« AnteriorContinuar »
ments concerning the use of the said waters, which, if they be rightly observed, I am persuaded, few will hereafter complain that they have been at the Baths in vain, and so the waters regain that esteem which, in respect of their singular vertues, they are worthy of. But here you must take from me this one advertisement, which is, That sickness is a symptom of sin; and therefore first, pænitentiam agendo *, before your departure from home, make peace be. twixt God and your conscience, and then repair to the Baths, quo te faustum ducat, atque sanum reducat, qui solus id potest. Valet.
BATH, so called from the baths in it, is a little well-compacted
city , and beautified with fair and goodly buildings for receipt of strangers. Although the site thereof, by reason of the vicinity of hills, seem not pleasant, being almost invironed with them ; yet, for goodness of air, nearness of a sweet and delectable river, and fertility of soil, it is pleasant and happy enough; but for the hot waters that boil up, even in the midst thereof, it is more delectable and happier than any other of the kingdom.
There are in it four publick baths, so fairly built, and fitted with such conveniency for bathing, as the like, I suppose, is not elsewhere to be found; besides a little bath for lepers, called The Lepers-bath.
They all have the original of their heat from one matter, namely, sulphur, burning in the cavities of the earth, thorough which the waters flowing, receive their heat. They partake of no other mineral that I can find ; what may lie hid in visceribus terræ $, I know not; of this I am sure, that such diseases, as cannot receive cure elsewhere, here do.
These baths, as they differ in their heat, so in their operations and effects. The King's Bath is the hottest, and it is, for beauty, largeness, and efficacy of heat, a kingly bath indeed, being so hot as can be well suffered. This bath is of so strong a heating, opening, resolving, attracting, and exiccating faculty, and therefore only convenient for cold and moist bodies, and for cold and moist diseases.
Next to the King's Bath, for efficacy of heat, is the Hot Bath, and the difference in their heat is so little, that is scarcely to be discerned. This bath is good for the same infirmities that the King's Bath is, and, for the effects which it worketh, I cannot find it to be inferior unto it. They are two excellent baths for cold and moist diseases, and for very cold and moist bodies.
The Queen's Bath is a member of the King's Bath, a well only going between them, with a passage therein, to go from one to the other. This bath is not altogether so hot as that, and therefore the use of it is convenient for them that cannot well endure the heat of the King's Bath,
• By repentance.
+ Where may that God, who is only able to cure thee, lead thee safe, and bring thee home again in good health. Parewell. See the letter of observations by Tho. Guidott, M. B. in 1674.
In the bowels of the earth.
The Cross Bath is for heat the mildest, being very temperately warm. It is a dainty bath for young, weak, and tender bodies, that cannot endure the heat of the hotter baths, or for whom the hotter baths may not be convenient. It is an excellent bath for temperate bodies, by way of preservation, because such the hotter baths may soon distemper, and occasion hurt; neither is this bath good only for such as are of a temperate state and constitution of body, by way of preservation ; but for them, and others also, by way of curation, in some cases, where the hotter baths are not fit to be used. This bath, by reason of the mildness of its heat, is of a notable, mollifying, and relaxing faculty; good, therefore, in contractions of any member, in obstructions of the breast, spleen, liver, and kidnies ; and effectual Also for aches, when it is in its prime and vigour of heat, especially for such, whose temper, or habit of body, shall prohibit the use of the hotter baths. This bath attains not to its perfection of heat, till the weather grow to be constantly hot, and when the other baths, by reason of the fervour thereof, cannot be used, but by such, whose diseases and state of body are intensively cold.
I cannot, in regard of the diversity of bodies, insist upon every particular in the use of these baths ; wherefore I will only, for your better instruction and direction herein, give you some special advertisements, and thereupon leave you to some learned physician, that can accordingly guide you in the use of them.
These famous hot waters are of singular force, not only against discases gotten by cold, or proceeding from a cold and moist cause, but also bring, in time of health, exceeding comfort and profit to all cold, moist, and corpulent bodies; for they open the pores, resolve, attenuate, digest, consume, and draw forth superfluities, and withal strongly heal and dry the whole habit of the body,
They are of excellent efficacy against all diseases of the head and sinews, proceeding from a cold and moist cause, as rheums, palsies, epilepsies, lethargies, apoplexies, cramps, deafness, forgetfulness, trembling, or weakness of any member, aches, and swellings of the joints, &c.
They also greatly profit windy and hydropick bodies, the pain and swelling of any part of the body, so that it proceed not from an hot eause; the sluggish and lumpish heaviness of the body, numbness of any member, pain in the loins, the gout, especially the sciatica; cold tumours of the milt and liver, and the yellow jaundice in a body plethorick or phlegmatick.
They are also very profitable for them that have their lungs annoyed with much moisture; and, to make slender such bodies as are too gross, there is nothing more effectual, than the often use of these waters. Wherefore let those that fear obesity, that is, would not wax gross, be careful to come often to our baths; for by the use of them, according as the learned physician shall direct, they may not only preserve their health, but also keep their bodies from being unseemingly corpulent.
They are also singularly profitable to women; for they help them of barrenness, and of all diseases and imperfections of the matrix, pro, ceeding from a cold and moist cause. "They also cure all diseases of
the skin, as scabs, itch, old sores, &c. all which to be true, we daily find with admiration, to the exceeding great comfort of many, who, with deplored diseases, and most miserable bodies, resort to these baths, and are there, by the help of wholesome physick, and vertue of the baths, through the blessing of Almighty God, recovered to their former health.
But baths naturally hot (as these our baths are) to bodies naturally hot and dry, are generally hurtful; and so much the more, as the body is drier, and the bath hotter, because it distempereth and consumeth the very habit of the body, and maketh it carrion-like lean.
Wherefore, seeing, that these our baths are not indifferently agreeable to every constitution and state of body, I do advise, that not any one go into them rashly, or upon a preposterous judgment; but that he be first advised by some faithful, judicious, and expert physician, and to him expose the state of his body, whereby he may understand, whether or no it may be expedient for him to attempt the same. And whereas there are in Bath divers baths, as I have shewed, and they differing in their heat, and accordingly in their effects, he must also from the learned physician be directed in which to bathe; neither must he only understand which bath to use, as most convenient for his state of body, but also when and how often to use the same, and how long to abide therein at a time. Besides this, he must take special care not to go into the bath without fit preparation (which is a gross error of many) but must be first purged, as his state of body shall require ; and be also directed in other things how to order himself, before he go into the bath, while he is in the bath, and after that he is come out of the bath, and when he leaveth the bath; and must also with his bathings and sweatings use such physick-helps, as may work with the baths, according as his disease and present state of body shall require; not relying wholly upon the use of the water for his cure, as many ignorantly, and some basely do, to save their purse. The neglect of all these, or of some of them, either through ignorance or voluntary wilfulness, is the cause, that some, that take great pains to come to the baths, are not by them healed of their infirmities, but oftentimes never return to their homes again; or, if they do, it is most commonly with new diseases, and the old worse than ever they were; whereas those of a generous and religious understanding, using the true helps of physick with the baths, are of their diseases perfectly cured.
Here I may not omit a special reason, why many receive little benefit by the baths, but oftentimes much hurt; and that is, because they take not the aid and directions of a physician present, in the use of the bath ; but bring their physic and directions with them from some physicians in the country where they abode ; perhaps, one that well understands not their state of body, much less the nature and true use of the baths. But, admit that they have their directions from an understanding physician, yet I must tell them, that many accidents fall out oftentimes in bathing, that require the help of a present physician.
Another special reason why many find little good by the baths, is, because they make not such a stay at them, as, in regard of their infirmities, or state of body, is meet; for some go away before the bath (in regard of the density of body) bath wrought any manner of effect at all on them ; others even then when the bath begins to shew its force and efficacy on their bodies; and some too soon upon much benefit received, by means whereof they easily incur a relapse. Wherefore my counsel herein unto you is this, that you limit not your stay at the baths, before you depart from your homes, but in that be advised and ruled by your physician, when you are at the baths, according as he shall find to be meet for your infirmities and state of body; and think not to receive in four, five, or six weeks an absolute cure for an infirmity, which, perhaps, you þave borne two or three years, notwithstanding all the helps and means you have used for the same in your own country. Wherefore let
abode at the baths be, as it shall be requisite for your state of body, and limit not the time, no, not to a spring, or to a fall; for it
be needful for you to reside there the whole year, it may be more; for, otherwise, by your untimely departure, you may lose the good that you have gotten by the bath, before the time come that you shall think to be fit for the use of the baths again.
But here I know you will object against me, saying, Is it good to make use of your baths in the summer and winter? Are not those times by all learned and judicious physicians prohibited for bathing in hot baths ? Whereupon grew the custom of frequenting them in the temperate seasons of the year, namely, in the spring and fall?
Whereunto I answer, and first, that bathing in our baths in summer, taking the cool of morning for it, if the season shall be hot and summer-like, brings much more benefit to the body, the disease being of a cold nature, and proceeding from a cold and moist cause (for so you must conceive me) than in the spring or fall, when ostentimes the coldness and variableness of the air takes away the benefit of your bathing; for cold or vaporous air entering into your body after bathing, the pores being open, doth not only very greatly annoy the spirits, and principal parts, occasion wind and tortures in the bowels, but also induce oftentimes irrecoverable effects to the sinews and joints. But if seasons, that are constantly warm, be best for bathing in our baths, and cold times hurtful, why should any reside at them in winter? I answer, that it is good for them that are in the way of cure, by reason of their former bathings, and that the waters are in their nature as effectually hot in the winter, as in any other time of the year, only the superficies, or upper part of the bath, is cooled by the winds. But in the winter there are some calm days, in which the diseased body, lying nearer to the baths, may well and safely bathe, without any
offence or danger in taking of cold after; for he may keep himself in a warm chamber, having nothing else to do, or take care for, but for his health.
And here I cannot but reprehend the error of most people, that, at the end of May, depart from our baths, and after that month, I know not out of what prejudicate opinion, altogether refrain to come to them till the fall : perhaps, they do this, supposing that, after the spring, till the fall come again, the baths lose their vertue. I must tell them, if this be their conceit, that they are in a great error ;for the waters lose not their vertue at any time, only the disposition of the ambient air may make them less fit to be used at one time, than at another. But I would have you to know, as I have afore-shewed, that our baths may as profitably be used in summer, as in the spring, and most commonly with far better success in the whole month of June, than in any of the former months; and that, in regard of the constant temperature of this month, and the variable disposition of the months preceding. I am persuaded, that this untimely going from the baths, at the very approach of summer, hurts many, and overthrows the good they have received by them. Wherefore, my advertisement herein is this, that they, who resort to the baths for prevention of sickness, or such hereditary diseases, as they fear will befal them, depart from the baths about the end of the spring: but such as go to them for diseases already fixed, abide there the whole summer, and longer too, if there shall be occasion.
And admit, that after the month of June the weather be too fervently hot to bathe in the hotter baths; yet the cross bath, which for heat is the mildest, being, as I have said, in its nature temperately hot, attains not to its efficacy and perfection, till the weather be constantly warm, which, for the most part, happens not till towards the end of May, or the beginning of June. The use of which bath is of excellent efficacy, not only in the month of June, but after also, yea, all the summer, according as the state of the body and disposition of the season shall permit; wherein I leave you to the counsel and direction of some learned physician resident at the baths.
And now also I must advertise such, as in the declining, or fall of the year, which we call the Autumn, shall, for the health of their bodies, repair to our baths, that they defer not their coming till the middle of September, or after, as many ignorantly do; but that they rather be there shortly after the middle of August, that they may have time sufficient for bathing, before the air grow to be too cold, as commonly it is in October, especially towards the end thereof. But, perhaps, some, out of an ignorant timorvusness, will object, That to come to the baths before the Dog-days are gone, or too soon upon them, is hurtful. Herein they are more scrupulous than judicious: But, to yield them some satisfaction, I answer: Besides the alteration of seasons from their ancient temperature, in this decrepit age of the world, that, though the middle part of the day, in the latter part of August, shall be hot, yet the mornings and evenings, which are the times for bathing, begin then to be cold, and decline to a temperature; and the heat of the day, growing on upon the bathing, is that which we specially respect for the health of our patients, for whom we approve the use of the baths. Wherefore, such as, for the health of their bodies, repair to our baths, shall, if they be there in the latter part of August, receive a double commodity: For, first, they shall have the whole month of September, very convenient for bathing, and physick also, as shall be occasion; yea, and part of October, as the disposition of the season shall permit: Next, sufficient time for their return to their homes, before the air grow too cold, or the weather distempered; for to take cold betwixt the bathings, or to expose the body to travel, in foul and intemperate weather, upon the use of the bath, induceth, the