first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited, and
cannot serve anyone; it must husband its resources to live.
But health or fulness answers its
own ends, and has to spare, runs over and inundates the neighbourhoods
and creeks of other men's necessities ... Health is the first muse,
comprising the magical benefits of air, landscape, and bodily exercise
on the mind.... Get health; no labour, pains, temperance, poverty, nor
exercise, that can gain it must be grudged. Sickness is a cannibal which
eats up all the life and youth it can lay hold of, and absorbs its own
sons and daughters. I figure it as a pale, wailing, distracted phantom,
absolutely selfish, and afflicting other souls with meanness and mopings,
and with ministration to its voracity of trifles. Dr. Johnson said
severely, 'Every man is a rascal as soon as he is sick.' The best part
of health is fine disposition. To make knowledge valuable you must have
the cheerfulness of wisdom.
-- The Conduct of Life, by Ralph Waldo Emerson