91

SAGR. I not onely smile, but to tell you true, am ready to
burst with holding in my self from laughing outright, for you
have put me in mind of a very pretty passage, that I was a wit­
nesse of, not many years since, together with some others of
my worthy friends, which I could yet name unto you.

SALV. It would be well that you told us what it was, that so
Simplicius may not still think that he gave you the occasion of
laughter.

SAGR. I am content. I found one day, at home in his house, at
Venice, a famous Phisician, to whom some flockt for their studies,
and others out of curiosity, sometimes came thither to see certain A­
natomies dissected by the hand of a no lesse learned, than careful
and experienced Anatomist. It chanced upon that day, when I was

there, that he was in search of the original and rise of the Nerves,
about which there is a famous controversie between the Galenists
and Peripateticks; and the Anatomist shewing, how that the great
number of Nerves departing from the Brain, as their root, and
passing by the nape of the Neck, distend themselves afterwards
along by the Back-bone, and branch themselves thorow all the
Body; and that a very small filament, as fine as a thred went to
the Heart; he turned to a Gentleman whom he knew to be a Pe­
ripatetick Philosopher, and for whose sake he had with extraor­
dinary exactnesse, discovered and proved every thing, and demand­
ed of him, if he was at length satisfied and perswaded that the origi­
nal of the Nerves proceeded from the Brain, and not from the
Heart? To which the Philosopher, after he had stood musing a

while, answered; you have made me to see this businesse so
plainly and sensibly, that did not the Text of Aristotle assert the
contrary, which positively affirmeth the Nerves to proceed from
the Heart, I should be constrained to confesse your opinion to be
true.

The original of
the Nerv s. ac­
cording to Aristo­
tle, and according
to Phisicians.

The ridiculus
answer of a Philo­
sopher, determi­
ning the original of
the Nerves.

SIMPL. I would have you know my Masters, that this contro­
versie about the original of the Nerves is not yet so proved and
decided, as some may perhaps perswade themselves.

SAGR. Nor questionlesse ever shall it be, if it find such like
contradictors; but that which you say, doth not at all lessen the
extravagance of the answer of that Peripatetick, who against
such sensible experience produced not other experiments, or rea­
sons of Aristotle, but his bare authority and pure ipse dixit.

SIMPL. Aristotle had not gained so great authority, but for
the force of his Demonstrations, and the profoundnesse of his
arguments; but it is requisite that we understand him, and not
onely understand him, but have so great familiarity with his
Books, that we form a perfect Idea thereof in our minds, so as
that every saying of his may be alwayes as it were, present in our