« EelmineJätka »
union between foul and body. It is to a neglect in this particular that we must ascribe the spleen, which is fo frequent in men of ftudious and fedentary tempers, as well as the vapours to which those of the other sex are so often subject.
Had not exercife been abfolutely neceflary for our well-being, nature would not have made the body fo proper for it, by giving fuch an activity to the limbs, and fuch a pliancy to every part, as neceflarily produce thofe compreffions, extenfions, contortions, dilatations, and all other kinds of motions that are neceffary for the preservation of fuch a fyftem of tubes and glands as has been before-mentioned. And that we might not want inducements to engage us in fuch an exercife of the body as is proper for its welfare, it is so ordered, that nothing valuable can be procured without it. Not to mention riches and honour, even food and raiment are not to be come at without the toil of the hands and fweat of the brows. Providence furnishes materials, but expects that we fhould work them up ourselves. The earth must be laboured before it gives its increase, and when it is forced into its feveral products, how many hands muft they pass through before they are fit for ufe? Manufactures, trade, and agriculture, naturally employ more than nineteen parts of the fpecies in twenty; and as for those who are not obliged to labour,, by the condition in which they are born, they are more miferable than the rest of mankind, unless they indulge. themselves in that voluntary labour which goes by the name of exercise.
My friend Sir Roger hath been an indefatigable man in business of this kind, and has hung feveral parts of his house with the trophies of his former labours. The walls of his great hall are covered with the horns of feveral kinds of deer that he has killed in the chace, which he thinks the most valuable furniture of his house, as they afford him frequent topics of difcourfe, and fhew that he has not been idle. At the lower end of the hall, is a large otter's fkin ftuffed with hay, which his mother ordered to be hung up in that manner, and the knight looks upon with great fatisfaction,
because it seems he was but nine years old when his dog killed him. A little room adjoining to the hall is a kind of arfenal filled with guns of several fizes and inventions, with which the knight has made great havock in the woods, and deftroyed many thousands of pheafants, partridges, and woodcocks. His ftable-doors are patched with noses that belonged to foxes of the knight's own hunting down. Sir Roger fhewed me one of them that, for diftinction fake, has a brass nail ftuck through it, which coft him about fifteen hours riding, carried him through half a dozen counties, killed him a brace of geldings, and loft above half his dogs. This the knight looks upon as one of the greateft exploits of his life. The perverfe widow, whom I have given fome account of, was the death of several foxes; for Sir Roger has told me, that in the courfe of his amours he patched the western door of his ftable. Whenever the widow was cruel, the foxes were fure to pay for it. In proportion as his paffion for the widow abated, and old age came on, he left off fox-hunting, but a hare is not yet fafe that fits within ten miles of his house.
There is no kind of exercise which I would fo recommend to my readers of both fexes as this of riding, as there is none which so much conduces to health, and is every way accommodated to the body, according to the idea which I have given of it. Dr. Sydenham is very Javish in its praises; and if the English reader will fee the mechanical effects of it defcribed at length, he may find them in a book published not many years fince, under the title of Medicina Gymnaftica. For my own part, when I am in town, for want of thefe opportunities, I exercife myself an hour every morning upon a dumb bell that is placed in a corner of my room, and pleafes me the more because it does every thing I require in the most profound filence. My landlady and her daughters are fo well acquainted with my hours of exercile, that they never come into my room to disturb me whilst I am ringing.
When I was fome years younger than I am at prefent, I used to employ myself in a more laborious diverfion, which I learned from a Latin treatise of exercises, that
is written with great erudition: it is there called the quaxia, or the fighting with a man's own shadow, and confifts in the brandishing of two fhort ticks grasped in each hand, and loaded with plugs of lead at either end. This opens the cheft, exercises the limbs, and gives a man all the pleasure of boxing, without the blows. I could wish that feveral learned men would lay out that time which they employ in controverfies and difputes about nothing, in this method of fighting with their own fhadows. It might conduce very much to evaporate the spleen, which makes them uneasy to the public as well as to themselves.
To conclude, As I am a compound of foul and body, I confider myself as obliged to a double fcheme of duties; and think I have not fulfilled the business of the day when I do not thus employ the one in labour and exercise, as well as the other in ftudy and contemplation.
Temperance the best Prefervative of Health.
HERE is a ftory in the Arabian of a king who had long languifhed under an ill habit of body, and had taken abundance of remedies to no purpose. At length, fays the fable, a phyfician cured him by the following method: he took an hollow ball of wood, and filled it with feveral drugs; after which he closed it up fo artificially that nothing ap peared. He likewife took a mall, and after having hollowed the handle, and that part which ftrikes the. ball, inclosed in them feveral drugs after the fame manner as in the ball itfelf. He then ordered the fultan, who was his patient, to exercife himself early in the morning with thefe rightly prepared inftruments, till fuch time as he fhould fweat: when, as the story goes, the virtue of the medicaments perfpiring through the wood, had fo good an influence on the fultan's conftitution, that they cured him of an indifpofition which all the compofitions he had taken inwardly had not been
able to remove. This eastern allegory is finely contrived to fhew us how beneficial bodily labour is to health, and that exercife is the most effectual physic. I have described in my hundred and fifteenth paper, from the general structure and mechanism of an human body, how abfolutely neceffary exercife is for its prefervation I fhall in this place recommend another great prefervative of health, which in many cafes produces the fame effects as exercise, and may, in fome measure, fupply its place, where opportunities of exercise are wanting. The prefervative I am fpeaking of is temperance, which has thofe particular advantages above all other means of health, that it may be practifed by all ranks and conditions, at any feafon or in any place. It is a kind of regimen into which every man may put himfelf, without interruption to bufinefs, expence of money, or lofs of time. If exercise throws off all fuperfluities, temperance prevents them; if exercise clears the veffels, temperance neither fatiates nor overstrains them; if exercise raises proper ferments in the humours, and promotes the circulation of the blood, temperance gives nature her full play, and enables her to exert herfelf in all her force and vigour; if exercise diffipates a growing distemper, temperance ftarves it.
Phyfic, for the most part, is nothing else but the fubftitute of exerciie or temperance. Medicines are indeed abfolutely neceffary in acute diftempers, that cannot wait the flow operations of these two great inftruments of health; but did men live in an habitual cpurfe of exercise and temperance, there would be but little occafion for them. Accordingly we find that those parts of the world are the most healthy, where they fubfift by the chace; and that men lived longest when their lives were employed in hunting, and when they had little food befides what they caught. Bliftering, cupping, bleeding, are feldom of ufe but to the idle and intemperate; as all thofe inward applications which are fo much in practice among us, are, for the most part, nothing elfe but expedients to make luxury confiftent with health. The apothecary is perpetually employed in countermining the cook and the vintner. It
is faid of Diogenes, that meeting a young man who was going to a feaft, he took him up in the street, and carried him home to his friends, as one who was running into imminent danger, had he not prevented him. What would that philofopher have faid, had he been prefent at the gluttony of a modern meal? Would not he have thought the mafter of the family mad, and have begged his fervants to tie down his hands, had he seen him devour fowl, fish, and flesh; fwallow oil and vinegar, wines, and spices; throw down fallads of twenty different herbs, fauces of an hundred ingredients, confections and fruits of numberlefs fweets and flavours? What unnatural motions and counter-ferments must fuch a medley of intemperance produce in the body? For my part, when I behold a fashionable table fet out in. all its magnificence, I fancy, that I fee gouts and dropfies, fevers and lethargies, with other innumerable distempers, lying in ambuscade among the dishes.
Nature delights in the most plain and fimple diet. Every animal, but man, keeps to one difh. Herbs are the food of this fpecies, fish of that, and flesh of a third. Man falls upon every thing that comes in his way; not the fmalleft fruit or excrefcence of the earth, scarce a berry, or a mushroom, can escape him.
It is impoffible to lay down any determinate rule for temperance, because what is luxury in one may be temperance in another; but there are few that have lived any time in the world, who are not judges of their own conftitutions, fo far as to know what kinds and what proportions of food do beft agree with them. Were I to confider my readers as my patients, and to prescribe fuch a kind of temperance as is accommodated to all perfons, and fuch as is particularly fuitable to our climate and way of living, I would copy the following rules of a very eminent phyfician. Make your whole repaft out of one dish. If you indulge in a fecond, avoid drinking any thing ftrong, till you have finished your meal; at the fame time abstain from all fauces, or at least fuch as are not the most plain and fimple. A man could not be well guilty of gluttony, if he ftuck to thefe few obvious and easy rules. In the first cafo,