Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
Extract from The Art of Preserving Health, Book III
By John Armstrong (1709–1779)
THE BODY, moulded by the clime, endures
The equator heats or hyperborean frost:
Except by habits foreign to its turn,
Unwise, you counteract its forming power.
Rude at the first, the winter shocks you less        5
By long acquaintance: study then your sky,
Form to its manners your obsequious frame,
And learn to suffer what you cannot shun.
Against the rigors of a damp cold heav’n
To fortify their bodies some frequent        10
The gelid cistern; and, where nought forbids
I praise their dauntless heart: a frame so steeled
Dreads not the cough, nor those ungenial blasts
That breathe the tertian or fell rheumatism.
The nerves so tempered never quit their tone,        15
No chronic languors haunt such hardy breasts.
But all things have their bounds: and he who makes
By daily use the kindest regimen
Essential to his health, should never mix
With human kind, nor art, nor trade pursue.        20
He not the safe vicissitudes of life
Without some shock endures; ill-fitted he
To want the known, or bear unusual things.
Besides, the powerful remedies of pain
(Since pain in spite of all our care will come)        25
Should never with your prosperous days of health
Grow too familiar: for by frequent use
The strongest medicines lose their healing power
And even the surest poisons theirs to kill.

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