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No. 076 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 76
Monday, May 28, 1711.

‘Ut tu Fortunam, sic nos te, Celse, feremus.’


There is nothing so common as to find a Man whom in the general Observations of his Carriage you take to be of an uniform Temper, subject to such unaccountable Starts of Humour and Passion, that he is as much unlike himself and differs as much from the Man you at first thought him, as any two distinct Persons can differ from each other. This proceeds from the Want of forming some Law of Life to our selves, or fixing some Notion of things in general, which may affect us in such Manner as to create proper Habits both in our Minds and Bodies. The Negligence of this, leaves us exposed not only to an unbecoming Levity in our usual Conversation, but also to the same Instability in our Friendships, Interests, and Alliances. A Man who is but a mere Spectator of what passes around him, and not engaged in Commerces of any Consideration, is but an ill Judge of the secret Motions of the Heart of Man, and by what Degrees it is actuated to make such visible Alterations in the same Person: But at the same Time, when a Man is no way concerned in the Effects of such Inconsistences in the Behaviour of Men of the World, the Speculation must be in the utmost Degree both diverting and instructive; yet to enjoy such Observations in the highest Relish, he ought to be placed in a Post of Direction, and have the dealing of their Fortunes to them. I have therefore been wonderfully diverted with some Pieces of secret History, which an Antiquary, my very good Friend, lent me as a Curiosity. They are memoirs of the private Life of Pharamond of France. [1]

Pharamond, says my Author, was a Prince of infinite Humanity and Generosity, and at the same time the most pleasant and facetious Companion of his Time. He had a peculiar Taste in him (which would have been unlucky in any Prince but himself,) he thought there could be no exquisite Pleasure in Conversation but among Equals; and would pleasantly bewail himself that he always lived in a Crowd, but was the only man in France that never could get into Company. This Turn of Mind made him delight in Midnight Rambles, attended only with one Person of his Bed-chamber: He would in these Excursions get acquainted with Men (whose Temper he had a Mind to try) and recommend them privately to the particular Observation of his first Minister. He generally found himself neglected by his new Acquaintance as soon as they had Hopes of growing great; and used on such Occasions to remark, That it was a great Injustice to tax Princes of forgetting themselves in their high Fortunes, when there were so few that could with Constancy bear the Favour of their very Creatures.’

My Author in these loose Hints has one Passage that gives us a very lively Idea of the uncommon Genius of Pharamond. He met with one Man whom he had put to all the usual Proofs he made of those he had a mind to know thoroughly, and found him for his Purpose: In Discourse with him one Day, he gave him Opportunity of saying how much would satisfy all his Wishes. The Prince immediately revealed himself, doubled the Sum, and spoke to him in this manner.

‘Sir, You have twice what you desired, by the Favour of Pharamond; but look to it, that you are satisfied with it, for ’tis the last you shall ever receive. I from this Moment consider you as mine; and to make you truly so, I give you my Royal Word you shall never be greater or less than you are at present. Answer me not, (concluded the Prince smiling) but enjoy the Fortune I have put you in, which is above my own Condition; for you have hereafter nothing to hope or to fear.’