Life, translated by Thomas Nugent, 1771

Benvenuto Cellini, Life, translated by Thomas Nugent, 1771

In a few days the pope ſent for me, after dinner, and the abovementioned perſon of diſtinction was preſent. No ſooner was I come, but his holineſs ſent for the button of his pontifical cope, which has been already deſcribed : in the mean time I produced my chalice ; upon ſeeing which, the gentleman declared he had never beheld ſo extraordinary a piece of work in his life. The button being brought, his ſurpriſe was greatly encreaſed : he looked at me attentively and ſaid, He's but a young man, and therefore the better able to make a fortune. He then aſked me my name. I anſwered, Benvenuto. He replied, alluding to my name, Upon this occaſion I am welcome to you ; take lilly of the valley with its ſtalk, flower, and beard all together, diſtill them with a gentle fire, bathe your eyes with the water ſeveral times a-day, and you will certainly get rid of your complaint ; but before you begin the bathing, take phyſick. The pope ſpoke kindly to me, and I left him, tolerably well pleaſed with my reception.

'Tis fact that I had the diſorder in queſtion, but am inclined to think that I got it during my connection with the fine girl I co-habited with, when I was robbed. The diſorder remained latent for above four months, and then broke out at once : the only external ſymptom by which it ſhewed itſelf, was by covering me all over with little red bliſters, about the bigneſs of a farthing ; the phyſicians would never call it by its right name, I mean, that of the French diſtemper, though I told them the cauſes to which I aſcribed it. They continued to treat me their own way, but I received no benefit from their preſcriptions. At laſt I reſolved, contrary to the advice of the moſt eminent phyſicians of Rome, to have recourſe to lignum vitæ ; this I took with all the precautions and abſtinence imaginable, and recovering ſurpriſingly in the ſpace of fifty days, was perfectly cured, and as ſound as a roach. Then by way of recreation after what I had gone through, winter approaching, I took the diverſion of fowling ; this made me wade through brooks, face ſtorms, and paſs my time in marſhy grounds ; ſo that in a few days, I was attacked by a diſorder an hundred times more ſevere than the former. I put myself a ſecond time into the hands of phyſicians, and found I grew worſe every day by their medicines ; my diſorder being attended with a fever, I propoſed to take lignum vitæ, but the phyſicians oppoſed it, aſſuring me that if I meddled with it, whilſt the fever was upon me, I ſhould die in a week. I reſolved however to take it, even againſt their opinion, obſerving the ſame regimen as before : after I had for four days drunk the decoction of lignum vitæ, the fever totally left me, and I began to recover ſurpriſingly. Whilſt I was taking this wood, I went on with the model of the work abovementioned, and abſtinence ſharpening my invention, I performed the fineſt things and of the moſt admirable invention, that I ever did in my life. In fifty days I was perfectly recovered, and afterwards gave my chief attention to the preſervation of my health. This long purgation being at laſt over, I found myſelf as thoroughly cured of my diſorder, as if I had been new born ; and though I took pleaſure in ſecuring my much wiſhed for health, I continued to work both on the job abovementioned, and for the mint ; and did as much as could reaſonably be expected from the moſt diligent artificer.