The Works of Aristotle - A PARTICULAR DESCRIPTION OF THE PARTS AND INSTRUMENTS OF GENERATION, BOTH IN MEN AND WOMEN.

A PARTICULAR DESCRIPTION OF THE PARTS AND INSTRUMENTS OF GENERATION, BOTH IN MEN AND WOMEN.

 

Sec. I.-- Of the Instruments of Generation in Men, with particular Description thereof.

 

THOUGH the Instruments, or parts of generation in all creatures, with respect to their outward form, are not perhaps the more comely, yet in compensation of that, Nature has put upon them a more abundant and far greater honour than on other parts, in ordaining them to be the means by which every Species of Being is continued from one generation to another. And, therefore, though a man or woman were, through the bounty of Nature, endowed with angelic countenances, and the most exact symmetry and proportion of parts that concurred together, to the making up of the most perfect beauty, yet, if they were defective in the instruments of generation, they would not for all their beauty be acceptable to either of the other sex; because they would be thereby rendered incapable of satisfying the natural propensions which every one finds in himself. And therefore since it is our duty to be acquainted with ourselves, and to search out the wonders of God in nature, I need not make any apology for anatomising the secret parts of generation.

The organ of generation in man, Nature has placed obvious to the sight, and is called the Yard; and because hanging without the belly, is called the Penis, a pendendo. It is in form long, round, and on the upper side flattish, and consists of skins, tendons, veins, arteries, and sinews, being seated under the Ossa Pubis, and ordained by Nature for a twofold work viz., for the evacuation of urine and conveying the seed into the Matrix. The urine which it evacuates is brought to it through the neck of the Versica Urinariæ; and the seed which it conveys into the Matrix is brought into it from the Visiculæ Seminales. But to be more particular.

Besides the common parts, as the cuticle, the skin, and the Membrana Carnosa, it has several internal parts proper to it, of which number there are seven, viz.,

The two nervous bodies; the Septum; the Urethra; the Glands; the Muscles; and the Vessels; of each of these distinctly, in the order I have placed them; and first, of

The two nervous Bodies. These are called so from their being surrounded with a thick, white, nervous membrane, though their inward substance is spongy, as consisting principally of veins, arteries, and nervous fibres, interwoven like a net. And nature has so ordered it, that when the nerves are filled with animal spirits, then the yard is distended and becomes erect; when flux of the spirit ceases, then the blood and the remaining spirits are absorbed or sucked up by the veins, and so the Penis becomes limber and flaggy.

2. The second internal part is the Septum Lucidum, and this is in substance white and nervous, or sinewy, and its office is to uphold the two lateral or side ligaments and the Urethra.

3. The third is the Urethra, which is only the channel by which both the seed and the urine are conveyed out; it is in substance soft and loose, thick and sinewy, like that of the side ligaments. It begins at the neck of the bladder, but springs not from thence, only is joined to it, and so proceeds to the glands. It has three holes at the beginning, the largest whereof is in the midst, which receives the urine into it. The other two are smaller, receiving the seed from each seminal vessel.

4.-- The fourth is the Glands, which is at the end of the Penis, covered with a very thin membrane, by reason of a Præputium or Foreskin, which in some cover the top of the yard quite close, in others not; and by it moving up and down in the act of copulation brings pleasure both to the man and woman. The extreme part of the cover, which I call Præputium, and which is so called a præputando, from cutting off, as the Jews were commanded to cut it off on the eighth day. The ligament, by which it is fastened to the glands, is called Frænum, or the Bridle.

5.-- The fifth thing is the Muscles, and these are four in number, two being placed on each side. These muscles (which are instruments of voluntary motion, and without which no part of the body can move itself) consists of fibrous flesh to make up their body; of Nerves for the sense; of Veins for their vital heat; and of a membrane or skin to knit them together, and to distinguish one muscle from the other, and all of them from the flesh. I have already said there are two of them on each side; and I will now add, that one on each side is shorter and thicker and that their use is to erect the yard, from whence they have obtained the name of Erectors. And having told you that two of them are thicker and shorter than the other, I need not tell you that the other two are longer and thinner; only I take notice that the office of the two last is to dilate, or (if you will) open the lower parts of the Urethra, both for making water and voiding the seed, and therefore are called Acceleratores.

6.-- The sixth and last things are the Vessels, which consist of Veins, Nerves, and Arteries; of which some pass by the skin, and are visible to the eye, and others pass more inwardly. For indeed the arteries are dispersed through the body of the yard much more than the veins, and the dispersion is contrariwise, the right artery being dispersed to the left side, and the left to the right; as for the two nerves, the greater is bestowed upon the muscles and the body of the yard, and the least upon the skin.

What I have hitherto said relates to the yard, properly so called; but because there are some Appendices belonging thereto, which, when wanted, render the yard of no use in the act of generation, it will also be necessary before I conclude this section, to say something of them -- I mean the stones, or testicles, so called, because they testify the person to be a man; their number and place is obvious; and as to their use, in them the blood brought thither by the spermatic arteries is elaborated into seed. They have coats or coverings of two sorts, proper and common; the common are two, and invest both the testes; the outer-most of the common coats, consist of the Cuticula, or true skin, called Scrotum, hanging out of the abdomen, like a purse; the Membrana Carnosa is the innermost. The proper coats are also two; the outer called Elithroidis or Vaginalis, the inner Albugien; into the outer are inserted the cremasters; to the upper part of the testes are fixed the Epididymides, or Parastatæ, from whence arise the Vasa Deferentia, or Ejaculatoria; which, when they approach near the neck of the bladder, deposit the seed into the Vesiculæ Seminales, which are each, or two or three of them, like a bunch of grapes, and emit the seed into the Urethra, in the act of copulation. Near those are the Prostatæ, which are about the bigness of a walnut, and join to the neck of the bladder. These afford an oily, slippery and salt humour, to besmear the Urethra, and thereby defend it from the acrimony of the seed and urine. Besides these vessels, by which the blood is conveyed to the testes, or of which the seed is made, and the arteries spermaticæ, there are also two; and so likewise are the veins which carry out the remaining blood, which are called venæ spermaticæ.

 

And thus man's nobler parts we see,
For such the parts of generation be;
And they that carefully survey will find
Each part is fitted for the use design'd
The purest blood, we find, if well we heed,
is in the testicles turn'd into seed.
Which by most proper channels is transmitted
Into the place by Nature for it fitted;
With highest sense of pleasure to excite
In amorous combatants the more delight.
For Nature does in this work design
Profit and pleasure in one act to join.

 

SEC. II.-- Of the secret Parts in Woman.

WOMAN, next to man, the noblest piece of this creation, is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, a sort of second self; and in a married state are accounted but one; As the poet says,

Man and wife are but one right
Canonical hermaphrodite.

 

It is therefore the secret parts of that curious piece of Nature that we are to lay open, which we will do with as much modesty as will consist with speaking intelligibly.

The external parts, commonly called Pudenda (from the shamefacedness that is in women to have them seen) are the lips of the great orifice, which are visible to the eye; and in those that are grown, are covered with hair, and have pretty store of spongy fat; their use being to keep the internal part from all annoyance by outward accidents.

Within these are the nymphae, or wings, which present themselves to the eye when the lips are severed, and consist of soft and spongy flesh, and the doubling of the skin placed at the sides of the neck; they compass the clitoris, and both in form and colour resemble the comb of a cock, looking fresh and red, and in the act of coition receive the penis or yard between them; besides which they give passage both to the birth and urine. The use of the wings and knobs like myrtle berries, shutting the orifice and neck of the bladder, and by the swelling up, cause titulation and delight in those parts, and also to obstruct the involuntary passage of the urine.

The next thing is the clitoris, which is a sinewy and hard part of the womb, replete with spongy and black matter within, in the same manner as the side ligaments of the yard; and indeed resembles it in form, suffers erection and falling in the same manner, and both stirs up lust, and gives delight in copulation; for without this, the fair sex neither desire nuptial embraces, nor have pleasure in them, nor conceive by them; and according to the greatness or smallness of this part, they are more or less fond of men's embraces; so that it may properly be styled the seat of lust.

 

Blowing the coals of these amorous fires,
Which youth and beauty to be quench'd requires.

 

And it may well be styled so; for it is like a yard in situation, substance, composition, and creation, growing sometimes out of the body two inches, but that happens not but upon some extraordinary accident. It consists, as I have said, of two spongy and skinny bodies, which being a distinct original from the Os Pubis, the head of it being covered with a tender skin, having a hole like the yard of a man, but not through, in which, and the bigness of it, it only differs.

The next thing is the passage of the urine, which is under the clitoris, and above the neck of the womb, so that the urine of a woman comes not through the neck of the womb, neither is the passage common as in men, but particular, and by itself. This passage opens itself into the fissures to evacuate the urine; for the securing of which from cold, or any other inconveniency, there is one of the four carbuncles, or fleshy knobs, placed before it, which shuts up the passage. For these knobs, which are four in number, and in resemblance like myrtle berries, are placed behind the wings before spoken of, quadrangularly, one against the other. These are round in virgins, but hang flagging when virginity is lost. 'Tis the uppermost of these that Nature has placed for securing the urinary passage from cold, and which is therefore largest and forked for that end.

The lips of the womb that next appear cover the neck thereof, but being separated disclose it; and then two things are to be observed and these are the neck itself, and the hymen, more properly called the claustrum virginale, which I shall treat more it large when I come to shew what virginity is. The neck of the womb I call the channel, is between the fore-mentioned knobs and the Inner bone of the womb, which receives the man's yard like a sheath; and that it may be dilated with the more ease and pleasure in the act of coition, it is sinewy and a little spongy; there being in this concavity divers folds or orbicular plaits made by tunicles, which are wrinkled, it forms an expanded rose that may be seen in virgins; but in those that have used copulation, it comes by degrees to be extinguished; so that the inner side of the neck of the womb appears smooth, and in old women if becomes more hard and grisly. But though this channel be sinking down, wreathed, and crooked, yet is otherwise in the time of copulation: as also when women are under the monthly purgation, or in labour, being then very much extended, which is a great cause of their pains.

The Claustrum Virginale, commonly called the Hymen, is that which closes the neck of the womb; for between the duplicity of the two tunicles which constitute the neck of the womb, there are many veins and arteries running along that arise from the vessels of both sides of the thighs, and so pass into the neck of the womb, being very large; and the reason thereof is, because the neck of the womb requires to be filled with abundance of spirits to be dilated thereby, that it may the better take hold of the Penis, such motions requiring great heat, which being more intense by the act of friction, consumes a great deal of moisture, in the supplying whereof large vessels are very necessary; hence it is that the neck of the womb of women of reasonable stature is eight inches in length. But there is also another cause of the largeness of these vessels, because their monthly purgations make their way through them; and, for this reason, women, though with child, often continue them, for though the womb be shut up, yet the passage in the neck of the womb, through which these vessels pass, is open. And, therefore, as soon as you penetrate the pudendum, there may be seen two Little pits or holes, and in which are contained an humour, which by being pressed out in the time of coition, does greatly delight the fair sex.

I shall in the next place, proceed to a description of the womb, which is the field of generation, without which nothing can be done. The parts we have been speaking of being ordained by Nature to convey the seed to the womb, which being impregnated therewith by virtue of the plastic power of Nature, produces its Own likeness.

The womb is situated in lower parts of the hypogastrion, being joined to its neck, and is placed between the bladder and the

Strait gut, so that it is kept from swaying or rolling; yet hath its liberty to stretch and dilate itself, and also to contract itself, according as Nature in that case disposes it. It is of a round figure, somewhat like a gourd; lessening and growing more acute towards one end, being knit together by its proper ligaments, and its neck joined by its own substance, and certain membranes that fasten it to the Os Sacrum, and the share-bone. it is very different with respect to its largeness in women especially between such as have had children and those that have none. It is so thick in substance that it exceeds a thumb's breadth; and after conception, augments to a greater proportion, and to strengthen it yet more, it is interwoven with fibres overthwart, both straight and winding; and its proper vessels are veins, arteries, and nerves, amongst which there are two little veins which pass from the spermatic vessels to the bottom of the womb, and two bigger from the hypogastrics, touching both the bottom and neck, the mouth of these veins piercing so far as the inward cavity.

The womb, besides what I have already mentioned, hath two arteries on both sides the spermatic vessels and the hypogastrics which still accompany the veins with sundry little nerves knit and interwoven in the form of a net, which are also extended throughout even from the bottom to the pudenda themselves, sympathetically moving from the head and womb.

Here the reader ought to observe, that two ligaments hanging on either side of the womb from the share-bone, piercing through the Peritonæum, and joining to the bone itself causes the womb to be movable, which upon divers occasions either falls low or rises; the neck of the womb is of a most exquisite sense, so that if it be at any time disordered, either with a schirrosity, too much hot moisture, or relaxation, the womb is made subject to barrenness. In those that are near their delivery, there usually stays a most glutinous matter in the entrance, to facilitate the birth; for at that time the mouth of the womb is opened to such a wideness, as is in proportion to the largeness of the child.

Under the parts belonging to generation in women, are also comprehended the preparatory or spermatic vessels; the preparatory vessels differ not in number from those in man, for they are likewise four, two vessels and two arteries; their rise and original is the same as in man, and the side of them are two arteries which grow from them, differing only in their size and manner of insertion: the right vein issuing from the trunk of the hollow vein, and the left from the emulgent vein; and on the side of them are two arteries which grow from the arcuta. These preparatory vessels are shorter in women than in men, because they have a shorter passage, and the stones of a woman lying in the belly, but those of a man without; but to make amends for their shortness, they have far more writhings to and fro, in and out, than they have in men, that so the substance they carry may be better prepared; neither are they united as they are in men, before they come to the stones, but are divided into two branches, whereof the greater only passeth to the stones, but the lesser to the fæcundated egg, and this is properly called conception. And then, secondly, to cherish it, and nourish it, till Nature has framed the child, and brought it to perfection. Thirdly, it strongly operates in sending forth the birth, when its appointed time is accomplished, there dilating itself in an extraordinary manner; and so aptly re moved from the senses that no injury accrues to it from thence, retaining in itself a strength and power to operate and cast forth the birth.

The use of the preparatory vessels is to convey the blood to the testicles, of which a part is spent in the nourishment of them, and the production of those little bladders in all things resembling eggs, through which the Vassa Preparentia run, and are obliterated In them. This conveyance of blood is by the arteries, but as for the veins, their office is to bring back what blood remains from the fore-mentioned use.

The vessels of this kind are much shorter in women than men, by reason of the nearness to the testicles; and yet that defect is more than made good by the many intricate windings to which they are subject; for in the middle way they divide themselves into branches of different magnitude; for one of them being bigger than the other, passes to the testicles.

The testicles in women are very useful; for where they are defective generation work is quite spoiled; for though those little bladders which are on their outward superfices contain nothing of the seed, as the followers of Galen, etc., erroneously imagine, yet they contain several eggs (about the number of 20 in each testicle) one of which, being impregnated by the most spirituous part of the man's seed in the act of coition descends through the oviducts into the womb, where it is cherished till it becomes a live child. The figure of these Ovæ or eggs is not altogether round, but a little flat and depressed on the sides, and in their lower part oval; but where the blood vessels enter them, that is, in the upper part, they are more plain, having but one membrane about them, that the heat may have more access to the womb, both to the nourishment of itself and of the infant therein. Let me further add, these spermatic veins receive the arteries as they pass by the side of the womb, and thereby make a mixture of the vital and natural blood, that their work may be more perfect. The deferentia, or carrying vessels, spring from the lower part of the stones, and are in colour white, substance sinewy and pass not to the womb straight, but wreathed; they proceed from the womb in two parts, resembling horns, whence they are called the horns of the womb.

The stones of women are another part belonging to the instruments of generation: for such things they also have as well as man, but they are also indifferently placed; neither is their bigness, temperament, substance, form nor covering the same. As to their place, it is the hollowness of the abdomen, resting upon the muscles of the loins, and so not pendulous, as in man. And that they are so placed is, that by contracting the heat, they may be the more fruitful, their office being to contain the ovum, or egg, which being impregnated by the seed of the man, is that from which the embryo is engendered. These stones differ also from men's in their form: for, though they are smooth in men they are uneven in women; being also depressed or flattish in them, though in men their form is more round and oval. They have also in women but one skin, whereas in men they have four; Nature having wisely contrived to fortify these most against the injuries of the air, that are most exposed to it; the stones of women being within, but those of men without the belly. They differ also in their substance, being much more soft than those of men, and not so well compacted; their bigness and temperature differ, in that they are less and colder than those of men. Some indeed will have their use to be the same as in men, but that is for want of judgment; for Aristotle and Scotus both affirm that this women have no seed, and that their stones differ also in their use from those of men; their use being, as I have already said, to contain the egg which is to be impregnated by the seed of man.

It now only remains that I say something of the ejaculatory vessels, which have two obscure passages, one on either side, which in substance differ nothing from the spermatic veins. They rise in one part from the bottom of the womb, but not reaching from the other extremity either to the stones nor any other part, are shut up, and incapable, adhering to the womb, as the colon doth to the blind gut, and winding half way about; though the stones are remote from them, and touch them not, yet they are tied to them by certain membranes resembling the wings of a bat, through which certain veins and arteries passing from the end of the stones, may be said here to have their passages proceeding from the corners of the womb to the testicles, and are accounted the proper ligaments by which the testicles and womb are united and strongly knit together.

 

Thus the woman's secrets I have survey'd
And let them see how curiously they're made.
And that, though they of different sexes be,
Yet in the whole they are the same as we.
For those that have the strictest searchers been,
Find women are but men turn'd outside in:
And men, if they but cast their eyes about,
May find they're women with their inside out.

 

SECT. III.-- Of the use and action of the several Parts in Women appropriated to Generation.

I SHALL next take a survey of the parts of generation both in men and women, and show the use of action of those parts in the work of generation, which will excellently inform us that Nature has made nothing in vain.

The external parts in women's privities, or that which is most obvious to the eye at first, commonly called Pudendum, are designed by Nature to cover the great orifice; Nature intending that orifice to receive the penis or yard in the act of coition, and also to give passage to the urine; and, at the time of birth, to the child. The use of the wings or knobs, like myrtle-berries are for the security of the internal part, by shutting up the orifice and neck of the bladder, also for delight and pleasure; for, by their swelling up, they cause titulation and delight in those parts, being pressed by the man's yard. Their use is likewise to obstruct the involuntary passage of the urine.

The use and action of the clitoris in women, is like that of the penis or yard in men, that is erection; its extreme end being like that of the glands in the man, the seat of the greatest pleasure of the act of copulation, so is this the clitoris in women, and therefore called the sweetness of love, and the fury of venery.

The action and use of the neck of the womb is the same with that of the penis, that is, erection, which is occasioned sundry ways; for, First, in copulation it is erected and made straight from the passage of the penis to the womb. Secondly, whilst the passage is replete with spirits and vital blood, it becomes more straight for embracing the penis. And, for the necessity of erection there is a two-fold reason: one is, that if the neck of the womb was not erected, the yard would have no convenient passage to the womb. The other is, that it hinders any hurt or damage that might ensue through the violent concussion of the yard, during the time of copulation.

Then, as to the vessels that pass through the neck of the womb, their office is to replenish it with blood and spirits, that so as the moisture consumes through the heat contracted in copulation, it may still by these vessels be renewed. But their chief business is to convey nutriment to the womb.

 

Thus Nature nothing does in vain produce,
But fits each part for what's its proper use;
And though of different sexes formed we be,
Yet betwixt these there is that unity,
That we in nothing can a greater find,
Unless the soul that's to the body joined:
And sure in this Dame Nature's in the right,
The strictest union yields the most delight.

 

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