The Works of Aristotle - Of the Gall and Spleen.

Of the Gall and Spleen.

How came living creatures to have a gall?
Because choleric humours are received into it, which through their acidity help the guts to expel superfluities, also it helps digestion.

How comes the jaundice to proceed from the gall?
The humour of the gall is bluish and yellow, therefore when its pores are stopped the humours cannot go into the sack thereof,

but is mingled with the blood, wandering throughout all the body, and infecting the skin.

Why hath not a horse, mule, ass, or cow a gall?
Though those creatures have no gall in one pace, as in purse or vessel, yet they have one dispersed in small veins.

How comes the spleen to be black?
It is occasioned by a terrestrial and earthy matter of a black colour, as Aristotle says. Another reason is, according to physicians, the spleen is the receptacle of melancholy, and that is black.

Why is he lean who hath a large spleen?
Because the spleen draws much water to itself, which would turn to fat; therefore contrariwise men that have but a small spleen are fat.

Why does the spleen cause men to laugh, as says Isadorus, we laugh with the spleen, we be angry with the caul, we are wise with the heart, love with the liver, we feel with the brain, and speak with the lungs; that is the cause of laughing, anger, love, wisdom, speech; and feeling proceeds from the spleen, gall, liver, lungs and brain?
The reason is, the spleen draws much melancholy to it, being its proper seat, the which melancholy proceeds from sadness, and is there consumed, and the cause failing, the effect cloth so likewise. And by the same reason the gall causes anger; for choleric men are often angry, because they have much gall. For the better understanding of this, note, that there are four humours in man, viz., blood, choler, phlegm, and melancholy; each has its particular receptacle. Of a hot and dry substance choler is engendered, which goes to the gall; but of a cold and dry humour melancholy is engendered, and goes to the spleen; of a cold and moist humour, phlegm is engendered, and goes to the lungs for its reception, or (as physicians say) to the spleen; but the blood, which is the most noble humour, is engendered in the liver, which is its proper place.

 

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