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IF the Notion of a gradual Rife 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 fame Rule (if I may indulge my Fancy in this Particular) a fuperior • Brute looks with a kind of Pride on one of an inferior Species. If they could reflect, we might imagine from the Gestures of fome of them, that they think them⚫ felves the Sovereigns of the World, and that all Things were made for them. Such a Thought would not be " more abfurd 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 amufe their Imaginations. Mr. Dryden in his Fable ⚫ of the Cock and the Fox, makes a Speech for his Hero the Cock, which is a pretty Inftance for this Purpose,

Then turning, faid to Partlet, See my Dear,
How lavish Nature hath adorn'd the Year;
How the pale Primrofe and the Violet fpring,
And Birds effay their Throats, difus'd to fing:
All these are ours, and I with Pleasure fee
Man frutting on two Legs, and aping me.

• WHAT I Would obferve from the Whole is this, • That we ought to value ourselves upon thofe Things only which fuperior Beings think valuable, fince that is the only way for us not to fink in our own Efteem ⚫ hereafter.

Friday,

No. 622.

Friday, November 19.

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Fallentis Semita Vitæ.

Mr. SPECTATOR,

IN

Hor.

N a former Speculation you have obferved, that true Greatnefs doth not confift in that Pomp and Noife wherein the Generality of Mankind are apt to place it. You have there taken Notice, that Virtue in Obfcurity often appears more illuftrious in the Eye of fuperior Beings, than all that paffes for Grandeur and Magnificence among Men.

WHEN We look back upon the Hiftory of those who have born the Parts of Kings, Statefmen, or • Commanders, they appear to us ftripped of those out-fide Ornaments that dazzle their Contempora⚫ries; and we regard their Perfons as great or little, in Proportion to the Eminence of their Virtues or Vices. The wife Sayings, generous Sentiments, or • difinterefted Conduct of a Philofopher under mean • Circumstances of Life, fet him higher in our Esteem than the mighty Potentates of the Earth, when we view them both through the long Profpect of many Ages. Were the Memoirs of an obfcure 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 fet ⚫ him on a Level with Men of the highest Stations. The following Extract out of the private Papers of an honest Country-Gentleman will fet this Matter in a clear Light. Your Reader will perhaps con'ceive a greater Idea of him from these Actions done in Secret, and without a Witnefs, than of those which have drawn upon them the Admiration of Multitudes. MEMOIRS

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MEMOIR S.

"In my 22d Year I found a violent Affection for my "Coufin Charles's Wife growing upon me, wherein I was in danger of fucceeding, if I had not upon that "Account begun my Travels into foreign Countries. "A little after my return into England, at a private Meeting with my Uncle Francis, I refufed the Offer "of his Eftate, and prevailed upon him not to difinherit "his Son Ned.

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"Mem. NEVER to tell this to Ned, left he should "think hardly of his deceased Father; though he con"tinues to speak ill of me for this very Reafon.

"PREVENTED a fcandalous Law-fuit betwixt my "Nephew Harry and his Mother, by allowing her "under-hand, out of my own Pocket, fo much Money yearly as the Dispute was about.

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"PROCURED a Benefice for a young Divine, who is Sifter's Son to the good Man who was my Tutor, "and hath been dead twenty Years.

"GAVE ten Pounds to poor Mrs. "H's Widow.

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my Friend

"Mem. To retrench one Dish at my Table, till I "have fetched it up again.

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"Mem. To repair my House and finish my Gardens "in order to employ poor People after Harvest Time. "ORDERED John to let out Goodman D. "Sheep that were pounded, by Night: but not to let. "his Fellow Servants know it.

"PREVAILED upon M. T. Efq; not to take the. "Law of the Farmer's Son for fhooting a Partridge, "and to give him his Gun again.

"PAID the Apothecary for curing an old Woman "that confeffed herself a Witch,

"GAVE away my favourite Dog for biting a Beggar. "MADE the Minister of the Parish, and a Whig "Juftice of one Mind, by putting them upon explaining "their Notions to one another.

"Mem. To turn off Petar for fhooting a Doe while fhe was eating Acorns out of his Hand.

" WHEN

"WHEN my Neighbour John, who hath often injured me, comes to make his Request To-morrow? 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 remitted 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 the better "for it as long as I live.

"Mem. To charge my Son in private to erect no "Monument for me; but not to put this in my last Will.

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Sed mihi vel tellus optem prius ima dehifcat,
Vel pater omnipotens adigat me fulmine ad umbras,
Pallentes umbras Erebi noctemque profundam,
Ante, pudor, quam te violem aut tua jura refolvam.
Ille meos, primos qui me fibi junxit, amores

Abftulit: ille habeat fecum, fervetque fepulchro. Virg.

AM obliged to my Friend, the Love-Cafuift, for the following curious Piece of Antiquity, which I fhall communicate to the Publick in his own Words.

Mr. SPECTATOR.

YOU

U may remember, that I lately tranfmitted to you an Account of an ancient Cuftom, in the • Manors of East and Weft-Enborne, in the County of Berks, and elsewhere. If a Customary 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 the lives fingle and chaßte; but if he commits Incontinency, be forfeits her Eftate: Yet if he will come

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into

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into the Court riding backward upon a Black Ram, with bis Tail in her Hand, and fay the Words following, the "Steward is bound by the Cuftom to re-admit her to ber Free-Bench.

Here I am,

Riding upon a Black Ram,
Like a Whore as I am;

And, for my Crincum Crancum,
Have loft my Bincum Bancum ;
And for my Tail's Game,
Have done this worldly Shame;

Therefore, I pray you Mr. Steward, let me bave my
Land again.

AFTER having informed you that my Lord Coke obferves, that this is the most frail and flippery Tenure of any in England, I fhall tell you, firce the Writing of that Letter, I have, according to my Promise, been at great Pains in fearching out the Re• cords of the Black Ram; and have at last met with the Proceedings of the Court-Baron, 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 Estates, by a crafty old Steward, he found that many of the Lands ⚫ of the Manor were, by default of the feveral Widows, < forfeited to the Lord, and accordingly would have en⚫ter'd on the Premifes: Upon which the good Woman demanded the Benefit of the Ram. The Steward, after having perufed their feveral Pleas, adjourn'd the Court to Barnaby-bright, that they might have Day enough before them.

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THE Court being fet, and filled with a great Comcourfe of People, who came from all Parts to fee the Solemnity, the firft who entered was the Widow Frontly, who had made her Appearance in the laft Year's Cavalcade. The Regifter obferves, that finding it an eafy Pad-Ram, and foreseeing the might have further Occalion for it, fhe purchased it of the Steward.

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