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And doting on her over whom he presides,
"Well, Lucy! the reason that I have so long
absence, my only defence,
W. Benbow, Printer, 9, Castle Street, Leicester Square, London
THE PREVAILING TASTE FOR PUGILISM, FEATS OF ACTIVITY, AND BODILY VIGOUR.
“ Perfections that are placed in bones and nerves." ---Cato.
AMIDST the varieties and fluctuations which naturally occur in all human transactions, the vicissitudes that are equally apparent in matters of taste and amusement, ought also to furnish topics for discussion and curious speculation, as well as the more grave and important concerns of the busy world. It is a trite observation, and one that frequently admits of introduction and reference, that “extremes meet;" and, however diversified the various objects that present themseves to our attention may be in their extent and nature, yet there runs a latent analogy, and a train of striking similarity between them. Thus it seems that periods of the utmost taste and refinement, and which
Ram. Mag.–No. VII.
are distinguished also by the excesses of luxury and dissipation, appear frequently in their eccentric aberrations, to cast a hankering look after the scenes of savage life, and to envy the savage his bodily vigour and activity, and that speed and swiftness of foot that enables him to outstrip the deer and the various beasts of the field in the race. It was during the most brilliant æra of ancient Greece, when her poets and philosophers, as well as her painters and statuaries, approached so nearly to perfection in their pursuits. It was then that her pugilists and pedestrians were also most highly extolled and caressed, and that the skilful drivers of the chariot who gained the prizes at the Olympic Games, were nearly put on a level with the triumphant general and the victorious conquietor of states and kingdoms. It may be said, indeed, that
tues, like diamonds, are chiefly valued for their rarity and scarceness, and that the humble pebble, which is found at random in the quarry, or casually thrown on the sea-shore, is cast aside as possessed of no intrinsic value. It is certain, however, that, in times of general luxury and refinement, the universal taste for pleasure and enjoyment must prove prejudicial to the physical vigour of the human frame, not to speak of that softness and effeminacy with which the sous of rank and opulence are usually bronght up. In such a state of things, though personal elegance, as well as beauty of figure, is found in the greatest perfection amongst the refined and opulent, yet strength of frame, and muscular energy, may be said to belong almost exclusively to the humbler classes of the community.
It was otherwise in ancient Greece, as we learn from Pindar and several other. writers, from whom it appears that the pugilists, the rivals in the foot-race, and the charioteers, were the most distingushed persons in their own times, and the principal characters in the communities to which they belonged. But it may likewise be observed, that what in modern times is termed fashion and gallantry, seems to have been totally unknown to the ancients, and that this sentiment