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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsDisplaying The Secrets Of Nature Relating To Physiognomy
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Displaying The Secrets Of Nature Relating To Physiognomy Post by :leonard063083 Category :Nonfictions Author :Aristotle Date :September 2011 Read :1524

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Displaying The Secrets Of Nature Relating To Physiognomy

CHAPTER I


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.

 

CHAPTER II

Of the Judgment of Physiognomy.

Hair that hangs down without curling, if it be of a fair complexion, thin and soft withal, signifies a man to be naturally faint-hearted, and of a weak body, but of a quiet and harmless disposition. Hair that is big, and thick and short withal, denotes a man to be of a strong constitution, secure, bold, deceitful and for the most part, unquiet and vain, lusting after beauty, and more foolish than wise, though fortune may favour him. He whose hair is partly curled and partly hanging down, is commonly wise or a very great fool, or else as very a knave as he is a fool. He whose hair grows thick on his temples and his brow, one may certainly at first sight conclude that such a man is by nature simple, vain, luxurious, lustful, credulous, clownish in his speech and conversation and dull in his apprehension. He whose hair not only curls very much, but bushes out, and stands on end, if the hair be white or of a yellowish colour, he is by nature proud and bold, dull of apprehension, soon angry, and a lover of venery, and given to lying, malicious and ready to do any mischief. He whose hair arises in the corners of the temples, and is gross and rough withal, is a man highly conceited of himself, inclined to malice, but cunningly conceals it, is very courtly and a lover of new fashions. He who hath much hair, that is to say, whose hair is thick all over his head, is naturally vain and very luxurious, of a good digestion, easy of belief, and slow of performance, of a weak memory and for the most part unfortunate. He whose hair is of a reddish complexion, is for the most part, if not always, proud, deceitful, detracting and full of envy. He whose hair is extraordinarily fair, is for the most part a man fit for the most praiseworthy enterprises, a lover of honour, and much more inclined to do good than evil; laborious and careful to perform whatsoever is committed to his care, secret in carrying on any business, and fortunate. Hair of a yellowish colour shows a man to be good conditioned, and willing to do anything, fearful, shamefaced and weak of body, but strong in the abilities of the mind, and more apt to remember, than to avenge an injury. He whose hair is of a brownish colour, and curled not too much nor too little, is a well-disposed man, inclined to that which is good, a lover of peace, cleanliness and good manners. He whose hair turns grey or hoary in the time of his youth, is generally given to women, vain, false, unstable, and talkative. (Note. That whatever signification the hair has in men, it has the same in women also.)

The forehead that riseth in a round, signifies a man liberally merry, of a good understanding, and generally inclined to virtue. He whose forehead is fleshy, and the bone of the brow jutting out, and without wrinkles, is a man much inclined to suits of law, contentious, vain, deceitful, and addicted to follow ill courses. He whose forehead is very low and little, is of a good understanding, magnanimous, but extremely bold and confident, and a great pretender to love and honour. He whose forehead seems sharp, and pointed up in the corners of his temples, so that the bone seems to jut forth a little, is a man naturally weak and fickle, and weak in the intellectuals. He whose brow upon the temples is full of flesh, is a man of a great spirit, proud, watchful and of a gross understanding. He whose brow is full of wrinkles, and has as it were a seam coming down the middle of the forehead, so that a man may think he has two foreheads, is one that is of a great spirit, a great wit, void of deceit, and yet of a hard fortune. He who has a full, large forehead, and a little round withal, destitute of hair, or at least that has little on it is bold, malicious, full of choler and apt to transgress beyond all bounds, and yet of a good wit and very apprehensive. He whose forehead is long and high and jutting forth, and whose face is figured, almost sharp and peaked towards the chin, is one reasonably honest, but weak and simple, and of a hard fortune.

Those eyebrows that are much arched, whether in man or woman, and which by frequent motion elevate themselves, show the person to be proud, high-spirited, vain-glorious, bold and threatening, a lover of beauty, and indifferently inclined to either good or evil. He whose eyelids bend down when he speaks to another or when he looks upon him, and who has a kind of skulking look, is by nature a penurious wretch, close in all his actions, of a very few words, but full of malice in his heart. He whose eyebrows are thick, and have but little hair upon them, is but weak in his intellectuals, and too credulous, very sincere, sociable, and desirous of good company. He whose eyebrows are folded, and the hair thick and bending downwards, is one that is clownish and unlearned, heavy, suspicious, miserable, envious, and one that will cheat and cozen you if he can. He whose eyebrows have but short hair and of a whitish colour is fearful and very easy of belief, and apt to undertake anything. Those, on the other side, whose eyebrows are black, and the hair of them thin, will do nothing without great consideration, and are bold and confident of the performance of what they undertake; neither are they apt to believe anything without reason for so doing.

If the space between the eyebrows be of more than the ordinary distance, it shows the person to be hard-hearted, envious, close, cunning, apprehensive, greedy of novelties, of a vain fortune, addicted to cruelty more than love. But those men whose eyebrows are at a lesser distance from each other, are for the most part of a dull understanding; yet subtle enough in their dealings, and of an uncommon boldness, which is often attended with great felicity; but that which is most commendable in them is, that they are most sure and constant in their friendship.

Great and full eyes in either man or woman, show the person to be for the most part slothful, bold, envious, a bad concealer of secrets, miserable, vain, given to lying, and yet a bad memory, slow in invention, weak in his intellectuals, and yet very much conceited of that little knack of wisdom he thinks himself master of. He whose eyes are hollow in his head, and therefore discerns well at a great distance, is one that is suspicious, malicious, furious, perverse in his conversation, of an extraordinary memory, bold, cruel, and false, both in words and deeds, threatening, vicious, luxurious, proud, envious and treacherous; but he whose eyes are, as it were, starting out of his head, is a simple, foolish person, shameless, very fertile and easy to be persuaded either to vice or virtue. He who looks studiously and acutely, with his eyes and eyelids downwards, denotes thereby to be of a malicious nature, very treacherous, false, unfaithful, envious, miserable, impious towards God, and dishonest towards men. He whose eyes are small and conveniently round, is bashful and weak, very credulous, liberal to others, and even in his conversation. He whose eyes look asquint, is thereby denoted to be a deceitful person, unjust, envious, furious, a great liar, and as the effect of all that is miserable. He who hath a wandering eye and which is rolling up and down, is for the most part a vain, simple, deceitful, lustful, treacherous, or high-minded man, an admirer of the fair sex, and one easy to be persuaded to virtue or vice. He or she whose eyes are twinkling, and which move forward or backward, show the person to be luxurious, unfaithful and treacherous, presumptuous, and hard to believe anything that is spoken. If a person has any greenness mingled with the white of his eye, such is commonly silly, and often very false, vain and deceitful, unkind to his friends, a great concealer of his own secrets, and very choleric. Those whose eyes are every way rolling up and down, or they who seldom move their eyes, and when they do, as it were, draw their eyes inwardly and accurately fasten them upon some object, such are by their inclinations very malicious, vain-glorious, slothful, unfaithful, envious, false and contentious. They whose eyes are addicted to blood-shot, are naturally proud, disdainful, cruel, without shame, perfidious and much inclined to superstition. But he whose eyes are neither too little nor too big, and inclined to black, do signify a man mild, peaceable, honest, witty, and of a good understanding; and one that, when need requires, will be serviceable to his friends.

A long and thin nose, denotes a man bold, furious, angry, vain, easy to be persuaded either to good or evil, weak and credulous. A long nose extended, the tip of it bending downwards, shows the person to be wise, discreet, secret and officious, honest, faithful and one that will not be over-reached in bargaining.

A bottle-nose is what denotes a man to be impetuous in the obtaining of his desires, also a vain, false, luxurious, weak and uncertain man; apt to believe and easy to be persuaded. A broad nose in the middle, and less towards the end, denotes a vain, talkative person, a liar, and one of hard fortune. He who hath a long and great nose is an admirer of the fair sex, and well accomplished for the wars of Venus, but ignorant of the knowledge of anything that is good, extremely addicted to vice; assiduous in the obtaining what he desires, and very secret in the prosecution of it; and though very ignorant, would fain be thought very knowing.

A nose very sharp on the tip of it, and neither too long nor too short, too thick nor too thin, denotes the person, if a man, to be of a fretful disposition, always pining and peevish; and if a woman, a scold, or contentious, wedded to her own humours, of a morose and dogged carriage, and if married, a plague to her husband. A nose very round at the end of it, and having but little nostrils, shows the person to be munificent and liberal, true to his trust, but withal, very proud, credulous and vain. A nose very long and thin at the end of it, and something round, withal, signifies one bold in his discourse, honest in his dealings, patient in receiving, and slow in offering injuries, but yet privately malicious. He whose nose is naturally more red than any other part of his face, is thereby denoted to be covetous, impious, luxurious, and an enemy to goodness. A nose that turns up again, and is long and full at the tip of it, shows the person that has it to be bold, proud, covetous, envious, luxurious, a liar and deceiver, vain, glorious, unfortunate and contentious. He whose nose riseth high in the middle, is prudent and polite, and of great courage, honourable in his actions, and true to his word. A nose big at the end shows a person to be of a peaceable disposition, industrious and faithful, and of a good understanding. A very wide nose, with wide nostrils, denotes a man dull of apprehension, and inclined more to simplicity than wisdom, and withal vain, contentious and a liar.

When the nostrils are close and thin, they denote a man to have but little testicles, and to be very desirous of the enjoyment of women, but modest in his conversation. But he whose nostrils are great and wide, is usually well hung and lustful; but withal of an envious, bold and treacherous disposition and though dull of understanding, yet confident enough.

A great and wide mouth shows a man to be bold, warlike, shameless and stout, a great liar and as great a talker, also a great eater, but as to his intellectuals, he is very dull, being for the most part very simple.

A little mouth shows the person to be of a quiet and pacific temper, somewhat reticent, but faithful, secret, modest, bountiful, and but a little eater.

He whose mouth smells of a bad breath, is one of a corrupted liver and lungs, is oftentimes vain, wanton, deceitful, of indifferent intellect, envious, covetous, and a promise-breaker. He that has a sweet breath, is the contrary.

The lips, when they are very big and blubbering, show a person to be credulous, foolish, dull and stupid, and apt to be enticed to anything. Lips of a different size denote a person to be discreet, secret in all things, judicious and of a good wit, but somewhat hasty. To have lips, well coloured and more thin than thick, shows a person to be good-humoured in all things and more easily persuaded to good than evil. To have one lip bigger than the other, shows a variety of fortunes, and denotes the party to be of a dull, sluggish temper, but of a very indifferent understanding, as being much addicted to folly.

When the teeth are small, and but weak in performing their office, and especially if they are short and few, though they show the person to be of a weak constitution, yet they denote him to be of a meek disposition, honest, faithful and secret in whatsoever he is intrusted with. To have some teeth longer and shorter than others, denotes a person to be of a good apprehension, but bold, disdainful, envious and proud. To have the teeth very long, and growing sharp towards the end, if they are long in chewing, and thin, denotes the person to be envious, gluttonous, bold, shameless, unfaithful and suspicious. When the teeth look very brown or yellowish, whether they be long or short, it shows the person to be of a suspicious temper, envious, deceitful and turbulent. To have teeth strong and close together, shows the person to be of a long life, a desirer of novelties, and things that are fair and beautiful, but of a high spirit, and one that will have his humour in all things; he loves to hear news, and to repeat it afterwards, and is apt to entertain anything on his behalf. To have teeth thin and weak, shows a weak, feeble man, and one of a short life, and of a weak apprehension; but chaste, shame-faced, tractable and honest.

A tongue to be too swift of speech shows a man to be downright foolish, or at best but a very vain wit. A stammering tongue, or one that stumbles in the mouth, signifies a man of a weak understanding, and of a wavering mind, quickly in a rage, and soon pacified. A very thick and rough tongue denotes a man to be apprehensive, subtle and full of compliments, yet vain and deceitful, treacherous, and prone to impiety. A thin tongue shows a man of wisdom and sound judgment, very ingenious and of an affable disposition, yet somewhat timorous and too credulous.

A great and full voice in either sex shows them to be of a great spirit, confident, proud and wilful. A faint and weak voice, attended with but little breath, shows a person to be of good understanding, a nimble fancy, a little eater, but weak of body, and of a timorous disposition. A loud and shrill voice, which sounds clearly denotes a person provident, sagacious, true and ingenious, but withal capricious, vain, glorious and too credulous. A strong voice when a man sings denotes him to be of a strong constitution, and of a good understanding, a nimble fancy, a little eater, but weak of body, and of a timorous disposition.

A strong voice when a man sings, denotes him to be of a strong constitution, and of a good understanding, neither too penurious nor too prodigal, also ingenious and an admirer of the fair sex. A weak and trembling voice shows the owner of it to be envious, suspicious, slow in business, feeble and fearful. A loud, shrill and unpleasant voice, signifies one bold and valiant, but quarrelsome and injurious and altogether wedded to his own humours, and governed by his own counsels. A rough and hoarse voice, whether in speaking or singing, declares one to be a dull and heavy person, of much guts and little brains. A full and yet mild voice, and pleasing to the hearer, shows the person to be of a quiet and peaceable disposition (which is a great virtue and rare to be found in a woman), and also very thrifty and secret, not prone to anger, but of a yielding temper. A voice beginning low or in the bass, and ending high in the treble, denotes a person to be violent, angry, bold and secure.

A thick and full chin abounding with too much flesh, shows a man inclined to peace, honest and true to his trust, but slow in invention, and easy to be drawn either to good or evil. A peaked chin and reasonably full of flesh, shows a person to be of a good understanding, a high spirit and laudable conversation. A double chin shows a peaceable disposition, but dull of apprehension, vain, credulous, a great supplanter, and secret in all his actions. A crooked chin, bending upwards, and peaked for want of flesh, is by the rules of physiognomy, according to nature, a very bad man, being proud, imprudent, envious, threatening, deceitful, prone to anger and treachery, and a great thief.

The hair of young men usually begins to grow down upon their chins at fifteen years of age, and sometimes sooner. These hairs proceed from the superfluity of heat, the fumes whereof ascend to their chin, like smoke to the funnel of a chimney; and because it cannot find an open passage by which it may ascend higher, it vents itself forth in the hairs which are called the beard. There are very few, or almost no women at all, that have hairs on their cheeks; and the reason is, that those humours which cause hair to grow on the cheeks of a man are by a woman evacuated in the monthly courses, which they have more or less, according to the heat or coldness of their constitution, and the age and motion of the moon, of which we have spoken at large in the first part of this book. Yet sometimes women of a hot constitution have hair to be seen on their cheeks, but more commonly on their lips, or near their mouths, where the heat most aboundeth. And where this happens, such women are much addicted to the company of men, and of a strong and manly constitution. A woman who hath little hair on her cheeks, or about her mouth and lips, is of a good complexion, weak constitution, shamefaced, mild and obedient, whereas a woman of a more hot constitution is quite otherwise. But in a man, a beard well composed and thick of hair, signifies a man of good nature, honest, loving, sociable and full of humanity; on the contrary, he that hath but a little beard, is for the most part proud, pining, peevish and unsociable. They who have no beards, have always shrill and a strange kind of squeaking voices, and are of a weak constitution, which is apparent in the case of eunuchs, who, after they are deprived of their virility are transformed from the nature of men into the condition of women.

Great and thick ears are a certain sign of a foolish person, or a bad memory and worse understanding. But small and thin ears show a person to be of a good wit, grave, sweet, thrifty, modest, resolute, of a good memory, and one willing to serve his friend. He whose ears are longer than ordinary, is thereby signified to be a bold man, uncivil, vain, foolish, serviceable to another more than to himself, and a man of small industry, but of a great stomach.

A face apt to sweat on every motion, shows a person to be of a very hot constitution, vain and luxurious, of a good stomach, but of a bad understanding, and a worse conversation. A very fleshy face shows the person to be of a fearful disposition, but a merry heart, and withal bountiful and discreet, easy to be entreated, and apt to believe everything. A lean face, by the rules of physiognomy, denotes the person to be of a good understanding, but somewhat capricious and disdainful in his conversation. A little and round face, shows a person to be simple, very fearful, of a bad memory, and a clownish disposition. A plump face, full of carbuncles, shows a man to be a great drinker of wine, vain, daring, and soon intoxicated. A face red or high coloured, shows a man much inclined to choler, and one that will be soon angry and not easily pacified. A long and lean face, shows a man to be both bold, injurious and deceitful. A face every way of a due proportion, denotes an ingenious person, one fit for anything and very much inclined to what is good. One of a broad, full, fat face is, by the rules of physiognomy, of a dull, lumpish, heavy constitution, and that for one virtue has three vices. A plain, flat face, without any rising shows a person to be very wise, loving and courtly in his carriage, faithful to his friend and patient in adversity. A face sinking down a little, with crosses in it, inclining to leanness, denotes a person to be very laborious, but envious, deceitful, false, quarrelsome, vain and silly, and of a dull and clownish behaviour. A face of a handsome proportion, and more inclining to fat than lean, shows a person just in his actions, true to his word, civil, and respectful in his behaviour, of an indifferent understanding, and of an extraordinary memory. A crooked face, long and lean, denotes a man endued with as bad qualities as the face is with ill features. A face broad about the brows, and sharper and less as it grows towards the chin, shows a man simple and foolish in managing his affairs, vain in his discourse, envious in his nature, deceitful, quarrelsome and rude in his conversation. A face well-coloured, full of good features, and of an exact symmetry, and a just proportion in all its parts, and which is delightful to look upon, is commonly the index of a fairer mind and shows a person to be well disposed; but withal declares that virtue is not so impregnably seated there, but that by strong temptations (especially by the fair sex) it may be supplanted and overcome by vice. A pale complexion, shows the person not only to be fickle, but very malicious, treacherous, false, proud, presumptuous, and extremely unfaithful. A face well-coloured, shows the person to be of a praiseworthy disposition and a sound complexion, easy of belief, and respectful to his friend, ready to do a courtesy, and very easy to be drawn to anything.

A great head, and round, withal, denotes the person to be secret, and of great application in carrying on business, and also ingenious and of a large imaginative faculty and invention; and likewise laborious, constant and honest. The head whose gullet stands forth and inclines towards the earth, signifies a person thrifty, wise, peaceable, secret, of a retired temper, and constant in the management of his affairs. A long head and face, and great, withal, denotes a vain, foolish, idle and weak person, credulous and very envious. To have one's head always shaking and moving from side to side, denotes a shallow, weak person, unstable in all his actions, given to lying, a great deceiver, a great talker, and prodigal in all his fortunes. A big head and broad face, shows a man to be very courageous, a great hunter after women, very suspicious, bold and shameless. He who hath a very big head, but not so proportionate as it ought to be to the body, if he hath a short neck and crooked gullet is generally a man of apprehension, wise, secret, ingenious, of sound judgment, faithful, true and courteous to all. He who hath a little head, and long, slender throat, is for the most part a man very weak, yet apt to learn, but unfortunate in his actions. And so much shall suffice with respect to judgment from the head and face.

 

CHAPTER III

Of Judgments drawn from several other parts of Man's Body.

In the body of man the head and feet are the principal parts, being the index which heaven has laid open to every one's view to make a judgment therefrom, therefore I have been the larger in my judgment from the several parts thereof. But as to the other parts, I shall be much more brief as not being so obvious to the eyes of men; yet I would proceed in order.

The throat, if it be white, whether it be fat or lean, shows a man to be vain-glorious, timorous, wanton, and very much subject to choler. If the throat be so thin and lean that the veins appear, it shows a man to be weak, slow, and a dull and heavy constitution.

A long neck shows one to have a long and slender foot, and that the person is stiff and inflexible either to good or evil. A short neck shows one to be witty and ingenious, but deceitful and inconstant, well skilled in the use of arms, and yet cares not to use them, but is a great lover of peace and quietness.

A lean shoulder bone, signifies a man to be weak, timorous, peaceful, not laborious, and yet fit for any employment. He whose shoulder bones are of a great bigness is commonly, by the rule of physiognomy, a strong man, faithful but unfortunate; somewhat dull of understanding, very laborious, a great eater and drinker, and one equally contented in all conditions. He whose shoulder bone seems to be smooth, is by the rule of nature, modest in his look, and temperate in all his actions, both at bed and board. He whose shoulder bone bends, and is crooked inwardly, is commonly a dull person and deceitful.

Long arms, hanging down and touching the knees, though such arms are rarely seen, denotes a man liberal, but withal vain-glorious, proud and inconstant. He whose arms are very short in respect to the stature of his body, is thereby signified to be a man of high and gallant spirit, of a graceful temper, bold and warlike. He whose arms are full of bones, sinews and flesh, is a great desirer of novelties and beauties, and one that is very credulous and apt to believe anything. He whose arms are very hairy, whether they be lean or fat, is for the most part a luxurious person, weak in body and mind, very suspicious and malicious withal. He whose arms have no hair on them at all, is of a weak judgment, very angry, vain, wanton, credulous, easily deceived himself, yet a great deceiver of others, no fighter, and very apt to betray his dearest friends.

 

CHAPTER IV

Of Palmistry, showing the various Judgments drawn from the Hand.

Being engaged in this fourth part to show what judgment may be drawn, according to physiognomy, from the several parts of the body, and coming in order to speak of the hands, it has put me under the necessity of saying something about palmistry, which is a judgment made of the conditions, inclinations, and fortunes of men and women, from the various lines and characters nature has imprinted in their hands, which are almost as serious as the hands that have them.

The reader should remember that one of the lines of the hand, and which indeed is reckoned the principal, is called the line of life; this line encloses the thumb, separating it from the hollow of the hand. The next to it, which is called the natural line, takes its beginning from the rising of the forefinger, near the line of life, and reaches to the table line, and generally makes a triangle. The table line, commonly called the line of fortune, begins under the little finger, and ends near the middle finger. The girdle of Venus, which is another line so called begins near the first joint of the little finger, and ends between the fore-finger and the middle finger. The line of death is that which plainly appears in a counter line to that of life, and is called the sister line, ending usually as the other ends; for when the line of life is ended, death comes, and it can go no farther. There are lines in the fleshy parts, as in the ball of the thumb, which is called the mount of Venus; under each of the fingers are also mounts, which are governed by several planets; and the hollow of the hand is called the plain of Mars.

I proceed to give judgment from these several lines:--In palmistry, the left hand is chiefly to be regarded, because therein the lines are most visible, and have the strictest communication with the heart and brain. In the next place, observe the line of life, and if it be fair, extended to its full length, and not broken with an intermixture of cross lines, it shows long life and health, and it is the same if a double line appears, as there sometimes does. When the stars appear in this line, it is a signification of great losses and calamities; if on it there be the figures of two O's or a Q, it threatens the person with blindness; if it wraps itself about the table line, then does it promise wealth and honour to be attended by prudence and industry. If the line be cut and jagged at the upper end, it denotes much sickness; if this line be cut by any lines coming from the mount of Venus, it declares the person to be unfortunate in love and business also, and threatens him with sudden death. A cross below the line of life and the table line, shows the person to be very liberal and charitable, one of a noble spirit. Let us now see the signification of the table line.

The table line, when broad and of a lively colour, shows a healthful constitution, and a quiet contented mind, and a courageous spirit, but if it has crosses towards the little finger, it threatens the party with much affliction by sickness. If the line be double, or divided into three parts at any of the extremities, it shows the person to be of a generous temper, and of a good fortune to support it; but if this line be forked at the end, it threatens the person shall suffer by jealousies and doubts, and loss of riches gotten by deceit. If three points such as these


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are found in it, they denote the person prudent and liberal, a lover of learning, and of a good temper, if it spreads towards the fore and middle finger and ends blunt, it denotes preferment. Let us now see what is signified by the middle line. This line has in it oftentimes (for there is scarce a hand in which it varies not) divers very significant characters. Many small lines between this and the table line threaten the party with sickness, and also gives him hopes of recovery. A half cross branching into this line, declares the person shall have honour, riches, and good success in all his undertakings. A half moon denotes cold and watery distempers; but a sun or star upon this line, denotes prosperity and riches; this line, double in a woman, shows she will have several husbands, but no children.

The line of Venus, if it happens to be cut or divided near the forefinger, threatens ruin to the party, and that it shall befall him by means of lascivious women and bad company. Two crosses upon the line, one being on the forefinger and the other bending towards the little finger, show the party to be weak, and inclined to modesty and virtue, indeed it generally denotes modesty in women; and therefore those who desire such, usually choose them by this standard.

The liver line, if it be straight and crossed by other lines, shows the person to be of a sound judgment, and a piercing understanding, but if it be winding, crooked and bending outward, it draws deceit and flattery, and the party is not to be trusted. If it makes a triangle or quadrangle, it shows the person to be of a noble descent, and ambitious of honour and promotion. If it happens that this line and the middle line begin near each other, it denotes a person to be weak in his judgment, if a man; but if a woman, in danger by hard labour.

The plain of Mars being in the hollow of the hand, most of the lines pass through it, which renders it very significant. This plain being crooked and distorted, threatens the party to fall by his enemies. When the lines beginning at the wrist are long within the plain, reaching to the brawn of the hand, that shows the person to be much given to quarrelling, often in broils and of a hot and fiery spirit, by which he suffers much damage. If deep and long crosses be in the middle of the plain, it shows the party shall obtain honour by martial exploits; but if it be a woman, she shall have several husbands and easy labour with her children.

The line of Death is fatal, when crosses or broken lines appear in it; for they threaten the person with sickness and a short life. A clouded moon appearing therein, threatens a child-bed woman with death. A bloody spot in the line, denotes a violent death. A star like a comet, threatens ruin by war, and death by pestilence. But if a bright sun appears therein, it promises long life and prosperity.

As for the lines of the wrist being fair, they denote good fortune; but if crossed and broken, the contrary.

 

CHAPTER V

Judgments according to Physiognomy, drawn from the several parts of the Body, from the Hands to the Feet.

A large and full breast, shows a man valiant and courageous, but withal proud and hard to deal with, quickly angry, and very apprehensive of an injury; he whose breast is narrow, and which riseth a little in the middle of it, is, by the best rule of physiognomy, of a clear spirit, of a great understanding, good in counsel, very faithful, clean both in mind and body, yet as an enemy to this, he is soon angry, and inclined long to keep it. He whose breast is somewhat hairy, is very luxurious, and serviceable to another. He who hath no hair upon his breast, is a man weak by nature, of a slender capacity and very timorous, but of a laudable life and conversation, inclined to peace, and much retired to himself.

The back of the chin bone, if the flesh be anything hairy and lean, and higher than any other part that is behind, signifies a man shameless, beastly and withal malicious. He whose back is large, big and fat, is thereby denoted to be a strong and stout man, but of a heavy disposition, vain, slow and full of deceit.

He or she whose belly is soft over all the body, is weak, lustful, and fearful upon little or no occasion, of a good understanding, and an excellent invention, but little eaters, faithful, but of various fortune, and meet with more adversity than prosperity. He whose flesh is rough and hard, is a man of strong constitution and very bold, but vain, proud and of a cruel temper. A person whose skin is smooth, fat and white, is a person, curious, vain-glorious, timorous, shame-faced, malicious, false, and too wise to believe all he hears.

A thigh, full of strong, bristly hair, and the hair inclined to curl, signifies one lustful, licentious, and fit for copulation. Thighs with but little hair, and those soft and slender, show the person to be reasonably chaste, and one that has no great desire to coition, and who will have but few children.

The legs of both men and women have a fleshy substance behind, which are called calves, which nature hath given them (as in our book of living creatures we have observed), in lieu of those long tails which other creatures have pendant behind. Now a great calf, and he whose legs are of great bone, and hair withal, denotes the person to be strong, bold, secure, dull in understanding and slow in business, inclined to procreation, and for the most part fortunate in his undertakings. Little legs, and but little hair on them, show the person to be weak, fearful, of a quick understanding, and neither luxurious at bed nor board. He whose legs do much abound with hair, shows he has great store in another place, and that he is lustful and luxurious, strong, but unstable in his resolution, and abounding with ill humours.

The feet of either men or women, if broad and thick with flesh, and long in figure, especially if the skin feels hard, they are by nature of a strong constitution, and gross nutriment, but of weak intellect, which renders the understanding vain. But feet that are thin and lean, and of a soft skin, show the person to be but weak of body, but of a strong understanding and an excellent wit.

The soles of the feet do administer plain and evident signs, whereby the disposition and constitution of men and women may be known, as do the palms of their hands, as being full of lines, by which lines all the fortunes and misfortunes of men and women may be known, and their manners and inclinations made plainly to appear. But this in general we may take notice, as that many long lines and strokes do presage great affliction, and a very troublesome life, attended with much grief and toil, care, poverty, and misery; but short lines, if they are thick and full of cross lines, are yet worse in every degree. Those, the skin of whose soles is very thick and gross, are, for the most part, able, strong and venturous. Whereas, on the contrary, those the skin of whose soles of their feet is thin, are generally weak and timorous.

I shall now, before I conclude (having given an account of what judgments may be made by observing the several parts of the body, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet), give an account of what judgments may be drawn by the rule of physiognomy from things extraneous which are found upon many, and which indeed to them are parts of the body, but are so far from being necessary parts that they are the deformity and burden of it, and speak of the habits of the body, as they distinguish persons.


Of Crooked and Deformed Persons.

A crooked breast and shoulder, or the exuberance of flesh in the body either of man or woman, signifies the person to be extremely parsimonious and ingenious, and of a great understanding, but very covetous and scraping after the things of the world, attended also with a very bad memory, being also very deceitful and malicious; they are seldom in a medium, but either virtuous or extremely vicious. But if the person deformed hath an excrescence on his breast instead of on the back, he is for the most part of a double heart, and very mischievous.


Of the divers Manners of going, and particular Posture both of Men and Women.

He or she that goes slowly, making great steps as they go, are generally persons of bad memory, and dull of apprehension, given to loitering, and not apt to believe what is told them. He who goes apace, and makes short steps, is most successful in all his undertakings, swift in his imagination, and humble in the disposition of his affairs. He who makes wide and uneven steps, and sidelong withal, is one of a greedy, sordid nature, subtle, malicious, and willing to do evil.


Of the Gait or Motion in Men and Women.

Every man hath a certain gait or motion, and so in like manner hath every woman; for a man to be shaking his head, or using any light motion with his hands or feet, whether he stands or sits, or speaks, is always accompanied with an extravagant motion, unnecessary, superfluous and unhandsome. Such a man, by the rule of physiognomy is vain, unwise, unchaste, a detractor, unstable and unfaithful. He or she whose motion is not much when discoursing with any one, is for the most part wise and well bred, and fit for any employment, ingenious and apprehensive, frugal, faithful and industrious in business. He whose posture is forwards and backwards, or, as it were, whisking up and down, mimical, is thereby denoted to be a vain, silly person, of a heavy and dull wit, and very malicious. He whose motion is lame and limping, or otherwise imperfect, or that counterfeits an imperfection is denoted to be envious, malicious, false and detracting.


Judgment drawn from the Stature of Man.

Physiognomy draws several judgments also from the stature of man, which take as followeth; if a man be upright and straight, inclined rather to leanness than fat, it shows him to be bold, cruel, proud, clamorous, hard to please, and harder to be reconciled when displeased, very frugal, deceitful, and in many things malicious. To be of tall stature and corpulent with it, denotes him to be not only handsome but valiant also, but of no extraordinary understanding, and which is worst of all, ungrateful and trepanning. He who is extremely tall and very lean and thin is a projecting man, that designs no good to himself, and suspects every one to be as bad as himself, importunate to obtain what he desires, and extremely wedded to his own humour. He who is thick and short, is vain, envious, suspicious, and very shallow of apprehension, easy of belief, but very long before he will forget an injury. He who is lean and short but upright withal, is, by the rules of physiognomy, wise and ingenious, bold and confident, and of a good understanding, but of a deceitful heart. He who stoops as he goes, not so much by age as custom, is very laborious, a retainer of secrets, but very incredulous and not easy to believe every vain report he hears. He that goes with his belly stretching forth, is sociable, merry, and easy to be persuaded.

 

CHAPTER VI

Of the Power of the Celestial Bodies over Men and Women.

Having spoken thus largely of Physiognomy, and the judgment given thereby concerning the dispositions and inclinations of men and women, it will be convenient here to show how all these things come to pass; and how it is that the secret inclinations and future fate of men and women may be known from the consideration of the several parts of the bodies. They arise from the power and dominion of superior powers to understand the twelve signs of the Zodiac, whose signs, characters and significations are as follows:--

(Illustration)

Aries, the Ram, which governs the head and face.

Taurus, the Bull, which governs the neck.

Gemini, the Twins, which governs the hands and arms.

Cancer, the Crab, governs the breast and stomach.

Leo, the Lion, governs the back and heart

Virgo, the Virgin, governs the belly and bowels.

Libra, the Balance, governs the veins and loins.

Scorpio, the Scorpion, governs the secret parts.

Sagittary, the Centaur, governs the thighs.

Capricorn, the Goat, governs the knees.

Aquarius, the Water-Bearer, governs the legs and ankles.

Pisces, the Fish, governs the feet.

It is here furthermore necessary to let the reader know, that the ancients have divided the celestial sphere into twelve parts, according to the number of these signs, which are termed houses; as in the first house, Aries, in the second Taurus, in the third Gemini, etc. And besides their assigning the twelve signs of the twelve houses, they allot to each house its proper business.

To the first house they give the signification of life.

The second house has the signification of wealth, substances, or riches.

The third is the mansion of brethren.

The fourth, the house of parentage.

The fifth is the house of children.

The sixth is the house of sickness or disease.

The seventh is the house of wedlock, and also of enemies, because oftentimes a wife or husband proves the worst enemy.

The eighth is the house of death.

The ninth is the house of religion.

The tenth is the signification of honours.

The eleventh of friendship.

The twelfth is the house of affliction and woe.

Now, astrologically speaking, a house is a certain place in the heaven or firmament, divided by certain degrees, through which the planets have their motion, and in which they have their residence and are situated. And these houses are divided by thirty degrees, for every sign has so many degrees. And these signs or houses are called the houses of such and such planets as make their residence therein, and are such as delight in them, and as they are deposited in such and such houses are said to be either dignified or debilitated. For though the planets in their several revolutions go through all the houses, yet there are some houses which they are more properly said to delight in. As for instance, Aries and Scorpio are the houses of Mars; Taurus and Libra of Venus; Gemini and Virgo of Mercury; Sagittarius and Pisces are the houses of Jupiter; Capricorn and Aquarius are the houses of Saturn; Leo is the house of the Sun; and Cancer is the house of the Moon.

Now to sum up the whole, and show how this concerns Physiognomy, is this:--as the body of man, as we have shown, is not only governed by the signs and planets, but every part is appropriated to one or another of them, so according to the particular influence of each sign and planet, so governing is the disposition, inclination, and nature of the person governed. For such and such tokens and marks do show a person to be born under such and such a planet; so according to the nature, power and influences of the planets, is the judgment to be made of that person. By which the reader may see that the judgments drawn from physiognomy are grounded upon a certain verity.


(The end)
Aristotle's Book: Displaying The Secrets Of Nature Relating To Physiognomy

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