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JOHN ARMSTRONG
Scottish poet and physician
(1709 - 1799)

For pale and trembling anger rushes in
  With faltering speech, and eyes that wildly stare,
    Fierce as the tiger, madder than the seas,
      Desperate and armed with more than human strength.
      - [Anger]

Good native Taste, tho' rude, is seldom wrong,
  Be it in music, painting, or in song:
    But this, as well as other faculties,
      Improves with age and ripens by degrees.
      - [Taste]

He chooses best, whose labor entertains
  Hs vacant fancy most; the toil you hate
    Fatigues you soon, and scarce improves your limbs.
      - [Toil]

He knows enough, the mariner, who knows
  Where lurk the shelves, and where the whirlpools boil,
    What signs portend the storm: to subtler minds
      He leaves to scan, from what mysterious cause
        Charybdis rages in the Ionian wave;
          Whence those impetuous currents in the main
            Which neither oar nor sail can stem; and why
              The roughening deep expects the storm, as sure
                As red Orion mounts the shrouded heaven.
      - [Sea]

Riches are oft by guilt and baseness earn'd;
  Or dealt by chance to shield a lucky knave,
    Or throw a cruel sunshine on a fool.
      But for one end, one much-neglected use,
        Are riches worth your care; (for nature's wants
          Are few, and without opulence supplied;)
            This noble end is, to produce the soul;
              To show the virtues in their fairest light;
                To make humanity the minister
                  Of bounteous Providence; and teach the breast
                    The generous luxury the gods enjoy.
      - [Riches]

'T is not for mortals, always to be blest.
      - [Blessedness]

The body * * *
  Much toil demands; the lean elastic less.
    While winter chills the blood and binds the veins,
      No labors are too hard; by those you 'scape
        The slow diseases of the torpid year,
          Endless to name.
      - [Toil]

There is, they say, (and I believe there is),
  A spark within us of th' immortal fire,
    That animates and moulds the grosser frame;
      And when the body sinks, escapes to heaven;
        Its native seat, and mixes with the gods.
      - [Soul]

Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones,
  And tottering empires rush by their own weight.
      - [Time]

'Tis chiefly taste, or blunt, or gross, or fine,
  Makes life insipid, bestial, or divine.
    Better be born with taste to little rent
      Than the dull monarch of a continent;
        Without this bounty which the gods bestow,
          Can Fortune make one favorite happy?
            No.
      - [Taste]

Toil, and be strong; by toil the flaccid nerves
  Grow firm, and gain a more compacted tone:
    The greener juices are by toil subdued,
      Mellow'd, and subtilis'd; the vapid old
        Expell'd, and all the rancor of the blood.
      - [Toil]

What avails it that indulgent Heaven
  From mortal eyes has wrapt the woes to come,
    If we, ingenious to torment ourselves,
      Grow pale at hideous fictions of our own?
        Enjoy the present; nor which needless cares
          Of what may spring from blind misfortune's womb,
            Appal the surest hour that life bestows.
              Serence, and master of yourself, prepare
                For what may come; and leave the rest to Heaven.
      - [Present]

Your friends avoid you, brutishly transform'd
  They hardly know you, or if one remains
    To wish you well, he wishes you in heaven.
      - [Drunkenness]

There are, while human miseries abound,
  A thousand ways to waste superfluous wealth,
    Without one fool or flatterer at your board,
      Without one hour of sickness or disgust.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. II, l. 195)
        [Wealth]

This restless world
  Is full of chances, which by habit's power
    To learn to bear is easier than to shun.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. II, l. 453)
        [World]

Weak withering age no rigid law forbids.
  With frugal nectar, smooth and slow with balm,
    The sapless habit daily to bedew,
      And give the hesitating wheels of life
        Gliblier to play.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. II, l. 484)
        [Age]

'Tis not for mortals always to be blest.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 260)
        [Blessings]

Virtue and sense are one; and, trust me, still
  A faithless heart betrays the head unsound.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 265)
        [Virtue]

Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
  Is the best gift of Heaven: a happiness
    That even above the smiles and frowns of fate
      Exalts great Nature's favourites: a wealth
        That ne'er encumbers, nor can be transferr'd.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 284)
        [Virtue]

Of right and wrong he taught
  Truths as refined as ever Athens heard;
    And (strange to tell) he practis'd what he preach'd.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 301)
        [Consistency : Preaching]

Know then, whatever cheerful and serene
  Supports the mind, supports the body too:
    Hence, the most vital movement mortals feel
      Is hope, the balm and lifeblood of the soul.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 310)
        [Hope]

Our greatest good, and what we least can spare,
  Is hope: the last of all our evils, fear.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 318)
        [Hope]

Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
  Expels diseases, softens every pain,
    Subdues the rage of poison, and the plague.
      - Art of Preserving Health (bk. IV, l. 512)
        [Music]

How happy he whose toil
  Has o'er his languid pow'rless limbs diffus'd
    A pleasing lassitude; he not in vain
      Invokes the gentle Deity of dreams.
        His pow'rs the most voluptuously dissolve
          In soft repose; on him the balmy dews
            Of Sleep with double nutriment descend.
      - The Art of Preserving Health
         (bk. III, l. 385) [Sleep]


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