Man And His Food -- By: Leonard Withington
BSac 11:41 (Jan 1854) p. 139
Man And His Food
Eating is one of the lowest enjoyments of a rational being, and yet necessary to our repose and our mental speculations. If a man will not work neither shall he eat; but it is equally clear that, if he does not eat, neither can he work. There is no
BSac 11:41 (Jan 1854) p. 140
character which raises such perfect contempt as a glutton; we despise him more, though he is not a greater sinner, than the drunkard; and when we read in historical record that the great Caesar, the warrior, the conqueror, the orator, the statesman, the only man, as Cato said, that came sober to the subversion of his country, was accustomed, when invited to a feast, to whet his appetite by taking an emetic, we can scarcely believe the story, though so well attested;1 and we come to the conclusion that not all the glories which blazed around his brow, can rescue this part of his character, and certainly this vice, from contempt. The old allegorical poet has given us a picture of gluttony which certainly embodies the common feelings of mankind against it:
“And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,
Deformed creature on a filthie swyne;
His belly was upblown with luxury,
And eke with fatnesse swollen was his eyne;
And like a crane his necke was long and fyne,
With which he swallowed up excessive feast,
For want whereof poor people oft did pyne:
And all the way, most like a brutish beast,
He spued up his gorge, that all did him deteast.
In greene vine leaves he was ryht fitly clad;
For other clothes he could not wear for heate;
And on his head an yivie garland had,
Prom under which fast trickled down the sweate.
Still as he rode he somewhat still did eat,
And in his hand did beare a bouzing can,
Of which he sipt so oft, that in his seat
His drunken corse he scarse upholden can;
In shape and life more like a monster then a man.
Unfit he was for any worldly thing,
And eke unhable once to stirre, or go;
Not meet, to be of counsell to a king,
Whose mind in meat and drinke is drowned so,
That from his frend he seldom knew his fo;
Full of diseases was his carcas blew,
And a dry dropsie through his flesh did flow,
Which by misdiet daily greater grew :
Such one was Gluttony, the second of that crew.”
Faery Queen, B. I. Canto IV. 21—23.
BSac 11:41 (Jan 1854) p. 141
But this deformed vice is the abuse of a natural appetite. Take away from the astronomer his food, and he will soon cease to lift his telescope to the stars. The sa...
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