On the Magnet, by William Gilbert

Chap. vi.

What seems an Opposing Motion in Magneticks is a proper motion toward unity.

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I n things magnetical nature always tends to unity, not merely to confluence and agglomeration, but to harmony; in such a way that the rotational and disponent faculty should not be disturbed, as is variously shown in the following example. Let C D be an entire body of some magnetick substance, in which C tends to B, the north of the earth, and D to the south, A. Then205 divide it in the middle in its æquator, and it will be E that is tending toward A, and F tending toward B. For just as in the undivided body, so in the divided, nature aims at these bodies being united; the end E again joins with F harmoniously and * eagerly and they stick together, but E is never joined to D, nor F to C; for then C must be turned contrary to nature toward A, the south, or D toward B, the north, which is foreign to them and incongruous. Separate the stone in the place where it is cut and turn D round to C; they harmonize and combine excellently. For D is tending to the south, as before, and C to the north; E and F, parts which were cognate in the ore, are now widely separated, for they do not move together on account of material affinity, but they take their motion and inclination from their form. So the ends, whether joined or divided, tend magnetically in the same way to the earth's poles in the first figure where there is one whole, or divided as in the second figure; and F E in the second figure is a perfect magnetick joined together into one body and C D, just as it was primarily produced in its ore, and F E in its boat, turn in this way to the poles of the earth and are conformed to them. * This harmony of the magnetick form is shown also in the forms of vegetables. Let A B be a twig from a branch of osier or other * tree which sprouts easily. Let A be the upper part, B the lower part toward the root; divide it at C D; I say that the end D, if grafted again to C by the primer's art, grows to it; just as also if B is grafted to A, they grow together and germinate. But D being grafted on A, or C on B, they are at variance, and never grow into one another, but one of them dies on account of the inverted and inharmonious arrangement, since the vegetative force, which moves in one way, is now impelled in opposite directions.

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205 Page 130, line 12. Page 130, line 14. The word hunc in the folio of 1600 is corrected in ink to tunc, and the Stettin editions both read tunc.

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Last updated Friday, March 14, 2014 at 22:17