And again, with respect to the movements of the pulse, which anybody can feel at the wrist and elsewhere, Galen was of opinion that the walls of the arteries partook of that which he supposed to be the nature of the walls of the heart, and that they had the power of alternately actively contracting and actively dilating, so that he is careful to say that the nature of the pulse is comparable, not to the movement of a bag, which we fill by blowing into it, and which we empty by drawing the air out of it, but to the action of a bellows, which is actively dilated and actively compressed.
He demonstrated conclusively that this did occur, but for once his rejection of the ancient writers and one modern one was a mistake. For Galen had taught, and had attempted to demonstrate, that there are sets of minute vessels connecting the arteries and the veins; and Servetus had shown that there must be such vessels, at least in the lungs.
He was responsible for no less than six important works of Galen, of which one, the De temperamentis et de inaequali intemperie, printed at Cambridge in 1521, was among the earliest books impressed in that town and is said to be the first printed in England for which Greek types were used. It has been honoured by reproduction in facsimile in modern times.
He is sworn to Galen and Hippocrates, as university men to their statutes, though they never saw them; and his discourse is all aphorisms, though his reading be only Alexis of Piedmont, or the Regiment of Health. The best cure he has done is upon his own purse, which from a lean sickliness he hath made lusty, and in flesh.
Why do you believe them, except upon testimony I mean given either verbally, or, what is the same thing, in books? Now if the accumulated testimony of medical writers from the days of Galen, and Celsus, and Hippocrates, to the present hour, could have any weight with you, it would settle the point at once.
He begins with Galen, and as Galen divides the famous physicians of the world into three sects, the Methodists, the Empirics, and the Rationalists, so Mondeville divides modern surgery into three sects: first, that of the Salernitans, with Roger, Roland, and the Four Masters; second, that of William of Salicet and Lanfranc; and third, that of Hugo de Lucca and his brother Theodoric and their modern disciples.
After Plato and Aristotle, how many philosophers have we seen who, not following them, have been worth anything? How many orators after Demosthenes and Cicero? How many mathematicians after Euclid and Archimedes? How many doctors after Hypocrates and Galen? Or poets after Homer and Virgil?
They then supposed that the next thing to be done was to distribute this fluid through the body; and Galen like his predecessors, imagined that the "concocted" blood, having entered the great 'vena cava', was distributed by its ramifications all over the body. But the whole of the blood was not thus disposed of.
The crisis was over. Not a word had been spoken. Galen Albret sat in his rough-hewn armchair at the head of the table, receiving the reports of his captains. The long, narrow room opened before him, heavy raftered, massive, white, with a cavernous fireplace at either end.
"All of that is quite true," he repeated after a second's pause; "but what has it to do with me? Why am I stopped and sent out from the free forest? I am really curious to know your excuse." "This," replied Galen Albret, weightily, "is my domain. I tolerate no rivalry here." "Your right?" demanded the young man, briefly. "I have made the trade, and I intend to keep it."