So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves More aerie, last the bright consummate floure Spirits odorous breathes: flours and thir fruit Mans nourishment, by gradual scale sublim'd To vital Spirits
aspire, to animal, To intellectual, give both life and sense, Fansie and understanding, whence the soule Reason receives, and reason is her being, Discursive, or Intuitive; discourse Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours, Differing but in degree, of kind the same.
"Desmayarse," Covarrubias tells us, is "perder las fuerzas, y el sentido." Fainting disables the force of blood in a literal sense, those vital spirits that not only process sensory information, but also allow man to breath and stay standing.
There are vital spirits, good spirits that guard us and evil ones that don't, malignant spirits that come to us in dreams, humors and spirits in medical treatises as early as the year 1400, and the spirit as mind of man, closely related to will.
All three are born in the heart; vital spirits flow through the arteries while natural move through the veins; the latter perfect themselves in the liver and the third type, animal spirits, perfect themselves in the brain after diffusing themselves through the nerves (H-61).
According to Bacon, there are two types of spirits found in bodies: inanimate and vital spirits. The simple distinction between these is that retention of inanimate spirit is harmful to the body, whereas retention of vital spirit preserves health and prolongs life.
(16) Graham Rees notes the indistinctness of the two forms of spirit as evidence that Bacon regarded vital spirits as the more subtle rarefaction of inanimate spirits, that the two forms of spirit were not in essence opposed but continuous (43).
When this happened they tended to be grouped together as vital spirits, and were therefore linked to the heart, which was of central importance in the physiological functioning of the body and of Love's conquest of the lover.
To return to Cavalcanti's poem, this spirit of love sedates all the lover's vital spirits (here the diminutive is used in line four).
He was also one of the foremost vitalists of his time, providing what to the eighteenth-century mind was strong evidence that the nerves are hollow fibres filled with a subtle fluid (the nervous fluid or vital spirits) rather than solid, vibrating 'strings'.
According to the eighteenth century's vitalistic, neurophysiological model of the human body, sensations, emotions, and ideas course through the nerve fibres by means of the vital spirits, travelling back and forth between the external nerve endings (such as are found in the skin) and the internal nerve endings (in the brain).
Lorenzo explained tears of joy "because joy dilates the vital spirits
and makes them more rarified;" they arose "from the passion of the heart."(130) Perhaps, he died in tears of joy.
Joy, he claims, causes the heart to swell up, as a result of which there may be an outpouring of vital spirits
comparable to a serious wound (97-100).