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please the worthy, and the man of merit should de sire to be tried only by his peers. I thought it a noble sentiment which I heard yesterday uttered in conversation ; " I know,” said a gentleman, " a way to “ be greater than any man: if he has worth in him, I can " rejoice in his superiority to me; and that satisfaction " is a greater act of the soul in me, than any in him " which can possibly appear to me.”
This thought could not proceed but from a candid and generous spirit ; and the approbation of such minds is what may be esteemed true praise : for with the common rate of men there is nothing commendable but what they themselves may hope to be partakers of, and arrive at : but the motive truly glorious is, when the mind is set rather to do things laudable, than to purchase reputation. . Where there is that sincerity as the foundation of a good name, the kind opinion of virtuous men will be an unsought, but a necessary consequence. The Lacedæmonians, though a plain people and no pretenders to politeness, had a certain delicacy in their sense of glory, and sacrificed to the muses when they entered upon any great enterprise. They would have the commemoration of their actions be transmitted by the purest and most untainted memorialists. The din which attends victories and public triumphs is by far less eligible than the recital of the actions of great men by honest and wise historians. It is a frivolous pleasure to be the admiration of gaping crowds; but to have the approbation of a good man in the cool reflections of his closet, is a gratification worthy an heroic spirit. The applause of the crowd makes the head giddy, but the attestation of a reasonable man makes the heart glad.
What makes the love of popular or general praise still more ridiculous, is, that it is usually given for circumstances which are foreign to the persons admired. Thus they are the ordinary attendants on power and riches, which may be taken out of one man's
hands and put into another's. The application only, and not the possession, makes those outward things honourable. The vulgar and men of sense agree in admiring men for having what they themselves. would rather be possessed of; the wise man applauds him whom he thinks most virtuous, the rest of the world him who is most wealthy.
When a man is in this way of thinking, I do not know what can occur to one more monstrous, than to see persons of ingenuity address their services and performances to men no way addicted to liberal arts. In these cases, the praise on one hand, and the patronage on the other, are equally the objects of ridicule. Dedications to ignorant men are as absurd as any of the speeches of Bulfinch in the droll ; such an address one is apt to translate into other words : and when the different parties are thoroughly considered, the panegyric generally implies no more than if the author should say to the patron ; My very good Lord, you and I can never understand one another, therefore I humbly desire we may be intimate friends for the future.
The rich may as well ask to borrow of the poor, as the man of virtue or merit hope for addition to his character from any but such as himself. He that commends another, engages so much of his own reputation as he gives to that person commended ; and
l he that has nothing laudable in himself is not of ability to be such a surety. The wise Phocion was so sensible how dangerous it was to be touched with what the multitude approved, that upon a general acclamation made when he was making an oration, he turned to an intelligent friend who stood near him, and asked in a surprised manner, What slip have I made ?
I shall conclude this paper with a billet which has fallen into my hands, and was written to a lady from a gentleman whom she had highly commended. The author of it had formerly been her lover. When all possibility of commerce between them on the subject of love was cut off, she spoke so handsomely of him, as to give occasion for this letter.
I SHOULD be insensible to a stupidity, if I could • forbear making you my acknowledgments for your • late mention of me with so much applause. It is, • I think, your fate to give me new sentiments; as
you formerly inspired me with the true sense of • love, so do you now with the true sense of glory, • As desire had the least part in the passion I here
tofore professed towards you, so has vanity no share • in the glory to which you have now raised me. In
nocence, knowledge, beauty, virtue, sincerity, and • discretion, are the constant ornaments of her who I has said this of me. Fame is a babbler, but I have I arrived at the highest glory in this world, the com• meadation of the most deserving person in it.?
No. CLXXXIX. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6.
.........Patriæ pietatis imago.
An image of paternal tenderness!
THE following letter being written to my book-seller, upon a subject of which I treated some time since, I shall publish it in this paper, together with the letter that was inclosed in it.
• Mr. Buckley, * MR. SPECTATOR having of late descanted upon " the cruelty of parents to their children, I have been
induced (at the request of several of Mr. Spectator's
admirers) to inclose this letter, which I assure you ' is the original from a father to his own son, notwith6 standing the latter gave but little or no provocation. • It would be wonderfully obliging to the world, if « Mr. Spectator would give his opinion of it in some • of his speculations, and particularly to
« Your humble servant.'
.. SIRRAH, + YOU are a saucy audacious rascal, and both fool « and mad, and I care not a farthing whether you
comply or no; that does not raze out my impressions of your insolence, going about railing at me,
and the next day to solicit my favour : these are in• consistences, such as discover thy reason depraved. "To be brief, I never desire to see your face; and,
Sirrah, if you go to the work-house, it is no disgrace to me for you to be supported there ; and if
; you starve in the streets, I will never give any thing « underhand in your behalf. If I have any more of
your scribbling nonsense I will break your head the « first time I set sight on you. You are a stubborn * beast ; is this your gratitude for my giving you mo
ney? You rogue, I'll better your judgment, and give you a greater sense of your duty to (I regret to say) your father, &c.
• P. S. It is prudence in you to keep out of my • sight; for to reproach me, that Might overcomes • Right, on the outside of your letter, I shall give "you a great knock on the skull for it.
Was there ever such an image of paternal tenderness! it was usual among scme of the Greeks to
make their slaves drink to excess, and then expose them to their children, who by that means conceived an early aversion to a vice which makes men appear so monstrous and irrational. I have exposed this picture of an unnatural father with the same intention, that its deformity may deter others from its resemblance. If the reader has a mind to see a father of the same stamp represented in the most exquisite strokes of humour, he may meet with it in one of the finest comedies that ever appeared upon the English stage : I mean the part of Sir Sampson in Love for Love.
I must not, however, engage myself blindly on the side of the son, to whom the fond letter above-written was directed. His father calls him a
saucy 6 and audacious rascal" in the first line, and I am afraid upon examination he will prove but an ungracious youth. “ To go about railing" at his father, and to find no other place but, “the outside of “ his letter” to tell him " that might overcomes “ right," if it does not discover “ his reason to be de
praved,” and “ that he is either fool or mad," as the choleric old gentleman tells him, we may at least allow that the father will do very well in endeavouring to “better his judgment, and give him a greater
sense of his duty.” But whether this may be brought about “by breaking his head,” or “giving « him a great knock on the scull,” ought, I think, to be well considered. Upon the whole, I wish the father has not met with his match, and that he may not be as equally paired with a son as the mother in Virgil.
Crudelis tu quoque mater:
Cruel alike the mother and the son.