A prognostication of right good effect
About this text
Leonard Digges (c.1515–c.1559) was one of the first English mathematicians to publish in the vernacular. This selection is from the earliest surviving edition of his almanac A Prognostication of Right Good Effect. There were about thirteen subsequent editions into the early seventeenth century, usually titled A Prognostication Euerlasting. Digges's almanac does not follow the usual form of such texts, normally printed for a year and annually renewed. This work is a collection of miscellaneous material which offers a picture of contemporary understandings of climate and harvest failure: it has calendars and explanations of meteorological phenomena, basic astrological information, rules for predicting weather, and times for planting and grafting. It discusses the use of the quadrant and square for time-telling, provides tide tables for mariners, and includes diagrams of the geocentric system.
A PROGNOSTICATION OF RIGHT GOOD
effect, fructfully augmented, contayninge playne, briefe, plea
sant, chosen rules, to judge the wether for ever, by the Sunne, Moone,
Sterres, Cometes, Raynbowe, Thunder, Cloudes, with other Extraordinarie
tokens, not omitting the Aspectes of Planetes, with a brefe Judge
mente for ever, of Plentie, Lacke, Sickenes, Death, Warres &c. Openin
ge also many naturall causes, woorthy to be knowen. To these and
others, now at the last are adjoyned, divers generall plea
saunte Tables: for ever manyfolde wayes profitable,
to al maner men of understanding: therfore
agayne publisshed by Leonard Dygges
Gentylman, in the yeare of oure
Lorde. 1555. [Sketch]
Imprynted at London, within the blacke
Fryars, by Thomas Gemini. 1555.
PUBLISHED BY Thomas Gemini
1.1. The judgement of weather by sterres.
Note: Cum maior apparent, tum enim Humore medius crassescit crassescit er. BEholde the sterres whose magnitude you knowe best. If they appeare of muche light, in bignes great, more blasing then they are comonly, it be tokeneth great wynde or moysture in that part where they shewe: in wynter, colde and frost. When sterres seme to runne in the element, it shewyth wynde. Affirme also alteration of weather if they be few in numbre, cloudie, and of litel light. Further when dimme sterres appeare wyth long firie tayles, judge wyndes, and great drougthe: the moe in numbre, the greater effect. When sterres in the nyght (as it is sayd) shote, or seme to fall, it arguith wynde in that part: If in divers places, inordinate wyndes: yf in all places, then pronounce Wyndes, Thunder, Lightnynges, yea weather most tempestuous.
1.2. The signification of Cometes
De comctar prodigiis, lege Cardanil. lib. 4. fol. 83.Cometes signifie corruption of the ayre. They arsignes of earthquakes, of warres, chaunging of kyngdomes, great derth of corne, yea a comon death of man, and beast.
1.3. How by the cloudes change of weather is perceaved.
IF thyck clowdes resemblyng flockes, or rather great heapes of woll, be gatherid in many places, they shewe rayne. Also when grosse, thicke, darke clowdes, ryght over the northe part, or somwhat declining to the west, ar close with the earth, immediatly folowyth rayne. If they appeare lyke hylles, somedeale from the earth, a good token of weather overpassed. Blacke clowdes, signifie rayne: white clowdes apperyng in wynter, at the Horizon, two or thre dayes together, prognosticate colde, and snowe.
1.4. Of the raynebowe and his effect, touchyng alteration of ayer..
Arcus niss sole adverso non fiu nt. Non apparet nisi cum Vap res rarifica turIF in the mornyng the raynebow appere, it signifieth moysture, onlesse great drouthe of ayer woorke the contrarie. If in theevening it shewe it self, fayr weather ensueth: so that aboundaunt moyste ayer take not awaye the effect. Or thus.
The rayne bowe appering, if it be fayr, it betokeneth fowle weather: if fowle, loke for fair weather. The grener, the moare raine: redder, wynde.
2.1. Of Rayne.
Quare lapides plant, lege li, lib, 2, Ca. 44.RAyn is a colde vapour. an erthy humour: or fumosities, out of waters or earth drawen up by the vertue of the Sunne, to the nether part of the middle space of the ayre: there through colde thycked, then dissolved: thus engendred falleth on the earth. Here I leave to speake of miraculous raynes, as Mylke, Blud, Flesh, Yern Woll, &c. For more satisfieng in these, reade Plinius in the second boke. 58. Chapter.
2.2. Of Frost and Dew.
sest ate, pruina bieme it.A Colde moyst vapour, a litle waye drawen up in the day, thorow faynt heat of the Sunne, descendeth in the night, dissolved on the earth, there congelated, or resolved in to water, the one called Frost, the other Dew. The last is a signe of fayr wether, in the spryng or Harvest.
2.3. Of Snowe.
Nix humor modice concr tus.IT is a moyst vapour, drawen up to the middle region of the ayre, then thy [...]ked, and frosen into the body of a cloude. So congelated, descendeth.
2.4. Of Hayle.
Grando, plu uia in discensu congelata.A Cloude resolved into water, in the fall congelated, maketh Hayle. The hyer it commeth from above, and the longer it tarryeth in the ayre, the rounde [...] hayle.
2.5. Of wyndes.
Ventor ergo materia, calida & icca ex alatio.Wynde is a multitude of drye exhalations, drawen up from the earth: and above the earth, enforced here and there.
2.6. Of earthquakes, in the most quyet tyme.
Quemadmodum in n be tonitruum, sic in terra trPLentye of wyndes, entred into holes, cones, or caves of the earth, whiche absent from above the earth, causeth quietnes: the violent brustyng oute of them (the earth closed agayne) is the [...] [Page] earthquake: Signam est futurorum bellorum.
2.7. Tokens of earthquakes to come.
Signa terrae motus.AFyry cloude, appering in the element, like a litel pyllar, is a token of earthquakes to come. The obscuritie or darknes of the Sunne, without cloudes, and straungely coloured, blouddy or otherwyse, is a token of earthquakes.
Also, when Well water and others are troubled, or salt, or infected by favour &c.
A great quyetnes of ayre, by lande and sea, and chiefly the long absence of wyndes.
Also, straunge noyses herde, as clamours of men, russhynge of harnes, mourninges, lamentations &c. All these have bene observed, to signifie earthquakes at hande.
2.8. Of Thunders and lightninges.
Fulgetrum prius cerni, quam t nitrum audiri, cum simul fi nt, certum...THunder is the quenching of fyre, in a cloude. Or thunder is, an exhalation hote and drye, myxte with moysture, carryed up to the middleregion, there thycked and wrapped into a cloude: of this hore matter, coupled with moystnes, closed in the cloude, groweth a stryfe, the heat beating and breakyng out the sydes of the cloude, with a thundringe noyse: the fyre then dispersed, is the lightnynge. Thus for the lerned: Tonit [...]sonitus est, qui editur quando [...]ube [...] rumpit halitus. Fulmen flamma vel repentinus est ignis, qui ex collisione nubium, aut ruptura nascitur. Aristotele affirmeth the lightnyng after the thunder: but the fyre doth fyrst appere, in that the sight is before the hering. If this satiisfie not, reade the second of hys Meteoron. Here foloweth a note of lightninges.
2.9. There be thre kyndes of lightninges, drye, moyst and clere.
DRye do not burne, but cleave, depart, or divide. Moyst burne not, but alter colour. The clere are of marvelous natures. Full barels by it are emptied. It melteth mony in the purs, it breaketh the swerde, the purs and scaberd not perisshed, yea, wex in them unmolten.