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In study some protract the Glent hours,
Which others consecrate to mirth and wine
And Neep till noon, and hardly live till night..
But surely this redeems not from the shades
One hour of life.
The body, fresh and vigorous from repose,
Defies the early fogs : but, by the toils
Of wakeful day, exhausted and unstrung,
Weakly refifts the night's unwholesome breath.
The grand discharge, th' effufion of the kin,
Slowly impair'd, the languid maladies
Creep on, and thro' the lickning functions steal.
So, when the chilling east invades the spring,
The delicate Narcisus pines away
In hectic languor; and a now diseafe
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 same ! O pity! nipe with pale quadrille,
And midnight cares, the bloom of Albion dies !
He then points out the reason why those who labour obtain so much refreshment from seep, while the indolent hardly find any relief.
By toil subdu'd, the warrior and the hind
Sleep fast and deep: their active functions soon
With generous Areams the subtile tubes supply :
And soon the tonick irritable nerves
Feel the fresh impulse and awake the soul.
The fons of Indolence, with long repose,
Grow torpid; and with flowest Lethe drunk,
Feebly and lingringly return to life,
Elunt every senie, 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 Noth. But he justly observes, that some people require more, others less Neep, and that all changes of this sort are to be brought about by gentle 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 say something about cloathing the body, the author makes a few 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 first approaches seldom safe :
Funereal autumn all the sickly dread,
And the black fates deform the lovely spring.
He well advis'd who taught our wiser fires
Early to borrow Muscovy's warm spoils,
Ere the first frost has touch'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 effluence of the skin maintains
Its native measure, the pleuritic spring
Glides harmless by ; and autumn, fick to death
With sallow quartans, no contagion breathes.
We have already observed, that allusions to ancient fables or historical facts have a fine effect in preceptive poems. In this before us the author, when considering the different shapes in which death approaches the human race, takes notice of the blood spilt by the Plantagenets, and of the sweating sickness, which swept off such amazirg numbers of Englishmen in every clime, and of Englishnien 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 said on the parlions, the subject of the fourth book, begins with the following reflection, which is truly philosophical, and very properly introduces the sentiments that follow it.
There is, they say, (and I believe there is) A spark within us of th' immortal fire,
That animates and moulds the grosser frame ;
And when the body finks 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 feels
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 defroys 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, functions are perform’d.
By these the stubborn aliments are tam'd ;
The toiling heart diftributes life and strength ;
These the ftill-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 painful thinking ; 'tis the anxiety that attends severe study, discontent, care, love, hatred, fear 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
Of sore revenge : the canker'd body hence
Betrays each fretful motion of the mind.
for reading he gives us a precept
may tremely useful to the studious.
While reading pleases, but no longer, read;
And read aloud resounding Homer's strain,
And wield the thunder of Demofthenes.
The chest so exercis'd improves its strength ;
And quick vibrations thro' the bowels drive
The restless blood, which in unactive days
Would loiter else thro'unelastic tubes.
Deem it not trifling while I recommend
What posture suits : To stand and fit by turns,
As nature prompts, is best
. But o'er your leaves
To lean for ever, cramps the vital parts,
And robs the fine machinery of its play.
'Tis the great art of life to manage well
The restless mind. For ever on pursuit
Of knowledge bent, it farves the grofler powers :
Quite unemploy'd, against its own repose
It turns.its fatal edge, and sharper pangs
Than what the body knows embitter life.
After this the poet gives us a striking picture of the dreadful effects of our misguided passions, which is heightened with many admirable reflections, some of which I shall here insert.
For while yourself you anxiously explore,
Timorous self love, with fickning fancy's aid,
Presents the danger that you dread the moit,
And ever galls you in your tender part.
Hence some for love, and some for jealousy,
For grim religion fome, and some for pride,
Have lost their reason : fome for fear of want,
Want all their lives; and others every day
For fear of dying suffer worse than death.
And what avails it, that indulgent heaven
wrapt the woes to come ;
If we, ingenious to torment ourselves,
Grow pale at hideous fi&ions of our own ?
Enjoy the present ; nor with needless cares,
Of what may spring from blind misfortune's womb,
Appal the surest hour that life bestows.
Serene, and mafter of yourself, prepare
For what may come ; and leave the reft to heav'u.
And those chronic passions which spring from real woes, and from no disorder in the body, are not to be season'd down, as he observes, but to be cured by such
diversions or business as will fill the mind, or remove it from the object of its concern.
Go, soft enthusiast ! quit the cypress groves,
Nor to the rivulet's lonely moanings tune
Your fad complaint. Go, seek the chearful haunts
Of men, and mingle with the bustling croud;
Lay schemes for weaith, or power, or fame, the with
of nobler minds, and push them night and day.
Or join the caravan in quest of scenes
New to your eyes, and shifting every hour.
He then inveighs against drinking, the common resource in disorders of this kind, and observes, that, tho' the intoxicating draught may relieve for a time; the pains will return with ten-fold rage. And this he illustrates with a beautiful fimile.
But soon your heav'n is gone, a heavier gloom
Shuts o'er your head : and, as the thund'ring stream,
Swoln o'er its banks with sudden mountain rain,
Sinks from its tumult to a filent brook
Sng when the frantic raptures in
Subfide, you languish into mortal man ;
You seep, and waking find yourself undone.
For prodigal of life in one rash night
You lavilh'd more than might support three days.
He then points out the mischiefs that attend drunkenness ; such as losing friends by unguarded words, or doing rash deeds that are never to be forgotten (but which may haunt a man with horror to his grave) the loss of money, health and decay of parts; and then pays a grateful filial tribute to the memory of his father; whose advice on the conduct of life he thus recommends.
How to live happiest ; how avoid the pains,
The disappointments, and disgusts of those
Who would in pleasure all their hours employ ;
The precepts here of a divine old man
I could recite. Tho' old, he still retained
His manly fenfe, and energy of mind.