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is obvious, that their present form, as exhibited in works of literature, is in some respects strongly contrasted with that, which it has been our principal aim to express. The thin abstractions of morality and religion cannot now take to themselves bodies, and walk abroad in individual existence with the same boldness, as in the age of the mysteries and moralities, or even, as they did in the imagination of Bunyan. What Schlegel has remarked of the difference between the smile of painful and fruitless desire in the expression of the Homerida, and the light, ironical tone, with which Horace or Aristophanes must have read the ancient epic, may, with little modification, be applied to the difference between that state of mind, which existed in the age, of which we have been speaking, and the spirit, with which we contemplate it. The mind by degrees divested itself of its unsuspecting simplicity and seriousness, and the imagination cast off its gloomy shroud. The crusades, and an acquaintance with Persian and Arabic fictions, together with the progress of social cultivation, gradually familiarized the fancy with forms less awful, and its character at different periods may well be represented by the wanderings of the Italian Homer through the world of souls, and the adventures of Arthur and his knights in the gayer regions of fairy land. The Romance poetry began pretty early to lose, or perhaps never possessed in the highest degree, that power over the imaginations and feelings of the common people, which was exerted by their ancient heroic legends. Even the bull of the pope could not always secure the credit of Turpin's True History of Charlemagne, and the romances of chivalry, as well as the songs of the troubadours became mere matter of custom and parade. Poetry and history were no longer one. Art and nature were divorced from each other, fiction ceased to have the power of truth, and the wonders of the imagination did not, as of old, overpower the mind with religious awe and dread. Reason and philosophy gradually distinguished from each other the worlds of faith and imagination, before so intimately blended, and as our sober ancestors turned all their poetry into religion, we are in danger of turning all our religion to poetry.
ART. VII.-General Anatomy, applied to Physiology and Medicine. By Xavier Bichat, physician to the great Hospital of Humanity at Paris, and professor of anatomy and physiology.-Translated from the French, by George Hayward M. D. Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Massachusetts Medical Society. In three volumes. Vol. I. Boston, 8vo, Richardson & Lord, 1822. We are happy to see this work in an English dress, and especially so, that the labor of translating it has been performed by one of our own countrymen, and by one so well qualified, in every point of view, to do justice to it, as Dr Hayward. It is honorable to the profession of medicine in America, indicative of a strong tendency to a scientific study of it, and auguring well for its interests, that the first translations of the works of Bichat, and, as to the present instance, the only one, into the English language, have been made in this country. They have been within a few years considerably circulated, read, and studied, and have, so far as their influence has extended, had a most happy effect, in the proper course they have directly and indirectly given to the habit of thinking and studying among the younger part of the profession.*
The labor of the translator is always so tedious and forbidding, that we can hardly be sufficiently grateful to Dr Hayward for the courage with which he has attempted, and the perseverance with which he has accomplished the task of rendering four well-filled octavo volumes of French into so good English as he has given us. He evinces a complete knowledge of the language, and understanding of the subject of his author, and has executed the translation with great accuracy and fidelity, and in a good style. The meaning of the author is conveyed with more than usual clearness and precision. The only defect we can point out, if indeed in a scientific work it be a defect, arises from a scrupulous anxiety on this head, which has led the translator to follow the form of expression and sentiment of the original so minutely, as occasionally to throw something like awkwardness into the translation. But in scientific works, more perhaps than in any other, it is not always possible to
*The 'Researches on Life and Death' of Bichat, were translated by Dr Watkins of Baltimore, in 1809, and the Treatise on the Membranes,' by Dr J. G. Coffin of Boston, in 1813, some years before translations of the same works appeared in England.
find expressions in one language, which shall be exactly equivalent to those in another; there is often also a peculiarity of thought and sentiment so intimately associated with a peculiarity of phraseology, that the one cannot be varied without weakening the force of the other, and it is better that something of a foreign idiom should be observable, than that the sentiments of the author should be expressed less exactly and clearly. It is to be considered that in a translation we have not only to render the language of the author, but we have also to render his thoughts. The difference which exists between one man's writing and another's, does not depend more upon the language which he uses, than it does upon the mode of presenting his thoughts, the associations in which he brings them forward, and the relations and connexions which he exhibits between them. In all writing, these things are almost inseparably connected, and taken together constitute the style of composition, which consists not merely in language, but also in the relation and connexion of language with thought. Now the translator has to consider and allow for all this. For he may, in modifying the form of expression of his author, modify also his form of thought; he may, in substituting an English idiom for a French, substitute also a different meaning; and, in giving his own coloring to the language, give in some measure his own coloring to the opinions. This remark we think particularly applicable to Bichat, the style of whose compositions, though in the original exceedingly clear, is yet marked by very strong peculiarities, the entire removal of which, however it might improve the English style of the translation, would not compensate for the less perfect conveyance of his ideas. We believe that those, at least, who have been accustomed to read his works in the original, will allow that some of his thoughts can be in no way so clearly expressed, as by a bald and idiomatic translation of them; in no other way can they be made to retain so much of that peculiar emphasis, that relish, if we may so speak, which they have in the original.
The present translation, however, requires no apology on this score, since it is far more free from the fault to which we have alluded, than translations of medical works have usually been. It is every way worthy of confidence, as a faithful picture of the original. We have carefully examined the greater part of this volume in comparison with the French, and
have been able to detect scarcely any instances, in which there appears to be a deviation from the meaning of the author. It will form certainly a most valuable addition to our medical literature, and will, we trust, be extensively circulated. It has even higher claims upon the attention, than the former works of Bichat, which have been published in this country; it will richly repay the physician for a careful and diligent study of it, and is not unworthy the perusal of even the general reader.
The author was one of those extraordinary men, the history of whose life, character, and opinions ought not to be confined to the narrow circle of his own profession. They are truly the property of the whole literary world; they are worthy of the attention of all who are interested in the advancement of science, or take pleasure in contemplating the success and achievements of the human intellect; and yet with all his claim to notice, he affords one more striking example of the uncertainty and limited extent of medical reputation. No man, perhaps, ever entered the profession under more happy auspices, or ran a more brilliant career. No man, probably, ever possessed greater advantages for prosecuting his studies, or improved them more completely to the extent of his ability. We believe that no man, in the same space of time, ever accomplished so much in the same kind of pursuits. Few, in any department of scientific labor, have exhibited a more rare combination of elevated intellectual qualities accompanied with such unfaltering industry and perseverance. And yet after all, how little has been known of him out of his own country, even among those to whose profession he was an honor. How little has been known of him any where, out of that profession; although had the same originality of genius, the same strength of intellect, the same acute spirit of observation, the same persevering and zealous industry been devoted to almost any other department of study, we know of no name among the philosophers of the present day, which would have filled a larger sphere in the world of science, or stood higher upon the catalogue of fame.
The qualities and faculties, which are necessary to an accomplished medical character, are not intrinsically less rare and valuable, although perhaps less imposing and splendid, than those requisite for distinction of any other kind. Indeed, we suspect that a man of a superficial mind would find it harder it to acquire a reputation in the profession of medicine,
than in any other. That is, a well founded reputation; for in no occupation is it so easy to acquire a sort of notoriety and currency which passes for medical fame. The misfortune is, that the number of those, who are competent judges of the claims of an individual to a character for science in medicine, is very small, and is indeed almost confined to a few of the profession themselves. The habits and occupations of a great proportion of them, abstract their minds entirely from their proper studies, and incapacitate them from judging with intelligence and discrimination. Hence the works of the most solid and substantial merit have not always acquired the confidence of the profession at large, the most rapidly, or even the most extensively. The works of Fordyce are to many tedious and forbidding; and there are many who, but for the name of Hunter, would be deterred at the onset from toiling through his works.
Another circumstance detrimental to the extent and permanency of medical reputation, is the uncertainty of the science, the vacillating state of theory and opinion, the great number of systems which have been successively adopted by the profession, have become popular, perhaps almost universal, and have at length been discarded. An individual who has distinguished himself in one generation may be forgotten or become an object of ridicule in another, because he advocated theories which are exploded, or opinions which have become obsolete. Into by far the greater part of medical works, speculation and hypothesis are permitted so largely to enter and become incorporated so completely with the real matter of fact which they contain, that they become unintelligible when the theoretical opinions are no longer current, and of course the language in which they are conveyed has become in some measure obsolete. It is owing to this circumstance that the efforts of many most valuable minds have been entirely lost to the profession. Physiologists and physicians, of different ages, have not differed so much in the views which they have taken of the laws of the system, and the practice in diseases, as they have in the language they have employed to express those views, and the hypotheses on which they have attempted to explain the nature of disease and the operation of remedies. Another consideration which renders medical reputation less desirable, is the small account which is made of it by