[DIGBY, Kenelm.] DIONIS, Charles. ~ Dissertation sur le taenia, ou ver-plat, dans laquelle on prouve que ce ver n’est pas solitaire. Avec une lettre sur la poudre de sympathie, propre contre le rhumatisme simple ou gouteux. Paris: P. G. Le Mercier, 1749.
12mo (160 × 92 mm.), pp. [viii], 266, [iv], includes half-title. Typographical ornaments. Contemporary sprinkled calf, gilt panelled spine. Minor repairs to spine and corners. Old ownership inscription to half-title “Emanuel Dionis Duséjour” and ?his stamped monogram. A good copy.
First edition. While Dionis’s consideration of the tape worm is fascinating enough (with its refutation of the theories of Nicolas Andry de Boisregard) the work is principally interesting for its larger part: Dionis’s edition of Sir Kenelm Digby’s account of the “Powder of Sympathy”, an alchemical preparation purported to cure wounds at a distance. Made from dried green vitriol, this was a variant of the well-known Paracelsian ‘weapon salve’ which cured wounds by being applied, not to the patient, but to the offending weapon. It is a measure of the endurance of belief in this cure that Dionis entered into a contemporary dispute concerning its use and provides a recipe for it. Pp. 65-266 here are occupied by Dionis’s introduction and by Digby’s text, first published in 1658. Wellcome II 471, Blake 121.