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ETUS N° 25. Thursday, March 29.
Am one of that sickly Tribe who are commonly
• confess to you, that I first contracted this ill Ha• bit of Body, or rather of Mind, by the Study of Phy• fick. I no sooner began to peruse Books of this Na
ture, but I found my Pulse was irregular; and scarce ever read the Account of any Disease that I did not fane
cy my self afflicted with. Doctor Sydenham's learned · Treatise of Fevers threw me into a lingring Hectick,
which hung upon me all the while I was reading that • excellent piece. I then applied my self to the Study of • several Authors, who have written upon Pthifical Di
stempers, and by that means fell into a Consumption; 'till at length, growing, very fat, I was in a manner • fhamed out of that Imagination. Not long after this I • found in my self all the Symptoms of the Gout, except • Pain; but was cured of it by a Treatise upon the Gravel,
written by a very Ingenious Author, who (as it is usual * for Physicians to convert one Distemper into another) seased me of the Gout by giving me the Stone. I at * length studied my self into a complication of Distem
pers; but, accidentally taking into my Hand that Inges nious Discourse written by Sanctorius, I was resolved to o direct
my self by a Scheme of Rules, which I had s collected from his Observations. The Learned World
well acquainted with that Gentleman's Inven• tion; who, for the better carrying on of his Experi
ments, contrived a certain Mathematical Chair, which was so Artificially hung upon Springs, that it would
weigh any thing as well as a Pair of Scales. By this means he discovered how many Ounces of his Food
pass'd by Perspiration, what quantity of it was turned • into Nourishment, and how much went away by the • other Channels and Distributions of Nature,
HAVING provided my self with this Chair, I used to Study, Eat, Drink, and Sleep in it; insomuch that I may be said, for these three last years, to have lived in a Pair of Scales. I compute my self, when I am in full
Health, to be precisely Two hundred Weight, falling • short of it about a Pound after a Day's Fast, and exceed• ing it as much after a very full Meal; so that it is my • continual Employment, to trim the Ballance between
these two Volatile Pounds in my Constitution. In my ordinary Meals I fetch
up to two hutidred Weight • and half a Pound; and if after having dined I find my ' self fall short of it, I drink just so much Small Beer, or
such a quantity of Bread, as is sufficient to make me weight. In my greatest Excesses I do not transgress
more than the other half Pound; which, for my Health's • sake, I do the first Monday in every Month. As soon • as I find my self duely poised after Dinner, I walk
till I have perspired fíve Ounces and four Scruples; • and when I discover, by my Chair, that I am so far
reduced, I fall to my Books, and study away three « Ounces more.
As for the remaining Parts of the • Pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine and
sup by the Clock, but by my Chair ; for when that in• forms me my Pound of Food is exhausted, I conclude
my self to be hungry, and lay in another with all
Diligence. In my Days of Abftinence I lose a Pound • and an half, and' on solemn Fasts am two Pound -- lighter than on other Days in the Year.
I allow my self one Night with another, a Quarter * of a Pound of Sleep within a few Grains more or less; • and if upon my rising I find that I have not consumed
my whole quantity, I take out the rest in my Chair. • Upon an exact Calculation of what I expended and • received the last year, which I always register in a • Book, I find the Medium to be Two hundred Weight, ! so that I cannot discover that I am impaired one
Ounce in my Health during a whole Twelve-month.
• And yet, Sir, notwithstanding this my great Care to • ballaft my self equally every Day, and to keep my • Body in its proper Poise, so it is that find my self • in a sick and languishing Condition. My Complexion
is grown very fallow, my Pulse low, and my Body
Hydropical. Let me therefore beg you, Sir; to con• sider me as your Parient, and to give me more cer“ tain Rules to walk by than those I have already ob seryed, and you will very much oblige
Your Humble Servant. THIS Letter puts me in mind of an Italian Epitaph written on the Monument of Valetudinarian; Stavo ben, ma per ftar Meglio, fto qui: Which it is impossible to translate. The Fear of Death often proves Mortal, and sets People on Methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them. This is a Reflection made by some Historians, upon observing that there are many more thoufands killed in a Flight than in a Battel; and may be applied to those Multitudes of imaginary Sick Persons ihat break their Constitutions by Phyfick, and throw them felves into the Arms of Death, by endeavouring to escape it. This Method is not only dangerous, but below the Practice of a Reasonable Creature. To confult the Pre. fervation of Life, as the only End of it, To make our Health our Business, To engage in no Action that is not part of a Regimen, or course of Physick; are Purposes fo abject, so mean, fo unworthy human Nature, that a generous
Soul would rather die than submit to them. Bee fides, that a continual Anxiety for Life vitiates all the Relishes of it, and cafts a Gloom over the whole Face of Nature; as it is impossible we fhould take Delight in any thing that we are every Moment afraid of losing.
I do not mean, by what I have here faid, that I think any one to blame for taking due Care of their Health. On the contrary, as Cheerfulness of Mind, and Capacity for Business, are in a great measure the Effects of a welltemper'd Conftitution, a Man cannot be at too much Pains to cultivate and preserve it. But this Care, which We are prompted to, not only by common Sense, but by Duty and Instinct, should never engage us in grounde less Fears, melancholy Apprehensions, and imaginary
Diftempers, which are natural to every Man who is more anxious to Live than How to live. In short, the Preservation of Life should be only a secondary Concern, and the Direction of it our Principal. If we have this Frame of Mind, we shall take the best Means to preserve Life, without being over-follicitous about the Event; and shall arrive at that point of Felicity which Martial has mentioned as the Perfection of Happiness, of neither fearing nor wishing for Death.
IN answer to the Gentleman, who tempers his Heahli by Ounces and by Scruples, and instead of complying with those natural Sollicitations of Hunger and Thirit, Drowsiness or Love of Exercise, governs himself by the Prescriptions of his Chair, I shall tell him a short Fable. Jupiter, says the Mythologist, to reward the Piety of a certain Countryman, promised to give him whatever he would ask. The Countryman desired thać he might have the Management of the Weather in his owa Efate: He obtained his Request, and immediate Jy distributed Rain, Snow, and Sunshine among his several Fields, as he thought the nature of the Soil required. At the end of the Year, when he expected to see a more than ordinary Crop, his Harvest fell infinitely Mort of that of his Neighbours: Upon which (lays the Fable) he defired Jupiter to take the weather again into his own Hands, or that otherwise he should utteri ly ruin himself.
Friday, March 30.
Pallida mors equo pulfat pede pauperum tabernas
Regumque turres, o beate Sexti:
Fam te premet nox, fabulaque manes,
Hor: HEN I am in a serious Humour, I very often walk by my self in Westminster Abby; where the
Gloominess of the Place, and the Use to which it is applied, with the Solemnity of the Building, and
the Condition of the People who lye in it, are apt to fill the Mind with a kind of Melancholy, or rather Thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable. Í Yesterday passed a whole Afternoon in the Church-yard, the Cloysters, and the Church, amusing my self with the Tomb-ftones and Inscriptions that I met with in those several Regions of the Dead. Most of them recorded nothing else of the buried Person, but that he was born upon one Day and died upon another : The whole History of his Life being comprehended in those two Circumstances, that are common to all Mankind. I could not but look upon these Registers of Existence, whether of Brass or Marble, as a kind of Satyr upon the departed Persons; who had left no other Memorial of them, but that they were born and that they died. They put me in mind of several Persons mentioned in the Battels of Heroic Poems, who have founding Names given them, for no other Reason but that they may be killed, and are celebrated for nothing but being knocked on the Head.
Γλαύκον τε Μεδονία τε Θερσιλοχίν τε. Hom.
Glaucumque, Medontaque, Therfilochumque. Vir. The Life of these Men is finely described in Holy Writ by the path of an Arrow, which is immediately closed up
and loft. UPON my going into the Church, I entertained my self with the digging of a Grave; and saw in every Shovel-full of it that was thrown up, the Fragment of a Bone or Skull intermixt with a kind of fresh mouldering Earth that some time or other had a Place in the Composition of an human Body. Upon this I began to consider with
self what innumerable Multitudes of People lay confused together under the Pavement of that ancient Cathedral; how Men and Women, Friends and Enemies, Priests and Soldiers, Monks and Prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blended together in the same common Mass; how Beauty, Strength, and Youth, with Old-age, Weakness and Deformity, lay undistinguish'd in the same promiscuous Heap of Matter.