Essay: “A Degenerate Noble: Or One That Is P:roud of His Birth.” Samuel Butler.
He glories in the antiquity of his family. He believes that the honor that was left him is sufficient to support his quality without troubling himself to add to the family’s honor and prosperity. “The living honor of his ancestors is long ago departed, dead and gone, and his is but the ghost and shadow of it….” He will never rise again to the height of his ancestors by his means. He has no business but to spend. He consumes and wastes. He is like a word that has lost its meaning and assumed the meaning of its opposite. “He values himself only upon his title….” 1668.
The Oxford Book of Essays. Ed. John Gross. Oxford and new York: Oxford University Press. 1991.