And Now, Walt Whitman's Advice For People Who Sit At Desks All Day
To you, clerk, literary man, sedentary person, man of fortune, idler, the same advice. Up! The world (perhaps you now look upon it with pallid and disgusted eyes) is full of zest and beauty for you, if you approach it in the right spirit! Out in the morning! If in the city, even there you will find ample sources of amusement and interest in its myriad varieties of character and occupation—in the scenes of its awakening and adjusting itself to its daily labors—in the crowds around its ferries, and all through its main thoroughfares, and at its great depots and markets. Do not be discouraged soon. Give our advice a thorough trial—not for a few days or weeks, but for months. Early rising, early to bed, exercise, plain food, thorough and persever- ing continuance in gently-commenced training, the cultivation with resolute will of a cheerful temper, the society of friends and a certain number of hours spent every day in regular employment— these, we say, simple as they are, are enough to revolutionize life, and change it from a scene of gloom, feebleness, and irresolution, into life indeed, as becomes such a universe as this, full of all the essential means of happiness, full of well-intentioned and affectionate men and women, with the beneficent processes of nature always at work, the sun shining, the flowers blooming, the crops growing, the waters running, with all else that is wanted, only that man should be rightly toned to partake of the universal strength and joy. This he must do through reason, knowledge and exercise—in short, through training; for that is the sum of all.
— excerpted from the recently discovered NewYork Atlas, Sept. 12, 1858: MANLY HEALTH AND TRAINING, WITH OFF-HAND HINTS TOWARD THEIR CONDITIONS BY MOSE VELSOR (Née Walt Whitman).