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mentioned, in a new, and, I think, not disagreeable light.
· Mr. SPCTATOR, TERE the genealogy of every family reserved,
there would probably be no man valued or despised on account of his birth. There is fcarce ' a beggar in the streets, who would not find him. • self lineally descended from some great man; nor
any one of the highest title, who would not • discover several base and indigent persons among « his ancestors. It would be a pleasant entertain
ment to see one pedigree of men appear together, • under the fame characters they bore when they • acted their respective parts among the living.
Suppose therefore, a gentleman, full of his illu. • ftrious family, should, in the same manner as · Virgil makes Æneas look over his descendents, fee
the whole line of his progenitors pass in a review • before his eyes, with how many varying paffions « would he behold shepherds and soldiers, statemen ' and artificers, princes and beggars, walk in the • proceffion of five thoufand years! How would • his heart sink or flutter at the several fports of • fortune in a scene fo diversified with rags and • purple, handicraft tools and scepters, enfigns
of dignity and emblems of difgrace; and how • would his fears and apprehensions, hïs transports • and mortifications, succeed one another, as the • line of his genealogy appeared bright or obscure?
• In most of the pedigrees hung up in old man. fion-houses, you are sure to find the first in the
catalogue a great ftatefinan, or a foldier with an " honorable commiffion. The honest artificer that
begot him, and all his frugal anceftors before ** him, are torn off from the top of the register;
and you are not left to imagine, that the noble founder of the family ever had a father. Were we to trace many boasted Kines farther backwards,
we should lose them in a mob of tradesmen, or a croud of ruftics, without hope of seeing them
emerge again : Not unlike the old Appian way, " wlich after having run many miles in length, lo• fes itself in a bog.
• I lately made a visit to an old country gentle
man, who is very far gone in this fort of Family • Madness. I found him in his study perusing an o old register of his family, which he had just then
discovered, as it was branched out in the form of
a tree, upon a skin of parchment. Having the • honour to have some of his blood in my veins, he • permitted me to cast my eye over the boughs of • this venerable plant; and asked my advice in the • reforming of some of the fuperfluous branches.
We paffed slightly over three or four of our • immediate forefathers, whom we knew by tradi
tion, but were foon stopped by an Alderman of
London, who, I perceived, made my kinsman's • heart go pit-a-pat. His confufion increased when • he found the Alderman's father to be a grafier; • but he recovered his fright upon seeing Justice of * the Quorum at the end of his titles. Things went
on pretty well, as we threw our eyes occasionally
over the tree, when unfortunately he perceived a ' merchant-taylor perched on a bough, who was • faid greatly to have increafed the estate; he was ! just a going to cut bim off, if he had not seen "Gent. after the name of his fon; who was record.
ed to have mortgaged one of the manors his honeft father had purchafed. A weaver who was burned for his religion in the reign of Queen Mary, was pruned away without mercy; as was like• wise a yeoman, who died of a fall from his own
cart. But great was our triumph in one of the • blood who was beheaded for high treason : • Which nevertheless was not a little allayed by an• other of our ancestors, who was hanged for steal: ing of sheep. The expectations of my good cou
fin were wonderfully raised by a match into the
family of a knight, but unfortunately for us this • branch proved barren : On the other hand Mare 'gery the milk-maid being twined round a bough,
it flourished out into so many fhoots, and bent ! with so much fruit, that the old gentleman was
quite out of countenance. To comfort me under. this disgrace, he singled out a branch ten times
more fruitful than the other, which he told me 'he valued more than any in the tree, and bid me be S of good comfort. This enormous bough was a
graft out of a Welfs heiress, with fo many Ap's upon it that it it might have made a little grove
by itself. From the trunk of the pedigree, which ' was chiefly composed of labourers and shepherds, ' arose a huge sprout of farmers ; this was branched
out into yeomen; and ended in a sheriff of the county ; who was knighted for his good service ' to the crown, in bringing up an address. Several ;
of the names that seemed to disparage the family, being looked upon as mistakes, were lopped off
as rotten or withered ; as, on the contrary, no . fmall number appearing without any titles, my • cousin, to supply the defects of the manuscript, " added Elq; at the end of each of them.
• This tree fo pruned, dreffed, and cultivated, was, within a few days, transplanted into a large 4 sheet of vellum, and placed in the great hati, ! where it attracts the veneration of his tenants e.
very Sunday morning, while they wait until his
worship is ready to go to church; wondering • that a man, who had fo many fathers before !. him, should not be made a knight, or at least a · justice of the peace.'
NO 613. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29.
Studiis florentem ignebilis etí.
VIRG. Georg. iv. ver. 564. Affecting studies of less noisy praise. Dryden. IT is reckoned a piece of ill. breeding for cne man
to ingross the whole talk to himielf. For this reason, since I keep three visiting days in the week, I am content now and then to let
put a word. There are several advantages hereby ac. cruing both to my readers and myself. As first, young and modest writers have an opportunity of getting into print: Again, the town enjoys the pleasure of variety; and posterity will see the humour of the present age, by the help of these little lights into private and domestic life. The benefits I receive from thence, aré such as these ; I gain more time for future fpeculations; pick up hints which I improve for the publick good ; give advice; redress grievances; and, by leaving commodious spaces between the several letters that I print, furnith out a Spectator with little labour and great oftentation,
Mr. SPECTATOR, I Was mightily pleased with your speculation of
Friday. Your sentiments are noble, and the • whole worked up in such a manner, as cannot but • strike upon every veader. But give me leave to • make this remark; That while you write fo pa'thetically on contentment, and a retired life, you ' footh the passion of melancholy, and depress the ' mind frem actions truly glorious. Titles and bo
nours are the reward of virtue : We therefore ought to be affected with them : And though
Light minds are too much pufferł up with exterior pomp, yet I cannot fee why it is not as truly philosophical, to admire the glowing ruby, or the ' sparkling green of an emerald, as the fainter and
less permanent beauties of a rose or a myrtle. • If there are men of extraordinary capacities-wholie concealed from the world, I should impute it
to thein as a blot in their character, did nor I be• lieve it owing to the meanness of their fortune
rather than of their fpirit. Cowley, who tells the story of Aglaüs with so much pleasure, was no. stranger to courts, nor insensible of praile. What fball I do to be for ever known, And make the
age to.come my own was the result of a laudable ambition. It was
not until after frequent disappointments, that he • termed himself the melancholy Cowley; and be
praised folitude, when he dispaired of shining in
a court. The soul of a man is an active principle. • He therefore, who withdraws from the scene be
fore he has played his part, ought to be hifled off • the stage, and cannot be deemed virtuous, because ? he refuses to answer his end. I must own I am • fired with an honest ambition to imitate every il· lustrious example, The battles of Blenheim and • Ramillies have more tlian once made me with my• self a soldier. And when I have seen those ac, . tions fo nobly celebrated by our poets, I have se6.cretly afpired to be one of that distinguished class. ? But in vain I wish, in vain 1 pant with the desire « of action. I am chained down in obfcurity, and
the only pleafure I can take is in seeing so many brighter geniuses join their friendly lights, to add « to the fplendor of the țhrone. Farewel then, dear
Spec, and believe me to be, twith great emulation
" and no es
• Your profeffed admirer,