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ESSAY XXX. OF REGIMEN OF HEALTH.

TH
HERE is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic: a

man's own observation, what he finds good of,' and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health; but it is a safer conclusion to say, “This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it,' than this, I find no offence of this, therefore I may use it:' for strength of nature in youth passeth over many excesses which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it; for it is a secret, both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one.

Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like, and try, in anything thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little ; but so as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again ; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, and fit for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat* and sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, anger, fretting inwards, subtle and knotty inquisitions, joys and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it; if you make it

Of. From. See page 283. : Offence. Hurt; damage. (Now seldom applied to physical injury.) The pains of the touch are greater than the offences of other senses.'— Bacon.

"To do offence and scath in Christendom.'--Shakespere. As. That. See page 23. 4 Meat. Food ; meals.

* As he sat at his meat, the music played sweet.'-Old Balladh

9

too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend' rather some diet for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom; for those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. Despise no new accident in your body, but ask opinion of it. In sickness, respect health principally, and in health, action; for those that put their bodies to endure in health, may in most sicknesses which are not very sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering. Celsus could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise man withal, when he giveth it for one of the great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary and interchange contraries, but with an inclination to the more benign extreme; use fasting and full eating, but rather full eating; watching and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and the like; so shall nature be cherished and yet taught masteries. Physicians are some of them so pleasing and conformable to the humour of the patient, as they press not the true cure of the disease ; and some others are so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. Take one of a middle temper, or, if it may not be found in one man, combine two of either* sort; and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty.

ANNOTATIONS.

It is remarkable that Bacon should have said nothing in this Essay, of early and late hours; though it is a generally received opinion that early hours are conducive to longevity. There is a proverb that

* Early to bed, and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, and wealthy, and wise.'

1 Commend. To recommend. 'I commend unto you Phæbe, our sister.'Romans xvi. 1.

* Respect. Have regard to. “In judgment seats, not man's qualities, but causes only ought to be respected.'— Kettleworth.

8 As. That. See page 23.
• Either. Each. On either side of the river.'-Rev. xxii. 2.

And this is the more remarkable as being the proverb of a nation whose hours are the latest of any.

It is reported of some judge, that whenever a witness came before him of extraordinary age (as is often the case when evidence is required relative to some remote period) he always inquired into the man's habits of life; and it is said that he found the greatest differences between them (some temperate, and others free-livers; some active, and some sedentary), except in the one point that they were all early risers.

On the connection between early hours and longevity, the late Mr. Davison wittily remarked that this may be the meaning of the fabled marriage of Tithonus and Aurora. “Longa Tithonum minuit senectus.' Some have said, that this matter admits of easy explanation. As men grow old they find themselves tired early in the evening, and accordingly retire to rest; and hence, in the morning, they find themselves wakeful, and rise.' Now, if it be stated as an ultimate fact, not to be accounted for, that those who have kept late hours in their youth, adopt, from inclination, early hours as they grow old, then this statement, whether true or false (and it is one which would not be generally admitted), is at least intelligible. But if it be offered as an explanation, it seems like saying that the earth stands on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise again, on the earth. An old man rises early because he had gone to bed early: and he goes to bed early, because he had risen early!

Some, when dissuading you from going to bed late, will urge that it is bad to have too little sleep; and when advising you not to lie a-bed late, will urge that it is bad to have too much sleep; not considering that early or late hours, if they do but correspond with themselves, as to the times of retiring and rising, have nothing to do with the quantity of sleep. For if one man goes to bed at ten, and rises at six, and another

goes to bed at two in the morning, and rises at ten, each has the same number of hours in bed. If the one of these is (as is generally believed) more healthful than the other, it must be from some different cause.

If the prevailing belief be correct, it would seem that there must be some mysterious connexion between the human frame, and the earth's rotation. And this is further indicated by that

instinctive perception which most people have, in certain cases, of the rest-time. It is well known that any one who has been long accustomed to rise at a certain hour, will usually wake at that hour, whatever may have been the time of his going to bed. It might have been expected that one who had been used to a certain number of hours' sleep, would, if on some occasion he retired to rest an hour or two earlier, or later, than usual, wake so much the earlier, or later, when he had had the accustomed time of sleep. But the fact is generally otherwise. He will be likely to wake neither before nor after the accustomed hour.

This, again, may be relied on as a fact: a student at one of the universities, finding that his health was suffering from hard study and late hours, took to rising at five and going to bed at ten, all the year round; and found his health—though he read as hard as ever-manifestly improved. But he found himself unable to compose anything in the morning, though he could take in the sense of an author equally well. And having to write for a prize, he could not get his thoughts to flow till just about his usual bedtime. Thinking that this might have something to do with the digestion, he took to dining two hours earlier, in the hopes that then eight o'clock would be to him the same as ten. But it made no difference. And after persevering in vain attempts for some time, he altered his hours, and for one week, till he had finished his essay, sat up and wrote at night, and lay a-bed in the morning. He could revise and correct in the day-time what he had written; but could not compose except at night. When his essay was finished, he returned to his early habits.

Now this is a decisive answer to those who say it is all custom; you write better at night, because that is the time you have been accustomed to employ for study; for here the custom was just the reverse. And equally vain is the explanation, that the night hours are quiet, and you are sure of having no interruption. For this student was sure of being quite free from interruption from five o'clock till chapel-time at eight. And the streets were much more still then than at inidnight. And again : any explanation connected with daylight breaks down equally. For, as far as that is concerned, in the winter-time it makes no difference wliether you have three hours more candle-light in the earlier part of the night or before sunrise.

There is a something that remains to be explained, and it is better to confess ignorance than to offer an explanation that explains nothing.

One other circumstance connected with hours has not been hitherto accounted for-namely, the sudden cold which comes on just at the first peep of dawn. Some say the earth is gradually cooling after the sun has set, and consequently the cold must have reached its height just before the return of the sun.

This theory sounds plausible to those who have had little or no personal experience of daybreak; but it does not agree with the fact. The cold does not gradually increase during the night; but the temperature grows alternately warmer and colder, according as the sky is clouded or clear. And all who have been accustomed to night-travelling must have often experienced many such alternations in a single night. And they also find that the cold at day-break comes on very suddenly: so much so, that in spring and autumn it often happens that it catches the earth-worms, which on mild nights lie out of their holes: and you may often see a whole grass-plat strewed with their frozen bodies in a frosty morning. If the cold had not come on very suddenly, they would have had time to withdraw into their holes.

And any one who is accustomed to go out before daylight will often, in the winter, find the roads full of liquid mud halfan-hour before dawn, and by sunrise as hard as a rock. Then those who had been in bed will often observe that it was a hard frost last night,' when in truth there had been no frost at all till day-break.

Who can explain all these phenomena ? The subject is so curious, that the digression into which it has led, will, I trust, be pardoned.

A8 for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid ...

Of persons who have led a temperate life, those will have the best chance of longevity who have done hardly anything else but live ;—what may be called the neuter verbs—not active or passive, but only being : who have had little to do, little to

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