The Art Of Preserving Health "'Tis Not Too Late To-morrow To Be Brave"

John Armstrong

"'Tis Not Too Late To-morrow To Be Brave"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Dr. John Armstrong was a physician of the mid-eighteenth century who cultivated a wide number of friendships among the literary figures of his day, including Samuel Johnson and the poet James Thomson. These associations presumably led him to the composition of a substantial amount of poetry. Among his works are included a tragic drama, a long poem of medical advice in four books called The Art of Preserving Health, two verse epistles on Benevolence and Taste, and some imitations of Shakespeare and Spenser. Of prose he composed an almanac and a large number of short essays. Toward the end of Preserving Health he discusses the effects of the various passions on the health and warns against being led into duels by intemperate anger:

While Choler works, good Friend, you may be wrong;
Distrust yourself, and sleep before you fight.
'Tis not too late to-morrow to be brave;
If honour bids, to-morrow kill or die.
But calm advice against a raging fit
Avails too little; and it braves the power
Of all that ever taught in Prose or Song,
To tame the Fiend that sleeps a gentle Lamb,
And wakes a Lion. Unprovok'd and calm,
You reason well; see as you ought to see
And wonder at the madness of mankind:
Seiz'd with the common rage, you soon forget
The speculations of your wiser hours.