Page images

throws off all Superfluities, Temperance prevents them. No. 195. I Exercise clears the Vessels, _Temperance neither Saturday, satiates nor overstrains them. If Exercise raises proper 13, 1711. Ferments in the Humours, and promotes the Circulation of the Blood, Temperance gives Nature her_full Play, and enables her to exert her self in all her Force and

Vigour. If Exercise dissipates a growing Distemper, Temperance starves it.

Physick, for the most part, is nothing else but the Substitute of Exercise or Temperance. Medicines are indeed absolutely necessary in acute Distempers, that cannot wait the slow Operations of these two great Instruments

of Health, but did Men live in an habitual Course of Exercise and Temperance, there would be but little Occasion for them Accordingly we find that those Parts of the World are the most healthy, where they subsist by the Chace; and that Men lived longest when their Lives were employed in hunting, and when they had little Food besides what they caught. Blistering, Cupping, Bleeding are seldom of use but to the Idle and Intemperate; as all those inward Applications which are so much in practice among us, are for the most part nothing else but Expedients to make Luxury consistent with Health. The Apothecary is perpetually employed in countermining the Cook and the Vintner. It is said of Diogenes, that meeting a young Man who was going to a Feast, he took him up in the Street and carried him Home to his Friends, as one who was running into imminent Danger, had not he prevented him. What would that Philosopher have said, had he been present at the Gluttony of a modern Meal? Would not he have thought the Master of a Family mad, and have begged his Servants to tie down his Hands, had he seen him devour Fowl, Fish and Flesh; swallow Oyl and Vinegar, Wines and Spices, throw down Sallads of twenty different Herbs, Sauces of an hundred Ingredients, Confections and Fruits of numberless Sweets and Flavours? What unnatural Motions and Counterferments must such a Medley of Intemperance produce in the Body? For my -Part, when I behold a Fashionable Table set out in alt its Magnificence, I fancy that I see Gouts and Dropsies,


No. 195. Feavers and Lethargies, with other innumerable Dis Saturday, tempers lying in Ambuscade among the Dishes. October

Nature delights in the most plain and simple Diet 13, 1711.

Every Animal, but Man, keeps to one Dish, Herbs are the Food of this Species, Fish of that, and Flesh of a Third. Man falls upon every thing that comes in his way, not the smallest Fruit or Excrescence of the Earth, scarce a Berry or a Mushroom, can escape him.

It is impossible 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 Constitutions, so far as to know what Kinds and what Proportions of Food do best agree with them Were I to consider my Readers as my Patients, and to prescribe such a kind of Temperance as is accommodated to all Persons, and such as is particularly suitable to our Climate and way of Living, I would copy the following Rules of a very eminent Physician, Make your whole Repast out of one Dish If you indulge in a second, avoid drinking any thing Strong 'till you have finished your Meal; at the same time abstain from all Sauces, or at least such as are not the most plain and simple A Man could not be well guilty

of Gluttony, if he stuck to these few obvious and easie Rules. In the first case there would be no Variety of Tastes to sollicit his Palate

, and occasion Excess; nor in the second any artificial Pro vocatives to relieve Satiety, and create a false Appetite Were I to prescribe a Rule for drinking, it should be form'd upon a Saying quoted by Sir William Temple the first Glass for my self, the second for my Friends, the third for good Humour, and the fourth for mine Enemies, But because it is impossible for one who lives in the World to Diet himself always in so Philosor. phical a manner, I think every Man should have his Days of Abstinence, according as his Constitution will permit

. These are great Reliefs to Nature, as they qualifie her for strugling with Hunger and Thirst, whenever any Distemper or Duty of Life may put her upon such Difficulties; and at the same time give her an Opportunity of extricating her self from her Oppressions,


[ocr errors]

I and recovering the several Tones and Springs of No. 195.

her distended Vessels. Besides, that Abstinence well Saturday, I timed often kills a Sickness in Embrio, and destroys the


13, 1711. first Seeds of an Indisposition. It is observed by two or three ancient Authors, that Socrates, notwithstanding he lived in Athens during that great Plague, which has made so much Noise through all Ages, and has been

celebrated at different times by such eminent Hands, I E: say, notwithstanding that he lived in the time of this devouring Pestilence, he never caught the least Infection, which those Writers unanimously ascribe to that uninterrupted Temperance which he always observed.

And here I cannot but mention an Observation which I have often made, upon Reading the Lives of the

Philosophers, and comparing it with any Series of Kings For great Men of the same number. If we consider these

ancient Sages, a great part of whose Philosophy con sisted in a temperate and abstemious Course of Life, one would think the Life of a Philosopher, and the Life of a Man, were of two different Dates. For we find that the generality of these wise Men were nearer an hundred than sixty Years of Age at the time of - their respective Deaths. But the most remarkable Instance of the Efficacy of Temperance towards the procuring of long Life, is what we meet with in a little

Book published by Lewis Cornaro the Venetian, which I the rather mention, because it is of undoubted Credit, as the late Venetian Ambassador, who was of the same

Family, attested more than once in Conversation, when he resided in England. Cornaro, who was the Author of the little Treatise I am mentioning, was of an infirm Constitution 'till about forty, when by obstinately per sisting in an exact Course of Temperance, he recovered a perfect State of Health, insomuch that at fourscore be published his Book, which has been translated into English under the title of the sure Way of attaining a long and healthful Life. He lived to give a third or fourth Edition of it, and after having passed his hundredth Year, died without Pain or Agony, and like by one who falls asleep. The Treatise I mention has been taken Notice of by several Eminent Authors, and is


No. 195. written with such a Spirit of Cheerfulness, Religion, and
Saturday, good Sense, as are the natural Concomitants of Tem
13, 1711.

perance and Sobriety, The mixture of the old Man
in it is rather a Recommendation than a Discredit
to it

Having designed this Paper as the Sequel to that upon Exercise, I have not here considered Temperance as it is a Moral Virtue, which I shall make the Subject of a future Speculation, but only as it is the Means of Health,


[ocr errors]

No. 196.

Monday, October 15.
Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit aequus.-Hor.
HERE is a particular Fault which I have observed

in most of the Moralists in all Ages, and that is, that they are always professing themselves and teaching others to be happy. This State is not to be arrived at in this Life, therefore I would recommend to you to talk in an humbler Strain than your Predecessors have done, and instead of presuming to be happy, instruct us only to be easy. The Thoughts of him who would be discreet, and aim at practicable Things, should turn upon allaying our Pain rather than promoting our Joy Great Inquietude is to be avoided, but great Felicity is not to be attained. The great Lesson is Equanimity, a Regularity of Spirit

, which is a little above Chearful ness and below Mirth. Chearfulness is always to be supported if a Man is out of Pain, but Mirth to a prudent Man should always be accidental: It should naturally arise out of the Occasion, and the Occasion seldom be laid for its for those Tempers who want Mirth to be pleased, are like the Constitutions which flag without the use of Brandy. Therefore, I say, let your Precept be, Be easy. That Mind is dissolute and ungoverned, which must be hurried out of it self by loud Laughter or sensual Pleasure, or else be wholly unactive. There are a couple of old Fellows of my Acquaintance,


who meet every Day and smoak a Pipe, and by their No. 196. mutual Love to each other, tho' they have been Men Monday, of Business and Bustle in the World, enjoy a greater


15, 171 - Tranquility than either could have worked himself into by any Chapter of Seneca. Indolence of Body and Mind, when we aim at no more, is very frequently en joyed; but the very Enquiry after Happiness has some thing restless in it

, which a Man who lives in a Series of temperate Meals, friendly Conversations, and easy Slumbers, gives himself no Trouble about While Men of Refinement are talking of Tranquility, he possesses it

What I would by these broken Expressions recommend to you, Mr. SPECTATOR, is, that you would speak of the Way of Life which plain Men may pursue, to fill up the Spaces of Time with Satisfaction. It is a lamentable Circumstance, that Wisdom, or, as you call it, Philo -sophy, should furnish Ideas only for the Learned; and that a Man must be a Philosopher to know how to

pass away his Time agreeably. It would therefore be worth your Pains to place in an handsome Light the Relations and Affinities among Men, which render their Conversation with each other so grateful, that the highest Talents give but an impotent Pleasure in Com parison with them. You may find Descriptions and Dis. courses which will render the Fire Side of an honest Artificer as entertaining as your own Club is to you. -Good-nature has an endless Source of Pleasures in it; and the Representation of domestick Life, filled with its natural Gratifications (instead of the necessary Vexations which are generally insisted upon in the Writings of the Witty) will be a good Office to Society,

The Vicissitudes of Labour and Rest in the lower Part of Mankind, make their Being pass away with that Sort of Relish which we express by the Word Comfort, and should be treated of by you, who are a SPECTATOR, as well as such Subjects which appear indeed more speculative, but are less instructive. In a word, Sir, I would have you turn your Thoughts to the Advantage of such as want you most; and shew that Simplicity, Innocense, Industry and Temperance, are Arts which


« PreviousContinue »