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BY PAUL B. HOEBER
Witb printing conditions somewbat improved, Number 4, completing Volume II of the ANNALS OF MEDICAL HISTORY, will be issued shortly. The contents of this number appears on the back cover.
WALTER HARRIS, A SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY PE-
Jean Paul MARAT, PHYSICIAN, REVOLUTIONIST,
CHARLES W. BURR
AN APPRECIATION OF HENRY BENCE JONES, M.D.,
THE FINANCES OF Felix PLATTER, PROFESSOR OF
CHARLES GREENE CUMSTON
WILLIAM PAUL CRILLON BARTON, SURGEON
UNITED STATES Navy, A PIONEER
FRANK LESTER PLEADWELL
A PHYSIOLOGICAL ROMANCE
GRESOS EN GUAYAQUIL
Original articles are published only with the understanding that they are contributed exclusively to the ANNALS OF MEDICAL HISTORY. Manuscripts offered for publication, books for review, and all correspondence relating to the editorial management should be addressed to the Editor, Dr. Francis R. Packard, 302 South 19th Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Communications regarding subscriptions, reprints, and all matters regarding the business management of the ANNALS OF MEDICAL HISTORY should be addressed to the Publisher, Paul B. Hoeber, 67-69-71 East 59th Street, New York City.
The ANNALS OF MEDICAL HISTORY is published quarterly, the four issues comprising one volume. The subscription price is $8.00 per year. Single numbers $2.50. Entered as second class matter, June 2, 1917, at the Post Office, New York, New York, under the Act of March 3, 1879.
Copyright, 1920, by Paul B. Hoeber.
ANCIENT POEMS ON INFANT HYGIENE
By JOHN FOOTE, M.D.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
a revival of the study and imitation of
some critics are posi- put all their knowledge into verse, so that tive that the words didactic and poetry their learned men forgot nothing old yet are of themselves so incompatible that originated nothing, these later didactic poets no real poetry can be didactic. And forgot little of the ancient learning, good or yet, Hesiod, that shadowy rhymester, who bad, and in their passion for precedent seems as composite an individual as Homer learned little that was new. Their scope was himself, wrote the first didactic poems of wide and versatile—they instructed the which fragments have come down to us, public in philosophy, astronomy, agriculand the elegant Aratus and Lucretius ture, religion and especially in medicine. and Virgil followed in the footsteps of Nauseous as the remedies of that day certhe rustic singers of ancient Greece. This tainly were, the prescriptions were sweetcould not fail to impress and influence ened and sugared with rhyme, so that no those students who in later days read Greek patient with a soul attuned to verse could and Roman literature. So it was that the well refuse them. There is, for example, the intensive study of the old languages and very ancient regimen of health of the the classical authors which came with University of Salerno, claimed by some to the “revival of learning,” and the prac- be as old as that venerable shrine of learntice of writing Latin verses which was a ing itself—and conservatively placed as fashionable affectation of erudition in early as the thirteenth century—the equivthe Renaissance period and later, caused alent of our modern books on personal hygiene. It is a little difficult to realize that either of these translations appeared, Dr. people were interested in hygiene in that Hugh Downman, an English physician who remote period—yet here is the proof.
dabbled in classic literature, wrote a didactic The eighteenth century witnessed a per- poem in his native tongue called “Infancy, fect flood of medical didactic verse, some or the Management of Children," which of the type of Garth's “The Dispensary,” a went into seven editions. As a historical poem which endeavored to reduce the ex- source it has little value as compared with cessive charges of the apothecary—a very the translations by Roscoe and Tytler, serious evil in that day. Not only were many though it is probable that its publication English medical poems written at that time, may have stimulated interest in the foreign but a fairly large number were translated literature on the same subject. Throughout from other languages into English.
the six books the author seems more conWe are learning slowly enough that there cerned with airing his classic lore than is nothing very new under the sun, but we anything else, and the anxious mother always mentally reserve certain ideas of the would have a difficult time to remember his present day which are so peculiarly identi- florid axioms, excellent though they were. fied in our minds with modern thought and Both Tansillo and St. Marthe expressed modern progress as to constitute in them- themselves both more succinctly and more selves a landmark between old times and wisely than Dr. Downman-because they modern days. One of these is the idea of really wrote for the mothers of their day. educational propaganda by means of books “Infancy” deals with breast feeding, accesand pamphlets to prevent infant mortality. sory feeding, weaning, diet for older chilBecause of this it will come as something of dren, clothing and bathing, walking and a surprise to learn that in the didactic exercise, and the simpler ailments. poetry of the eighteenth century at least In the sixth book Dr. Downman pays a two such treatises were translated into tribute to Lady Mary Montagu, and English from foreign languages-one, “The credits her with having established the pracNurse,"1 by Tansillo, from the Italian by tice of inoculation to prevent smallpox. Roscoe; the other, “Pædotrophia, or the As this work was published in 1776, it preFeeding and Uprearing of Children,” by cedes Jenner's publication of vaccination by St. Marthe, a French writer of Latin verse, many years. Though the poet says inoculatranslated by H. W. Tytler, M.D. “The tion has “saved thousands,” he details no Nurse” was printed in London in 1798 and personal experiences with it. reprinted in New York in 1800, while St. She hath been the cause Marthe's poem was translated from the Of heartfelt joy to thousands; thousands live Latin into French, exhausted ten editions in And still shall live through her. ... its native tongue and was given two separate Yet Downman corroborates the stateEnglish translations, the last published in ment of Klebs and others that inoculation London in 1797.
against smallpox was widely used in EngIn 1776, more than two decades before land before vaccination was shown to be of
greater value. There are so many apos1 Luigo Tansillo: "The Nurse," translated from
trophes to eminent physicians-Armstrong the Italian by William Roscoe, Liverpool. London:
and Garth (the medical poets), Cullen, 1798. 2 “Pædotrophia; or, the Art of Nursing and Rear
Hunter, Mead, Hewson, Codrington and ing Children,” translated from the Latin of Scévole “Infancy, or the Management of Children,” by de St. Marthe by H. W. Tytler, M.D. London: Hugh Downman. Exeter: Trewman & Son, 1803. 1797.