August 19: 16th-century dudes part III: Parè

Buffoon -- prescription strength.

This, too, is the face of the 16th-century:
I found him in a high fever, his eyes deep sunken, with a moribund and yellowish face, his tongue dry and parched, and the whole body much wasted and lean, the voice low as of a man very near death: and I found his thigh much inflamed, suppurating, and ulcerated, discharging a greenish and very offensive sanies. I probed it with a silver probe, wherewith I found a large cavity in the middle of the thigh, and others round the knee, sanious and cuniculate: also several scales of bone, some loose, others not. The leg was greatly swelled, and imbued with a pituitous humor … and bent and drawn back. There was a large bedsore...
We're reading the journal of ace French surgeon Ambroise Parè, who's been summoned to treat a nobleman wounded after one of the interminable wars of religion that makes humanity so delightful. (A non-nobleman, of course, probably would have been dead already.)

I must ask the reader to click on the link for once, because the long paragraph where Parè lays out his plan of attack to cure the Marquis d'Auret is like a "House," where House is confined only to home remedies, and should be read in its entirety. All right, here's an excerpt:
Moreover, we must allow him to smell flowers of henbane and water-lilies, bruised with vinegar and rose-water, with a little camphor, all wrapped in a handkerchief, to be held some time to his nose...
You can see why they call it the medical "art." Later, after the Marquis is recovering, Parè prescribes a buffoon to keep his spirits up. That seems French to me, somehow. Also this:
And the peasants in the villages through which we passed, knowing it was M. le Marquis, fought who should carry him, and would have us drink with them; but it was only beer. Yet I believe if they had possessed wine, even hippocras, they would have given it to us with a will.
"Only beer." Only beer. I begin to see the passions of the wars of religion.

1 comment:

Lisa Simeone said...

Mais tu as besoin de l'accent aigu, mon ami! C'est "Paré," pas "Parè."

(Autrement, bien fait!)