Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the distempered minds of those who traduce and injure us." He was never over-awed by the magnificence or presence of great men, but boldly persisted in proceeding in what he considered to be right, and left the consequence to God. He was enabled, with unexampled celerity and acuteness, to penetrate into the tempers and characters of persons at a glance of his eye. A friend, one day, who had often admired his patience under great provocations, asked him, if he ever knew what it was to be angry? to which Boerhaave replied with the most perfect frankness, “that he was naturally quick of resentment; but, that by prayer and meditation, he had obtained complete mastery over his passions; this he attributed, as he did every good thought, and every laudable action, to his God.”

About the middle of the year 1737, he felt the first approaches of that indisposition which was destined to bring him to his grave, viz. a disorder in his breast, which was occasionally very painful, often threatened him with immediate suffocation, and finally terminated in an universal dropsy: during all the anguish which he suf- · fered, his placid temper and firmness of mind never forsook him; he attended at once to the ordinary duties of life as if in full health, and prepared for that death which his skill and experience enabled him to know was not very distant.

About three weeks before his dissolution, when the Rev. Mr. Schultens, one of the most learned and exemplary divines of his age, attended him at his country house, the Doctor desired his prayers, and afterwards entered into a sublime discourse with him on the spiritual and immaterial parts of the soul, which he illustrated with wonderful perspicuity, by a description of the effects which the infirmities of his body had upon his faculties, which, however, they did not so oppress, or vanquish, but his soul was always master of itself, and always resigned to the pleasure of its Maker, and then added, “ He who loves God ought to think nothing desirable but what is most pleasing to the supreme goodness.” As death approached nearer, he seemed to be more happy, amidst the increase of corporeal torments, and at length, on the 230 Septem

ber, 1738, he sunk under them in his 70th year. His funeral oration was spoken in Latin before the university of Leyden, to a crowded audience, by his friend Mr. Schultens, amidst tears of genuine regret and sympathy. The city of Leyden has raised a monument in the church of St. Peter, to the sanatíve genius of Boerhaave, “Salutifero Boerhaavii genio sacrum.” It consists of an urn upon a pedestal of black marble, with a group representing the four ages of life, and the two sciences in which Boerhaave excelled. The capital of this basis is decorated with a drapery of white marble, in which the artist has shown the different emblems of disorders, and their remedies. Upon the pedestal is the medallion of Boerhaave; at the extremity of the frame, a ribband displays the favourite motto of this learned man, “ Simplex vigilum veri.” Pro fessor Allamand had destined a very fine piece of red jasper to be employed in this medallion, but on account of the great expense of cutting the stone his design was abandoned. His pictures represent him as above the middle size, well proportioned, and of a strong constitution; when age had silvered over his hair, his countenance was said to have been extremely venerable and expressive, and to have much resembled the head of Socrates, but with features more softened and engaging. He was an eloquent orator, and declaimed with great dignity and grace. He taught very methodically, and with great precision, but always so captivated his auditors, that they regretted the close of his discourses, which he often enlivened with a sprightly turn of raillery; but it was ever refined, ingenious, and incapable of offending. He used to say, “ that decent mirth was the salt of life.” In the practice of medicine he gave a decided preference to green over dried herbs, thinking that there was more virtue in herbs when they had their juices, than when decayed and withered. He was a great admirer of simples, and consequently was not a great patron of the apothecaries. When health would permit he regularly rode on horseback; when his strength began to fail he walked, and upon his return home, music, of which he was passionately fond, gladdened the hours of relaxation, and enabled him to return to his labours with redoubled

alacrity. Dr. Johnson has written the following beautiful eulogium on this great man; “ A man formed by nature for great designs, and guided by religion in the exertion of his abilities; determined to lose none of his hours, when he had attained one science, he attempted another; he added physic to divinity; chemistry to the mathematics, and anatomy to botany. He recommended truth by his elegance, and embellished the philosopher with polite literaturé; yet his knowledge, however uncommon, holds in his character but a second place; for his virtue was more uncommon than his learning. He ascribed all his abilities to the bounty, and all his goodness to the grace of his God. May those who study his writings imitate his life! and those who endeavour after his knowledge, aspire likewise to his piety.”

CHAPTER XII.

THE BOTANIC GARDEN.....THE CELEBRATED ANTIENT PALM.....

BUSTS AND STATUES.... THEATRE OF ANATOMY....LIBRARY AND PORTRAITS OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS.....MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY....ATTRACTIONS OF THE UNIVERSITY...ITS PRESENT CONDITION.....SEVERITY OF ITS EXAMINATIONS.....ANECDOTES OF REMBRANDT.....HIS GENIUS AND RAPACIOUSNESS..... A STRATAGEM....CRITICISMS ON HIS WORKS....MR. DESENFAN's SPLENDID GALLERY OF PAINTINGS.....JOHN OF LEYDEN.....HIS AMBITION, CRUELTY, AND FATE....DUTCH BOWING.....SAINT PETER'S CHURCH.....ANECDOTE OF RUSSIAN PRISONERS.

THE botanic garden is not very large; in the time of Boer- · haave it must have been small indeed, as its history represents it to have been considerably enlarged since that period: in the frontispiece of his Index Horti L. Bat. 1710, it is represented to be a petty square piece of ground. It now occupies about four acres, and is in excellent order: the trees and plants are marked according to the Linnæan system; but it is infinitely inferior in value and arrangement to the botanic gardens of Upsala and of the Dublin Society. Amongst the plants, I approached with the reverence due to it, the venerable remains of vegetable antiquity, in the shape of a palm, which stands in a tub in the open air, supported by a thin frame of iron work; it is about fourteen feet high, and was raised from seed by the celebrated Carolus Clusius, who died professor at Leyden in 1609: the professor who attended me, presented me with a bit of its bark, as a little relic. This tree and the pot in which it grows, are also figured in the frontispiece of Boerhaave's Index before mentioned: it there appears to have been about half as high as at present, and is said to be the palm mentioned by Linnæus in his Prælectiones in Ordines Naturales Plantarum, p. 27, published by Giseke in 1792, at Hamburgh, which Linnæus sus

pected to be a chamærops, but which, as the ingenious Dr. Smith observes, his editor rightly refers to the rhapis flabelli formis, Ait. Hort. Kew, v. iii. p. 473. It comes from China and Japan: there is a tree of this kind, and about as large, in the botanic garden at Paris, and another at Pisa. In this garden is also the ginkgo of the Chinese, a standard twenty feet high; Strelitzia reginæ, Ait. Hort. Kew, v. i. p. 285, tab. 2, which has never yet flowered in any garden out of England; the olea laurifolia, a new species according to Mr. Van Royen; Royena lucida in flower, as large as a moderate hawthorn tree, and thought to be very handsome; and a singular plant from the Cape, supposed to be an echites, with a large tuberous root raised high above the surface of the ground, two or three weak stems a foot high, and large dark brown flowers. In the university library is Rauwolf's Herbarium, which is very magnificent, and the plants well preserved; also Boccone's Herbarium of the plants described in his Fasciculus Plantarum, published by Morison at Oxford, in 1674; these specimens are very poor: Herman's Collection of Ceylon Plants is also here, which are a part of the celebrated Herbarium, the rest of which is at Copenhagen; also a volume of West India plants, belonging to Herman, which are very scare in Holland, and a fine collection of mathematical instruments; amongst other things, a most pure and brilliant prism of Brazil pebble, and a two-inch cube of Iceland refracting spar, perfectly clear and free from blemish.

In a very long apartment in the gallery there are some busts and statues in tolerable preservation, but of no great value; the best are busts of Nero and Agrippina, Servilius and a Bacchus: they were presented to the university by a citizen of the town. I was shown into a small room containing some stuffed birds and beasts, which were in very poor condition. The theatre of anatomy is very near the botanic garden; in it is a valuable collection of anatomical and pathological subjects. This hall is well worthy the notice of the traveller, as well for its valuable contents, as for having furnished Europe with some of its best physicians. This library is celebrated throughout Europe, for the many valuable specimens of oriental literature with which it abounds, exclusive

· R

« AnteriorContinuar »