The very richness and inexhaustible nature of the literature from which material may be had, the innumerable subjects connected with medicine from which selection may be made, the various ways in which these may be treated have all contributed to render this dissertation one of more than ordinary intricacy.
Perhaps at the beginning a short digression may be permitted so as to review hastily the preparation of English literature preceding Chaucer's time. It was not until the fourteenth century that the language of English literature becomes so like the English of to-day that it can readily be understood. Before that time books were written in different kinds of English which are as strange as a foreign tongue, others in Latin and some in Norman-French. While Chaucer, who lived in the latter half of the fourteenth century, is thought of as the one author beginning this more modern period we must