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Thursday, July 12, 2007

"downwarde and upwarde"

A quick post in my brief escape from a country village surrounded by heeland coos, called, I believe, Hobbiton.

This is the fruit of my research in Gerard's herbal. In the midst of a discussion of the medicinal uses of, I believe, water docks, Gerard stops to defend himself as a mere "country scholler," and not a member of the college of physicians at London; "although there be manie wants and defects in me" -- something always worth keeping in mind -- "yet," he hopes, "may my long experience by chaunce happen vpon some one thing or other that may do the learned good." As an example of this kind of random scholarship (of which me finding this story is another example), he tells the story of his friend, "one Iohn Bennet" from Maidstone in Kent,

"a man as slenderly learned as my selfe, which he practiced vpon a butchers boie of the same towne, as himselfe reported vnto me; his practice was this: being desired to cure the foresaid ladde of an ague, which did greeuously vexe him, he promised him a medicine, & for want of one for the present (for a shift, as himselfe confessed vnto me) he tooke out of his garden three of fower leaues of this plant of Rubarbe, which my selfe had among other simples giuen him, which he stamped and strained with a draught of ale, and gaue it the ladde in the morning to drinke: it wrought extremely downwarde and vpwarde within one hower after, and neuer ceassed vntill night. In the ende the strength of the boie ouercame the force of the physicke, it gaue ouer working, and the ladde lost his ague; since which time (as he saith) hehat cured with the same medicine many of the like maladie, hauing euer greate regarde vnto the quantitie, which was the cause of the violent working in the first case."

Slenderly learned indeed. Ah, physic. A way to make you so miserable that you're happy just to be sick again, when it gives over working.

  • At 7/12/2007 01:03:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    "it wrought extremely downwarde and vpwarde within one hower after, and neuer ceassed vntill night.

    Is he saying here what I think he's saying?

    Jeff Foxworthy has a bit on this predicament. It's about as funny as you'd think it'd be: slenderly.

    (P.S. I think Jeff Foxworthy can be kind of funny; it's the type of humor I hear from my relatives, so I have a soft spot for him. This however was not his strongest moment of comedy.)


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