The Works of Aristotle - Of the Roof of the Mouth.

Of the Roof of the Mouth.

Why are the fruits before they be ripe, of a naughty relish, or bitter, and after sweet?
A naughty relish in taste proceedeth of coldness, and want of heat in gross and thick humidity, but a sweet taste proceedeth of sufficient heat, and therefore in the ripe fruit the humidity is subtile through the heat of the sun, and such fruits are commonly sweet; but before they be ripe, as humidity is gross or subtile for want of heat the fruit is bitter and sour.

Why are we better delighted with sweet tastes than with bitter or any other?
Because nature is delighted with sweetness; the reason is, because a sweet thing is hot and moist, and though his heart doth dissolve and consume superfluous humidities, and by this humidity immundicity is wiped away, but a sharp eager taste, by reason of the cold which predominates in it, doth bind over much, and prick and offend the parts of the body in purging, and therefore we do not delight in that taste, because the physicians counsel us to eat nothing that is bitter in the summer nor in a great heat; and the reason is, because bitterness doth breed heat, but we shall eat bitter things in winter only; and therefore Aristotle doth say, that sweet things are grateful unto nature and do greatly nourish.

Why doth a sharp taste, as of vinegar, provoke appetite rather than any other?
Because it is cold, and doth cool. Now it is the nature of cold to desire and draw, and therefore is cause of appetite. Mark, that then are nine kinds of tastes: three of which proceed from heat, three from cold, and three from a temperate mean.

Why do we draw in more air than we breathe out?
Aristotle and Albertus in their book de motu cordis, do answer, that much air is drawn in, and so converted into nutriment, which, together with the vital spirits, is contained in the lungs. Wherefore a beast is not suffocated so long as he receives air with the lungs, in which some part of the air remaineth also.

Why doth the air seem to be expelled and put forth, seeing that indeed the air is invisible, by reason of its variety and thinness?
Because the air which is received in us is mingled with th. vapours and fumosity of the heart, by reason whereof it is made thick, and so is seen. And this is proved by experience, because that in winter we see our breath, for the coldness of air doth bind the breath mixed with fumosities, and so it is thickened and made gross, and by consequence is seen.

Why have some men a stinking breath?
The answer is, according to the physicians, because there rise evil fumes from the stomach, and sometimes it doth proceed from the corruption of the airy parts of the body, as of the lungs. And the breath of lepers is so infected that it doth poison the birds that are near them, because the inward parts are very corrupt, as appears by Const. de fin. Now the leprosy is a nourishment of all the parts of the body, together with a corrupting of them and it doth begin in the blood, and exterior members of the body.

Why are lepers hoarse?
Because that in them the vocal instruments are corrupted, that is the lights.

Why do men become hoarse?
Because of the rheum descending from the brain filling the conduits of the lights; or sometimes through some imposthumes of the throat, or rheum gathering in the neck.

Why have females of all living creatures the shrillest voice, a crow only excepted, and a woman shriller than a man, and a smaller?
According to Aristotle, by reason of the composition of the veins the vocal arteries of voice is formed, as appears by a similitude, because a small pipe sounds shriller than a great. And also in women, because the passage where the voice is formed is made narrow and straight, by reason of cold, it being the nature of cold to bind; but in men the passage is open and wider through heat, bemuse it is the property of heat to open and dissolve. It proceedeth in women through the moistness of the lungs and weakness of the heat. Young men and diseased have sharp and shrill voices for the same cause. And this is the natural cause why a man child at his birth doth cry a. i., which is a slender sound, and pleaseth Libertinus, when he saith Masculas a prosert.

Why doth the voice change in men and women; in men at fourteen, in women at twelve; in men when they begin to yield seed; in women when their breasts begin to grow, as Aristotle says, Lib. de animal?
Because then, saith Aristotle, the beginning of the voice is slackened and loosened; and he proves this by a similitude of a string of an instrument let down or loosed, which gives a great sound. He proves it another way, because creatures which are gelded, as eunuchs, capons, etc., have softer and slenderer voices than others, by reason they want stones.

Why is not a wolf hoarse when a man looks on him?
Because a man is not so cold as a wolf, nor of so malignant a quality.

Why doth a man which is slain bleed when he is seen of him who killed him?
This proceedeth of divine cause, and not of a natural, because his blood calleth for vengeance against the murderer; but if there be any natural cause for it, it is this: the committer of this wicked act calling it to mind, is very sorry for it, and repents him of it; is in anguish of mind, and in a great heat through the imagination he hath conceived and by that means all his spirits do stir and boil, and repair into the instruments of the sight of the eyes, unto the wounds which are made, which if they be fresh, do presently fail a bleeding. Besides this is done fry the help of the air then breathed in, which, being drawn from the wound, causeth it to bleed.

Why do small birds sing more and louder than great ones, as appears in the lark and nightingale?
Because the spirits of small birds are subtile and soft, and the organ conduit straight, as appeareth in a pipe, and therefore follow easily any desire, and so do sing very soft.

Why doth the male sing more than the female, as appeareth in all living creatures?

It proceedeth from the desire of carnal copulation, because that then the spirits are moved throughout all the body with the aforesaid appetite and desires. And generally speaking, the females are colder than the males.

Why do bees, wasps, flies, locusts, and many other such like insects, make a noise, seeing they have no lungs, nor instruments of the voice?
According to Aristotle there is in them a certain small skin which, when the air doth strike it, causeth the sound, and there is a strange sound.

Why do not fish make a sound?
Because, according to Aristotle, they have no lungs, but only gills, nor yet a heart; and therefore they need not the drawing in of the air, and by consequence they make no noise, because that (according to Aristotle) a voice is a percussion of the air which is drawn.

 

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