The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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We may further observe, that such a Man will be more grieved for the Loss of Fame, than he could have been pleased with the Enjoyment of it.  For tho the Presence of this imaginary Good cannot make us happy, the Absence of it may make us miserable:  Because in the Enjoyment of an Object we only find that Share of Pleasure which it is capable of giving us, but in the Loss of it we do not proportion our Grief to the real Value it bears, but to the Value our Fancies and Imaginations set upon it.

So inconsiderable is the Satisfaction that Fame brings along with it, and so great the Disquietudes, to which it makes us liable.  The Desire of it stirs up very uneasy Motions in the Mind, and is rather inflamed than satisfied by the Presence of the Thing desired.  The Enjoyment of it brings but very little Pleasure, tho the Loss or Want of it be very sensible and afflicting; and even this little Happiness is so very precarious, that it wholly depends on the Will of others.  We are not only tortured by the Reproaches which are offered us, but are disappointed by the Silence of Men when it is unexpected; and humbled even by their Praises. [4]


[Footnote 1:  Parts]

[Footnote 2:  [Name]]

[Footnote 3:  Oratio pro M. Marcello.]

[Footnote 4:  I shall conclude this Subject in my next Paper.]

* * * * *

No. 257.  Tuesday, December 25, [1] 1711.  Addison.

  [Greek:  Ouch ehudei Dios
          Ophthalmos eggus d esti kai paron pono.—­Incert. ex Stob.]

That I might not lose myself upon a Subject of so great Extent as that of Fame, I have treated it in a particular Order and Method.  I have first of all considered the Reasons why Providence may have implanted in our Mind such a Principle of Action.  I have in the next Place shewn from many Considerations, first, that Fame is a thing difficult to be obtained, and easily lost; Secondly, that it brings the ambitious Man very little Happiness, but subjects him to much Uneasiness and Dissatisfaction.  I shall in the last Place shew, that it hinders us from obtaining an End which we have Abilities to acquire, and which is accompanied with Fulness of Satisfaction.  I need not tell my Reader, that I mean by this End that Happiness which is reserved for us in another World, which every one has Abilities to procure, and which will bring along with it Fulness of Joy and Pleasures for evermore.

How the Pursuit after Fame may hinder us in the Attainment of this great End, I shall leave the Reader to collect from the three following Considerations.

First, Because the strong Desire of Fame breeds several vicious Habits in the Mind.

Secondly, Because many of those Actions, which are apt to procure Fame, are not in their Nature conducive to this our ultimate Happiness.

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