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than the black. Thus we that are of contrary complexions accuse the blackness of the Moors as ugly; but the spouse in the Canticles excuseth this conceit, in that description of hers, I am black, but comely. And howsoever Cerberus, and the furies of hell be described by the poets under this complexion, yet in the beauty of our Saviour, blackness is commended, when it is said, his locks are bushy and black as a
So that to infer this as a curse, or to reason it as a deformity, is no way reasonable; the two foundations of beauty, symmetry and complexion, receiving such various apprehensions, that no deviation will be expounded so high as a curse or undeniable deformity, without a manifest and confessed degree of monstrosity.
Lastly, it is a very injurious method unto philosophy, and a perpetual promotion of ignorance, in points of obscurity, nor open unto easy considerations, to fall upon a present refuge unto miracles; or recur unto immediate contrivance from the unsearchable hands of God. Thus, in the conceit of the evil odour of the Jews, Christians, without a further research into the verity of the thing, or enquiry into the cause, draw up a judgment upon them from the passion of their Saviour. Thus in the wondrous effects of the clime of Ireland, and the freedom from all venomous creatures, the credulity of common conceit imputes this immunity unto the benediction of St. Patrick, as Beda and Gyraldus have left recorded. Thus the ass having a peculiar mark of a cross made by a black list down his back, and another athwart, or at right angles down his shoulders: common opinion ascribe this figure unto a peculiar signation, since that beast had the honour to bear our Saviour on his back. Certainly this is a course more desperate than antipathies, sympathies, or occult qualities; wherein by a final and satisfactive discernment of faith, we lay the last and particular effects upon the first and general cause of all things; whereas in the other, we do but palliate our determinations, until our advanced endeavours do totally reject, or partially salve their evasions.
Sevil odour of the Jews.] See more of this, p. 36, note 4.
A Digression concerning Blackness.
There being therefore two opinions repugnant unto each other, it may not be presumptive or sceptical to doubt of both. And because we remain imperfect in the general theory of colours, we shall deliver at present a short discovery of blackness; wherein although perhaps we afford no greater satisfaction than others, yet shall we empirically and sensibly discourse hereof; deducing the causes of blackness from such originals in nature, as we do generally observe things are denigrated by art. And herein I hope our progression will not be thought unreasonable ; for, art being the initation of nature, or nature at the second hand, it is but a sensible expression of effects dependent on the same, though more removed causes: and therefore the works of the one may serve to discover the other. And though colours of bodies may arise according to the receptions, refraction, or modification of light; yet are there certain materials which may dispose them unto such qualities.?
And first, things become, by a sooty and fuliginous matter proceeding from the sulphur of bodies, torrified; not taking fuligo strictly, but in opposition unto årpis, that is any kind of vaporous or madefying excretion, and comprehending ůvoduMiaois, that is, as Aristotle defines it, a separation of moist and dry parts made by the action of heat or fire, and colouring bodies objected. Hereof in his Meteors, from the qualities of the subject, he raiseth three kinds; the exhalations from ligneous and lean bodies, as bones, hair, and the like he called rários, fumus; from fat bodies, and such as have not their fatness conspicuous or separated, he termeth záquis, fuligo, as wax,
7 And though colours, fc.) First added in the 6th edit.
resin, pitch, or turpentine ; that from unctuous bodies, and such whose oiliness is evident, he named xvíosa or nidor. Now every one of these do blacken bodies objected unto them, and are to be conceived in the sooty and fuliginous matter expressed.
I say, proceeding from the sulphur of bodies torrified, that is, the oil, fat, and unctuous parts, wherein consist the principles of flammability. Not pure and refined sulphur, as in the spirits of wine often rectified; but containing terrestrious parts, and carrying with it the volatile salt of the body, and such as is distinguishable by taste in soot: nor vulgar and usual sulphur, for that leaves none or very little blackness, except a metalline body receive the exhalation.
I say, torrified, singed, or suffering some impression from fire; thus are bodies casually or artificially denigrated, which in their naturals are of another complexion; thus are charcoals made black by an infection of their own suffitus ; so is it true what is affirmed of combustible bodies, adusta nigra, perusta alba ; black at first from the fuliginous tincture, which being exhaled they become white, as is perceptible in ashes. And so doth fire cleanse and purify bodies, because it consumes the sulphureous parts, which before did make them foul, and therefore refines those bodies which will never be mundified by water. Thus camphire, of a white substance, by its fuligo affordeth a deep black. So is pitch black, although it proceed from the same tree with resin, the one distilling forth, the other forced by fire. So of the suffitus of a torch, do painters make a velvet black; so is lamp-black made; so of burnt hart-horns a sable ; so is bacon denigrated in chimnies; so in fevers and hot distempers from choler adust is caused a blackness in our tongues, teeth and excretions; so are ustilago, brant-corn and trees black by blasting; so parts cauterized, gangrenated, siderated and mortified, become black, the radical moisture, or vital sulphur suffering an extinction, and smothered in the part affected. So not only actual but potential fire-not burning fire, but also corroding waterwill induce a blackness. So are chimnies and furnaces generally black, except they receive a clear and manifest sulphur; for the smoke of sulphur will not black a paper, and is com
monly used by women to whiten tiffanies, which it performeth by an acid vitriolous, and penetrating spirit ascending from it, by reason whereof it is not apt to kindle any thing: nor will it easily light a candle, until that spirit be spent, and the flame approacheth the match. This is that acid and piercing spirit which with such activity and compunction invadeth the brains and nostrils of those that receive it. And thus when Bellonius affirmeth the charcoals made out of the wood of oxycedar are white, Dr. Jordan in his judicious discourse of mineral waters yieldeth the reason, because their vapors are rather sulphureous than of any other combustible substance. So we see that Tinby coals will not black linen hanged in the smoke, thereof, but rather whiten it by reason of the drying and penetrating quality of sulphur, which will make red roses white. And therefore to conceive a general blackness in hell, and yet therein the pure and refined flames of sulphur, is no philosophical conception, nor will it well consist with the real effects of its nature.
These are the advenient and artificial ways of denigration, answerably whereto may be the natural progress. These are the ways whereby culinary and common fires do operate, and correspondent hereunto may be the effects of fire elemental. So may bitumen, coals, jet, black-lead, and divers mineral earths become black; being either fuliginous concretions in the earth, or suffering a scorch from denigrating principles in their formation. So men and other animals receive different tinctures from constitution and complexional efflorescences, and descend still lower, as they partake of the fuliginous and denigrating humour. And so may the Ethiopians or Negroes become coal-black, from fuliginous efflorescences and complexional tinctures arising from such probabilities, as we have declared before.
The second way whereby bodies become black, is an atramentous condition or mixture, that is, a vitriolate or copperas quality conjoining with a terrestrious and astringent humidity; for so is atramentum scriptorium, or writing ink commonly made by copperas cast upon a decoction or infusion of galls.
copperas.] Reade copper-rust.
I say a vitriolous or copperas quality; for vitriol is the active or chief ingredient in ink, and no other salt that I know will strike the colour with galls; neither alum, sal-gem, nitre, nor armoniack. Now artifical copperas, and such as we commonly use, is a rough and acrimonious kind of salt drawn out of ferreous and eruginous earths, partaking chiefly of iron and copper; the blue of copper, the green most of iron. Nor is it unusual to dissolve fragments of iron in the liquor thereof, for advantage in the concretion. I say, a terrestrious or astringent humidity; for without this there will ensue no tincture; for copperas in a decoction of lettuce or mallows affords no black, which with an astringent mixture it will do, though it be made up with oil, as in printing and painting ink.. But whereas in this composition we use only nut-galls, that is, an excrescence from the oak, therein we follow and beat upon the old receipt; for any plant of austere and stiptick parts will suffice, as I have experimented in bistort, myrobalans, myrtus brabantica, balaustium and red-roses. And indeed, most decoctions of astringent plants, of what colour soever, do leave in the liquor a deep and muscadine red: which by addition of vitriol descends into a black: and so Dioscorides in his receipt of ink, leaves out gall, and with copperas makes use of soot.
Now if we enquire in what part of vitriol this atramental and denigrating condition lodgeth, it will seem especially to lie in the more fixed salt thereof. For the phlegm or aqueous evaporation will not denigrate; nor yet spirits of vitriol, which carry with them volatile and nimbler salt. For if upon a decoction of copperas and gall, be poured the spirits or oil of vitriol, the liquor will relinquish his blackness; the gall and parts of the copperas precipitate unto the bottom, and the ink grow clear again, which it will not so easily do in common ink, because that gum is dissolved therein, which hindereth the separation. But colcothar or vitriol burnt, though unto a redness, containing the fixed salt, will make good ink; and so will the lixivium, or lye made thereof with warm water; but
9 as in printing, &c.] There is noe 1 soot.) But he meant torche or lamp copper-rust in printinge ink, which is soote.-Wr. made of lamp black and oyle.-Wr.