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the admixture of evil, and all the seeming disorder of conflicting agencies, a general tendency nevertheless towards the accomplishment of wise and beneficent designs.
'As in contemplating an ebbing tide, we are sometimes in doubt, on a short inspection, whether the sea is really receding, because, from time to time, a wave will dash further up the shore than those which had preceded it, but, if we continue our observation long enough, we see plainly that the boundary of the land is on the whole advancing; so here, by extending our view over many Countries and through several Ages, we may distinctly perceive the tendencies which would have escaped a more confined research.'
ESSAY XXX. OF REGIMEN OF HEALTH.
THERE is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic: a man's own observation, what he finds good of,1 and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health; but it is a safer conclusion to say, 'This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it,' than this, 'I find no offence ■ of this, therefore I may use it:' for strength of nature in youth passeth over many excesses which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it; for it is a secret, lxith in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine tby customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apjiarel, and the like, and try, in anything thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little; but so as3 if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change thou come back to it again; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, and fit for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat * and sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, anger, fretting inwards, subtle and knotty inquisitions, joys and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend1 rather some diet for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom; for those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. Despise no new accident in your body, but ask opinion of it. In sickness, respect2 health principally, and in health, action; for those that put their bodies to endure in health, may in most sicknesses which are not very sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering. Celsus could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise man withal, when he giveth it for one of the great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary and interchange contraries, but with an inclination to the more benign extreme; use fasting and full eating, but rather full eating; watching and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and the like; so shall nature be cherished and yet taught masteries. Physicians are some of them so pleasing and comformable to the humour of the patient, as3 they press not the true cure of the disease; and 'some others are so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. Take one of a middle temper, or, if it may not be found in one man, combine two of either4 sort; and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty.
1 Of. From. See pngo 289.
'Offence. Hurt; damage. (Now seldom applied to physical injury.) 'The pains of the touch are greater than the offences of other senses.'—Bacon. 'To do offence and scath in Christendom.'—Shakespere.
3 As. That. See page 26.
4 Meat. Food; meals.
'As he sat at his meat, the music played sweet.'—Old Ballad.
* To be free-minded and cheerfully-disposed, at hours of meat is one of the best precepts'
Hence, if there is any particular diet which is found necessary to one's health, it is best to make arrangements accordingly, once for all; and not to be anxiously thinking at each meal what will agree or disagree.
1 Commend. To recommend. 'I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister.'
Raman s xvi. i.
3 Respect. Have regard to. 'In judgment seats, not man's qualities, but causes only ought to be respected.'—Kettleworth.
* As. That. See pope 26.
* Either. Each. 'On either side of the river.'—Rev. xxii . 2.
A late eminent practitioner made his dyspeptic patients weigh out so' many ounces of each kind of food, at each meal . He could not have taken a more effectual mode of impeding good digestion, than by making them thus 'eat bread by weight, and with trembling, and drink water by measure, and with astonishment.'
It is remarkable that Bacon should have said nothing in this
Essay, of early and late hours; though it is a generally received
opinion that early hours are conducive to longevity. There is a
'Early to bed, and early to rise.
And this is the more remarkable as being the proverb of a nation whose hours are the latest of any.
It is reported of some judge, that whenever a witness came before him of extraordinary age (as is often the case when evidence is required relative to some remote period) he always inquired into the man's habits of life; and it is said that he found the greatest differences between them (some temperate, and others free-livers; some active, and some sedentary), except in the one point that they were all early risers.
On the connexion between early hours and longevity, the late Mr. Davison wittily remarked that this may be the meaning of the fabled marriage of Tithonus and Aurora. 'Longa Tithonum minuit senectus.'
Some have said, that this matter admits of easy explanation: 'as men grow old they find themselves tired early in the evening, and accordingly retire to rest; and heDce, in the morning they find themselves wakeful, and rise.' Now, if it be stated as an ultimate fact, not to be accounted for, that those who have kept late hours in their youth, adopt, from inclination, early hours as they grow old, then, this statement, whether true or false (and it is one which would not be generally admitted), is at least intelligible. But if it be offered as an explanation, it seems like saying that the earth stands on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise again, on the earth. An old man rises early because he biid gone to bed early: and he goes to bed early, because be bad risen early!
Some, wben dissuading you from going to bed late, will urge that it is bad to have too little sleep; and 'when advising you not to lie a-bed late, will urge that it is bad to have too much sleep; not considering that early or late hours, if they do but correspond with themselves, as to the times of retiring and rising, have nothing to do with the quantity of sleep. For if one man goes to bed at ten, and rises at six, and another goes to bed at two in the morning, and rises at ten, each has the same number of hours in bed. If the one of these is (as is generally believed) more healthful than the other, it must be froms ome difl'erent cause.
If the prevailing belief be correct, it would seem that there must be some mysterious connexion between the human frame, and the earth's rotation. And this is further indicated by that instinctive perception which most people have, in certain cases, of the rest-time. It is well known that any one who has been long accustomed to rise at a certain hour, will usually wake at that hour, whatever may have been the time of his going to bed. It might have been expected that one who had been used to a certain number of hours' sleep, would, if on some occasion he retired to rest an hour or two earlier, or later, than usual, wake so much the earlier, or the later, when he had had the accustomed time of sleep. But the fact is generally otherwise. He will be likely to wake neither before nor after the accustomed hour.
This, again, may be relied on as a fact: a student at one of the universities, finding that his health was suffering from hard study and late hours, took to rising at five and going to bed at ten, all the year round; and found his health—though he read as hard as ever—manifestly improved. But he found himself unable to compose anything in the morning, though he could take in the sense of an author equally well. And having to write for a prize, he could not get his thoughts to flow till just about his usual bedtime. Thinking that this might have something to do with the digestion, he took to dining two hours earlier, in the hopes that then eight o'clock would be to him the same as ten. But it made no difference. And after persevering in vain attempts for some time, he altered his hours,