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ciates with whom you converse.
Even in our enlightened 19th Century, there are still some persons to be found whose conversation, whether on Medli. cine or any other subject, would afford you but little
, edification. There are some to whom rational con. versation is like the musical pipe to Guildenstern: “Will you play upon this pipe?” says Hamlet; “'Tis as easy as lying; govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.” “But these," says
, Guildenstern, "cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.” Unfortunately, in relation to conversation, many persons have not the skill to know their want of skill. They know nothing, but are ignorant of their ignorance; and, like that uncomfortable comforter, Eliphaz the Temanite, they “cannot withhold themselves from speaking." They "draw out the thread of their verbosity finer than the staple of their argument,” and consume hours without number, and an infinity of words, to explain, expound, and illustrate their nothing of sense and meaning. If you spend much time with such associates, you will be likely to make but small progress in Medical Science.
It is difficult for a student to reflect without some degree of indignation on the loss of time which he
has sustained at the hands of idle, ignorant, and garrulous intruders. Hei mihi quod vicinus meus est Mesech, et quod habito tanquam inter tentoria Kedari. This evil has been always duly enumerated among the calamities incident to the learned. Horace has recorded it in half laughing lamentations; Aldus Manutius endeavoured to defend himself against it by the stern and churlish placard which he set up in his library; and the pious and venerable Richard Baxter was accused of having threatened to pistol a man who was in the habit of interrupting his studies. The feelings evinced in regard to this annoyance have been perhaps a little too splenetic; but they are not wholly without
It is certainly not calculated to improve arniability to be called off from the delightful studies of literature or science,
“From the loved volumes where the souls,
Of the great dead walk gloriously,”
and forced to listen, with sad civility, to silly comments on the latest political or military news de tailed by “our own"lying and blundering "correspondent;" to hear the idle gossip of the day, to attend to philosophic remarks on the weather, or ethical discourses on the faults and failings of absent friends or—if the company be somewhat more erudite and refined—to be entertained with literary disquisitions, not on
“The gentle lady married to the Moor,
but rather on the merits of some happy effusion of the Milford Bard, or of some new and delightful romance that has lately irradiated the columns of the New York Ledger.
From such inflictions, good taste, good sense, good morals, and a just consideration of the brevity of life and the boundless extent of art, should inspire you with resolution to protect yourselves by all proper means, short of the revolver and the bowie knife You can scarcely be too zealous; for there are but few things more precious than time, nothing more unproftable than the talk of fools, and no other talk more odious and intolerable, except that of the profane and licentious.
It is related in the oriental myth, that the immortal Baly, who was once the ruler of the world, when deprived by the superior deities of the enormous power which he had greatly misused, was permitted, in consideration of the many good and noble qualities which belonged to his character, to have his choice, whether he would go to heaven and take five ignorant men with him who were there to be his everlasting companions, or to hell and have five pundits or wise men constantly in his company. It was a dire dilemma; but Baly, who knew the value of good company, selected the latter alternative, and went to the place of torment with philosophic disregard of bad quarters and personal discomforts, and with full confidence that the wisdom and wit of his accomplished attendants would afford him even more than that measure of consolation which the great poet tells us is derived from the strains of angelic music which ever and anon resound in those doleful regions, and whi
“Want not power to migitate and swage
With solemn touches, troubled thought, and chase
His choice was, no doubt, rash and unwise. Yet let us not judge him too severely; for even at present, and after the six thousand years—or the six hundred thousand as the geologists have lately ascertained-in which the human race has been so constantly and rapidly improving, you may still easily meet with persons of such power of conversation that you will be almost persuaded that had Baly been condemned to eternal communion with them, his lot, even in heaven, would have been very deplorable.
* Paradise Lost 1--556.
WE have been considering in the foregoing discourses the means employed by students of Medicine for the purpose of acquiring professional knowledge. For assistance to enable them to use these means to the best advantage, students look, in part, to the Medical Schools. The duty of those schools to their pupils is to give them such aid as will best prepare them for the business of their profession. The duty of those schools to the community is to see that with their sanction none of their pupils enter that profession until prepared with an adequate measure of knowledge, skill, and other requisites for the pursuit in which they seek to be engaged.
How have these two important duties been performed by the Medical Schools of this country?
This is a question directly connected with the subject of the preceding lectures; and it is to this ques. tion that I desire to call your attention on the present occasion. The subject of Medical education has excited of