Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Physic
 
  Accordingly, we find that those parts of the world are most healthy, where they subsist by the chase; and that men lived longest when their lives were employed in hunting, and when they had little food besides what they caught. Blistering, cupping, bleeding, are seldom of use but to the idle and intemperate; as all those inward applications which are so much in practice among us, are for the most part nothing else but expedients to make luxury consistent with health.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 195.    
  1
 
  A physician uses various methods for the recovery of sick persons; and, though all of them are disagreeable, his patients are never angry.
Joseph Addison.    
  2
 
  If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend rather some diet for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom; for those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less.
Francis Bacon: Essay XXXI., Of Regimen of Health.    
  3
 
  Most of the distempers are the effects of abused plenty and luxury, and must not be charged upon our Maker; who (notwithstanding) hath provided excellent medicines to alleviate those evils which we bring upon ourselves.
Richard Bentley.    
  4
 
  The tendency to ultraism which influences public opinion in great social questions … has been also prevalent in the affairs of practical medicine.
Dr. Jacob Bigelow.    
  5
 
  We apply present remedies according to indications; respecting rather the acuteness of the disease, and precipitancy of the occasion, than the rising and setting of the stars.  6
 
  That every plant might receive a name according to the disease it cureth, was the wish of Paracelsus: a way more likely to multiply empirics than herbalists.  7
 
  Like him who, being in good health, lodged himself in a physician’s house, and was overpersuaded by his landlord to take physic, of which he died.
John Dryden.    
  8
 
  We quote only one day’s medicine, prescribed by a physician, and administered by an apothecary to a fever patient. The list of medicine given on each other day is quite as long, and every bolus is found in the same way duly specified in “Mr. Parret the apothecary’s bill, sent in to Mr. A. Dalley, who was a mercer on Ludgate Hill.” We quote the supply for the fourth day’s illness:

        August 10, 1615.
      s. d.
Another Pearl Julap  0.6.10
Another Hypnotick Draught  0.2.0
A Cordial Bolus  0.2.0
A Cordial Draught  0.1.8
A Cordial Pearl Emulsion  0.4.6
Another Pearl Julap  0.6.8
Another Cordial Julap  0.3.8
Another Bolus  0.2.4
Another Draught  0.1.8
A Pearl Julap  0.4.6
A Cordial Draught  0.2.0
An Anodyne Mixture  0.4.6
A Glass of Cordial Spirits  0.2.0
Another Mucilage  0.3.4
A Cooling Mixture  0.3.6
A Blistering Plaister to the Neck  0.2.6
Two more of the same to the Arms  0.5.0
Another Apozem  0.3.6
Spirit of Hartshorn  0.0.6
Plaister to dress the Blisters  0.0.6

One day’s medicinal treatment is here represented, as it was often to be met with in the palmy days of physic, when
        “Some fell by laudanum, and some by steel,
And death in ambush lay in ev’ry pill.”
Then truly might Dr. Garth write of his neighbours how
        “The piercing caustics ply their spiteful pow’r,
Emetics wrench, and keen cathartics scour,
The deadly drugs in double doses fly,
And pestles beat a martial symphony.”
Household Words.    
  9
 
  Were it my business to understand physic, would not the safe way be to consult nature herself in the history of diseases and their cures, than espouse the principles of the dogmatists, methodists, or chymists?
John Locke.    
  10
 
  To Plato, the science of medicine appeared to be of very disputable advantage. [Plato’s Republic, Book 3.] He did not indeed object to quick cures for acute disorders, or for injuries produced by accidents. But the art which resists the slow sap of a chronic disease, which repairs frames enervated by lust, swollen by gluttony, or inflamed by wine, which encourages sensuality by mitigating the natural punishment of the sensualist, and prolongs existence when the intellect has ceased to retain its entire energy, had no share of his esteem. A life protracted by medical skill he pronounced to be a long death. The exercise of the art of medicine ought, he said, to be tolerated so far as that art may serve to cure the occasional distempers of men whose constitutions are good. As to those who have bad constitutions, let them die; and the sooner the better. Such men are unfit for war, for magistracy, for the management of their domestic affairs, for severe study and speculation. If they engage in any vigorous mental exercise, they are troubled with giddiness and fulness of the head, all which they lay to the account of philosophy. The best thing that can happen to such wretches is to have done with life at once. He quotes mythical authority in support of this doctrine; and reminds his disciples that the practice of the sons of Æsculapius, as described by Homer, extended only to the cure of external injuries.  11
  Far different was the philosophy of Bacon. Of all the sciences, that which he seems to have regarded with the greatest interest was the science which, in Plato’s opinion, would not be tolerated in a well-regulated community. To make men perfect was no part of Bacon’s plan. His humble aim was to make imperfect men comfortable. The beneficence of his philosophy resembled the beneficence of the common Father, whose sun rises on the evil and the good, whose rain descends for the just and the unjust. In Plato’s opinion, man was made for philosophy: in Bacon’s opinion, philosophy was made for man; it was a means to an end; and that end was to increase the pleasures and to mitigate the pains of millions who are not and cannot be philosophers.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Lord Bacon, July, 1837.    
  12
 
  For my part, I think of physick as much good or ill as any one would have me: for, thanks be to God, we have no great traffick together. I am of a quite contrary humour to other men, for I always despise it: but when I am sick, instead of recanting, or entring into composition with it, I begin yet more to hate, nauseate, and fear it, telling them who importune me to enter into a course of physick, that they must give me time to recover my strength and health, that I may be the better able to support and encounter the violence and danger of the potion: so that I still let nature work, supposing her to be sufficiently arm’d with teeth and claws to defend herself from the assaults of infirmity, and to uphold that contexture the dissolution of which she flies and abhors: for I am afraid lest, instead of assisting her when grappled, and struggling with the disease, I should assist her adversary, and procure new work, and new accidents to encounter. Now I say that, not in physick only, but in other more certain arts, fortune has a very great interest and share.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cotton’s 3d ed., ch. xxiii.    
  13
 
  They have no other doctor but sun and the fresh air, and that, such an one as never sends them to the apothecary.
Robert South.    
  14
 
  Some physicians have thought that if it were practicable to keep the humours of the body in an exact balance of each with its opposite, it might be immortal; but this is impossible in the practice.
Jonathan Swift.    
  15
 
 
 
  It is best to leave nature to her course, who is the sovereign physician in most diseases.
Sir William Temple.    
  16
 
  The four humours in man, according to the old physicians, were blood, choler, phlegm, and melancholy.
Richard C. Trench.    
  17
 
  Medicine is justly distributed into prophylactic, or the art of preserving health, and therapeutic, or the art of restoring it.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  18
 
  The purse of the patient frequently protracts his cure.
Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann.    
  19
 
 
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