To enlarge this contemplation unto all the mysteries and secrets, accomodable unto this number, were inexcusable Pythagorisme, yet cannot omit the ancient conceit of five surnamed the number of justice;1 as justly dividing between the digits, and hanging in the centre of Nine, described by square numeration, which angularly divided will make the decussated number;2 and so agreeable unto the Quincunciall Ordination, and rowes divided by Equality, and just decorum, in the whole com-plantation; And might be the Originall of that common game among us, wherein the fifth place is Soveraigne, and carrieth the chief intention. The Ancients wisely instructing youth, even in their recreations unto virtue, that is, early to drive at the middle point and Central Seat of justice.

Nor can we omit how agreeable unto this number an handsome division is made in Trees and Plants, since Plutarch, and the Ancients have named it the Divisive Number, justly dividing the Entities[3] of the world, many remarkable things in it, and also comprehending the general division of Vegetables.4 And he that considers how most blossomes of Trees, and greatest number of Flowers, consist of five leaves; and therein doth rest the setled rule of nature; So that in those which exceed there is often found, or easily made a variety; may readily discover how nature rests in this number, which is indeed the first rest and pause of numeration in the fingers, the naturall Organs thereof. Nor in the division of the feet of perfect animals doth nature exceed this account. And even in the joints of feet, which in birds are most multiplied, surpasseth not this number; So progressionally making them out in many,[5] that from five in the fore-claw she descendeth unto two in the hindemost; And so in fower feet makes up the number of joynts, in the five fingers or toes of man.

Not to omit the Quintuple Section of a Cone,6 of handsome practice in Ornamentall Garden-plots, and in some way discoverable in so many works of Nature; In the leaves, fruits, and seeds of Vegetables, and scales of some Fishes, so much considerable in glasses, and the optick doctrine; wherein the learned may consider the Crystalline humour of the eye in the cuttle fish and Loligo.[7]

He that forgets not how Antiquity named this the Conjugall or Wedding number, made it the Embleme of the most remarkable conjunction, will conceive it duely appliable unto this handsome Oeconomy, and vegetable combination; May hence apprehend the allegorical sence of that obscure expression of Hesiod,8 and afford no improbable reason why Plato admitted his Nuptiall guests by fives, in the kindred of the married couple.9

And though a sharper mystery might be implied in the Number of the five wise and foolish Virgins, which were to meet the Bridegroom, yet was the same agreeable unto the Conjugall Number, which ancient Numerists made out by two and three, the first parity and imparity, the active and passive digits, the materiall and formall principles in generative Societies. And not discordant even from the customes of the Romans, who admitted but five10 torches in their Nuptiall solemnities. Whether there were any mystery or not implied, the most generative animals were created on this day, and had accordingly the largest benediction: And under a Quintuple consideration, wanton Antiquity considered the Circumstances of generation, while by this number of five they naturally divided the Nectar of the fifth Planet.{11}

The same number in the Hebrew mysteries and Cabalistical accounts was the character12 of Generation; declared by the letter He, the fifth in their Alphabet; According to that Cabalisticall Dogma: If Abram had not had this Letter added unto his Name he had remained fruitlesse,[13] and without the power of generation: Not onely because hereby the number of his Name attained two hundred fourty eight, the number of the affirmative precepts, but because as increated natures there is a male and female, so in divine and intelligent productions, the mother of Life and Fountain of souls in Cabalisticall Technology is called Binah; whose Seal and Character was He. So that being sterill before, he recived the power of generation from that measure and mansion in the Archetype; and was made conformable unto Binah. And upon such involved considerations, the ten14 of Sarai was exchanged into five, If any shall look upon this as a stable number, and fitly appropriable unto Trees, as Bodies of Rest and Station, he hath herein a great Foundation in nature, who observing much variety in legges and motive Organs of Animals, as two, four, six, eight, twelve, fourteen, and more, hath passed over five and ten, and assigned them unto none, or very few, as the Phalangium monstrosum Brasilianum, Clusii & Jac. De Laet. Cur. poster. Americæ Descript.[15] If perfectly described. And for the stability of this Number, he shall not want the sphericity of its nature, which multiplied in it self, will return into its own denomination, and bring up the reare of the account. Which is also one of the Numbers that makes up the mysticall Name of God, which consisting of Letters denoting all the sphæricall Numbers, ten, five, and six; Emphatically sets forth the Notion of Trismegistus, and that intelligible Sphere, which is the Nature of God.

Many Expressions by this Number occurre in Holy Scripture, perhaps unjustly laden with mysticall Expositions, and little concerning our order. That the Israelites were forbidden to eat the fruit of their newly planted Trees, before the fifth yeare, was very agreeable unto the naturall Rules of Husbandry: Fruits being unwholsome and lash[16] before the fourth, or fifth Yeare. In the second day or Feminine part part of five, there was added no approbation.[17] For in the third or masculine day, the same is twice repeated; and a double benediction inclosed both Creations, whereof the one, in some part was but an accomplishment of the other. That the Trespasser18 was to pay a fifth part above the head or principall, makes no secret in this Number, and implied no more then one part above the principall; which being considered in four parts, the additionall forfeit must bear the Name of a fift. The five golden mice had plainly their determination from the number of the Princes; That five should put to flight an hundred might have nothing mystically implyed; considering a rank of Souldiers could scarce consist of a lesser number. Saint Paul had rather speak five words in a known then ten thousand in an unknowne tongue: That is as little as could well be spoken.[19] A simple proposition consisting of three words and a complexed one not ordinarily short of five.

More considerable there are in this mysticall account, which we must not insist on. And therefore why the radicall Letters in the Pentateuch, should equall the number of the Souldiery of the Tribes; Why our Saviour in the Wildernesse fed five thousand persons with five Barley Loaves, and again, but four thousand with no lesse then seven of Wheat? Why Joseph designed five changes of Rayment unto Benjamin? and David took just five pibbles out of the Brook against the Pagan Champion? We leave it unto Arithmeticall Divinity, and Theologicall explanation.[20]

Yet if any delight in new Problemes, or think it worth the enquiry, whether the Criticall Physician hath rightly hit the nominall notation of Quinque;21 Why the Ancients mixed five or three but not four parts of water into their Wine: And Hippocrates observed a fifth proportion in the mixture of water with milk, as in Dysenteries and bloudy fluxes. Under what abstruse foundation Astrologers do Figure the good or bad Fate from our Children, in a good Fortune,22 or the fifth house of their Celestiall Schemes. Whether the Ægyptians described a Starre by a Figure of five points, with reference unto the five Capitall aspects,23 whereby they transmit their Influences, or abstruser Considerations? Why the Cabalisticall Doctors, who conceive the whole Sephiroth, or divine emanations to have guided the ten-stringed Harp of David, whereby he pacified the evil spirit of Saul, in strict numeration doe begin with the Perihypate Meson, or ff fa ut,[24] and so place the Tiphereth answering C sol fa ut, upon the fifth string: Or whether this number be oftner applied unto bad things and ends, then good in holy Scripture, and why? He may meet with abstrusities of no ready resolution.

If any shall question the rationality of that Magick, in the cure of the blind man by Serapis, commanded to place five fingers on his Altar, and then his hand on his Eyes? Why since the whole Comoedy is primarily and naturally comprised in four25 parts, and Antiquity permitted not so many persons to speak in one Scene, yet would not comprehend the same in more or lesse then five acts? Why amongst Sea-starres nature chiefly delighteth in five points?[26] And since there are found some of no fewer then twelve, and some of seven, and nine, there are few or none discovered of six or eight? If any shall enquire why the Flowers of Rue properly consist of four Leaves, the first and third have five? Why since many Flowers have one leaf or none,27 as Scaliger will have it, diverse three, and the greatest number consist of five divided from their bottomes; there are yet so few of two: or why nature generally beginning or setting out with two opposite leaves at the Root, doth so seldome conclude with that order and number at the Flower? he shall not passe his hours in vulgar speculation.

If any shall further quæry why magneticall Philosophy excludeth decussations, and needles transversly placed do naturally distract their verticities? Why Geomancers do imitate the Quintuple Figure, in their Mother Characters of Acquisition and Amission, &c somewhat answering the Figures in the Lady or speckled Beetle?[28] With what Equity, Chiromantical conjecturers decry these decussations in the Lines and Mounts of the hand? What that decussated Figure intendeth in the medall of Alexander the Great? Why the Goddesses sit commonly crosse-legged in ancient draughts, Since Juno is described in the same as a veneficial posture to hinder the birth of Hercules?[29] If any shall doubt why at the Amphidromicall Feasts, on the fifth day after the Childe was born, presents were sent from friends, of Polipusses, and Cuttle-fishes?[30] Why five must be only left in that Symbolicall mutiny among the men of Cadmus? Why Proteus in Homer the Symbole of the first matter, before he setled himself in the midst of his Sea-monsters, doth place them out by fives? Why the fifth years Oxe was acceptable Sacrifice unto Jupiter? Or why the Noble Antoninus in some sence doth call the soul it self a Rhombus? He shall not fall on trite or triviall disquisitions. And these we invent and propose unto acuter enquirers, nauseating crambe verities and questions over-queried. Flat and flexible truths are beat out by every hammer; But Vulcan and his whole forge sweat to work out Achilles his armour.[31] A large field is yet left unto sharper discerners to enlarge upon this order, to search out the quaternio's and figured draughts of this nature, and moderating the study of names, and meer nomenclature of plants, to erect generalities, disclose unobserved proprieties, not only in the vegetable shop, but the whole volume of nature; affording delightful Truths, confirmable by sense and ocular Observation, which seems to me the surest path, to trace the Labyrinth of Truth. For though discursive enquiry and rationall conjecture, may leave handsome gashes and flesh-wounds; yet without conjunction of this expect no mortal or dispatching blows unto errour.

But the Quincunx32 of Heaven runs low, and ’tis time to close the five ports of knowledge; We are unwilling to spin out our awaking thoughts into the phantasmes of sleep, which often continueth præcogitations; making Cables of Cobwebbes and Wildernesses of handsome Groves. Beside Hippocrates33 hath spoke so little and the Oneirocriticall34 Masters, have left such frigid Interpretations from plants, that there is little encouragement to dream of Paradise it self. Nor will the sweetest delight of Gardens afford much comfort in sleep; wherein the dulnesse of that sense shakes hands with delectable odours; and though in the Bed35 of Cleopatra, can hardly with any delight raise up the ghost of a Rose.

Night which Pagan Theology could make the daughter of Chaos, affords no advantage to the description of order: Although no lower then that Masse can we derive its Genealogy. All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again; according to the ordainer of order and mystical Mathematicks of the City of Heaven.

Though Somnus in Homer be sent to rowse up Agamemnon, I finde no such effects in these drowsy approaches of sleep. To keep our eyes open longer were but to act our Antipodes. The Huntsmen are up in America, and they are already past their first sleep in Persia. But who can be drowsie at that howr which freed us from everlasting sleep? or have slumbring thoughts at that time, when sleep it self must end, as some conjecture all shall awake again?




1. δίκη.

2. This picture is in the marginalia:

by square numeration:


or possibly the "magic square":


thus 5 “hanging in the centre of Nine.”

3. [Earth, air, water, fire, and the quintessence ether. For Plutarch's “divisive number”, see De defectu oraculorum: “in this number, there is a naturall vertue and facultie of dividing, and that nature divideth many things by this number. For even in our owne selves she hath placed five exterior senses, as also five parts of the soule, to wit, naturall, sensitive, concupiscible, irascible, and reasonable: likewise so many fingers in either hand....” etc. The Wilkin edition has a long note by Brayley, commenting on a report published in Report of the Fourth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science to the effect that nearly everything in nature divides into five groups, and ending with a notice that “Professor Lindley, in his Nixus Plantarum, published in 1834, which contains his latest and most matured views on the natural system of the vegetable world, has also stated that the most natural groups of plants, of all classes, are quinary”. ]

4. Δένδρον, Θάμνος, Φρύγανον, Πόα, Arbor, frutex, suffrutex, herba, and that fifth which comprehendeth the fungi and tubera, whether to be named Ἄσχιον or γύμνον, comprehending also the conferva marina salsa, and Sea-cords, of so many yards length.

5. {As Herns, Bitterns, and long claw'd Fowls.}

6. Elleipsis, parabola, Hyperbole, Circulus, Triangulum.

7. [Squid]

8. πέμπτας id est nuptias multas Rhodig. [Hesiod WD 802]

9. Plato de leg. 6.

10. Plutarch problem. Rom. [Qu. Rom. 2]

11. {    ... oscula quæ Venus
Quinta parte sui nectaris imbuit. — Hor.
lib. 1, od 13.}

12. Archang. Dog. Cabal. [Archangelus Burgonovus]

13. [Abram to Abraham, Genesis 17:5. See McClintock and Strong on the affirmative (and negative) precepts, and (among others) Cabalah y Fisica: 248, which explains:

El nombre más importante en la Toráh de guematria 248 es el del primer patriarca del pueblo judío Abraham, אברהם . Originalmente su nombre era Avram, אברם , cuyo valor es 243, pero cuando tenía 99 años de edad Hashem le ordenó circuncidarse y le agregó a su nombre una letra hei , ה , de valor 5, llegando así al valor de 248. Ahora trataremos de entender por qué primero tenía un nombre que valía 243 y luego se le tuvo que agregar la hei para llegar a su nombre definitivo que suma 248.]

14. Jod into He. [Sarai to Sarah; jod is the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, he the fifth. See Genesis 17:15, “And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.” שרי to שרה.]

15. [“The reference given here seems to relate to two works Clusii Curæ Posteriores, 4to, Antv. 1611, and De Laet. Americæ Descriptio. To the latter I have not been able to refer. The former exhibits, at page 88, a rude figure of Phalangium Americanum with its eight feet, and two Palpi which our author has mistaken for feet, — it is probably a mygale, — perhaps avicularia..” — Wilkin]

16. [“soft and watery, but without flavour.” — Wilkin from Forby’s Vocabulary of East Anglia)]

17. [Only the second day of creation lacks God's approving “It was good”.]

18. Lev. 6 [:5; “he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.”]

19. [Golden mice: 1 Sam. 6:4 and 6:18; “Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.”; “And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.”
Five putting to flight an hundred: Leviticus 26:8, “And five of you shall chase an hundred”.
Five words of sense: 1 Cor. 14:19, “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."”

20. [Letters in Pentateuch = number of the Souldiery of the Tribes: Numbers 1 counts up the soldiery of the tribes and comes to a total in verse 46: “Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty”, approximately the number of consonants in the Pentateuch (maybe: it depends on whom you trust on this one). Five thousand on five barley loaves, John 6:9-13. Four thousand on seven wheaten loaves, Matthew 15:34-39. Benjamin’s trousseau: Genesis 45:22, “To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment”. Five pebbles: 1 Sam. 17:40, “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine”.]

21.τέσσερα ἔνχε four and one, or five, Scalig. [This note occurs at the bottom of page 195, opposite the query about David and the pibbles.]

22. Ἀγαθὴ τυχὴ or bona fortuna the name of the fifth house.

23. Conjunct, opposite, sextile, trigonal, tetragonal. [The latter two are more usually styled “trine” and “square” in modern astrology]

24. [The parhypate meson. David and Saul, 1 Sam. 16:23, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him”. Browne’s comments derive from the rabbinical commentaries.]

25. Πρότασις, ἐπίτασις, κατάστασις, καταστροφή.

26. [Note that Browne is giving an example of an animal with five arms, though he earlier says that none or few animals have five or ten legs; apparently he does not regard the rays of starfish as arms/legs.]

27. Unifolium, nullifolium.

28. [Two of the sixteen possible geomantic figures:





29. [Ovid, Metamorphoses 294-300. Lucina, at Juno's behest, rather than Juno herself.]

30. [Amphidromia, a ceremony taking place on the 5th day after the birth of a child, at which the baby was carried around the hearth “possibly at a run” by either its father or the women who had delivered it. “The comic playwright Ephippos (CAF II, p. 251.3) describes it as an occasion when it is appropriate to ‘toast hunks of Chersonese cheese, boil cabbages gleaming in olive oil, bake fat breasts of lamb, pluck the feathers of doves and thrushes and finches all at the same time, nibble squid with cuttlefish, tenderise the tentacles of many octopuses, and drink many goblets of barely diluted wine.’ ” (Robert Garland, The Greek Way of Life from Conception to Old Age, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990; p. 94)]

31. [Iliad. XVIII.468 to the end of the book. Put in here because Achilles’ armor has carved in it a more or less complete and presumably accurate depiction of the world and the heavens.]

32. Hyades near the Horizon about midnight, at that time.

33. De Insomniis.

34. Artemodorus & Apomazar [Artemidorus, early 3rd c., and Ahmed Ibn Sirin, 9th c., authors of works on interpreting dreams]

35. Strewed with roses.

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