« ForrigeFortsett »
« Record our monarch in a nobler strain,
And sing the op’ning wonders of his reign;
Bright Carolina's heavenly beauties trace, • Her valiant confort, and his blooming race. " A train of kings their fruitful love supplies,
A glorious scene to Albion's ravish'd eyes; « who sees by Brunswick's hand her sceptre sway'd,
And through his line from age to age convey'd*.'
N°621. Wednesday, November 17, 1714.
Poftquam se lumine puro
LUCAN. ix. 11. • Now to the blest abode, with wonder fillid, • The fun and moving planets he beheld;
Then, looking down on the sun's feeble ray, • Survey'd our dusky, faint, imperfect day, • And under what a cloud of night we lay!'
HE following letter having in it some ob
fervations out of the common road, I shall make it the entertainment of this day.
of man, which are laboured by Horid • and declamatory writers, are taken from the
• baseness of his original, the imperfections of • his nature, or the short duration of those goods ' in which he makes his boast. Though it be
true that we can have nothing in us that ought to raise our vanity, yet a consciousness of our own merit
be sometimes laudable. The folly therefore lies here; we are apt to pride • ourselves in worthless, or perhaps Chameful,
things; and on the other hand count that ditgraceful which is our truest glory. . Hence it is that the lovers of praise take wrong measures to attain it.
Would a vain • man consult his own heart, he would find " that if others knew his weaknesses as well as he • himself doth, he could not have the impu. dence to expect the public esteem. Pride there· fore flows from want of reflection, and igno
rance of ourselves. Knowledge and humility come upon us together.
• The proper way to make an estimate of • ourselves, is to consider seriously what it is we • value or despise in others. A man who boasts • of the goods of fortune, a gay dress, or a new ' title, is generally the mark of ridicule.
We ought therefore not to admire in ourselves what we are so ready to laugh at in other men.
Much less can we with reason pride our'selves in those things, which at some time of
our life we shall certainly despise. And yet, . if we will give ourselves the trouble of look
ing backward and forward on the several changes which we have already undergone, and hereafter must try, we shall find that the
greater degrees of our knowledge and wisdom • ferve only to Thew us our own imperfections.
• As we rise from childhood to youth, we • look with contempt on the toys and trifles 6 which our hearts have hitherto been set upon. • When we advance to manhood, we are held I wise, in proportion to our shame and regret • for the rashness and extravagance of youth. « Old age fills us with mortifying reflections
upon a life misspent in the pursuit of anxious • wealth, or uncertain honour. Agreeable to • this .gradation of thought in this life, it may • be reasonably supposed that, in a future state, * the wisdom, the experience, and the maxims, • of old age, will be looked upon by a separate
spirit, in much the same light as an ancient
man now sees the little follies and toying of • infants. The pomps, the honours, the poli• cies, and arts, of mortal men, will be thought
as trilling as hobby-horses, mock battles, or any other sports that now employ all the cunning, and strength, and ambition, of rational beings, from four years old
old to nine or ten. • If the notion of a gradual rise in beings from • the meanest to the most high be not a vain
imagination, it is not improbable that an angel • looks down upon a man as a man doth upon
a creature which approaches the nearest to • the rational nature. By the same rule, if I
may indulge my fancy in this particular, a superior brute looks with a kind of pride
on one of an inferior species. If they could ' reflect, we might imagine, from the gestures
• of some of them that they think themselves • the sovereigns of the world, and that all things
were made for them. Such a thought would not be more absurd in brute creatures than
one which men are apt to entertain, namely, " that all the stars in the firmament were created
only to please their eyes and amuse their ima
ginations. Mr. Dryden, in his fable of the • Čock and the Fox, makes a speech for his hero • the cock, which is a pretty instance for this
this, that we ought to value ourselves upon • those things only which superior beings think
valuable, since that is the only way for us not to fink in our own esteem hereafter.'
* This day is published, “ The Examiner,” Number L. Printed for J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane, where advertisements will be taken in, &c. by J. Morphew. To be continued Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Spect. in folio. N°615. Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1714. See Tat. with Notes, vol. V. N° 210, Note on the Examiner, &c. and Preface to the “ Rea" der.” Editions of 1798 and 1789 in 12mo. and 8vo. with Notes.
*.* This day is published, “ The Monthly Catalogue of books, plays, pamphlets, poems, and sermons,” in O&t. 1714, price 3d. Spect. in folio. No 616. Friday, Nov. 5, 1714. VOL. VIII. z
Friday, November 19, 1714.
— Fallentis semita vita. Hor. 1. E.p. xviii. 103.
A safe private quiet, which betrays "Itself to ease, and cheats away the days. Pooly. • Mr. SPECTATOR,
N a former Speculation you have observed
that true greatness doth not consist in that pomp and noise wherein the generality of ' mankind are apt to place it. You have there • taken notice that virtue in obscurity often appears more illustrious in the
of superior beings, than all that passes for grandeur and • magnificence among men.
· When we look back upon the history of those who have borne the parts of kings, statelmen, or commanders, they appear to us 1trip
ped of those outside ornaments that dazzle • their contemporaries; and we regard their
persons as great or little, in proportion to the • eminence of their virtues or vices.
The wile sayings, generous sentiments, or disinterested ' conduct of a philosopher under mean circum• stances of life, fet him higher in our esteem than * the mighty potentates of the earth, when we • view them both through the long prospect of
many ages. Were the memoirs of an obscure
man, who lived up to the dignity of his nature • and according to the rules of virtue, to be