Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Th' obstructed tubes.
Then learn to revel; but by slow degrees :
By slow degrees the liberal arts are won ;
And Hercules grew strong. But when you

smooth
The brows of care, indalge your festive 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 life declines, even sober cups.

For know, whate'er
Beyond its natural fervour hurries on
The sanguine tide ; whether the frequent bowl,
High-season'd fare, or exercife to toil
Protracted, spurs to its last stage tir'd life,
And sows the temples with untimely snow.

Our author ends this book with some sublime re. flections 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 expressions 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
In duft, in rain, in cold and sultry kies :
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
Infeft, nor those envenom'd shafts that fly
When rapid Sirius fires 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 life ;
Serene he bears che peevish eastern blast,
And uninfected breathes the mortal fouth.

Toil, and be strong. By toil the flaccid nerves
Grow firm, and gain a more compacted tone ;
The greener juices are by toil subdu'd,
Mellow'd, and fubtilis'd; the vapid old
Expellid, and all the rancour of the blood.
Come, my companions, ye who feel the charms
Of nature and the year ; come, let us fray
Where chance or fancy leads our roving walk.
Go, climb the mountain ; from th' ethereal source
Imbibe the recent gale. The chearful 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 doubtful trace. Or, if a nobler prey
Delight you more, go chase the desp'rate deer;
And thro'its deepest solitudes awake
The vocal forest with the jovial horn.

But should this exercise be too laborious, he invites us to the brook, and here pays a grateful tribute to the river Liddal, which waters the place of his nativity, and in which he has often employed himself in fishing and swim ming; or should you think these diversions of hunting and fishing 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 aquement and humane delight, there to partake of the exercise which employ'd the first parents of mankind. From this the author deviates to the pleasures of rural life and conversation, and concludes the digression with these hospitable lines.

Sometimes, at eve, His neighbours lift the latch, and bless unbid His feltal roof; while, o'er the light repaft, And sprightly cups, they mix in social joy ; And, thro' the maze of conversation, trace Whate'er amuses or improves the mind,

Sometimes at eve (for I delight to taste
The native zest and flavoar of the fruit,
Where sense wild and takes of no manure)
The decent, honest, chearful husbandman
Should drown his labours in my friendly bowl;
And at my table find himself at home.

grows

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 Neps aspire.
The prudent, even in every moderate walk,
At first but faunter; and by flow degrees
Incrcase their pace. This doctrine of the wife
Well knows the master of the Aying steed.
When all at once from indolence to toil
You spring, the fibres by the hafty 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 life
You toil to learn ; or try the dusty chase ;
Or the warm deeds of some important day ;
Hot from the field, indulge not yet your limbs
In willi'd repose ; nor court the fanning gale,
Nor taste the spring. O! by the sacred tears
Of widows, orphans, mothers, fifters, fires,
Forbear! No other peftilence has driven
Such myriads o'er th'irremeable deep.

He then descends to bathing, and recommends a pro. per use of the cold bath in our climate to those whose constitutions will admit of it.

Again the rigors of a damp cold hear's
To fortify their bodies, some frequent
The gelid ciftern; and, where nought forbids,
I praise their dauntless heart.

But to those who live in sultry climes a frequent use of the warm bath is recommended, and sometimes in our own; where it is of the greatest consequence to health as well as beauty.

Let those who from the frozen Aretos reach
Parch's Mauritania, or the sultry weft,
Or the wide food that waters Indoftan,
Plunge thrice a day, and in the tepid wave
Untwist their fubborn pores ; that full and free
Th'evaporation thro’the soften'd skin
May bear proportion to the swelling blood.
With us, the man of no complaint demands
The warm ablution juft enough to clear
'T'he Duices of the kin, enough to keep
'The body facred from indecent foil.

He then speaks of the hours and seasons fit for exes. cise; advises labour when fafting, or when the fiomach is but lightly fed, to those of a corpulent frame ; whereas exercise after the meat is digested, and before hunger returns, is best for those of a lean șabit : But all are to abltain from labour immediately after a full meal.

But from the recent meal no labours please,
Of limbs or mind. For now the cordial powers
Claim all the wandring spirits to a work
Of strong and subtle toil, and great event :

work of time : and you may rue the day
You hurry'd, with untimely exercise,
A half concocted chyle into the blood.
The body over-charged with unctuous phlegm
Much coil demands : the lean elastic less.

To pant

While winter chills the blood, and binds the veins,
No labours are too hard : by those you 'scape
The flow diseases of the torpid year ;
But from the burning Lion when the sun
Pours down his sultry wrath ; now while the blood
Too much already maddens in the veins,
And all the finer fuids thro' the skin
Explore their flight; me, near the cool cascade
Reclin'd, or fauntring in the lofty grove,
No needless flight occasion should engage

and sweat beneath the fiery noon.
Now the freth.morn alone and mellow eve
To shady walks and active rural sports
Invite. But, while the chillings dews descend,
May nothing tempt you to the cold embrace.
Of humid kies; tho" 'cis no vulgar joy
To trace the horrors of the folema wood,
While the soft ev'ning uddens into night :
Tho' the sweet poet of the vernal

groves Melts all the night in strains of am'rous woe.

And we have the pleasure of rest' after labour, and an admonition against eating too much, and too late at night, pointed out in the following beautiful lines.

The shades descend, and midnight o'er the world
Expands her fable wings. Great nature droops
Thro' all her works. Now happy he whole toil
Has o'er his languid pow'rless limbs diffus'd
A pleasing lasitude:
But would you sweetly wake the blank of night
In deep oblivion ; or on fancy's wings
Visit the paradise of happy dreams,
And waken chearful as the lively morn;
Oppress not nature finking down to rest
With feasts too late, too solid, or too full.

This is followed by a caution against misapplying those hours wherein nature intended we should relt, which is heighten'd and made more pleasing, by the beautiful fimile and moral reflection with which it concludes,

« AnteriorContinuar »