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testicles, the deacon had only pulled off the stocking of the elect, and ihe ratificatory report had been, Dominus noster Papa habet podagram *. In short, Sir, Antichrist, or the Pope (for they are one in I the same first-born of the devil, according to the ancients,) being never favoured with the gout, it is plain, that the devil did not create it; öweg den dankzo, which was the thing to be demonstrated.
Having thus, Sir, utterly confounded your error, my next labour shall be, to instruct you in a sounder persuasion. The gout was sent, in mercy, down from heaven, to lengthen wasting life.
The seat of this friendly dæmon, by whom every afflicted man receives a thousand times more benefit, than ever Socrates by his; his seat, I say, is in the nervous parls. He commonly visits the internoclia of the bones of the feet; sometimes the bip, the knee, the elbow, shoulder, wrist, and ancle. But, to prove its divine original, I will proceed methodically, and, from his lowest commendations, ascend, by six just steps, or degrees, till I have raised hiin above the siars, and entered him among the celestial spirits; to whom, Sir, you will then be tempted to offer up your oraisons, in the prescribed form, at the end of an old manuscript missal, communicated 10 me by a learned antiquary, a great collector of those rarities. The form is this: ' Blessed gout, most desirable • gout, sovereign antidote of murdering maladies, powerful cor
rector of intemperance, deign to visit me with thy purging fires, 6 and throw off the tophous injury, which I may have suffered by • wine and wit, too hard for the virtue of a devotee upon a holy
festival; but fail not thy humble supplicant, who needs thy friendly help to keep his tottering tenement in order ; fail him not, every vernal and autumnal æquinox.'
I know, some precise doctors are against all invocation of saints, At present I shall not dispute with them; but they must grant me, thai there is more to be said in justification of such a prayer to the gout, than can be said for the offices directed to any other saints, not excepting the virgin. For I defy their worshipers to prove, that there has been the tithe of so much good done by them all, as, I shall prove, has been done by the beneficial gout. I begin at the lowest step, and note,
First, the gout gives a inan pain without danger.
It is possible, I confess, that a sick man, if be were directly asked to deciare his sense of the matter, might refuse to acknowledge the benefit of pain without danger ; for sickness and peevishness commonly go together. But mind his discourse at another time, when he talks from the heart, and is not upon his guard; then, then, pain without danger is a blessed thing. For instance,
Suffering uuder a painful threatening distemper, what is his first question to he physician, but this ? Ductor, pray be plain with me, and let me truly kuoxv what I am to expect, don't flatter a sick man, but tell me, am I like to recover, or no? That pain, you see,
Dar Lord the Pope has got the gout.
which he suffers, does not at all trouble him; he is only afraid he shall die; secure him against that danger, and all is well with him: cut, slash, burn, no paiu is grievous, if it promise to set us out of the danger of death.
When the other doctor comes, the physician of the soul I mean, whose coming bodes no good to the body, he tells the decumbent a long story of the pains and misery of life, in order to make his Nunc dimittis go down the easier; but that method seldom takes, for not one of a hundred is so bad, but he is content to live, and put the rest to the venture. The fear of death is generally more grievous, than all the cruel pains of a wretched life. But, since we must have pain while we live, give me the pain of the gout, which has no danger attending. Here some malevolent adversary may importunately object, did ever any man die of the gout? To this I answer, 1. I have not yet affirmed, that the gout can make a man immortal, though I will boldly say thus much, it very often keeps a man alive till all his friends are weary of him. But, 2. Should I venture to say, that the gout has in itself the power to make a man immortal; it ought not to seem so very strange, all things being considered. If that be true, which some authors write of the noble Paracelsus, he had the secret to make a man immortal, and I would not say he lyed, though himself died about forty; for, perhaps, be did not like his company; but it must have been by way of his discovery to give any man the gout wben he pleased; in that I am positive. Here the objector will scornfully put me in mind, thai gouty, persons escape death no more than other men; which is very true, but that's because men are fools, and don't know when they are safe. They must be curing the gout, forsooth, and, to that end, they deal with the doctor, i. e. with the factor of death, the emissary of hell, the purveyor of the grave, damned alchymist, good at calcining nothing but living bodies into dust and ashes. Let every one bear his own burthen; the gout has nothing to do with the carnage of the doctor. All, that can be rationally said against the gout, is, that it does not actually preserve man, in spight of their own folly, and the doctor's ignorance: and yet there is the right bonourable Sir R. H. the gout is so salutary to him, that two Swiss doctors can't dispatch him. What would a certain lord give, that those two coagulating spirits could remove his honour's gout; but, say I,“ Gout, hold thy own;' for earth has more need of the cripple, than heaven of the saint. And now, Sir, let me tell you a story, the famous Willis shall be my voucher, who dissected the body of the reverend, learned, and pious Doctor Hammond, killed purely by his friend, who, unhappily, taught him a medicine to cure the gout ; upon the cessation of that medicine, the doctor's old nephritic pains returned, and in a fortnight dispatched him.
Therefore, for your own, for your lady's, and for your childrens sake, Sir, welcome the gout to your house, and shut all your doors against the physician, I'll warrant you for upwards a hundred. Lord! how glad shall I be, to see them pick chalk-stones out of your worship’s feet, some forty or fifty years hence; by that time you will have learned so much patience, as never to roar for the matter. But if you do roar (for that may be then as you use yourself now) they that look on, if they love life, will envy, not pity you. Indeed you are already a fit object for the envy of thinking men, for I have heard you confess, that yours is an hereditary gout, and that is for the better; an hereditary gout is a far greater happiness than an acquired one. What a deal of intemperance, and amorous excesses, might it have cost your worship to have got the gout before forty; whereas now you have the mighty blessing for nothing, sorte nascendi, it is your birth-right, Sir, never think of parting with it.
Perhaps, you may be now tempted to ask me, how I acquired my gout? I shall not be shy to satisfy your curiosity, for I came by it honestly. We scholars have a way, by ourselves, to come at the blessing, without ever being bebolden to the god, that chears the genteel candidate of the gout by day, or the goddess that entertains him on nights. We lead sedentary lives, feed heartily, drink quantum sufficit, but sleep immoderately; so that, the superfluities of our sober and grave fulness not exhaling, we very honestly prepare tartarous matter for the gout, for the beneficial gout, which gives us pain without danger. Ascend we now the next step, which advances the honour of the gout.
2. The gout is no constant companion, but allows his patients lucid joyous intervals.
Human nature is so framed, that no one thing is agreeable to it always; therefore it is well for us, that the world is so full of changes. The earth we tread on, the seas we sail on, the air we breathe in, the starry firmament expanded round us, have their continual vicissitudes, which all make for our advantage and delight. The body of man is a true microcosm in this respect, for it never continues in one condition; and, upon the same account, his mind is a very fit guest for his body; for, at different times, he thinks and speaks different things,
Modo reges atque tetrarchas,
• Sometimes he'd talk, of heroes, and of kings,
How welcome is a guest that knows when to be gone; but, if his stay be longer than ordinary, we are ready to thrust him ont
doors. For these, and the like considerations, the way of the of
gout's dealing with his patients can never be enough esteemed. Whatever some impatient weak minds may think, it is manifest, that the gout, by his coming and going, takes the right course to be very agreeable and obliging. Weak people may curse the gout, and wish to be wholly excused from his intermitting visits; but I look upon such people, as men that are weary of the world, and, being willing to leave it, I grant, they have reason to be angry with the gout ; with the gout, that folds their mortality so fast about them.
Your worship has been guilty of this impatience, but I hope to recover you to a better mind. I have already shewn you, that, to a wise considerer, the absence of danger takes off from the pain of the gout; but some pain there is, and ought to be, for constant health has no relish, it is an insipid dull thing : that reverend Calvinist, Dr. Twiss, affirms, that it is better to be damned, than annihilated. I might, I suppose, with less offence, affirm, that it were better to be dead, than never to be sick of the gout: nay, this I am sure of, that all the sober and experienced people will be so far from taking offence, that I shall have them on my side, if I venture on that paradox; for, how often bave I heard a grave adviser, one that had tried health and sickness, alternately, for many years, tell the robust, young, riotous fellow, that be knew not the value of health. No, how should he, having never been sick? But why should his sober adviser press bim to be careful of his health? That is the way never to understand the deliciousness of it; by that time he gets the gout, he will thoroughly understand the matter, I'll warrant him. Set me two men together, one that never knew pain, and another newly recovered of the gout; observe them both narrowly; in the former, perhaps, you may perceive an easy, even temper; but the latter is ravished with joys and satisfactions, which, if his tongue does not declare, his hands, and feet, and gesture shall.
Homer says, that the beauty of Helen was a prize, worth all the blood spilt through the long course of the ten years war. Homer would not have redeemed those lives by the least injury to that adorable lady. Such are the lucid intervals between heart-breaking fits of the gout, worth all the ravings, and roarings, which the violent paroxysm forces from the tortured patient; and who would spoil the refined pleasure of his recovery, by wishing to have one angry throb, one heavy groan abated him? Si parvis componere magna liceret, if we might compare great things with small, the gout is to health, as ham, and tongue, to wine, or rather, as Zám my Yuxn, to the lovers congress. Courage, Sir, and be advised by me, it is good advise I am giving, and you shall have it gratis. When your foot swells, and burns, and throbs, banish all foolish sorrow and repining, instead whereof, let swelling joys dilate your generous breast; when sharp, fermenting juices, not easily miscible, shall meet, and, by their furious contest, cause cruel twitch. ings of your nervous fibres, comfort your heart, and be extremely pleased; when masculine, acetous recrements shall, with female, tartarous matter, mix, ingender, and beget a tophous mass; when that same tophous mass shall lodge in ine internodia of your worship’s bones, entertaining you with a rending solution of continuity, then let your soul triumph; but touch not, taste not, the crumen-emulgent doctor's emulsions, juleps, a pozemes, nor let his repercussives, or resolvents, cataplasms, and anodynes touch you; so let your friend, the gout, take bis course, and maul you soundly. O! so easy, so pleased, so joyous, so happy, so blessed will you be, when the turn of health shall come; why, Sir, you will be in heaven, in heaven while you are on earth ; you will be intirely beatified on this side the grave, and that is more than Solomon has arrived at yet (if you can give any credit to a Catholick painter) for but one half of him is glorified, the other fries in flames, vexed by tormenting devils, like the noble Shaftsbury in Windsor-hall; beshrew the painter for --his pains, Fas est et ab hoste doceri. Learn of our common enemy; Sir, I fancy, the late tyrant solaces bis exile, with the expectation of a return to trample on the liberties, and riot in the blood of hereticks; but, before ever that dismal day come, may the gout, my life's kind preserver, and my dear life itself forsake me; only I will make it in my bargain, I will not stand to this wish, if my help can contribute any thing to oppose this invasion. I am much of the mind, Sir, that, by what I have said already, you are a coming proselyte; but, before I have done with you, you shall chuse to part with your eyes, rather than your true friend, the gout. The mighty blessing whereof, that you may the better understand, mount with me one step higher, and then take notice of this farther advantage of the gout.
3. The gout presents you with a perpetual almanack; and that it may never be out of the way, but ready always for your worship’s use, safely deposits it in the internodia of your bones. Barometers, *thermometers, and other the inventions of men, not yet perfect masters of their art, serve more for the delight, than the use of the curious; but the useful pains of the gout give your honour trusty prognosticks of the seasons. As often as a moist constitution of the year, south or north winds, or snows are at hand, you predict those things from the accesses of your pains; and by the absence of your pains you foreknow the contrary; so, one way or other, your bone-almanack serves for all changes.
Our Lilly’s and Gadbury's foreknow, when it shall be rain-like, or snow-like, but what your honour foreknows, by means of the gout, does afterwards actually come to pass. Doctor Goad knew more of the stars, and their positions than you, but not half so much of their influence. Spinoza will have it, that, when a Jewish prophet foretold any thing, he gave a sign, a present sign, which was a confirination of his prophecy; you have the sign within you, Sir, and are a true prophet all over.
Majora animalia diutius visceribus parentum continentur, says Pliny. Nature gives to larger sized animals a longer stay in the womb of their mother; their mighty linibs, and vast frame of body,