It has been my endeavour in the following pages to sketch, however imperfectly, some phases of the romance and mystery that have surrounded the arts of medicine, alchemy, and pharmacy from the earliest period of which we have record down to the close of the eighteenth century. The influence of the past on the present is greater than we commonly suppose. In this age of rapid scientific progress and brilliant research, we are apt to overlook and lose sight of the patient labours of the early pioneers of science, many of whom laid the foundations of discoveries that have since proved of inestimable value to mankind. Hence the history of the past, whether in science or in art, is always worthy of study and attention.
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