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PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING.
HERBERT MAYO, F.R.S.
SENIOR SURGEON OF THE MIDDLESEX HOSPITAL;
TO THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS.
THE SECOND EDITION.
“ For though we Christians do continually aspire and pant after the Land of Promise; yet it will be a token of God's favour towards us, in our journeyings through the world's wilderness, to have our shoes and garments (I mean those of our frail bodies) little worn or impaired.”- Bacon.
If it is a desirable thing to possess health of body and mind, it must be a useful thing to explain the principles which contribute to both. The difficulty which I have found in treating this subject, arises from its interesting very different classes of readers. A style which would suit the one, would be ill adapted to the other. There is a risk, on this hand, of entering too deeply into physiology for the general reader, or that, of being accounted shallow by the learned. Of the two dangers, on the present occasion, I have steered nearest the second. I have written to instruct the unlearned; and am content to skim the surface of knowledge. But the cream often lies upon the surface; and superficial books, if they convey sound information, commonly prove the most useful.
My design has been to bring together and to explain the rules which should guide us in respect to Diet, EXERCISE, SLEEP, BATHING, CLOTHING, CHOICE OF RESIDENCE. To these I have joined some observations respecting HEALTH OF MIND. For the maintenance, however, of health, both of mind and body, other physical rules must be attended to, which I have thought it best to exclude entirely from this treatise, and have put together in a separate volume*
I shall not detain the reader further, than prefatorily to lay in his way the following passage from Lord Bacon, which, as it contains some most useful thoughts upon the subjects he is about to study, so does it create a certainty that three of the following pages shall be valuable, and to the purpose.
“ There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic: a man's own observation, what he finds good of 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 in this, therefore I may use it. For strength of nature in
* “ Management of the Organs of Digestion, in Health and in Disease.” London: Parker. 1837.
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 both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like; and try in anything thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little; but so as 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 of 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, subtile 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