Benvenuto Cellini, Memoirs, translated by Thomas Roscoe, 1882

In a few days the Pope sent for me after dinner, and the above-mentioned person of distinction was present. No sooner was I come, than 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 increased : he looked at me attentively and said, "He is but a young man, and therefore the better able to make a fortune." He then asked me my name. I told him it was Benvenuto. He replied, alluding to my name, "Upon this occasion I am welcome to you : take lily of the valley with its stalk, flower, and beard altogether, distil 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 physic." The Pope spoke kindly to me, and I left him, tolerably well pleased with my reception. My disorder, which was of a serious kind, contracted at the time of the robbery, had remained latent for above four months, and then broke out at once. The only external symptom by which it showed itself was, by covering me all over with little red blisters, about the size of a farthing. The physicians would never call this malady by its right name, though I told them the causes to which I ascribed it. They continued to treat me in 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 a 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 above mentioned, 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 course of medicine 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 labour both on the work above mentioned, and for the Mint ; and did as much as could reasonably be expected from the most diligent artificer.