Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

Whether it be possible to make Man and other Ani∣mal Creatures that naturally have no Wings, flie as Birds do.

SOme are of opinion, that is not impossible to make Man, and such other Creatures that naturally have no wings, flie as Birds do; but I have heard my Noble Lord and Husband give good reasons against it; For when he was in Paris, he discoursing one time with Mr. H. concerning this subject, told him that he thought it altogether impossible to be done: A Man, Page  31 said he, or the like animal that has no Wings, has his arms set on his body in a quite opposite manner then Birds wings are; for the concave part of a Birds wing, which joins close to his body, is in man out∣ward; and the inward part of a mans arm where it joins to his body, is in Birds placed outward; so that which is inward in a Bird, is outward in Man; and what is inward in Man, is outward in Birds; which is the reason that a Man has not the same motion of his arm which a Bird has of his wing. For Flying is but swimming in the Air; and Birds, by the shape and posture of their wings, do thrust away the air, and so keep themselves up; which shape, if it were found the same in Mans arms, and other animals leggs, they might perhaps flie as Birds do, nay, without the help of Feathers; for we see that Bats have but flesh-wings; neither would the bulk of their bodies be any hinderance to them; for there be many Birds of great and heavy bodies, which do nevertheless flie, although more slowly, and not so nimbly as Flies, or little Birds: Wherefore it is onely the different posture and shape of Mens arms, and other Animals leggs, contrary to the wings of Birds, that makes them unapt to flie, and not so much the bulk of their bodies. But I believe, that a four∣legg'd Creature, or Animal, may more easily and safely go upright like Man, although it hath its leggs set on in a contrary manner to Mans arms and Page  32 leggs; for a four-legg'd animals hind-leggs resem∣ble man's arms, and its fore-leggs are just as man's leggs. Nevertheless there is no Art that can make a four legg'd Creature imitate the actions of man, no more then Art can make them have or imitate the natural actions of a Bird: For, Art cannot give new motions to natural parts, which are not pro∣per or natural for them, but each part must have such proper and natural motions and actions as Na∣ture has designed for it. I will not say, but Art may help to mend some defects, errors or irregularities in Nature, but not make better that which Nature has made perfect already. Neither can we say Man is defective, because he cannot flie as Birds: for fly∣ing is not his natural and proper motion; We should rather account that Man monstrous that could flie, as having some motion not natural and proper to his fi∣gure and shape; for that Creature is perfect in its kind, that has all the motions which are naturally re∣quisite to the figure of such a kind: But Man is apt to run into extreams, and spoils Nature with doting too much upon Art.