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.
However, Bacon writes relatively little about the vital spirits and rarely distinguishes them by name from the inanimate variety.
While Bacon mentions the possibility that painting and anointing the body has the potential to delay aging by restraining the emission of the vital spirits, there is little interest in his writing with the hermetic encapsulation of the body in a rigid, impervious skin.
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).
They were of three types: the natural spirit which had its origin and seat in the liver, and whose function was to diffuse itself through the veins and provide nourishment to the body; the vital spirit which formed in the heart and moved about the body via the arteries, and whose function was the providing of life energy and respiration to the body; thirdly the animal spirit, which resided in the brain, and which, via the nerves, sent messages from the senses back to the brain, and connected the three parts of the brain (imagination, memory and thought).
For as long as the body is seen as a dense network of nerve fibres with vital spirits quickly relaying sense impressions through its channels, then according to the eighteenth century's physiological psychology, emotions and ideas will also travel through the body with peculiar speed and power.
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).
Here, like Goethe before him, Jean Paul describes the passion of love as a kind of fire that courses through the body by means of the vital spirits and sends tremors through every nerve and fibre: 'Ach
Lorenzo explained tears of joy "because joy dilates the vital spirits
and makes them more rarified;" they arose "from the passion of the heart.
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).