John Heydon’s views on natural form

 

12. Now that there is such a thing as Beauty, and that it is acknowledged by the whole generations of men, to be in Trees, Flowers, and Fruits, and the adorning of buildings in all Ages, is an example, and undeniable testimony; for what is more ordinary with them, then [sic] taking in flowers and fruitage for the garnishing of their work? Besides, I appeal to any man that is not sunk into so forlorne a pitch of Degeneracy, that he is as stupid to these things as the basest of Beasts, whether for example, a rightly-cut Tetraedrum, Cube or Icosaedrum, have no more Pulchritude in them, then any rude broken bone lying in the field or high-wayes: Or to name other solid Figures, which though they be not regular properly so called, yet have a setled Idea, and Nature, as a Cone, Sphere, or Cylinder, whether the sight of these do not gratifie the minds of men more, and pretend to more elegancy of shape, then those rude cuttings or chippings of Freestone that fall from the Masons hands, and serve for nothing but to fill up the middle of the wall, and to be hid from the eyes of Man for their ugliness: And it is observable, that if Nature shape any thing near this Geometrical accuracy, that we take notice [89] of it with much more content and pleasure, as if it be but exactly round, as there be abundance of such stones upon Mesque, a hill in Arabia; I have seen them there, ordinarily Quinquangular, and have the sides parallels, though the Angels be unequal, as is seen in some little stones, and in a kind of Alabaster found here in England, and other pretty stones found upon Bulverton-hill near Sidmouth in Devonshire, and near Stratford upon Avon; and in Tym’s Grove at Colton, and at Tardebick, Stony-hill, the Ash-hill in Warwickshire, are found such stones that grow naturally carved with various works, some with Roses, others with Lions, Eagles and all manner of delightful works; these stones, I say, gratifie our sight, as having a nearer cognation with the soul of man that is rational and intellectual, and therefore is well pleased when it meets with any outward object that fits and agrees with those congenite Ideas her own nature is furnished with: for Symmetry, Equality, and Correspondency of parts, is the discernment of Reason, not the object of Sense, as I in our Harmony of the World have in another place proved.

13. Now therefore it being evident, that there is such a thing as Beauty, Symmetry, [90] and Comliness of proportion (to say nothing of the delightful mixture of colours, and that this is the proper object of the Understanding and Reason; for these things be not taken notice of by the Beasts) I think I may safely infer, that whatsoever is the first and principal cause of changing the fluid and undeterminated Matter into shapes so comely and symmetrical, as we see in flowers and trees, is an understanding Principle, and knows both the nature of man, and of those objects he offers to his sight in this outward and visible world, and would have man search and find out those secrets by the which he might keep his body in health many hundreds of years, and at last find the way our Holy Guide leadeth; for these things cannot come by chance, or by a Multifarious attempt of the parts of the matter upon themselves; for then it were likely that the species of things, though some might hit right, yet most would be maimed and ridiculous; but now there is not any ineptitude in any thing, which is a sign that the fluidness of the matter is guided and determined by the overpowring counsel of an eternal mind.

14. If it were not needless, I might instance in sundry kinds of flowers, herbs and [91] trees; but these objects being so obvious, and every mans fancy being branched with the remembrance of Roses, Marigolds, Gilliflowers, Pionies, Tulips, Pansies, Primroses, Ferneflowers and seed, Orange flowers, the leaves and clusters of the Vine etc. Of all which you must confess that there is in them beauty, and symmetry, and use in Physick, and grateful proportion; I hold it superfluity to weary you with any longer induction, but shall pass on to those considerations behind, of their seed, signature and usefulness, and shall pass through them very briefly, and then I shall come to mineral Medicines; these observables being very necessary first to be known by way of an Introduction, and as ordinary and easily Intelligible; but for your better instruction in the understanding of this Book, read the Harmony of the World and the Temple of Wisdome. You must remember our design is to prove both the theory and Practick Parts of these Mysterious Truths.

 

Reference

Heydon, John. The Holy Guide. 1662. Bk 3: 88-91. archive.org. Internet Archive, n.d. Web. 26 July 2015.

 

 

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