Benvenuto Cellini, Life, translated by Robert H. Hobard Cust

Three days later the Pope sent for me after dinner, and this nobleman was there present. Directly I arrived, the Pope caused that Morse of mine to be brought. In the meantime I had produced that Chalice of mine; whereat that nobleman said that he had never seen so marvellous a piece of work. When the Morse arrived his astonishment was much more increased. Looking me in the face he said: "He is still young to know so much, and he is also very fitted to acquire more knowledge." Then he asked me my name. To which I replied: "Benvenuto is my name." He answered: "Welcome (Benvenuto) shall I be to you this time; take some corn-flowers (fioralisi) with their stems, flowers and roots all together, then proceed to distil them over a slow fire, and with that liquid bathe your eyes several times a day, and you will most certainly be cured of this ailment; but you must previously take a purge, and then continue (to use) the said water." The Pope addressed me some kindly words; so that I went away partially happy. And it was the truth that I had acquired the ailment ; but I believe that I caught it from that handsome young servant-girl whom I was keeping at the time that I was robbed. That Gallic disease proceeded to develop itself for more than four whole months then it covered my entire body at once: it was not after the manner that one sees in other cases, but it seemed that I was covered with certain small red blisters, as large as farthings. The doctors would never style it the French disease, though I told them the reasons why I believed it to be such. I continued to doctor myself according to their methods, and gained no advantage thereby. Then however at last having resolved to take (^lignum^) against the advice of those principal doctors of Rome, I took this lignum with all the precaution and abstinence that it is possible to imagine, and in a few days I felt a very vast improvement; to such an extent that at the end of fifty days I was cured and healthy as a fish. Then, in order to give myself some recreation for that great strain that I had endured, as winter came on for my amusement I took to shooting (la caccia dello scoppietto), which entailed my going through water and wind, and standing in bogs; to such an extent that in a few days my illness returned one hundred times worse than I had it at first. Submitting myself again into the hands of the doctors, and though continually treated, I grew always worse. Fever coming upon me, I was disposed to take (^lignum^) again: the doctors did not wish it, saying that if I began it with the fever upon me, in eight days I should die. I determined to do so against their wishes; and keeping to the same regulations that I had observed on the previous occasion, when I had drunk for four days of this blessed water of lignum, the fever went away entirely. I began to experience a very great improvement (in health), and during this time that I was taking the said lignum I was always progressing with the models for that piece of work: and during that period of abstinence I made the most beautiful articles, and those of the rarest invention that I ever made in my life. At the end of fifty days I was thoroughly cured, and thenceforward with the greatest diligence I gave my attention to securing my health for the future.

Then when I had come out from that long fast I found myself as free from my ailments as if I had been reborn. Although I took pleasure in securing that desired health of mine, I did not also cease from working; in so much that to that said work and to the Mint, to each of them I most certainly gave that share of (my attention) which was due to them.