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Essential to his health, should never mix
To that which tears the nerves, the toil of slaves
May all be free who merit not the wheel !
But from the burning lion when the sun
Too much already maddens in the veins,
Reclin'd, or saunt'ring in the lofty grove,
To pant and sweat beneath the fiery noon. Let those who from the frozen Arctos reach Now the fresh morn alone, and mellow eve, Parch'd Mauritania, or the sultry west,
To shady walks and active rural sports Or the wide flood that laves rich Indostan,
Invite. But while the chilling dews descend, Plunge thrice a day, and in the tepid wave
May nothing tempt you to the cold embrace Untwist their stubborn pores; that full and free Of humid skies; though 'tis no vulgar joy Th'evaporation through the soften'd skin
To trace the horrors of the solemn wood, May bear proportion to the swelling blood.
While the soft evening saddens into night, So may they 'scape the fever's rapid flames; Though the sweet poet of the vernal groves So feel untainted the hot breath of hell.
Melts all the night in strains of am'rous woe. With us, the man of no complaint demands
The shades descend, and midnight o'er the world The warm ablution just enough to clear
Expands her sable wings. Great nature droops The sluices of the skin, enough to keep
Through all her works. Now happy he whose toil The body sacred from indecent soil.
Has o'er his languid powerless limbs diffus'd Still to be pure, ev'n did it not conduce
A pleasing lassitude: he not in vain (As much it does) to health, were greatly worth
Invokes the gentle deity of dreams;
In soft repose: on him the balmy dews
Of sleep with double nutriment descend.
And waken cheerful as the lively morn;
Oppress not nature sinking down to rest
With feasts too late, too solid, or too full:
Your passive faculties. He, from the toils
And troubles of the day, to heavier toil Where nature feeds too corpulent a frame
Retires; whom trembling from the tower that rocks 'Tis wisely done: for while the thirsty veins, Amid the clouds, or Calpe's hideous height, Impatient of lean
The busy demons hurl; or in the main
O'erwhelm; or bury, struggling under ground. To shake the lazy balsam from its cells.
Not all a monarch's luxury, the woes Now while the stomach from the full repast
Can counterpoise of that most wretched man, Subsides, but ere returning hunger gnaws,
Whose nights are shaken with the frantic fits Ye leaner habits, give an hour to toil:
Of wild Orestes; whose delirious brain, And ye whom no luxuriancy of growth
Stung by the furies, works with poison'd thought: Oppresses yet, or threatens to oppress.
While pale and monstrous painting shocks the soul, But from the recent meal no labours please,
And mangled consciousness bemoans itself Of limbs or mind. For now the cordial powers For ever torn, and chaos floating round. Claim all the wandering spirits to a work
What dreams presage, what dangers these or those Of strong and subtle toil, and great event:
Portend to sanity, though prudent seers A work of time: and you may rue the day
Reveal'd of old, and men of deathless fame, You hurried, with untimely exercise,
We would not to the superstitious mind
Suggest new throbs, new vanities of fear,
To banish omens and all restless woes.
And sleep till noon, and hardly live till night.
But surely this redeems not from the shades
Que hour of life. Nor does it nought avail
And late resign them, though the wanton spring What season you to drowsy Morpheus give
Should deck her charms with all her sister's rays: Of th' ever-varying circle of the day;
For while the effluence of the skin maintains Or whether, through the tedious winter gloom, Its native measure, the pleuretic spring You tempt the midnight or the morning damps. Glides harmless by; and autumn, sick to death The body, fresh and vigorous from repose,
With sallow quartans, no contagion breathes. Defies the early fogs; but, by the toils
I in prophetic numbers could unfold Of wakeful day, exhausted and unstrung,
The omens of the year: what seasons teem Weakly resists the night's unwholesome breath. With what diseases; what the humid south The grand discharge, th' effusion of the skin, Prepares, and what the demon of the east: Slowly impair'd, the languid maladies
But you, perhaps, refuse the tedious song. Creep on, and through the sick’ning functions steal: Besides, whatever plagues in heat, or cold, As, when the chilling east invades the spring, Or drought, or moisture dwell, they hurt not you, The delicate narcissus pines away
Skill'd to correct the vices of the sky, In hectic languor; and a slow disease
And taught already how to each extreme Taints all the family of flowers, condemn'd
To bend your life. But should the public bane To cruel heav'ns. But why, already prone
Infect you; or some trespass of your own, To fade, should beauty cherish its own bane? Or flaw of nature, hint mortality: O shame! O pity! nipt with pale quadrille, Soon as a not unpleasing horror glides And midnight cares, the bloom of Albion dies! Along the spine, through all your torpid limbs ;
By toil subdued, the warrior and the bind When first the head throbs, or the stomach feels Sleep fast and deep: their active functions soon A sickly load, and weary pain the loins; With generous streams the subtle tubes supply; Be Celsus call’d: the fates come rushing on; And soon the tonic irritable nerves
The rapid fates admit of no delay. Feel the fresh impulse, and awake the soul.
While wilful you, and fatally secure, The sons of indolence with long repose
Expect to-morrow's more auspicious sun, Grow torpid; and, with slowest Lethe drunk, The growing pest, whose infancy was weak Feebly and ling’ringly return to life,
And easy vanquish’d, with triumphant sway Blunt every sense, and powerless every limb. O'erpowers your life. For want of timely care, Ye, prone to sleep (whom sleeping most annoys,) Millions have died of medicable wounds. On the hard mattress, or elastic couch,
Ah! in what perils is vain life engag'd! Extend your limbs, and wean yourselves from sloth ; What slight neglects, what trivial faults destroy Nor grudge the lean projector, of dry brain
The hardiest frame! of indolence, of toil,
The all-surrounding heaven, the vital air,
Is big with death. And, though the putrid south He without riot, in the balmy feast
Be shut; though no convulsive agony Of life, the wants of nature has supply'd,
Shake, from the deep foundations of the world, Who rises cool, serene, and full of soul.
Th’imprison'd plagues; a secret venom oft But pliant nature more or less demands,
Corrupts the air, the water, and the land. As custom forms her; and all sudden change What livid deaths has sad Byzantium seen! She hates of habit, even from bad to good.
How oft bas Cairo, with a mother's woe, If faults in life, or new emergencies,
Wept o'er her slaughter'd sons, and lonely streets! From habits urge you by long time confirm'd, Even Albion, girt with less malignant skies, Slow may the change arrive, and stage by stage; Albion the poison of the gods has drank, Slow as the shadow o'er the dial moves,
And felt the sting of monsters all her own. Slow as the stealing progress of the year.
Ere yet the fell Plantagenets had spent Observe the circling year. How unperceiv'd Their ancient rage, at Bosworth's purple field; Her seasons change! Behold, by slow degrees, While, for which tyrant England should receive, Stern winter tam'd into a ruder spring!
Her legions in incestuous murders mix’d, The ripen’d spring a milder summer glows;
And daily horrors; till the fates were drunk Departing summer sheds Pomona's store;
With kindred blood by kindred hands profus'd: And aged autumn brews the winter storm.
Another plague of more gigantic arm
Pursu'd a gradual course, but in a day
Rush'd as a storm o'er half th' astonished isle, And the black fates deform the lovely spring. And strew'd with sudden carcases the land. He well advis'd, who taught our wiser sires
First through the shoulders, or whatever part Early to borrow Muscovy's warm spoils,
Was seiz'd the firsi, a fervid vapour sprung; Ere the first frost has touch'd the tender blade; With rash combustion thence, the quivering spark
Shot to the heart, and kindled all within ;
With woes resistless, and enfeebling fear; And soon the surface caught the spreading fires. Passive they sunk beneath the weighty blow.
Tlırough all the yielding pores, the melted blood Nothing but lamentable sounds was heard, Gush'd out in smoaky sweats; but nought assuag'd Nor aught was seen, but ghastly views of death. The torrid heat within, nor aught reliev'd
Infectious horror ran from face to face, The stomach's anguish. With incessant toil, And pale despair. 'Twas all the business then, Desperate of ease, impatient of their pain,
To tend the sick, and in their turns tu die. They toss'd from side to side. In vain the stream In heaps they fell: and oft one bed, they say, Ran full and clear, they burnt, and thirsted still. The sickening, dying, and the dead contained. The restless arteries with rapid blood
Ye guardian gods, on whom the fates depend Beat strong and frequent. Thick and pantingly Of tottering Albion ! ye eternal fires, [powers, The breath was fetch'd, and with huge lab'rings That lead through heaven the wandering year! ye At last a heavy pain oppress'd the head, [heav’d. That o'er th' encircling elements preside! A wild delirium came; their weeping friends May nothing worse than what this age has seen Were strangers now, and this no home of theirs. Arrive! Enough abroad, enough at home Harass'd with toil on toil, the sinking powers
Has Albion bled. Here a distemper'd heaven Lay prostrate and o’erthrown; a ponderous sleep Has thinn'd her cities, from those lofty cliffs Wrapt all the senses up: they slept and died. That awe proud Gaul, to Thule's wint'ry reign: In some a gentle horror crept at first
While in the west, beyond th’Atlantic foam, O'er all the limbs; the sluices of the skin
Her bravest sons, keen for the fight, have dy'd Withheld their moisture, till by art provok'd The death of cowards, and of common men; The sweats o'erflow'd; but in a clammy tide:
Sunk void of wounds, and fall'n without renown. Now free and copious, now restrain'd and slow; But from these views the weeping Muses turn, Of tinctures various, as the temperature
And other themes invite my wandering song. Had mix'd the blood; and rank with fetid streams:
The use of toil, and all external things,
Already sung; it now remains to trace Were kind, that long they linger'd not in pain. What good, what evil from ourselves proceeds: For, who surviv'd the sun's diurnal race,
And how the subtle principle within Rose from the dreary gates of hell redeem'd: Inspires with health, or mines with strange decay Some the sixth hour oppress'd, and some the third. The passive body. Ye poetic shades,
Of many thousands, few untainted 'scap'd; Who know the secrets of the world unseen, Of those infected, fewer 'scap'd alive;
Assist my song! For, in a doubtful theme Of those who liv’d, some felt a second blow; Engag’d, I wander through mysterious ways. And whom the second spar'd, a third destroy'd. There is, they say (and I believe there is,) Frantic with fear, they sought by flight to shun A spark within us of th' immortal fire, The fierce contagion. O'er the mournful land That animates and moulds the grosser frame; Th’ infected city pour'd her hurrying swarms: And, when the body sinks, escapes to heaven, Rous'd by the flames that fir'd her seats around, Its native seat, and mixes with the gods. Th’infected country rush'd into the town.
Meanwhile this heavenly particle pervades Some, sad at home, and in the desart some,
The mortal elements; in every nerve Abjur'd the fatal commerce of mankind
It thrills with pleasure, or grows mad with paio:
Wields at its will the dull material world,
By its own toil the gross corporeal frame
Fatigues, extenuates, or destroys itself. For, but the race of England. all were safe
Nor less the labours of the mind corrode In foreign climes; nor did this fury taste
The solid fabric: for by subtle parts, The foreign blood which England then contain'd. And viewless atoms, secret nature moves Where should they fly? The circumambient heaven The mighty wheels of this stupendous world. Involv'd them still; and every breeze was bane. By subtle fluids pour'd through subtle tubes, Where find relief? The salutary art
The natural, vital functions are perform'd. Was mute, and, startled at the new disease,
By these the stubborn aliments are tam'd; In fearful whisp. is hopeless omens gave. (prayers; The toiling heart distributes life and strength; To Heaven with suppliant rites they sent their These the still-crumbling frame rebuild; and these Heaven heard them not. Of every hope depriv’d; Are lost in thinking, and dissolve in air. Farigu'd with vain resources; and subdued
But 'tis not thought (for still the soul's employ'de)
'Tis painful thinking that corrodes our clay. Then various shapes of curs'd illusion rise: All day the vacant eye, without fatigue,
Whate'er the wretched fears, creating fear Strays o'er the heaven and earth;. but, long intent Forms out of nothing; and with monsters teems On microscopic arts, its vigour fails.
Unknown in hell. The prostrate soul beneath Just so the mind, with various thought amus'd, A load of huge imagination heaves; Nor aches itself, nor gives the body pain.
And all the horrors that the murderer feels But anxious study, discontent, and care,
With anxious flutterings wake the guiltless breast. Love without hope, and hate without revenge,
Such phantoms pride in solitary scenes, And fear, and jealousy, fatigue the soul,
Or fear, or delicate self-love creates. Engross the subtle ministers of life,
From other cares absolv'd, the busy mind And spoil the lab’ring functions of their share. Finds in yourself a theme to pore upon. Hence the lean gloom that melancholy wears; It finds you miserable, or makes you so. The lover's paleness, and the sallow hue
For while yourself you anxiously explore, Of envy, jealousy; the meagre stare
Timorous self-love, with sickning fancy's aid, Of sore revenge: the canker'd body hence
Presents the danger that you dread the most, Betrays each fretful motion of the mind.
And ever galls you in your tender part. The strong-built pedant; who, both night and day, Hence some for love, and some for jealousy, Feeds on the coarsest fare the schools bestow, For grim religion some, and some for pride, And crudely fattens at gross Burman's stall;
Have lost their reason: some for fear of want O'erwheim'd with phlegm, lies in a dropsy drown'd, Want all their lives; and others every day Or sinks in lethargy before his time.
For fear of dying suffer worse than death. With useful studies you, and arts that please, Ah! from your bosom banish, if you can, Employ your mind; amuse, but not fatigue. Those fatal guests: and first the demon fear, Peace to each drowsy metaphysic sage!
That trembles at impossible events; And ever may all heavy systems rest!
Lest aged Atlas should resign his load, Yet some there are even of elastic parts,
And heaven's eternal battlements rush down. Whom strong and obstinate ambition leads
Is there an evil worse than fear itself? Through all the rugged roads of barren lore, And what avails it, that indulgent Heaven And gives to relish what their generous taste From mortal eyes has wrapt the woes to come, Would else refuse. But may not thirst of fame, If we, ingenious to torment ourselves, Nor love of knowledge, urge you to fatigue
Grow pale at hideous fictions of our own? With constant drudgery the liberal soul.
Enjoy the present; nor with needless cares, Toy with your books: and, as the various fits Of what may spring from blind misfortune's womb, Of humour seize you, from philosophy
Appal the surest hour that life bestows. To fable shift; from serious Antonine
Serene, and master of yourself, prepare To Rabelais' ravings, and from prose to song.
For what may come; and leave the rest to Heaven. While reading pleases, but no longer, read; Oft from the body, by long ails mistun'd, And read aloud resounding Homer's strain, These evils sprung, the most important health, And wield the thunder of Demosthenes.
That of the mind, destroy: and when the mind The chest so exercis'd, improves its strength;
They first invade, the conscious body soon And quick vibrations through the bowels drive In sympathetic languishment declines. The restless blood, which in unactive days
These chronic passions, while from real woes Would loiter else through unelastic tubes.
They rise, and yet without the body's fault Deem it not triling while I recommend
Infest the soul, admit one only cure; What posture suits: to stand and sit by turns. Diversion, hurry, and a restless life. As nature prompts, is best. But o'er your leaves Vain are the consolations of the wise; To lean for ever, cramps the vital parts,
In vain your friends would reason down your pain. And robs the fine machinery of its play.
O ye, whose souls relentless love has tam'd 'Tis the great art of life to manage well
To soft distress, or friends untimely fallin! The restless mind. For ever on pursuit
Court not the luxury of tender thought; Of knowledge bent, it starves the grosser powers :
Nor deem it impious to forget those pains Quite unemploy'd, against its own repose
That hurt the living, nought avail the dead. It turns its fatal edge, and sharper pangs
Go, soft enthusiast! quit the cypress groves, Than what the body knows embitter life.
Nor to the rivulet's lonely moanings tune Chiefly where solitude, sad nurse of care,
Your sad complaint. Go, seek the cheerful haunts To sickly musing gives the pensive mind,
Of men, and mingle with the bustling crowd, There madness enters; and the dim-ey'd fiend, ;
Lay schemes for wealth, or power, or fame, the wish Sour melancholy, night and day provokes
Of nobler minds, and push them night and day.
New to your eyes, and shifting every hour,
Beyond the Alps, beyond the Apennines. A dreary desert, and heaven frowns above.
Or more advent'rous, rush into the field
Where war grows hot; and, raging through the sky, Who would in pleasure all their hours employ;
I could recite. Though old, he still retain'd
His manly sense, and energy of mind.
He still remember'd that he once was young;
easy presence check'd no decent joy. Try Circe's arts; and in the tempting bowl
Him even the dissolute admir’d, for he Of poison’d nectar sweet oblivion swill.
A graceful looseness when he pleas'd put on, Struck by the pow'rful charm, the gloom dissolves And laughing could instruct. Much had he read, In empty air; Elysium opens round,
Much more had seen; he studied from the life, A pleasing phrenzy buoys the lighten'd soul, And in th' original perus'd mankind. And sanguine hopes dispel your fleeting care;
Vers'd in the woes and vanities of life, And what was difficult, and what was dire,
He pitied man: and much he pitied those Yields to your prowess and superior stars :
Whom falsely-smiling fate has curs'd with means The happiest you of all that e'er were mad, To dissipate their days in quest of joy. Or are, or shall be, could this folly last.
Our aim is happiness; 'tis yours, 'tis mine, But soon your heaven is gone: a heavier gloom He said, 'tis the pursuit of all that live; Shuts o'er your head: and, as the thund'ring stream, Yet few attain it, if 'twas e'er attain'd. Swoln o'er its banks with sudden mountain rain, But they the widest wander from the mark, Sinks from its tumult to a silent brook ;
Who through the flow'ry paths of saunt’ring joy So, when the frantic raptures in your breast Seek this coy goddess; that froin stage to stage Subside, you languish into mortal man ;
Invites us still, but shifts as we pursue. You sleep, and waking find yourself undone. For, not to name the pains that pleasure brings For prodigal of life in one rash night
To counterpoise itself, relentless fate You lavish'd more than might support three days. Forbids that we through gay voluptuous wilds A heavy morning comes; your cares return
Should ever roam: and, were the fates more kind, With tenfold rage. An anxious stomach well Our narrow luxuries would soon grow stale. May be endur'd; so may the throbbing head: Were these exhaustless, nature would grow sick, But such a dim delirium, such a dream,
And, cloy'd with pleasure, squeamishly complain Involves you; such a dastardly despair
That all is vanity, and life a dream.
And for your friend; be busy even in vain,
Who never toils or watches, never sleeps.
Let nature rest : and when the taste of joy Or on the fugitive champaign you pour
Grows keen, indulge; but shun satiety. A thousand curses; for to heav'n it rapt
'Tis not for mortals always to be blest. Your soul, to plunge you deeper in despair.
But him the least the dull or painful hours Perhaps you rue even that divinest gift,
oppress, whom sober sense conducts, The gay, serene, good-natur’d Burgundy,
And virtue, through this labyrinth we tread. Or the fresh fragrant vintage of the Rhine:
Virtue and sense I mean not to disjoin; And wish that heaven from mortals had withheld Virtue and sense are one: and, trust me, still The grape, and all intoxicating bowls.
A faithless heart betrays the head unsound. Besides, it wounds you sore to recollect
Virtue (for mere good-nature is a fool) What follies in your loose unguarded hour
Is sense and spirit, with humanity: Escap’d. For one irrevocable word,
'Tis sometimes angry, and its frown confounds; Perhaps that meant no harm, you lose a friend. 'Tis even vindictive, but in vengeance just. Or, in the rage of wine, your hasty hand
Knaves fain would laugh at it; some great ones dare; Performs a deed to haunt you to the grave.
But at his heart the most undaunted son Add that your means, your health, your parts decay; Of fortune dreads its name and awful charms. Your friends avoid you; brutishly transform’d, To noblest uses this determines wealth ; They hardly know you ; or if one remains
This is the solid pomp of prosperous days; To wish you well, he wishes you in heaven.
and shelter of adversity: Despis’d, unwept you fall, who might have left And if you pant for glory, build your fame A sacred, cherish'd, sadly-pleasing name;
On this foundation, which the secret shock
Defies of envy and all-sapping time.
How to live happiest; how avoid the pains, The praise that's worth ambition, is attain'd