« ZurückWeiter »
In ftudy fome protract the silent hours, Which others confecrate to mirth and wine And fleep till noon, and hardly live till night. But furely this redeems not from the shades One hour of life.
The body, fresh and vigorous from repose,
In hectic languor; and a flow disease
He then points out the reason why those who labour obtain fo much refreshment from fleep, while the indolent hardly find any relief.
By toil fubdu'd, the warrior and the hind
Sleep faft and deep: their active functions foon
Feel the fresh impulse and awake the foul.
This paffage he concludes, by recommending a hard matrass, or elastic couch, to those who are too much prone to fleep, in order to wean them from floth. But he juftly obferves, that fome people require more, others lefs fleep, and that all changes of this fort are to be brought about by gentle means. And
Slow as the fhadow o'er the dial moves,
As it was neceffary under this article to say something about cloathing the body, the author makes a few juft obfervations on the variations of the seasons; which he concludes with thefe lines.
The cold and torrid reigns,.
We have already obferved, that allufions to ancient fables or historical facts have a fine effect in preceptive poems. In this before us the author, when confidering the different shapes in which death approaches the human race, takes notice of the blood fpilt by the Plantagenets, and of the sweating fickness, which swept off fuch amazing numbers of Englishmen in every clime, and of Englishmen only; for foreigners, tho' refiding in this country, were no ways affected with that diforder: and this, tho' a fubject incapable, as it were, of ornament, he has wrought up with so much art, that it is both pathetic and pleafing.
What he has faid on the paffions, the fubject of the fourth book, begins with the following reflection, which is truly philofophical, and very properly introduces the fentiments that follow it.
There is, they fay, (and I believe there is) A fpark within us of th' immortal fire,
That animates and moulds the groffer frame ;
It thrills with pleasure, or grows mad with pain,
By its own toil the grofs corporeal frame
Nor lefs the labours of the mind corrode
But 'tis not thought, as he obferves, (for every moment the mind is employ'd) 'tis painful thinking; 'tis the anxiety that attends fevere ftudy, difcontent, care, love, hatred, fear and jealousy, that fatigues the foul and impairs the body.
Hence the lean gloom that melancholy wears;
For reading he gives us a precept that may be extremely useful to the ftudious.
While reading pleases, but no longer, read;
And quick vibrations thro' the bowels drive
After this the poet gives us a ftriking picture of the dreadful effects of our mifguided paffions, which is heightened with many admirable reflections, fome of which I fhall here infert.
For while yourself you anxiously explore,
And what avails it, that indulgent heaven
And those chronic paffions which fpring from real woes, and from no diforder in the body, are not to be reafon'd down, as he obferves, but to be cured by fuch
diverfions or bufinefs as will fill the mind, or remove it from the object of its concern.
Go, foft enthufiaft! quit the cypress groves, Nor to the rivulet's lonely moanings tune Your fad complaint. Go, feek the chearful haunts Of men, and mingle with the bustling croud; Lay schemes for wealth, or power, or fame, the wish Of nobler minds, and push them night and day. Or join the caravan in quest of scenes New to your eyes, and shifting every hour.
He then inveighs againft drinking, the common refource in diforders of this kind, and observes, that, tho' the intoxicating draught may relieve for a time; the pains will return with ten-fold rage. And this he illuftrates with a beautiful fimile.
But foon your heav'n is gone, a heavier gloom
He then points out the mischiefs that attend drunkennefs; fuch as lofing friends by unguarded words, or doing rafh deeds that are never to be forgotten (but which may haunt a man with horror to his grave) the lofs of money, health and decay of parts; and then pays a grateful filial tribute to the memory of his father; whose advice on the conduct of life he thus recommends.
How to live happieft; how avoid the pains,