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have ventricles in the brain, whilst the goose has none.
like manner, wherever the heart has a single ventricle, there is an auricle appended, flaccid, membranous, hollow, filled with blood; and where there are two ventricles, there are likewise two auricles. On the other hand, some animals have an auricle without any ventricle; or, at all events, they have a sac analogous to an auricle; or the vein itself, dilated at a particular part, performs pulsations, as is seen in hornets, bees, and other insects, which certain experiments of my own enable me to demonstrate, have not only a pulse, but a respiration in that part which is called the tail, whence it is that this part is elongated and contracted now more rarely, now more frequently, as the creature appears to be blown and to require a large quantity of air. But of these things, more in our "Treatise on Respiration."
It is in like manner evident that the auricles pulsate, contract, as I have said before, and throw the blood into the ventricles; so that wherever there is a ventricle, an auricle is necessary, not merely that it may serve, according to the general belief, as a source and magazine for the blood: for what were the use of its pulsations had it only to contain?
The auricles are prime movers of the blood, especially the right auricle, which, as already said, is "the first to live, the last to die"; whence they are subservient to sending the blood into the ventricles, which, contracting continuously, more readily and forcibly expel the blood already in motion; just as the ball-player can strike the ball more forcibly and further if he takes it on the rebound than if he simply threw it. Moreover, and contrary to the general opinion, neither the heart nor anything else can dilate or distend itself so as to draw anything into its cavity during the diastole, unless, like a sponge, it has been first compressed and is returning to its primary condition. But in animals all local motion proceeds from, and has its origin in, the contraction of some part; consequently it is by the contraction of the auricles that the blood is thrown into the ventricles, as I have already shown, and from there, by the contraction of the ventricles, it is propelled and distributed. Concerning local motions, it is true that the immediate moving organ in every motion of an animal primarily endowed with a motive spirit (as Aris
totle has it') is contractile; in which way the word vɛupov is derived from vɛów, nuto, contraho; and if I am permitted to proceed in my purpose of making a particular demonstration of the organs of motion in animals from observations in my possession, I trust I shall be able to make sufficiently plain how Aristotle was acquainted with the muscles, and advisedly referred all motion in animals to the nerves, or to the contractile element, and, therefore, called those little bands in the heart nerves.
But that we may proceed with the subject which we have in hand, viz., the use of the auricles in filling the ventricles, we should expect that the more dense and compact the heart, the thicker its parietes, the stronger and more muscular must be the auricle to force and fill it, and vice versâ. Now this is actually so: in some the auricle presents itself as a sanguinolent vesicle, as a thin membrane containing blood, as in fishes, in which the sac that stands in lieu of the auricles is of such delicacy and ample capacity that it seems to be suspended or to float above the heart. In those fishes in which the sac is somewhat more fleshy, as in the carp, barbel, tench, and others, it bears a wonderful and strong resemblance to the lungs.
In some men of sturdier frame and stouter make the right auricle is so strong, and so curiously constructed on its inner surface of bands and variously interlacing fibres, that it seems to equal in strength 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, which is because they are present before the heart 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 al ready 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 form of a soft worm, or, as is commonly said, in the milk, there is a mere bloody In the book de Spiritu, and elsewhere.
point or pulsating vesicle, a portion apparently of the umbilical vein, dilated at its commencement or base. Afterwards, when the outline of the foetus is distinctly indicated and it begins to have greater bodily consistence, the vesicle in question becomes more fleshy and stronger, changes its position, and passes into the auricles, above which the body of the heart begins to sprout, though as yet it apparently performs no office. When the fœtus is farther advanced, when the bones can be distinguished from the fleshy parts and movements take place, then it also has a heart 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 forms 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 is not without good grounds that Hippocrates in his book, "De Corde," entitles it a muscle; its action is the same; so is its functions, viz., to contract and move something else—in this case the charge of the blood.
Farther, we can infer the action and use of the heart from the arrangement of its fibres and its general structures, as in muscles generally. 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 refference 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; those, again, which are in the columns 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 columns, the walls are drawn circularly together into a globethe 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 importance of the heart, or to question if it receives sense and motion from the brain, blood from the liver, or whether it be the origin of the veins and of the blood, and such like. They who affirm these propositions 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, and motion, before either the brain or the liver were created 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, existed before the body. The first to be formed, nature willed that it should afterwards fashion, nourish, preserve, complete the entire animal, as its work and dwelling-place: and as the prince in a kingdom, in whose hands lie the chief and highest authority, rules over all, the heart is the source and foundation from which all power is derived, on which all power depends in the animal body.
Many things having reference to the arteries farther illustrate and confirm this truth. Why does not the pulmonary vein pulsate, seeing that it is numbered among the arteries? Or wherefore is there a pulse in the pulmonary artery? 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, 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: the more remote the vessels are from the heart, with so much the less force are they distended 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. They have either no perceptible pulse, or they rarely exhibit one, and never except where the heart beats more violently than usual, or at a part where the minute vessel is more dilated or open than elsewhere. It, therefore, 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. By this single symptom I have ascertained for certain that young persons whose pulses are naturally rapid were labouring under fever; and 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 the wrist, and even at the temple, as in persons afflicted with lipothymiæ asphyxia, or hysterical symptoms, and in the debilitated and moribund.
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 indeed per saltum, because the smaller arteries do not pulsate, especially if a tourniquet has been applied.
For the same reason the pulmonary artery not only has the structure of an artery, but it does not differ so widely from the veins in the thickness of its walls as does the aorta. The aorta sustains a more powerful shock from the left than the pulmonary artery does from the right ventricle, and the Iwalls of this last vessel are thinner and softer than those of the aorta in the same proportion as the walls of the right ventricle of the heart are weaker and thinner than those of the left ventricle. In like manner the lungs are softer and laxer in structure than the flesh and other constituents of the body, and in a similar way the walls of the branches of the pulmonary artery differ from those of the vessels derived