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'fore us, we should find nothing in fuch a character which might not fet him on a level with < men of the higheft ftations. The following extract out of the private papers of an honeft country-gentleman will fet this matter in a clear light. Your reader will perhaps conceive a greater idea of him from thefe actions done in fecret, and without a witnefs, than of thofe which have drawn upon them the admiration of multitudes."
"Ordered John to let out goodman D"fheep that were pounded by night; but not "to let his fellow fervants know it.
"Prevailed upon M. T. Efq; not to take the "law of the farmer's fon for shooting a part
ridge, and to give him his gun again.
"Paid the apothecary for curing an old wo-
"Made the minister of the parish and a whig juftice of one mind, by putting them to ex"plain their notions to one another.
"Mem. To turn off Peter for fhooting a doe
"Mem. I have forgiven him.
"Laid up my chariot, and fold my horfes to relieve the poor in a scarcity of corn. "In the fame year emitted to my tenants a "fifth part of their rents.
"As I was airing to day, I fell into a thought "that warmed my heart, and fhall, I hope, be "better for it as long as I live.
"Mem. To charge my fon in private to erect "no monument for me; but not to put this in my laft will."
N° 623. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22.
But firft let yawning earth a paffage rend,
AM obliged to my friend, the love-cafuift, for the following curious piece of antiquity, which I fhall communicate to the public in his
• Mr. Spectator,
OU may remember, that I lately tranfmitted to you an account of an ancient cuitom, in the manors of Eaft and West-En'borne, in the county of Berks, and elsewhere. "If a cuftomary tenant die, the widow shall "have what the law calls her Free-bench, in "all his copy-hold lands, dum fola & cafta fuerit, "that is, while fhe lives fingle and chafte; but "if the commits incontinency, fhe forfeits her "eftate: yet if fhe will come into the court rid "ing backward upon a black ram, with his tail "in her hand, and say the words following, the "fteward is bound by the custom to re-admit "her to her Free-Bench,
After having informed you that my Lord Coke ' obferves, that this is the moft frail and flippery tenure of any in England, I fhall tell you, fince the writing of that letter, I have, according to my promife, been at great pains in fearching out the records of the black ram; and have at laft met with the proceedings of the courtbaron, held in that behalf, for the space of a whole day. The record faith, that a ftrict inquifition having been made into the right of the tenants to their feveral eftates, by the crafty of the manor were, by default of the feveral old steward, he found that many of the lands 'widows, forfeited to the lord, and accordingly would have entered on the premises: upon which the good women demanded the "bene"fit of the ram." The fteward, after having perufed their several pleas, adjourned the court to Barnaby bright, that they might have day 6 enough before them,
The court being fet, and filled with a great concourse of people, who came from all parts to see the folemnity, the firft who entered was the widow Frontly, who had made her appearance in the last year's cavalcade. The register obferves, that finding it an easy pad-ram, and fore-feeing the might have further occafion for it, the purchased it of the steward..
Mrs. Sarah Dainty, relict of Mr. John Dainty, who was the greateft prude of the parish, came next in the proceffion. She at firft made fome difficulty of taking the tail in her hand; and was cbferved in pronouncing the form of penance, to foften the two moft emphatical words into clincum clancum: but the fteward took care to make her speak plain Englifh, before he would let her have her land again.
The third widow that was brought to this worldly fhame, being mounted upon a vicious ram, had the misfortune to be thrown by him; upon which the hoped to be excufed from going through the rest of the ceremony: but the fteward being well verfed in the law, obferved very wifely upon this occafion, that the breaking of the rope does not hinder the execution
of the criminal.
The fourth lady upon record was the widow Ogle, a famous coquette, who had kept half fcore young fellows off and on for the space of two years; but having been more kind to her carter John, she was introduced with the huzzas
of all her lovers about her.
Mrs. Sable appearing in her weeds, which were very new and fresh, and of the fame colour with her whimfical palfrey, made a very decent figure in the folemnity.
Another, who had been fummoned to make her appearance, was excufed by the fteward, as well knowing in his heart, that the good fquire himself had qualified her for the ram.
Mrs. Quick having nothing to object against the indictment, pleaded her belly. But it was remembred that the made the fame excufe the year before. Upon which the steward obferv. ed, that he might fo contrive it, as never to do the fervice of the manor.
The next in order was a dowager of a very corpulent make, who would have been excufed as not finding any ram that was able to carry her; upon which the fteward commuted her • punishment, and ordered her to make her entry upon a black ox.
'fheep's eye upon her, and married her within ' a month after the death of his wife.
The widow Mafkwell, a woman who had long lived with a moft unblemished character, having turned off her old chambermaid in a pet, was by that revengeful creature brought in upon the black ram nine times the fame
The pursuits of the active part of mankind are either in the paths of religion and virtue; or, on the other hand, in the roads to wealth, honours, or pleasure. I fhall, therefore compare the purfuits of avarice, ambition and fenfual delight with their oppofite virtues; and fhall confider which of thefe principles engages men in a courfe of the greatest labour, fuffering and affi
The widow Fidget being cited into court,
ard to confider his own wife's cafe if he fhould
willing to allow that a courfe of virtue will in
ANKIND is divided in two parts, the
the bufy may
be divided into the virtuous and the vicious. The vicious again into the covetous, the ambitious, and the fenfual, The idle part of mankind are in a state inferior to any one of thefe. All the other are engaged in the purfuit of happiness, though often mifplaced, and are therefore more likely to be attentive to fuch means, as fhall be propofed to them for that end. The idle, who are neither wife for this world, nor the next, are emphatically called by doctor Tillotfon, fools at large. They propofe themfelves no end, but run adrift with every wind. Advice therefore would be but thrown away upon them, fince they would fcarce, take the pains to read it. I fhall not fatigue any of this worthlefs tribe with a long harangue; but will leave them with this fhort faying of Plato, that "labour is preferable "to idleness, as brightness to rust."
First, for avarice. The mifer is more induftrious than the faint: the pains of getting, the fears of lofing, and the inability of enjoying his wealth, have been the mark of fatire in all ages. Were his repentance upon his neglect of a good bargain, his forrow for being overreached, his hope of improving a fum, and his fear of falling into want, directed to their proper objects, they would make fo many different chriftian graces and virtues. He may apply to himself a great part of St. Paul's catalogue of fufferings. In journeying often; in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils among
Several widows of the neighbourhood, being
A pretty young creature who clofed the pro-
mong falfe brethren. In wearinefs and pain fulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in faftings often.'- At how much lefs expence might he lay up to himself treafures in heaven or if I may, in this place, be allowed to add the faying of a great philofopher, he may provide fuch poffeffions, as fear neither arms, nor men, nor Jove himself.' In the fecond place, if we look upon the toils of ambition, in the fame light as we have confidered thofe of avarice, we fhall readily own that far lefs trouble is requifite to gain lafting glory, than the power and reputation of a few years; or, in other words, we may with more eafe deferve honour, than obtain it. The ambitious man fhould remember cardinal Wolfey's complaint. Had I ferved God, with the fame application, wherewith I ferved my king, he would not have forfaken me in my old age." The cardinal here foftens his ambition by the Ipecious pretence of ferving his king;' whereas his words, in the proper construction, imply, that if inftead of being acted by ambition, he had been acted by religion, he fhould now have felt the comforts of it, when the whole world turned his back upon him.
Thirdly, let us compare the pains of the fenfual, with thofe of the virtuous, and fee which are heavier in the balance. It may feem ftrange, at the firft view, that the men of pleasure should be advised to change their courfe, because they lead a painful life. Yet when we see them fo active and vigilant in queft of delight; under fo many difquiets, and the fport of fuch various paffions; let them anfwer, as they can, if the pains they undergo do not outweigh their enjoyments. The infidelities on the one part between the two fexes, and the caprices on the other, the debafement of reafon, the pangs of expectation, the difappointments in poffeffion, the ftings of remorfe, the vanities and vexations attending even the most refined delights that make up this bufinefs of life, render it fo filly and uncomfortable, that no man is thought wife until he hath got over it, or happy, but in proportion as he hath cleared himself from it.
The fum of all is this, Man is made an active being. Whether he walks in the paths of virtue or vice, he is fure to meet with many difficulties to prove his patience and excite his induftry. The fame, if not greater labour, is required in the fervice of vice and folly, as of virtue and wifdom, and he hath this eafy choice left him, whether, with the ftrength he is mafter of, he will purchafe happinefs or repentance.
N° 625. FRIDAY, Nov. 26.
Was thirteen the ninth of November laft, and must now begin to think of fettling myfelf in the world, and fo I would humbly beg your advice, what I must do with Mr. Fondle, who makes his addreffes to me.
is a very pretty man, and hath the blackest eyes and whiteft teeth you ever faw. Though
he is but a younger brother, he dreffes like a
man of quality, and nobody comes into a room like him. I know he hath refused great offers, and if he cannot marry me, he will never have any body else. But my father hath forbid him the house, because he fent 'me a copy of verfes; for he is one of the 'greatest wits in town. My eldest sister, who, ' with her good will, would call me mifs as long as I live, must be married before me, they fay. She tells them, that Mr. Fondle 'makes a fool of me, and will spoil the child, as the calls me, like a confident thing as the is. In fhort, I am refolved to marry Mr. Fondle, if it be but to fpite her. But be'cause I would do nothing that is imprudent, I beg of you to give me your answers to fome questions I will write down, and defire you to get them printed in the Spectator, and I do not doubt but you will give such advice, as, I am fure I fhall follow.
De tenero meditatur ungui.
HOR. Od. 6. 1. 3. ver. 23. Love from her tender years, her thoughts employ'd.
HE love cafuift hath referred to me the
fwers to each queftion, for my approbation. I have accordingly confidered the feveral matters therein contained, and hereby confirm and ratify his answers, and require the gentle querift to conform herself thereunto.
The following letter requires neither introduction nor answer.
• Mr. Spectator,
to mention, by way of excuse, for my ingeni→ ous correfpondent, who hath introduced the following letter, by an image, which, I will beg leave to tell him, is too ridiculous in fo ferious and noble a fpeculation.
Wonder that, in the prefent fituation of
Your's in hafte,
HEN I have feen young puss playing her wanton gambles, and with a thousand antic shapes exprefs her own gaiety ' at the fame time that the moved mine, while the old grannum hath fat by with a most exemplary gravity, unmoved at all that paft; it hath made me reflect what fhould be the occafion of humours fo oppofite in two creatures, between whom there was no visible difference but that of age; and I have been ' able to resolve it into nothing elfe but the force of novelty.
In every fpecies of creatures, thofe who have least time in the world, appear belt ' pleased with their condition: for, befides that to a new comer the world hath a freshness on it that strikes the fenfe after a most agreeable manner, being itself, unattended with any great variety of enjoyments, excites a ⚫ fenfation of pleasure. But as age advances, ' every thing feems to wither, the fenfes are 'difgufted with their old entertainments, and ' existence turns flat and infipid. We may fee this exemplified in mankind: the child, let him be free from pain, and gratified in his 'change of toys, is diverted with the smallest 'trifle. Nothing disturbs the mirth of the boy, but a little punishment or confinement. The youth must have more violent pleasures to 'employ his time; the man loves the hurry of an active life, devoted to the pursuits of wealth or ambition: and lastly, old age, having loft its capacity for thefe avocations, be. comes its own unfuppoftable burden. Th ' variety may in part be accounted for by the vivacity and decay of the faculties; but I believe is chiefly owing to this, that the lon
N° 626. MONDAY, Nov. 29.
-Dulcique animos novitate tenebo.
Have feen a little work of a learned man, confifting of extemporary fpeculations, which owed their birth to the most trifling occurrences of life. His ufual method was, to write down any sudden start of thought which arofe in his mind upon the fight of any odd gefticulation in a man, any whimsical mimickry of reafon in a beaft, or whatever appeared remarkable in any object of the vifible creation. He was able to moralize upon a snuff-box, would flourish eloquently upon a tucker or a pair of ruffles, and draw practical inferences from a full-bottom'd periwig. This I thought fit
ger we have been in poffeffion of being, the ⚫lefs fenfible is the guft we have of it; and "the more it requires of adventitious amufe'ments to relieve us from the fatiety and 'weariness it brings along with it.
And as novelty is of a very powerful, fo ' of a most extenfive influence. Moralifts have 'long fince obferved it to be the fource of ad'miration, which leffens in proportion to our 'familiarity with objects, and upon a thorough 'acquaintance is utterly extinguished. But I ⚫ think it hath not been fo commonly remarked, ‹ that all the other paffions depend confiderably on the fame circumftance. What is it but, ' novelty that awakens defire, enhances delight, kindles anger, provokes envy, infpires horror? to this caufe we muft afcribe it, that 'love languishes with fruition, and friendship ⚫itfelf is recommended by intervals of abfence: hence monsters, by use, are beheld without lothing, and the most inchanting beauty 'without rapture. That emotion of the spirits ' in which paffion confifts, is ufually the effect ' of furprife, and as long as it continues, heightens the agreeable or difagreeable quali 'ties of its object; but as this emotion ceases (and it ceafes with the novelty) things appear in another light, and affect us even less than 2 Ba
might be expected from their proper energy, for having moved us too much before.
It may not be a useless enquiry how far "the love of novelty is the unavoidable growth of nature, and in what refpects it is peculiarly adapted to the prefent ftate. To me it seems impoffible, that a reasonable creature should reft abfolutely fatisfied in any acquifitions whatever without endeavouring farther; for after its highest improvements, the mind hath an idea of an infinity of things ftill behind worth knowing, to the knowledge of which therefore it cannot be indifferent; as by climbing up a hill in the midst of a wide plain, a man hath his profpect enlarged, and, together with that, the bounds of his defires. Upon this account, I cannot think he detracts from the ftate of the bleffed, who conceives them to be perpetually employed in fresh searches "into nature, and to eternity advancing into the fathomlefs depths of the divine perfections, In this thought there is nothing but what doth honour to thefe glorified fpirits; provided ftill it be remembered, that their defire of more proceeds not from their difrelifhing what they poffefs; and the pleasure of a new enjoyment is not with them measured by its novelty (which is a thing merely foreign and accidental) but by its real intrinfic value. After an acquaintance of many thousand C years with the works of God, the beauty and magnificence of the creation fills them with the fame pleafing wonder and profound awe, which Adam felt himself feized with as he first opened his eyes upon this glorious fcene. Truth captivates with unborrowed charms, and whatever hath once iven fatisfaction will always do it: in all which they have manifestly the advantage of us, who are fo much governed by fickly and changeable appetites, that we can with the greatest coldness behold the ftupendous difplays of omnipotence, and be in transports at the puny effays of human skill; throw afide fpeculations of the fublimeft nature and vafteft importance into fome obfcure corner of the mind, to make room for new notions of no confequence at all; are even tired of health, because not enlivened with alternate pain; and prefer the first reading of an indifferent author, to the fecond or third perufal of one whofe merit and reputation are established.
'additions, than in taking a review of our old 'ftore. There are fome inconveniencies that follow this temper, if not guarded against, particularly this, that through a too great eagernefs of fomething new, we are many times impatient of ftaying long enough upon a queftion that requires fome time to refolve it, or, which is worfe, perfuade curfelves that we are mafters of the fubje&t before we are fo, only to be at the liberty of going upon a frefh fcent; in Mr. Lock's words, "we fee a "little, prefume a great deal, and fo jump to "the conclufion."
A farther advantage of our inclination for ' novelty, as at prefent circumftantiated, is,' 'that it annihilates all the boafted diftinctions < among mankind. Look not up with envy 'to thofe above thee. Sounding titles, ftately buildings, fine gardens, gilded chariots, rich 'equipages, what are they? they dazzle every one but the poffeffor: to him that is accuftomed to them they are cheap and regardless things: they fupply him not with brighter images, or more fublime fatisfactions than the plain man may have, whofe fmall eftate 6 may just enable him to fupport the charge of
a fimple unincumbered life. He enters heedlefs into his rooms of ftate as you or I do under our poor fheds. The noble paintings and coftly furniture are loft on him; he fees them not as how can it be otherwife, when by 'custom, a fabrick infinitely more grand and 'finished, that of the univerfe, ftands unobferved by the inhabitants, and the everlasting lamps of heaven are lighted up in vain, for any notice that mortals take of them? thanks to indulgent nature, which not only placed her children originally upon a level, but still, by the ftrength of this principle, in a great measure preferves it, in fpite of all the care of man to introduce artificial diftinctions.
To add no more, is not this fondness of ' novelty, which makes us out of conceit with 'all we already have, a convincing proof of a future ftate? either man was made in vain, · or this is not the only world he was made for : for there cannot be a greater inftance of vanity, than that to which man is liable, to be deluded from the cradle to the grave with ' fleeting fhadows of happiness. His pleasures,
and those not confiderable neither, die in the 'poffeffion, and fresh enjoyments do not rife 'faft enough to fill up half his life with fatis
Our being thus formed ferves many ufeful purpofes in the prefent tate. It contributes not a little to the advancement of learning; for, as Cicero takes notice, that which makes
faction. When I fee perfons fick of themfelves any longer than they are called away by fomething that is of force to chain down the
men willing to undergo the fatigues of phi-prefent thought; when I fee them hurry from lofophical difquifitions, is not fo much the "greatnefs of objects as their novelty. It is not enough that there is field and game for the chace, and that the understanding is prompt-ent ed with a reftiefs thirft of knowledge, effectually to roufe the foul, funk into a state of floth and indolence; it is alfo neceffary that there be an 'uncommon pleafure annexed to the first appearance of truth in the mind. This pleafure being exquifite for the time it la ts but tranfient, it hereby comes to pass 5 that the mind grows into an indifference to its former notion's, and paffes, on after new difcoveries, in hope of repeating the delight. It is with knowledge as with-wealth, the pleafure of which lies are in making endless
country to town, and then from the town back again into the country, continually shifting poftures, and placing life in all the differlights they can think of; "furely," fay I to myself, "life is vain, and the man beyond expreffion stupid or prejudiced, who from the ' vanity of life cannot gather, he is defigned for immortality.”