Coles, William


The Art of Simpling: An Introduction to the Knowledge and Gathering of Plants: Wherein the Defininitions [sic], Divisions, Places, Descriptions, Differences, Names, Vertues, Times of Flourishing and Gathering, Uses, Temperatures, Signatures and Appropriations of Plants, are Methodically Laid Down: Whereunto is Added, A Discovery of the Lesser World.

London: Printed by J. G. for Nath. Brook, 1656. "Perspicillum microcosmologicum, or A prospective for the discovery of the lesser world." (p. [125]-175) has a special t.p. and running title: A Discovery of the Lesser World. Pt. [1] has running title: An Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants. ASU copy matches the first edition, second issue, except that the a gathering is inserted between A8 and B1. Cf. Hunt 266. References: Hunt 266; Wing C5089. Simpling teaches the "knowledge of all Druggs and Physicall Ingredients, but especially of Plants, their Divisions, Definitions, Differences, Descriptions, Places, Names, Times, Vertues, Uses, Temperatures, & Signatures."

Coles begins with a brief history of his subject, detailing its importance since ancient times, and then discusses the topic in depth. He covers such issues as the sub-division of herbs, juices of plants, differences of roots, leaves, stalks, flowers, and seeds, and the various uses of these plants. A Discovery of the Lesser World gives a theological, philosophical, and anatomical description of man. It describes the soul as having three parts: Vegetative, which is responsible for nourishment, growth, and procreation; Sensitive, which deals with both internal and external senses; and the Rational soul, which encompasses both understanding and the will.

Subjects: Botany; Medicine.


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