Digression of Anatomy

Digression of Anatomy

BEFORE I proceed to define the disease of melancholy, what it is, or to discourse farther of it, I hold it not impertinent to make a brief digression of the anatomy of the body and faculties of the soul, for the better understanding of that which is to follow; because many hard words will often occur, as myrache, hypochondries, emrods, &c., imagination, reason, humours, spirits, vital, natural, animal, nerves, veins, arteries, chylus, pituita; which by the vulgar will not so easily be perceived, what they are, how cited, and to what end they serve, And besides, it may peradventure give occasion to some men to examine more accurately, search further into this most excellent subject, and thereupon with that royal prophet to praise God, ("for a man is fearfully and wonderfully made, and curiously wrought") that have time and leisure enough, and are sufficiently informed in all other worldly businesses, as to make a good bargain, buy and sell, to keep and make choice of a fair hawk, hound, horse, &c. But for such matters as concern the knowledge of themselves, they are wholly ignorant and careless; they know not what this body and soul are, how combined, of what parts and faculties they consist, or how a man differs from a dog. And what can be more ignominious and filthy (as Melancthon well inveighs) "than for a man not to know the structure and composition of his own body, especially since the knowledge of it tends so much to the preservation of his health, and information of his manners?" To stir them up therefore to this study, to peruse those elaborate works of Galen, Bauhines, Plater, Vesalius, Falopius, Laurentius, Remelinus, &c., which have written copiously in Latin; or that which some of our industrious countrymen have done in our mother tongue, not long since, as that translation of Columbus and Microcosmographia, in thirteen books, I have made this brief digression. Also because Wecker, Melancthon, Fernelius, Fuschius, and those tedious Tracts de Anima (which have more compendiously handled and written of this matter) are not at all times ready to be had, to give them some small taste, or notice of the rest, let this epitome suffice.

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