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Th' obftructed tubes.
Then learn to revel; but by flow degrees:
By flow degrees the liberal arts are won ;
And Hercules grew ftrong. But when
The brows of care, indulge your festive vein
In cups by well inform'd experience found
The least your bane; and only with your friends;
There are sweet follies; frailties to be feen
By friends alone, and men of generous minds.
Oh! feldom may the fated hours return
Of drinking deep! I would not daily tafte,
Except when life declines, even fober cups.
For know, whate'er
Beyond its natural fervour hurries on
The fanguine tide; whether the frequent bowl,
High-feafon'd fare, or exercife to toil
Protracted, spurs to its last stage tir'd life,
And fows the temples with untimely fnow.
Our author ends this book with fome fublime reflections on the mutability and decay of all things; and then enters on exercise, the subject of his third book; which tho' barren, and one would think incapable of many ornaments, is yet made agreeable by his manner of treating it; for in this, as well as in the last, he has, like an able sculptor, drawn harmony, beauty, and expreffion, out of very rude and unpromising materials.
This book is addrefs'd to thofe of a delicate frame; to whom he thus points out the importance of exercise.
Behold the labourer of the glebe, who toils
In duft, in rain, in cold and fultry skies:
Save but the grain from mildews and the flood,
Nought anxious he what fickly stars afcend.
He knows no laws by Efculapius given;
He ftudies none. Yet him nor midnight fogs
Infeft, nor those envenom'd shafts that fly
When rapid Sirius fires th' autumnal noon.
His habit pure, with plain and temperate meals,
Robuft with labour, and by custom steel'd
To ev'ry cafualty of vary'd life;
Serene he bears the peevish eastern blast,
And uninfected breathes the mortal fouth.
Toil, and be strong. By toil the flaccid nerves
Grow firm, and gain a more compacted tone;
The greener juices are by toil subdu'd,
Mellow'd, and fubtilis'd; the vapid old
Expell'd, and all the rancour of the blood.
Come, my companions, ye who feel the charms
Of nature and the year; come, let us ftray
Where chance or fancy leads our roving walk.
Go, climb the mountain; from th' ethereal fource
Imbibe the recent gale. The chearful morn
Beams o'er the hills; go, mount th' exulting fteed.
Already, fee, the deep-mouth'd beagles catch
The tainted mazes; and, on eager sport
Intent, with emulous impatience try
Each doubtful trace. Or, if a nobler prey
Delight you more, go chafe the defp'rate deer;
And thro' its deepest folitudes awake
The vocal forest with the jovial horn.
But should this exercise be too laborious, he invites us to the brook, and here pays a grateful tribute to the river Liddal, which waters the place of his nativity, and in which he has often employed himself in fishing and fwimming; or fhould you think thefe diverfions of hunting and fishing inhumane and barbarous, as the author obferves the Pythagoreans did, and fome of the Indians now do, he leads you to the garden's foft aufement and humane delight, there to partake of the exercife which employ'd the first parents of mankind. From this the author deviates to the pleasures of rural life and converfation, and concludes the digreffion with these hospitable lines.
Sometimes, at eve, His neighbours lift the latch, and bless unbid His feftal roof; while, o'er the light repast, And fprightly caps, they mix in focial joy; And, thro' the maze of converfation, trace Whate'er amuses or improves the mind.
Sometimes at eve (for I delight to taste
The native zeft and flavour of the fruit,
Where fenfe grows wild and takes of no manure)
The decent, honest, chearful husbandman
Should drown his labours in my friendly bowl;
And at my table find himself at home.
He then returns to his fubject and recommends tennis, dancing, and shooting; but in the choice of exercise advises every person to indulge his own taste.
He chufes beft, whose labour entertains
His vacant fancy moft: The toil you hate
Fatigues you foon, and fcarce improves your limbs.
After he has treated af the importance and choice of exercise, he introduces these precepts for our conduct.
Begin with gentle toils; and, as your nerves
Grow firm, to hardier by juft fleps afpire.
The prudent, even in every moderate walk,
At firit but faunter; and by flow degrees
Increase their pace. This doctrine of the wife
Well knows the master of the flying steed.
When all at once from indolence to toil
You fpring, the fibres by the hafty shock
Are tir'd and crack'd, before their unctuous coat,
Comprefs'd, can pour the lubricating balm.
Befides, collected in the paffive veins,
The purple mass a sudden torrent rolls,
O'erpowers the heart, and deluges the lungs
With dangerous inundation.-
But when the hard varieties of life
You toil to learn; or try the dusty chase;
Or the warm deeds of fome important day;
Hot from the field, indulge not yet your limbs
In wifh'd repofe; nor court the fanning gale,
Nor tafte the fpring. O! by the facred tears
Of widows, orphans, mothers, fifters, fires,
Forbear! No other peftilence has driven
Such myriads o'er th'irremeable deep.
He then defcends to bathing, and recommends a proper ufe of the cold bath in our climate to those whose conftitutions will admit of it.
Against the rigors of a damp cold heav'n
To fortify their bodies, fome frequent
The gelid ciftern; and, where nought forbids,
I praise their dauntless heart.
But to those who live in fultry climes a frequent ufe of the warm bath is recommended, and sometimes in our own; where it is of the greatest confequence to health as well as beauty.
Let thofe who from the frozen Artos reach
Parch'd Mauritania, or the fultry weft,
Or the wide flood that waters Indoftan,
Plunge thrice a day, and in the tepid wave
Untwist their ftubborn pores; that full and free
Th'evaporation thro' the foften'd skin
May bear proportion to the fwelling blood.
With us, the man of no complaint demands
The warm ablution just enough to clear
'T'he fluices of the fkin, enough to keep
The body facred from indecent foil.
He then speaks of the hours and feafons fit for exer. cife; advises labour when fafting, or when the flomach is but lightly fed, to thofe of a corpulent frame; whereas exercife after the meat is digefted, and before hunger returns, is best for those of a lean habit: But all are to abstain from labour immediately after a full meal.
But from the recent meal no labours please,
Of limbs or mind. For now the cordial powers
Claim all the wandring spirits to a work
Of ftrong and fubtle toil, and great event:
A work of time: and you may rue the day
You hurry'd, with untimely exercise,
A half concocted chyle into the blood.
The body over-charged with unctuous phlegm
Much toil demands: the lean elastic lefs.
While winter chills the blood, and binds the veins,
No labours are too hard by those you 'scape
The flow diseases of the torpid year;
But from the burning Lion when the fun
Pours down his fultry wrath; now while the blood
Too much already maddens in the veins,
And all the finer fluids thro' the fkin
Explore their flight; me, near the cool cascade
Reclin'd, or fauntring in the lofty grove,
No needlefs flight occafion fhould engage
To pant and fweat beneath the fiery noon.
Now the fresh-morn alone and mellow eve
To fhady walks and active rural sports
Invite. But, while the chillings dews defcend,
May nothing tempt you to the cold embrace
Of humid fkies; tho' 'tis no vulgar joy
To trace the horrors of the folemn wood,
While the foft ev'ning f.ddens into night:
Tho' the fweet poet of the vernal
Melts all the night in strains of am'rous woe.
And we have the pleasure of reft after labour, and an admonition against eating too much, and too late at night, pointed out in the following beautiful lines.
The fhades defcend, and midnight o'er the world
Expands her fable wings. Great nature droops
Thro' all her works. Now happy he whofe toil
Has o'er his languid pow'rlefs limbs diffus'd
A pleafing laffitude:
But would you fweetly waste the blank of night
In deep oblivion; or on fancy's wings
Vifit the paradife of happy dreams,
And waken chearful as the lively morn;
Opprefs not nature finking down to reft
With feafts too late, too folid, or too full.
This is followed by a caution against misapplying those hours wherein nature intended we should reft; which is heighten'd and made more pleafing, by the beautiful fimile and moral reflection with which it concludes.