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a sober life, contrive to mend his infirm constitution, live to a great age, and always enjoy good health,

For man, it is not to be doubted, may by art exempt himself in part from the influence of the heavens; it being the common opinion that the heavens give an inclination, but do not impel us; for which reason the learned say, that a wise man rules the stars. I was born with a very choleric disposition, insomuch, that there was no living with me; but I took notice of it, and considered, that a person swayed by his passion, must, at certain times, be no better than a madman; I mean' at those times when he suffers his passions to predominate, because he then renounces his reason and understanding. I therefore resolved to make my choleric disposition give way to reason; so that now, though born choleric, I never suffer anger entirely to subdue me.

The man who is naturally of a bad constitution may, in like manner, by dint of reason and a sober life, live to a great age and in good health, as I have done, who had naturally the worst, so that it was impossible I should live above forty years; whereas I now find myself sound and hearty at the age of eighty-six; and were it not for the long and violent fits of illness which I experienced in my youth, to such a degree that the physicians gave me over, and which robbed me of my radical moisture, a loss absolutely irreparable, I might expect to attain the above-mentioned term of one hundred. But I know, for good reasons, that it is impossible ; and therefore do not think of it. It is enough for me that I have lived forty-six years beyond the term I had a right to expect; and that, during this long respite, all my senses have continued perfect; and even my teeth, my voice, my memory, and my heart. But what is still more, my brain is more itself now than ever it was; nor do any of these powers abate as I advance in years; and this because, as I grow older, I lessen the quantity of my solid food.

This retrenchment is necessary, nor can it be avoided, since it is impossible for a man to live for ever ; and as he draws near his end, he is reduced so low as to be no longer able to take any nourishment, unless it be to swallow, and that with difficulty, the yolk of an

egg in the four-and-twenty hours, and thus end by mere dissolution, without any pain or sickness, as I expect will be my

This is a blessing of great importance; yet may be expected by all those who shall lead a sober life, of whatever degree or condition, whether high, or middling, or low; for we are all of the same species, and composed of the same four elements. And since a long and healthy life ought to be greatly coveted by every man, as I shall presently show, I conclude, that every man is bound in duty to exert himself to attain longevity, and that he cannot promise himself such a blessing without temperance and sobriety.


Some allege that many, without leading such a life; have lived to a hundred, and that in constant health, though they ate a great deal, and used indiscriminately every kind of viands and wine; and therefore flatter themselves that they shall be equally fortunate. But in this they are guilty of two mistakes; the first is, that it is not one in a hundred thousand that ever attains that happiness; the other mistake is, that such, in the end, most assuredly contract some illness, which carries them off; nor can they ever be sure of ending their days otherwise, so that the safest way to attain a long and healthy life is, at least after forty, to embrace sobriety. This is no such difficult affair, since history informs us of so many who, in former times, lived with the greatest temperance; and I know that the present age furnishes us with many such instances, reckoning myself one of the number: we are all human beings, and endowed with reason, consequently we are masters of all our actions.

This sobriety is reduced to two things, quality and quantity. The first, namely quality, consists in nothing but not eating food, 1 or drinking wines, prejudicial to the stomach. The second, which is quantity, consists in not eating or drinking more than the stomach can easily digest; which quantity and quality every man should be a perfect judge of, by the time he is forty, or fifty, or sixty; and whoever observes these two rules, may be said to live a regular and sober life. This is of so much virtue and efficacy, that the humors of such a man's body become most homogeneous, harmonious, and perfect; and when thus improved, are no longer liable to be corrupted or disturbed by any other disorders whatsoever, such as suffering excessive heat or cold, too much fatigue, want of natural rest, and the like, unless in the last degree of excess. Wherefore, since the humors of persons, who observe these two rules relative to eating and drinking, cannot possibly be corrupted, and engender acute diseases, the sources of an untimely death, every man is bound to comply with them; for whoever acts otherwise, living a disorderly instead of a regular life, is constantly exposed to disease and mortality, as well in consequence of such disorders, as of others without number, each of which is capable of producing the same destructive effect.

It is indeed true, that even those who observe the two rules relating to diet, the observance of which constitutes a sober life, may, by committing any one of the other irregularities, find himself the worse for it a day or two; but not so as to breed a fever. He may likewise be affected by the revolutions of the heavens; but neither the heavens nor those irregularities are capable of corrupting the humors of a temperate person ; and it is but reasonable and natural it should be so, as the two irregularities of diet are interior, and the others exterior.

But as there are some persons, stricken in years, who are, notwithstanding, very sensual, and allege, that neither the quantity nor quality of their diet makes any impression upon them, and therefore eat a great deal of every thing, without distinction, and indulge themselves equally in point of drinking, because they are insensible in what part of their bodies their stomachs are situate; such, no doubt, are beyond measure sensual, and slaves to gluttony. To these I answer, that what they say is impossible in the nature of things, because it is impossible that every man who comes into the world should not bring with him a hot, a cold, or a temperate constitution, and that hot foods should agree with hot constitutions, cold with cold ones, and things that are not of a temperate nature with temperate ones, is likewise impossible in nature. After all, these epicures must allow that they are now and then out of order, and that they cure themselves by taking evacuating medicines and observing a strict diet. Whence it appears, that their being out of order is owing to their eating too much, and of things disagreeing with their stomach. · There are other old gluttons, who say that it is necessary they should eat and drink a great deal, to keep up their natural heat, which is constantly diminishing as they advance in years; and that it is, therefore, their duty to eat heartily, and of such things as please their palate, be they hot, cold, or temperate; and that were they to lead a sober life, it would be a short one. To this I answers that our kind mother, Nature, in order that old men may live still to a greater age, has contrived matters so that they should be able to subsist on little, as I do; for large quantities of food cannot be digested by old and feeble stomachs. Nor should such persons be afraid of shortening their days by eating too little, since, when they happen to be indisposed, they recover by eating a mere trifle; for it is a trifle they eat when confined to a regimen, by observing which they get rid of their disorder. Now, if by reducing themselves to a very small quantity of food, they recover from the jaws of death, how can they doubt but that, with an increase of diet, still consistent however with sobriety, they will be able to support nature, when in perfect health? Others

that it is better for a man to suffer every year

three or four returns of his usual disorders, such as the gout, sciatica, and the like, than be tormented the whole year by not indulging his appetite, and eating every thing his palate likes best, since, by a good regimen alone, he is sure to get the better of such attacks. To this I answer, that our natural heat growing less and less as we advance in years, no regimen can retain virtue sufficient to conquer the malignity with which disorders of repletion are ever attended; so that he must die at last of these periodical disorders, because they abridge life in the same proportion as health prolongs it.

Others pretend, that it is much better to live ten years, than not indulge one's appetite. To this I answer, that longevity ought to be highly valued by men of parts; as to others, it is no great matter if it is not duly prized by them, since they are a disgrace to mankind, so that their death is rather of service to the public. But it is a great misfortune that men of bright parts should be cut off in that manner, since he, who is already a cardinal, might perhaps, by living to eighty, attain the papal crown; and in the state, many, by living some years extraordinary, may acquire the ducal dignity, and so in regard to letters, by which a man may rise so as to be considered as a god upon earth; and the like in every other profession.

There are others who, though their stomachs become weaker and weaker as they advance in years, cannot however be brought to retrench the quantity of their food, nay they rather increase it. And because they find themselves unable to digest the great quantity of food with which they must load their stomachs by eating twice in the four-and-twenty hours, they make a resolution to eat but once, that the long interval between one meal and the other may enable them to eat, at one sitting, as much as they used to do in two: thus they eat till their stomachs, overburdened with much food, pall and sicken, and change the superfluous food into bad humors, which kill a man before his time. I never met with a very aged person who led that manner of life. All these old men I have been speaking of would live long, if, as they advanced in years, they lessened the quantity of their food, and ate oftener, but little at a time; for old stomachs cannot digest: large quantities of food; old men changing in that respect to children, who eat several times in the four-and-twenty hours.

Others say, that a sober life may indeed keep a man in health, but that it cannot prolong life. To this I answer, that experience proves the contrary, and that I myself am a living instance of it. It cannot, however, be said that sobriety is apt to shorten one's days as sickness does; for that the latter abbreviates life is not to be doubted. Notwithstanding, a man had better be always jocund and hearty, than be obliged to submit now and then to sickness, in order to keep up the radical moisture. Hence it may be fairly concluded, that holy sobriety is the true parent of health and longevity

• thrice holy sobriety, so useful to man, by the services thou renderest him ! Thou prolongest his days, by which means he greatly improves his understanding, and by such improvement he avoids the bitter fruits of sensuality, which is an enemy to reason, man's peculiar privilege : those bitter fruits are the passions and per. turbations of the mind. Thou, moreover, freest him from the dreadful thoughts of death. How greatly is thy faithful disciple indebted to thee, since, by thy assistance, he enjoys this beautiful expanse of the visible world, which is really beautiful to such as know how to view it with a philosophic eye, as thou hast enabled me to do. Nor could I, at any other time of life, even when I was young, but altogether debauched by irregularity, perceive its beauties, though I spared no pains or expense to enjoy every season of life. But I found that all the pleasures of that age had their alloy; so that I never knew, till I grew, old, that the world was beautiful. O truly happy life, which, over and above all these favors conferred on thine old man, hast so improved and perfected his stomach, that he has now better relish for his dry bread, than he had formerly, and in his youth, for the most exquisite dainties : and all this thou hast compassed by acting rationally, knowing that bread is, above all things, man's proper food, when seasoned by a good appetite ; and, whilst a man leads a sober life, he may be sure of never wanting that natural sauce; because, by always eating little, the stomach, not being much burdened, need not wait long to have an appetite. It is for this reason, that dry bread relishes so well with me; and I know it from experience, and can with truth affirm, I find such sweetness in it, that I should be afraid of sinning against temperance, were it not for my being convinced of the absolute necessity of eating of it, and that we cannot make use of a more natural food. And thou, kind parent, Nature, who actest so lovingly by thy aged: offspring, in order to prolong his days, hast contrived matters so in his favor that he can live upon very little ; and in order to add to the favor and to do him still greater service, hast made him sensible, that, as in his youth he used to eat twice a day, when he arrives at old age, he ought to divide that food, of which he was accustomed to make but two meals, into four; because, thus divided, it will be more easily digested; and as in his youth he made but two collations in the day, he should in his old age make four, provided however he lessens the quantity, as his years increase. And this is what I do, agreeably to my own experience; and therefore my spirits, not oppressed by much food, but barely kept up, are always brisk, especially after eating; so that I am obliged then to sing a song, and afterwards to write.

Nor do I ever find myself the worse for writing immediately after meals ; nor is my understanding ever clearer; nor am I apt to be drowsy; the food I take being in too small a quantity to send up any fames to the brain. O, how advantageous it is to an old man to eat but little! Accordingly, I who know it eat but just enough to keep body and soul together; and the things I eat are as follows + First, bread, panado, with an egg, or such other kinds of soup or spoon-meat. Of flesh meat, I eat veal, kid, and mutton. I eat poultry of every kind. I eat patridges, and other birds, such as thrushes. I likewise eat fish; for instance, the goldney and the

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