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communicate to others the pleasure he has received from a work of taste and ge. nius. He thinks himself secure of the thanks of the public, and hopes this farther advantage will attend the present publication, that it will soon be followed by a correct and complcat edition from the author's own manuscript.
All this is somewhat mysterious, but there will not, however, be much injus. tice in supposing that Mr. Wilkes conveyed to the press as much of this Epistle as he thought would do credit to the author and to himself. It is certain the poem was published by Andrew Miller who was well acquainted with Dr. Armstrong, and would not have joined in any attempt to injure his fame or property. The poem contains many striking allusions to manners and objects of taste, but the versification is frequently careless: the author did not think proper to add it to bis collected works, nor was it ever published in a more correct form.
In thiş poem he was supposed to reflect on Churchill, but in a manner so distant that few except of Churchill's irascible temper could have laid hold of any cause of offence. This libeller, however, retorted on our author in The Journey, with an accusation of ingratitude, the meaning of which is said to have been, that Dr. Armstrong forgot certain pecuniary obligations he owed to Mr. Wilkes. About the same time a coolness took between place Dr. Arinstrong and Mr. Wilkes on political grounds. Armstrong not only serving under government as an armyphysician, but he was also a Scotchman, and could not help resenting the indignity which Wilkes was perpetually attempting to throw on that nation in his North Briton. On this account they appear to have continued at variance as late as the year 1773, when our author called Wilkes to account for some reflections on his character which he suspected he had written in his favourite vehicle, the Public Advertiser. The conversation which passed on this occasion was lately published in the Gentleman's Magazine (1792), and is said to have been copicd from minutes taken the same afternoon, April 7, 1773, and sent to a friend : but as the doctor makes by far the worst figure in the dialogue, it can be no secret by whom the minutes were taken, and afterwards published. The contests, how• ever, of Wilkes and his friends are of very little moment: there appears to have been no sound principle of friendship among them, and no ties which they did not think themselves at liberty to violate when it suited their interest.
After the peace, Dr. Armstrong resided some years in London, where his prac. tice was confined to a small circle, but where he was respected as a man of general koowledge and taste, and an agreeable companion. In 1770, he published two volumes of Miscellanies, containing the articles already mentioned, except the Economy of Love (an edition of which he corrected for separate publication in 1768) and his Epistle to Mr. Wilkes. The new articles were, the Imitations of Shakespeare and Spenser, the Universal Almanac, and the Forced Marriage, a tragedy, which was offered to Garrick about the year 1754, and rejected. A second part of his Sketches was likewise added to these volumes, and appeared to every delicate and judicious mind, a3 rambling and improper as the first. "I know not,” says Dr. Beattie to his friend sir William Forbes, " what is the matter with Armstrong, but he seems to have conceived a rooted aversion at the whole human race, except a few friends, who, it seems, are dead. He sets the public opinion at defiance: a piece of boldoess, which neither Virgil nor Horace
were ever so shameless as to acknowledge. I do not think that Dr. Armstrong has any cause to complain of the public: his Art of Health is not indeed a popular poem, but it is very much liked, and has often been printed. It will make him known and esteemed by posterity : and I presume he will be more esteemed if all his other works perish with him. In his Sketches, indeed, are many sensible and some striking remarks: but they breathe such a rancorous and contemptuous spirit, and abound so r:uch in odious vulgarisms and colloquial execrations, that in reading we are as often disgusted as pleased. I know not what to say of his Univeral Almanac; it seems to me an attempt at humour, but such humour is either too high or too low for my comprehension. The plan of his tragedy, called The Forced Marriage, is both obscure and improbable: yet there are good strokes in it, particularly in the last scene."
In 1771, he published another extraordinary effusion of spleen, under the title of A short Ramble through some parts of France and Italy, and with his assudi. ed name of Lancelot Temple. This ramble he took in company with Mr. Fuseli, the celebrated painter, who speaks highly in favour of the general benevolence of his character'. In 1773, under his own name, and unfortunately for his reputation, appeared a quarto pamphlet of Medical Essays, in which, while he condemns theory, he plunges into all the uncertainties of theoretical conjec. tures. He complains, likewise, in a very coarse style, of the neglect he met with as a physician, and the severity with which he was treated as an author, and appears to write with a temper soured by disappointment in all his pursuits.
He died at his house in Russell-street, Covent Garden, on Sept. 7, 1779. His death was attributed to an accidental contusion in his thigh, while getting into the carriage which brought him to town from a visit in Lincolnshire. To the surprise of his friends, who thought that poverty was the foundation of his frequent complaints, he left behind him more than three thousand pounds, sared out of a very moderate income arising principally from his half-pay.
His character is said to have been that of a man of learning and genius, of considerable abilities in his profession, of great benevolence and goodness of heart, fond of associating with men of parts and genius, but indolent and inactive, and therefore totally unqualified to employ the ineans that usually lead to medical enployment, or to make his way through a crowd of competitors. An intimate friendship always subsisted between him and Thomson the poet; as well as with other gentlemen of learning and genius; and he was intimate with, and respected by sir John Pringle, at the time of his death. In 1753, Dr. Theobald addressed two Latin Odes, Ad ingenuum virum, tum medicis, tum poeticis facultatibus præstantem, Johannem Armstrong, M. D'.
Dr. Armstrong's fame as a poet must depend entirely on his Art of Preserving
? He had been acquainted with Mr. Fuseli for many years; and Mr. Isaac Reed informned me that it is to this gentleman he alludes in the following passage in one of his Sketches, published in 17.0, On the Influence of Climate npon Genius." As to history (painting) itself, besides somie pro. mising specimens of it at home, perhaps even this barren age has produced a genius, not indeed of British growth; unpatronized, and at preseut almost unknown; who may live to astonish, to terrify, and delight all Europe.” C.
3 Nichols' Life of Botryer, p. 281, 282, 4to. edit. I am happy to inform my readers, that they may soon expect an enlarged edition of this valuable collection of literary history, in four volumes Svo. C.
• Ibid. p. 583.
Health, which, although liable to some of the objections usually offered against di.
be deemed more fortunate, as he certainly is superior to Philips, Dyer, and Grainger, The Art of Preserving Health is so different from those which are mechanical, that his Muse is seldom invited to an employment beneath her dignity. The means of preserving health are so intimately connected with the mind, and depend so much on philosophy, reflection, and observation, that the author has full scope for the powers of fancy, and for many of those ornamental flights which are not only pleasing, but constitute genuine poetry. In considering the varieties of air and exercise, he has seized many happy occasions for picturesque description; and when treating on the passions, he has many striking passages of moral sentiment, which are vigorous, just, and impressive. In Book II. on Diet, we discover more judgment than poetical inspiration, and he seems to be aware that the subject had a natural tendency to lower his tone. He seems therefore intent in this book principally to render useful precepts familiar, and if possible to make them take hold of the imagination. There are however descriptive passages even here that are very grand. It would perhaps be difficult to select from these volume, an image more finely conceived and uuiformly preserved, than where he inculcates the simple precept, that persons who have been exhausted for want of food ought not to indulge when plenty presents itself:
-While the vital fire
s I have great pleasure in referring the reader to an elaborate criticism on this poem, by Dr. Aikin, prefixed to an ornamented edition, published by Messrs. Cadell and Davies in 1803.
Mournful eclipse, or planets ill combin'd, TAE ART OF PRESERP'ING Portend disastrous to the vital world; HEALTH.
Thy salutary power averts their rage,
Averts the general bane: and but for thee BOOK I.-AIR.
Nature would sicken, nature soon would die
Without thy cheerful active energy DAUGHTER of Pæon, queen of every joy, No rapture swells the breast, no poet sings, Hygeia '; whose indulgent smile sustains No more the maids of Helicon delight. The various race luxuriant Nature pours, Come then with me, O goddess, heav'nly gay ! And on th' immortal essences bestows
Begin the song; and let it sweetly flow, Immortal youth ; auspicious, O descend ! And let it wisely teach thy wholesome laws: Thou cheerful guardian of the rolling year, “ How best the fickle fabric to support Whether thou wanton'st on the western gale, Of mortal man; in healthful body how Or shak'st the rigid pinions of the North, A healthful mind the longest to maintain." Diffusest life and vigour through the tracts 'Tis hard, in such a strife of rules, to choose Of air, thro' earth, and ocean's deep domain. The best, and those of most extensive use ; When thro' the blue serenity of Heaven
Harder in clear and animated song Thy power approaches, all the wasteful host
Dry philosophic precepts to convey. Of Pain and Sickness, squalid and deform'd, Yet with thy aid the secret wilds I trace Confounded sink into the loathsome gloom, Of Nature, and with daring steps proceed Where in deep Erebus involv'd the Fiends
Thro' paths the Muses never trod before. Grow more profane. Whatever shapes of death, Nor should I wander doubtful of my way, Shook from the hideous chambers of the globe, Had I the lights of that sagacious mind Swarm thro' the shuddering air: whatever Which taught to check the pestilential fire, plagues
And quell the deadly Python of the Nile. Or meagre famine breeds, or with slow wings O thou belov'd by all the graceful arts, Rise from the putrid wat'ry element,
Thou.long the fav’rite of the healing powers, The damp waste forest, motionless and rank, Indulge, 0 Mead! a well-design’d essay, That smothers earth, and all the breathless Howe'er imperfect : and permit that I winds,
My little knowledge with my country share, Or the vile carnage of th' inhuman field;
Till you the rich Asclepian stores unlock, Whatever baneful breathes the rotten South; And with new graces dignify the theme. Whatever ills th' extremes or sudden change Ye who amid this feverish world would wear Of cold and hot, or moist and dry produce; A body free of pain, of cares a mind; They fly thy pure effulgence: they and all
Fly the rank city, shun its turbid air; The secret poisons of avenging Heaven,
Breathe not the chaos of eternal smoke And all the pale tribes halting in the train And volatile corruption, from the dead, Of Vice and heedless Pleasure: or if aught The dying, sick’ning, and the living world The comet's glare amid the burning sky,
Exhal'd, to sully Heaven's transparent dom
With dim mortality. It is not air "Hygeia, the goddess of health, was, accord - That from a thousand lungs reeks back to thine, ing to the genealogy of the heathen deities, the Sated with exhalations rank and fell, daughter of Æsculapius ; who, as well as Apollo, The spoil of dunghills, and the putri thaw was distinguished by the name of Pæon. Of nature; when from shape and texture sbe