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Of some computation of days, and deductions of one part
of the year unto another.
Fourthly, there are certain vulgar opinions concerning days of the year, and conclusions popularly deduced from certain days of the month ; men commonly believing the days increase and decrease equally in the whole year; which notwithstanding is very repugnant unto truth. For they increase in the month of March, almost as much as in the two months of January and February: and decrease as much in September, as they do in July and August. For the days increase or decrease according to the declination of the sun, that is, its deviation northward or southward from the equator. Now this digression is not equal, but near the equinoxial intersections, it is right and greater, near the solstices more oblique and lesser. So from the eleventh of March the vernal equinox, unto the eleventh of April, the sun declineth to the north twelve degrees; from the eleventh of April, unto the eleventh of May, but eight, from thence unto the fifteenth of June, or the summer solstice, but three and a half: all which make twenty-two degrees and an half, the greatest declination of the sun.
And this inequality in the declination of the sun in the zodiack or line of life, is correspondent unto the growth or declination of man. For setting out from infancy, we increase, not equally, or regularly attain to our state or perfection ; nor when we descend from our state, is our declination equal, or carrieth us with even paces unto the grave. For as Hippocrates affirmeth, a man is hottest in the first day of his life, and coldest in the last ; his natural heat setteth forth most vigorously at first, and declineth most sensibly at last. And so though the growth of man end not perhaps until
twenty-one, yet is his stature more advanced in the first septenary than in the second, and in the second more than in the third, and more indeed in the first seven years, than in the fourteen succeeding; for what stature we attain unto at seven years, we do sometimes but double, most times come short of at one and twenty. And so do we decline again: For in the latter age upon the tropick and first descension from our solstice, we are scarce sensible of declination: but declining further, our decrement accelerates, we set apace, and in our last days precipitate into our graves. And thus are also our progressions in the womb, that is, our formation, motion, our birth or exclusion. For our formation is quickly effected, our motion appeareth later, and our exclusion very long after: if that be true which Hippocrates and Avicenna have declared, that the time of our motion is double unto that of formation, and that of exclusion treble unto that of motion. As if the infant be formed at thirty-five days, it moveth at seventy, and is born the two hundred and tenth day, that is, the seventh month; or if it receives not formation before forty-five days, it moveth the ninetieth day, and is excluded in the two hundred and seventieth, that is, the ninth month.
There are also certain popular prognosticks drawn from festivals in the calendar, and conceived opinions of certain days in months; so is there a general tradition in most parts of Europe, that inferreth the coldness of succeeding winter from the shining of the sun upon Candlemas day, or the purification of the Virgin Mary, according to the proverbial distich,
Si Sol splendescat Mariâ purificante,
So is it usual among us to qualify and conditionate the twelve months of the year, answerable unto the temper of the twelve days in Christmas; and to ascribe unto March certain borrowed days from April, all which men seem to believe upon annual experience of their own, and the received traditions of their forefathers.
Now it is manifest, and most men likewise know, that the calendars of these computers, and the accounts of these days
are very different: the Greeks dissenting from the Latins, and the Latins from each other: the one observing the Julian or ancient account, as Great Britain and part of Germany; the other adhering to the Gregorian or new account, as Italy, France, Spain, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Now this latter account, by ten days at least, anticipateth the other; so that before the one beginneth the account, the other is past it; yet in the several calculations, the same events seem true, and men with equal opinion of verity, expect and confess a confirmation from them all. Whereby is evident the oraculous authority of tradition, and the easy seduction of men, neither enquiring into the verity of the substance, nor reforming upon repugnance of circumstance.
And thus may divers easily be mistaken who superstitiously observe certain times, or set down unto themselves an observation of unfortunate months, or days, or hours. As did the Egyptians, two in every month, and the Romans the days after the nones, ides, and calends. And thus the rules of navigators must often fail, setting down, as Rhodiginus observeth, suspected and ominous days in every month, as the first and seventh of March, and fifth and sixth of April, the sixth, the twelfth, and fifteenth of February. For the accounts hereof in these months are very different in our days, and were different with several nations in ages past, and how strictly soever the account be made, and even by the selfsame calendar, yet it is possible that navigators may be out. For so were the Hollanders, who passing westward through fretum le Mayre, and compassing the globe, upon their return into their own country found that they had lost a day. For if two men at the same time travel from the same place, the one eastward, the other westward, round about the earth, and meet in the same place from whence they first set forth, it will so fall out that he which hath moved eastward against the diurnal motion of the sun, by anticipating daily something of its circle with its own motion, will gain
9 men.] By the jugling Priests in the Quicquid Græcia mendar mandat in old mythologies of the heathen deytyes, historiis.-Wr. trulye taxte by the poet under that
one day; but he that travelleth westward, with the motion of the sun, by seconding its revolution, shall lose or come short a day; and therefore also upon these grounds that Delos was seated in the middle of the earth, it was no exact decision, because two eagles let fly east and west by Jupiter, their meeting fell out just in the island Delos.
A digression of the wisdom of God in the site and motion
of the Sun.
Having thus beheld the ignorance of man in some things, bis error and blindness in others, that is, in the measure of duration both of years and seasons, let us awhile admire the wisdom of God in this distinguisher of times, and visible deity (as some have termed it) the sun, which, though some from its glory adore, and all for its benefits admire, we shall advance from other considerations, and such as illustrate the artifice of its Maker. Nor do we think we can excuse the duty of our knowledge, if we only bestow the flourish of poetry hereon, or those commendatory conceits which popularly set forth the eminency of this creature, except we ascend unto subtiler considerations, and such, as rightly understood, convincingly declare the wisdom of the Creator. Which since a Spanish physician * hath begun, we will enlarge with our
• Valerius de Philos. Sacr.
I westward.] Captain Bodman, an voyage was from England to the Streits auncient and discreete gentleman, and of Magellan, and soe round by the Molearned, for his many services to the luccas and Cape of Good Hope, back to State, being admitted a poore Knight at England, which was totalye with the Windsor, was wont to tell mee, that at sonne, and therefore what they observed their returne from surrounding the world with admiration, concerning the losse of with Sir Francis Drake in the yeare a day in their accompt, had a manifest 1579, they found that they lost a daye reason and cause to justifie the trueth of in their accomptes of their daylye sayl- that observation, and that itt could not inge, which agrees with this excellent possiblye bee otherwise.—Wr. observation of Dr. Browne; for their
deductions, and this we shall endeavour from two considerations, its proper situation and wisely ordered motion.
And first, we cannot pass over his providence, in that it moveth at all, for had it stood still, and were it fixed like the earth, there had been then no distinction of times, either of day or year, of spring, of autumn, of summer, or of winter; for these seasons are defined by the motions of the sun: when that approacheth nearest our zenith, or vertical point, we call it summer; when furthest off, winter; when in the middle spaces, spring or autumn; whereas, remaining in one place, these distinctions had ceased, and consequently the generation of all things, depending on their vicissitudes; making in one hemisphere a perpetual summer, in the other a deplorable and comfortless winter. And thus had it also been continual day unto some, and perpetual night unto others, for the day is defined by the abode of the sun above the horizon, and the night by its continuance below; so should we have needed another sun, one to illustrate our hemisphere, a second to enlighten the other, which inconvenience will ensue in what site soever we place it, whether in the poles or the equator, or between them both; no spherical body, of what bigness soever, illuminating the whole
winter.] All this must of necessity motion of inclination to the son the somevidentlye follow, unlesse (according to mer halfe yeare, and of reclination from the the supposition of Copernicus, for I sup- son in the halfe halfe, from whence must pose it was but a postulate of art, noe of necessity follow two vast and unconparte of his creed) that the son is fixed cedable postulates. First, that as the in the midst or center of this universal son, in his old sphere, is supposed in frame of the world, altogether immoova- respect of his distance from the center to ble, and that the earth, with all the rest moove noe lesse than 18000 miles every of the elements, is annually caryed round minute of an hour, yf the earth bee in about the sonne in the sphere between the sons place, they must perforce acMars and Venus, parting that lovinge knowledge the same pernicitye in the couple of godlings by its boysterous in- earth, and yet not perceptible to our trusion, but the mischeef is that besides sense, nor to the wisest of the world, this annual motion of the earth, mounted since the creation till our times. But to like Phæthon in the chariot and throne salve this, as they thinke, they suppose of the sonne, the Copernicans are forced, and postulate the second motion of rotacontrary to their own principles, that tion or whirling on his owne center, unius corporis cælestis (for soe you must which others conceive to bee diametrally nowe accompte itt, though a dul and opposite to Scripture: but then there opacous planet, unius est motus simplex,) recoyles upon them this strange conseto ascribe two other motions to the earth; quence that the earthe being 21600 miles the one a vertiginous rotation, whirling in compass, and whirling rounde every about his own center, wherby turning twenty-four howres, caryes every towne toward the son causeth daye, and turning and howse 895 miles every houre, and from the son, night; both of them every yet not discernablye.-Wr. twenty-four hours; the other a tottering