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· Nothing,' says Longinus, • can be great, • the contempt of which is great.' The poffeffion of wealth and riches cannot give a man a title to greatness, because it is looked upon as a greatness of mind to contemn these gifts of fortune, and to be above the desire of them. I have therefore been'inclined to think that there are greater men who lie concealed among the fpecies, than those who come out and draw upon themselves the eyes and admiration of mankind. Virgil would never have been heard of, had not his domestic misfortunes driven him out of his obscurity, and brought him to Rome.
If we suppose that there are spirits, or angels, who look into the ways of men, as it is highly probable there are, both from reason and revelation; how different are the notions which they entertain of us, from those which we are apt to form of one another! Were they to give us in their catalogue of such worthies as are now living, how different would it be from that which any of our own species would draw up!
We are dazzled with the fplendour of titles, the oftentation of learning, the noise of victories; they, on the contrary, see the philofopher in the cottage, who poffefses his soul in patience and thankfulness, under the pressures of what little minds call poverty and distress. They do not look for great men at the head of armies, or among the pomps of a court, but often find them out in Thades and solitudes, in the private walks and by-paths of life. The evening's walk of a wise man is more illustrious in their fight than the march of a general at the head of an
hundred thousand men. A contemplation of God's works; a voluntary act of justice to our own detriment; a generous concern for the good of mankind; tears that are fhed in silence for the misery of others; a private defire or resentment broken and subdued; in short, an unfeigned exercise of humility, or any other virtue, are such actions as are glorious in their fight, and denominate men great and reputable. The most famous among us are often looked upon with pity, with contempt, or with indignation; whilst those who are most obscure among their own species are regarded with love, with approbation, and esteem.
The moral of the present speculation amounts. to this, that we should not be led away by the centures and applauses of men, but consider the figure that every person will make at that time when “ Wisdom shall be justified of her chil“ dren,” and nothing pass for great or illustrious which is not an ornament and perfection to human nature.
The story of Gyges, the rich Lydian monarch, is a memorable instance to our present purpose. The oracle, being asked by Gyges, who was. the happiest man, replied Aglaüs. Gyges, who expected to have heard himself named on this occasion, was much surprised, and very curious to know who this Aglaüs should be. After much inquiry he was found to be an obscure countryman, who employed all his time in cultivating a garden, and a few acres of land about his houle.
Cowley's agreeable relation of this story shall close this day's Speculation.
Mighty gen Togodlike ho faid he isüs be?
• Thus Aglaüs (a man unknown to men,
But the gods knew, and therefore lov'd him then) « Thus liv'd obscurely then without a name, • Aglais, now consign'd t'eternal fame. • For Gyges, the rich king, wicked and great, • Presun'd at wise Apollo's Delphic seat,
Presum'd to ask, Oh thou the whole world's eye, . Seest thou a man that happier is than I ? • The god, who scorn'd to flatter man, reply'd, • Aglaüs happier is. But Gyges cry'd, . In a proud rage, who can that Aglaüs be? . We've heard as yet of no such king as he. . And true it was, through the whole earth around, • No king of such a name was to be found. • Is some old hero of that name alive, 6 Who his high race does from the gods derive? • Is it some mighty gen’ral that has done r Wonders in fight, and godlike honours won ? • Is it some man of endless wealth ? said he: « None, none of these. Who can this Aglaüs be? • After long search, and vain inquiries past, • In an obscure Arcadian vale at last,
(Th’ Arcadian life has always shady been) • Near Sopho's town, which he but once had seen, • This Aglaüs, who monarchs' envy drew,
Whose happiness the gods stood witness to, • This mighty Aglaüs was lab'ring found, With his own hands, in his own little ground.
"So, gracious God, if it may lawful be, . Among those foolish gods to mention thee,
So let me act, on such a private stage, « The last dull scenes of my declining age; • After long toils and voyages in vain, • This quiet port let my tofs'd vessel gain; « Of heav'nly rest this earnest to me lend, • Let my life neep, and learn to love her end."* • Cowley's Works, p. 113. Edit. in focio, 1669.
Thish his own us God,
N° 611. Monday, October 25, 1714.
Perfide! sed duris genuit te cautibus horrens
Virg. Æn. iv. 366.
I AM willing to postpone every thing, to do I any the least service for the deserving and unfortunate. Accordingly I have caused the following letter to be inserted in my Paper the moment that it came to my hands, without altering one tittle in an account which the lady relates so handsomely herself.
• Mr SpecTATOR, · I Flatter myself you will not only " I pity, but, if possible, redress a misfortune " myself and several others of my fex lie under. • I hope you will not be offended, nor think I • mean by this to justify my own imprudent con• duct, or expect you should. No! I am sen
fible how feverely, in some of your former • Papers, you have reproved persons guilty of • the like mismanagements. I was scarce fix
teen, and, I may say without vanity, hand« fome, when courted by a false perjured man; " who, upon promise of marriage, rendered me " the most unhappy of women. After he had
• deluded me from my parents, who were people • of very good fashion, in less than three months « he left me. My parents would not see nor • hear from me; and, had it not been for a ser( vant who had lived in our family, I muft cer« tainly have perished for want of bread. How
ever, it pleased Providence, in a very short • 'time, to alter my miserable condition. A gen• tleman saw me, liked me, and married me. • My parents were reconciled; and I might be • as happy in the change of my condition, as I
was before miserable, but for some things, • that you shall know, which are insupportable « to me; and I am sure you have so much ho' nour and compassion as to let thoie perions • know, in some of youi Papers, how much 6 they are in the wrong. I have been married s near five years, and do not know that in all o that time I ever went abroad without my hus• band's leave and approbation. I am obliged, • through the importunities of several of my re• lations, to go abroad oftener than fuits my « temper.—Then it is I labour under infupport
able agonies. That man, or rather monster, « haunts every place I go to. Base villain! by
reason I will not admit his nauseous wicked • visits and appointments, he strives all the ways - he can to ruin me. He left me destitute of • friend or money, nor ever thought me worth « inquiring after, until he unfortunately hap• pened to see me in a front-box, sparkling with • jewels. Then his passion returned. Then the
hypocrite pretended to be a penitent. Then