The Harvard Classics Volume 38 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 554 pages of information about The Harvard Classics Volume 38.
subject, I go on with what yet remains for demonstration, viz., that in the more perfect and warmer adult animals, and man, the blood passes from the right ventricle of the heart by the pulmonary artery, into the lungs, and thence by the pulmonary veins into the left auricle, and from there into the left ventricle of the heart.  And, first, I shall show that this may be so, and then I shall prove that it is so in fact.


The blood passes through the substance of the lungs from the right ventricle of the heart into the pulmonary veins and left ventricle

That this is possible, and that there is nothing to prevent it from being so, appears when we reflect on the way in which water permeating the earth produces springs and rivulets, or when we speculate on the means by which the sweat passes through the skin, or the urine through the substance of the kidneys.  It is well known that persons who use the Spa waters or those of La Madonna, in the territories of Padua, or others of an acidulous or vitriolated nature, or who simply swallow drinks by the gallon, pass all off again within an hour or two by the bladder.  Such a quantity of liquid must take some short time in the concoction:  it must pass through the liver (it is allowed by all that the juices of the food we consume pass twice through this organ in the course of the day); it must flow through the veins, through the tissues of the kidneys, and through the ureters into the bladder.

To those, therefore, whom I hear denying that the blood, aye, the whole mass of the blood, may pass through the substance of the lungs, even as the nutritive juices percolate the liver, asserting such a proposition to be impossible, and by no means to be entertained as credible, I reply, with the poet, that they are of that race of men who, when they will, assent full readily, and when they will not, by no manner of means; who, when their assent is wanted, fear, and when it is not, fear not to give it.

The substance of the liver is extremely dense, so is that of the kidney; the lungs, however, are of a much looser texture, and if compared with the kidneys are absolutely spongy.  In the liver there is no forcing, no impelling power; in the lungs the blood is forced on by the pulse of the right ventricle, the necessary effect of whose impulse is the distension of the vessels and the pores of the lungs.  And then the lungs, in respiration, are perpetually rising and falling:  motions, the effect of which must needs be to open and shut the pores and vessels, precisely as in the case of a sponge, and of parts having a spongy structure, when they are alternately compressed and again are suffered to expand.  The liver, on the contrary, remains at rest, and is never seen

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The Harvard Classics Volume 38 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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