Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Eighteenth-century tidbits #2

John Gregory, A Comparative View of the State and Faculties of Man with those of the Animal World, I.142:

A sedentary, studious life greatly increases this natural weakness of constitution, and brings on that train of nervous complaints and low spirits, which render life a burden to the possessor and useless to the public. Nothing can so effectually prevent this as activity, regular exercise, and frequent relaxations of the Mind from those keen pursuits it is usually engaged in.

On that note, I am off to the gym....


  1. Huh. Running around in a computer game better count as "regular exercise," otherwise I'm well on my way to becoming a burden to the public.

  2. Don't you love the "burden to the possessor and useless to the public" line?!? Actually a lot of the 18th-century stuff I've been reading has these kinds of digression, Gregory is a doctor so it makes sense but Godwin says a lot of very similar stuff--of course Wordsworth was a pathological walker--but surely by later nineteenth century urban living has kicked in such that the great writers are no longer nearly so likely to make the plea for exercise as a purely intuitive one? Exercise gets taken up as a cause by faddists like Graham & such....