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This way of talking, said Florus, leads us by Protagoras directly to Pyrrho; for it is evident that, suppose we were to discourse of oil, milk, honey, or the like, we shall avoid all enquiry into their particular natures, by saying that things are so and so by their mutual mixture with one another. But how do you prove that wine is cold? And I, being forced to speak extempore, replied: By two arguments. The first I draw from the practice of physicians, for when their patients' stomachs grow very weak, they prescribe no hot things, and yet give them wine as an excellent remedy. Besides, they stop looseness and immoderate sweating by wine; and this shows that they think it more binding and constipating than snow itself. Now if it were potentially hot, I should think it as wise a thing to apply fire to snow as wine to the stomach. Again, most teach that sleep proceeds from the coolness of the parts; and most of the narcotic medicines, as mandrake and opium, are coolers. Those indeed work violently, and forcibly condense, but wine cools by degrees; it gently stops the motion, according as it hath more or less of such narcotic qualities. Besides, heat is generative; for owing to heat the moisture flows easily, and the vital spirit gains intensity and a stimulating force. Now the great drinkers are very dull, inactive fellows, no women's men at all; they eject nothing strong, vigorous, and fit for generation, but are weak and unperforming, by reason of the bad digestion and coldness of their seed. And it is farther observable that the effects of cold and drunkenness upon men's bodies are the same,—trembling, heaviness, paleness, shivering, faltering of tongue, numbness, and cramps. In many, a debauch ends in a dead palsy, when the wine stupefies and extinguisheth all the heat. And the physicians use this method in curing the qualms and diseases gotten by debauch; at night they cover them well and keep them warm; and at day they [p. 274] anoint and bathe, and give them such food as shall not disturb, but by degrees recover the heat which the wine hath scattered and driven out of the body. Thus, I added, in these appearances we trace obscure qualities and powers; but as for drunkenness, it is easily discerned what it is. For, in my opinion, as I hinted before, those that are drunk are very much like old men; and therefore great drinkers grow old soonest, and they are commonly bald and gray before their time; and all these accidents certainly proceed from want of heat. But mere vinegar is of a vinous nature and strength, and nothing quenches fire so soon as that; its extreme coldness overcomes and kills the flame presently. And of all fruits physicians use the vinous as the greatest coolers, as pomegranates and apples. Besides, do they not make wine by mixing honey with rain-water or snow; for the cold, because those two qualities are near akin, if it prevails, changes the luscious into a poignant taste? And did not the ancients of all the creeping beasts consecrate the snake to Bacchus, and of all the plants the ivy, because they were of a cold and frozen nature? Now, lest any one should think this is an evidence of its heat, that if a man drinks juice of hemlock, a large dose of wine cures him, I shall on the contrary affirm that wine and hemlock juice mixed are an incurable poison, and kill him that drinks it presently. So that we can no more conclude it to be hot because it resists, than to be cold because it assists, the poison. For cold is the only quality by which hemlock juice works and kills.
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