Слике страница

Of life; the table and the homely gods
Demand my song. Elysian gales, adieu !

The blood, the fountain whence the spirits flow,
The generous stream that waters every part,
And motion, vigour, and warm life conveys
To every particle that moves or lives;
This vital fluid, through unnumber'd tubes
Pour'd by the heart, and to the heart again
Refunded; scourg'd for ever round and round;
Enrag'd with heat and toil, at last forgets.
Its balmy nature; virulent and thin

It grows; and now, but that a thousand gates
Are open to its flight, it would destroy
The parts it cherish'd and repair'd before.
Besides, the flexible and tender tubes
Melt in the mildest most nectareous tide
That ripening Nature rolls; as in the stream
Its crumbling banks; but what the force
Of plastic fluids hourly batters down,
That very force, those plastic particles
Rebuild: so mutable the state of man.
For this the watchful appetite was given,
Daily with fresh materials to repair
This unavoidable expense of life,
This necessary waste of flesh and blood.
Hence, the concoctive powers, with various art,
Subdue the cruder aliments to chyle;

The chyle to blood; the foamy purple tide

To liquors, which through finer arteries
To different parts their winding course pursue;
To try new changes, and new forms put on,
Or for the public, or some private use.

Nothing so foreign but th' athletic hind Can labour into blood. The hungry meal Alone he fears, or aliments too thin; By violent powers too easily subdu'd, Too soon expell'd. His daily labour thaws, To friendly chyle, the most rebellious mass That salt can harden, or the smoke of years; Nor does his gorge the luscious bacon rue, Nor that which Cestria sends, tenacious paste Of solid milk. But ye of softer clay, Infirm and delicate! and ye who waste With pale and bloated sloth the tedious day! Avoid the stubborn aliment, avoid The full repast; and let sagacious age Grow wiser, lesson'd by the dropping teeth. Half subtiliz'd to chyle, the liquid food Readiest obeys th' assimilating powers; And soon the tender vegetable mass Relents; and soon the young of those that tread The stedfast earth, or cleave the green abyss, Or pathless sky. And if the steer must fall, In youth and sanguine vigour let him die; Nor stay till rigid age, or heavy ails, Absolve him ill-requited from the yoke. Some with high forage, and luxuriant ease, Indulge the veteran ox; but wiser thou, From the bald mountain or the barren downs, Expect the flocks by frugal Nature fed; A race of purer blood, with exercise Refin❜d and scanty fare: for, old or young, The stall'd are never healthy; nor the cramm'd. Not all the culinary arts can tame

To wholesome food, the abominable growth
Of rest and gluttony; the prudent taste
Rejects like bane such loathsome lusciousness.
The languid stomach curses even the pure
Delicious fat, and all the race of oil :
For more the oily aliments relax

Its feeble tone; and with the eager lymph
(Fond to incorporate with all it meets)
Coyly they mix, and shun with slippery wiles
The woo'd embrace. Th' irresoluble oil,
So gentle late and blandishing, in floods
Of rancid bile o'erflows: what tumults hence,
What horrours rise, were nauseous to relate.
Choose leaner viands, ye whose jovial make
Too fast the gummy nutriment imbibes :
Choose sober meals; and rouse to active life
Your cumbrous clay; nor on the enfeebling down,
Irresolute, protract the morning hours.

But let the man whose bones are thinly clad,
With cheerful ease and succulent repast
Improve his habit he can ;
for each
Extreme departs from perfect sanity.

I could relate what table this demands,
Or that complexion: what the various powers
Of various foods: but fifty years would roll,
And fifty more before the tale were done.
Besides, there often lurks some nameless, strange,
Peculiar thing; nor on the skin display'd,
Felt in the pulse, nor in the habit seen;
Which finds a poison in the food that most
The temp❜rature affects. There are, whose blood
Impetuous rages through the turgid veins,

Who better bear the fiery fruits of India
Than the moist melon, or pale cucumber.
Of chilly nature others fly the board
Supply'd with slaughter, and the vernal powers
For cooler, kinder sustenance implore.
Some even the generous nutriment detest
Which, in the shell, the sleeping embryo rears.
Some, more unhappy still, repent the gifts
Of Pales; soft, delicious and benign:
The balmy quintessence of every flower,
And every grateful herb that decks the spring;
The fost'ring dew of tender sprouting life;
The best refection of declining age;

The kind restorative of those who lie

Half dead and panting, from the doubtful strife
Of nature struggling in the grasp of death.

Try all the bounties of this fertile globe,
There is not such a salutary food
As suits with every stomach.
But (except,
Amid the mingled mass of fish and fowl,
And boil'd and bak'd, you hesitate by which
You sunk oppress'd, or whether not by all)
Taught by experience soon you may discern
What pleases, what offends. Avoid the cates
That lull the sicken'd appetite too long;
Or heave with fev'rish flushings all the face,
Burn in the palms, and parch the rough'ning


Or much diminish or too much increase

Th' expense, which Nature's wise economy,
Without or waste or avarice, maintains.
Such cates abjur'd, let prowling hunger loose,

And bid the curious palate roam at will;
They scarce can err amid the various stores
That burst the teeming entrails of the world.

Led by sagacious taste, the ruthless king
Of beasts on blood and slaughter only lives;
The tiger, form'd alike to cruel meals,
Would at the manger starve; of milder seeds
The generous horse to herbage and to grain
Confines his wish; though fabling Greece resound
The Thracian steeds with human carnage wild
Prompted by instinct's never-erring power,
Each creature knows its proper aliment;
But man, th' inhabitant of every clime,
With all the commor ers of Nature feeds.
Directed, bounded, by this power within,
Their cravings are well aim'd: voluptuous man
Is by superior faculties misled;

Misled from pleasure even in quest of joy,

Sated with Nature's boons, what thousands seek,
With dishes tortur'd from their native taste,
And mad variety, to spur beyond
Its wiser will the jaded appetite!

Is this for pleasure? Learn a juster taste!
And know that temperance is true luxury.
Or is it pride? Pursue some nobler aim,
Dismiss your parasites who praise for hire;
And earn the fair esteem of honest men, [yours,
Whose praise is fame. Form'd of such clay as
The sick, the needy, shiver at your gates.
Even modest want may bless your hand unseen,
Though hush'd in patient wretchedness at home.
Is there no virgin, grac'd with ev'ry charm

« ПретходнаНастави »