Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
A Vulgar-Spirited Man
By John Earle (1601?1665)
IS one of the herd of the world. One that follows merely the common cry, and makes it louder by one. A man that loves none but who are publicly affected, and he will not be wiser than the rest of the town. That never owns a friend after an ill name, or some general imputation though he knows it most unworthy. That opposes to reason, Thus men say, and Thus most do, and Thus the world goes; and thinks this enough to poise the other. That worships men in place, and those only, and thinks all a great man speaks oracles. Much taken with my lords jest, and repeats you it all to a syllable. One that justifies nothing out of fashion, nor any opinion out of the applauded way. That thinks certainly all Spaniards and Jesuits very villains, and is still cursing the Pope and Spinola. One that thinks the gravest cassock the best scholar: and the best clothes the finest man. That is taken only with broad and obscene wit, and hisses any thing too deep for him. That cries Chaucer for his money above all our English poets, because the voice has gone so, and he has read none. That is much ravisht with such a noble mans courtesy, and would venture his life for him, because he put off his hat. One that is foremost still to kiss the Kings hand, and cries God bless his Majesty loudest. That rails on all men condemned and out of favour, and the first that says, Away with the traitors: yet struck with much ruth at executions, and for pity to see a man die, could kill the hangman. That comes to London to see it, and the pretty things in it, and the chief cause of his journey the bears: that measures the happiness of the kingdom by the cheapness of corn; and conceives no harm of state, but ill trading. Within this compass, too, come those that are too much wedged into the world, and have no lifting thoughts above those things that call to thrive, to do well, and preferment only the grace of God. That aim all studies at this mark, and show you poor scholars as an example to take heed by. That think the prison and want, a judgment for some sin, and never like well hereafter of a jail-bird. That know no other content but wealth, bravery, and the town-pleasures; that think all else but idle speculation, and the philosophers mad-men: in short, men that are carried away with all outwardnesses, shows, appearances, the stream, the people; for there is no man of worth but has a piece of singularity, and scorns something.