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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 gnomonø 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 beart, 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 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
8 Gnomon.) There is not the same on the substilar line, which declines reason of a gnomon and a needle. This east or west, as the place does, wherein is ever in the midst, but a gnomon stands 'tis drawne.—Hr.
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 readiest sense of pulsation, we shall not quarrel if any affirm it is seated toward 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.
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 ounces two drachms, I find the brains to weigh but half 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.
* Levæ in parte mamilla.
9 For thereby, &c.] This concluding part of the brain," that is, of that part of this of the sentence was first added in 2nd organ which serves as the principal inedition.
strument of the intellectual operations, Man hath, &c.] This is most especially See Cuvier, by Griffiths, i, 86. true when spoken of "the hemispheres
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 the egg, wherein the head seems larger than all the body, and the very eyes almost as big as either. A sparrow in the total we found to weigh seven drachms and four and twenty grains, whereof the head a drachm, but the brain not fifteen grains, which answereth not fully the proportion of the brain of man;
and therefore it is to be taken of the whole head with the brains, when Scaliger * objected that the head of a man is the fifteenth part of his body, that of a sparrow scarce the 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
. listor. Animal, lib. i.
? More controvertible, fc.] This paragraph first added in 2nd edition,
before and behind, that is, inclining to the spine or breast bone, for thither this coat extendeth, and therefore 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 peritonæum or rim of the belly may be broke, or its perforations relaxed in either.
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 Alexander 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 herewith ; 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;' 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.
Again, that the practice of the ancients had any such respect of cordiality or reference unto the heart, will much be doubted, if we consider their rings were made of iron ; such was that of Prometheus, who is conceived the first that brought them in use. So, as Pliny affirmeth, for many years the senators of Rome did not wear any rings of gold," but the slaves wore generally iron rings until their manumission or preferment to some dignity. That the Lacedemonians continued their iron rings unto his days, Pliny also delivereth,
s finger next the thumb;] Rings werely used by medical practitioners, as formerly worn upon the thumb; as ap- charms and talismans, against all sorts pears from the portraits of some of our of calamities inflicted by all kinds of English monarchs. Nieuhoff mentions beings :-Hippocrates and Galen both that the old viceroy of Canton wore an enjoin on physicians the use of rings. ivory ring gn bis thumb, “as an emblein See a curious paper on this subject in the signifying the undaunted courage of the Archæologiæ, vol. xxi, p. 119. Tartar people.”—Embassy to China, Patriotism has, in our own days, in
duced the exchange of gold for iron * will much be doubted, &c.] Yet rings. The women of Prussia, in 1813, Pliny says, etiam nunc sponsæ annulus offered up their wedding-rings upon the ferreus mittitur, isque sine gemmd.-Nat. altars of their country, and the governHist. 1. xxxiii, cap. 1.
ment, in exchange, distributed iron rings At Silchester, in Hampshire, (the Vin- with this inscription, “I exchange gold dorum of the Romans,) was found an for iron." iron ring, with a singular shaped key Rings however have not only been attached to it;-now in the possession deemed badges of slavery, but very anof Mrs. Keep, at the farm-house, where ciently and far more generally they I saw it, June 26, 1811.-Jeff.
denoted authority and government. Phathe senators, &c.] Juvenal, com raoh in committing that of Egypt to paring the extravagance of his own Joseph gave him his ring—so Ahasuerus times with those of the old Romans, has to Mordecai. With great probability annulus in digito non ferreus.-Sat, xi, has it been conjectured, that, in con129.-Kennet observes that the Roman formity with the Scriptural examples of knights were allowed a gold ring, and a this ancient usage, the Christian church horse at the public charge, bence eques afterwards adopted the ring in marriage, auratus. Roman Antiquities. Tacitus as a symbol of the authority which the says, De Mor. German, s. 31.–Fortis- husband gave the wife over his housesimus quisque (Cattorum) ferreum insu- hold, and over the "worldly goods” per annulum (ignominiosum id genti) with which he endowed her; accomvelut vinculum gestat, donec se cæde panying it, in many of the early Cathohostis absolvet." Among the Eastern lic rituals, with the betrothing or earnest nations also was the ring worn as a penny, which was deposited either in badge of slavery.--See Lowth, note on the bride's right hand, or in a purse Isa. xlix, 23.--Jeff.
brought by her for the purpose. We may add that rings were frequent