Imágenes de página

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

Against the rigors of a damp cold heav'n
To fortify their bodies, some frequent
The gelid cistern; 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 ArSlos reach
Parch'd Mauritania, or the sultry west,
Or the wide flood that waters Indoftan,
Plunge thrice a day, and in the tepid wave
Untwist their stubborn pores 5 that sull and free
Th'evaporation thro'the soften'd flcin
May bear proportion to the swelling blood.
With us, the man of no complaint demands
The warm ablution just enough to clear
The fluices of the ficin, enough to keep
The body facred siom indecent soil.

He then speaks of the hours and seasons lit for exercise; advises labour when fasting, or when the stomach is but lightly sed, to those of a corpulent frame ; whereas exercise aster the meat is digested, and before hunger returns, is best for those of a lean habit: But all are to abstain from labour immediately after a sull 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 eyent:
A 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 toil demands: the lean elastic less.

While winter chills the blood, and binds the veins,

No labours are too hard: by those you 'scape

The slow diseases of the torpid year;

But from the burning Lion when the fun

Pours down his sultry wrath; now while the blood

Too much already maddens in the veins,

And all the siner fluids thro' the skin

Explore their slight; me, near the cool cascade

Rcclin'd, or fauntring in the lofty grove,

No needless flight occasion should engage

To pant and sweat beneath the siery noon.

Now the fresh-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 floes; tho' 'tis no vulgar joy

To trace the horrors of the solemn wood,

While the soft ev'ning suddens into night:

Tho' tlie 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 beautisul lines.

The shades descend, - and midnight o'er the world Expands her fable wings. Great nature droops Thro' all her works. Now happy he whose toil Has o'er his languid pow'rless limbs diffus'd

A pleasing lassitude: —

But would you sweetly waste the blank of night
In deep oblivion ; or on fancy's wings
Visit the paradise of happy dreams,
And waken chearsul as the lively morn;
Oppress not nature sinking down to rest
With seasts too late, too solid, or too sull.

This is followed by a caution against mifapplying those hours wherein nature intended we should rest; which is heighten'd and made more pleasing, by the beautisul simile and moral reflection with which it concludes.

In study some protract the silent hourj,
Which others consecrate to mirth and wiBe;
And fleep till noon, and hardly live till night.
But surely this redeems not from the shades
One hour of lise. ————
The body, fresh and vigorous from repose,
Desies the early fogs: but, by the toils
Of wakesul day, exhausted and unstrung,
Weakly resists the night's unwholesome breath.
The grand discharge, th' essusion of the stein,
Slowly impair'd, the languid maladies
Creep on, and thro' the sickning sunctions steal.
So, when the chilling east invades the spring,
The delicate Narcijsus pines away
In hectic languor; and a How disease
Taints all the family of flow'rs, condemn'd
To cruel heav'ns. But why, already prone
To fade, should beauty cherish its own bane?
O fliame! O pity! nipt with pale quadrille,
And midnight cam, the bloom of Albion die* (

He then points out the reason why those who labour obtain so much refreshment from sleep, while the indolent hardly sind any relief.

By toil subdu'd, the warrior and the hind
Sleep fast and deep: their active sunctions soon
With generous streams the subtile tubes supply ;.
And soon the tonick irritable nerves
Feel the fresh impulse and awake the soul.
The sons of Indolence, with long repose,
Grow torpid; and with slowest Letle drunk.
Feebly and lingringly return to lise,
tknt every sense, and pow'rless every limb.

This passage he concludes, by recommending a hard matrass, or elastic couch, to those who are too much prone to sleep, in order to wean them from sloth. But he justly observes, that some people require more, others less sleep, and that all changes of this sort are to be brought about by ge-ntle means. And

Slow as the shadow o'er the dial moves,
Slow as the stealing progress of the year.

As it was necessary under this article to fay something about cloathing the body, the author makes a sew just observations on the variations of the seasons; which he concludes with these lines.

. The cold and torrid reigns,

The two great periods of th' important year,

Are in their sirst approaches seldom fase:

Funereal autumn all the sickly dread,

And the black fates desorm the lovely spring.

He well advis'd who taught our wiser sires

Early to borrow Muscovy's warm spoils,

Ere the sirst frost has touch'1 d the tender blade;

And late resign them,, tho' the wanton spring

Should deck her charms with all her sister's rays

For while the esfluence of the skin maintains

Its native measure, the pleuritic spring

Glides harmless by; and autumn, sick to death

With fallow quartans, no contagion breathes.

We have already observed, that allusions to ancient fables or historical facts have a sine effect in preceptive poems. In this before us the author, when considering the disferent shapes in which death approaches the human race, takes notice of the blood spilt by the Plantagencts, and of the sweating sickness, which swept off such amazir g numbers of Englijhmen in every clime, and of Englijhmen only; for foreigners, tho' residing in this country, were no ways affected with that disorder: and this, tho' a subject incapable, as it were, of ornament, he has wrought up with so much art, that it is both pathetic and pleasing.

What he has faid on the passions, the subject of the fourth book, begins with the following reslection, which is truly philosophical, and very properly introduces the sentiments that follow it.

There is, they fay, (and I believe there is)
A spark within us of th' immortal sire,

That animates and moulds the grosser frame;

And when the body sinks escapes to heav'n,

Its native seat, and mixes with the Gods.

Mean while this heav'nly particle pervades

The mortal elements, in every nerve

It thrills with pleasure, or grows mad with pain,

And, in its secret conclave, as it seels

The body's woes and joys, this ruling power

Wields at its will the dull material world.

And is the body's health or malady.

By its own toil the gross corporeal frame
Fatigues, extenuates, or destroys itself.
Nor less the labours of the mind corrode
The solid fabric: for by subtle parts,
And viewless atoms, secret nature moves
The mighty wheels of this stupendous world.
By subtle fluids pour'd thro' subtle tubes
The natural, vital, sunctions are perform'd.
By these the stubborn aliments are tam'd;
'J lie toiling heart distributes lise and strength;
These the still-crumbling frame rebuild; and these
Are lost in thinking, and dissolve in air.

But 'tis not thought, as he observes, (for every moment the mind is employ'd) 'tis painsul thinking ; 'tis the anxiety that attends severe study, discontent, care, love, hatred, sear and jealousy, that fatigues the foul and impairs the body.

Hence the lean gloom that melancholy wears;
The lover's paleness ; and the fallow hue
Of envy, jealousy; the meagre stare
Of sore revenge: the canker'd body hence
Betrays each sretsul motion of the mind.

For reading he gives us a precept that may be extremely usesul to the studious.

While reading pleases, but no longer, read;
And read aloud resounding Homers strain,
And wield the thunder of Demofibeties.
The chest so exercis'd improves its strength;

« AnteriorContinuar »