previous next


With regard to the dangers of these cases, one must always attend to the seasonable concoction of all the evacuations, and to the favorable and critical abscesses. The concoctions indicate a speedy crisis and recovery of health; crude and undigested evacuations, and those which are converted into bad abscesses, indicate either want of crisis, or pains, or prolongation of the disease, or death, or relapses; which of these it is to be must be determined from other circumstances. The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future- must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm. The art consists in three things- the disease, the patient, and the physician. The physician is the servant of the art, and the patient must combat the disease along with the physician.1

1 I need scarcely remark that this passage is of classical celebrity. Galen, in his Commentary, remarks that the first time he read it he thought it unworthy of Hippocrates to lay it down as a rule of practice, that "the physician should do good to his patient, or at least no harm;" but that, after having seen a good deal of the practice of other physicians, and observed how often they were justly exposed to censure for having bled, or applied the bath, or given medicines, or wine unseaonably, he came to recognize the propriety and importance of the rule laid down by Hippocrates. The practice of certain physicians, Galen remarks, is like playing at the dice, when what turns up may occasion the greatest mischief to their patients. The last clause of this passage is very forcibly put. Galen, however, informs us that in some of th MSS. instead of "art" he found "nature"; that is to say, that the physician is "the minister (or servant) of nature." Either of the readings, he remarks, will agree very well with the meaning of the passage.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus English (W. H. S. Jones, 1868)
load focus Greek (W. H. S. Jones, 1868)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: