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While winter chills the blood, and binds the veins,
No labours are too hard : by those you 'scape
The slow diseases of the torpid year ;
But from the burning Lion when the sun
Pours down his sultry wrath ; now while the blood
Too much already maddens in the veins,
And all the finer fluids thro' the skin
Explore their flight; me, near the cool cascade
Reclin'd, or fauntring in the lofty grove,
No needless flight occafion should engage
To pant and sweat beneath the fiery noon,
Now the fresh morn alone and mellow eve
To shady walks and active rural sports
Invite. But, while the chillings dews descend,
May nothing tempt you to the cold embrace
Of humid skies; tho” 'tis no vulgar joy
To trace the horrors of the solemn wood,
While the foft ev’ning saddens into night :
Thu' the sweet poet of the vernal groves
Melts all the night in strains of am'rous woe.
And we have the pleasure of reít after labour, ansi : 12 admonition against eating too much, and too late at night, pointed out in the following beautiful lines.
The shades descend, and midnight o'er the world
Expands her sable wings. Great nature droops
Thro' all her works. Now happy he whole toil
Has o'er his languid pow'rless limbs diffus'd
A pleasing lassitude :
But would you sweetly waste the blank of night
In deep oblivion ; or on fancy's wings
Visit the paradise of happy dreams,
And waken chearful as the lively morn;
Oppress not nature sinking down to rest
With feats too late, too folid, or too full.
This is followed by a caution against misapplying those hours wherein nature intended we mould reit, which is heighten'd and made more pleasing, by the beautiful fimile and moral reflection with which it concludes.
In study fome protract the filent hours,
Which others consecrate to mirth and wine ;
And feep 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 unitrung,
Weakly refifts the night's unwholesome breath,
The grand discharge, th' effusion of the skin,
Slowly impair'd, the languid maladies
Creep on, and thro' the sickning functions steal.
So, when the chilling east invades the spring,
The delicate Narcises pines away
In hectic languor ; and a slow disease
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 thame! O pity! nipt 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 sleep, while the indolenc hardly find any relief.
By toil fubdu'd, the warrior and the hind
Sleep fast and deep : their active functions foon
With generous streams the fubtile tubes supply ;
And foon the tonick irritable nerves
Feel the freh impulse and awake the soul.
The fons of Indolence, with long repose,
Grow torpid; and with floweit Lethe drunk,
Feebly and lingrirgly return to life,
Elunt every fenle, 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 floth. But he juftly observes, that some people require more, others less sleep, 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 juit 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 firit 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 amazing numbers of Englishmen in every clime, and of Englistemen 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 passions, 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 groffer frame ;
And when the body finks escapes to heav'n,
Its native feat, 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 destroys 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 distributes 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 employd) ’tis painful thinking ; 'tis the anxiety that attends fevere 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 ftare
Of fore revenge : the canker'd body hence
Petrays each fretful motion of the mind,
For reading he gives us a precept that may be ex. tremely useful to the studious.
While reading pleases, but no longer, read;
And read aloud resounding Homer's ftrain,
And wield the thunder of Demofthenes.
The chest fo 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 ftand 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 grosser powers :
Quite unemploy'd, against its own repose
It carns its fatal edge, and sharper pangs
Than what the body knows embitter life.
After this the poet gives us a Ariking picture of the dreadful effects of our misguided passions, which is heightened with many admirable reflections, some of which I thall here infert.
For while yourself you anxiously explore,
Timorous self-love, with fickning fancy's aid,
Presents the danger that you dread the most,
And ever galls you
Hence some for love, and some for jealousy,
For grim religion fome, and some for pride,
Have lost their reason: some for fear of want,
Want all their lives ;, and others every day
For fear of dying fuffer worse than death.
And what avails it, that indulgent heaven
From mortal eyes has wrapt the woes to comė;
If we, ingenious to torment ourselves,
Grow pale at hideous fictions of our own?
'. Enjoy the present ; nor with needlefs cares,
Of what may spring from blind misfortune's womb,
Appal the furest hour that life bestows.
Serene, and master of yourself, prepare
For what may come ; and leave the rest to heav'n.
And those chronic paffions 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