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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XV. The Progress of Science

§ 6. His Knowledge of Medicine and Allied Subjects

Perhaps the most characteristic feature of lord Herbert’s acquirements was his knowledge of medicine and subjects allied thereto. He conceived it a “fine study, and worthy a gentleman to be a good botanic, that so he may know the nature of all herbs and plants.” Further, “it will become a gentleman to have some knowledge in medecine, especially the diagnostic part”; and he urged that a gentleman should know how to make medicines himself. He gives us a list of the “pharmacopaeias and anechodalies” which he has in his own library and certainly he had a knowledge of anatomy and of the healing art—he refers to a wound which penetrated to his father’s “pia mater,” a membrane for a mention of which we should look in vain among the records of modern ambassadors and gentlemen of the court. His knowledge, however, was entirely empirical and founded on the writings of Paracelsus and his followers; nevertheless, he prides himself on the cures he effected, and, if one can trust the veracity of so self-satisfied an amateur physician, they certainly fall but little short of the miraculous.