The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt: With Reminiscences of Friends and Contemporaries - Vol. 1

By Leigh Hunt | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII.
SUFFERING AND REFLECTION.

Nervous illness and conclusions therefrom.--Mystery of the universe. --Hypochondriacal recreations.--A hundred and fifty rhymes on a trissyliable.--Pastoral innocence.--A didactic yeoman.--"Hideous sight" of Dr. Young.--Action the cure for sedentary ailments.-- Boating; a'fray on the Thames.--Magical effect of the word "Law." --Return of health and enjoyment.

BUT the gay and confident spirit in which I began this critical career received a check, of which none of my friends suspected the anguish, and very few were told. I fell into a melancholy state of mind, produced by ill health.

I thought it was owing to living too well; and as I had great faith in temperance, I went to the reverse extreme; not considering, that temperance implies moderation in selfdenial, as Well as in self indulgence. The consequence was a nervous condition, amounting to hypochondria, which lasted me several months. I experienced it twice afterward, each time more painfully than before, and for a much longer period; but I have never had it since; and I and of opinion that I need not have had it at all, had I gone at once to a physician, and not repeated the mistake of being over abstinent.

I mention the whole circumstance for the benefit of others. The first attack came on me with palpitations of the heart. These I got rid of by horseback. I forget what symptoms attended the approach of the second. The third was produced by sitting out of doors too early in the spring. I at. tempted to outstarve them all, but egregiously failed. In one instance, I took wholly to a vegetable diet, which made me so weak and giddy, that I was forced to catch hold of rails in the streets to hinder myself from falling. In another, I confined myself for some weeks to a milk diet; which

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