« ZurückWeiter »
No. 115. THURSDAY, JULY 12.
-Ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Juv. Sat. x. 356.
A healthy body and a mind at ease.
Bodily labour is of two kinds; either that which a man sub. mits to for his livelihood, or that which he undergoes for his pleasure. The latter of them generally changes the name of labour for that of exercise, but differs only from ordinary labour as it rises from another motive.
A country life abounds in both these kinds of labour, and for that reason gives a man a greater stock of health, and consequently a more perfect enjoyment of himself, than any other way of life. I consider the body as a system of tubes and glands, or to use a more rustic phrase, a bundle of pipes and strainers, fitted to one another after so wonderful a manner, as to make a proper engine for the soul to work with. This description does not only comprehend the bowels, bones, tendons, veins, nerves, and arteries, but every muscle and every ligature, which is a composition of fibres, that are so many imperceptible tubes or pipes interwoven on all sides with invisible glands or strainers.
This general idea of a human body, without considering it in the niceties of anatomy, lets us see how absolutely necessary labour is for the right preservation of it. There must be frequent motions and agitations, to mix, digest, and separate the juices contained in it, as well as to clear and cleanse that infinitude of pipes and strainers of which it is composed, and to give their solid parts a more firm and lasting tone. Labour or exercise ferments the humours, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distri.
butions without which the body cannot subsist in its vigour, nor the soul act with cheerfulness.
I might here mention the effects which this has upon all the faculties of the mind, by keeping the understanding clear, the imagination untroubled, and refining those spirits that are necessary for the proper exertion of our intellectual faculties, during the present laws of union between soul and body. It is to a neglect in this particular that we must ascribe the spleen, which is so frequent in men of studious and sedentary“ tempers, as well as the vapours to which those of the other sex are so often subject.
Had not exercise been absolutely necessary for our well-being, nature would not have made the body so proper for it, by giving such an activity to the limbs, and such a pliancy to every part as necessarily produces those compressions, extensions, contortions, dilatations, and all other kinds of motions that are necessary for the preservation of such a system of tubes and glands as has been before mentioned. And that we might not want inducements to engage in such an exercise 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 sweat of the brows. Providence furnishes materials, but expects that we should work them up ourselves. The earth must be laboured before it gives its increase; and when it is forced into its several products, how many hands must they pass through before they are fit for use ? Manufactures, trade, and agricul. ture, naturally employ more than nineteen parts of the species in twenty; and as for those who are not obliged to labour, by the condition in which they are born, they are more miserable than
* We may say, studious, but not sedentary tempers: the proper word, if we would retain both the adjectives, is, lives.-H.
the rest of mankind, unless they indulge themselves in that voluntary labour which goes by the name of exercise.
My friend Sir Roger has been an indefatigable man in business of this kind, and has hung several parts of his house with the trophies of his former labours. The walls of his great hall are covered with the horns of several kinds of deer that he has killed in the chase, which he thinks the most valuable furniture of his house, as they afford him frequent topics of discourse, and shew that he has not been idle. At the lower end of the hall is a large otter's skin stuffed with hay, which his mother ordered to be hung up in that manner, and the knight looks upon with great satisfaction, 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 arsenal, filled with guns of several sizes and inventions, with which the knight has made great havoc in the woods, and destroyed many thousands of pheasants, partridges, and woodcocks. His stable doors are patched with noses that belonged to foxes of the knight's own hunting down. Sir Roger shewed
Although the “Spectator" advocated in this and other pages moderate indulgence in the sports of the field, the excessive passion of country gentlemen for them to the exclusion of more intellectual pastimes, he elsewhere deplores. In a later volume he quotes a saying that the curse fulminated by Goliah having missed David, had rested on the modern squire:-“I will give thee to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” The country gentleman was respected by his neighbours, less for morality or intellect, than for the number of foxes' noses he could show nailed to his stables and barns.
The sedentary, though assuredly less healthful and respectable games and pastimes introduced by Charles the Second and his followers from abroad, had not, even in Queen Anne's day, become so thoroughly naturalised as they were afterwards; and ladies keenly participated in the sports of the field. The Queen herself followed the hounds in a chaise with one horse," which,” says Swift, “she drives herself; and drives furiously, like Jehu ; and is a mighty hunter, like Nimrod.” She was, if Stella's journalist did not exaggerate, quite equal to runs even longer than those performed by the Coverley hounds; for, on the 7th August, 1711, she drove before dinner five-and-forty miles after a stag:—*
me one of them that, for distinction sake, has a brass nail struck through it, which cost him about fifteen hours riding, carried him through half a dozen counties, killed him a brace of geldings, and lost above balf his dogs. This the knight looks upon as one of the greatest exploits of his life. The perverse widow, whom I have given some account of, was the death of several foxes ;' for Sir Roger has told me that in the course of his amours he patched the western door of his stable. Whenever the widow was cruel, the foxes were sure to pay for it. In proportion as his passion for the widow abated, and old age came on, he left his fox-hunting; but a hare is not yet safe that sits within ten miles of his house.
There is no kind of exercise which I would so recommend to my readers of both sexes as this of riding, as there is none which so much conduces to health, and is every way accommo. dated to the body, according to the idea which I have given of it. Doctor Sydenham is very lavish in its praises ; and if the English reader would see the mechanical effects of it described at length, he may find them in a book published not many years since, under the title of the Medicina Gymnastica.' For my own part, when I am in town, for want of these opportunities, I exercise myself an hour every morning upon a dumb bell that is placed in a corner of a room, and pleases me the more because it does every thing I require of it in the most profound silence. My landlady and her daughters are so well acquainted with my hours of exercise, that they never come into my room to disturb ine whilst I am ringing.
When I was some years younger than I am at present, I used to employ myself in a more laborious diversion, which I learned from a Latin treatise of exercises, that is written with great erudition; it is the 'e called the orlomazia, or the fighting • V. No. 113.
· By Francis Fuller, M. A.--C.
with a man's own shadow; and consists in the brandishing of two short sticks grasped in each hand, and loaden with plugs of lead at either end. This opens the chest, exercises the limbs, and gives a man all the pleasure of boxing without the blows. I could wish that several learned men would lay out that time which they employ in controversies and disputes about nothing, in this method of fighting with their own shadows. 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 soul and body, I consider myself as obliged to a double scheme of duties; and I think I have not fulfilled the business of the day, when I do not thus cmploy the one in labour and exercise, as well as the other in study and contemplation.
No. 117. SATURDAY, JULY 14.
Ipsi sibi somnia fingunt.
VIRG. Ecl. viii, 108.
There are some opinions in which a man should stand neuter, without engaging his assent to one side or the other. Such a hovering faith as this, which refuses to settle upon any determination, is absolutely necessary in a mind that is careful to avoid errors and prepossessions. When the arguments press equally on both sides in matters that are indifferent to us, the safest method is to give up ourselves to neither.
It is with this temper of mind that I consider the subject of witchcraft.
When I hear the relations that are made from all parts of the world, not only from Norway and Lapland, from the East and West Indies, but from every particular nation in