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NOT even are the forests and the spots in which the aspect of Nature is most rugged, destitute of their peculiar remedies; for so universally has that divine parent of all things distributed her succours for the benefit of man, as to implant for hint medicinal virtues in the trees of the desert even, while at every step she presents us with most wonderful illustrations of those antipathies and sympathies which exist in the vegetable world.

Between the quercus1 and the olive2 there exists a hatred so inveterate, that transplanted, either of them, to a site previously occupied by the other, they will die.3 The quercus too, if planted near the walnut, will perish. There is a mortal feud4 existing also between the cabbage and the vine; and the cabbage itself, so shunned as it is by the vine, will wither immediately if planted in the vicinity of cyclamen5 or of origanum. We find it asserted even, that aged trees fit to be felled, are cut with all the greater difficulty, and dry all the more rapidly, if touched by the hand of man before the axe is applied: it is a common belief, too, that when their load consists of fruit, beasts of burden are immediately sensible6 of it, and will instantly begin to sweat, however trifling it may be, unless the fruit is duly shown to them before starting. Fennel-giant, as a fodder, is extremely grateful to the ass, and yet to other beasts of burden it is a deadly poison: hence it is that the ass is consecrated to Father Liber,7 to which deity the fennel is also sacred.

Inanimate objects again, even of the most insignificant character, have their own peculiar antipathies. Cooks disengage meat of the brine, when it has been too highly salted, by the agency of fine meal and the inner bark8 of the lindentree. Salt again, tends to neutralize the sickly flavour of food when over-sweet. The taste of water, when nitrous or bitter, is modified by the addition of polenta,9 so much so indeed, as to be rendered potable10 in a couple of hours: it is for a similar reason, too, that a layer of polenta is put11 in our linen winestrainers. A similar property is possessed also by the chalk12 of Rhodes, and the argilla of our own country.

Equal affinities exist as well; pitch, for instance, is extracted by the agency of oil, both of them being of an unctuous nature oil again, will incorporate only with lime, both of them having a natural antipathy13 to water. Gum is most14 easily removed with vinegar, and ink15 with water; in addition to which, there are numberless other instances of sympathy and antipathy which we shall be careful to mention in their appropriate places.

It is in tendencies of this description that the medical art first took its rise; though it was originally intended, no doubt, by Nature, that our only medicaments should be those which universally exist, are everywhere to be found, and are to he procured at no great outlay, the various substances, in fact, from which we derive our sustenance. But at a later period the fraudulent disposition of mankind, combined with an ingenuity prompted by lucre, invented those various laboratories,16 in which each one of us is promised an extension of his life—that is, if he will pay for it. Compositions and mixtures of an in- explicable nature forthwith have their praises sung, and the productions of Arabia and India are held in unbounded ad- miration in the very midst17 of us. For some trifling sore or other, a medicament is prescribed from the shores of the Red Sea; while not a day passes but what the real remedies are to be found upon the tables of the very poorest man among us.18 But if the remedies for diseases were derived from our own gardens, if the plants or shrubs were employed which grow there, there would be no art, forsooth, that would rank lower than that of medicine.

Yes, avow it we must-the Roman people, in extending its empire, has lost sight of its ancient manners, and in that we have conquered we are the conquered:19 for now we obey the natives of foreign20 lands, who by the agency of a single art have even out-generalled our generals.21 More, however, on this topic hereafter.

1 See B. xvi. cc. 6, 8, 33, 50.

2 See B. xvii. c. 3.

3 As Fée justly remarks, the greater part of these so-called sympathies and antipathies must be looked upon as so many fables. In the majority of instances, it is the habitual requirements of the tree or plant that constitute the difference; thus, for instance, the oak or quercus requires a different site and temperature from that needed by the olive, and the stony soil adopted by the vine is but ill-suited for the cultivation of the cabbage.

4 See B. xx. c. 36.

5 See B. xxi, cc. 27, 38, and B. xxv. c. 67.

6 See the same statement made in B. xxiii. c. 62.

7 Or Bacchus.

8 "Philvra." Fée does not think that it can be of any use for such a purpose. Hardouin says, however, that in his time meat when too highly salted was wrapped in leaves of the lime or linden, for the purpose of ex- tracting the salt.

9 See B. xviii. c. 14

10 Instead of having this effect, Fée says, it would render it much worse.

11 The intention being to clear the wine, though in reality, as Fée observes, it would have a tendency to turn the wine into vinegar.

12 Chalk, or in other words, sub-carbonate of lime, and argilla, or aluminous earth combining several earthy salts, would probably neutralize the acetic acid in the wine, but would greatly deteriorate its flavour.

13 On the contrary, lime would appear to have a great affinity for water. absorbing it with avidity, if we may use the term.

14 More easily with water; though vinegar will do for the purpose.

15 "Atramentum." Br this passage, Fée says, it is clearly proved that the ink of the ancients was soluble in water, and that it contained neither galls nor salts of iron. What it really was made of is still a matter of doubt; but it is not improbable that the basis of it was spodium, or ashes of ivory.

16 Officinas.

17 "In medio." The reading is very doubtful here.

18 This, of course, is mere exaggeration.

19 He would seem to imply that the medical men of his age had conspired to gain an adventitious importance by imposing upon the credulity of the public, on the principle "Omne ignotum pro magnifico;" much as the "medicine-men" of the North American Indians do at the present day.

20 He alludes to the physicians of Greece more particularly.

21 "Imperatoribus quoque imperaverunt."

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