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THE TALE OF DR. NATHANIEL CROOKE OR ON THE EXISTENCE OF AUTOIMMUNE STATES D. E. MOSIER* Prologue Whanne1 greyness hath befallen the lande And ymightilya foggeth the mind ofmane; Whan the songebyrdes hadde fled the colde And the winde across the waves stole. Whan the frost the flours hadde bitten, And the icie reedes clattered besmitten. Than was the tyme for hour3 tales heroe, (For he was ymightily afeard ofsnowe), To harketh to hisjournie southe, To replenishe his soule and stuffe his mouthe, To warme his bellie and his thighes, And in the swiche4 sonneshine to lie. Non5 hour goode man, a physician was he, Who lerned in yalle sortes ofmedicin be; In herbes, and magique, and bludletting, And cutting, and chopping, and limbes setting. And hadde he muche knowlege in finer science, * Address reprint requests to: Department ofPathology, Pritzker School ofMedicine, University of Chicago. Dr. Mosier was a sophomore medical student at the time he prepared this paper. His work in immunology has been supported by a research traineeship in pathology (USPHS grant 2T1 GM93). 1 Es appearing at the end of words are pronounced in middle English verse, e.g., whanne = when(e). ' Ys appearing at the beginning ofwords are not pronounced. 3 Hour—our. * Swiche—sweet.* Non—now. I08 D. E. Mosier - Tale ofDr. Nathaniel Crooke Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Autumn 1969 Astrologie, religon, philosophrie, and immunologie. Himme6 nome7 was Doktor Nathaniel Crooke And a lord ful fat was his looke. Fromme his goune offayrest clothe Rolles of fat war ever seen to shake. His notorietie was famous to Helles gate; At many an inne hadde he madeth his sate. And whoring was himme swiche knacke, Whache8 he did sharpe as any a quacke. But or9 this prologue doth you bore, Goonne we with this tale ofyore. The Tale ofDr. Nathaniel Crooke So inne the stille grey dawn lite, Dr. Crooke, hereafter Nat, hadde sete site For the reliefe ofa blessd countrieside, And onne his swaybacke asse begann to ride. Through forest deepe and grene glade Struggled his pore beaste as it was bade. And onne he wente tho sonne shone hote, For fear cometh eventide he wud sure be gote By divers thieves and knaves lurkeing aboute Rede to pounce on sech a princely loute. Whanne from a yeomans hutte in the wood Comme a crie ofanguish that bade none good. Nonne whatever else Nat ymight be, A helpfull physician eer was he. So ypiking10 his asse to speede gaite, He hastened to himme taske, pane" to abate. Ere whanne his mount hadde sharpely stop, Nat felle to ground with a ymightie plop. Outfrom the hutte comme the yeoman and uglie wife To piede for hir" daughters ebbing life. 6 Himme—his.» Or—ere, before. ' Nome—name.« Ypiking—urging. • Whache—which." Pane—pain. " The pronouns them, their, and her in middle English are hem, hir, and hire. IO9 For sur, the fame ofDr. Nathaniel Crooke did abounde; The yeoman spake, "See to hire healthe and no screwwing arounde." But or the gude doktor cud comme to hire aide, The pore swiche girl laye cold ston deade. The anguished moter straight begann to crie, But Nat sayeth, "Hold yire teres, wench; alle must die." "Bringe forth strong licour, make it faste, For with ales sothing powr, how canne pain laste?" So the flagons were set up sofast in a flashe, And donne hey gonne'3, with narie a splashe. Withe Nat in lede, the ale did flowe Until the yeoman under the tabel hadde goe. And his fleshie wimmen toward Nat nodded, Forsooth, hour gud man nede non prodded. He looked swiftly to Naturs nede And hadde the wench made his steede, Til hey tumbled to the earth in swete heape. (And ere hey snord buges oer hir did creepe.) Cometh morn, Nat fetched his fram offen wenche, And smelth immediately a putred stenche. During the nite the daughter hadde begunn to swelle, And non issue forth a pukee smelle. Ever the physician, Nat forced a looke; The sines were so cler he neded non booke. With skinne pal and cold fixxed stare, He knew at once with despair, Eye, it is the dreded grunge That...


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