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ing itself, and protruding the matter upon the weaker and less resistive side. And thus the law of commonwealths, that cut off the right hand of malefactors, if philosophically executed, is impartial; otherwise the amputation not equally punisheth all.
Some are 'Aubioéžios, that is, ambidextrous or right-handed on both sides; which happeneth only unto strong and athletical bodies, whose heat and spirits are able to afford an ability unto both. And therefore Hippocrates saith, that women are not ambidextrous, that is, not so often as men; for some are found which indifferently make use of both. And so may Aristotle say, that only men are ambidextrous ; of this constitution was Asteropæus in Homer, and Parthenopeus, the Theban captain, in Statius : and of the same do some conceive our father Adam to have been, as being perfectly framed, and in a constitution admitting least defect. Now in these men the right hand is on both sides, and that is not the left which is opposite unto the right, according to common acception.
Again, some are 'Aubagioteqoi, as Galen hath expressed it; that is, ambilevous or left-handed on both sides; such as with agility and vigour have not the use of either; who are not gymnastically composed, nor actively use those parts. Now in these there is no right hand: of this constitution are many women, and some men, who, though they accustom themselves unto either hand, do dextrously make use of neither. And therefore, although the political advice of Aristotle be very good, that men should accustom themselves to the command of either hand; yet cannot the execution or performance thereof be general: for though there be many found that can use both, yet will there divers remain that can strenuously make use of neither.
Lastly, these lateralities in man are not only fallible, if
9 Again, fc.] In the use of string harpsicords, organs, which have all their instruments both hands are dextrously ground from the harpe, layd along as it used, yet the easiest and slowest parte is were in those instruments and supplied alwayes put on the lefte side; bycause with keys (as that by the fingers) by all men use it soe: and excepting the which they are mediately made to speake harpe, there is scarce any string instru- as the harpe by the fingers immediately. ment to fit both hands, or the virginals, –Wr.
relatively determined unto each other, but made in reference unto the heavens and quarters of the globe: for those parts are not capable of these conditions in themselves, nor with any certainty respectively derived from us, nor from them to us again. And first, in regard of their proper nature, the heavens admit not these sinister and dexter respects, there being in them no diversity or difference, but a simplicity of parts and equiformity in motion continually succeeding each other; so that from what point soever we compute, the account will be common unto the whole circularity. And therefore though it be plausible, it is not of consequence hereto what is delivered by Solinus; that man was therefore a microcosm or little world, because the dimensions of his positions were answerable unto the greater. For as in the heavens the distance of the north and southern pole, which are esteemed the superior and inferior points, is equal unto the space between the east and west, accounted the dextrous and sinistrous parts thereof, so is it also in man; for the extent of his fathom or distance betwixt the extremity of the fingers of either hand upon expansion, is equal unto the space between the sole of the foot and the crown. But this doth but petitionarily infer a dextrality in the heavens, and we may as reasonably conclude a right and left laterality in the ark or naval edifice of Noah. For the length thereof was thirty cubits, the breadth fifty, and the height or profundity thirty: which well agreeth unto the proportion of man; whose length, that is, a perpendicular from the vertex unto the sole of the foot, is sextuple unto his breadth, or a right line drawn from the ribs of one side to another, and decuple unto his profundity, that is, a direct line between the breastbone and the spine.
Again, they receive not these conditions with any assurance or stability from ourselves. For the relative foundations, and points of denomination, are not fixed and certain, but variously designed according to imagination. The philosopher accounts that east from whence the heavens begin their motion. The astronomer, regarding the south and meridian sun, calls that the dextrous part of heaven which respecteth his right hand ; and that is the west. Poets, respecting the
west, assign the name of right unto the north which regardeth their right hand; and so must that of Ovid be explained, utque, duæ dextrâ zone, totidemque, sinistra. But augurs, or soothsayers, turning their face to the east, did make the right in the south; 1 which was also observed by the Hebrews and Chaldeans.* Now if we name the quarters of heaven respectively unto our sides, it will be no certain or invariable denomination. For, if we call that the right side of heaven which is seated easterly unto us when we regard the meridian sun, the inhabitants beyond the equator and southern tropick, when they face us, regarding the meridian, will contrarily define it; for unto them, the opposite part of heaven will respect the left, and the sun arise to their right.
And thus have we at large declared, that although the right be most commonly used, yet hath it no regular or certain root in nature. Since it is not confirmable from other animals: since in children it seems either indifferent or more favourable in the other ; but more reasonable for uniformity in action, that men accustom unto one: since the grounds and reasons urged for it do not sufficiently support it: since, if there be a right and stronger side in nature, yet may we mistake in its denomination; calling that the right which is the left, and the left which is the right. Since some have one right, some both, some neither. And lastly, since these affections in man are not only fallible in relation unto one another, but made also in reference unto the heavens, they being not capable of these conditions in themselves, nor with any certainty from us, nor we from them again.
* Psalm lxxxix, 13. 1 But augurs, &c.] But Pomponius astronomers, or poets which respect their Lætus (in De Auguribus ) sayes, if the owne artes more then the nobler scite of augur versus orientem sedebat, tenens the world. Whose longitude, that is the dextrâ lituum, i. e. curvum baculum, quo greatest distance, is accounted from east in cælo regiones dividit et que auguria to west, which are every where round conveniunt prædicit: si læva fuerint, fæ- the world. But the latitude, which is licia pronunciat: not bycause what comes the least distance, is counted from the to our left hand comes from the right æquator to each pole. And bycause the hand of the gods, as some would say, but, northerne in all respects of habitation, sayes he, quia a lava parte septentrio est; religion, learning, artes, government, pars n. illa orbis, quia altior est prospera wealth, honor, and all relations to hcaputatur ; et a dertrá parte meridies, ven is infinitely more noble, and withall quia depressior infelix. And this reason the higher parte of the world: therefore is not particular, but generall, and such 't is justly cald the right side of the as prevailes all the other of philosophers, world.---Wr.
And therefore what admission we owe unto many conceptions concerning right and left, requireth circumspection. That is, how far we ought to rely upon the remedy in Kiranides, that is, the left eye of an hedgehog fried in oil to procure sleep, and the right foot of a frog in a deer's skin for the gout; or, that to dream of the loss of right or left tooth presageth the death of male or female kindred, according to the doctrine of Artemidorus. What verity there is in that numeral conceit in the lateral division of man by even and odd, ascribing the odd unto the right side, and even unto the left; and so, by parity or imparity of letters in men's names to determine misfortunes on either side of their bodies; by which account in Greek numeration, Hephæstus or Vulcan was lame in the right foot, and Annibal lost his right eye. And lastly, what substance there is in that auspicial principle, and fundamental doctrine of ariolation, that the left hand is ominous, and that good things do pass sinistrously upon us, because the left hand of man respected the right hand of the gods, which handed their favours unto us.”
? unto us.
This chapter is very cha- The Signor decides that mankind must racteristic of our author. It displays have discovered that the left hand, remarkably the great pains he frequently from its anatomical connection with the bestows on the elucidation of lesser points, most vital and important parts of the and the quaint and varied illustration animal economy, could not be the one which his extensive and curious reading preferred. “For it must have been obenabled him to supply. The closing served, that when the left arm is long paragraph may serve to exemplify this used, or violently exercised, the left side latter remark; while the former is justi- also of the chest is put more or less in fied, not only by individual passages in motion, and a consequent and corresthe chapter, but by its great length, and ponding obstacle produced not only to by the care and argumentative precision the free emission of the blood from the with which he successively examines the heart, but also to its progress through various opinions, more or less absurd, the aorta and its ramifications.” The which have been expressed on this most editor goes on to observe, that the prevamomentous topic,--summing up at the lence of the arterial system in the left close, by a detail of the several reasons side of the body renders this opinion for his conclusion thereon.
quite plausible: and the painful sensaBrande's Journal notices, (vol. ii, page tions we experience, when we agitate 423,) a discourse by Signor Zecchinelli, greatly the left arm, or attempt to run on the reason of the prevalent custom of while carrying a weight in the left hand, using the right in preference to the left proves in a certain manner the truth of hand. His theory is, first, that it was Signor Z's. assertion. obviously necessary,-in order to avoid Dr. A. Clarke, on Gen. xlviii, 18, re(what our author more felicitously terms) marks, that “the right hand of God," in
anomalous discordances in manual ac the heavens, expresses the place of the tions,”--that one hand should obtain a most exalted dignity. But among the general preference to the other. The Turks, and in the north of China, the next question was, - which to prefer? left hand is most honourable.
On Swimming and Floating.
That men swim naturally, if not disturbed by fear; that men being drowned and sunk do float the ninth day, when their gall breaketh ; that women drowned swim prone, but men supine, or upon their backs, are popular affirmations whereto we cannot assent. And first that man should swim naturally, because we observe it is no lesson unto other animals, we are not forward to conclude ; for other animals swim in the same manner as they go, and need no other way of motion for natation in the water, than for progression upon the land. And this is true, whether they move per latera, that is, two legs of one side together, which is tolutation or ambling, or per diametrum, lifting one foot before, and the cross foot behind, which is succussation or trotting; or whether per frontem, or quadratum, as Scaliger terms it, upon a square base, the legs of both sides moving together, as frogs and salient animals, which is properly called leaping. For by these motions they are able to support and impel themselves in the water, without alteration in the stroke of their legs, or position of their bodies.
But with man it is performed otherwise: for in regard of site he alters his natural posture and swimmeth prone, whereas he walketh erect. Again, in progression, the arms move parallel to the legs, and the arms and legs unto each other; but in natation they intersect and make all sorts of angles. And lastly, in progressive motion, the arms and legs do move successively, but in natation both together; all which aptly to perform, and so as to support and advance the body, is a point of art, and such as some in their young and docile years
he alters, &c.] “ This is no reason," therefore, that this motion is not natural says Ross; "for man alters his natural to man?"-See Arcana, p. 155. posture when he crawls; will it follow,