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• discreet, ingenious, pleasant, pious Woman ; I wish the • had the handling of you and Mrs. Modifo; you would • find, if you were too free with her, she would soon ' make you as charming as ever you were, she would ' make you blush as much as if you never had been fine
Ladies. The Vicar, Madam, is so kind as to visit my • Husband, and his agreeable Cunvei fation lias brought • him to enjoy many sober happy Hours when even I am • shut out, and my dear Master is entertained only with « his own Thoughts. These Things, dear Madam, will * be lasting Satisfactions, when the fine Ladies and the
Coxcombs by whom they form themselves, are irrepa, * rably ridiculous, ridiculous in old Age. I am, Madam, your moft humble Servant,
Dear Mr. SPECTATOR, VOU have no Goodness in the World, and are not • 1 in Earnest in any thing you say that is serious, if • you do not send me a plain Answer to this: I happened • Come Days paft to be at the Play, where during the
Time of Performance, I could not keep my Eyes off from a beautiful young Creature who sat just before me, • and whe I have been fincé informed has no Fortune. • It would utterly ruin my Reputation for Discretion to • marry such a one, and by what I can learn she has a • Character of great Modesty, so that there is nothing to • be thought on any other Way. My Mind has ever since s been so wholly bent on her, that I am much in Dan• ger of doing something very Extravagant without your • speedy Advice to,
SIR, Your most humble Servant, I am sorry I cannot answer this impatient Gentle. man, but by another Question.
O ULD you marry to please other people, or your self?
N° 255. Saturday, December 22.
Laudis amore tumes? sunt certa piacula, que te
H E Soul considered abstractedly from its Passions,
is of a remiss and sedentary Nature, flow in its Re
folves, and languishing in its Executions. The Use therefore of the Passions is to stir it up, and to put it upon Action, toawaken the Understanding, to enforce the Will, and to make the whole Man more vigorous and attentive in the Prosecution of his Designs. As this is the End of the Passions in general, so it is particularly of Ambition, which pushes the Soul to such Adions as are apt to procure Honour and Reputation to the Actor. But if we carry our Reflexions higher, we may discover farther Ends of Providence in implanting this paflion in Mankind.
IT was necessary for the World, that Arts should be invented and improved, Books written and transınitted to Pofterity, Nations conquered and civilized: Now since the proper and genuine Motives to these and the like great Aētions, would only influence virtuous Minds ; there would be but small Improvements in the World, were there not some common Principle of Action working equally with all Men. And such a Principle is Ambition or a Desire of Fame, by which great Endowments are not suffered to lie idle and useless to the Publick, and many vicious Men, over-reached, as it were, and engaged contrary to their natural Inclinations in a glorious and laudable Course of Action. For we may farther obferve, that Men of the greatest Abilities are most fired with Ambition : And that on the contrary, mean and narrow Minds are the least actuated by it ; whether it be that a Man's Sense of his own Incapacities makes him despair of coming at Fame, or that he has not enough Range of Thought to look out for any Good which does not more immediately relate to his Interest or Convenience, or that Providence in the very Frame of his Soul, would not fabject him to such a passion as would be useless to the World, and a Torment to himself.
WERE not this Desire of Fame very strong, the Difficulty of obtaining it, and the Danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter a Man from fo vain a Pursuit.
HOW few are there who are furnished with Abilities fufficient to recommend their Actions to the Admiration of the World, and to distinguish themselves from the rest of Mankind ? Providence for the most part sets us upon a Level, and observes a kind of Proportion in its Dispensations towards us. If it renders us perfect in one Accomplishment, it generally leaves us defective in another, and seems careful rather of preserving every Person from being mean and deficient in his Qualifications, than of making any single one éminent or extraordinary.
AND among those, who are the most richly endowed by Nature, and accomplished by their own Industry, how few are there whose Virtues are not obscured by the Ignorance, Prejudice or Envy of their Beholders ? Some Men cannot discern between a noble and a mean Action.
Others are apt to attribute them to some false End or In- tention ; and others purposely misrepresent or put a wrong Interpretation on them.
· BŪT the more to enforce this Confideration, we may observe that those are generally most unsuccessful in their Pursuit after Fame, who are most desirous of obtaining it. It is Saluft's remark upon Cato, that the less he coveted Glory, the more he acquir'd it..
MEN take an ill-natur'd Pleasure in crossing our Inclinations, and disappointing us in what our Hearts are most set upon. When therefore they have discovered the palfionate Desire of Fame in the Ambitious Man (as no Temper of Mind is more apt to shew it self) they become íparing and reserved in their commendations, they envy him the Satisfaction of an Applause, and look on their Praises rather as a Kindness done to his Person, than as a Tribute paid to his Merit. Others who are free from this natural Perverseness of Temper grow wary in their Praises of one, who sets too great a Value on them, left they should raise him too high in his own Imagination,
and by consequence remove him to a greater Distance from themselves.
BUT farther, this Desire of Fame naturally betrays the ambitious Man into such Indecencies as are a lessening to his Reputation. He is still afraid left any of his Ačtions should be thrown away in private, left his Deserts should be concealed from the Notice of the World, or receive any Disadvantage from the Reports which others make of them. This often sets him on empty Boafts and Oftentations of himself, and betrays him into vain fantastick Recitals of his own Performances : His Dis. course generally leans one Way, and whatever is the subject of it, tends obliquely either to the detracting from others, or to the extolling of himself. Vanity is the natural Weakness of an ambitious Man, which exposes him to the secret Scorn and Derision of those he converses with, and ruins the Character he is so industrious to ada vance by it. For tho' his Actions are never so glorious, they lose their Lustre when they are drawn at large, and set to show by his own Hand; and as the World is more apt to find Fault than to commend, the Boaft will probably be cenfured when the great Action that occafioned it is forgotten.
BESIDES, this very Desire of Fame is looked on as a Meanness and Imperfection in the greatest Character. A solid and substantial Greatness of Soul looks down with a generous Neglect on the Censures and Applauses of the Multitude, and places a Man beyond the little Noise and Strife of Tongues. Accordingly we find in our felves a secret Awe and Veneration for the Character of one who moves above us in a regular and illustrious Course of Virtue, without any Regard to our good or ill Opinions of him, to our Reproaches or Commendations. As on the contrary it is usual for us, when we would take off from the Fame and Reputation of an Action, to ascribe it to Vain-Glory, and a Desire of Fame in the Actor. Nor is this common Judgment and Opinion of Mankind ill founded: for certainly it denotes no great Bravery of Mind to be worked up to any noble Action by fo selfim a Motive, and to do that out of a Desire of Fame, which we could not be prompted to by a disinterested Love to Mankind, or by a generous Pasion for the Glory of him that made us.
THUS is Fame a thing difficult to be obtained by all, but particularly by those who thirst after it, fince most Men have fo much either of Ill-nature, or of Warinefs, as not to gratify or footh the Vanity of the Ambitious Man, and fince this very Thirst after Fame naturally betrays him into such Indecencies as are a lessening to his Reputation, and is it self looked upon as a Weakness in the greateft Characters.
IN the next Place, Fame is easily loft, and as difficult to be preserved as it was at first to be acquired. But this I shall make the Subject of a following Paper.
N! 256. Monday, December 24.
onun gde Te xaxò niaeg. xéens refed ceper
'Pão facía, epgaren ö qepety - Her. THERE are many Paffions and Tempers of Mind I which naturally disposeus to depress and vilify the
Merit of one rising in the Esteem of Mankind. All those who made their Entrance into the World with the fame Advantages, and were once looked on as his Equals, are apt to think the Fame of his Merits a Reflexion on their own Indeserts ; and will therefore take care to reproach him with the Scandal of some past Action, or derogate from the Worth of the present, that they may still keep him on the fame Level with themselves. The like Kind of Confideration often stirs up the Envy of such as were once his Superiors, who think it a Detraction from their Merit to see another get ground upon them and overtake them in the Pursuits of Glory ; and will therefore endeavour to fink his Reputation, that they may the better preserve their own. Those who were once his Equals envy and defame him, because they now see him their Superior ; and those who were once his Superiors, because they look upon him as their Equal.
BUT farther, a Man whose extraordinary Reputation thus lifts him up to the Notice and Observation of Mankind draws a Multitude of Eyes upon him that will nar