The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Page 70 of 76

Q. Why do swine delight in dirt? A. As physicians do say, they are naturally delighted with it, because they have a great liver, in which desire it, as Aristotle saith, the wideness of their snout is the case, for he that hath smelling which doth dissolve itself, and as it were strive with stench.

Q. Why do many beasts when they see their friends, and a lion and a bull beat their sides when they are angry? A. Because they have the marrow of their backs reaching to the tail, which hath the force of motion in it, the imagination acknowledging that which is known to them, as it were with the hand, as happens to men, doth force them to move their tails. This doth manifestly show some secret force to be within them, which doth acknowledge what they ought. In the anger of lions and bulls, nature doth consent to the mind, and causeth it to be greatly moved, as men do sometimes when they are angry, beating their hands on other parts; when the mind cannot be revenged on that which doth hurt, it presently seeks out some other source, and cures the malady with a stroke or blow.

Q. How come steel glasses to be better for the sight than any other kind? A. Because steel is hard, and doth present unto us more substantially the air that receiveth the light.

Q. How doth love show its greater force by making the fool to become wise, or the wise to become a fool? A. In attributing wisdom to him that has it not; for it is harder to build than to pull down; and ordinarily love and folly are but an alteration of the mind.

Q. How comes much labour and fatigue to be bad for the sight? A. Because it dries the blood too much.

Q. Why is goat's milk reckoned best for the stomach? A. Because it is thick, not slimy, and they feed on wood and boughs rather than on grass.

Q. Why do grief and vexation bring grey hairs? A. Because they dry, which bringeth on greyness.

Q. How come those to have most mercy who have the thickest blood? A. Because the blood which is fat and thick makes the spirits firm and constant, wherein consists the force of all creatures.

Q. Whether it is hardest, to obtain a person's love, or to keep it when obtained? A. It is hardest to keep it, by reason of the inconstancy of man, who is quickly angry, and soon weary of a thing; hard to be gained and slippery to keep.

Q. Why do serpents shun the herb rue? A. Because they are cold, dry and full of sinews, and that herb is of a contrary nature.

Q. Why is a capon better to eat than a cock? A. Because a capon loses not his moisture by treading of the hens.

Q. Why is our smell less in winter than in summer? A. Because the air is thick, and less moveable.

Q. Why does hair burn so quickly? A. Because it is dry and cold.

Q. Why is love compared to a labyrinth? A. Because the entry and coming in is easy, and the going out almost impossible or hard.



SECTION 1.—Of Physiognomy, showing what it is, and whence it is derived.

Physiognomy is an ingenious science, or knowledge of nature, by which the inclinations and dispositions of every creature are understood, and because some of the members are uncompounded, and entire of themselves, as the tongue, the heart, etc., and some are of a mixed nature, as the eyes, the nose and others, we therefore say that there are signs which agree and live together, which inform a wise man how to make his judgment before he be too rash to deliver it to the world.

Nor is it to be esteemed a foolish or idle art, seeing it is derived from the superior bodies; for there is no part of the face of man but what is under the peculiar influence or government, not only of the seven planets but also of the twelve signs of Zodiac; and the dispositions, vices, virtues and fatality, either of a man or woman are plainly foretold, if the person pretending to the knowledge thereof be an artist, which, that my readers may hereby attain it I shall set these things in a clearer light.

The reader should remember that the forehead is governed by Mars; the right eye is under the domination of Sol; the left is ruled by the Moon; the right ear is under Jupiter; the left, Saturn, the rule of the nose is claimed by Venus, which, by the way, is one reason that in all unlawful venereal encounters, the nose is too subject to bear the scars that are gotten in those wars; and nimble Mercury, the significator of eloquence claims the dominion of the mouth, and that very justly.

Thus have the seven planets divided the face among them, but not with so absolute a way but that the twelve signs of the Zodiac do also come in with a part (see the engraving) and therefore the sign Cancer presides in the upper part of the forehead, and Leo attends upon the right eyebrow, as Saggittarius does upon the right eye, and Libra upon the right ear, upon the left eyebrow you will find Aquarius; and Gemini and Aries taking care of the left ear; Taurus rules in the middle of the forehead, and Capricorn the chin; Scorpio takes upon him the protection of the nose; Virgo claims the precedence of the right cheek, Pisces the left. And thus the face of man is cantoned out amongst the signs and planets; which being carefully attended to, will sufficiently inform the artist how to pass a judgment. For according to the sign or planet ruling so also is the judgment to be of the part ruled, which all those that have understanding know easily how to apply.

In the judgment that is to be made from physiognomy, there is a great difference betwixt a man and a woman; the reason is, because in respect of the whole composition men more fully comprehend it than women do, as may evidently appear by the manner and method we shall give. Wherefore the judgments which we shall pass in every chapter do properly concern a man, as comprehending the whole species, and but improperly the woman, as being but a part thereof, and derived from the man, and therefore, whoever is called to give judgment on such a face, ought to be wary about all the lines and marks that belong to it, respect being also had to the sex, for when we behold a man whose face is like unto a woman's and we pass a judgment upon it, having diligently observed it, and not on the face only, but on other parts of the body, as hands, etc., in like manner we also behold the face of a woman, who in respect to her flesh and blood is like unto a man, and in the disposure also of the greatest part of the body. But does physiognomy give the same judgment on her, as it does of a man that is like unto her? By no means, but far otherwise, in regard that the conception of the woman is much different from that of a man, even in those respects which are said to be common. Now in those common respects two parts are attributed to a man, and a third part to a woman.

Wherefore it being our intention to give you an exact account, according to the rule of physiognomy of all and every part of the members of the body, we will begin with the head, as it hath relation only to man and woman, and not to any other creature, that the work may be more obvious to every reader.


Of the Judgment of Physiognomy.

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