being agitated by the 
force of the moon, the courses of the women flow 
from them ; which being spent, and the matrix 
cleansed from the menstrous blood, which happens 
on the fourth day, then, if i. man on the seventh 
day lie with his wife, the copulation is most na- 

44 Aristotle's master-piece. 

tural, and then is the conception best : and a 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, on 
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, be- 
' ing 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 disad- 
vantage of the children so begotten, creating in 
them, through the abundance of ill humours, di- 
vers languishing diseases. Wherefore, health is 
no way better discerned than by the genitals of 
the man 5 for which reason midwives, and other 
skilful women, were formerly wont to see the tes- 
ticles of children, thereby to conjecture their tem- 
perature and state of body : and young men may 
know thereby the signs or symptoms of death ; for 
if the cases of the testicles be loose and feeble, 
and the cods fall down, it denotes that the vital 
spirits, which are the props of life, are fallen ; but 
if the secret parts be wrinkled and raised up, it is 
a sign 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 well appear 
by the members which are unconnected with such 
grievances ; but the lower part of the body ex- 
actly sympathising with them, their liveliness, or 
the contrary, makes it apparent ; for nature's 
Force, and spirits that have there intercourse 
first manifest themselves therein; which occasions 
midwives to feel the genitals of children, to know 
in what part the grief is residing and whether life 
or death be portended thereby, the symptoms be- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 45 

ing strongly communicated to the vessels, that 

have their intercourse with the principle seat 
of life. 


Of the Green-sickness in Virgins, with its Causes, Signs, and 
Cures ; together with the chief Occasion of Barrenness in 
Women, and the Means to remove the Cause, and render 
them fruitful. 

The green-sickness is so common a distemper 
in virgins, especially those of a phlegmatic com- 
plexion, 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, palpita- 
tion of the heart, with unusual beatings and small 
throbbings of the arteries in the temples, neck, 
and back, which often casts them into fevers, 
when the humour is over-vicious ; also loathing 
of meat, and the distension of the hypochondriac 
part, by reason of the inordinate effluxion of the 
menstrous blood to the greater vessels ; and from 
the abundance of humours, the whole body is often 
troubled with swellings, or at least the thighs, 
legs and ancles, all above the heels ; there is also 
a weariness of the body, without any reason for it. 

The Galenical physicians affirm, that this dis- 
temper 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, in- 
temperance of diet, eating things contrary to 

46 Aristotle's master-piece. 

nature, viz. raw or burnt flesh, ashes, coals, old 
shoes, chalk, wax, nut-shells, mortar, lime, oat- 
meal, tobacco-pipes, &c, 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, Avill 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 blood her in the ancles, 
and if she be about the age of 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 era- 
dicated by purging, preparation of the humour 
first considered, which may be done by the virgin's 
drinking the decoction of guiacum, with dittany 
of Crete; but the best purge in this case ought to 
be made of aloes, agric, senna, rhubarb ; and for 
strengthening the bowels and removing obstruc- 
tions, chalybeate medicines are chiefly to be used- 
The diet must be moderate, and sharp things by 
all means avoided. 

And now since barrenness daily creates discon- 
tent, and that discontent breeds indifference be- 
tween man and wife, or, by immediate grief, 
frequently casts the woman into one or other dis- 
temper, I shall in the next place treat thereof. 


Formerly, before women came to the marriage- 
bed, they were first searched by the midwife and 

aristotle's master-piece. 47 

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 a fruitful soil. Barren- 
ness is a deprivation of the life and power which 
ought to be in seed to procreate and propagate ; 
for which end men and women were made. 
Causes of barrenness may be overmuch cold or 
heat, drying up the seed, and corrupting it, which 
extinguishes the life of the seed, making it water- 
ish and unfit for generation. It may be caused 
also by the not flowing or overflowing of the 
courses, by swelling, ulcers, and inflammations of 
the womb, by an excrescence of flesh growing 
about the mouth of the matrix, by the mouth of 
the matrix being turned to the back or side, by 
the fatness of the body, whereby the mouth of the 
matrix is closed up, being pressed with the omen- 
tum or caul, and the matter of the seed is turned 
to fat ; if she be of 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; but if they be both dry 
or both moist of constitution, they cannot propa- 
gate : and yet, simply considered of themselves, 
they are not barren 5 for he and she who were be- 
fore as the barren fig-tree, being joined to an apt 
constitution, become as the fruitful vine. And 
that a man and woman being every way of like 
constitution cannot procreate, I will bring nature 
itself for a testimony, who hath made man of the 
better constitution than woman, that the quality 
of the one may moderate the quality of the other. 
Signs of Barrenness. If barrenness doth pro- 

48 Aristotle's master-piece. 

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

Prognostics. 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 fruitful women do enjoy, because they are 
not rightly purged of the menstruous blood and 
superfluous seed, which are the principal causes 
of most uterine diseases. 

Cure, First, the causes must be removed the 
womb strengthened, and the spirits of the seed 

If the womb be over-hot, take syrup of succory 
with rhubarb, syrup of violets, endive, roses, cassia' 
purslain. Take of endive, water lilies, 'borage 
flowers, of each a handful ; rhubarb, mirobalans 
of each three drachms ; with water make a decoc- 
tion ; and to the straining of the syrup add 
electuary of violets one ounce, syrup of cassia half 
an ounce, manna three drachms ; make a potion. 

Aristotle's master-piece. 49 

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 reins and 
privities fomentations of the juice of lettuce, vio- 
lets, 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 wa- 
ter, with one scruple of mithridate. Take syrup 
of calurnint, mugwort, and betony, of each one 
ounce; waters of pennyroyal, feverfew, hyssop, 
and sage, of each two ounces ; make a julep. 
Take oil of anniseed two scruples and a half; 
diacimini, diacliathidiamosei, and diagla-angae, 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, 
mastich, cinnamon, nutmeg, lign. aloes, and frank- 
incense, of each half an ounce ; musk ten grains, 
ambergris half a scruple ; with rose-water make 
a confection, divide it into four equal parts; of one 
part make a pomum oderaium to smell to, if she 
be not hysterical ; of the second make a mass of 
pills, and let her take three every night ; of the 
third make a pessary, dip it in the 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 hu- 
midity flowing to those parts ; take of betony, mar- 
joram, mugwort, penny-royal, and bairn, of each a 
handful ; roots of alum and fennel, of each two 
drachms j anniseed and cummin, of each one 

50 Aristotle's master-piece. 

drachm, with sugar and water a sufficient quan- 
tity ; make a syrup, and take three ounces every 

Purge with the following things : take of the di- 
agnidium two grains, spicierum of castor a scruple,- 
pillfoedit two scruples, with syrup of mugwort ; 
make six pills. Take spec, 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 fever- 
few ; make lozenges, to be taken every morning. 
Take of the decoction of sarsaparilla, and virga 
aurea, not forgetting sage, which Agrippa, won- 
dering at its operation, hath honoured with the 
name of sacra herba, a holy herb. And it is re- 
corded by Dodona;us in the History of Plants, lib. 
ii. cap. 77, that after a great mortality among the 
Egyptians, the surviying women, that they might 
multiply quickly, were commanded to drink the 
juice of sage, anoint the genitals with oil of anni- 
seed and spikenard. Take mace, nutmeg, cinna- 
mon, styrax, and amber, of each one drachm ; 
cloves, laudanum, of each half a drachm ; turpen- 
tine, 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 : with water make an 
infusion, in which let her sit, after she hath her 

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 of the elec- 
tuary of diasyren. Take three wedders' heads 
boil them till all the flesh come from the bones ; 
then take melilot, violets, camomile, mercury or- 
chia with their roots, of each a handful j fenugreek 



nseed, 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 too 
slow, whereby there is not an emission of both 
seeds at the same instant, as the rules of concep- 
tion require. Before the acts of coition, foment 
the private 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 corroborated as follows. Take of bay- 
berries, mastic, nugmeg, frankincense, nuts, laud- 
anum, giapanum, of each one drachm, styracis li- 
quid, two scruples, cloves half a scruple, ambergris 
two grains, then with oil of spikenard make a 

Take of red roses, lapididis hsmatis, white frank- 
incense, of each half an ounce. Sanguis draconis 
fine bole, mastic, of each two drachms ; nutmeg, 
cloves, of each one drachm ; spikenard half a 
scruple ; with oil of wormwood ; make a plaister 
for the lower part of the belly ; then suffer her to 
eat often of eringo roots candied ; and make an in- 
jection only of the roots of satyrion. 

The aptest time for conception is instantly after 
the menses are ceased, because then the womb is 
thirsty and dry, apt both to draw the seed, and re- 
turn it, by the roughness of the inward superfices. 
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, 
how wise soever the parents are, the children at 
best will be but foolish ; because the mental facul- 
ties of the parent, viz. the understanding and the 
rest (from whence the child derives its reason) 
are, as it were, confused through the multiplicity 
of cares and cogitations ; examples whereof we 
have in learned men, who, after great study and 
care, accompanying with their wives, very often 
beget very foolish children. A hot and moist air 
is most convenient, as appears by the women in 
Egypt, who usually bring forth three or four chil- 
dren at one time. 


Virginity, what it is, in what it consists, and how vitiated; 
together with the Opinion of the Learned about the Mutation 
of the 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 hard censures through 
their ignorant determinations ; and, therefore I 
thought it highly necessary to clear this point, 
that the towering imaginations of conceited igno- 
rance may 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 honours may 
continue as unspotted as they have kept their 
persons uncontaminated and free of defilement. 

Virginity, in a strict sense, does signify the 

Aristotle's master-piece. 53 

prime, the chief, the best of any thing, which 
makes men so desirous of marrying virgins, im- 
agining some secret pleasure to be enjoyed in their 
embraces, more than in those of widows, or such 
as have been lain withal ; though not many years 
ago, a very great person was of another mind ; 
and, to use his own expression, — " That the 
getting of a maidenhead was such a piece of 
drudgery, as was more proper for a porter than a 
prince." But this was only his opinion, for most 
men, I am sure, have other sentiments. But to 
return to our purpose. 

The curious inquirers into Nature's secrets have 
observed, that in young maids in the sinus pudoris, 
or in that place which is called the neck of the 
womb, is that wondrous production, vulgarly cal- 
led the hymen, but more rightly the claustrum 
virginale ; and in the French, bouton de rose, or 
rosebud ; because it resembles the bud of a rose 
expanded, or a convex gillyflower. From hence 
is derived the word defloro, or deflower ; and 
hence taking away virginity is called deflowering 
a virgin ; most being of opinion, that the virginity 
is altogether lost, when this duplication is fractur- 
ed and dissipated by violence ; and when it is 
found perfect and entire, no penetration has been 
made ; and it is the opinion of some learned 
physicians, that there is neither hymen, nor skin 
expanded containing blood in it, which divers 
think, in the first copulation, flows from the frac- 
tured expanse. 

Now this claustrum, or virginale, or flower, is 
composed of four carbuncles, or little buds like 
myrtle berries, which, in virgins, are full and 
plump, but in women flag and hang loose ; and 
these are placed in the four angles of the sinus 

fmdoris, joined together by little membranes and 
isratures like fibres, each of them situated in the 

54 Aristotle's master-piece. 

testicles, or spaces between each carbuncle, with 
which, in a manner, they are proportionally dis- 
tended ; which membranes being once delacerated 
denote devirgination ; and many inquisitive, and 
yet ignorant persons, finding their wives defective 
therein the first night of their marriage, have 
thereupon suspected their chastity, and concluded 
that another had been there before them. Now to 
undeceive such, I do affirm, that such fractures 
happen divers accidental ways, as well as by cop- 
ulation with men, viz. by violent straining, cough- 
ing, sneezing, stopping of urine, and violent mo- 
tions of the vessels, forcibly sending down the 
humours, which, pressing for passage, break the 
ligatures or membrane; so that the fracture of 
that which is commonly taken for their virginity, 
or maidenhead, is no absolute sign of dishonesty, 
though certain it is, that it is broke in copulation 
oftener than by any other means. 

I have heard, that at an assize held at Rutland, 
a young man was tried for a rape, in forcing a 
virgin j when, after divers questions bejng asked, 
and the maid swearing positively to the matter, 
(naming the time, place, and manner of the action,) 
it was upon mature deliberation resolved, that she 
should be searched by a skilful surgeon and two 
midwives, who were to make their report upon 
oath ; which, after due examination, they accor- 
dingly did, affirming that the membranes were 
entire, and not delacerated j and that it was their 
opinion, for that reason, that her body had not 
been penetrated which so far wrought with the 
jury, that the prisoner was acquitted: and the 
maid afterwards confessed, she swore against him 
out of revenge, he having promised to marry her, 
and afterwards declined it. And thus much shall 
suffice to be spoken concerning virginity. 

I shall now proceed to something of nature's 
operation, in mutation ot sexes in the womb. 

Aristotle's master-piece. 55 

This point is of much necessity, by reason of the 
different opinions of men relating to it ; therefore, 
before any thing positive can be asserted, it will 
be proper to recite what has been delivered, as 
well in the negative as affirmative. And first, 
Severus Plinus, who argues for the negative, 
writes thus : The genital parts of both sexes are 
so unlike each other in substance, composition, 
situation, figure, action, and use, that nothing is 
more unlike, and by how much more all parts of 
the body (the breasts excepted, which in women 
swell more, because nature ordained them for 
suckling the infant) have exact resemblance, so 
much more do the genital parts of the one sex, 
compared with the other, differ : and if their figure 
be thus different, much more their use. The vene- 
real appetite also proceeds from different causes: 
for in a man it proceeds from a desire of emission, 
and in a women from a desire of reception : in wo- 
men also the chief of these parts are concave and 
apt to receive ; but in men they are more porous. 
All these things being considered, I cannot but 
wonder; says he, how any one can imagine that 
the genital members of the female births should be 
changed unto those that belong to the males, since 
by those parts only the distinction of the sexes is 
made ; nor can I well impute the reason of this 
vulgar error to any thing but the mistake of inex- 
pert mid wives, who have been deceived by the 
evil conformation of the parts, which, in some 
male births, may have happened to have some 
small protusions, not to have been discerned, as 
appears by the example of a child christened at 
Paris by the name of Joan, as a girl, who after- 
wards proved a boy : and, on the contrary, the 
overfar extension of the clytoris in female births 
may have occasioned the like mistakes. Thus far 
Pliny proceeds in the negative j and yet, notwith- 

56 Aristotle's master-piece. 

standing what he hath said, there are divers learn- 
ed physicians that have asserted the affirmative, 
of which number Galen is one. A man, saith he, 
is different from a woman in nothing else but hav- 
ing his genital members without his body, where- 
as a women has them within. And this is certain, 
that if nature, having formed a male, should con- 
vert him into a female, she hath no other task to 
perform, but to turn his genital members inward ; 
and so to turn a woman into a man by the contrary 
operation. But this is to be understood of the 
child, when it is in the womb, and not perfectly 
formed: for, oft-times, nature hath made a female 
child, and it hath so remained in the womb of the 
mother for a month or two ; and after, plenty of heat 
increasing in the genital members, they have issued 
forth and the child has become a male, yet retaining 
some certain gestures unbefitting the masculine 
sex, as female actions, a shrill voice, and a more 
effeminate temper than ordinary ; contrarywise, 
nature often having made a male, and cold humours 
flowing to it, the genitals have been inverted, yet 
still retaining a masculine air, both in voice and 
gestures. Now, though both these opinions are 
supported by several reasons, yet I esteem the 
latter more agreeable to truth ; for there is not 
that vast difference between the genitals of the 
two sexes, as Pliny would have us believe there is ; 
for a woman has in a manner the same members 
with the man, though they appear not outward, 
but are inverted for the conveniency of genera- 
tion ; the chief difference being, that the one is 
solid and the other porous, and that the principal 
reason for changing sexes is, and must be attribu- 
ted to, heat or cold, suddenly or slowly contracted, 
which operates according to its greater or lesser 

Aristotle's masteb-piece. 57 


Directions and Cautions for Midwives : and first, how a Mid- 
wife ought to be qualified. 

A Midwife that would acquit herself well in 
her employment, ought by no means to enter upon 
it rashly or unadvisedly, but with all imaginable 
caution, considering that she is accountable for 
all the mischief that befalls the female through her 
wilful ignorance or neglect. Therefore let none 
take upon them the office barely upon pretence of 
maturity of years and child-bearing, for in such, 
for the most part, there are divers things wanting 
that ought to be observed, which is the occasion 
so many women and children are lost. 

Now, for a midwife, in relation to her person, 
these things ought to be observed, viz. — She must 
neither be too old nor too young, neither extraor- 
dinarily fat nor weakened by leanness, but in a 
good habit of body ; nor subject to diseases, fears 
and sudden frights ; her body well shaped, and 
neat in her attire ; her hands smooth and small, 
her nails ever paired short, not suffering any rings 
to be upon her fingers during the time she is do- 
ing her office, nor and thing upon her wrists that 
may obstruct. And to these ought to be added 
activity and a convenient strength, with much 
cautiousness and diligence, not subject to drow- 
siness, nor apt to be impatient. 

As for her manners, she ought to be courteous, 
affable, sober, chaste, and not subject to passion 
bountiful and compassionate to the poor, and not 
covetous when she attends on the rich. 

Her temper should be cheerful and pleasant, that 
she may the better comfort her patient in her la- 
bours. Nor must she at any time make overmuch 

'58 Aristotle's master-piece. 

haste, though her business should require her in 
another case, lest she thereby endanger the mother 
or the child. 

Of spirit, she ought to be wary, prudent, and 
cunning : but, above all, the fear of God ought to 
have the ascendant in her soul, which will give 
her both " knowledge and discretion," as the wise 
man tells us. 


Further Directions for Midwives, teaching them what they 
ought to do, and what to avoid. 

Since the office of a midwife has so great an in- 
fluence on the well or ill-doing of women and chil- 
dren, in the first place, let her be diligent to ac- 
quire whatever knowledge may be advantageous 
to her practice ; never thinking herself so perfect, 
but that she may add to her knowledge by study 
and experience ; yet never let her make any exper- 
iment which may prove distressful to her patient, 
nor apply any unless she has tried them before, 
or knows they will do no harm ; imposing neither 
upon poor nor rich, but speaking freely what she 
knows ; and by no means prescribing such medi- 
cines as will cause abortion, though desired ; which 
is a high degree of wickedness, and may be term- 
ed murder. If she be sent for to one she knows 
not, let her be very cautious ere she goes, lest, by 
laying an infectious woman, she do injury to others 
as sometimes it has happened. Neither must she 
make her house a receptacle for great bellied wo- 
men to discharge their burdens in, lest her house 
get an ill-name, and she thereby suffer loss. In 
laying of women, if the birth happen to be large 

Aristotle's master-piece. 59 

and difficult, she must not seem to be concerned, 
but must cheer up the woman, and do what she 
can to make her labour easy. For which she may 
find directions in the second book of this work. 

She must never think of any thing but doing 
vf$\\, causing all things to be in readiness that are 
proper for the work, and the strengthening of the 
woman, and receiving of the child ; and, above all, 
let her take care to keep the woman from being 
unruly when her throes are coming upon her, lest 
she thereby endanger her own life and the child's. 

She must also take care that she be not too hasty 
in her business, but wait God's time for the birth ; 
lest, through fear, if things should not go well, it 
should make her incapable of giving that assist- 
ance which the labouring woman stands in need 
of ; for when there is most seeming danger, there 
is most need of prudence to set things aright. 

And now, because she can never be a skilful 
midwife that knows nothing but what is to be seen 
outwardly, I think it will not be amiss, but on the 
contrary highly necessary, with modesty, to des- 
cribe the generative parts of women, as they have 
been anatomized by the learned, and show the use 
of such vessels as contribute to generation. 


Of the Genitals of Women, externa and infernal, to the Ves- 
sels of the Womb. 

If it were not for public benefit, especially of 
the practitioners and professors of the art of mid- 
wifery, I would forbear to treat of the secrets of 
nature, because they may be turned by some into 
ridicule but, being absolutely necessary to be 

60 Aristotle's master-piece. 

known, I will not omit them. These parts expos- 
ed at the bottom of the belly are the fissura magna 
or the great chink, with its labia or lips, the Mons 
Veneris, and the hair ; these are called the pudenda, 
because, when bare, they bring pudor, or shame, 
upon a woman. The fissura magna reaches from, 
the lower part of the os pubis, to within an inch 
of the anus ; but it is lesser and closer in maids 
than in those that have borne children, and has 
two lips, which, towards the pubis, grow thicker 
and more full ; and meeting upon the middle of 
the os pubis, make that rising hill called Mons 
Veneris, or the Hill of Venus. Next are the 
nympha andclytoris ; the former is of a mcmbrany 
and flamrny substance, spongy, soft, and partly 
fleshy, of a red colour, in the shape of wings, two 
in number, though, from their rise, they are join- 
ed in an acute angle, producing there a fleshy sub- 
stance, which clothes the clytoris ; and sometimes 
they spread so far, that incision is required to make 
Avay for the man's instrument of generation. 

The clytoris is a substance in the upper part of 
the division where the two wings concur, and is 
the seat of venereal pleasure, being like a yard in 
situation, substance, composition, and errection ; 
growing sometimes out of the body two inches; 
but that never happens unless through extreme 
lust or extraordinary accidents. This clytoris 
consists of two spongy and skinny bodies, contain- 
ing a distinct original from the os pubis, the head 
of it being covered with a tender skin, having a 
hole or passage like the penis or yard of a man, 
though not quite through, in which, and the big- 
ness, it only differs from it. 

The next things are the fly-knobs, and the great 
neck of the womb. Those knobs are behind the 
wings, being four in number, and resemble myrtle- 
berries, being placed quadrangularly, one against 

abistotle's master-piece. 61 

the other ; and in this place is inserted the orifice 
of the bladder, which opens itself into the fissures, 
to evacuate the urine ; for securing of which from 
cold, or the like inconvenieney, one of these knobs 
is placed before it, and shuts up the passage. 

The lips of the womb, that next appear, being 
separated, disclose the neck thereof ; and in them 
two things are to be observed, which is the neck 
itself, and the hymen, but more properly the claus- 
trum virginale, of which before I have discoursed. 
By the neck of the womb is to be understood the 
channel that is between the aforesaid knobs and 
the inner bone of the womb, which receives the 
penis like a sheath ; and that it may the better be 
dilated from the pleasure of procreation, the sub- 
stance of it is sinewy and a little spongy ; and in 
this concavity are divers folds, or obicular plaits, 
made by tunicles wrinkled like an expanded rose. 
In virgins they plainly appear, but in women that 
have often used copulation they are extinguished, 
so that the inner side of the womb's neck appears 
smooth, but in old women it appears more hard 
and grisled. But though this channel be some- 
times writhed and crooked, sinking down, yet, in 
the time of copulation, labour, or the monthly pur- 
gation, it is erected and extended ; which overten- 
sion occasions the pain in child-birth. 

The hymen, or claustrum virginale, is that 
which closes the neck of the womb, being broken 
in first copulation, its use being rather to stay the 
untimely courses in virgins than to any other end j 
and commonly when broken in copulation, or by 
any other accident, a small quantity of blood flows 
from it, attended with some little pain. From 
whence some observe, that between the displicity 
of the two tunicles, which constitute the neck of 
the womb, there are many veins and arteries run- 
ning along and arising from the vessels on both 

62 Aristotle's .master-piece. 

sides of the thighs, and so passing into the neck 
of the womb, being very large : and the reason 
thereof is, that the neck of the bladder requires to 
be filled with abundance of spirits, thereby to be 
dilated, for its better taking hold of the penis, 
there being great heat required in such motions, 
which becomes more intense by the act of friction, 
and consumes a considerable quantity of moisture, 
in the supply of which, large vessels are altogether 

Another cause of the largeness of these vessels 
is, by reason the menses make their way through 
them, which often occasions women with child to 
continue their purgation: for, though the womb 
be shut up, yet the neck in the passage of the 
womb, through which these vessels pass, is open. 
In this case there is further to be observed, that as 
soon as you penetrate the pudendum, there appear 
two little pits or holes, wherein is contained 
humour, which being expunged in time of copula- 
tion, greatly delights the woman. 


A Description of the Woman's Fabric, the Preparing Vessels 
and Testicles in Women. As also of the Difference and Eja- 
culatory Vessels. 

In the lower part of the hypogastrium, where 
the lips are widest and broadest, they beino- o-reat- 
er and broader thereabout than those of men for 
which reason they-have likewise broader buttocks 
than men ; the womb is joined to its neck, and is 
placed between the bladder and strait-cnit which 
keep it from swaying or rolling, yet give it liberty 
to stretch and dilate itself, and again to contract 

Aristotle's master-piece. 63 

as nature disposeth it. Its figure is in a manner 
round, and not unlike a gourd, lessening a little, 
and growing more acute towards one end, being 
knit together by its proper ligaments j its neck 
likewise is joined by its own substance and cer- 
tain membranes that fasten unto the os sacrum 
and the share-bone. As to its largeness, that 
much differs in women, especially the difference 
is great between those that have borne children, 
and those that have borne none : in substance it is 
so thick, that it exceeds a thimble-breath ; which, 
after copulation, is so far from decreasing, that it 
augments to a greater proportion : and the more 
to strengthen it, it is interwoven with fibres over- 
thwart, which are both straight and winding ; and 
its proper vessels are veins, arteries, and nerves : 
and among these there are two little veins, which 
pass from the spermatic vessels into the bottom 
of the womb, and two larger from the neck, the 
mouth of these veins piercing as far as the inward 

The womb hath two arteries on both sides of 
the spermatic vessels and the hypogastric, which 
accompany the veins; and besides, there are di- 
vers little nerves, that are knit and twined in the 
form of a net, which are also extended through- 
out, even from the bottom of the pudendum itself, 
being placed chiefly for sense and pleasure, moving 
in sympathy between the head and the womb. 

Now, it is to be further noted, that by reason of 
the two ligaments that hang on either side of the 
womb, from the share-bone, piercing through the 
peritoneum, and joined to the bone itself, the womb 
is moveable upon sundry occasions, often falling 
low or rising high. As for the neck of the womb 
it is of exquisite feeling ; so that if it be at any 
time out of order, being troubled with a schirrosity, 
over fatness, moisture, or relaxation, the womb is 

64 Aristotle's master-piece. 

subjected thereby to barrenness. In those that 
are with child, there frequently stays a glutinous 
matter in the entrance to facilitate the birth ; for, 
at the time of delivery, the mouth of the womb is 
opened to such a wideness as is comformable to 
the bigness of the child, suffering an equal dilation 
from the bottom to the top. 

As for the preparatory, or spermatic vessels, in 
women, they consist of two veins and two arteries 
not differing from those of men, but only in their 
largeness and manner of 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 beside them are two arteries 
which flow from the aorta. 

As to the length and breadth of these vessels, 
they are narrower and shorter in women than 
in men ; only, observe they are more writhed and 
contorted than in men, and shrinking together, by 
reason of their shortness, that they may, by their 
looseness, be better stretched out when occasion 
requires it : and those vessels in woman are car- 
ried in an indirect course through the lesser guts 
and testicles, but are mid-way divided into two 
branches ; the greater goes to the stones, constitu- 
ting a various or winding body, and wonderfully 
inoculating ; the lesser branch ending in the womb, 
in the inside of which it disperseth itself, and es- 
pecially at the higher part of the bottom of the 
womb, for its nourishment, and that part of the 
courses may purge through the vessels ; and see- 
ing the testicles of women are seated near the 
womb, for that cause these vessels fall not from 
the peritoneum, neither make they much passage, 
as in men, not extending themselves in the share- 

The stones in women, commonly called testicles 
perform not the same action as in men ; they are 

Aristotle's master-piece. 65 

also different in their location, bigness, temper- 
ature, substance, form, and covering. As for the 
place of their seat, it is in the hollowness of the 
abdomen ; neither are they pendulous, but rest on 
the muscles of the loins, so that they may, by con- 
tracting the greater heat, be more fruitful, their 
office being to contain the ova, or eggs, one of 
which being impregnated by the man's seed, en- 
genders man ; yet they differ from those of men 
in figure, by reason of their lessness or flatness 
at each end, not being so round or oval ; the exter- 
nal superfices being likewise more unequal, appear- 
ing like the composition of a great many knobs or 
kernels mixed together. There is a difference 
also in their substance, they being much more 
soft and pliable, loose and not so well compacted. 
There bigness and temperament are likewise dif- 
ferent ; for they are much colder, and less than 
those in men. As for their covering or inclosure, 
it differs extremely ; for as men's are wrapped in 
divers tunicles, by reason they are extremely pen- 
dulous, and subject to divers injuries, unless so 
fenced by nature ; so women's stones, being inter- 
nal, and less subject to casualty, are covered with 
one tunicle or membrane, which, though it closely 
cleave to them, yet they are likewise half covered 
with the peritoneum. 

The ejaculatory vessels are two obscure pas- 
sages, one on each side, nothing differing from the 
spermatic veins in substance. They rise in one 
part from the bottom of the womb, not reaching 
from the other extremity, either to the stones or 
to any other part, but shut up and impassable, 
adhering to the womb, as the colon does to the 
blind gut, and winding half way about ; and though 
the testicles are remote from them, and touch 
them not, yet they are tied to them by certain 
membranes, resembling the wing of a bat, through 


which certain veins and arteries passing from the 
end of the testicles, may be termed here to have 
their passage proceeding from the corner of the 
womb to the testicles, and are accounted proper 
ligaments, by which the testicles and womb are 
united -and strongly knit together : and these liga- 
ments in women are the cremasters in men, of 
which I shall speak more largely, when I come to 
describe the masculine parts conducing to gen- 


J& Description of the Use and Jlction, of several Parts in Wo* 
men, appointed in Generation. 

The externals, commonly called the pudenda, 
are designed to cover the great orifice, and to re- 
ceive the penis or yard in the act of coition, and 
give passage to the birth and urine. The use of 
the wings and knobs, like myrtle-berries, are for 
the security of the internal parts, shutting the ori- 
fice and neck of the bladder, and by their swelling 
up, to cause titilation and delight in those parts 
and also to obstruct the involuntary passage of the 

The action of the clytoris in women is like that 
of the penis in man, viz. the erection ; and its outer 
end is like the glands of the penis, and has the 
same name. And as the glands of man are the 
seat of the greatest pleasure in conception so is 
this in the women. 

The action and use of the neck of the womb is 
equal with that of the penis, viz. erection occa- 
sioned divers ways ; first, in copulation, it is erect- 
ed and made strait for the passage of the penis in- 

Aristotle's master-piec*. 67 

to the womb : 2dly, whilst the passage is repleted 
with spirit and vital blood, it becomes more strait 
for embracing the penis ; and as for the conven- 
iency of erection, it is twofold : first, because if 
the neck of the womb was not erected, the yard 
could have no convenient passage to the womb : 
secondly, it hinders any hurt or damage that might 
ensue through the violent concussion of the yard 
during the time of copulation. 

As for the veins that pass through the neck of 
the womb, their use is to replenish it with blood 
and spirit, that still, as the moisture consumes by 
the heat contracted in copulation, it may by these 
vessels be renewed ^ but their chief business is to 
convey nutriment to the womb- 

The womb has many properties attributed to it : 
as, first retention of the fecundated ^gg-, and this 
is properly called conception: secondly, to cherish 
and nourish it, till nature has framed the child and 
brought it to perfection, and then it strongly ope- 
rates in sending forth the birth, when the time of 
its remaining there is expired, dilating itself in a 
wonderful manner, and so aptly removed from the 
senses, that nothing of injury can proceed from 
thence, retaining itself a power and strength to 
operate and cast forth the birth, unless by accident 
it be rendered deficient ; and then, to strengthen 
and enable it, remedies must be applied by skilful 
hands ; directions for applying of which will be 
given in the second book. 

The use of the preparing vessels is this ; the ar- 
teries convey the blood to the testicles ; part where- 
of is put in the nourishment of them, and the pro- 
duction of these little bladders (in all things re- 
sembling eggs,) through which the vast preparen- 
tia run, and are obliterated in them : and as for 
the veins, their office is to bring back what blood 
remains from the use aforesaid. The vessels of 

68 Aristotle's master-piece. 

this kind are much shorter in women than in men, 
by reason of their nearness to the stones ; which 
defects are yet made good by the many intricate 
windings to which those vessels are subject ; ioT r 
in the middle way they divide themselves into 
two branches, though different in magnitude, for 
one being greater than the other passes to the 

The stones in women are very useful, for where 
they are defective, generation-work is at an end. 
For although those bladders which are on their out- 
ward superfiees contain nothing of seed, as the fol- 
lowers of Galen and Hippocrates did erroneously 
imagine, yet they contain several eggs, generally 
twenty in each testicle j one of which being im- 
pregnated by the spirtuous part of the man's seed 
in the act of coition, descends through the ova- 
ducts into the womb, and from hence, in process 
of time, becomes a living child. 


Of the Organs of Generation in Man. 

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

The instrument of generation in man (commonly 
called the yard, and in Latin, penis, a pendendo, 
because it hangs without the belly,) is an organi- 
cal part, which consists of skin, tendons, veins r 
arteries, sinews, and great ligaments ; and is lono- 
and round, and on the upper side flattis-h, seated 


under the os pubis, and ordained by nature partly 
for evacuation of urine, and partly for conveying 
the seed into the matrix; for which end it is full 
©f small pores, through which the seed passes into 
it, through the vesicula seminalis, and also the 
neck of the vesicula urinalis, which pours out the 
urine when they make water ; besides the common 
parts, viz, the two nervous bodies, the septum, the 
urethra, the glands, four muscles, and the vessel, 
The nervous bodies (so called) are surrounded 
with a thick white pervious membrane, but their 
inmost substance is spongy, consisting chiefly of 
veins, arteries, a©d nervous fibres, interwoven 
together like a net. And when the nerves are 
filled with animal spirits, and the arteries with hot 
and spirituous blood, then, the penis is distended, 
and become serect } but when the influx of the spir- 
its ceases, then the blood and remaining spirits 
are absorbed by the veins, and so the penis' spirits 
are limber and flaggy. Below these nervous 
bodies is the urethra ; and whenever the nervous 
bodies swell, it swells also. The muscles of the 
penis are four ; two shorter, arising from the 
coxendix, and serving for erection, and for that 
reason are called erectores ; two larger, proceed- 
ing from the spinchter of the anus, which serve to 
dilate the urethra for evacuation of seed, and are 
called dilatantes, or winding. At the end of the 
penis are the glands, covered with a very thin 
membrane, by means of which, and its nervous 
substance, it becomes most exquisitely sensible, 
and is the principal seat of pleasure in copulation. 
The outermost covering of the glands is called 
pra^putium, a percutiendo, from being cut off", it 
being that which the Jews cut off in circumcision, 
and it is tied by the lower parts of it to the glands 
of the foetus. The penis is also stocked with veins, 
arteries, and nerves. 

70 Aristotle's master-piece. 

The testiculi, or stones, (so called, oecause teg- 
tifying on® to be a man,) elaborate the blood 
brought to them by the spermatic arteries into 
seed. They have coats of two sorts, proper and 
common ; the common are two, and invest both 
the testes. The outermost of the common coats con- 
sists of the cuticula, or true skin, and is called the 
scrotum, hanging out of the abdomen like a purse ; 
the innermost is the membrana carnosa. The 
proper coats are also two, the outer called cliotro- 
des or virginales, the inner albugidia; into the 
outer is inserted the cremaster.- To- the upper 
part of the testes are fixed the epidimydes, or 
prostoatae ; from whence ariseth the vasa deferen- 
tia, or ejaculatoria ; which, when they come near 
the neck of the bladder, deposit the seed unto the 
vesicular seminales ; these vesicular seminales are 
two, each like a bunch of grapes, and emit the 
seed into the urethra in the aet of copulation. 
Near them are the prostratse, about the bigness of 
a walnut and joined to the neck of the bladder. 
Authors do not agree about the use of them> but 
most are of opinion that they afford an oily, sloppy, 
and fat humour, to besmear the urethra, whereby 
to defend the same from the acrimony of the seed 
and urine. But the vessels which convey the 
blood to the testes, out of which the seed is made, 
are arterrc spermaticae, and are also two. The 
veins which carry out the remaining blood are two, 
and have the name venae spermaticce. 

Aristotle's master-pieoe. 71 


A word of Advice to both Sczt.s, being several Directions re- 
specting the Act of Copulation. 

Since nature has implanted in every creature a 
mutual desire of copulation, for the increase and 
propagation of its kind, and more especially in 
man, the lord of the creation and master-piece of 
nature, that so noble a piece of divine workman- 
ship might not perish, something ought to be said 
concerninof it, it being the foundation of all that 
we have hitherto been treating of, since without 
copuliition there can be no generation. Seeing 
therefore so mucli depends upon it, I have thought 
it necessary, before 1 conclude the first book, to 
give such directions to both sexes, for the per- 
formance of that act, as may appear efficacious to 
the end for which nature designed it : but it will 
be done with that caution as not to offend the 
chastest ear, nor put the fair sex to the trouble 
of a blush in reading it. First, then, when amar- 
ried couple, from a desire of having children, are 
about to make use of those means that nature or- 
dained to that purpose, it would be very proper to 
cherish the body with generous restoratives, that 
so it may be brisk and vigorous ; and if their im- 
aginations were charmed with sweet and melodi- 
ous airs, and care and thought of business drown- 
ed in a glass of rosy wine, that their spirits may 
be raised to the highest pitch of ardour and joy, 
it would not be amiss ; for any thing of sadness, 
trouble, and sorrow, are enemies to the delights 
of Venus. And if, at any such times of coition, 
there should be conception, it would have a malev- 
olent effect upon the child. But though generous 
restoratives may be used for invigorating nature, 

72 Aristotle's master-piece. 

yet all excess is to be carefully avoided, for it will 
allay the briskness of the spirits,, and render them 
dull and languid, and also hinder digestion, and 
so must needs be an enemy to copulation j for it 
is food moderately taken, and well digested, that 
creates good spirits, and enables a man with vigour 
and activity to perform the dictates of nature. 
It is also highly necessary that in their mutual em- 
braces they meet each other with an equal ardour ;. 
for if the spirits flag on either part, they will fall 
short ©f what nature requires, and the women 
must either miss of conception,, or else the chil- 
dren prove- weak in their bodies, or defective in 1 
their understanding : and therefore I do. advise 
them, before they begin their conjugal embraces, I 
to invigorate their mutual desires, and make their 
flames burn with a fierce ardour by those endear- | 
ing ways that love can better teach than I can 
write. I 

And when they hare done what nature irequire* 
a man must have a care he does not part too soon 
from the embraces of his wife, lest some sudden 
interposing cold should strike into the womb, and 
occasion a miscarriage, and thereby deprive them 
of the fruit of their liabour. 

And when, after some small convenient time, 
the man hath withdrawn himself, let the women 
gently betake herself to rest with all imaginable 
serenity and composure of mind, free from all 
anxious and disturbing thoughts, or any other kind 
of perturbation whatsoever. And let her, as much 
as she can, forbear turning herself from that side 
on which she first reposed. And by all means 
let her avoid coughing and sneezing, which by 
its violent concussion on the body is a great 
enemy to conception, if it happen soon after the 
act of coition. 





Of 4he Wontb in general. 

Although in the first hook I have spoken some- 
thing of the womb, yet being in the second book 
to treat more particularly thereof, and of the va- 
rious distempers and maladies it is subjected to,l 
shall not think it tautology to give you, by way of 
instruction, a general description both of its sit- 
uation and extent, but rather think it can by no 
means be omitted, especially since in it I am to 
speak of the quality of the menstrous blood. 

First, touching the womb. By the Grecians it 
is called metra, the mother ; adelphos, says Pris- 
cian, because it makes us all brothers. 

It is placed in the hypogastrium, or lower part 
of the body, in the cavity called pelvis, having the 
strait gut on one side, to keep it from the other 
side of the backbone, and the bladder on the other 
side to defend it from blows. The form or figure 
of it is like a virile member, only thus described — 
the manhood is outwad and womanhood inward. 

It is divided into the neck and the body. The 

74 Aristotle's master-piece. 

neck consists of a hard fleshy substance, much 
like cartilage, at the end whereof there is a mem- 
brane transversely placed, called hymen or engion. 
Near to the neck there is a prominent pinnacle, 
which is called by Mountinus the door of the womb 
because it preserves the matrix from cold and dust; 
by the Grecians it is called clytoris ; by the Latins 
prceputium muliebre, because the Jewish women 
did abuse those parts to their own mutual lusts, 
as Paul speaks, Rom. i. 26. 

The body of the womb is that wherein the child 
is conceived ; and this is not altogether round, but 
dilates itself into two angles, the outward part of 
it nervous and full of sinews, which are the cause 
of its motion, but inwardly it is fleshy. In the 
cavity of the womb there are two cells or recep- 
tacles for human seed, divided by a line running 
through the midst of it. In the right side of the 
cavity, by the reason of the heat of the liver, 
males are conceived ; in the left side, by the cold- 
ness of the spleen, females are begotten. Most 
of our moderns hold the above as an infallible 
truth, yet Hippocrates holds it but in general: 
" For in whom (saith he) the spermatic vessels 
on the right side come from the reins, and the 
spermatic vessels on the left side from the hollow 
vein, in them males are conceived in the left side, 
and females in the right." Well, therefore, may 
I conclude with the saying of Empedocles, " Such 
sometimes is the power of the seed, that the male 
may be conceived in the left side, as well as m 
the right." In the bottom of the cavity, there are 
little holes called the cotiledones, which are the 
ends of certain veins and arteries, serving in 
breeding women to convey substance to the child, 
which is received by the umbilical veins; and 
others to carry their courses into the matrix. 

Now, touching the menstruals, they are defined 

Aristotle's master-piece. 75 

to De a monthly flux of excrementition and unpro- 
fitable blood, which is to be understood of thesu- 
perplus or redundance of it. For it is an excre- 
ment in quality, its quantity being pure and in- 
corrupt, like unto the blood in the veins. 

And that the menstrous blood is pure and sub- 
tle of itself, all in one quality with that in the veins 
is proved two ways: first, from the final cause of 
the blood, which is the propagation and conversa- 
tion of mankind, that man might be conceived ; 
and being begotten, he might be comforted and 
preserved both in the womb and out of the womb. 
And all will grant it for a truth, that o child, when 
in the matrix, is nourished with the blood. And 
it is true, that being out of the womb, it is still 
nourished with the same ; for the milk is nothing 
but the menstrous blood made white in the breast. 
Secondly, it is proved to be true, from the gen- 
eration of it, it being the superfluity of the last 
aliment of the fleshy parts. 

The natural end of man and woman's being is 
to propagate ; and this injunction was imposed 
upon them by God at their first creation, and 
again after the deluge. Now, in the act of con- 
ception, there must be an agent and patient ; for 
if they be both every way of one constitution, they 
cannot propagate : man therefore is hot and dry, 
woman cold and moist ; he is the agent, she the 
patient or weaker vessel, that she should be sub- 
ject to the office of the man. It is necessary the 
woman should be of a. cold constitution, because 
in her is required a redundancy of nature for the 
infant depending on her ; for otherwise, if there 
were not a superplus of nourishment for the child, 
more than is convenient for the mother, then 
would the infant detract and weaken the princi- 
pal parts of the mother, and like unto the viper, 
the generation of the infant would be the destruc- 
tion of the parent. 


The monthly purgations continue from the 15th 
year to the 46th or 50th y yet often there happens 
a suppression, which is either natural or morbifi- 
cal ; they are naturally suppressed in breeding 
women, and such as give suck. The morbifical 
suppression falls now into our method to be 
spoken of- 


Of the Retention of the Courses 

The suppression of the terms is an interception 
of that accustomed evacuation of blood which 
every month should come from the matrix, pro- 
ceeding from the instrument or matter vitiated. 
The part affected is the womb, and that of itself 
or by consent. 

Cause. The cause of this suppression is either 
external or internal. The external cause may be 
heat r or dryness of the air, immoderate watching,, 
great labour, vehement motion, &c. whereby the 
matter is so consumed and the body so exhausted, 
that there is not a surplus remaining to be expel- 
led, as is recorded of the Amazons, who,, being ac- 
tive and always in motion, had their fluxions very 
little, or not at all. Or it may be caused by cold r 
which is most frequent, making the blood vicious 
and gross, condensing and binding up the pas- 
sages, that it cannot flow forth. 

The internal cause is either instrumental or 
material, in the womb or in the blood. 

In the womb it may be divers ways ; by impos- 
thumes, humours, ulcers, by the narrowness of 
the veins and passages, or by the omentum, in 
fat bodies, pressing the neck of the matrix ; but 

atustotle's master-piece. 77 

then they must have hernia, zirthillis, for in man- 
kind the kell reacheth not so low ; by overmuch 
cold or heat, the one vitiating the action, the other 
consuming the matter by an evil composition of 
the uterine parts, by the neck of the womb being 
turned aside, and sometimes, though rarely, by a 
membrane or excrescence of the flesh growing 
about the mouth or neck of the womb. The blood 
may be in fault two ways, in quantity or quality : 
in quantity, when it is so consumed that there is 
not a superplus left, as in viragos, or virile women, 
who, through their heat and strength of nature, 
digest and consume all in their last nourishment ; 
as Hippocrates writes of Prethusa, who being ex- 
sdted by her husband Pathea, her terms were sup- 
pressed, her voice changed, and she had a beard, 
with the countenance of a man. But these I judge 
rather 10 be Tynopagi, or women-eaters, than wo- 
men-breeders, because they consume one of the 
principles of generation, which gives a being to 
the world, viz. the menstrous blood. The blood 
likewise may be consumed, and consequently the 
terms staid, by bleeding at the nose, by a flux of 
the hemorrhoids, by a dysentery commonly called 
the bloody flux, by many other evacuations, and 
by continual and chronical diseases. Secondly. 
The matter may be vicious in quality ; and sup- 
pose it to be sanguinous, phlegmatical, bilious or 
melancholic ; every one of these, if they offend in 
grossness, will cause an obstruction in the veins. 

Signs. Signs manifesting the disease, are pains 
in the head, neck, back, and loins ; weariness of 
the whole body, (but especially of the hips and 
legs, by reason of a confinity which the matrix 
have with these parts ;) trembling of the heart. 
Particular signs are these ; If the suppression pro- 
ceed from cold, she is heavy, sluggish, of a pale 
colour, and has a slow pulse ; Venus's combats 


are neglected, the urine cruddles, the blood be- 
comes waterish and much in quantity, and the ex- 
crements of the guts usually are retained. If of 
heat, the signs are contrary to those now recited. 
If the retention be natural, and come of conception, 
this may be'known by drinking of hydromel, that 
is, water and honey, after supper, going to bed r 
by the effect which it worketh ; for if, after the 
taken of it, she feels a beating pain upon! the navel, 
and the lower part of the belly, it is a sign she 
hath conceived, and that the suppression is na- 
tural ; if not, then it is vicious, and ought medi- 
cinally to be taken away. 

Prognostics. With the evil quality of the womb, 
the whole body stands charged, but especially the 
heart T the liver, and the brain ; and betwixt the 
womb and these three principal parts there is a 
singular concert : First, the womb communicates 
to ibe heart by tbe mediation of those arteries 
which come from the aorta. Hence, the terms 
being suppressed, will ensue faintings, swoonings, 
intermission of pulse, cessation of breath. Second- 
ly, it communicates to the liver by the veins de- 
rived from thehollow vein. Hence will follow ob- 
structions, cahexics, jaundice, dropsies, hardness 
of spleen. Thirdly,, it communicates to the brain 
by the nerves and membrane of the back: hence 
will arise epilepsies, frenzies, melancholy passion, 
pain in the after parts of the head, fearfulness and 
inability of speaking. Well, therefore, may I con- 
clude with Hippocrates, if the months be suppress- 
ed, many dangerous diseases will follow. 

Cure. In the cure of this, and of all the other 
following effects, I will observe the order. The 
cure shall be taken from chirurgical, pharmaceu- 
tical, and diuretical means. This suppression is 
a plethoric effect, and must be taken away by 
evacuation; and therefore we will first beaj n with 

Aristotle's master-mece. 79 

phlebotomy. In the midst of the menstrual pe- 
riod open the liver vein ; and for the reservation 
of the humour, two days before the evacuation, 
open the saphena in both feet ; if the repletion be 
not great, apply cupping-glasses to the legs and 
thighs, although there should be no hopes to re- 
move the suppresion. As in some the cotiledones 
are so closed up, that nothing but copulation will 
open them ; yet it will be convenient, as much as 
may be, to ease nature of her burden, by opening 
the hemorrhoid veins with a leech. After phle- 
botomy, let the humours be prepared and made 
flexible with syrup of stychas calamint, betony, 
hyssop, mugwort, horehound, fumitary, maiden 
hair. Bathe with camomile, pennyroyal, savia, 
bay leaves, juniper berries, rue, marjoram, fever- 
few. Take of the leaves of nep, maiden hair, suc- 
cory, and betony, of each a handful, make a de- 
coction ; take thereof three ounces. Syrup of 
maiden hair, mugwort, and succory ; mix of each 
half an ounce. After she comes out of the bath, 
let her drink it off. Purge with pill de agarice, 
fleybang, corb, ferial. Galen, in this case, com- 
mends pilula; de caberica, coloquintida ; for, as 
they are proper to purge the humour offending, 
so also they do open the passage of the womb, 
and strengthen the faculity by their aromatical 

If the stomach be overcharged, let her take a 
vomit, yet such a one as may work both ways, 
lest working only upward, it should too much 
turnback the humour. Take trochisks of agaric 
two drachms, infuse them in two ounces of oxy- 
mel, in which dissolve of the electuary dissarum 
one scruple and a half, bendic. laxit. half an ounce. 
Take this after the manner of a purge. 

After the humour hath been purged, proceed to 
more proper and forcible remedies. Take of tro- 

80 Aristotle's master-piece. 

chisk of myrrh one drachm and a half ; parsley 
seed, castor rinds, or cassia, of each one scruple, 
and of the extract of mugwort one scruple and a 
half; of musk ten grains, with the juice of small- 
age ; make twelve pills ; take six every morning 
or after supper going to bed. Take of cinnamon 
half an ounce, smirutium, or rogos, valerin aris- 
tolochia, of each two drachms: roots of astru- 
mone, drachm saffron, of each two scruples ; spe«. 
diambia, two drachms; trochisk of myrrh, four 
scruples ; tartari vitriolari, two scruples ; make 
half into a powder ; with mugwort water and su- 
gar a sufficient quantity, make lozenges, take one 
drachm of them every morning; or mingle ono 
drachm of the powder with one drachm of sugar, 
and take it in white wine. Take of prepared steel, 
spec hair, of each two drachms; borax, spec, of 
myrrh, of each one scruple, with the juice of sa- 
vine ; make it up into eighty-eight lozenges, and 
take three every other day before dinner. Take 
of castor one scruple, wild carrot seed half a 
drachm, with syrup of mugwort, and make four 
pills ; take them in a morning fasting, and so for 
three days together, before the wonted time of the 
purgation. Take of agaric, aristolochia, juice of 
horehound, of each five drachms ; rhubarb, spike- 
nard, anniseed, gaidanum, assafoetida, mallow 
root, gentian, of the three peppers, lacoace, of each 
six drachms ; with honey make an electuary, take 
of it three drachms for a dose. In phlegmatic 
bodies nothing can be better given than the decoc- 
tion of the wood of guaicum, with a little disclaim 
taken in the morning fasting, and so for twelve 
days together, without provoking of sweat. 

Adminster to the lower parts by suffu mirations 
pessaries, unctions, injections: make suffumio-a- 
tions of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, bay berries 
mugwort, galbanum, molanthium, amber &c 

Aristotle's master-piece. 81 

Make pessaries of figs, and the leaves of mercury 
bruised, and rolled up with lint. If you desire a 
stronger, make one of myrrh, adulium, apopanax, 
amrnoniacum, galbanum, sagepanum, mithridate, 
agaric, coloquintida, &c. Make injections of the 
decoction of origane, mugwort, mercury, betony, 
and eggs ; inject it into the womb by an instrument 
tit for that purpose. Take of oil of almonds, lilies, 
capers, camomile, of each half an ounce j laudani, 
oil of myrrh, of each two drachms ; with wax 
make and unguent, with which let the place be 
anointed ; make infusions of fenugreek, cammomile 
melilot, dill, marjoram, pennyroyal, feverfew, 
juniper berries, and calamint ; but if the suppres- 
sion comes by a defect of matter, then ought not 
the courses to be provoked until the spirits be 
animated, and the blood again increased ; or, if 
by proper effects of the womb, as dropsies, in- 
flammations, &c. then must particular care be used j 
the which I will not insist upon here, but speak 
of them as they lie in order. 

If the retention comes from repletion, or fulness, 
if the air be hot and dry, use moderate exercise 
before meals, and your meat and drink atteuna- 
ting ; use with your meat garden savory, thyme, 
origane, and cyche peason : if from emptiness or 
defect of matter, if the air be moist and modera- 
tely hot, shun exercise and watching j let your 
meat be nourishing and of light digestion, as raw 
eggs, lamb, chickens, almonds, milk, and the 

82 Aristotle's master-piece. 


Of the Overflowing of (he Courses. 

The learned say, that by comparing contraries, 
truth is made manifest : having therefore spoken 
of the suppression of terms, order requires now 
that I' should insist on the overflowing of them, 
an effect no less dangerous than the former; and 
this immoderate flux of the month is defined to 
be a sanguinous excrement, proceeding from the 
womb, exceeding both in quantity and time. 
First, it is said to be sanguinous ; the matter of 
the flux being only blood, wherein it differs from 
that which is commonly called the false courses, 
or the whites, of which I shall speak hereafter. 
Secondly, it is said to proceed from the womb; 
for there are two ways from which the blood flows 
forth ; the one is by the internal veins of the body 
of the womb, — and this is properly called the 
monthly flux ; the other is by those veins which 
are terminated in the neck of the matrix, — and by 
Aetius this is called the hemorrhoids of the womb. 
Lastly, it is said to exceed both in quantity and 
time. In quantity, saith Hippocrates, when they 
flow about eighteen ounces ; in time, when they 
flow above three days : but we take this for a cer- 
tain. character of their inordinate flowing when 
the faculties of the body are thereby weakened. 
In bodies abounding in gross humours, this im- 
moderate flux sometimes unburdens nature of her 
load, and ought not to be staid without the coun- 
sel of a physician. 

Cause. The cause of this affair is internal or 
external. The internal cause is threefold • in the 
matter, instrument, or faculty. The matter 
which is the blood, may be vicious two ways ■ 

Aristotle's master-pieck. 83 

first, by the heat of constitution, climate, or sea- 
sot:, heating the blood, whereby the passages are 
dilated, and the faculty weakened, that it cannot 
retain the blood. Secondly, by falls, blows, vio- 
lent motion, breaking of the veins, &c. The ex- 
ternal cause may be calidity of the air, lifting, 
carrying of heavy burdens, unnatural child-birth, 

Signs. In this inordinate flux, the appetite is 
decayed, the conception is depraved, and all the 
actions weakened ; the feet are swelled, the colour 
of the face is changed, and a general feebleness 
possesseth the whole body. If the flux comes by 
the breaking of a vein, the body is sometimes 
cold, the blood flows forth in heaps, and that sud- 
denly, with great pain. If it comes through heat, 
the orifice of the vein being dilated, then there is 
little or no pain, yet the blood flows faster then it 
doth in an erosion, and not so fast as it doth in a 
rupture. If by erosion, or sharpness of blood, she 
feels a great heat scalding the passage; it differs 
from the other two, in that it flows not so sudden- 
ly, nor so copiously as they do. If by weakness 
of the womb, she abhorreth the use of Venus. 
Lastly, if it proceed from an evil quality of the 
blood, drop some of it on a cloth, and when it is 
dry, you may judge of the quality by the colour. 
If it be choleric, it will be yellow ; if melancholy, 
black ; if phlegmatic, waterish and whitish. 

Prognostics. If with the flux be joined a con- 
vulsion, it is dangerous, because it intimates the 
more noble parts are vitiated : and a convulsion 
caused by emptiness is deadly. If it continues 
long, it will be cured with great difficulty : for it 
was one of the miracles which our Saviour, Christ, 
wrought, to cure this disease, when it had contin- 
ued twelve years. 

To conclude, if the flux be inordinate, many dis- 

84 aristotxe's master-piece. 

eases will ensue, and without remedy; the blood, 
together with the native heat, being consumed, 
either cachetical, hydropical, or paralytical dis- 
eases will follow. 

Cure. The cure consisteth in three particulars. 
First, in repelling and carrying away the blood ; 
Secondly, in correcting and taking away the flux- 
ibility of the matter : Thirdly, in incorporating 
the veins and faculties. For the first, to cause a 
regression of the blood, open a vein in the arm, 
and draw out so much blood as the strength of the 
patient will permit ; and that not altogether, but 
at several times, for thereby the spirits are less 
weakened, and the refraction so much the greater. 

Apply cupping-glasses to the breasts, and al- 
so the liver, that the reversion may be in the 

To correct the fluxibility of the matter, cathar- 
tical means, moderated with the astrictories, may 
be used. 

If it be caused by erosion or sharpness of blood 
consider whether the erosion be by salt phlegm, 
or adust choler. If by salt phlegm, prepare with 
syrup of violets, wormwood, roses, citron-pill suc- 
cory, &c. Then make this purgation following: 
mirobalans, chebol, half an ounce ; trochisks of 
agaric, one drachm ; with plantain-water make a 
decoction ; add thereto fir, roast, and lax, three 
ounces, and make a potion. 

If by adust choler, prepare the body with syrup 
of roses, myrtles, sorrel, and purslain, mixed with 
water of plantain, knot-grass, and endive. Then 
purge with this portion ; take rind of mirobalans 
and rhubarb of each one drachm, cinnamon fif- 
teen grains; infuse them one night in endive-wa- 
ter ; add to the straining, pulp of tamarind, cassia 
of e<\ch half an ounce, syrup of roses an ounce; 
make a potion. If the blood be waterish or un- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 85 

concocted, as it is in hydropical bodies, and flows 
forth by reason of the tennity or thinness, to draw 
ofFthe water it will be profitable to purge with 
agaric, elaterium, coloquintida: sweating is pro- 
per in this case, for thereby the matter offending 
is taken away, and the motion of the blood car- 
ried to the outward parts. To procure sweat, use 
cardus-water, with mithridate, or the decoction of 
guaiacum, and sarsaparilla. The gum of guaia- 
cum also doth greatly provoke sweat ; pills of sar- 
saparilla, taken every night going to bed, are 
worthily commended. If the blood flows forth 
through the opening or breaking of a vein, with- 
out any evil quality of itself, then ought only cor- 
roboratives to be applied ; which is the last thing 
to be done in this inordinate flux. 

Take of bole ammoniac one scruple, London 
treacle one drachm, old conserve of roses half an 
ounce, with syrup, of myrtle make an electuary : 
or, if the flux hath continued long, take of mastic 
two drachms ; choani troch de caraba, of each one 
drachm ; balustium, one scruple ; make a powder: 
— with syrup of quinces make it into pills ; take 
one always before meals. Take lapidis, hsematia, 
triti, of each two scruples ; spederdum, alantalia, 
one ounce ; trech decarabede, scorria, ferri, coral, 
frankincense, of each one scruple; fine bole one 
scruple ; beat these to fine powder, and with sugar 
and plantain-water make lozenges. Asses' dung 
is approved of, whether taken inwardly with syrup 
of quinces, or outwardly with steeled-water. 
Galen, by conveying the juice of it through a me- 
trenchita in the womb four days together, cured 
this immoderate flux, which no ways else could 
he restrained. Going to bed, let her take one 
scruple and a half of pilon in water : make a suffu- 
migation for the matrix of mastic, frankincense, 
burnt frogs, not forgetting the hoof of a mule. 

86 aristotle's master-piece. 

Take the juice of knotgrass, comfrey, and quinces, 
of each one ounce, camphire one drachm ; dip silk 
or cotton therein, and apply it to the place. Take 
of oil of mastic, myrtles, quinces, of each half an 
ounce; fine bole, troch, decarda, of each one 
drachm; sanguis draconis a sufficient quantity; 
make an unguent, and apply it before and behind. 
Take of plantain, shepherd's purse, red rose leaves, 
of each one ounce and a half; dried mint one 
ounce ; bean-meal three ounces : — boil all these in 
plantain-water, and make of it two plasters ; apply 
one before and behind. If the blood flow from 
those veins which are terminated in the neck of 
the matrix, then it is not called the overflowing of 
the terms, but the hemorrhoids of the womb; yet 
the same cure will serve both, only the instrument' 
al cure will a little differ : for, in the uterine he- 
morrhoids, the ends of the veins hang over like 
teats or brushes, which must be taken away by 
incision, and then the veins closed up with aloes, 
fine bole, burnt alum, troach de terrs fiall ; myrrh 
mastic, with the juice of comfrey and knotgrass, 
laid plasterways thereto. 

The air must be cold and dry. All motion of 
the body must be forbidden. Let her meat be 
pleasant, partridge, mountain-birds, coneys, calf- 
feet, &c. And let her beer be mixed with juice 
of pomegranates and quinces. 


Of the Weeping of the Womb. 

The weeping of the womb is a flux of blood, ud 
natural, coming from thence by drops, after th 
manner of tears, causing violent pains in the sam 

Aristotle's master-piece. 87 

keeping neither period nor time. By some it is 
referred unto the immoderate evacuation of the 
courses, yet they are distinguished in the quantity 
and manner of overflowing, in that they flow co- 
piously and free ; this is continual, though by 
little and little, and that with great pain and diffi- 
culty ; wherefore it is likened unto the stran- 

The cause is in the faculty, instrument, or mat- 
ter : in the faculty, by being enfeebled that it 
cannot expel the blood ; and the blood resting 
there, makes that part of the womb grow hard, 
and stretcheth the vessels ; from whence proceeds 
the pain of the womb. In the instrument by the, 
narrowness of the passages. Lastly, it may be 
the matter of the blood, which may offend in too 
great a quantity ; or in an evil quality, it being so 
gross and thick that it cannot flow forth as it 
ought to do, but by drops. The signs will best 
appear by the relation of the patient : hereupon 
will issue pains in the head, stomach, and back, 
with inflammations, suffocations, and excoriations 
of the matrix. If the strength of the patient will 
permit, first open a vein in the arm, rub the upper 
parts, and let her arm be corded, that the force of 
the blood may be carried backward : then apply 
such things as may laxate and molify the strength- 
ening of the womb, and assuage the sharpness of 
the blood, as cataplasms made of bran, linseed, 
fenugreek, melilot, mallows, mercury, and arti- 
plex. If the blood be vicious and gross, add there- 
to mugwort, calamint, dictam, and betony ; and 
let her take of Venice treacle the quantity of a 
nutmeg, and the syrup of mugwort every morn- 
ing ; make an injection of the decoction of mal- 
lows, mercury, linseed, groundsel, mugwort, fenu- 
greek, with oil of sweet almonds. 

Sometimes it is caused by the wind, and then 

88 Aristotle's master-wece. 

phlebotomy is to be omitted, and in the stead 
thereof, take syrup of feverfew one ounce ; honey, 
roses, syrup of roses, syrup of flachus, of each 
half an ounce ; water of calamint, mugwort, beto- 
ny, and hyssop, of each one ounce j«make a julep. 
If the pain continues, employ this purgation : take 
of spec and hiera; one drachm, diacatholicon half 
an ounce ; syrup of roses and laxative one ounce; 
with the decoction of mugwort and the four cor- 
dial flowers make a potion. If it comes through 
the weakness of the faculty, let that be corrobora- 
ted. If through the grossness and sharpness of 
the blood, let the quality of it be altered, as I have 
shown in the foregoing chapter. Lastly, if the 
excrement of the guts be retained, provoke them 
by a clyster of the decoction of camomile, betony, 
feverfew, mallows, linseed, juniper berries, cum- 
min seed, anniseed, melilot, adding thereto of dia- 
catholicon half an ounce ; hiera piera, two drachms ; 
honey and oil of each one ounce ; salt nitre a 
drachm and a half. The patient must abstain 
from salt, sharp, and windy meats. 


Of the False Courses, or Whites. 

From the womb proceed not only menstrous 
blood, but, accidentally, many other excrements, 
which by the ancients are comprehended under 
the title of rebus gunakois ; which is a distillation 
of a variety of corrupt humours through the womb 
flowing from the whole body, or part of the same 
keeping neither courses nor colour, but varying in 

Cause. The cause is either promiscuously m 

Aristotle's master-piece. 89 

the whole body, by a cocochymia, or weakness of 
the same, or in some of the parts, as in the liver, 
which, by the inability of the sanguificative facul- 
ty, causeth a generation of corrupt blood, and then 
the matter is reddish ; sometimes the gall being 
sluggish in its office, not drawing away those 
choleric superfluities engendered in the liver, the 
matter is yellowish ; sometimes in the spleen, not 
deficiating and cleansing the blood of the dregs 
and excrementitious parts ; and then the matter 
flowing forth is blackish. It may also come from 
the catarrh in the head, or from any other putri- 
fied or corrupted member ; but if the matter of the 
flux be white, the cause is either in the stomach 
or reins ; in the stomach by a phlegmatical and 
crude matter there contracted and vitiated, through 
grief, melancholy, and other distempers ; for, other- 
wise, if the matter were only pituitous, crude 
phlegm, and no ways corrupt, being taken into 
the liver, it might be converted into blood ; for 
phlegm in the ventricle is called nourishment half 
digested ; but being corrupt, though sent into the 
liver, yet it cannot be turned into nutriment for 
the second decoction cannot correct that which the 
first hath corrupted : and therefore the liver sends 
it to the womb, which can neither digest nor re- 
pel it, and so it is voided out with the same colour 
it had in the ventricle. The cause also may be 
in the reins being overheated, whereby the sper- 
matical matter, by reason of its thinness, flows 
forth. The external causes may be moistness of 
the air, eating corrupt meats, anger, grief, sloth- 
fulness, immoderate sleeping, costiveness in the 

The signs are, extenuation of the body, short- 
ness and stinking of the breath, loathing of meat, 
pain in the head, swellings of the eyes and feet, and 
melancholy ; humidity flows from the womb of di- 

90 Aristotle's master-piece. 

vers colours, as red, black, green, yellow, and 
white. It differs from the flowing- and overflow- 
ing of the courses, in that it keeps no certain pe- 
riod, and is of many colours, all of which do gen- 
erate from blood. 

Prognostic. If the flux be phlegmatical, it will 
continue long and be difficult to cure, yet if vomit- 
ing or diarrhcsa happeneth, it diverts the humour 
and cures the disease. If it be choleric, it is not 
so permanent, yet more perilous, for it will cause 
a cliff* in the neck of the womb, and sometimes 
make an excoriation of the matrix ; if melancholic 
it must be dangerous and contumacious. Yet the 
flux of the hemorrhoids administer cure. 

If the matter flowing forth be reddish, open a 
vein in the arm ; if not, apply ligatures to the arms 
and shoulders. Galen glories of himself, how he 
cured the wife of Brutus, labouring of this disease 
by rubbing the upper parts with crude honey. 

If it be caused by a distillation from the brain, 
take syrup of betony, stochas, and marjoram ; 
purge with pillcoen, fine quibus de agrico j make 
nasalia of the juice of sage, hyssop, betony, nigella 
with one drop of oil of elect, dianth, aromat. rosat 
diambrae, diamosci dulcis, of each one drachm, 
nutmeg half a drachm ; with sugar and betony 
water make lozenges, to be taken every morning 
and evening; Auri Alexandria, half a drachm at 
night going to bed. If these things help not, use 
the suffumigation and plaster, as they are pre- 

If it proceed from crudities in the stomach or 
from a cold distempered liver, take every mornin^ 
of the decoction of lignum sanctum ; purge with 
pill de agrico, de hermodact, de hiera, diacolinthio 
faetid. agrigatio : take elect, aromat. roses two 
drachms ; citron peel dried, nutmeg, long pepper 
of each one scruple ; diaglanga one drachm ; fan- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 91 

tali, alb. lign. aloes, of each half a scruple ; sugar 
six ounces, with mint-water ; and make lozenges 
of it : take of them before meals. If, with the 
frigidity of the liver, there be joined a repletion 
of the stomach, purging by vomit is commendable ; 
for which three drachms of the electuary diasatu. 
Galen allows of diuretical means, as aosum pe- 

If the matter of the flux be choleric, prepare 
the humour with syrup of roses, violets, endive, 
succory ; purge with mirobalans, manna, rhubarb, 
cassia. Take of rhubarb two drachms, anniseed 
one drachm, cinnamon a scruple and a half; in- 
fuse them in six ounces of prune broth, add of the 
straining of manna one ounce, and take in the 
morning according to art. Take specierum, dia- 
tonlantoe, diacorant, prig, diarthod, abbaris, dy- 
acydomes, of each one drachm, sugar four ounces 
with plantain water ; make lozenges. If the clys- 
ter of the gall be sluggish, and do not stir up the 
faculty of the gut, give hot clysters of the decoc- 
tion of the four mollifying herbs with honey of 
roses and aloes. 

If the flux be melancholic, prepare with syrup 
of maiden-hair, epithymium, polipoly, borrage, 
buglos, fumitary, harts-tongue, and syrupusbisan- 
tius, which must be made without vinegar, other- 
wise it will rather animate the disease than nature : 
or melancholy by the use of vinegar is increased, 
and both by Hippocrates, Silvius, and Avenzoar, 
it is disallowed of as an enemy to the womb, and 
therefore not to be used inwardly in all uterine dis- 
eases. Purgers of melancholy are pilulae sumarice, 
pilulse lud de lapina, lazuli diosena, and confectio 
hamec. Take of stamped prunes two ounces; 
sen. one drachm ; epithimium, polibody, fumitary 
of each a drachm and a half; sour dates, one 
ounce ; with endive water, make a decoction j take 

92 Aristotle's master-piece. 

of it four ounces, add unto it confections, hame- 
sech three drachms, manna three drachms. Or 
take pil. indie, pil. foetid, agarici, trochisati, of 
each one scruple ; pills of rhubarb one scruple ; 
lapidis lazuli six grains ; with syrup of epithimi- 
urn make pills, and take them once every week. 
Take elect, lretificants, galen three drachms ; dia- 
margariti, calimlone, diamosci, dulcis, conserves 
of borage, violets, buglos, of each a drachm ; cit- 
ron-peel candied, one drachm j sugar seven ounces : 
with rose-water make lozenges. 

Lastly, Let the womb be cleansed from the cor- 
rupt matter, and then corroborated. For the puri- 
fying thereof, make injections of the decoction of 
betony, feverfew, spikenard, bistort, mercury, and 
sage, adding thereto sugar, oil of sweet almonds, 
of each two ounces ; pesaries also may be made 
of silk or cotton, mollified in the juice of the afore- 
named herbs. 

To corroborate the womb, you must thus pre- 
pare trochisks : take of mugwort, feverfew, myrrh, 
amber, mace, nutmeg, storax, lign. aloes, red roses 
of each one ounce; with the mucilage, tragacanth 
make trochisks ; cast some of them into coals, and 
smoke the womb therewith, and make fomenta- 
tions for the womb with red wine, in which hath 
been decocted mastic, fine bole, malustia, and red 
roots ; anoint the matrix with oil of quinces and 
myrtles, and apply thereto emplastrum, pro-ma- 
trice ; and let her take diamosdum, dulce, aract, 
and celematicum, every morning. 

A dry diet is commended to be the best, because 
in this effect the body most commonly abounds 
with phlegmatical and crude humours. For this 
cause Hippocrates counsels the patient to ao to 
bed supperless. Let her meat be partridge, pheas- 
ant, and mountain birds, rather roasted than boil- 
ed. Immoderate sleep is forbidden, moderate ex- 
ercise is commended. . 

Aristotle's master-piece. 93 


Of the Suffocation of the Mother. 

This effect, which, if simply considered, is no- 
thing but the cause of an effect, is called in Eng- 
lish, " the suffocation of the mother ;" not because 
the womb is strangled, but for that it causeth the 
womb to be choked. It is a retraction of the womb 
towards the midriff" and the stomach, which so 
presseth and crusheth up the same, that the in- 
strumental cause of respiration, the midriff", is 
suffocated, and consenting with the brain, causes 
the animating faculty, the efficient cause of res- 
piration, also to be intercepted, while the body be- 
ing refrigerated, and the action depraved, she falls 
to the ground as one dead. 

In those hysterical passions some continue long- 
er, some shorter. Rabbi Moses writes of some 
who lay in the paroxysm of the fit for two days. 
Rufus makes mention of one who continued in the 
same passion three days and three nights j and at 
the three days' end she revived. That we may 
learn by other men's harms to beware, I will tell 
you an example. Paroetus writeth of a woman 
in Spain, who suddenly fell into an uterine suffo- 
cation, and sppeared to men's judement as dead ; 
her friends wondering at this her sudden change, 
for their better satisfaction sent for a surgeon to 
have her dissected, who, beginning to make an 
incision, the woman began to move, and with 
great clamour returned to herself again, to the 
horror and admiration of the spectators. 

To .the end that you may distinguish the living 
from the dead, the ancients prescribe three expe- 
riments : the first is, to lay a light feather to the 
mouth, and by its motion you may judge whether 

94 Aristotle's master-piece. 

the patient be living or dead : the second is, to 
place a glass of water on the breast, and if you 
perceive it to move, it betokeneth life : the third 
is, to hold a pure looking-glass to the mouth and 
nose and if the glass appears thick, with a little 
dew upon it, it betokeneth life : and these three ex- 
periments are good, yet with this caution, that 
you ought not to depend upon them to much : for 
though the feather and the water do not move 
and the glass continue pure and clear, yet it is 
not a necessary consequence that she is destitute 
of life. For the motion of the lungs, by which 
the respiration is made, may be taken away so 
that she cannot breathe, yet the internal transpi- 
ration of the heat may remain ; which is not mani- 
fest by the motion of the breast or lungs, but lies 
occult in the heart and inward arteries : examples 
whereof we have in the fly and swallow, who, in 
cold winters, to ocular aspect, seem dead, inani- 
mate, and breathe not at all ; yet they live by the 
transpiration of that heat which is reserved in the 
heart and inward arteries : therefore, when the 
summer approacheth, the internal heat being re- 
vocated to the outward parts, they are then again 
revived out of their sleepy extacy. 

Those women, therefore, who seem to die sud- 
denly, and upon no evident cause, let them not be 
committed unto the earth until the end of three 
days, lest the living be buried for the dead. 

Cure. The part affected is the womb, of which 
there is a twofold motion — natural and symptoma- 
tical. The natural motion is, when the womb at- 
tracteth the human seed, or excludeth the infant 
or secundine. The symptomatical motion, of which 
we are to speak, is a convulsive drawing up of the 

The cause usually is in the retention of the seed 
or the suppression of the menses, causing a reple- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 95 

tion of the corrupt humours in the womb, from 
whence proceeds a flatuous refrigeration, causing 
a convulsion of the ligaments of the womb. And 
as it may come from humidity or repletion, being 
a convulsion, it may be caused by emptiness or 
dryness. And lastly, by abortion, or difficult child- 

Signs. At the approaching of the suffocation, 
there is a paleness of the face, weakness of the 
legs, shortness of breath, frigidity of the whole 
body, with a working into the throat, and then 
she falls down as one void both of sense and mo- 
tion ; the mouth of the womb is closed up, and be- 
ing touched with the finger, feels hard. The pa- 
roxysm of the fit being once past, she openeth her 
eyes, and feeling her stomach oppressed, she of- 
fers to vomit. And lest any one should be deceiv- 
ed in taking one disease for another, I will show 
how it may be distinguished from those diseases 
which have the nearest affinity to it. 

It differs from the apoplexy, by reason it comes 
without shrieking out ; also in the hysterical pas- 
sion the sense of feeling is not altogether destroy- 
ed and lost, as it is in the apoplectic disease : and 
it differs from the epilepsies in that the eyes are 
not wrested, neither doth any spongy froth come 
from the mouth ; and that convulsive motion, which 
sometimes, and that often, is joined to suffocations 
is not universal, as it is in the epilepsies, only this 
or that matter is convulsed, and that without any 
vehement agitation. In the syncope, both respi- 
ration and pulse are taken away, the countenance 
waxeth pale, and she swoons away suddenly ; but 
in the hysterical passion, commonly, there is both 
respiration and pulse, though it cannot be well 
perceived ; her face looks red, and she hatha fore- 
warning of her fit. Yet it is not denied but that 
syncope may be joined with this suffocation 

96 Aristotle's master-piece. 

Lastly, it is distinguished from the lethargy by 
the pulse, which, in the one is great, and in the 
other little. 

Prognostic. If the disease hath its being from 
the corruption of the seed, it foretels more danger 
than if it proceed from the suppression of the 
courses, because the seed is concocted, and of a 
purer quality than the menstrous blood, and the 
more pure being corrupted, becomes the more foul 
and filthy, as appears in eggs, the purest nourish- 
ment, which vitiated, yield the noisomest savour. 
If it be accompanied with a syncope, it shows na- 
ture is but weak, and that the spirits are almost 
exhausted ; but if sneezing follows, it shews the 
heat, which was almost extinct, doth now begin to 
return, and that nature will subdue the dis- | 

Cure. In the cure of this effect, two things 
must be observed : first, that during the time of 
the paroxysm, nature be provoked to expel those 
malignant vapours which blind up the senses, that 
she may be recalled out of that sleepy extacy. 
Secondly, that in the intermission of the fit, pro- j 
per medicines may be applied to take away the ^ 

To stir up nature, fasten cupping-glasses to the 
hips and navel, apply ligatures unto the thigh, rub 
the extreme parts with salt, vinegar, and mustard: 
cause loud clamours and thundering in the ears. 
Apply to the nose assafostida, castor, and saga- 
paneux, steeped in vinegar : provoke her to sneeze 
by blowing up into her nostrils the powder of cas- 
tor, white pepper, Spanish pelitory, and hellebore; 
hold under her nose partridge feathers, hair, and 
burnt leather, or any other thing having a strong 
stinking smell ; for evil odours being disagreeable 
to nature, the animal spirits do so contest and 
strive against them, that the natural heat is there- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 97 

by restored. The brain is sometimes so oppres- 
sed, that there is a necessity for burning the out- 
ward skin of the head with hot oil, or with a hot 
iron. Sharp clysters and suppositories are avail- 
able. Take of sage, calamint, horehound, fever- 
few, marjoram, betony, hyssop, of each one hand- 
ful ; anniseed half an ounce ; coloquintida, white 
hellebore, sal gem, of each two drachms ; boil these 
in two pounds of water to the half ; add the strain- 
ing oil of castor two ounces, hiera picra two 
drachms, and make a clyster of it ; or, take honey 
boiled two ounces, cuphorb half a scruple, colo- 
quint four grains, with hellebore two grains, salt one 
drachm ; make a suppository. Hippocrates writeth 
of an hysterical woman, who could not be freed 
from the paroxysm but by pouring cold water 
upon her ; yet this cure is singular, and ought to 
be administered only in heat of summer, when the 
sun is in the tropic of Cancer. 

If it be caused by the retention and corruption 
of the seed, at the instant of the paroxysm, let the 
midwife take oil of lilies, marjoram, and bays, dis- 
solving in the same two grains of civit, and as 
much musk ; let her dip her finger therein, and put 
it up into the neck of the womb, tickling and rub- 
bing the same. 

The fit being over, proceed to the curing of the 
cause. If it arise from the suppression of the men- 
ses, look to the cure in chap. xi. If from the reten- 
tion of the seed, a good husband will administer a 
cure ; but those who cannot honestly purchase that 
cure, must use such things as will dry up and di- 
minish the seed, asdiacimina, diacalaminthes, &c. 
Amongst potions, the seed of agnus castas is well 
esteemed of, whether taken inwardly, applied out- 
wardly, or received as sufFumigation; it was held 
in great honour amongst the Athenians, for by it 
they did remain as pure vessels and preserved 

98 Aristotle's master-piece. 

their chastity, by only strewing it on the bed 
whereon they lay, and hence the name of agnus 
castus given it, as denoting its effects. Make an 
issue on the inside of each leg, a hand breadth be- 
low the knee. Make trochisks of agaric, two 
scruples, wild carrot seed, lign aloes, of each half 
a scruple ; washed turpentine, three drachms; with 
conserve of anthos make a bolus. Castor is of 
excellent use in this case, eight drachms of it ta- 
ken in white wine : or you may make pills of it 
withmithridate, and take them going to bed. Take 
of white briony root, dried and cut after the man- 
ner of carrots, one ounce, put in a draught of wine, 
placing it by the fire, and when it is warm, drink 
it. Take myrrh, castor, and assafrctida, of each 
one scruple ; saffron and rue-seed, of each four 
grains ; make eight pills, and take two every night 
going to bed. 

Galen, by his own example, commends unto us 
agaric pulverized, of which he frequently gave 
one scruple in white wine. Lay to the navel, at 
bed-time, a head of garlic bruised, fastening it 
with a swathing-band. Make a girdel of galban- 
um for the waist, and also a plaster for the belly, 
placing in one part of it civet and musk, which 
must be laid upon the navel. Take pulveris, bene- 
dict, trochisk of agaric, of each two drachms; of 
mithridate a sufficient quantity ; and so make two 
pessaries, and it will purge the matrix of wind and 
phelgm ; foment the natural part with sallad oil r 
in which hath been boiled rue, feverfew, and cam- 
omile. Take of rose leaves a handful, cloves two 
scruples ; quilt them in a little cloth, and boil them 
in malmsey the eighth part of an hour, and apply 
them to the mouth of the womb, as hot as may be 
endured, but let not the smell go to her nose. A 
dry diet must still be observed. The moderate 
use of Venus is commended. Let her bread be 



anniseed biscuit, her flesh meat rather roasted 
than boiled. 


Of the. descending or falling of the Mother. 

The falling down of the womb is a relaxation 
of the ligatures, whereby the matrix is carried 
backward, and in some hangs out in the bigness 
of an egg ; of this there are two kinds, distinguish- 
ed by a descending and precipitation. The de- 
scending of the womb is, when it sinks down to 
the entrance of the privities, and appears to the 
eye either not at all, or very little. The precipi- 
tation is, when the womb, like a purse, is turned 
inside outward, and hangs betwixt the thighs in 
the bigness of a cupping-glass. 

Cause. The cause is external or internal ; the 
external cause is difficult child-birth, violent pull- 
ing away of the secundine, rashness and inexpe- 
rience in drawing away the child, violent coughing, 
sneezing, falls, blows, and carrying heavy burdens. 
The internal cause in general is overmuch humid- 
ity flowing into these parts, hindering the opera- 
tions of the womb, whereby the ligaments by which 
the womb is supported are relaxed. 

The cause in particular is referred to be in the 
retention of the seed, or in the suppression of the 
monthly courses. 

Signs. The arse-gut and bladder oftentimes 
are so crushed that the passage of both the excre- 
ments are hindered ; if the urine flows forth white 
and thick, and the midriff moistened the loins 
are grieved, the privities pained, and the womb 
sinks down to the private parts, or else comes 
clean out. 

100 Aristotle's master-piece. 

Prognostic. This grief possessing an old wo- 
man, is cured with great difficulty; because it 
weakens the faculties of the womb, and therefore, 
though it be reduced into its proper place, yet 
upon every little illness or indisposition, it is sub- 
ject to return; and so it also is with the younger 
sort, if the disease be inveterate. If it be caused 
by a putrefaction of the nerves, it is incurable. 

Cure. The womb being naturally placed be- 
tween the strait-gut and the bladder, and now fall- 
en down, ought not to be put up again, until the 
faculty, both of the gut and of the bladder, be stir- 
red up. Nature being unloaded of her burden, let 
the woman be laid on her back in such sort that 
her legs may be higher than her head ; let her feet 
be drawn up to her hinder parts, with her knees 
spread abroad; then mollify the swelling with oil 
of lilies and sweet almonds, or with the decoction 
of mallows, beets, fenugreek, and linseed ; when 
the inflammation is dissipated, let the midwife 
anoint her hand with oil of mastic, and reduce the 
womb into its place. The matrix being up, the 
situation of the patient must be changed, let her 
legs be put out at length, and laid together ; six 
cupping-glasses to her breasts and navel : boil mug- 
wort, feverfew, red roses and comfrey in red wine; 
make suffumigation for the matrix, and move 
sweet odours to her nose ; and at her comin<* out 
of the bath, give her of syrup of feverfew one 
ounce, with a drachm of mithridate. Take laudani 
mastic, of each three drachms, make a plaster of 
it for the uavel ; then make pessaries of assafcsti- 
da, saffron, comfrey, and mastic, addino- thereto a 
little castor 

The practice of Parius in this case was to make 
them only of cork, in figure like a little egg, cover- 
ing them over with wax and mastic, dissolved to- 
gether, fastening them to a thread, and put into 
the womb. 

Aristotle's master-piece. 101 

The present danger being now taken away, and 
the matrix seated in its natural abode, the remote 
cause must be removed. If the body be plethoric, 
open a vein ; prepare with syrup of betony, cala- 
mint, hyssop, and feverfew. Purge with pil. hierac, 
agaric, pil. de colocin. If the stomach be oppres- 
sed with crudities, unburden it by vomiting : su- 
dorifical decoctions of lignum sanctum, and sassa- 
fras, taken twenty days together, dry up the su- 
perfluous moisture, and consequently suppress the 
cause of the disease. 

Let the air be hot and dry, your diet hot and at- 
tenuating ; abstain from danc*ujg, leaping, squeez- 
ing, and from all motion both of body and mind ; 
eat sparingly, drink little, sleep moderately. 


Of the Inflammation of the Womb. 

The phlegmon, or inflammation of the matrix, 
is a humour possessing the whole womb, accom- 
panied with unnatural heat, by obstruction, and 
gathering together of corrupt blood. 

Caused The cause of this effect is suppression 
of the menses, repletion of the whole body, immod- 
erate use of Venus, often handling the genitals, 
difficult childbirth, vehement agitation of the 
body, falls, blows ; to which also may be added, 
the use of sharp pessaries, whereby not seldom 
the womb is inflamed ; cupping-glasses also fast- 
ened to the pubis and hypogastrium, draw the hu- 
mours to the womb. 

Signs. The signs are, anguish, humours, pain 
in the head and stomach ; vomiting, coldness of 
the knees, convulsions of the neck, doating, trem- 

102 Aristotle's master-piece. 

bling of the heart ; often there is a straitness of 
breath, by reason of the heat which is communi- 
cated to the midriff, the breasts sympathising with 
the womb, pained and swelled. Further, if the 
fore part of the matrix be inflamed, the privities 
are grieved, the urine is suppressed, or flows forth 
with difficulty. If the after part, the loins and 
back suffer, the excrements are retained on the 
right side, the right hip suffers, the right leg is 
heavy and slow to motion, insomuch that some- 
times she seems to halt : and so if the left side of 
the womb be inflamed, the left hip is pained, and 
the left leg is weaker than the right. If the neck 
of the womb be refreshed, the midwife putting up 
her finger, shall feel the mouth of it retracted and 
closed up with a hardness about it. 

Prognostics. All inflammations of the womb 
are dangerous, if not deadly; and especially if the 
total substance of the matrix be inflamed ; but 
they are very perilous if in the neck of the womb. 
A flue in the belly foretels health, if it be natural ; 
for nature works best by the use of her own in- 

Cure. In cure, first let the humours flowing to 
the womb be repelled; for effecting of which, af- 
ter the belly has been loosed by cooling clysters, 
phlebotomy will be needful ; open therefore a vein 
in the arm, if she be not with child ; the day after 
strike the saphena on both feet, fasten ligatures 
and cupping-glasses to the arm, and rub the up- 
per part. Purge gently with cassia, rhubarb, 
senna, mirobalans. Take of senna two drachms 
anniseed one scruple, mirobalans half an ounce' 
barley-water a sufficient quantity ; make a decoc- 
tion ; dissolve it in syrup of succory, with rhubarb 
two ounces, pulp of cassia half an ounce oil of 
anniseed two drops, and make a potion. At the 
beginning of the disease anoint the privities and 

Aristotle's master-piece* 103 

reins with oil of roses and quinces ; make plasters 
of plantain, linseed, barley-meal, melilot, fenugreek 
whites of eggs, and, if the pain be vehement, a 
little opium ; foment the genitals with the decoc- 
tion of poppy heads, purslain, knot-grass, and wa- 
ter-lilies; then make injections of goat's milk, rose- 
water, clarified whey, with honey of roses. In 
the declining of the disease, use incisions of sage, 
linseed, mugwort, pennyroyal, horehound, and 
fenugreek ; anoint the lower part of the belly with 
the oil of camomile and violets. 

Take lily-roots and mallow-roots, of each four 
ounces ; mercury one handful ; mugwort, and fever- 
few, camomile flowers, and melilot, of each a hand- 
ful and a half; bruise the herbs and roots, and 
boil them in a sufficient quantity of milk ; then 
add fresh butter, oil of camomile, and lilies, of 
each two ounces ; bean-meal a sufficient quantity : 
make two plasters, — the one before, the other 

If the humour cannot be removed, but tends to 
suppuration, take fenugreek, mallow-roots, decoc- 
ted figs, linseed, barley-meal, dove's dung, turpen- 
tine, of each three drachms; deer's suet half a 
drachm, opium half a scruple ; with wax make a 

Take of bay leaves, sage, hyssop, camomile, 
mugwort, and with water make an infusion. 

Take wormwood and betony, of each half a 
handful ; white wine and milk, of each half a 
pound ; boil them until one part be confirmed ; then 
take of this decoction four ounces, honey of Toses 
two ounces, and make an injection. Yet beware 
that the humours are not brought down unto the 
womb. Take roasted figs and mercury bruised, 
of each three drachms ; turpentine and duck's 
grease, of each three drachms ; opium, two grains ; 
with wax make a pessary. 

J04 Aristotle's master-piece. 

The air must be cold ; and all the motion of the 
body, especially of the lower part, is forbidden. 
Vigilance is commended, for by sleep the humours 
are carried inward, by which the inflammation is 
increased : eat sparingly ; let your drink be barley 
water, or clarified whey, and your meat be chick- 
ens, and chicken broth, boiled with endive, suc- 
cory, sorrel, buglos, and mallows. 


Of the Schirrosity, or Hardness of the Womb. 

Of phlegm neglected, or not perfectly cured, is 
generated a schirrus of the matrix, which is a 
hard unnatural swelling, insensibly hindering the 
operations of the womb, and disposing the whole 
body to slothfulness. 

Cause. One cause of this disease may be as- 
cribed to want of judgment in the physician ; as 
many empirics administering to an inflammation 
of the womb, do over-much refrigerate and affrige 
the humour, that it can neither pass forward nor 
backward ; hence the matter being condensed, de- 
generates into a lapidious hard substance. Other 
causes may be suppression of the monstrous re- 
tention of the lochi, commonly called the after 
purgings ; eating of corrupt meats, as in disordi- 
nate longing called pica, to which breeding women 
are so often subject. It may proceed also from 
obstructions and ulcers in the matrix, or from evil 
effects in the liver and spleen. 

Signs. If the bottom of the womb be affected 
she feels as it were a heavy burden representing 
a mole ; yet differing, in that the breasts are atten- 
uated, and the whole body waxed less. If the 

Aristotle's master-piece. 105 

neck of the womb be affected, no outward humours 
will appear : the mouth of it is retracted, and be- 
ing touched with the fingers, feels hard ; nor can 
she have the company of a man without great 
pains and prickings. 

Prognostics. A schirrus confirmed is incura- 
ble, and will turn into a cancer, or incurable drop- 
sy ; and ending in a cancer, proves deadly, because 
the native heat in those parts being almost smoth- 
ered can hardly again be restored. 

Cure. Where there is a repletion, phlebotomy 
is advisable ; wherefore open the medina on both 
arms, and saphena on both feet, more especially if 
the menses be suppressed. 

Prepare the humour with syrup of borage suc- 
cory, epithynan, and clarified whey ; then take of 
these pills following, according to the strength of 
the patient: 

Take of hiera picra six drachms, black helebore 
polybody, of each two drachms and a half; agaric, 
lapis lazuli, abluti salindia?, coloquintida, of each 
one drachm and a half; mix them and make pills. 
The body being purged, proceed to mollify the 
hardness as followeth : anoint the privities and 
neck of the womb with unguent, decalthea, and 
agrippa ; or take opopanax, bdellium ammoniac, 
and myrrh, of each two drachms, saffron half a 
drachm ; dissolve the gum in oil of lilies and 
sweet almonds ; with wax and turpentine make an 
uno-uent ; apply below the navel ciacalion, ferellia ; 
make infusions of figs, mugvvort, mallows, penny- 
royal, althea, fennel roots, melilot, fenugreek, boil- 
ed in water. Make injection of calamint, linseed, 
melilot, fenugreek, and the four mollifying herbs, 
with oil of dill, camomile, and lilies dissolved in 
the same. Three drachms of the gum bdellium ; 
cast the stone pyrites on the coals, and let her re- 
ceive the fume into her womb. Foment the se- 

106 Aristotle's haster-piece. 

cret parts with decoctions of the roots and leaves 
of danewort. Take of gum galbanum, opopanax, 
of each one drachm, juice of danewort, mucilage, 
fenugreek, of each one drachm ; calf's marrow an 
ounce, wax a sufficient quantity : make a pessary, 
or make a pessary only of lead, dipping it in the 
aforesaid things, and so put up. 

The air must be temperate : gross, vicious, and 
salt meats are forbidden, as pork, bull's beef, fish, 
old cheese, &c. 


Of the Dropsy of the Womb. 

The uterine dropsy is an unnatural swelling, 
elevated by the gathering together of wind or 
phlegm in the cavity, membranes, or substance of 
the womb, by reason of the debility of the native 
heat and aliment received, and so it turns into an 

The causes are overmuch cold or moistness of 
the melt and liver, immoderate drinking, eating of 
crude meats ; all which, causing a repletion, do 
suffocate the natural heat. It may be caused like- 
wise by the overflowing of the courses, or by any 
other immoderate evacuation. To these may be 
added abortions, phlegmons and schirrosities of 
the womb. 

Cure. The signs of this effect are these. The 
lower parts of the belly, with the genitals, are puff- 
ed up, and pained ; the feet swell, the natural col- 
our of the face decays, the appetite is depraved 
and the heaviness of the whole body concurs. If 
she turns herself in the bed, from one side to the 
other, a noise like the flowing of water is heard 

Aristotle's master-piece. 107 

Water sometimes comes from the matrix. If the 
swelling be caused by wind, the belly being hot, it 
sounds like a drum ; the guts rumble, and the wind 
breaks through the neck of the womb with a mur- 
muring noise ; this effect may be distinguished 
from a true conception many ways, as will appear 
by the chapter " Of Conception." It is distin- 
guished from the general dropsy, in that the low- 
er parts of the belly are most swelled. Again, in 
this sanguificative faculty it appears not so hurt- 
ful, nor the urine so pale, nor the countenance so 
soon changed, neither are the superior parts ex- 
tenuated, as in the general dropsy. 

Prognostics. This effect foretels the sad ruin 
of the natural functions, by that singular consent 
the womb hath with the liver, and that therefore 
chachevy, or general dropsy, will follow. 

Cure. In the cure of this disease imitate the 
practice of Hippocrates : first, mitigate the pain 
with fomentation of melilot, mercury, mallows, 
linseed, camomile, and althea ; then let the womb 
be prepared with syrup of stcebis, hyssop, cala- 
mint, mugwort, of both sorts, with the distilled 
waters or decoction of elder, marjoram, sage, ori- 
gan, spcrage, penn}Toya], betony ; purge with 
senna, agaric, rhubarb, and claterium. Take spec- 
ierum, hier, rhubarb, and trochisks of agaric, of 
each one scrnple ; with juice of iros make pills. 

In disease which have their rise from moistness, 
purge with pills. And in these effects which are 
caused by emptiness or dryness, purge with potion. 
Fjsten a cupping-glass to the belly, with a great 
fume ; and also the navel, especially if the swell- 
ing be flatulent : make an issue on the inside of 
each leg, a hand breadth below the knee. Take 
specierum, diambrae diamolct, diacalaminti, dia- 
cinamoni, diocimini, and troch. de myrrha, of each 
two drachms, sugar one pound $ with betony wa 

10S Aristotle's master-piece. 

ter make lozenges : take of them two hours before 
meals. Apply to the bottom of the belly, as hot 
as may be endured, a little bag of camomile, cum- 
min, and melilot, boiled in oil of rue ; anoint the 
belly and secret parts with unguent agrippa and 
unguent arragoes ; mingle therewith oil of iros ; 
cover the lower parts of the belly with the plas- 
ters of bay berries, or a cataplasm made of cum- 
min, camomile, briony roots, adding cow's and 
goat's dung. 

Our moderns ascribe great virtues to tobacco- 
water distilled, and poured into the womb by a me- 
trenchyta. Take hin, balm, southern-wood, ori- 
gan, wormwood, calamint, bay-leaves, marjoram, 
of each one handful ; juniper berries four drachms ; 
■with water make a decoction : of this maybe made 
fomentations and infusions: make pessaries of 
storax, aloes, with the roots of dictau, aristolo- 
chia, and gentian. Instead of this you may use 
pessary, prescribe chapter xvii. Let her take of 
electuarium aromaticum, dissatyron, and eringe 
roots candied, every morning. 

The air must be hot and dry ; moderate exer- 
cise is allowed ; much sleep is forbidden. She 
may eat the flesh of patridges, larks, chickens, 
mountain birds, hares, conies, &c. Let her drink 
be thin wine. 


Of Moks arul False Conception*. 

This disease is called by the Greeks mole ; and 
the cause of this denomination is taken from the 
load or heavy weight of it, it being a mole, or 
great lump of hard flesh burdening the womb. 

athstotle's master-piece. 109 

It is defined to be and inarticulate piece of fle^sh, ' 
without form, begotten in a matrix as if it were a 
true conception. In which definition we are to 
note two things : first, in that a mole is said to be 
inarticulate and without form, it differs from mon- 
sters, which are both formate and articulate : se- 
condly, it is said to be as it were a true concep- 
tion, which puts a difference between a true con- 
ception and a mole ; which difference holds good 
three ways ; first, in the genus, in that a mole can- 
pot be said to be an animal: secondly, in that 
species, because it hath no human figure, and 
bears not the character of a man ; thirdly, in the 
individual, for it hath no affinity with the parent, 
either in the whole body or any particular part of 
the same. 

Cause. About the cause of this effect, amongst 
learned authors I find a variety of judgments. 
Some are of opinion, that if the woman's seed 
goes into the womb, and not the man's, thereby is 
the mole produced. Others there be that affirm, 
it is engendered of the menstrous blood. But if 
these two were granted, then maids, by having 
their courses, or through nocturnal pollutions, 
might be subject to the same, which never yet any 
were. The true cause of this fleshy mole proceeds 
both from the man and the woman, from cor- 
corrupt and barren seed in man, and from the 
menstruous blood in the woman, both emitted to- 
gether in the cavity of the womb, where nature 
finding herself weak, (yet desiring to maintain the 
perpetuity of her species,) labours to bring forth a 
vicious conception rather than none : and instead 
of a living creature, generates a lump of flesh. 

Si<rns. The signs of a mole are these: the 

months are suppressed, the appetite is depraved, 

the breasts swell, and the belly is suddenly puffed 

up and waxeth hard. Thus far the signs of a 

r ' 10 

110 Aristotle's master-piece. 

breeding woman, and one that beareth a mole, are 
all one I will show you how they differ. The 
first sign of difference is taken from the motion of 
a mole; it may befek to move in the womb before 
the third month, which an infant cannot ; yet the 
motion cannot be understood of any intelligent 
power in the mole, but the faculty of the womb 
and the animal spirits diffused through the sub- 
stance of the mole ; for it hath not an animal but 
a vegetative life, in manner of a plant : secondly, 
if a mole, the belly is suddenly puffed up; but if a 
true conception^ the belly is suddenly retracted, 
and then riseth up. by degrees: thirdly, the belly 
being pressed with .the hand, the mole gives way ; 
and the hand being taken away, it returns to the 
place again ; but a child in the womb, though press- 
ed with the hand, moves not presently ; and being 
removed, returns slowly, or not at all : lastly, the 
child continues in the womb not above eleven 
months, but a mole continues sometimes four or 
five years, more or less, according as it is fasten- 
ed in the matrix. I have known a mole fall away 
in four or five months. If it remain until the 
eleventh month, the legs wax feeble, and the 
whole body consumes, only the swelling of the 
belly still increases, which makes some think they 
are dropsical, though there be little reason for it ; 
for in the dropsy the legs swell and grow big, but 
in a mole they consume and wither. 

Prognostics. If, at the delivery of a mole, the 
flux of the blood be great, it shews the more dan- 
ger, because the parts of nutrition havino- been 
violated by the flowing back of the superfluous 
humours, where the natural heat is consumed : 
and then parting with so much of her blood the 
woman thereby is so weakened in all her faculties 
that '•he cannot subsist without difficulty. 

Curt. We are taught in the school of Hippo- 

■Aristotle's master-piece. Ill 

♦orates, that phlebotomy causeth abortion, by ta- 
king all that nourishment which should preserve 
the life of the child : wherefore, that this vicious 
conception may be deprived of that vegetative sap 
by which it lives, open the liver vein 'and the sa- 
phena in both the feet, fasten cupping-glasses to 
the loins and sides of the belly, which done, let 
the uterine parts be first mollified, and then the 
expulsive faculty provoked to expel the bur- 

To laxate the ligatureof the mole, take mallows 
with the roots, three handsful; camomile, melilot, 
pelitory of the wall, violet leaves, mercury, root of 
■fennel, parsley, of each two handsful ; linseed, fe- 
nugreek, each one pounds boil them in water, and 
let her sit therein up to the navel. At her going 
out of the bath, anoint the privities and reins with 
the following unguent : take oil of camomile, lilies 
sweet almonds, one ounce each ; fresh butter, lau- 
danum, ammoniac, of each half an ounce ; with 
the oil of linseed make an unguent. Or, instead 
of this may be used unguentum agrippa, or dial- 
thea. Take mercury and althea roots, of each half 
a handful ; fios, brachoc, ursini, half a handful ; 
linseed, barley meal, of each six ounces ; boil all 
these with water and honey, and make a plaster ; 
make pessaries of the gum galbanum, bdellium, 
antimonia cum, figs, hog's suet, and honey. 

After the ligaments of the mole are loosed, let 
the expulsive faculty be stirred up to expel the 
mole : for effecting of which all medicaments may 
be used which are proper to bring down the 
-courses. Take troch. de myrrh one ounce; cas- 
tor astrolochia, gentian, dictam of each half an 
ounce ; make a powder ; take one drachm in four 
ounces of mugwort water. Take of hypericon, ca- 
lamint, penny-royal, betony, hyssop, sage, hore- 
hound, Valeria, madder, savine ; with water make 

112 aristotee's master-piece. 

a decoction ; take three ounces of it, with one 
ounce and a half of feverfew. Take of mugwort, 
myrrh gentian, pill. coch. of each four scruples ' r 
rue, pennyroyal, sage-panum, opopanax, of each a 
drachm 5 'assafoetida, cinnamoji, juniper berries, 
borage of each one drachm 5 with the juice of sa- 
vine make pills to be taken every morning : make 
an infusion of hyssop, bay-leaves, asirum, cala- ( 
mint ' T bay-berries - , camomile, mugwort, ervine, 
cloves, nutmeg, of each two scruples 5 galbanum 
one drachm jhiera picra and black hellebore oil, 
of each one scruple ;. with turpentine make a 

But if these things prove not available, then 
must the mole be drawn away with an instrument 
put up into the womb, called a pes griphus, which 
may be done with no great danger, if it be per- 
formed by a skilful surgeon. After the delivery 
of the mole, by reason that the woman hath part- 
ed with much blood already, let the flux of blood 
be stayed as soon as may »be. Fasten cupping- 
glasses to the shoulders and ligatures of the arms. 
If this help not, open the liver vein in the right 

The air must be tolerably hot and dry, and dry 
diet, such as doth mollify and attenuate ; she may 
drink white wine^ 


Of Conception, and kow a Woman may know whether she hath 
conceived or not, and whether a Male or a Female 

The natural instinct that nature has implanted 
in men and women to propagate their own species 
puts them upon making use of those ways that na~ 

Aristotle's master-piece. 159 

Sure has ordained for that end, which, after they 
have made use of, the woman many times, through 
ignorance ot her having conceived, or want of that 
due care which she ought to take, is little better 
than a murderer of her own child, though she in- 
tends it not ; for, after conception, finding herself 
not well, and, through ignorance, not knowing 
what is the matter with her, goes to a doctor and 
inquires of him ; and he knowing nothing but what 
they tell him, and not thinking of their being with 
child, gives them strong cathartical potions which 
destroy the conception. And some there are, that 
out of a foolish coyness, though they do know they 
have conceived, yet will not confess it, that they 
might be instructed how to order themselves ac- 
cordingly ; those that are so coy may in time learn 
■to be wiser ; and for the sake of those that are ig- 
norant, I shall set down the signs of conception, 
that women may thereby know whether they have 
conceived or not. 

Signs. If under the eye the vein be swelled, 
that is, under the lower eyelid, the veins in the 
eyes appearing clearly, and the eyes sometimes 
discoloured, if the woman has not the terms upon 
her, nor watched the night before, you may cer- 
tainly conclude her to be with child ; and this ap- 
pears most plainly just upon her conception ; and 
the first two months I never knew this sign to 

Keep the urine of the woman close in a glass 
three days, and then strain it through a fine linen 
cloth ; if you find small living croatures in it, she 
has most assuredly conceived with child > for the 
urine which was before part of her own substance, 
will be generated as well as its mistress. 

A coldness and chillness of the outward parts 
after copulation, the heat being retired to make 



The veins of the breast are more clearly seen 1 
than they were wont to be. 

The body is weakened, and the face discoloured. 

Tlie belly waxeth very flat, because the womb 
closeth itself together to nourish and cherish the 

If cold water be drank, a coldness is left in the 

Loss of appetite to victuals, sour belchings, and 
exceeding weakness of stomach. 

The breasts begin to swell and wax hard, not 
without pain and soreness. 

Wringing or griping pains, like the cramp, hap- 
pen in the belly about the navel. 

Divers appetites and longings are engendered. 

The veins of the eyes are clearly seen, and the 
eyes seern something discolbured, as a looking- 
glass wi'll show you. This is an infallible sign. 

The excrements of the guts are voided painful- 
ly, because the womb swelling thrusteth the right 
gut together. 

Take a handsome green nettle, and put it into 
the mine of the woman ; cover it close, and let it 
remain a whole night ; if the woman be with child, 
it will be full of red spotson the morrow; if she be 
not, it will be blackish. 

There are several other rules of this nature, but 
these are the best, and some of them seldom fail. 

Now, because many are mighty desirous to 
know whether they be with child of a male or a 
female, I will in the next place lay down some 
rules whereby you may form a proper judgment in 
that case. 

Signs of a Male Child. 

The woman breeds a boy easier and with less 
pain than girls, and carries her burden not so heav- 
ily, but is more nimble in stirring. 

Aristotle's master-piece. llfr 

The child is first felt by her on the right side ; 
for the ancients are of opinion that male children 
Tie on the right side of the womb. The woman, 
when she riseth up from a chair, doth sooner stay 
herself npon her right hand than on her left. 

The belly lies rounder and higher than when it 
is a female. 

The right breast is more plump and harder than 
the left, and the right nipple redder. 

The colour of a woman is more clear and not 
so swarthy as when she conceives a girl. 

The contrary to these are signs of the concep- 
tion of a female, and therefore it is needless to say 
any thing of them. 

But I will add the following, which have been 
the result of my own experience, and which I 
never knew to fail. 

If the circle under the woman's eyes, which is 
of a wan blue colour, be more apparent under the 
right eye, and the veins most apparent in her right 
eye, and there most discoloured, she is with child 
of a boy ; if the marks be most apparent in her left 
eye, she is with child of a girl. 

Again, let her milk a drop of her milk in a ba- 
son of fair water ; if it sinks to the bottom, as it 
drops in, round in a drop, it is a girl she is with 
child of; but if it be a boy, it will spread and 
swim at top. This I have often tried, and it never 


Of Untimely Births. 

When the fruit of the womb comes forth before 
the seventh month, that is, before it comes to ma- 

116 Aristotle's master-piece. 

turity, it is said to be abortive ; and, in effect, the 
child proves abortive (I mean, does not live) if 
born in the eight month. And why children born 
in the seventh or ninth month may live, and not 
in the eighth month, may seem strange, yet it is 
true. The cause thereof, by some, is ascribed to the 
planet under which the child is born ; for every 
month, from the conception to the birth, governed 
by its proper planet ; and in the eighth month Sa- 
turn doth predominate, which is cold and dry ; 
and coldness being an utter enemy to life, destroys 
the nature-of the child. Hippocrates gives a bet- 
ter reason, viz. the infant being every way perfect 
and complete in the seventh month, desires more 
air and nutriment than it had before ; and because 
in cannot obtain these, it labours for a passage to 
go out ; and if its spirits become weak and faint, 
and have not strength sufficient to break the mem- 
branes and come forth, as it is decreed by nature, 
it shall continue in the womb till the ninth month, 
that in that time its wearied spirits may again be 
strengthened and refreshed ; but if it returns to 
strive again the eighth month, and be born, it can- 
not live, because the day of its birth is either past 
or to come. For, in the eighth month, saith Aven, 
he is weak and infirm,- and, therefore, being then 
cast into the cold air, his spirits cannot be sup- 

Cure. Untimely birth may be caused by cold ; 
for as it maketh the fruit of the tree to wither and 
to fall down before it be ripe, so doth it nip the 
fruit of the womb before it comes to full perfection 
and makes it to be abortive ; sometime by humid- 
ity, weakening the faculty, that the fruit cannot 
be restrained till the due time; by dryness or 
emptiness, defrauding the child of its nourishment • 
by one of those alcine fluxes, by phlebotomy, and 
other evacuations ; by inflammations of the womb 

Aristotle's master-piece. 117 

and other sharp diseases. Sometimes it is caused, 
by laughter, joy, anger, and especially fear ; for in 
that the heat forsakes the womb, and runs to the 
heart for help there, and so cold strikes in the ma- 
trix, whereby the ligaments are relaxed, and so 
abortion follows ; wherefore Plato, in his time, 
commanded that the woman should shun all temp- 
tations of immoderate joy and pleasure, and like- 
wise avoid all occasions of fear and grief. Abor- 
tion also may be caused by the corruption of the 
air, by filthy odours, and especially by the smell 
of the snuff of a candle ; also by falls, blows, vio- 
lent exercise, leaping, dancing, &c. 

Signs. Signs of future abortion are, extenua- 
tion of the breasts, with a flux of watery milk, pain 
in the womb, heaviness in the head, unusual weari- 
ness in the hips and thighs, flowing of the cours- 
es. Signs foretelling the fruit to be dead in the 
womb, are hollowness in the eyes, pain in the head, 
anguish, horror, paleness of the face and lips gnaw- 
ing of the stomach, no motion of the infant, cold- 
ness and looseness of the mouth of the womb, and 
thickness of the belly, and watery and bloody ex- 
crements come from th^natrix. 


Directions for Breeding Women. 

The prevention of untimely births consists in 
taking away the forementioned causes, which 
must be effected before and after the conception. 

Before conception, if the body be over hot, dry, 
or moist, correct it with the contraries : if couch- 
mical, purge it: if plethorical, open the liver vein : 
jf too gross, attenuate it : if too lean, corroborate 

jig Aristotle's master-piece. 

and nourish it. All diseases of the womb must b« 
removed as I have shewed. 

After conception, let the air be temperate; 
sleep not overmuch, avoid watch ings, much exer- 
cise of body, passions of the mind, loud clamours, 
and filthy smells : sweet odours also are to be re- 
jected of those that are hysterical. Abstain from 
all things which provoke either the urine or the 
courses ; also from salt, sharp, and windy meats. 
A moderate diet should be observed. 

If the excrements of the guts be retained, lenity 
the belly with clysters made of the decoction of 
mallows, violets, with sugar and common oil ; or 
make broth with borage, buglos, beets, mallows, ta- 
king in the same a little manna. On the contrary, 
if she be troubled with looseness in the belly, let 
it not be stayed without the judgment of a physi- 
cian ; for all the uterine fluxes have a malign 
quality in them, which must be evacuated before 
the flux stayed. 

The cough is another accident which accompa- 
nieth breeding women, and puts them in great dan- 
ger of miscarrying, by a continual distillation fall- 
ing from the brain. TojM|event which, shave away 
the hair on the cornal aro« satical coissures, and 
apply thereon the followi rig plaster : take of resinre 
half an ounce, of laudana one drachm, citron peel, 
lign, aloes, olibani, of each a drachm ; stirachis li- 
quids, and sicca, a sufficient quantity ; dissolve 
the gums in vinegar, and make a plaster ; at night 
going to bed let her take the fume of these tro- 
chisks cast upon the. coals. Also, take of frankin- 
cense, storax powder, and red roses, of each a 
drachm and a half, sandrach eight drachms, mastic, 
benjamin, amber, of each one drachm ; with tur- 
pentine make trochisks, apply a cautery to the 
nape of the neck. And every night let her take 
these pills following : take hypocistides, terriae, si- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 119" 

cnllate, fine bole, of each half an ounce ; bastort, al- 
catia styracis, calamint of each two drachms, cloves 
one drachm ; with syrup of myrtles make pills. 

Inbreeding women there is a corrupted matter 
generated, which flowing to the ventricle dejecteth 
the appetite, and causeth a vomiting ; and the sto- 
mach being weak, and not able to digest this mat- 
ter, sometimes send it to the guts, whereby is 
caused a flux in the belly, which greatly stirreth 
up the faculty of the womb. To prevent all these 
dangers, the stomach must be corroborated as fol- 
lows : take rign. aloes and nutmeg, of each one 
drachm ; mace, clove, mastic, and laudanum, of 
each two scruples; oil of spike an ounce; musk 
two grains ; oil of mastic, quinces, and wormwood 
of each half an ounce ; make an unguent for the 
stomach, to be applied before meals. But instead 
thereof may be used ceronum, stomachile, galeni. 
Take of conserve of borage, buglos, and atthos, of 
each half an ounce ; comfect. de hyacinth, lemon 
peel candied, specierum, diamarg. pulv. de gem- 
mis of each two drachms ; nutmeg and diambra, 
of each two scruples; piony roots and diacorati, 
of each two drachms; with syrup of roses make 
an electuary ; of which she must take twice a day, 
two hours before meals. Another accident which 
perplexeth a woman with child is swelling of the 
legs, which happens the first three months, by su- 
perfluous humours falling down from the stomach 
and liver : for the cure whereof, take oil of roses 
two drachms, salt and vinegar, of each one drachm ; 
shake them tegether until the salt be dissolved, 
and anoint the legs therewith hot, chafing it in 
with the hand : it may be done without danger in 
the fourth, fifth, or sixth month of pregnancy ; for 
the child in the womb may be compared to an ap- 
ple on a tree ; the first three months it is weak 
and tender, subject, with the apple, t© fall away ; 

120 aristotie's master -piece. 

but afterwards, the membranes being strengthen- 
ed, the fruit remains firmly fastened to the womb, 
not apt to mischances, and so continues until the 
seventh month, till growing near the time its liga- 
ments are again relaxed, like the apple that is al- 
most ripe, and grow looser every day until the fix- 
ed time of delivery. If, therefore, the body is in 
real need of purging, she may do it without dan- 

fer in the fourth, fifth, or sixth months ; but not 
efore nor after, unless in some sharp diseases, in 
which the mother and the child both are like to 
perish. Apply plasters and unguents to the reins, 
to strengthen the fruit of the womb. Take of gum 
agaric, galangale, bistort, hypocistid. and storax, 
of each one drachm ; fine bole, nutmeg, mastic, 
•bollust', sanguis draconis, and myrtle berries, a 
■drachm and a half; wax and turpentine a suffi- 
cient quantity ; make a plaster. Apply it to the 
reins in the winter time, and remove it every twen- 
ty-four hours, lest the reins be over hot therewith- 
In the interim anoint the privities and reins with 
unguent and consitissae ; but if it be the summer 
time, and the reins hot, the following plaster is 
more proper : take of red roses one pound, mastic 
and red sanders, of each two drachms ; bole am- 
moniac, red coral and bistort, each two drachms ; 
pomegranate peel prepared, and coriander, of each 
two drachms and a half; barberries two scruples; 
oil of mastic and quinces, of each an ounce ; juice 
of plantain, two drachms ; with pitch make a plas- 
ter ; anoint the reins also with unguentum sandal. 
Once every week wash the reins with two parts 
of rose-water, and one part of white wine mingled 
together and warmed at the fire. This will as- 
suage the heat of the reins, and disperse the oil of 
the plaster out of the pores of the skin, and cause 
the ointment or plaster the sooner to penetrate and 
strengthen the womb. Some are of opinion, that 

Aristotle's master-piece. 121 

as long as the loadstone is laid to the navel, it 
keeps the woman from abortion. The like is also 
recorded of the stone cetites, being hanged about 
the neck ; the same virtue hath the stone samius. 


Directions to be observed by Women at the time of their falling 
in Labour, in order to their safe Delivery, with Directions 
for Midwives. 

Having given necessary directions for child- 
bearing women, how to govern themselves during 
the time of their pregnancy, I shall add what is 
necessary for them to observe in order to their 

The time of birth drawing near, let the woman 
be careful to send for a skilful midwife, and that 
rather too soon than too late ; against which time 
let her prepare a pallet, bed, or couch, and place 
it near the fire, that the midwife and assistants 
may pass round, and help on every side as occa- 
sion requires, having a change of linen ready, and 
a small stool to rest her feet against, she having 
more force when they are bowed than when they 
are otherwise. 

Having thus provided, when the woman feels 
her pain come, and the weather not cold, let her 
walk about the room, resting herself by turns upon 
the bed, and so expect the coming clown of her wa- 
ter which is a humour contracted in one of the 
outward membranes, and flows thence when it is 
broke by the struggling of the child, there being 
no direct time fixed for the efflux, though general- 
ly it flows not above two hours before the birth. 
Motion will likewise cause the womb to open and 
dilate itself, when from lying long in bed it is un- 


122 aeistotle's master-piece. 

easy. Yet if she be very weak, she may take some 
gentle cordial to refresh herself, if her pain will 

IT her travail be tedious, she may revive her spi- 
rits with taking chicken or mutton broth, or she 
may take a poached egg, but must take heed of 
eating to excess. 

As for the postures women are delivered in, 
they are many, some lying on their beds, some sit- 
ting in a chair, supported and held by others, or 
resting upon the bed or chair ; some again upon 
their knees, being supported upon their arms ; but 
the most safe and commodious way is in the bed, 
and then the midwife ought to mind the following 
rules : — Let her lay the woman upon her back, 
her head a little raised by the help of a pillow, 
having the like help to support her reins and but- 
tocks, and that the rump may lie high ; for if she lies 
low she cannot be well delivered. Then let her keep 
her knees and thighs as far distant as she can, her 
legs bowed together to her buttocks, the soles of 
her feet and heels being fixed upon a Tittle log of 
timber placed for that purpose, that she may strain 
the stronger ; and in case her back be very weak, 
a swathing band must be cast under it, the band 
being four times double, and about two inches 
broad ; and this must be held by two persons, who 
with steady hands and equal motion must raise 
her up at the time her pains happen ; but if they 
be not exact in their motion, it is better to let it 
alone. And at the same time, let two women hold 
her shoulders that she may then strain out the 
birth with more advantage ; and then to facilitate 
it, let a woman stroke or press the upper part of 
the belly gently and by degrees. Nor must the 
woman herself be faint-hearted, but of good cour- 
age, forcing herself by straining and holding her 

Aristotle's master-piece. 123 

In case of delivery, the midwife must wait with 
patience till the child's head or other members 
burst .the membrane: for if through ignorance, or 
haste to go to other women, as some have done, 
the midwife tear the membrane with her nails, she 
endangers both the woman and the child ; for by 
lying dry, and wanting that slipperinessthat sliould 
make it easy it comes forth with great pains. 

When the head appears, the midwife must gent- 
ly hold it between her hand, and draw the child at 
such times as the woman's pains are upon her, and 
at no other, slipping by degrees her forefingers 
under its arm-pits, not using a rough hand in draw- 
ing it forth, lest by that means the tender infant 
may receive any deformity of body. As soon as 
the child is taken forth, which is for the most part 
with its face downwards, let it be laid on its back, 
that it may more freely receive external respira- 
tion ; then cut the navel string about three inches 
from the body, tying that end which adheres to 
the body with a silken string, as near as you can ; 
then cover the head and stomach of the child well, 
suffering nothing to come upon the face. 

The child being thus brought forth, if healthy, 
lay it by, and then let the midwife regard the pa- 
tient in drawing forth the secundine ; and this she 
may do by wagging and stirring them up and down 
and afterwards with a gentle hand drawing them 
forth ; and if the work be difficult, let the woman 
hold salt in her hands, shutthem close, and breathe 
hard into them, and thereby she will know whether 
the membranes be broken or not. It may be also 
known by causing her to strain or vomit, by put- 
ting her finger down her throat, or by straining or 
moving her lower parts ; but let all be done out of 
hand. If this fail, let her take a draught of raw 
elder water, or yolk of a new laid egg y and smell 
to a piece of assafastida, especially if she is trou- 

124 Aristotle's master-piece. 

bled with the windy cholic. If she happen to take 
cold, it is a great obstruction to the coming down 
of the secundine: and in such cases the midwife 
ought to chafe the woman's belly gently, to break 
not only the wind, but oblige the secundine to 
come down. But these proving ineffectual, the 
midwife must insert her hand into the extern or 
orifice of the womb, and gently draw it forth. 

Having now discoursed of common births, or 
such as are for the most part easy, I shall now 
give directions in cases of extremity. 


In Case of Extremity, what ought to be observed ; especially to 
Women, who, in their Travail, are attended with a Flux of 
Blood, Convulsions and Fits of the Mind. 

If the woman's labour be hard and difficult, 
greater regard must be had than at other times. 
And first of all, the situation of the womb and 
posture of lying must be across the bed, being 
held by strong persons to prevent her slipping 
down or moving herself in the operation of the 
chirurgeon ; her thighs must be put asunder, as 
far distant as may be, and so held ; whilst her head 
must lean upon a bolster, and the reins of her back 
be supported after the same manner. Her rump 
and buttocks being lifted up, observe to cover her 
stomach, belly, and thighs, with warm linen, to 
keep thera from the cold. 

The woman being in this posture, let the opera- 
tor put up his or her hand, if the neck of the womb 
be dilated, and remove the contracted blood that 
obstructs the passage of the birth ; and having by 
degrees gently made way, let him tenderly move 
the infant, his hand being first anointed with sweet 

Aristotle's master-piece. 225 

butter or a harmless pomatum. And if the waters 
be not come down, then without difficulty may 
they be let forth ; when, if the infant should at- 
tempt to break out with its head foremost or cross, 
he may gently turn it to find the feet ; which hav- 
ing done, let him draw forth the one, and fasten it 
to the riband, then put it up again, and by degrees 
find the other, bringing them as close and even as 
may be, and between whiles let the woman breathe, 
urging her to strain, in helping nature to perfect 
the birth, that it may be drawn forth ; and the 
readier to do it, and that the hold may be the surer, 
wrap a linen cloth about the child's thighs, observ- 
ing to bring it into the world with its face down- 

In case of a flux of blood, if the neck of the 
womb be open, it must be considered whether the 
infant or secundine comes first, which the latter 
sometimes happening to do, stops the mouth of 
the womb, and hinders the birth, endangering both 
the woman and child ; but in this case the secun- 
dine must be removed by a swift turn ; and indeed 
they have by their so coming down deceived many 
who feeling their softness, suppposed the womb 
was not dilated, and by this means the woman 
and child, or at least the latter, has been lost. The 
secundine moved, the child must be sought for, 
and drawn forth, as has been directed ; and if in 
such a case the* woman or child die, the midwife 
or surgeon is blameless, because they did their 
true endeavour. 

If it appears upon inquiry that the secundine 
comes first, let the woman be delivered with all 
convenient expedition, because a great flux of 
blood will follow ; for the veins are opened, and 
upon this account two things are to be considered. 

First, The manner of the secundine advancing, 
whether it be much or little If the former, and 

J 26 akistotle's master-piece. 

the head of the child appear first, it may be guid- 
ed and directed towards the neck of the womb, as 
in the case of natural birth ; but if there appear 
any difficulty in the delivery, the best way is to 
search for the feet, and thereby draw it forth ; but 
if the latter, the secundine may be put back with 
a gentle hand, and the child first taken forth. 

But if the secundine be far advanced, so that it 
cannot be put back, and the child follow it close, 
then is the secundine to be taken forth with much 
care, as swift as may be, and laid easy without cut- 
ting the entrail that is fastened to them ; for there- 
by you may be guided to the infant, which, wheth- 
er alive or dead, must be drawn forth by the feet 
in all haste ; though it is not to be acted unless in 
case of great necessity, for in other cases the se- 
cundine ought to come last. 

And in, drawing forth a dead child, let these di- 
rections be carefully observed by the surgeon, viz. 
If the child be found dead, its head being foremost, 
the delivery will be more difficult j for it is an ap- 
parent sign, by the woman's strength beginning to 
fail her, that the child, being dead, and wanting its 
natural force, can be no ways assisting to its deli- 
very : wherefore the most certain and safe way for 
the surgeon is to put up his left hand, sliding it as 
hollow in the palm as he can into the neck of the 
womb, and into the lower part thereof towards the 
feet, and then between the head of the infant and 
the neck of the matrix ; then having a hook in the 
right hand, couch it close, and slip it up above the 
left hand, between the head of the child and the 
flat of his hand, fixing it in the bars of the temple 
towards the eye. For want of a convenient com- 
ing at these in the occiputal bone, observe still to 
keep the left hand in its place, and with it gently 
moving and stirring the head, and so with the rio-ht 
hand and hook draw the child forward, admonish- 

Aristotle's master-piece. 127 

ing the woman to put forth her utmost strength, 
still drawing when the woman's pangs are upon 
her. The head being drawn out, with all speed 
he must slip his hand up under the arm-holes of 
the child, and take it quite out ; giving these things 
to the woman, viz. a toast of fine wheaten bread 
in a quarter of a pint of Ipocras wine. 

Now the former application failing, when the 
woman is in her bed, let her receive the following 
potion hot, and rest till she feels the operation. 

Take seven blue figs, cut them to pieces, add to 
them fenugreek, motherwort, and seed of rue, of 
each five drachms ; water of pennyroyal and mo- 
therwort, of each six ounces ; boil them till one 
half be consumed ; and having strained them again 
add trochisks of myrrh one drachm, and saffron 
three grains ; sweeten the liquor with loaf-sugar, 
and spice it with cinnamon. 

Having rested upon this, let her labour again as 
much as may be ; and if she be not successful, 
make a fumigation of castor, opopanax, sulphur, 
and assafoetida, of each half a drachm, beating 
them into powder, and wetting them with the juice 
of rue, so that the smoke or fume may only come 
to the matrix, and no farther. 

If these effect not your desire, then the follow- 
ing plaster is to be applied, viz. Take of galba- 
num an ounce and a half; colocynthia without 
grains, two drachms ; the juice of motherwort and 
rue, of each half an ounce, and seven ounces of 
virgin bees' wax ; bruise and melt them together, 
spreading them on a searclolh, to reach from the 
navel to the os pubis, spreading also the flax, at 
the same time making a convenient pessary of 
wood, closing it in a bag of silk, and dipping it in 
a decoction of round birthwort, savin, colocynthia 
with grains ; stavescare, black hellebore, of each 
one drachm ; and a little sprig of rue. 

128 Aristotle's master-piece. 

But tnose things not having the desired success 
and the woman's danger still increasing, let the 
surgeon use his instruments to dilate and widen 
the womb; to which end the woman must be set 
in a chair, so that she may turn her crupper as 
much from itsbacl^as is convenient, drawing like- 
wise her legs up as close as she can, spreading 
her thighs as wide as may be ; or if she be very 
weak, it may be more convenient that she be laid 
on a bed with her head downwards, and her but- 
tocks raised, and both legs drawn up as much as 
may be; the surgeon then, with his speculum ma- 
tricis, or his apertory, may dilate the womb, and 
draw out the child and secundine together, if it be 
possible : the which being done, the womb must 
be well washed and anointed, and the woman laid 
in bed, and comforted with spices and cordials. 
This course must be taken in the delivery of all 
dead children, likewise with moles, secundine, and 
false births, that will not of themselves come 
forth in season. If the instrument aforesaid will 
not sufficiently widen the womb, then other in- 
struments, as the drake's bill, and long pincers, 
ought to be used. 

If it so happen that any inflammation, swelling, 
or congealed blood be contracted in the matrix, 
under the film of these tumours, either before or 
after the birth, where the matter appears thinner, 
then let the midwife, with a pen-knife, or incision 
instrument, lance it, and press out the corruption 
healing it with a pessary dipped in oil of red 

If at any time, through cold or some violence, 
the child happens to be swelled in any part, or 
hath contracted a watery humour, if it remain 
alive, such means must be used as are least inju- 
rious to the child or mother ; but if it be dead, the 
humours must be let out by incision to facilitate 
the birth. 

Aristotle's master-piece. 129 

If, as it often happens, that the child comes with 
its feet foremost, and the hands dilating them- 
selves from the hips, in such cases the midwife 
must be provided with necessary instruments to 
stroke and anoint the infant with, to help it coming 
forth, lest it turn again into the womb, holding at 
the same time both the arms of the infant close to 
the hips, that so it may issue forth after this man- 
ner ; but if it proves too big, the womb must be 
well anointed. The woman must also take sneez- 
ing-powder, to make her strain ; those who attend 
may gently stroke her belly to make the birth de- 
scend, and keep it from retiring back. 

Sometimes it falls out that the child coming with 
the feet foremost has its arms extended above its 
head ; but the midwife must not receive it so, but 
put it back into the womb, unless the passage be 
extraordinarily wide, and then she mus^a»oint 
both the child and the womb ; nor is it safe so to 
draw it forth, which must be done after this man- 
ner : the woman must be laid on her back, with 
her head depressed, and her buttocks raised ; and 
then the midwife, with a gentle hand, must com- 
press the belly of the womb, by that means to put 
back the infant, observing to turn the face of the 
child towards the back of its mother, raising up 
its thighs and buttocks towards her navel, that so 
the birth may be more natural. 

If a child happen to come forth with one foot, 
the arm being extended along the side, and the 
other foot turned backward, then must the woman 
be instantly taken to her bed, and laid in the pos- 
ture above described ; at which time the midwife 
must carefully put back the foot so appearing, and 
the woman rock herself from one side to the other, 
till she find the child is turned, but must not alter 
the posture, nor turn upon her face ; after which 
she may expect her pains, and must have great 


assistance and cordials to revive and support her 

At other times it happens that the child lies 
across in the womb, and falls upon its side : in this 
case the woman must not be urged in her labour, 
neither can any expect the birth in such a manner: 
therefore the midwife, when she finds it so, must 
use great diligence to reduce it to its right form, 
or at least to such a form in the womb as may- 
make the delivery possible and most easy, by 
moving the buttocks, and guiding the head to the 
passage ; and if she be unsuccessful herein, let the 
woman again try by rocking herself to and fro, and 
wait with patience till it alters its manner of 

Sometimes the child hastens the birth, by ex- 
panding its legs and arms ; in which, as in the 
former case, the woman must rock herself, but not 
witfi-^lence, till she finds those parts fall to their 
proper stations ; or it may be done by a gentle com- 
pression of the womb ; but if neither of them pre- 
vail, the midwife, with her hand, must close the 
legs of the infant ; and, if she come at them, do the 
like to the arms, and so draw it forth ; but if it can 
be reduced of itself to the posture of a natural 
birth, it is better. 

If the infant comes forward with both knees 
foremost, and the hands hanging down upon the 
thighs, then must the midwife put both knees up- 
ward, till the feet appear ; taking hold of which 
with her left hand, let her keep her right hand on 
the side of the child, and in that posture endeav- 
our to bring it forth. But if she cannot do this, 
then also must the woman rock herself till the 
child is in a more convenient posture for delivery. 

Sometimes it happens that the child presses' 
forward with one arm stretched on its thighs and 
the other raised over its head, and the feet "stretch- 


ed out at length in the womb. In such ease, the 
midwife must not attempt to receive the child in 
that posture, but must lay the woman on the bed 
in the manner aforesaid, making a soft and gentle 
compression on her belly, to oblige the child to 
retire ; which if it does not, then must the midwife 
thrust it back by the shoulder, and bring the arm 
that was stretched above the head to its right sta- 
tion ; for there is most danger in these extremities ; 
and, therefore, the midwife must anoint her hands 
and the womb of the woman with sweet butter, 
or a proper pomatum, and thrust her hand as 
near as she can to the arm of the infant, and bring 
it to the side. But if this cannot be done, let the 
woman be laid on her bed to rest awhile ; in which 
time, perhaps, the child may be reduced to a bet- 
ter posture, which the midwife finding, she must 
draw tenderly the arms close to the hips, and so 
receive it. 

If an infant come with its buttocks foremost, 
and almost double, then the midwife must anoint 
her hand and thrust it up, and gently heaving up 
the buttocks and back, strive to turn the head to 
the passage, but not too hastily, lest the infant's 
retiring should shape it worse ; therefore, if it can- 
not be turned with the hand, the woman must 
rock herself on the bed, taking such comfortable 
things as may support her spirits, till she per- 
ceives the child to turn. 

If the child's neck be bowed, and it comes for- 
ward with its shoulders, as sometimes it doth, 
with the hands and feet stretched upwards, the 
midwife must gently move the shoulders, that she 
may direct the head to the passage - r and the bet- 
ter to effect it, the woman must rock herself as 

These and other the like methods are to be ob- 
served in case a woman hath twins, or three chil- 

132 Aristotle's master-piece. 

dren at a birth, which sometimes happens : for, as 
the single birth hath but one natural and many 
unnatural forms, even so it may be in a double or 
treble birth. 

Wherefore, in all such cases, the midwife must 
take care to receive that first which is nearest the 
passage ; but not letting the other go, lest by retir- 
ing it should change the form ; and when one is 
born, she must be speedy in bringing forth the 
other. And this birth, if it be in the natural way, 
is more easy, because the children are commonly 
less than those of single birth, and so require a less 
passage. But if this birth come unnaturally, it is 
far more dangerous than the other. 

In the birth of twins, let the midwife be very 
careful that the secundine be naturally brought 
forth, lest the womb, being delivered of its burden, 
fall, and so the secundine continue longer there 
than is consistent with the woman's safety. 

But if one of the twins happens to come with the 
head, the other with the feet foremost, then let the 
midwife deliver the natural birth first ; and if she 
cannot turn the other, draw it out in the posture it 
presses forward ; but if that with its feet downward 
be foremost, she may deliver that first, turning the 
other aside. But in this case the midwife must care- 
fully see that it be not a monstrous birth, instead 
of twins, a body with two heads, or two bodies 
joined together ; which she may soon know, if both 
the heads come foremost, by putting up her hand 
between them, as high as she can ; and then if she 
find they are twins, she may gently put one of them 
aside to make way for the other, takino- that first 
which is most advanced, leaving the other so that 
it do not change its situation. And, for the safety 
of the other child, as soon as it comes forth out of 
the womb, the midwife must tie the navel-strin°- 
as hath before been directed $ and also bind with 

Aristotle's master-piece. 133 

a large and long fillet, that part of the navel that 
is fastened to the secundine, the more readily to 
find it. 

The second infant being born, let the midwife 
carefully examine whether there be not two secun- 
dines ; for sometimes it falls out, that by the short- 
ness of the ligaments, it retires back, to the pre- 
judice of the woman. Wherefore, lest the womb 
should close, it is most expedient to hasten them 
forth with all convenient speed. 

If two infants are joined together by the body, 
as sometimes it monstrously falls out, then, though 
the head should come foremost, yet it is proper, 
if possible, to turn them, and draw them forth by 
the feet, observing, when they come to the hips, 
to draw them out as soon as may be. And here 
great care ought to be used in anointing and widen- 
ing the passage. But these sorts of births rarely 
happening, I need to say the less of them ; and, 
therefore, shall next show how women should be 
ordered after delivery. 


How Childbearing Women ought to be ordered after Delivery. 

If a woman has had very hard labour, it is ne- 
cessary she should be wrapped up in a sheep's 
skin, taken off before it is cold, applying the fleshy 
side to her reins or belly ; or, for want of this, the 
skin of a hare or coney, flayed off as soon as killed, 
may be applied to the same parts ; and in so doing 
a dilation being made in the birth, and the melan- 
choly blood expelled in these parts, continue these 
for an hour or two. 

Let the woman afterwards be swathed with fine 

134 Aristotle's master-piece. 

linen cloth, about a quarter of a yard in breadth, 
chafing her belly, before it is swathed, with oil of 
St. John's wort ; after that, raise up the matrix 
with a linen cloth, many times folded ; then with 
a linen pillow or quilt cover her flanks, and place 
the swathe somewhat above the haunches, winding 
it pretty stiff, applying, at the same time, a warm 
cloth to her- nipples ; do not immediately use the 
remedies to keep back the milk, by reason the 
body, at such a time, is out of frame ; for there is 
neither vein nor artery which does not strongly 
beat ; and remedies to drive back the milk, being 
of a dissolving nature, it is improper to apply them 
to the breasts, during such disorder, lest by doing 
so, evil humours be contracted in the breast. 
Wherefore, twelve hours at least ought to be al- 
lowed for the circulation and settlement of the 
blood, and what was cast on the lungs by the ve- 
hement agitation during the labour, to retire to its 
proper receptacles. 

Some time after delivery, you may make a re- 
strictive of the yolks of two eggs, and a quarter of 
a pint of white wine, oil of St. John's wort, oil of 
roses, plantain, and rose-water, of each an ounce ; 
mix them together, fold a linen cloth, and apply it 
to the breast, and the pains of those parts will be 
greatly eased. 

She must by no means sleep directly after deli- 
livery ; but about four hours after, she may take 
broth, caudle, or such liquid victuals as are nour- 
ishment ; and if she be disposed to sleep, it may 
be very safely permitted. And this is as much, in 
case of a natural birth, as ought immediately to 
be done. 

But in case of an extremity, or an unnatural 
birth, the following rules ought to be observed : 

In the first place, let the woman keep a temper- 
ate diet, by no means overcharging herself after 

Aristotle's master-piece. 135 

such an extraordinary evacuation, not being ruled 
by giving credit to unskilful nurses, who admon- 
ish them to feed heartily, the better to repair the 
loss of blood. For that blood is not for the most 
part pure, but such as has been detained in the 
vessels or membrane, better voided, for the health 
of the woman, than kept, unless there happen an 
extraordinary flux of the blood. For if her nour- 
ishment be too much, it may make her liable to a 
fever, and increase the milk too much ; curdling, 
very often turns to imposthumes. 

Wherefore, it is requisite, for the first five days 
especially, that she take moderately, panado broth, 
poached eggs, jelly of chickens or calves' feet, or 
fresh barley broth, every day increasing the quan- 
tity a little. 

And if she intend to be a nurse to her child, she 
must take something more than ordinary, to in- 
crease the milk by degrees, which must be of no 
continuance, but drawn off either by the child or 
otherwise. In this case likewise, observe to let 
her have coriander or fennel seeds boiled in bar- 
ley broth ; but by all means, for the time specified, 
let her abstain from meat. If no fever trouble her, 
she may drink now and then a small quantity of 
pure white wine or claret, as also, syrup of maiden- 
hair, or any other syrup that is of an astringent 
quality, taken in a little water well boiled. 

After the fear of a fever or contraction of hu- 
mour in the breast is over, she may be nourished 
more plentifully with the broth of pullets, capons, 
pigeons, mutton, veal, &c, which must not be till 
after eight days from the time of delivery; at 
which time the womb, unless some accident hinder 
has purged itself. It will be then likewise expe- 
dient to give cold meats, but let it be sparingly, 
that so she may the better gather strength. And 
let her, during the time, restquitely and free from 

136 Aristotle's masteii-piece. 

disturbance, not sleeping in the day-time, if she 
can avoid it. 

Take of both the mallows and pellitory of the 
wall a handful ; camomile and melilot flowers, of 
each a handful ; anniseed and fennel seed, of each 
two ounces ; boil them in a decoction of sheep's 
head, and take of this three quarts, dissolving- in 
it common honey, coarse sugar, and new fresh but- 
ter, two ounces ; strain it well, and adminster it 
clysterwise ; but if it does not operate well, take 
an ounce of catholican. 


How to expel the Cholic from Women in Childbirth. 

These pains frequently afflict the woman no less 
than the pains of her labour, and are by the igno- 
rant taken many times the one for the other ; and 
sometimes they happen both at the same instant ; 
which is occasioned by a raw, crude, and watery 
matter in the stomach, contracted through ill di- 
gestion ; and while such pains continue, the wo- 
man's travail is retarded. 

Therefore, to expel fits of the cholic, take two 
ounces of oil of sweet almonds, and an ounce of 
cinnamon water, with three or four drops of spirits 
of ginger ; then let the woman drink it off. 

If this does not abate the pain, make a clyster 
of camomile, balm-leaves, oil of olives, and new 
milk, boiling the former in the latter. Administer 
it as is usual in such cases. And then fomenta- 
tions proper for dispelling of wind will not be 

If the pain produce a griping in the guts after 
delivery, then take of the root of great comfrcy 

Aristotle's master-piece. 137 

one drachm, nutmeg and peach kernals of each two 
scruples, yellow amber eight drachms, ambergris 
one scruple ; bruise them together, and give them 
to the woman as she is laid down, in two or three 
spoonsful of white wine ; but if she be feverish, 
then let it be in as much warm broth. 







For the Apoplexy. 

Take man's skull prepared, powder of the roots 
of male peony, of each an ounce and a half; con- 
trayerva, bastard dittany, angelica, zedoary, of 
each two drachms ; mix and make a powder ; add 
thereto two ounces of candied orange and lemon 
peel, beat all together to a powder, wherefore you 
may take half a drachm or a drachm. 

A Powder for the Epilepsy or Falling Sickness. 

Take of opopanax, crude antimony, casror, dra- 
gons's blood, peoney-seeds, of each an equal quan- 
tity ; make a subtle powder ; the dose, half a 
drachm, in black cherry-water. Before you take 
it, the stomach must be cleansed with some pro- 
per vomit, as that of Mynficht's emetic tarter 
from four grains to six ; if for children, salt of vit- 
riol, from a scruple to half a drachm. 

Aristotle's master-piece. 139 

For a Head-ache of a long standing. 

Take the juice of powder or distilled water of 
hoglice, and continue the use of it. 

For Spitting of Blood. 

Take conserve of comfrey and of hips of each 
an ounce and a half; conserve of red roses, three 
ounces ; dragon's blood, a drachm ; species of hya- 
cinths, two scruples ; red coral, a drachm ; mix, 
and with syrup of red poppies make a soft elec- 
tuary. Take the quantity of a walnut, night and 

For a Looseness. 

Take Venice treacle and diascordium, of each 
half a drachm, in warm ale or water-gruel, or what 
you like best, at night going to bed. 

For the Bloody Flux. 

First take a drachm of powder of rhubarb, in a 
sufficient quantity of conserve of red roses, in the 
morning early ; then at night, take of torrified or 
roasted rhubarb, half a drachm; diascordium, a 
drachm and a half; liquid laudanum cydomated, a 
scruple ; mix, and make a bolus. 

For an Inflammation of the Lungs. 

Take of charious water, ten ounces ; water of 
red poppies, three ounces ; syrup of poppies, an 
ounce ; pearl prepared, a drachm ; make a julep, 
and take six spoonsful every fourth hour. 

An Ointment for the Pleurisy. 

Take oil of violets or sweet almonds, of each an 
ounce, with wax and a little saffron make an oint- 
ment, warm it and bathe it upon the part af- 

140 Aristotle's master-piece. 

An Ointment for the Itch. 

Take sulphur vive in powder, half an ounce, oil 
of tartar per deliquium a sufficient quantity, oint* 
ment of roses four ounces ; make a liniment, to 
which add a scruple of rhodium to aromatize, and 
rub the parts affected with it. 

For a Running Scab. 

Take two pounds of tar, incorporate it into a 
thick mass with well sifted ashes ; boil the mass in 
fountain water, adding leaves of ground-ivy, white 
horehound, fumitory roots, sharp pointed dock, 
and of flocan pan, of each four handsful j make a 
bath, to be used with care of taken cold. 

For Worms in Children. 

Take wormseed half a drachm, flour of sulphur 
a drachm, salt-prunel half a drachm ; mix, and 
make a powder. Give as much as will lie on a sil- 
ver three-pence, night and morning, in grocer's 
treacle or honey ; or to people grown up, you may 
add a sufficient quantity of aloe rosatum, and so 
make them up into pills ; three or four may be ta- 
ken every morning. 

For Fevers in Children. 

Take crab-eyes a drachm, cream of tartar half 
a drachm ; white sugar-candy finely powdered 
weight of both ; mix all well together, and give as 
much as will lie on a silver three-pence, in a spoon- 
ful of barley water or sack whey. 

A Quieting Night-Draught when the cough is violent. 

Take water of green wheat six ounces, syrup 
diascordium three ounces, take two or three 
spoonsful going to bed every night, or every other 

Aristotle's master-piece. 141 

An Electuary for the Dropsy. 

Take best rhubarb one drachm, gum lac pre- 
pared two drachms, zyloaloes, cinnamon, long 
birthwort, half an ounce each, best English saffron 
half a scruple ; with sryup of chychory and rhu- 
barb make an electuary. Take the quantity of a 
nutmeg or small walnut, every morning fasting. 

For a Tympany Dropsy. 

Take roots of chervil and candied eringo roots 
half an ounce each, roots of butcher broom two 
ounces, grass-roots three ounces, shaving of ivory 
and hartshorn two drachms and a half each, bur- 
dock seeds three drachms ; boil them in two or 
three pounds of spring water. While the strained 
liquor is hot, pour it upon the leaves of water-, 
cresses and goose-grass bruised, of each a handful, 
adding a pint of Rhenish wine. Make a close in- 
fusion for two hours, then strain out the liquor 
again, add to it three ounces of magistral water 
and earth worms, and an ounce and a half of the 
syrup of the five opening roots. Make an apozem, 
whereof take four ounces twice a-day. 

For an Inward Bleeding. 

Take leaves of plantain and stinging-nettles, of 
each three handsful, bruise them well, and pour 
on them six onuces of plantain water, afterwards 
make a strong expression, and drink the whole 
off. Probatum est. 




A red man to be faithful, a tall man to be wise, 
a fat man to be swift of foot, a lean man to be a 
fool a handsome man not to be proud, a poor man 
not to be envious, a knave to be no liar, an upright 
man not too bold and hearty to his own loss, one 
that drawls when he speaks not to be crafty and 
circumventing, one that winks on another with his 
eyes not to be false and deceitful, a sailor and 
hangman to be pitiful, a poor man to build church- 
es, a quack doctor to have a good conscience, a 
bailiff not to be a merciless villain, an hostess not 
to over-reckon you, and an usurer to be charitable, 


Ye have found a prodigy. 

Men acting contrary to the common course of