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That joyful day they lost each hostile name,
So two fair twins, whose features were design'd
From that fair *hill, where hoary sages boast
So haply through the heav'n's wide pathless wayi
Now to the regal towers securely brought,
* Mr. Flamstead's bouse.
For this thy name succeeding time shall praise, _
The mu«e, if fir'd with thy enliv'ning beams,
No. DCXXI. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17.
..v. Postquam se lumine puro
Implevit, stellasque vagas miratur & astra
Now to the blest abode, with wonder fill'd,
THE following letter having in it some observations out of the common road, I shall make it the entertainment of this clay.
'THE common topics against the pride of man, which are laboured by florid 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 the consciousness of our own merit may be sometimes laudable. The folly therefore lies here: we are apt to pride ourselves in worthless, or perhaps shameful things; and on the other hand, count that disgraceful 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 impudence to expect the public esteem. Pride therefore flows from want of reflection, and ignorance 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 ourselves in those things, which at some time of our life we shall certainly despise. And yet, if we will give ourselves the trouble of looking 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 serve only to shew us our own imperfections.
'As we rise from childhood to youth, we look with contempt on the toys and trifles which our hearts have hitherto been set upon. When we advance to manhood, we are held 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 missptnt in the pursuit of anxious wealth or uncertain Louour. 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 to> ings of infants. The pomps, the honours, the policies, and arts of mortal men, will be thought as trifling 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 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, viz. that all the stars in the firmament were created only to please their eyes and amuse their imaginations. Mr. Dryden, iirhis fable of the Cock and the Fox, makes a speech for his hero the cock, which is a pretty instance for this purpose.
Then turning, said to Partlet, see, my dear,
'What I would observe from the whole is 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 sink in our own esteem hereafter.' No. DCXXII. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19.
..Fallentis semita vitae.' Hoe.
A safe private quiet, which betrays
Itself to ease, and cheats away the days. Pooly.
'IN a former speculation you have observed, that true greatness cloth 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 eye 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, statesmen, or commanders, they appear to us stripped of those outside ornaments that dazzled their contemporaries; and we regard their persons as great or little, in proportion to the eminence of their virtues or vices. The wise sayings, generous sentiments, or disinterested conduct of a philosopher under mean circumstances of life, set him higher in our esteem than the mighty potentates of the earth, when we-view them both through the loner 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 laid before us, we should find nothing in such a Character which might not set him on a level with men of the highest stations. The following extract out of the private papers of an honest country gentleman will set this matter in a clear light. Your readers will perhaps conceive a greater idea of him from these actions done in secret, and without a witness, than of those which have drawn upon them the admiration of multitudes.