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Upon this, all being silent, Florus began thus: What, shall we tamely suffer Plato to be run down? By no means, said I, for if we desert him, Homer must be in the same condition, for he is so far from denying the windpipe to be the passage for our drink, that the dry food, in his opinion, goes the same way. For these are his words:
From his gullet flowed
1 The clotted wine and undigested flesh.

Unless perchance you will say that the Cyclops, as he had but one eye, so had but one passage for his food and voice; or would have φάρυγξ to signify weasand, not windpipe, as both all the ancients and moderns use it. I produce this because it is really his meaning, not because I want other testimonies, for Plato hath store of learned and sufficient men to join with him. For not to mention Eupolis, who in his play called the Flatterers says,

Protagoras bids us drink a lusty bowl,
That when the Dog appears our lungs may still be moist;

or elegant Eratosthenes, who says,

And having drenched his lungs with purest wine;

even Euripides, somewhere expressly saying,

The wine passed through the hollows of the lungs,

shows that he saw better and clearer than Erasistratus. For he saw that the lungs have cavities and pores, through which the liquids pass. For the breath in expiration hath no need of pores, but that the liquids and those things which pass with them might go through, it is made like a strainer and full of pores. Besides, sir, as to the influence of gruel which you proposed, the lungs can discharge themselves of the thicker parts together with the thin, as well as the stomach. For our stomach is not, as some fancy, [p. 366] smooth and slippery, but full of asperities, in which it is probable that the thin and small particles are lodged, and so not taken quite down. But neither this nor the other can we positively affirm; for the curious contrivance of Nature in her operations is too hard to be explained; nor can we be particularly exact upon those instruments (I mean the spirit and the heat) which she makes use of in her works. But besides those we have mentioned to confirm Plato's opinion, let us produce Philistion of Locri, a very ancient and famous physician, and Hippocrates too, with his pupil Dioxippus; for they thought of no other passage but that which Plato mentions. Dioxippus knew very well that precious talk of the epiglottis, but says, that when we feed, the moist parts are about that separated from the dry, and the first are carried down the windpipe, the other down the weasand; and that the windpipe receives no parts of the food, but the stomach, together with the dry parts, receives some portion of the liquids. And this is probable, for the epiglottis lies over the windpipe, as a fence and strainer, that the drink may get in by little and little, lest descending in a large full stream, it stop the breath and endanger the life. And therefore birds have no epiglottis, because they do not sup or lap when they drink, but take up a little in their beak, and let it run gently down their windpipe.

These testimonies I think are enough; and reason confirms Plato's opinion by arguments drawn first from sense. For when the windpipe is wounded, no drink will go down; but as if the pipe were broken it runs out, though the weasand be whole and unhurt. And all know that in the inflammation of the lungs the patient is troubled with extreme thirst; the heat or dryness or some other cause, together with the inflammation, making the appetite intense. But a stronger evidence than all these follows. Those creatures that have very small lungs, or none at all, [p. 367] neither want nor desire drink, because to some parts there belongs a natural appetite to drink, and those that want those parts have no need to drink, nor any appetite to be supplied by it. But more, the bladder would seem unnecessary; for, if the weasand receives both meat and drink and conveys it to the belly, the superfluous parts of the liquids would not want a proper passage, one common one would suffice as a canal for both that were conveyed to the same vessel by the same passage. But now the bladder is distinct from the guts, because the drink goes from the lungs, and the meat from the stomach; they being separated as we take them down. And this is the reason that in our water nothing can be found that either in smell or color resembles dry food. But if the drink were mixed with the dry meat in the belly, it must be impregnant with its qualities, and not come forth so simple and untinged. Besides, a stone is never found in the stomach, though it is likely that the moisture should be coagulated there as well as in the bladder, if all the liquor were conveyed through the weasand into the belly. But it is probable that the weasand robs the windpipe of a sufficient quantity of liquor as it is going down, and useth it to soften and concoct the meat. And therefore its excrement is never purely liquid; and the lungs, disposing of the moisture, as of the breath, to all the parts that want it, deposit the superfluous position in the bladder. And I am sure that this is a much more probable opinion than the other. But which is the truth cannot perhaps be discovered, and therefore it is not fit so peremptorily to find fault with the most acute and most famed philosopher, especially when the matter is so obscure, and the Platonists can produce such considerable reasons for their opinion. [p. 368]

1 gullet: φάρυγος

2 Odyss. IX. 373.

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