Descartes' Cure for Constipation

A particularly difficult
evacuation of the lower intestine
after a number of meals was
brought about in this way:

Equal parts bull's gall,
unsalted butter and black hellebore,
extract of diacolocynthide,
diagridion and sapphron,
reduced into a single mass
heated over a flame until
they have attained the consistency of honey
inserted into the testicles
applied to the navel.

And this cataplasm is then fastened
so that it does not fall—
two cataplasms of clay,
filled with these potions,
applied the one after the other,
one per day.

The first days nothing was felt by the patient,
other than agitations and murmurs
the third day, the desired evacuation arrived
with great pain,
but the normal excretion did not follow
the very hard excrements

until the abdomen of a freshly slaughtered calf,
covered in aged oil sifted
after cooking and heated up
applied to the patient's stomach

until the anus was probed by fingers
covered with bile and butter.

1 comment:

Russ said...

I'll stick with muesli for breakfast every morning.