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No. 275. TUESDAY, JANUARY 15.
Tribus Anticyris caput insanabile.
Ilor. Ars Poet. 300.
A head no hellebore can cure.
'I was yesterday engaged in an assembly of virtuosos, where one of them produced many curious observations which he had lately made in the anatomy of an human body. Another of the company communicated to us several wonderful discoveries, which he had also made on the same subject, by the help of very fine glasses.
gave birth to a great variety of uncommon remarks, and furnished discourse for the remaining part of the day.
The different opinions which were started on this occasion, presented to my imagination so many new ideas, that by mixing with those which were already there, they employed my fancy all the last night, and composed a very wild extravagant dream.
I was invited, methought, to the dissection of a beau's head and of a coquette's heart, which were both of them laid on a table before us. An imaginary operator opened the first with a great deal of nicety, which, upon a cursory and superficial vicw, appeared like the head of another man; but upon applying our glasses to it, we made a very odd discovery, namely, that what we looked upon as brains, were not such in reality, but an heap of strange materials wound up in that shape and texture, and packed together with wonderful art in the several cavities of the skull. For, as Homer tells us, that the blood of the gods is not real
* This paper and 281 its sequel, probably suggested to Mr. G. Alexander Stevens, the first idea of his Lecture on Heads, which with suitable variations and improvements, furnished, for a long time, an elegant rational amusement to the public, and in the end, abundantly rewarded the pains, expense, and ingenuity, of the lecturer.-C.
blood, but only something like it; so we found that the brain of a beau is not a real brain, but only something like it.'
The pineal gland, which many of our modern philosophers suppose to be the seat of the soul, sunelt very strong of essence and orange-flower water, and was encompassed with a kind of horny substance, cut into a thousand little faces or mirrors, which were imperceptible to the naked eye ; insomuch, that the soul, if there had been any here, must have been always taken up templating her own beauties.
We observed a large antrum or cavity in the sinciput, that was filled with ribbons, lace, and embroidery, wrought together in a most curious piece of network, the parts of which were likewise imperceptible to the naked eye. Another of these antrums or cavities was stuffed with invisible billet-doux, love-letters, pricked dances, and other trumpery of the same nature. In another we found a kind of powder, which set the whole company a sneezing, and by the scent discovered itself to be right Spanish. The several other cells were stored with commodities of the same kind, of which it would be tedious to give the reader an exact inventory.
There was a large cavity on each side of the head, which I must not omit. That on the right side was filled with fictions, flatteries, and falsehoods, vows, promises, and protestations; that on the left with oaths and imprecations. There issued out a duct from each of these cells, wbich ran into the root of the tongue, where both joined together, and passed forward in one common duct to the tip of it. We discovered several little roads or canals running from the ear into the brain, and took particular care to trace them out through their several passages. One of
* The word Beau was originally confined to those who distinguished themselves by some striking peculiarity in their equipage, &c., but finally degenerated to a nomen multitudinis.-V. Nichols’s Tatler, No. 9 note.-G.
them extended itself to a bundle of sonnets and little musical instruments. Others ended in several bladders, which were filled with wind or froth. But the large canal entered into a great cavity of the skull, from whence there went another canal into the tongue.
This great cavity was filled with a kind of spongy substance, which the French anatomists call galimatias; and the English, nonsense.
The skins of the forehead were extremely tough and thick, and what very much surprised us, had not in them any single blood vessel that we were able to discover, either with or without our glasses; from whence we concluded, that the party, when alive, must have been entirely deprived of the faculty of blushing
The os cribriforme was exceedingly stuffed, and in some places damaged with snuff. We could not but take notice in particular of that small muscle, which is not often discovered in dissections, and draws the nose upwards, when it expresses the contempt which the owner of it has, upon seeing any thing he does not like, or hearing any thing he does not understand. I need not tell my learned reader, this is that muscle which performs the motion so often mentioned by the Latin poets, when they talk of a man's cocking his nose, or playing the rhinoceros.
We did not find any thing very remarkable in the eye, saving only that the musculi amatorii, or, as we may translate it into English, the ogling muscles, were very much worn and decayed with use; whereas, on the contrary, the elevator, or the muscle which turns the eye towards heaven, did not appear to have been used at all.
I have only mentioned in this dissection such new discoveries as we were able to make, and have not taken any notice of those parts which are to be met with in common heads. As for the skull, the face, and indeed the whole outward shape and figure
of the head, we could not discover any difference from what we observe in the heads of other men. We were informed, that the person to whom this head belonged, had passed for a man above five-and-thirty years; during which time he eat and drank like other people, dressed well, talked loud, laughed frequently, and on particular occasions had acquitted himself tolerably at a ball or an assembly; to which one of the company added, that a certain knot of ladies took him for a wit. He was cut off in the flower of his age by the blow of a paring shovel, having been surprised by an eminent citizen as he was tendering some civili. ties to his wife.
When we had thoroughly examined this head with all its apartments and its several kinds of furniture, we put up the brain, such as it was, into its proper place, and laid it aside under a broad piece of scarlet cloth, in order to be prepared, and kept in a great repository of dissections; our operator telling us, that the preparation would not be so difficult as that of another brain, for that he had observed several of the little pipes and tubes which ran through the brain, were already filled with a kind of mercurial substance, which he looked upon to be truc quicksilver.
He applied himself in the next place to the coquette's heart, which he likewise laid open with great dexterity. There occurred to us many particularities in this dissection; but being unwilling to burden my reader's memory too much, I shall reserve this subject for the speculation of another day. L.
No. 281. TUESDAY, JANUARY 22.
Pectoribus inhians spirantia consulit exta.
VIRG. Æn. iv. 64.
Having already given an account of the dissection of a beau's head, with the several discoveries made on that occasion, I shall here, according to my promise, enter upon the dissection of a coquette's heart, and communicate to the public such particularities as we observed in that curious piece of anatomy.
I should, perhaps, have waved this undertaking, had I not been put in mind of my promise by several of my unknown correspondents, who are very importunate with me to make an example of the coquette, as I have already done of the beau. It is, therefore, in compliance with the request of friends, that I have looked over the minutes of my former dream, in order to give the public an exact relation of it, which I shall enter upon without further preface.
Our operator, before he engaged in this visionary dissection, told
us, that there was nothing in his art more difficult, than to lay open the heart of a coquette, by reason of the many labyrinths and recesses which are to be found in it, and which do not appear in the heart of any other animal.
He desired us first of all to observe the pericardium, or outward case of the heart, which we did very attentively; and, by the help of our glasses, discerned in it millions of little scars, which seemed to have been occasioned by the points of innumerable darts and arrows, that from time to time had glanced upon the outward coat; though we could not discover the smallest orifice, by which any of them had entered and pierced the inward substance.