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ARMSTRONG-A.D. 1709-79.




Daughter of Pæon, queen of every joy, Hygeia ; whose indulgent smile sustains The various race luxuriant nature pours, And on th' immortal essences bestows Immortal youth ; auspicious, O descend! Thou cheerful guardian of the rolling year, Whether thou wanton’st on the western gale, Or shak’st the rigid pinions of the north, Diffusest life and vigour through the tracts Of air, through earth, and ocean's deep domain. When through the blue serenity of heaven Thy power approaches, all the wasteful host Of pain and sickness, squalid and deform’d, Confounded sink into the lothesome gloom, Where in deep Erebus involv'd the fiends Grow more profane. Whatever shapes of death, Shook from the hideous chambers of the globe, Swarm through the shudd'ring air: whatever

Or meagre famine breeds, or with slow wings
Rise from the putrid watery element,
The damp waste forest, motionless and rank,
That smothers earth and all the breathless winds,
Or the vile carnage of th’inhuman field:
Whatever baneful breathes the rotteu south;
Whatever ills th' extremes or sudden change
Of cold and hot, or moist and dry produce;
They fly thy pure effulgence: they and all
The secret poisons of avenging heaven,
And all the pale tribes halting in the train
Of vice and heedless pleasure; or if aught
The comet's glare amid the burning sky,
Mournful eclipse, or planets ill-combin'd,
Portend disastrous to the vital world ;
Thy salutary power averts their rage,
Averts the general bane: and but for thee
Nature would sicken, nature soon would die.

Without thy cheerful active energy
No rapture swells the breast, no poet sings,
No more the maids of Helicon delight.
Come then with me, O goddess heavenly gay!
Begin the song; and let it sweetly flow,
And let it wisely teach thy wholesome laws:
“ 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, 0 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 diguify the theme.

Ye who amid this feverish world would wear
A body free of pain, of cares a mind,
Fly the rank city, shun its turbid air;
Breathe not the chaos of eternal smoke
And volatile corruption, from the dead,
The dying, sick’ning, end the living world
Exhal'd, to sully heaven's transparent dome
With dim mortality. It is not air
That from a thousand lungs reeks back to this,
Sated with exhalations rank and fell,
The spoil of dunghills, and the putrid thaw
'of nature; when from shape and texture she
Relapses into fighting elements :
It is not air, but floats a nauseous mass
Of all obscene, corrupt, offensive things.
Much moisture hurts; but here a sordid bath,
With oily rancour fraught, relaxes more
The solid frame than simple moisture can.
Besides, immur'd in many a sullen bay
That never felt the freshness of the breeze,
This slumbʼring deep remains, and ranker grows
With sickly rest: and (though the lungs abhor
To drink the dun fuliginous abyss)
Did not the acid vigour of the mine,
Roll’d from so many thund'ring chimnies, tame
The putrid steams that overswarm the sky;
This caustic venom would perhaps corrode
Those tender cells that draw the vital air,
In vain with all their unctuous rills bedew'd;
Or by the drunken venous tubes, that yawn
In countless pores o'er all the pervious skin
Imbib’d, would poison the balsamic blood,
And rouse the heart to every fever's rage.
While yet you breathe, away; the rural wilds
Invite ; the mountains call you, and the vales,
The woods, the streams, and each ambrosial breeze

That fans the ever undulating sky;

Skin ill-perspiring, and the purple flood A kindly sky! whose fost'ring power regales In languid eddies loitering into phlegm. Man, beast, and all the vegetable reign.

Yet not alone from humid skies we pine;
Find then some woodland scene where nature smiles For air may be too dry. The subtle heaven,
Benign, where all her honest children thrive. That winnows into dust the blasted downs,
To us there wants not many a happy seat!

Bare and extended wide without a stream,
Look round the smiling land, such numbers rise Too fast imbibes th' attenuated lymph,
We hardly fix, bewilderd in our choice;

Which, by the surface, from the blood exhales. See where enthron’d in adamantine state,

The lungs grow rigid, and with toil essay
Proud of her bards, imperial Windsor sits ;

Their flexible vibrations; or, inflam’d,
There choose thy seat, in some aspiring grove Their tender ever-moving structure thaws.
Fast by the slowly-winding Thames; or where Spoil'd of its limpid vehicle, the blood
Broader she laves fair Richmond's green retreats, A mass of lees remains, a drossy tide
(lli chmond that sees an hundred villas rise

That slow as Lethe wanders through the veins: Rural or gay.) O! from the summer's rage,

Unactive in the services of life, 0! wrap me in the friendly gloom that hides Unfit to lead its pitchy current through Um brageous Ham!-But, if the busy town

The secret mazy channels of the brain. Att ract thee still to toil for power or gold,

The melancholic fiend (that worst despair Sweetly thou mayst thy vacant hours possess of physic) hence the rust-complexion'd man In Hampstead, courted by the western wind; Pursues, whose blood is dry, whose fibres gain Or Greenwich, waving o'er the winding flood; Too stretch'd a tone: and hence in climes adust Or lose the world amid the sylvan wilds

So sudden tumults seize the trembling nerves, Of Dulwich, yet by barbarous arts unspoil'd. And burning fevers glow with double rage. Green rise the Kentish hills in cheerful air;

Fly, if you can, these violent extremes
But on the marshy plains that Lincoln spreads Of air: the wholesome is nor moist nor dry.
Build not, nor rest too long thy wand'ring feet. But as the power of choosing is deny'd
For on a rustic throne of dewy turf,

To half mankind, a further task ensues ;
With baneful fogs her aching temples bound, How best to mitigate these fell extremes,
Quartana there presides; a meagre fiend

How breathe, unhurt, the withering element, Begot by Eurus, when his brutal force

Or hazy atmosphere: though custom moulds Compress'd the slothful naiad of the fens.

To ev'ry clime the soft Promethean clay; From such a mixture sprung, this fitful pest

And he who first the fogs of Essex breath'd With fev'rish blasts subdues the sick’ning land: (So kind his native air) may in the fens Cold tremors come, with mighty love of rest, Of Essex from inveterate ills revive, Convulsive yawnings, lassitude, and pains

At pure Montpelier or Bermuda caught. That sting the burden'd brows, fatigue the loins, But if the raw and oozy heaven offend, And rack the joints and every torpid limb;

Correct the soil, and dry the sources up Then parching heat succeeds, till copious sweats Of watery exhalation : wide and deep O'erflow: a short relief from former ills.

Conduct your trenches through the quaking bog; Beneath repeated shocks the wretches pine;

Solicitous, with all your winding arts, The vigour sinks, the habit melts away;

Betray th' unwilling lake into the stream; The cheerful, pure, and animated bloom

And weed the forest, and invoke the winds Dies from the face, with squalid atrophy

To break the toils where strangled vapours lie; Devour'd, in sallow melancholy clad.

Or through the thickets send the crackling flames. And oft the sorceress, in her sated wrath,

Meantime, at home, with cheerful fires dispel Resigns them to the furies of her train;

The humid air: and let your table smoke The bloated hydrops; and the yellow fiend, With solid roast or bak'd; or what the herds Ting'd with her own accumulated gall.

Of tamer breed supply; or what the wilds In quiest of sites, avoid the mournful plain

Yield to the toilsome pleasures of the chase. Where osiers thrive, and trees that love the lake; Generous your wine, the boast of rip'ning years ; Where many lazy muddy rivers flow:

But frugal be your cups: the languid frame, Nor, for the wealth that all the Indies roll,

Vapid and sunk from yesterday's debauch, Fix near the marshy margin of the main :

Shrinks from the cold embrace of watery heavens. For from the humid soil and wat'ry reign

But neither these, nor all Apollo's arts,
Eternal vapours rise; the spungy air

Disarm the dangers of the drooping sky,
For ever weeps: or, turgid with the weight Unless with exercise and manly toil
Of waters, pours a sounding deluge down.

You brace your nerves, and spur the lagging blood. Skies such as these let every mortal shun

The fattning clime let all the sons of ease Who dreads the dropsy, palsy, or the gout,

Avoid; if indolence would wish to live, Tertian, corrosive scurvy, or moist catarrh:

Go, yawn and loiter out the long slow year Or any other injury that grows

In fairer skies. If droughty regions parch From raw-spun fibres idle and unstrung,

The skin and lungs, and bake the thickening blood; Deep in the waving forest choose your seat, O'erhung, defends you from the blustring north, Where fuming trees refresh the thirsty air;

And bleak affliction of the peevish east. And wake the fountains from their secret beds, 0! when the growling winds contend, and all And into lakes dilate the rapid stream.

The sounding forest fluctuates in the storm; Here spread your gardens wide; and let the cool, To sink in warm repose, and hear the din The moist relaxing vegetable store,

Howl o'er the steady battlements, delights Prevail in each repast: your food supplied

Above the luxury of vulgar sleep. By bleeding life, be gently wasted down,

The murmuring rivulet, and the hoarser strain By soft decoction, and a mellowing heat,

Of waters rushing o'er the slippery rocks, To liquid balm; or, if the solid mass

Will nightly lull you to ambrosial rest. You choose, tormented in the boiling wave; To please the fancy is no trifling good, That through the thirsty channels of the blood Where health is studied; for whatever moves A smooth diluted chyle may ever flow.

The mind with calm delight, promotes the just The fragrant dairy, from its cool recess,

And natural movements of the harmonious frame. Its nectar, acid or benign, will pour,

Besides the sportive brook for ever shakes 'To drown your thirst; or let the mantling bowl The trembling air; that floats from hill to hill, Of keen Sherbet the fickle taste relieve:

From vale to mountain, with incessant change For with the viscous blood the simple stream Of purest element, refreshing still Will hardly mingle; and fermented cups

Your airy seat, and uninfected gods. Oft dissipate more moisture than they give.

Chiefly for this I praise the man who builds Yet when pale seasons rise, or winter rolls

High on the breezy ridge, whose lofty sides
His horrors o'er the world, thou mayst indulge Th'ethereal deep with endless billows chafes.
In feasts more genial, and impatient broach


mansion nor contagious years The mellow cask. Then, too, the scourging air Shall reach, nor deadly putrid airs annoy. Provokes to keener toils than sultry droughts

But may no fogs, from lake or fenny plain, Allow. But rarely we such skies blaspheme. Involve my hill! And wheresoe'er you build; Steep'd in continual rains, or with raw fogs Whether on sun-burnt Epsom, or the plains Bedew'd, our seasons droop; incumbent still Wash'd by the silent Lee; in Chelsea low, A ponderous heaven o'erwhelms the sinking soul. Or high Blackheath, with wint'ry winds assail'd; Lab'ring with storms, in heapy mountains rise Dry be your house : but airy more than warm. Th' imbattled clouds, as if the Stygian shades Else every breath of ruder wind will strike Had left the dungeon of eternal night,

Your tender body through with rapid pains ;
Till black with thunder all the south descends. Fierce coughs will teaze you, hoarseness bind your
Scarce in a showerless day the heavens indulge

Our melting clime; except the baleful east Or moist Gravedo load your aching brows.
Withers the tender spring, and sourly checks These to defy, and all the fates that dwell
The fancy of the year. Our fathers talk

In cloister'd air, tainted with steaming life,
Of summers, balmy airs, and skies serene.

Let lofty ceilings grace your ample rooms;
Good heaven! for what unexpiated crimes

And still at azure noontide may your dome
This dismal change! The brooding elements At every window drink the liquid sky.
Do they, your powerful ministers of wrath,

Need we the sunny situation here,
Prepare some fierce exterminating plague?

And theatres open to the south commend Or is it fix'd in the decrees above,

Here, where the morning's misty breath infests That lofty Albion melt into the main !

More than the torrid noon ? how sickly grow, Indulgent nature, O dissolve this gloom !

How pale the plants in those ill-fated vales, Bind in eternal adamant the winds

That, circled round with the gigantic heap That drown or wither: give the genial west Of mountains, never felt, nor ever hope To breathe, and in its turn, the sprightly north: To feel the genial vigour of the sun! And may once more the circling seasons rule While on the neighbouring hill the rose inflames The year; nor mix in every monstrous day. The verdant spring; in virgin beauty blows Meantime, the moist malignity to shun

The tender lily, languishingly sweet; Of burden’d skies; mark where the dry champaigh O’er every hedge the wanton woodbine roves, Swells into cheerful hills; where marjoram And autumn ripens in the summer's ray. And thyme, the love of bees, perfume the air; Nor less the warmer living tribes demand And where the cynorrhodon with the rose

The fost’ring sun : whose energy

divine For fragrance vies; for in the thirsty soil

Dwells not in mortal fire ; whose gen'rous heat Most fragrant breathe the aromatic tribes.

Glows through the mass of grosser elements, There bid thy roofs, high on the basking steep, And kindles into life the pond'rous spheres. Ascend, there light thy hospitable fires :

Cheer'd by thy kind invigorating warmth, And let them see the winter morn arise,

We court thy beams, great majesty of day! The summer evening blushing in the west: If not the soul, the regent of this world, While with umbrageous oaks the ridge behind First-born of Heaven, and only less than God!

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Relents; and soon the young of those that tread
The sted fast earth, or cleave the green abyss,

Or pathless sky. And if the steer must fall,
Enough of air. A desert subject now,

In youth and sanguine vigour let him die; Rougher and wilder, rises to my sight.

Nor stay till rigid age, or heavy ails, A barren waste, where not a garland grows

Absolve him ill-requited from the yoke. To bind the Muse's brow; not ev'n a proud

Some with high forage, and luxuriant ease, Stupendous solitude frowns o'er the heath,

Indulge the veteran ox; but wiser thou, To rouse a noble horror in the soul :

From the bald mountain or the barren downs, But rugged paths fatigue, and error leads

Expect the flocks by frugal nature fed; Through endless labyrinths the devious feet. A race of purer blood, with exercise Farewell, ethereal fields! the humbler arts

Refin'd, and scanty fare: for, old or young, Of life; the table, and the homely gods,

The stall'd are never healthy; nor the crammid: Demand my song. Elysian gales, adieu!

Not all the culinary arts can tame
The blood, the fountain whence the spirits flow, To wholesome food the abominable growth
The generous stream that waters every part, Of rest and gluttony; the prudent taste
And motion, vigour, and warm life conveys

Rejects like bane such lothesome lusciousness. To every particle that moves or lives;

The languid stomach curses even the pure This vital tuid, through unnumber'd tubes

Delicious fat, and all the race of oil :
Pour'd by the heart, and to the heart again

For more the oily aliments relax
Refunded; scourg'd for ever round and round; Its feeble tone; and with the eager lymph,
Enrag'd with heat and toil, at last forgets

Fond to incorporate with all it meets,
Its balmy nature; virulent and thin

Coyly they mix, and shun with slippery wiles It grows; and now, but that a thousand gates The woo'd embrace. Th' irresoluble oil, Are open to its flight, it would destroy

So gentle late and blandishing, in floods The parts it cherish'd and repair'd before.

Of rancid bile o’erflows: what tumults hence, Besides, the flexible and tender tubes

What horrors rise, were nauseous to relate. Melt in the mildest most nectareous tide,

Choose leaner viands, ye whose jovial make That ripening nature rolls; as in the stream

Too fast the gummy nutriment imbibes: Its.crumbling banks; but what the vital force Choose sober meals; and rouse to active life Of plastic fluids hourly batters down,

Your cumbrous clay; nor on th’ enfeebling down, That very force those plastic particles

Irresolute, protract the morning hours. Rebuild: so mutable the state of man.

But let the man whose bones are thinly clad, For this the watchful appetite was giv'n,

With cheerful ease and succulent repast, Daily with fresh materials to repair

Improve his habit if he can; for each This unavoidable expense of life,

Extreme departs from perfect sanity. This necessary waste of flesh and blood.

I could relate what table this demands, Hence the concoctive powers, with various art, Or that complexion ; what the various

powers Subdue the cruder aliments to chyle;

Of various foods: but fifty years would roll, The chyle to blood; the foamy purple tide

And fifty more, before the tale were done. To liquors, which through finer arteries

Besides, there often lurks some nameless, strange, To different parts their winding course pursue ;

Peculiar thing; nor on the skin display'd, To try new changes, and new forms put on,

Felt in the pulse, nor in the habit seen; Or for the public, or some private use.

Which finds a poison in the food that most Nothing so foreign, but th' athletic hind

The temp'rature affects. There are, whose blood Can labour into blood. The hungry meal

Impetuous rages through the turgid veins, Alone he fears, or aliments too thin;

Who better bear the fiery fruits of Ind
By violent powers too easily subdu’d,

Than the moist melon, or pale cucumber.
Too soon expell’d. His daily labour thaws, Of chilly nature others fly the board
To friendly chyle, the most rebellious mass

Supply'd with slaughter, and the vernal

powers That salt can harden, or the smoke of years;

For cooler, kinder, sustenance implore. Nor does his gorge the luscious bacon rue,

Some even the generous nutriment detest, Nor that which Cestria sends, tenacious paste

Which, in the shell, the sleeping embryo rears. Of solid milk. But ye of softer clay,

Some, more unhappy still, repent the gifts Infirm and delicate! and ye, who waste

Of Pales; soft, delicious, and benign: With pale and bloated sloth the tedious day!

The balmy quintessence of every flower, Aroid the stubborn aliment, avoid

And every grateful herb that decks the spring; The full repast; and let sagacious age

The fost'ring dew of tender sprouting life; Grow wiser, lesson’d by the dropping teeth.

The best refection of declining age ; Half subtilized to chyle, the liquid food

The kind restorative of those who lie Readiest obeys th' assimilating pow'rs;

Half dead and panting, from the doubtful strife And soon the tender vegetable mass

Of nature struggling in the grasp of death.


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Try all the bounties of this fertile globe,

What strife is brew'd, and what pernicious bane, There is not such a salutary food

From combinations of innoxious things. As suits with every stomach. But (except,

Th' unbounded taste I mean not to confine Amid the mingled mass of fish and fowl,

To hermit's diet, needlessly severe. And boil'd and bak'd, you hesitate by which But would you long the sweets of health enjoy, You sunk oppress'd, or whether not by all ;) Or husband pleasure, at one impious meal Taught by experience, soon you may discern Exhaust not half the bounties of the year, What pleases, what offends. Avoid the cates Of every realm. It matters not, meanwhile, That lull the sicken'd appetite too long;

How much to-morrow differ from to-day; Or heave with fev'rish flushings all the face, So far indulge: 'tis fit, besides, that man, Burn in the palms, and parch the rough'ning tongue; To change obnoxious, be to change inur'd. Or much diminish, or too much increase

But stay the curious appetite, and taste Th' expense which nature's wise economy,

With caution fruits you never tried before. Without or waste or avarice, maintains.

For want of use the kindest aliment Such cates abjur'd, let prowling hunger loose, Sometimes offends; while custom tames the rage And bid the curious palate roam at will;

Of poison to mild amity with life. They scarce can err amid the various stores,

So Heav'n has form'd us to the general taste That burst the teeming entrails of the world. Of all its gifts; so custom has improv'd Led by sagacious taste, the ruthless king

This bent of nature; that few simple foods, Of beasts on blood and slaughter only lives;

Of all that earth, or air, or ocean yield, The tyger, form'd alike to cruel meals,

But by excess offend. Beyond the sense Would at the manger starve: of milder feed Of light resection, at the genial board The generous horse to herbage and to grain Indulge not often ; nor protract the feast Confines his wish ; though fabling Greece resound To dull satiety; till soft and slow The Thracian steeds with human carvage wild. A drowsy death creeps on, th' expansive soul Prompted by instinct's never-erring power,

Oppress'd, and smother'd the celestial fire. Each creature knows its proper aliment;

The stomach, urg'd beyond its active tone, But man, th' inhabitant of every clime,

Hardly to nutrimental chyle subdues With all the commoners of nature feeds.

The softest food: unfinish'd and deprav'd, Directed, bounded, by this power within,

The chyle, in all its future wanderings, owns Their cravings are well-aim'd: voluptuous man Its turbid fountain; not by purer streans Is by superior faculties misled;

So to be clear'd, but foulness will remain. Misled from pleasure, even in quest of joy.

To sparkling wine what ferment can exalt Sated with nature's boons, what thousands seek,

Th' unripen'd grape? Or what mechanic skil, With dishes tortur'd from their native taste, From the crude ore, cau spin the ductile gold? And mad variety, to spur beyond

Gross riot treasures up a wealthy fund Its wiser will the jaded appetite!

Of plagues: but more immedicable ills Is this for pleasure ? Learn a juster taste;

Attend the lean extreme. For physic knows And know that temperance is true luxury.

How to disburden the too tumid veins; Or is it pride? Pursue some nobler aim;

Even how to ripen the half-labour'd blood:
Dismiss your parasites, who praise for hire,

But to unlock the elemental tubes,
And earn the fair esteem of honest men,
Whose praise is fame. Form’d of such clay as yours,

Collaps’d and shrunk with long inanity,

And with balsamic nutriment repair The sick, the needy sbiver at your gates.

The dried and worn-out habit, were to bid Even modest want may bless your hand unseen,

Old age grow green, and wear a second spring; Though hush'd in patient wretchedness at home.

Or the tall ash, long ravish'd from the soil

, Is there no virgin grac'd with every charm,

Through wither'd veins imbibe the vernal dew. But that which binds the mercenary vow?

When hunger calls, obey; nor often wait No youth of genius, whose neglected bloom,

Till hunger sharpen to corrosive pain : Unfoster’d, sickens in the barren shade?

For the keen appetite will feast beyond No worthy man by fortune's random blows,

What nature well can bear; and one extreme Or by a heart too generous and humane,

Ne'er without danger meets its own reverse. Constrain’d to leave his happy natal seat,

Too greedily th’exhausted veins absorb And sigh for wants more bitter than his own?

The recent chyle, and load enfeebled powers
There are, while human miseries abound,

Oft to th'extinction of the vital flame.
A thousand ways to waste superfluous wealth, To the pale cities, by the firm-set siege
Without one fool or flatterer at your board,
Without one hour of sickness or disgust.

And famine humbled, may this verse be borge. But other ills th' ambiguous feast pursue,

And hear, ye hardiest sons that Albion breeds,

Long toss'd and famish'd on the wint'ry maja; Besides provoking the lascivious taste.

The war shook off, or hospitable shore
Such various foods, though harmless each alone,
Each other violate; and oft we see

Attain'd, with temperance bear the shock of jos;
Nor crown with festive rites th' auspicious day:

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