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PREFACE The author of the following pieces has at last taken the trouble upon him to collect them, and to have them printed under his own inspection; a task that he had long avoided, and to which he would hardly have submitted himself at last, but for the sake of preventing their being, some time hereafter, exposed in a ragged mangled condition, and loaded with more faults than they originally had : while it might be impossible for him, by the change perhaps of one letter, to recover a whole period from the most contemptible nonsense.
Along with such pieces as he had formerly offered to the public, he takes this opportunity of presenting it with several others; some of which had lain by him many years. What he has lost, and especially what he has destroyed, would, probably enough, have been better received by the great majority of readers, than anything he has published.
But he never courted the public. He wrote chiefly for his own amusement; and because he found it an agreeable and innocent way of sometimes passing an idle hour. He has always most heartily despised the opinion of the Mobility, from the lowest to the highest: and if it is true, what he has sometimes been told, that the best judges are on his side, he desires no more in the article of fame and renown as a writer. If the best judges of this age honour him with their approbation, all the worst too of the next will favour him with theirs; when by Heaven's grace he'll be too far beyond the reach of their unmeaning praises to receive any disguat from them.
THE ART OF PRESERVING HEALTH.
FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE YEAR. M.DCC.XLIV.
DAUGHTER of Pæon, queen of every joy,
Hygeia;' whose indulgent smile sustains
The various race luxuriant Nature pours,
And on the immortal essences bestows
Immortal youth; auspicious, oh descend!
Thou cheerful guardian of the rolling year,
Whether thou wanton'st on the western gale,
Or shak’st the rigid pinions of the north,
Diffusest life and vigour through the tracts
Of air, through earth, and ocean's deep domain.
When through the blue serenity of heaven
Thy power approaches, all the wasteful host
Of Pain and Sickness, squalid and deform’d,
Confounded sink into the loathsome gloom,
Where in deep Erebus involv'd the Fienus
Grow more profane. Whatever shapes of death,
Shook from the hideous chambers of the globe,
Swarm through the shuddering air: whatever plagues
Or meagre famine breeds, or with slow wings
Rise from the putrid watery element,
The damp waste forest, motionless and rank,
That smothers earth and all the breathless winds,
Or the vile carnage of th' inhuman fielu;
Whatever baneful breathes the rotten south;
Whatever ills th' extremes or sudden change
Of cold and hot, or moist and dry produce;
They fly thy pure effulgence: they and all
The secret poisons of avenging heaven,
And all the pale tribes halting in the train
Of Vice and heedless Pleasure: or if aught
The comet's glare amid the burning sky,
Mournful eclipse, or planets ill-combin'd,
Portend disastrous to the vital world;
Thy salutary power averts their rage,
Averts the general bane: and but for thee
Nature would sicken, Nature soon would die.
Without thy cheerful active energy
No rapture swells the breast, no Poet sings,
No more the maids of Helicon delight.
Come then with me, O Goddess heavenly gay!
Begin the song; and let it sweetly flow,
And let it wisely teach thy wholesome laws:
*How best the fickle fabric to support
Of mortal man; in healthful body how
A healthful mind the longest to maintain.'
'Tis hard, in such a strife of rules, to choose
The best, and those of most extensive use;
Harder in clear and animated song
Dry philosophic precepts to convey.
Yet with thy aid the secret wilds I trace
Of Nature, and with daring steps proceed
Through paths the Muses never trod before.
Nor should I wander doubtful of my way,
Had I the lights of that sagacious mind
Which taught to check the pestilential fire,
And quell the deadly Python of the Nile.
O thou belov'd by all the graceful arts,
Thou long the fav’rite of the healing powers,
Indulge, O MEAD!' a well-design'd essay,
Howe'er imperfect: and permit that I
My little knowledge with my country share,
Till you the rich Asclepian stores unlock,
And with new graces dignify the theme.
Ye who amid this feverish world would wear
A body free of pain, of cares a mind;
Fly the rank city, shun its turbid air;
Breathe not the chaos of eternal smoke
And volatile corruption, from the dead,
The dying, sickening, and the living world
Exhaled, to sully heaven's transparent dome
With dim mortality. It is not air
That from a thousand lungs reeks back to thiné,
Sated with exhalations rank and fell,
The spoil of dunghills, and the putrid thaw
Of Nature; when from shape and texture she
Relapses into fighting elements:
It is not air, but floats a nauseous mass
Of all obscene, corrupt, offensive things.
Much moisture hurts; but here a sordid bath,
With oily rancour fraught, relaxes more
The solid frame than simple moisture can.
Besides, immured in many a sullen bay
That never felt the freshness of the breeze,
This slumbering deep remains, and ranker grows
With sickly rest: and (though the lungs abhor
To drink the dun fuliginous abyss)
Did not the acid vigour of the mine,
1 Mead :' Richard-born in Stepney, 1673—companion in youth of Boerhaave, author of books on poisons and pestilential contagions, connected with the introduction of inoculation, physician to George II;-died in 1754