Page:Sir Thomas Browne's works, volume 4 (1835).djvu/68

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him without exenteration, his flesh being so consumed, that he might, in a manner, have discerned his bowels without opening of him: so that to be carried, sextâ cervice,[B 1] to the grave, was but a civil unnecessity; and the complements of the coffin might outweigh the subject of it.

Omnibonus Ferrarius[B 2] in mortal dysenteries of children looks for a spot behind the ear; in consumptive diseases some eye the complexion of moles; Cardan eagerly views the nails, some the lines of the hand, the thenar or muscle of the thumb; some are so curious as to observe the depth of the throat-pit, how the proportion varieth of the small of the legs unto the calf, or the compass of the neck unto the circumference of the head: but all these, with many more, were so drowned m a mortal visage, and last face of Hippocrates, that a weak physiognomist might say at first eye, this was a face of earth, and that Morta[B 3] had set her hard seal upon his temples, easily perceiving what caricatura[B 4] draughts death makes upon pined faces, and unto what an unknown degree a man may live backward.

Though the beard be only made a distinction of sex, and sign of masculine heat by Ulmus,[B 5] yet the precocity and early growth thereof in him, was not to be liked in reference unto long life. Lewis, that virtuous but unfortunate King of Hungary, who lost his life at the battle of Mohacz, was said to be born without a skin, to have bearded at fifteen, and to have shewn some grey hairs about twenty; from whence the diviners conjectured that he would be spoiled of his kingdom, and have but a short life: but hairs make fallible predictions, and many temples early grey have out-lived the psalmist's period.[B 6] Hairs which have most amused me have not been in the face or head, but on the back, and not in men but children, as I long ago observed in that endemial distemper of little children in Languedoc, called the morgellons,[B 7]

  1. sextâ cervice.] i. e. "by six persons."
  2. Omnibonus Ferrarius.] De Mortis Puerorum.
  3. Morta.] Morta, the deity of death of fate.
  4. caricatura.] When men's faces are drawn with resemblance to some other animals, the Italians call it, to be drawn in caricatura.
  5. Ulmus.] Ulmus de usu barbæ humanæ.
  6. period.] The life of a man is three-score and ten.
  7. morgellons.] See Picotus de Rheumatismo.