The Placeman and The Husbandman

A Placeman met a Peasant and asked why the Peasant did not flatter to advance. The Peasant asked why not work and get out of the slavery of the mind.

Prize only honors which man can neither give nor take away.


NorthcoteNorthcote

JN Fable 085

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: S. Slader (1828)

A well-fed Placeman of the meanest extraction, had raised himself to nobility, not by merit, but by the basest acts of flattery and slavery; and was now in the highest circles of society. One day chancing to take a solitary walk, at some distance from his palace in the country, he accidenta11y met with an honest laborious Peasant, and being very forcibly struck by the vast difference in their situations, could not help exclaiming to the humble Husbandman in these words: “Wherefore, my honest friend, do you not learn to flatter and please as I do? you would then no longer be obliged to labour like a slave, to get a livelihood by your hands, and the sweat of your brow.”

“And why,” answered the other, “do you not learn to work as I do? you would then no longer be a real slave, for your state is the meanest of all slavery, that of the mind. ‘I prize only those honours, which man can neither give nor take away.'”

Application

Many men are but too apt to set up a court of honour within themselves, wishing to elude the only source of real honour, and thus pronounce every thing commendable that serves their purpose, and laugh at those who may think otherwise.

The honour which we worship, is often an imaginary deity, that robs us of real honour. But those whose vices have raised them from the dust, commonly possess such a portion of assurance, as renders them ashamed of nothing but their own father.
Gents. Mag.

JN Fable 085a

Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: J. Smith (1828)