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Jun 29, 2013

The Sanguineous Temperament

Editor’s Note: While reading Homeopathic Materia Medica, in every other medicine, we find the mention of “temperaments”, although the temperaments are not much important in prescribing homeopathic medicine in a clinical setup, but we need to know what is exact prevalent meaning of “temperaments” at time of development of material medica in 19th century. Following is an article from The Philadelphia Journal of Homeopathy, June 1855, Vol IV, No. III on Temperaments.
For convenience of readers article is divided in three parts,
Part I Sanguineous Temperament
Part II Bilious Temperament

Part III Melancholic Temperament

Journal of Homoeopathy

Vol IV  - June, 1855 – No. III

Original Communications

Part I


The following article on temperaments is from the pen of George Bencroft, the Historian; a writer whose style, rich in thought, and brilliant in expression, will always repay the careful reader, whose taste for the beautiful it pleases no less than it inspires, invigorates and instructs. Life-like pictures such as these are to medical science as the blossoms from the seed, or the luscious fruit droppings from the tree of life for the healing of the nations. We admire such attempts to popularize science. Mobilization is the watch-word of the present age. He, who renders knowledge and science attractive, is spreading wisdom broadcast. He is preparing from the fruits, the productions of former ages, a rich repast for the present and future generations. He is rendering available stores of wealth which had been long hoarded up, and adapting to the taste of the multitude that which had only been appreciated by the educated and refined. He is elevating the masses, changing the vulgar herd to men of more than royal race, and enstamping the lineaments of Divinity upon a common Humanity.
Medical science is evidently adapted to this mobilization, to be portrayed in attractive forms, and by the beauty of its investing drapery, to attach to itself those who are, or who may become, able to appreciate the true, the useful, and the good.
The teaching of the various departments of medical science is destined to undergo great and important changes. A new set of teachers are yet to arise, whose teachings shall infuse new life into all its departments. Men, who, like George Bancroft, are able by the beauty of imagery with which they shall invest each subject, to cause to be seen and felt the brilliancy of those coruscating images of light, which have usually been presented only in dry detail. We bespeak for the following article the favorable notice of our readers.

“The Sanguineous Temperament”

“ The temperament which in its external appearance claims the highest degree of physical beauty is the sanguineous. Its forms are moulded by nature to perfect symmetry and invested with a complexion of the choicest lustre. The hands of the artist have embodied its outlines in the majestically graceful Apollo of the Vatican. Its delicate shape is “the dream of love.” A mild and clear eye promptly reveals the emotions of the heart; the veins swell with copious and healthful streams, and the cheek is quick to mantle with the crimson current. The breath of life is inhaled freely; the chest is high and expanded like that of “a young Mohawk warrior;” the pulse is active but gentle; the hair light; the skin soft and moist; the face unclouded; and, in short, the whole organization is characterized by the vigor and facility of its functions.”
“The moral character of those who belong to this temperament is equally pleasing. They are amiable companies, every where welcome, and requiting the kindness shown them by gentleness of temper and elegance of manners. They are distinguished for playfulness of fancy and ready wit. Their minds are rapid in their conceptions, and pass readily from one subject to another, so that they can change at once from gayety to tears, or from gravity to mirth. Of a happy memory, a careless and unsuspecting mien, a contented humour, a frank disposition, they form no schemes of deep hypocrisy or remote ambition. They are naturally affectionate, yet fickle in their friendships; prompt to act, yet uncertain of purpose. They excel in labors which demand a most earnest but short application. They conquer at a blow, or abandon the game. They gain their point by a coup de main, never by a tedious siege. They are easily excited, but easily calmed; they take fire at a word, but are as ready to forgive. They dislike profound meditation, but excel in prompt ingenuity;   they succeed in light exercises of fancy, in happily contracting incongruous objects, and inventing singular but just comparisons. They are given to display, and passionately fond of being admired. Inconstant by nature, they are full of sympathy, and are eminently capable of transferring themselves in imagination into other scenes and condition. Hence they sometimes are successful in the lighter branches of letters; but they are too little persevering to excel. A continuance of intellectual labor is odious to them; and in no case have they been known to unite the deep sentiments of philosophy to eloquent language. They are gayest members of society, and yet the first to feel for others. With a thousand faults, their kindness of heart makes them always favorites. In their manners they unite a happy audacity with winning good nature; their conversation is gay, varied and sparkling; never profound, but never dull; sometimes trivial, but often brilliant. Love is their ruling passion; but it is a frolic love to which there are as many cynosures as stars. It is Rinaldo in the chains which he will soon break to submit to new ones. Occasionally they join in the contest for glory. In council they never have the ascendant; but of all executive officers they are the best. They often are thrown by some happy chance to be at the head of affairs; but they never retain power very long. They are sometimes even delighted with camps; but the field of arms is for them only an affair for a holiday; they go to battle as merrily as to a dance, and are soon weary of the one and the other. Life is to them a merry tale; if they are ever sad it is but from compassion or the love of change; and they breathe out their sighs chiefly in sonnets. Thus they seem made for sunshine and prosperity. Nature has given them the love of enjoyment, and blessed them with the gift of cheerfulness. In short, this temperament is to the rest what youth is to the other periods of life; what spring is to the succeeding seasons; the time of freshness and flowers, of elastic hope and ansated desires.”
“For examples of this temperament go to the abodes of the contented, the houses of the prosperous. Ask for the gayest among the gay in scenes of pleasure; search for those who have stilled the voice of ambition by the gentle influence of contented affection. In the mythology of the ancients, among whom generally character stood forth in bolder relief, numerous illustrations may be found. We may mention Paris, who, as the poet says, went to battle like the war-horse prancing to the river’s side, and who valued the safety of his country less than the gratification of his love; or Leander, whose passion the waters of the Hellespont could not quench; or the too fascinating Endymion, who drew Diana herself from her high career. In history, we have the dangerous Alcibiades, who surpassed all other Athenians in talent, the Spartans in self-denial, the Thracians in abandoned luxury; Mark Antony, who for a time was the first man in Rome, but gave up the world for Cleopatra; Nero, the capricious tyrant, whose tomb was yet scattered with flowers; the English Leicester, for whom two queens contended; the gallant Hotspur, of the British drama; the French Duke de Richelieu; the good King Henry; the bold and amiable Francis; or to take quite a recent example, the brave and gallant, but passionate and wavering Murat, now, in time of truce, displaying his splendid dresses and his skill in horsemanship before the admiring Cossacks; and anon in the season of strife charging the enemy’s cavalry with fearless impetuosity. But we have the most striking illustration of the sanguineous temperament, when uncontrolled by moral principle, in the life and character of Demetrius, the famed besieger of cities. The son of Antigonus was tall, and of beautiful symmetry. Grace and majesty were united in this countenance, so that he inspired at once both affection and awe. In his hours of leisure he was an agreeable profligate; in his moments of action no man equaled him in diligence and dispatch. Like Bacchus he was terrible in war, but in peace a voluptuary. At one time he hazards honor and liberty for the indulgence of his love; and at another his presence of mind and his daring make him victorious in the bloodiest naval battle of which any record exists. Though sometimes capriciously cruel, he was naturally humane. By turns a king and a pensioner, a hero and a profligate, a tyrant and a liberator, he conquered Ptolemy, besieged Thebes, gave freedom to Athens, was acknowledged to be the most active warrior of his age, and yet died in captivity of indolence and gluttony.”
“ Plutarch’s life of Demetrius Poliorcetes, might indeed be called the adventures of a sanguineous man, but of one morally abandoned. Where men of this temperament are distinguished for blamelessness and purity, they comprise within themselves all that is lovely and amiable in human nature. They are the fondest husbands and the kindest fathers. They live in an atmosphere of happiness. The fables of Arcadia seem surpassed by realities. It is especially in early life that their virtues have the most pleasing fragrance; “severe in youthful beauty,” they are like the Israelites who would not eat of the Eastern king’s meat, and yet had countenances fairer than all. These are they of whom the poets praise the destiny which takes them early from the world. These are the favorites of heaven who, if they live to grow old, at their death “fill up one monument with goodness itself.”

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