XXXV. (103) And besides what has been already said, the growth of men from infancy to old age, when measured by the number seven, displays in a most evident manner its perfecting power; for in the first period of seven years, the putting forth of the teeth takes place. And at the end of the second period of the same length, he arrives at the age of puberty: at the end of the third period, the growth of the beard takes place. The fourth period sees him arrive at the fullness of his manly strength. The fifth seven years is the season for marriage. In the sixth period he arrives at the maturity of his understanding. The seventh period is that of the most rapid improvement and growth of both his intellectual and reasoning powers. The eighth is the sum of the perfection of both. In the ninth, his passions assume a mildness and gentleness, from being to a great degree tamed. In the tenth, the desirable end of life comes upon him, while his limbs and organic senses are still unimpaired: for excessive old age is apt to weaken and enfeeble them all. (104) And Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, described these different ages in the following elegiac verses:ù

In seven years from th’ earliest breath,

The child puts forth his hedge of teeth;

When strengthened by a similar span,

He first displays some signs of man.

As in a third, his limbs increase,

A beard buds o’er his changing face.

When he has passed a fourth such time,

His strength and vigour’s in its prime.

When five times seven years o’er his head

Have passed, the man should think to wed;

At forty two, the wisdom’s clear

To shun vile deed of folly or fear:

While seven times seven years to sense

Add ready wit and eloquence.

And seven years further skill admit

To raise them to their perfect height.

When nine such periods have passed,

His powers, though milder grown, still last;

When God has granted ten times seven,

The aged man prepares for heaven.

XXXVI. (105) Solon therefore thus computes the life of man by the aforesaid ten periods of seven years. But Hippocrates the physician says that there are Seven{7}{it is hardly necessary to remind the reader of the description of the seven ages of man in Shakespeare. As You Like It, Act II. sc. 7.} ages of man, infancy, childhood, boyhood, youth, manhood, middle age, old age; and that these too, are measured by periods of seven, though not in the same order. And he speaks thus; “In the nature of man there are seven seasons, which men call ages; infancy, childhood, boyhood, and the rest. He is an infant till he reaches his seventh year, the age of the shedding of his teeth. He is a child till he arrives at the age of puberty, which takes place in fourteen years. He is a boy till his beard begins to grow, and that time is the end of a third period of seven years. He is a youth till the completion of the growth of his whole body, which coincides with the fourth seven years. Then he is a man till he reaches his forty-ninth year, or seven times seven periods. He is a middle aged man till he is fifty-six, or eight times seven years old; and after that he is an old man.

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