Classics Volume 38." Copyright 1910 by P.F. Collier and Son. This
text is placed in the public domain, June 1993.
- Medicine is of all the
arts the most noble; but owning to the ignorance of those who practice
it, and of those who, inconsiderately, form a judgment of them, it is
at present far behind all the other arts. Their mistake appears
to me to arise principally from this, that in the cities there is
no punishment connected with the practice of medicine (and with it
alone) except disgrace, and that does not hurt those who are familiar
with it. Such persons are the figures which are introduced in
tragedies, for as they have the shape, and dress, and personal
appearance of an actor, but are not actors, so also physicians are many
in title but few in reality.
- Whoever is to acquire a
competent knowledge of medicine, ought to be possessed of the following
advantages: a natural disposition; instruction; a favorable position
for the study; early tuition; love of labour; leisure. First of
all, a natural talent is required, for, when Nature leads the way to
what is most excellent, instruction in the art takes place, which the
student must try to appropriate to himself by reflection, becoming an
early pupil in a place well adapted for instruction. he must also
bring to the task a love of labour and perseverance, so that the
instruction taking root may bring forth proper and abundant fruits.
- Instruction in medicine is
like the culture of the productions of the earth. For our natural
disposition, is as it were, the soil; the tenets of our teacher are, as
it were, the seed; instruction in youth is like the planting of the
seed in the ground at the proper season; the place where the
is communicated is like the food imparted to vegetables by the
atmosphere; diligent study is like the cultivation of the fields; and
is time which imparts strength to all things and brings them to
- Having brought all these
requisites to the study of medicine and having acquired a true
of it, we shall thus in traveling through the cities, be esteemed
physicians not only in name but in reality. But inexperience is a
bad treasure, and a bad fund to those who possess it, whether in
opinion or in reality, being devoid of self-reliance and contentedness,
and the nurse both of timidity and audacity. For timidity betrays
a want of powers, and audacity a lack of skill. They are, indeed,
two things, knowledge and opinion, of which the one makes its possessor
really to know, the other to be ignorant.
- Those things which are
sacred, are to be imparted only to sacred persons; and it is not lawful
to impart them to the profane until they have been initiated into the
mysteries of the science.
today with a glow of health and confidence!