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In all other animals but man the heart is situate in the middle of the breast; in man alone it is placed just below the pap on the left-hand side, the smaller end terminating in a point, and bearing outward. It is among the fish only that this point is turned towards the mouth. It is asserted that the heart is the first among the viscera that is formed in the fœtus, then the brain, and last of all, the eyes: it is said, too, that the eyes are the first organs that die, and the heart the very last of all. The heart also is the principal seat of the heat of the body; it is constantly palpitating, and moves as though it were one animal enclosed within another. It is also enve- loped in a membrane equally supple and strong, and is protected by the bulwarks formed by the ribs and the bone of the breast, as being the primary source and origin of life. It contains within itself the primary receptacles for the spirit and the blood, in its sinuous cavity, which in the larger animals is threefold,1 and in all twofold at least: here it is that the mind2 has its abode. From this source proceed two large veins, which branch into the fore-part and the back of the body, and which, spreading out in a series of branches, convey the vital blood by other smaller veins over all parts of the body. This is the only one3 among the viscera that is not affected by maladies, nor is it subject to the ordinary penalties of human life; but when injured, it produces instant death. While all the other viscera are injured, vitality may still remain in the heart.

1 Among all the mammiferæ and the birds, the heart has four cavities, two on each side.

2 Mens.

3 This is a mistake. The heart is subject to disease, equally with other parts of the body.

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load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
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