Of Slogans: Hard and Soft

The Divine Captain

….that nane of thaim name thair capitane with ony uthir sloggone, bot with the auld name of that tribe;, and quhen thay heir his name, to bek and discover thair heid, with na les reverence than he war a God. I thairfore, that the pepill that dwellis in hie land, or in the Ilis, quhen thair hieest besines occurris, sweria be the foote or hand, or name of thair capitane, as sum hid divinite war in the same.

Ewin, to stabil his realme in virtew, commandit the young children of his realme to be nurist with skars and hard fude; and to sleip erar on hard burdis, than on plumis or coddis; and to be ithandly exercit in swift rinning and wrsling, to make thaim the more abill to debait his realme, quhen time requitit; and ordanit thaim, to abstene fra all thing that micht make thaim soft or effeminat.


Hector Boece, The History and Chronicles of Scotland Vol. 1

The Musculus

Urget majora (He urges on Greater)

“There be examples of freindship among the fishes, besides those of whose societie and fellowship I have allreadie written, namely betweene the  great whale and balaena, and the little musculus. For whereas the whale aforesaid hath no use of his eies (by reason of the heavie weight of his eie- brows that cover them) the other swimmeth before him in steed of eies and lights, to shew that hee is neere the shelves and shallows, wherein he may be soone grounded, so big and huge is he.”

Pliny Natural history


Urget majora was the motto of James V. of Scotland

On Conductors of Heat The Infection of Dead Bodies etc. etc.

An Account of Toads found enclosed in solid stone.

At Passy, near Paris, April 6th, 1782, being with M. de Chaumont, viewing his quarry, he mentioned to me, that the workmen had found a living toad shut up in stone. On questioning one of them, he told us, they had found four in different cells which had no communication; that they were very lively and active when set at liberty; that there was in each cell some loose yellowish earth, which appeared to be very moist. We asked, if he could show us the parts of the stone that formed the cells. He said No…..

The workmen have promised to call us, if they meet with anymore, that we may examine the situation.


The Works of Benjamin Franklin: Containing Several Political and Historical Tracts. Vol. 6

Related Posts

She’s Not There

I Mark, Give Form, I Bring To The Attention Of

The Monuments Thereof: What Some Say

I arrived at Hamrange Post-house during the night.

The people here talked of an extraordinary kind of tree, growing near the road, which many persons has visited, but none could find out what it was. Some said it was an apple tree which had been cursed by a beggar- woman, who one day having gathered an apple from it, and being on that account siezed by the proprietor of the tree, declared that the tree should never bear fruit any more.

Next morning I arose with the sun in order to examine this wonderful tree, which was pointed out to me from a distance. It proved nothing more than a common Elm. Hence however we learn that the Elm is not a common tree in this part of the world.


Linnaeus, A Tour in Lapland

Nature and Things

To be temperate is the greatest virtue. Wisdom consists in
speaking and acting the truth, giving heed to the nature of



Greek, sophrosume, derives saos =safe, phorn= mind, thoughtful, centered balanced. English, temperate from Latin temperatus origin, tempus =time, right time, being in touch. A proper time for action i.e season. Temperance = avoidance of alcohol, temper=anger


W. Harris (trans) Heraclitus, The Complete Fragments

In A Landscape

For Every Ripple A Wave

“I inquired whether the children are kept longer at the breast than is usual with us,  and was answered in the affirmative. They are allowed that nourishment more than twice as long as other places. I have a notion that Adam and Eve were giants, and that mankind from one generation to another, owing to poverty and other causes, have diminished in size. Hence the diminutive stature of the Laplanders*.

* The original is very obscure, and I have been obliged partly to guess at the sense of the intermingled Latin and Swedish. I beg leave to suggest that the deficiency of brandy among this sequestered people is perhaps a more probable cause of their robust stature, and even if their neatness and refinement, than that assigned by Linnaeus.


Linnaeus,  Tour in Lapland


Linnaeus’s journal notes are from his tour of lapland in  1732

The Editors notes are from English edition, 1811

Whats my Name?

Among the great numbers who drink Tar water in Dublin, your letter informs me there are Feveral, that make it too weak or too Ftrong, or ufe it in an undue manner. To obviate thefe inconveniences, and render this water as generally ufeful as poffible, you defire I would draw up some rules, and remarks, in a small compafs; which accordingly I here fend you.

Norwegian tar being the moft liquid, mixeth beft with water. Put a gallon of cold water to a quart of this tar, Ftir and work them very ftrongly together, with a flat ftick, for about four minutes. Let the veffel ftand and covered forty eight hours, that the tar may fubfide. Then pour off the clear water, and keep it clofe covered, or rather bottled, and well stopped, for Ufe. This may do for general rule; but as ftomachs and conftitutions are fo various, for particular perfons, their own experiance is the best rule. The ftronger the better; provided the ftomach can bear it……

I never knew anything fo good for the stomach as tar water.

Tar water is something of a cure- all for a range of illness, small pox (Berkeley flags its use in the American colonies as the prime example of its effectiveness in treatment here), scurvy, gout, ulcer and intestinal issues. Its long been used as a folk remedy for dyspepsia.



G. Berkekey, Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflections and Inquiries Concerning the Virtue of Tar Water, And divers other Subjects connected together and arifing one from the another

A Map of the World

“Democritus of Adbera Laughed at (the world)

Herclitus Wept Over It

Epichtonius Cosmpolites Portryed it”

“What Are You Doing, Strange Fellow? Why paint fugitive shores? Tomorrow your face will be either new or nothing.”


An oration, of feigned matter, spoken by Folly in her own person

But if you ask me why I appear before you in this strange dress, be pleased to lend me your ears, and I’ll tell you; not those ears, I mean, you carry to church, but abroad with you, such as you are wont to prick up to jugglers, fools, and buffoons, and such as our friend Midas once gave to Pan. For I am disposed awhile to play the sophist with you; not of their sort who nowadays boozle young men’s heads with certain empty notions and curious trifles, yet teach them nothing but a more than womanish obstinacy of scolding: but I’ll imitate those ancients who, that they might the better avoid that infamous appellation of sophi or wise, chose rather to be called sophists. Their business was to celebrate the praises of the gods and valiant men. And the like encomium shall you hear from me, but neither of Hercules nor Solon, but my own dear self, that is to say, Folly. Nor do I esteem a rush that call it a foolish and insolent thing to praise one’s self. Be it as foolish as they would make it, so they confess it proper: and what can be more than that Folly be her own trumpet? For who can set me out better than myself, unless perhaps I could be better known to another than to myself? Though yet I think it somewhat more modest than the general practice of our nobles and wise men who, throwing away all shame, hire some flattering orator or lying poet from whose mouth they may hear their praises, that is to say, mere lies; and yet, composing themselves with a seeming modesty, spread out their peacock’s plumes and erect their crests, while this impudent flatterer equals a man of nothing to the gods and proposes him as an absolute pattern of all virtue that’s wholly a stranger to it, sets out a pitiful jay in other’s feathers, washes the blackamoor white, and lastly swells a gnat to an elephant. In short, I will follow that old proverb that says, “He may lawfully praise himself that lives far from neighbors.” Though, by the way, I cannot but wonder at the ingratitude, shall I say, or negligence of men who, notwithstanding they honor me in the first place and are willing enough to confess my bounty, yet not one of them for these so many ages has there been who in some thankful oration has set out the praises of Folly; when yet there has not wanted them whose elaborate endeavors have extolled tyrants, agues, flies, baldness, and such other pests of nature, to their own loss of both time and sleep. And now you shall hear from me a plain extemporary speech, but so much the truer. Nor would I have you think it like the rest of orators, made for the ostentation of wit; for these, as you know, when they have been beating their heads some thirty years about an oration and at last perhaps produce somewhat that was never their own, shall yet swear they composed it in three days, and that too for diversion: whereas I ever liked it best to speak whatever came first out.

But let none of you expect from me that after the manner of rhetoricians I should go about to define what I am, much less use any division; for I hold it equally unlucky to circumscribe her whose deity is universal, or make the least division in that worship about which everything is so generally agreed. Or to what purpose, think you, should I describe myself when I am here present before you, and you behold me speaking? For I am, as you see, that true and only giver of wealth whom the Greeks call Moria, the Latins Stultitia, and our plain English Folly. Or what need was there to have said so much, as if my very looks were not sufficient to inform you who I am? Or as if any man, mistaking me for wisdom, could not at first sight convince himself by my face the true index of my mind? I am no counterfeit, nor do I carry one thing in my looks and another in my breast. No, I am in every respect so like myself that neither can they dissemble me who arrogate to themselves the appearance and title of wise men and walk like asses in scarlet hoods, though after all their hypocrisy Midas’ ears will discover their master. A most ungrateful generation of men that, when they are wholly given up to my party, are yet publicly ashamed of the name, as taking it for a reproach; for which cause, since in truth they are morotatoi, fools, and yet would appear to the world to be wise men and Thales, we’ll even call them morosophous, wise fools.

Nor will it be amiss also to imitate the rhetoricians of our times, who think themselves in a manner gods if like horse leeches they can but appear to be double-tongued, and believe they have done a mighty act if in their Latin orations they can but shuffle in some ends of Greek like mosaic work, though altogether by head and shoulders and less to the purpose. And if they want hard words, they run over some worm-eaten manuscript and pick out half a dozen of the most old and obsolete to confound their reader, believing, no doubt, that they that understand their meaning will like it the better, and they that do not will admire it the more by how much the less they understand it. Nor is this way of ours of admiring what seems most foreign without its particular grace; for if there happen to be any more ambitious than others, they may give their applause with a smile, and, like the ass, shake their ears, that they may be thought to understand more than the rest of their neighbors.

But to come to the purpose: I have given you my name, but what epithet shall I add? What but that of the most foolish? For by what more proper name can so great a goddess as Folly be known to her disciples? And because it is not alike known to all from what stock I am sprung, with the Muses’ good leave I’ll do my endeavor to satisfy you. But yet neither the first Chaos, Orcus, Saturn, or Japhet, nor any of those threadbare, musty gods were my father, but Plutus, Riches; that only he, that is, in spite of Hesiod, Homer, nay and Jupiter himself, divum pater atque hominum rex, the father of gods and men, at whose single beck, as heretofore, so at present, all things sacred and profane are turned topsy-turvy. According to whose pleasure war, peace, empire, counsels, judgments, assemblies, wedlocks, bargains, leagues, laws, arts, all things light or serious—I want breath—in short, all the public and private business of mankind is governed; without whose help all that herd of gods of the poets’ making, and those few of the better sort of the rest, either would not be at all, or if they were, they would be but such as live at home and keep a poor house to themselves. And to whomsoever he’s an enemy, ’tis not Pallas herself that can befriend him; as on the contrary he whom he favors may lead Jupiter and his thunder in a string. This is my father and in him I glory. Nor did he produce me from his brain, as Jupiter that sour and ill-looked Pallas; but of that lovely nymph called Youth, the most beautiful and galliard of all the rest. Nor was I, like that limping blacksmith, begot in the sad and irksome bonds of matrimony. Yet, mistake me not, ’twas not that blind and decrepit Plutus in Aristophanes that got me, but such as he was in his full strength and pride of youth; and not that only, but at such a time when he had been well heated with nectar, of which he had, at one of the banquets of the gods, taken a dose extraordinary.


Fools Cap Map of the World ca. 1580-1590

John Wilson (trans.) Disiderius Erasmus, The praise of Folly, 1668

This Weeks Reading: A Brain In a Bell Jar

Notes: Patterns of Reinforcement

“even the posset separates if it is not stirred”


This week will be pouring over sources on Frogs and toads. Looking at the creatures perceived ability to live in constricted and inhospitable places. Stomachs, bell jars, and stone (in which the toad was often found encased) will be the three objects up for examination. Then move on to bell jars use in observation and experiment. That at least is the plan.

The curative curative uses of tar may help in regard to the last post. It would seem to present a solution to some issues the piece raises. The source indicates it was widely distributed (i.e the sufferer had already tried it).. May suggest Linnaeus may have been more open minded that his editors allowed.  Cures for the old frog in the stomach complaint were often psychological and present early examples of the successful use of psychology in medicine.

So explore this anxiety alongside other aspects of the knowledge and belief system of the  culture in which it manifested itself in mind. Look at tar first and explore its medical properties and uses.

Consumption and Transformation

The other area I have not even started with yet is potential overlap with reproduction and notion of ideas about species. This is more complex. In regard to the Man shits frog tale in the last post, swallowing an insect, even looking at getting excited by an object was enough to start the cycle of reproduction and birth. But these are all female examples, the male sticks fully to normal processes involved in the consumption and processing of food. When I look more fully at stone and frog, reproduction and transformation also features as a subject here. Its a tangled and overlapping web that is going to require a good deal of work. Man shits frog is somewhat different again one more layer to deal with. What next, a women given birth to rabbits or an ape?

A Botanists Advice

In the school here were only eight scholars.

I procured at Lycksele a Laplander’s snuff-box, which is of a round figure, turned out of the horn of a reindeer.

The church of Lycksele, built of timber, was in a very miserable state, so that whenever it rained the congregation were as wet as if they had been in the open air. It had altogether the appearance of a barn. The seats were so narrow that those who sat on them were drawn neck and heels together.

Here was a woman supposed to labour under the misfortune of a brood of frogs in her stomach, owing to her having, in the course of the preceding spring, drunk water which contained the spawn of these animals. She thought she could feel three of them, and that herself, as well as persons who sat near her, could hear them croak. Her uneasiness was in some degree alleviated by drinking brandy. Salt had no effect in destroying the frogs. Another person, who for some years had had the same complaint, took doses of Nux Vomica, and was cured; but even this powerful remedy had been tried on this woman in vain. I advised her to try tar, but that she had already taken without success, having been obliged to throw it up again. [27]

[27] Linnæus writes as if he did not absolutely disbelieve the existence of these frogs, which were as much out of their place as Jonah in the whale’s belly. The patient probably laboured under a debility of the stomach and bowels, not uncommon in a more luxurious state of society, which is attended with frequent internal noise from wind, especially when the mind is occasionally agitated. Yet the idea of frogs or toads in the stomach has often been credited. Not many years ago a story appeared in the Norwich paper, of a gentleman’s servant having eaten toad-spawn with water cresses, which being hatched, occasioned dreadful uneasiness, till he brought up a large toad by means of an emetic; and this story was said to have been sworn before the mayor of Lynn, as if it had been really true.


J.E. Smith (eds) C. Troilius (trans.), Carl Von Linne Lachesis Lapponica, A Tour in Lapland, Vol. 1