Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/98
86 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
which is on the way to his right arm. Capricornus breathes out a visible influence that penetrates both knees. Aquarius inflicts simi- lar punctures upon both legs. Virgo fishes, as it were, at his intes- tines; Libra at the part affected by schoolmasters in their anger; and Scorpio takes the wickedest aim of all."
A similar woodcut appears in James Scholl's Astrologia ad medicinam adplicatio, published at Strasburg in 1537.
An examination of Astrology's Last Home, a Musty Pile of Almanacs, published in England and the United States between 1659 and 1897, shows that this emblem, modified in various ways, has been introduced since the end of the seventeenth century. In Great Britain's Diary for 1721 the central figure takes the form of a nude woman seated on a globe, and surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. Beneath is the following legend:
" Should I omit to place this fi^re here My Book would scarcely sell another Year. What (quoth my Country Friend) D'ye think Fll buy An Almanack without th' Anatomy f As for its Use, nor he nor I can tell. However, since it pleases all so well I've put it in, because my Book shou'd sell."
In Gadbury's Ephemeris for 1721, and in Poor Pobin's Alma- nack for 1729, the emblem takes quite another shape, being a plump cherub curved backward within a circle, which is surrounded with the usual signs. In the latter issue the following stanza appears:
" The little Mortal in the Ring below Drawn Neck and Heels, doth to the Reader show That part of Men and Women, Sheep and Swine Are govern'd by each Celestiall Sign. But Women's Tongues, when Passion once gets vent. Break out from this and other Government ! "
Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac and Poulson's Town and Country Almanac (Philadelphia) contain similar em- blems. The present style of an erect man with the zodiacal signs appears in Saunders's Poor Richard Improv'd for 1783, and it has been a valuable trade mark for more than a century.
Modern pretenders to a belief in the influence of the zodiac on human life are as bold in their claims as the most superstitious char- latans of the seventeenth century. One, writing in 1894, represents the physical framework of man as merely " a vessel of breath, motion, and vibration, played upon by active thought atmospheres, waves of sound and light, and positive and negative electro-magnetic forces in limitless activity." Although the twelve signs point to weak or vulnerable parts of the body, they have no power over the