« PreviousContinue »
When fainting nature call'd for aid,
And hov'ring death prepar'd the blow, His vig'rous remedy display'd
The pow'r of art without the show.
His virtues walk d their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void; And sure th' Eternal Master found
The single talent well employ'd.
The busy day—the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by ; His frame was firm—his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.
In Misery's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh, Where hopeless Anguish pour'd his groan,
And lonely Want retir'd to die. No summons mock'd by chill delay,
No petty gain disdain'd by pride, The modest wants of ev'ry day
The toil of ev'ry day supplied.
Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
No cold gradations of decay, Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.
JOHN ARMSTRONG, a physician and poet, was superior merit. Its topics are judiciously chosen born about 1709 at Castleton in Roxburghshire, from all those which can add grace or beauty to a where his father was the parish minister. He was difficult subject; and as he was naturally gifted brought up to the medical profession, which he with a musical ear, his lines are scarcely ever harsh. studied at the university of Edinburgh, where he In 1760 Dr. Armstrong had interest enough to took his degrees. He settled in London in the double obtain the appointment of physician to the army in capacity of physician and man of letters, and he Germany, which he retained till its return. He then rendered himself known by writings in each. In resumed his practice in London; but his habits and 1744 his capital work, the didactic poem entitled manners opposed an insurmountable bar against "The Art of preserving Health," made its appear-popular success. He possessed undoubted abilities, ance, and raised his literary reputation to a height but a morbid sensibility preyed on his temper, and which his subsequent publications scarcely sustained. his intellectual efforts were damped by a languid It has therefore been selected for this work; and it listlessness. He died in September, 1779, leaving may be affirmed, that of the class to which it be- considerable savings from a very moderate income. longs, scarcely any English performance can claim
ART OF PRESERVING HEALTH.
DAUGHTER of Pæon, queen of every joy,
* Hygeia, the goddess of health, was, according to the genealogy of the heathen deities, the daughter of Esculapius; who, as well as Apollo, was distinguished by the
name of Pæon.
They fly thy pure effulgence: they and all
How best the fickle fabric to support Of mortal man; in healthful body how A healthful mind the longest to maintain." "Tis hard, in such a strife of rules, to choose The best, and those of most extensive use; Harder in clear and animated song Dry philosophic precepts to convey. Yet with thy aid the secret wilds I trace Of Nature, and with daring steps proceed Through paths the Muses never trod before.
Nor should I wander doubtful of my way, Had I the lights of that sagacious mind Which taught to check the pestilential fire, And quell the deadly Python of the Nile. O thou belov'd by all the graceful arts, Thou long the fav'rite of the healing powers, Indulge, O Mead! a well-design'd essay, Howe'er imperfect; and permit that I My little knowledge with my country share, Till you the rich Asclepian stores unlock, And with new graces dignify the theme.
Ye who amid this feverish world would wear Convulsive yawnings, lassitude, and pains A body free of pain, of cares a mind;
That sting the burden'd brows, fatigue the loins, Fly the rank city, shun its turbid air;
And rack the joints, and every torpid limb; Breathe not the chaos of eternal smoke
Then parching heat succeeds, till copious sweats And volatile corruption, from the dead,
O'erflow: a short relief from former ills The dying, sick'ning, and the living world Beneath repeated shocks the wretches pine, Exhald, to sully Heaven's transparent dome The vigor sinks, the habit melts away: With dim mortality. It is not air
The cheerful, pure, and animated bloom That from a thousand lungs reeks back to thine, Dies from the face, with squalid atrophy Sated with exhalations rank and fell,
Devour'd, in sallow melancholy clad. The spoil of dunghills, and the putrid thaw And oft the sorceress, in her sated wrath, of nature; when from shape and texture she Resigns them to the furies of her train: Relapses into fighting elements :
The bloated Hydrops, and the yellow Fiend It is not air, but floats a nauseous mass
Ting'd with her own accumulated gall. Of all obscene, corrupt, offensive things.
In quest of sites, avoid the mournful plain Much moisture hurts; but here a sordid bath, Where osiers thrive, and trees that love the lake; With oily rancor fraught, relaxes more
Where many lazy muddy rivers flow: The solid frame than simple moisture can. Nor for the wealth that all the Indies roll, Besides, immur'd in many a sullen bay
Fix near the marshy margin of the main. That never felt freshness of the breeze, For from the humid soil and wat'ry reign This slumb'ring deep remains, and ranker grows Eternal vapors rise; the spongy air With sickly rest: and (though the lungs abhor For ever weeps : or, turgid with the weight To drink the dun fuliginous abyss)
Of waters, pours a sounding deluge down. Did not the acid vigor of the mine,
Skies such as these let every mortal shun Rollid from so many thundering chimneys, tame Who dreads the dropsy, palsy, or the gout, The putrid steams that overswarm the sky; Tertian, corrosive scurvy, or moist catarrh ; This caustic venom would perhaps corrode Or any other injury that grows Those tender cells that draw the vital air, From raw-spun fibres idle and unstrung, In vain with all the unctuous rills bedew'd; Skin ill-perspiring, and the purple flood Or by the drunken venous tubes, that yawn In languid eddies loitering into phlegm. In countless pores o'er all the pervious skin
Yet not alone from humid skies we pine; Imbib'd, would poison the balsamic blood, For air may be too dry. The subtle Heaven, And rouse the heart to every fever's rage. That winnows into dust the blasted downs, While yet you breathe, away; the rural wilds Bare and extended wide without a stream, Invite; the mountains call you, and the vales; Too fast imbibes th' attenuated lymph, The woods, the streams, and each ambrosial breeze Which, by the surface, from the blood exhales. That fans the ever-undulating sky;
The lungs grow rigid, and with toil essay A kindly sky! whose fost'ring power regales Their flexible vibrations! or inflam'd, Man, beast, and all the vegetable reign.
Their tender ever-moving structure thaws. Find then some woodland scene where Nature smiles Spoil'd of its limpid vehicle, the blood Benign, where all her honest children thrive. A mass of lees remains, a drossy tide To us there wants not many a happy seat! That slow as Lethe wanders through the veins Look round the smiling land, such numbers rise Unactive in the services of life, We hardly fix, bewilderd in our choice.
Unfit to lead its pitchy current through See where, enthron'd in adamantine state,
The secret mazy channels of the brain. Proud of her bards, imperial Windsor sits ; The melancholic fiend (that worst despair Where choose thy seat, in some aspiring grove Of physic) hence the rust-complexion'd man Fast by the slowly-winding Thames; or where Pursues, whose blood is dry, whose fibres gain Broader she laves fair Richmond's green retreats, Too stretch'd a tone; and hence in climes adust (Richmond, that sees an hundred villas rise
So sudden tumults seize the trembling nerves, Rural or gay.) O! from the summer's rage, And burning fevers glow with double rage. 0! wrap me in the friendly gloom that hides Fly, if you can, these violent extremes Umbrageous Ham!-But if the busy town Of air; the wholesome is nor moist nor dry. Attract thee still to toil for power or gold, But as the power of choosing is denied Sweetly thou may'st thy vacant hours possess To half mankind, a further task ensues ; In Hampstead, courted by the western wind; How best to mitigate these fell extremes, Or Greenwich, wäving o'er the winding flood ; How breathe unhurt the withering element, Or lose the world amid the sylvan wilds
Or hazy atmosphere ; though custom moulds Of Dulwich, yet by barbarous arts unspoil'd. To every clime the soft Promethean clay; Green rise the Kentish hills in cheerful air; And he who first the fogs of Essex breath'd But on the marshy plains that Lincoln spreads (So kind is native air) may in the fens Build not, nor rest too long thy wandering feet. Of Essex from inveterate ills revive, For on a rustic throne of dewy turf,
At pure Montpelier or Bermuda caught. With baneful fogs her aching temples bound, But if the raw and oozy Heaven offend; Quartana there presides; a meagre fiend Correct the soil, and dry the sources up Begot by Eurus, when his brutal force
Of wat'ry exhalation : wide and deep Compress'd the slothful Naiad of the fens. Conduct your trenches through the quaking bog; From such a mixture sprung, this fitful pest Solicitous, with all your winding arts, With fev'rish blasts subdues the sick’ning land : Betray the unwilling lake into the stream; Cold tremors come, with mighty love of rest, And weed the forest, and invoke the winds
To break the toils where strangled vapors lie; Meantime, the moist malignity to shun
While with umbrageous oaks the ridge behind Disarm the dangers of the dropping sky,
O'erhung, desends you from the blust'ring North, Unless with exercise and manly toil
And bleak affliction of the peevish East. You brace your nerves, and spur the lagging blood. Oh! when the growling winds contend, and all The fatt'ning clime let all the sons of ease The sounding forest fluctuates in the storm ; Avoid ; is indolence would wish to live,
To sink in warm repose, and hear the din Go, yawn and loiter out the long slow year Howl o'er the steady battlements, delights In fairer skies. If droughty regions parch Above the luxury of vulgar sleep. The skin and lungs, and bake the thick’ning blood; The murmuring rivulet, and the hoarser strain Deep in the waving forest choose your seat, Of waters rushing o'er the slippery rocks, Where fuming trees refresh the thirsty air; Will nightly lull you to ambrosial rest. And wake the fountains from their secret beds, To please the fancy is no trilling good, and into lakes dilate their rapid stream.
Where health is studied; for whatever moves Here spread your gardens wide ; and let the cool, The mind with calm delight, promotes the just The moist relaxing vegetable store
And natural movements of th’ harmonious frame. Prevail in each repast : your food supplied Besides, the sportive brook for ever shakes By bleeding life, be gently wasted down,
The trembling air, that floats from hill to hill, By soft decoction and a mellowing heat,
From vale to mountain, with incessant change To liquid balm ; or, if the solid mass
Of purest element, refreshing still
High on the breezy ridge, whose lofty sides
Th' ethereal deep with endless billows chases. Its nectar acid or benign will pour
His purer mansion nor contagious years
But may no fogs, from lake or fenny plain,
Let lofty ceilings grace your ample rooms;
At every window drink the liquid sky. Till black with thunder all the South descends.
Need we the sunny situation here, Scarce in a showerless day the Heavens indulge And theatres open to the South, commend ? Our melting clime ; except the baleful East Here, where the morning's misty breath intests Withers the tender spring, and sourly checks More than the torrid noon? How sickly grow, The fancy of the year. Our fathers talk How pale, the plants in those ill-fated vales, Of summers, balmy air, and skies serene.
That, circled round with the gigantic heap Good Heaven! for what unexpiated crimes Of mountains, never felt, nor ever hope This dismal change! the brooding elements, To feel, the genial vigor of the Sun! Do they, your powerful ministers of wrath, While on the neighboring hill the rose inflames Prepare some fierce exterminating plague ? The verdant spring; in virgin beauty blows Or is it fix'd in the decrees above
The tender lily, languishingly sweet: That lofty Albion melt into the main ?
O'er every hedge the wanton woodbine roves, ludulgent Nature! O dissolve this gloom! And autumn ripens in the summer's ray. Bind in eternal adamant the winds
Nor less the warmer living tribes demand
* The wild rose, or that which grows on the common The year; not mix in every monstrous day. brier.
Dwells not in mortal fire; whose gen'rous heat Readiest obeys th' assimilating powers;
In youth and sanguine vigor let him die;
Absolve him ill-requited from the yoke.
Some with high forage, and luxuriant ease,
Indulge the veteran ox; but wiser thou,
From the bald mountain or the barren downs, DIET.
Expect the flocks by frugal Nature fed ;
A race of purer blood, with exercise ENOUGII of air. A desert subject now,
Refind and scanty fare : for, old or young, Rougher and wilder, rises to my sight.
The stallid are never healthy ; nor the crammd. A barren waste, where not a garland grows Not all the culinary arts can tame To bind the Muse's brow; not ev'n a proud To wholesome food, the abominable growth Stupendo is solitude frowns o'er the heath, of rest and gluttony; the prudent taste To rouse a noble horror in the soul:
Rejects like bane such lothesome lusciousness. But rugged paths fatigue, and error leads The languid stomach curses even the pure Through endless labyrinths the devious feet. Delicious fat, and all the race of oil : Farewell, ethereal fields ! the humbler arts For more the oily aliments relax Of lise ; the table and the homely gods
Its feeble tone; and with the eager lymph Demand my song. Elysian gales, adieu !
(Fond to incorporate with all it meets) The blood, the fountain whence the spirits flow, Coyly they mix, and shun with slippery wiles The generous stream that waters every part, The woo'd embrace. Th'irresoluble oil, And motion, vigor, and warm life conveys So gentle late and blandishing, in floods To every particle that moves or lives;
Of rancid bile o'erflows: what tumults hence, This vital fluid, through unnumber'd tubes
What horrors rise, were nauseous to relate. Pour'd by the heart, and to the heart again Choose leaner viands, ye whose jovial make Refunded ; scourg'd for ever round and round; Too fast the gummy nutriment imbibes : Enrag'd with heat and toil, at last forgets Choose sober meals; and rouse to active lise Its balmy nature ; virulent and thin
Your cumbrous clay; nor on the enfeebling down, It grows; and now, but that a thousand gates Irresolule, protract the morning hours. Are open to its flight, it would destroy
But let the man whose bones are thinly clad, The parts it cherish'd and repair'd before. With cheerful ease and succulent repast Besides, the flexible and tender tubes
Improve his habit if he can; for each Melt in the mildest most nectareous tide
Extreme departs from perfect sanity. That ripening Nature rolls; as in the stream
I could relate what table this demands, Its crumbling banks; but what the force Or that complexion; what the various power Of plastic fluids hourly batters down,
of various foods: but fifty years would roll, That very force, those plastic particles
And fifty more before the tale were done. Rebuild : : so mutable the state of man.
Besides, there often lurks some nameless, strange, For this the watchful appetite was given,
Peculiar thing ; nor on the skin display'd, Daily with fresh materials to repair
Felt in the pulse, nor in the habit seen; This unavoidable expense of life,
Which finds a poison in the food that most This necessary waste of Aesh and blood.
The temp'rature affects. There are, whose blood Hence, the concoctive powers, with various art, Impetuous rages through the turgid veins, Subdue the cruder aliments to chyle;
Who better bear the fiery fruits of India The chyle to blood ; the foamy purple tide Than the moist melon, or pale cucumber. To liquors, which through finer arteries
Of chilly nature others fly the board To different parts their winding course pursue ; Supplied with slaughter, and the vernal powers To try new changes, and new forms put on, For cooler, kinder sustenance implore. Or for the public, or some private use.
Some even the generous nutriment detest Nothing so foreign but th' athletic hind
Which, in the shell, the sleeping embryo rears. Can labor into blood. The hungry meal Some, more unhappy still, repent the gifts Alone he fears, or aliments too thin;
Of Pales; soft, delicious and benign: By violent powers too easily subdu'd,
The balmy quintessence of every flower, Too soon expell'd. His daily labor thaws, And every grateful herb that decks the spring ; To friendly chyle, the most rebellious mass The fost'ring dew of tender sprouting life ; That salt can harden, or the smoke of years;
The best refection of declining age; Nor does his gorge the luscious bacon rue, The kind restorative of those who lie Nor that which Cestria sends, tenacious pasto Half dead and panting, from the doubtful strife Of solid milk. But ye of softer clay,
Of nature struggling in the grasp of death.
Try all the bounties of this fertile globe,
As suits with every stomach. But (except,
Amid the mingled mass of fish and fowl, Grow wiser, lessen'd by the dropping teeth. And boild and bak’d, you hesitate by which
Half subtiliz'd to chyle, the liquid food You sunk oppress'd, or whether not by all)