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time:2023-11-29 04:41:17 source:Heartbreaker author:person

Some think there were few consumptions in the old world, when men lived much upon milk; and that the ancient inhabitants of this island were less troubled with coughs when they went naked and slept in caves and woods, than men now in chambers and feather-beds. Plato will tell us, that there was no such disease as a catarrh in Homer's time, and that it was but new in Greece in his age. Polydore Virgil delivereth that pleurisies were rare in England, who lived but in the days of Henry the Eighth. Some will allow no diseases to be new, others think that many old ones are ceased: and that such which are esteemed new, will have but their time: however, the mercy of God hath scattered the great heap of diseases, and not loaded any one country with all: some may be new in one country which have been old in another. New discoveries of the earth discover new diseases: for besides the common swarm, there are endemial and local infirmities proper unto certain regions, which in the whole earth make no small number: and if Asia, Africa, and America, should bring in their list, Pandora's box would swell, and there must be a strange pathology.

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Most men expected to find a consumed kell,<10> empty and bladder-like guts, livid and marbled lungs, and a withered pericardium in this exsuccous corpse: but some seemed too much to wonder that two lobes of his lungs adhered unto his side; for the like I have often found

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* [Greek omitted], securissima et facillima.-- Hippoc. + Pro febre quartana raro sonat campana.

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in bodies of no suspected consumptions or difficulty of respiration. And the same more often happeneth in men than other animals: and some think in women than in men: but the most remarkable I have met with, was in a man, after a cough of almost fifty years, in whom all the lobes adhered unto the pleura, and each lobe unto another; who having also been much troubled with the gout, brake the rule of Cardan,* and died of the stone in the bladder. Aristotle makes a query, why some animals cough, as man; some not, as oxen. If coughing be taken as it consisteth of a natural and voluntary motion, including expectoration and spitting out, it may be as proper unto man as bleeding at the nose; otherwise we find that Vegetius and rural writers have not left so many medicines in vain against the coughs of cattle; and men who perish by coughs die the death of sheep, cats, and lions: and though birds have no midriff, yet we meet with divers remedies in Arrianus against the coughs of hawks. And though it might be thought that all animals who have lungs do cough; yet in cataceous* fishes, who have large and strong lungs, the same is not observed; nor yet in oviparous quadrupeds: and in the greatest thereof, the crocodile, although we read much of their tears, we find nothing of that motion.

From the thoughts of sleep, when the soul was con- ceived nearest unto divinity, the ancients erected an art of divination, wherein while they too widely ex- patiated in loose and in consequent conjectures, Hippo- crates+ wisely considered dreams as they presaged

* Cardan in his Encomium Podagrae reckoneth this among the Dona Podagrae, that they are delivered thereby from the phthisis and stone in the bladder. + Hippoc, de Insomniis

alterations in the body, and so afforded hints toward the preservation of health, and prevention of diseases; and therein was so serious as to advise alteration of diet, exercise, sweating, bathing, and vomiting; and also so religious as to order prayers and supplications unto respective deities, in good dreams unto Sol, Jupiter coelestis, Jupiter opulentus, Minerva, Mer- curius, and Apollo; in bad, unto Tellus and the heroes.

And therefore I could not but notice how his female friends were irrationally curious so strictly to examine his dreams, and in this low state to hope for the phantasms of health. He was now past the healthful dreams of the sun, moon, and stars, in their clarity and proper courses. 'Twas too late to dream of flying, of limpid fountains, smooth waters, white vestments, and fruitful green trees, which are the visions of healthful sleeps, and at good distance from the grave. And they were also too deeply dejected that he should dream of his dead friends, inconsequently divining, that he would not be long from them; for strange it was not that he should sometimes dream of the dead, whose thoughts run always upon death; beside, to dream of the dead, so they appear not in dark habits, and take nothing away from us, in Hippocrates' sense was of good signification: for we live by the dead, and everything is or must be so before it becomes our nourishment. And Cardan, who dreamed that he discoursed with his dead father in the moon, made thereof no mortal in- terpretation; and even to dream that we are dead, was having a signification of liberty, vacuity from cares, exemption and freedom from troubles unknown unto the dead. Some dreams I confess may admit of easy and femi- nine exposition; he who dreamed that he could not see his right shoulder, might easily fear to lose the sight of his right eye; he that before a journey dreamed that his feet were cut off, had a plain warning not to under- take his intended journey. But why to dream of lettuce should presage some ensuing disease, why to eat figs should signify foolish talk, why to eat eggs great trouble, and to dream of blindness should be so highly com- mended, according to the oneirocritical verses of As- trampsychus and Nicephorus, I shall leave unto your divination. He was willing to quit the world alone and altogether, leaving no earnest behind him for corruption or after- grave, having small content in that common satisfaction to survive or live in another, but amply satisfied that his disease should die with himself, nor revive in a pos- terity to puzzle physic, and make sad mementoes of their parent hereditary. Leprosy awakes not sometimes before forty, the gout and stone often later; but consumptive and tabid* roots sprout more early, and at the fairest make seventeen years of our life doubtful before that age. They that enter the world with original diseases as well as sin, have not only common mortality but sick traductions to destroy them, make commonly short courses, and live not at length but in figures; so that a sound Caesarean nativity+ may outlast a natural birth, and a knife may sometimes make way for a more last- ing fruit than a midwife; which makes so few infants now able to endure the old test of the river,# and many


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