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Their dainty sovereign, when the world was young;
Ere yet the barb'rous thirst of blood had sciz'd
The human breast. Each rolling month matures
The food that suits it most; fo does each clime.
This passage is, I think, very beautisul, as also is th« following introduction to his precepts for drinking water, and the subsequent lines concerning the choice, and proper use of that element.
Now come, ye Naiads, to the fountains lead;
Now let me wander thro' your gelid reign.
I-burn to view th' enthusiastic wilds
By mortal else untrod. I hear the din
Of waters thundring o'er the ruin'd cliffs.
With holy reverence I approach the rocks
Whence glide the streams renown'd in ancient song.
Here from the defart down the rumbling steep
First springs the Nile; here bursts the sounding Pa
In angry waves; Euphrates hence devolves
A mighty flood to water half the East;
And there, in gothic solitude reclin'd.
The chearless Ta/tais pours his hoary urn.
. . The task remains to sing
Your gifts, (so Paon, so the powers of health
Command) to praise your crystal element:
The chief ingredient in heaven's various works;
Whose flexile genius sparkles in the gem,
Grows sirm in oak, and sugitive in wine;
The vehicle, the fource, of nutriment
And lise, to all that vegetate or live.
O comfortable streams! with eager lips
And trembling hand the languid thirsty quaff
New lise in you; fresh vigour sills their veins.
No warmer cups the rural ages knew;
None warmer sought the sires of human kind.
Oh! could those worthies from the wot Id of Gods
Return to visit their degenerace sons,
How would they scorn the joys of modern time,
With all our art and toil improv'd to pain 2
Learn temperance, friends; and hear without disdain The choice of water. Thus the • Coan fage Opin'd, and thus the learn'd of ev'ry school. What least of foreign principles partakes Is best: The lightest then ; what bears the touch Of sire the least, and soonest mounts in air; The most insipid; the most void of smell. Such the rude mountain from his horrid sides Pours down; such waters in the sandy vale forever boil, alike of winter frosts And summer's heat secure.
And this subject of water-drinking he concludes with some observations, on the proper use of other liquors, which are drawn from nature and experience. His reflection also on the nature of sermented liquors, and their tendency to resist putrefaction, and of consequence to retard digestion, is very just and philosophical.
Nothing like simple element dilutes
The food, or gives the chyle so soon to flow.
But where the stomach, indolently given,
Toys with its duty, animate with wine
Th' insipid stream; tho' golden Ceres yields
A more voluptuous, a more sprightly draught;
Perhaps more active. Wine unmix'd, and all
The gluay floods that from the vex'd abyss
Of sermentation spring; with spirit fraught,
And surious with intoxicating sire,
Retard concoction, and preserve unthaw'd
Th' embody'd mass. You see what countless years.,
Knibalrn'd in siery quintescenceof wine,
The puny wonders of the reptile world,
Maintain their texture, and unchang'd remain.
Mean time, I would not always dread the bow],
.Nor every trespass shun. The severish strise,
Rous'd by the rare debauch, subdues, expels
The loit'ring crudities that burthen life;
And, like a torrent sull and rapid, clears
Th' obstructed tubes.
Then learn to revel; but by slow degrees:
By flow degrees the liberal arts are won;
And Hercules grew strong. But when you smooth
The brows of care, indulge your sestive vein
In cups by well inform'd experience found
The least your bane; and only with your friends;
There are sweet follies; frailties to be seen
By friends alone, and men of generous minds.
Oh! seldom may the fated hours return Of drinking deep! I would not daily taste, Except when lise declines, even sober cups.
. For know, whate'er
Beyond its natural servour hurries on
The fanguine tide ; whether the frequent bowl,
High-season'd fare, or exercise to toil
Protracted, spurs to its last stage tir'd lise,
And sows the temples with untimely snow.
Our author ends this book with some sublime reflections on the mutability and decay of all things; and then enters on exercise, the subject of his third book; Which tho' barren, and one would think incapable of many ornaments, is yet made agreeable by his manner of treating it; for in this, as well as in the last, he has, like an able sculptor, drawn harmony, beauty, and expression, out of very rude and unpromising materials.
This book is address'd to those of a delicate frame; to whom he thus points out the importance of exercise.
Behold the labourer of the glebe, who toils
tn dust, in rain, in cold and sultry skies:
Save but the grain from mildews and the flood,
Nought anxious he what sickly stars ascend.
He knows no laws by Esculapius given;
He studies none. Yet him nor midnight fogs
Insest, nor those envenom'd shafts that fly
When rapid Siritu sires th' autumnal nOon.
His habit pure, with plain and temperate meals,
Robust with labour, and by custom steel'd
To ev'ry casualty of vary'd lise;
Serene he bears the peevish eastern blast,
And uninsected breathes the mortal fouth.
Toil, and be strong. By toil the flaccid nerves
Grow sirm, and gain a more compacted tone;
The greener juices are by toil subdu'd,
Mellow'd, and subtilis'd; the vapid old
Expell'd, and all the rancour of the blood.
Come, my companions, ye who seel the charms
Of nature and the year; come, Jet us stray
Where chance or fancy leads our roving walk.
Go, climb the mountain; fromth' ethereal source
Imbibe the recent gale. The chearsul morn
Beams o'er the hills; go, mount th' exulting steed.
Already, see, the deep-mouth'd beagles catch
The tainted mazes; and, on eager sport
Intent, with emulous impatience try
Each doubtsul trace. Or, if a nobler prey
Delight you more, go cbase thedesp'rate deer;
And thro' its deepest solitudes awake
The vocal forest with the jovial horn.
But mould this exercise be too laborious, he invites ue to the brook, and here pays a gratesul tribute to the river Liddal, which waters the place of his nativity, and in which he has often employed himself in sishing and swimming; or mould you think these diversions of hunting and sishing inhumane and barbarous, as the author observes the Pythagoreans did, and some of the Indians now do, he leads you to the garden's soft amusement and humane delight, there to partake of the exercise which employ'd the sirst parents of mankind. From this the author deviates to the pleasures of rural lise and converfation, and concludes the digression with these hospitable lines.
. Sometimes, at eve,
His neighbours lift the latch, and bless unbid
His sestal roof; while, o'er the light repast,
And sprightly cups, they mix in social joy;
And, thro' the maze of converfation, trace
Whate'er amuses or improves the mind.
Sometimes at eve (for I delight to taste
The native zest and flavour of the fruit,-
Where sense grows wild and takes of no manure)
The decent, honest, chearsul husbandman
Should drown his labours in my friendly bowl;
And at my table sind himself at home.
He then returns to his subject and recommends tennis, dancing, and shooting; but in the choice of exercise advises every person to indulge his own taste.
He chuses best, whose labour entertains
His vacant fancy most: The toil you hate
Fatigues you soon, and scarce improves your limbs.
After he has treated of the importance and choice of exercise, he introduces these precepts for our conduct.
Begin with gentle toils; and, as your nerves
Grow firm, to hardier by just steps aspire.
The prudent, even in every moderate walk,
At sirst but fount er; and by flow degrees
Increase their pace. This doctrine of the wife
Well knows the master of the flying steed.
When all at once from indolence to toil
You spring, the sibres by the hasty shock
Are tir'd and crack'd, before their unctuous coat,
Compress'd, can pour the lubricating balm.
Besides, collected in the passive veins,
The purple mass a sudden torrent rolls,
O'erpowers the heart, and deluges the lungs
With dangerous inundation.
But when the hard varieties of lise
You toil to learn; or try the dusty chafe;
Or the warm deeds of some important day;
Hot from the sield, indulge not yet your limbs
In wifli'd repose; nor court the fanning gale,
Nor taste the spring. O! by the facred tears
Of widows, orphans, mothers, sisters, sires,
Forbear! No other pestilence has driven
Such myriads o'er th'irremeable deep.