In some men of sturdier frame and stouter make, the right auricle is so 분당오피 strong, and so curiously constructed within of bands and variously interlacing fibres, that it seems to equal the ventricle of the heart in other subjects; and I must say that I am astonished to find such diversity in this particular in different individuals. It is to be observed, however, that in the fœtus the auricles are out of all proportion large,{82} which is because they are present before the heart [the ventricular portion] makes its appearance or suffices for its office even when it has appeared, and they therefore have, as it were, the duty of the whole heart committed to them, as has already been demonstrated. But what I have observed in the formation of the fœtus as before remarked (and Aristotle had already confirmed all in studying the incubated egg,) throws the greatest light and likelihood upon the point. Whilst the fœtus is yet in the guise of a soft worm, or, as is commonly said, in the milk, there is a mere bloody point or pulsating vesicle, a portion apparently of the umbilical vein, dilated at its commencement or base; by and by, when the outline of the fœtus is distinctly indicated, and it begins to have greater bodily consistence, the vesicle in question having become more fleshy and stronger, and changed its position, passes into the auricles, over or upon which the body of the heart begins to sprout, though as yet it apparently performs no duty; but when the fœtus is farther advanced, when the bones can be distinguished from the soft parts, and movements take place, then it has also a heart internately which pulsates, and, as I have said, throws blood by either ventricle from the vena cava into the arteries.

Thus nature, ever perfect and divine, doing nothing in vain, has neither given a heart where it was not required, nor produced it before its office had become necessary; but by the same stages in the development of every animal, passing through the constitutions of all, as I may say (ovum, worm, fœtus), it acquires perfection in each. These points will be found elsewhere confirmed by numerous observations on the formation of the fœtus.

Finally, it was not without good grounds that Hippocrates, in his book, ‘De Corde,’ intitles it a muscle; as its action is the same, so is its function, viz., to contract and move something else, in this case, the charge of blood.

Farther, as in muscles at large, so can we infer the action and use of the heart from the arrangement of its fibres and its general structure. All anatomists admit with Galen that the body of the heart is made up of various courses of fibres running straight, obliquely, and transversely, with reference to one another; but in a heart which has been boiled the arrangement of the fibres is seen to be different: all the fibres in the parietes and septum are circular, as in the sphincters;{83} those, again, which are in the columnæ extend lengthwise, and are oblique longitudinally; and so it comes to pass, that when all the fibres contract simultaneously, the apex of the cone is pulled towards its base by the columnæ, the walls are drawn circularly together into a globe, the whole heart in short is contracted, and the ventricles narrowed; it is therefore impossible not to perceive that, as the action of the organ is so plainly contraction, its function is to propel the blood into the arteries.

Nor are we the less to agree with Aristotle in regard to the sovereignty of the heart; nor are we to inquire whether it receives sense and motion from the brain? whether blood from the liver? whether it be the origin of the veins and of the blood? and more of the same description. They who affirm these propositions against Aristotle, overlook, or do not rightly understand the principal argument, to the effect that the heart is the first part which exists, and that it contains within itself blood, life, sensation, motion, before either the brain or the liver were in being, or had appeared distinctly, or, at all events, before they could perform any function. The heart, ready furnished with its proper organs of motion, like a kind of internal creature, is of a date anterior to the body: first formed, nature willed that it should afterwards fashion, nourish, preserve, complete the entire animal, as its work and dwelling place: the heart, like the prince in a kingdom, in whose hands lie the chief and highest authority, rules over all; it is the original and foundation from which all power is derived, on which all power depends in the animal body.

And many things having reference to the arteries farther illustrate and confirm this truth. Why does not the arteria venosa pulsate, seeing that it is numbered among the arteries? Or wherefore is there a pulse in the vena arteriosa? Because the pulse of the arteries is derived from the impulse of the blood. Why does an artery differ so much from a vein in the thickness and strength of its coats? Because it sustains the shock of the impelling heart and streaming blood. Hence, as perfect nature does nothing in vain, and suffices under all circumstances, we find that the nearer the arteries are to the heart, the more do they differ from the veins in structure; here they are both stronger and more ligamentous, whilst in extreme parts of the body, such as the feet and hands, the brain, the mesentery,{84} and the testicles, the two orders of vessels are so much alike that it is impossible to distinguish between them with the eye. Now this is for the following very sufficient reasons: for the more remote vessels are from the heart, with so much the less force are they impinged upon by the stroke of the heart, which is broken by the great distance at which it is given. Add to this, that the impulse of the heart exerted upon the mass of blood, which must needs fill the trunks and branches of the arteries, is diverted, divided, as it were, and diminished at every subdivision; so that the ultimate capillary divisions of the arteries look like veins, and this not merely in constitution but in function; for they have either no perceptible pulse, or they rarely exhibit one, and never save where the heart beats more violently than wont, or at a part where the minute vessel is more dilated or open than elsewhere. Hence it happens that at times we are aware of a pulse in the teeth, in inflammatory tumours, and in the fingers; at another time we feel nothing of the sort. Hence, too, by this single symptom I have ascertained for certain that young persons, whose pulses are naturally rapid, were labouring under fever; in like manner, on compressing the fingers in youthful and delicate subjects during a febrile paroxysm, I have readily perceived the pulse there. On the other hand, when the heart pulsates more languidly, it is often impossible to feel the pulse not merely in the fingers, but at the wrist, and even at the temple; this is the case in persons afflicted with lipothymiæ and asphyxia, and hysterical symptoms, as also in persons of very weak constitution and in the moribund.

And here surgeons are to be advised that, when the blood escapes with force in the amputation of limbs, in the removal of tumours, and in wounds, it constantly comes from an artery; not always per saltum, however, because the smaller arteries do not pulsate, especially if a tourniquet has been applied.