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IT was debated why old men loved the strongest liquors. Some, fancying that their natural heat decayed and their constitution grew cold, said, such liquors were most necessary and agreeable to their age; but this was mean and obvious, and besides, neither a sufficient nor a true reason; for the like happens to all their other senses. They are not easily moved or wrought on by any qualities, unless they are in intense degrees and make a vigorous impression; but the reason is the laxity of the habit of their body, for that, being grown lax and weak, loves a [p. 222] smart stroke. Thus their taste is pleased most with strong sapors, their smelling with brisk odors; for strong and unalloyed qualities make a more pleasing impression on the sense. Their touch is almost senseless to a sore, and a wound generally raises no sharp pain. The like also in their hearing may be observed; for old musicians play louder and sharper than others, that they may move their own dull tympanum with the sound. For what steel is to the edge in a knife, that spirit is to the sense in the body; and therefore, when the spirits fail, the sense grows dull and stupid, and cannot be raised, unless by something, such as strong wine, that makes a vigorous impression.
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