صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

for what fignifies his being proud, if there is not somebody always present to exercise his pride upon? He must therefore of necessity have a set of humble cousins and toad-eaters about him, and as such cattle cannot be had for nothing in this country, he must pay them according to the value of their services; common trash


be had at a common price, but clever fellows know their own confequence, and will stand out upon terms: If Nebuchadnezzar had not had all people, nations, and languages at his command, he might have called till he was hoarse before any one would have come to worship his image in the plain of Dura; let the proud man take notice withal that Nebuchadnezzar's image was made of gold, and if he expects to be worshipped by all people after this fashion, and casts himself in the fame mould, he must also cast himself in the same metal. Now if I am right in my affertion, that fycophants bear a higher price in England than elsewhere (and, if scarcity makes things dear, I trust they do) let the proud man consider if it be worth his while to pay dear for bad company, when he may have good-fellowship at an easy rate: Here then is another instance of his bad policy, and sure it is a sorrowful thing to be poor and proud

That I may thoroughly do my duty to an order

[ocr errors]

of men, to whose service I dedicate this short efsay, I must not omit to mention, that it behoves a proud man in all places and on all occasions to preserve an air of gloominess and melancholy, and never to suffer fo vulgar an expreffion as mirth or laughter to disarrange the decorum of his features : other men will be apt to make

with his humour, but he must never be made merry by their’s : In this respect he is truly to be pitied, for if once he grows sociable he is undone. On the contrary, he must for ever remain in the very predicament of the proud man described in the fragment of Euripides's Ixion-Qiao's žuxlós, tàu máontónet - Urbi atque amicis pariter insociabilis : He must have no friend, for that would be to admit an equal; he must take no advice, for that would be to acknowledge a superior : Such society as he can find in his own thoughts, and such wisdom as he was sent into the world with,. such he must go on with : as wit is not absolutely annexed to pedigree in this country, and arts and sciences sometimes condescend to throw, their beams upon the low-born and the humble, it is not possible for the proud man to descend amongst them for information and society; if truth does not hang within his reach, he will never dive into a well to fetch it up: His errors, like some arguments, move in a circle; for



his pride begets ignorance, and his ignorance begets pride; and thus in the end he has more reafons for being melancholy than Master Stephen had, not only because it is gentleman-like, but because he can't help it, and don't know how to be merry,

I might enumerate many more properties of this contemptible character, but these are enough, and a proud man is so dull a fellow at best that I shall gladly take my leave of him; I confess also that I am not able to treat the subject in any other than a vague and desultory manner, for I know not how to define it myself, and at the same time am not reconciled to any other definition of pride, which I have met in Mr. Locke's essay or elsewhere. It is called a passion, and yet it has not the essentials of a paffion; for I can bring to mind nothing under that description, which has not reference either to God, to our fellow-creatures, or to ourselves. -The sensual passions for instance of whatever sort have their end in selfish gratification; the generous attributes, such as valour, friendship, public spirit, munificence and contempt of danger

haye respect to our fellow-creatures; they look for their account in an honorable fame, in the enjoyment of present praise and in the anti


[ocr errors]

cipation of that, which posterity shall bestow; whilst the less oftentatious and purer virtues of felf-denial, resignation, humility, piety, forbearance and many others are addressed to God alone, they offer no gratification to self, they seek for no applause from man. But in which of these three general classes shall we discover the passion of pride ? I have indeed sometimes feen under the cloak of religion, but nothing can be more opposite to the practice of it: It is in vain to enquire for it amongst the generous and social attributes, for it's place is no where to be found in fociety; and I am equally at 4 loss to think how that can be called a selfish gratification, which brings nothing home to a man's heart but mortification, contempt, abhorrence, secret discontent and public ridicule. It is composed of contraries, and founded in absurdity; for at the same time that it cannot subfift without the world's respect, it is so constituted as never to obtain it. Anger is proverbially termed a short madnefs, but pride methinks is a perpetual one; if I had been inclined to use a softer word, I would have called it folly; I do confefs I have often seen it in that more venial character, and therefore not to decide upon the point too hastily, I shall leave the proud man to


make his choice between folly and madness, and take out his commiffion from which party he fees fit.

Good heaven! how pleasant, how complacent to itself and others is an humble disposition! To a foul so tempered how delightfully life passes in brotherly love and fimplicity of manners! Every eye bestows the chearing look of approbation upon the humble man; every brow frowns contempt upon the proud. Let me therefore advise every gentleman, when he finds himself inclined to take up the character of pride, to consider well whether he can be quite proud enough for all purposes of life; whether his pride reaches to that pitch as to meet univerfal contempt with indifference; whether it will bear him out against mortification, when he finds himself excluded from society, and understands that he is ridiculed by every body in it; whether it is convenient to him always to walk with a stiff back and a stern countenance ; and lastly, whether he is perfectly sure, that he has that strength and self-support in his own human nature, as may defy the power and set at nought the favor of God, who resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.

There is yet another little easy process, which I would recommend to him as a kind of proba


« السابقةمتابعة »