Omniana/Volume 1/Circulation of the Blood

122. Circulation of the Blood.

The ancients attributed to the blood the same motion of ascent and descent which really takes place in the sap of trees. Servetus discovered the minor circulation from the heart to the lungs. Do not the following passages of Giordano Bruno (published, 1591), seem to imply more? We put the question, pauperis formâ, with unfeigned diffidence.

" De Inmenso et Innumerabili, lib vi. cap, 8.

Ut in nostro corpore sanguis per totum circumcursat

et recursat, sic in toto mundo, astro, tellure.

Quare non aliter quam nostro in corpore sanguis
Hinc meat, hinc remeat, neque ad inferiora fluit vi
Majore, ad supera a pedibus quam deinde recedat—

and still more plainly, in the ninth chapter of the same book,

Quid esset
Quodam ni gyro Naturæ cuncta redirent
Ortus ad propirios rursum; si sorbeat omnes
Pontus aquas, totum non restituatque perenni
Ordine; qua possit rerum consistere vita?
Tanquam si totus concurrat sanguis in unam,
In quâ consistat, partem, nec prima revisat
Ordia. et antiquos cursus non inde resumat.

It is affirmed in the "Supplement to the Scotch Encyclopædia Britannica," that Des Cartes was the first who in defiance of Aristotle and the schools attributed infinity to the universe. The very title of Bruno's poem proves, that this honor belongs to him.

Feyjoo lays claim to a knowledge of the circulation for Francisco de la Reyna, a farrier, who published a work upon his own art at Burgos, in 1564. The passage which he quotes is perfectly clear. Por manera, que la sangre anda en torno, y en rueda por todos los miembros, excluye toda duda. Whether Reyna himself claimed any discovery, Feyjoo does not mention;... but these words seem to refer to some preceding demonstration of the fact. I am inclined to think that this, like many other things, was known before it was discovered; just as the preventive powers of the vaccine disease, the existence of Adipocire in graves, and certain principles in grammar and in population, upon which bulky books have been written, and great reputations raised in our own days.