Page images


hath its eyes so placed, that it looks up directly to heaven. which man doth not, except he recline, or bend his head backward ; and thus to look up to heaven agreeth not only unto man but asses ; to omit birds with long necks, which look not only upward, but round about at pleasure; and therefore men of this opinion understood not Plato when he saith, that man doth sursum aspicere ; for thereby was not meant to gape, or look upward with the eye, but to have his thoughts sublime, and not only to behold, but speculate their nature with the eye of the understanding 6

Now although Galen in this place makes instance but in one, yet are there other fishes whose eyes regard the heavens, as plane and cartilaginous fishes, as pectinals, or such as have their bones made literally like a comb, for when they apply themselves to sleep or rest upon the white side, their eyes on the other side look upward toward heaven. birds, they generally carry their heads erected like a man, and have advantage in their upper eyelid, and many that have long necks, and bear their heads somewhat backward, behold far more of the heavens, and seem to look above the equinoctial circle; and so also in many quadrupeds, although their progression be partly prone, yet is the sight of their eye direct, not respecting the earth but heaven, and makes an higher arch of latitude than our own. The position of a frog with his head above water exceedeth these; for therein he seems to behold a large part of the heavens, and the acies of his eye to ascend as high as the tropic; but he that hath beheld the posture of a bittern will not deny that it beholds almost the




upward is not the same with uranoscopus, to which the same is equivocal, bycause this posture, being always at the botom, hee lookes alwayes upwards, not to heaven, but as watching for his foode flooting over his head; the question then is, not whether any other creatures have the head erect as man, but whether to the same ende.--Wr.

6 understood not Plato, &c.] This is too pedanticall and captious : for Plato sayd plainlye, Astronomiæ causa datos esse homini oculos, but not to other creatures, though they have their heads more erect than hee, and far better sight.-Wr.

? the posture of a bittern, dc.] Which proceeds from his timorous and jealous nature, holding his head at hight, for discovery, not enduring any man to come neere : his neck is stretch out, but his bill stands like the cranes, hernshawes, &c.— Wr.


That the Heart is on the left side. THAT the heart of man is seated in the left side is an asseveration, which, strictly taken, is refutable by inspection, whereby it appears the base and centre thereof is in the midst of the chest; true it is, that the mucro or point thereof inclineth unto the left, for by this position it giveth way unto the ascension of the midriff, and by reason of the hollow vein could not commodiously deflect unto the right. From which diversion, nevertheless, we cannot so properly say 'tis placed in the left, as that it consisteth in the middle, that is, where its centre riseth ; for so do we usually say a gnomon8 or needle is in the middle of a dial, although the extremes may respect the north or south, and approach the circumference thereof.

The ground of this mistake is a general observation from the pulse or motion of the heart, which is more sensible on this side ; but the reason hereof is not to be drawn from the situation of the heart, but the site of the left ventricle wherein the vital spirits are laboured, and also the great artery that conveyeth them out, both which are situated on the left. Upon this reason epithems or cordial applications are justly applied unto the left breast, and the wounds under the fifth rib may be more suddenly destructive, if made on the sinister side, and the spear of the soldier that pierced our Saviour is not improperly described, when painters direct it a little towards the left.

The other ground is more particular and upon inspection; for in dead bodies, especially lying upon the spine, the heart doth seem to incline upon the left; which happeneth not from its 'proper site, but besides its sinistrous gravity, is drawn that way by the great artery, which then subsideth and haleth the heart unto it; and thereof strictly taken, the heart is seated in the middle of the chest, but after a careless and inconsiderate inspection, or according to the readieste sense of pulsation, we shall not quarrel if any affirm it is seated towards the left. And in these considerations must Aristotle be salved, when he affirmeth the heart of man is placed in the left side, and thus in a popular acception may we receive the periphrasis of Persius, when he taketh the part under the left pap for the heart,* and if rightly apprehended, it concerneth not this controversy, when it is said in Ecclesiastes, the heart of a wise man is in the right side, but that of a fool in the left; for thereby may be implied, that the heart of a wise man delighteth in the right way, or in the path of virtue ; that of a fool in the left, or road of vice, according to the mystery of the letter of Pythagoras, or that expression in Jonah, concerning sixscore thousand, that could not discern between their right hand and their left, or knew not good from evil.9

8 gnomon.] There is not the same reason of a gnomon and a needle. This is ever in the midst, but a gnomon stands on the substilar line, which declines east or west, as the place does, wherein 'tis. drawne.- Wr.

That assertion also that man proportionally hath the largest brain,' I did I confess somewhat doubt, and conceived it might have failed in birds, especially such as having little bodies, have yet large cranies, and seem to contain much brain, as snipes, woodcocks, &c. But upon trial I find it very true. The brains of a man, Archangelus and Bauhinus observe to weigh four pounds, and sometimes five and a half. If therefore a man weigh one hundred and forty pounds, and his brain but five, his weight is twenty seven times as much as his brain, deducting the weight of that five pounds which is allowed for it. Now in a snipe, which weighed four

10 ounces two drachms, I find the brains to weigh but half a 'a drachm, so that the weight of the body, allowing for the brain, exceeded the weight of the brain sixty-seven times and a half. More controvertible it seemeth in the brains of

sparrows, whose cranies are rounder, and so of larger capacity; and most of all in the heads of birds, upon the first formation in : wherein the head seems larger than all the body,

* Læva in parte mamilla. for thereby, dc.] This concluding part of the sentence was first added in 2nd edition.

man hath, &c.] This is most especially true when spoken ofthe Voemispheres of the brain,” that is, of that part of this organ which serves as the principal instrument of the intellectual operations. See Curier, by Griffith, i. 86.


the egg,



nd the very eyes almost as big as either. A sparrow in the otal we found to weigh seven drachms and four and twenty rains, whereof the head a drachm, but the brain not fifteen rains, which answereth not fully the proportion of the brain f man ; and therefore it is to be taken of the whole head vith the brains, when Scaliger* objected that the head of a nan is the fifteenth part of his body, that of a sparrow scarce he fifth.?



That Pleurisies are only on the left side. THAT pleurisies are only on the left side, is a popular tenet not only absurd but dangerous : from the misapprehension hereof men omitting the opportunity of remedies, which otherwise they would not neglect. Chiefly occasioned by the ignorance of anatomy, and the extent of the part affected, which in an exquisite pleurisy is determined to be the skin or membrane which investeth the ribs, for so it is defined, inflammatio membranæ costas succingentis; an inflammation, either simple, consisting only of an hot and sanguineous affluxion, or else denominable from other humours, according to the predominancy of melancholy, phlegm, or choler. The membrane thus inflamed, is properly called pleura, from whence the disease hath its name; and this investeth not only one side, but over-spreadeth the cavity of the chest, and | affordeth a common coat unto the parts contained therein.

Now therefore the pleura being common unto both sides, it is not reasonable to confine the inflammation unto one, nor strictly to determine it is always in the side ; but sometimes before and behind, that is, inclining to the spine or

breast-bone, for thither this coat extendeth, and therefore i with equal propriety we may affirm that ulcers of the lungs, or apostems of the brain, do happen only in the left side, or that ruptures are confinable unto one side ; whereas the peritoneum or rim of the belly may be broke, or its perforations relaxed in either.

* Histor. Animal. lib. i. ? More controvertible, &c.] This paragraph first added in 2nd edition. VOL. I.

2 C


Of the Ring-finger. An opinion there is, which magnifies the fourth finger of the left hand; presuming therein a cordial relation, that a particular vessel, nerve, vein, or artery, is conferred thereto from the heart, and therefore that especially hath the honour to bear our rings. Which was not only the Christian practice in nuptial contracts, but observed by heathens, as Alerander ab Alexandro, Gellius, Macrobius and Pierius have delivered, as Levinus Lemnius hath confirmed, who affirms this peculiar vessel to be an artery, and not a nerve, as antiquity hath conceived it; adding moreover that rings hereon peculiarly affect the heart; that in lipothymies or swoonings he used the frication of this finger with saffron and gold; that the ancient physicians mixed up their medicines here. with ; that this is seldom or last of all affected with the gout, and when that becometh nodous, men continue not long after. Notwithstanding all which, we remain unsatisfied, nor can we think the reasons alleged sufficiently establish the preeminency of this finger.

For first, concerning the practice of antiquity, the custom was not general to wear their rings either on this hand or finger; for it is said, and that emphatically in Jeremiah, si fuerit Jeconias filius Joachim regis Judæ annulus in manu dextrâ meâ, inde evellam eum : though Coniah the son of Joachim king of Judah, were the signet on my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence.” So is it observed by Pliny, that in the portraits of their gods, the rings were worn on the finger next the thumb;3 that the Romans wore_them also upon their little finger, as Nero is described in Petronius : some wore them on the middle finger, as the ancient Gauls and Britons; and some upon the forefinger, as is deducible from Julius Pollux, who names that ring, corianos.

[ocr errors]


finger next the thumb.] Rings were formerly worn upon the thumb; as appears from the portraits of some of our English monarchs. Nieuhoff mentions that the old viceroy of Canton wore an ivory ring on his thumb, “as an emblem signifying the undaunted courage of the Tartar people.”Embassy to China, p. 45.

« PreviousContinue »