That it should have been ill received would raise wonder did we not daily see the capricious distribution of theatrical praise. Oft let me range the gloomy Iles alone Sad luxury! Before the Tatler and Spectator, if the writers for the theatre are excepted, England had no masters of common life. They lay their heads together, with their snuff-boxes in their hands, as Mr. Addison also assisted Steele with the Guardian which began in 1713. Jacobaei Centum exulantis viscera marsupii regis.
Failing in health, he resigned the position a year later. Addison was educated at Charterhouse, and at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating B. Of this version a copy was sent to Mr. In 1699 Addison was rewarded with a grant of money which allowed him to make the grand tour, a series of visits to the main European capitals, which was a standard part of the education of the 18th-century gentleman. In 1717 he was appointed secretary of state; he retired the next year with a generous pension.
Shaw, then master of the school at Lichfield, father of the late Dr. It came too late to be of use, so I inspected it but slightly, and remember it indistinctly. He purposed a tragedy on the death of Socrates: a story of which, as Tickell remarks, the basis is narrow, and to which I know not how love could have been appended. It is cited by some historians as a literary inspiration for the , being known to many of the. Southwell, a clerk in the house, and ordered him to dispatch the message.
He started working with an old friend, Richard Steele, to publish stories, essays, and other forms of writing. Having left his apprehension behind him, he, at first, applies what Marcia says to Sempronius; but finding at last, with much ado, that he himself is the happy man, he quits his eaves-dropping, and discovers himself just time enough to prevent his being cuckolded by a dead man, of whom the moment before he had appeared so jealous, and greedily intercepts the bliss which was fondly designed for one who could not be the better for it. Much likewise may be more honourably ascribed to his personal character: he who, if he had claimed it, might have obtained the diadem, was not likely to be denied the laurel. In the office, says Pope, he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest of fine expressions. He demanded to be the first name in modern wit; and, with Steele to echo him, used to depreciate Dryden, whom Pope and Congreve defended against them.
This year 1716 he married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, whom he had solicited by a very long and anxious courtship, perhaps with behaviour not very unlike that of Sir Roger to his disdainful widow: and who, I am afraid, diverted herself often by playing with his passion. He first distinguished himself by his Latin compositions, published in the Musae Anglicanae, and was admired as one of the best authors since the Augustan age, in the two universities and the greatest part of Europe, before he was talked of as a Poet in Town. In 1717 he was appointed secretary of state; he retired the next year with a generous pension. To prevent this subversion of the ancient establishment, Steele, whose pen readily seconded his political passions, endeavoured to alarm the nation by a pamphlet called The Plebeian; to this an answer was published by Addison, under the title of The Old Whig, in which it is not discovered that Steele was then known to be the advocate for the Commons. He was known as a temperate, conciliatory politician. They were seen by Pope, and by Cibber, who relates that Steele when he took back the copy told him, in the despicable cant of literary modesty, that, whatever spirit his friend had shewn in the composition, he doubted whether he would have courage sufficient to expose it to the censure of a British audience.
The place, forsooth, is a long hall. To the rest, neither gods nor men can have much attention; for there is not one amongst them that strongly attracts either affection or esteem. The two comic characters of Sir Trusty and Grideline, though of no great value, are yet such as the poet intended. Wharton was impious, profligate, and shameless, without regard, or appearance of regard, to right and wrong: whatever is contrary to this, may be said of Addison; but as agents of a party they were connected, and how they adjusted their other sentiments we cannot know. In 1708, Joseph Addison was promoted up the political ladder, and he became a member of Parliament.
The Spectator in one of the first papers shewed the political tenets of its authors; but a resolution was soon taken of courting general approbation by general topicks, and subjects on which faction had produced no diversity of sentiments; such as literature, morality, and familiar life. To judge better of the probability of this story, I have enquired when he was sent to the Chartreux; but, as he was not one of those who enjoyed the Founder's benefaction, there is no account preserved of his admission. He eventually fell out with Steele over the Peerage Bill of 1719. But whatever might be the disposition of the lords, the people had no wish to increase their power. To attempt a single paper was no terrifying labour; many pieces were offered, and many were received. In argument he had many equals; but his humour was singular and matchless.
During the winter of 1715-16 Addison was employed by the Whig Party to uphold its interests, and he published The Freeholder, a political paper; his reward was in all probability the position of Commissioner for Trade and Colonies. Addison was, I believe, sufficiently disposed to bar all avenues against all danger. Our offspring, most certainly; as Nature, or in other words Providence, has wisely contrived for the preservation of mankind. He has dissipated the prejudice that had long connected gaiety with vice, and easiness of manners with laxity of principles. He was educated at the Charterhouse, an important boarding school, and then at Oxford, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1691. Addison, in his life, and for some time afterwards, was considered by the greater part of readers as supremely excelling both in poetry and criticism.
He now returned to his vocation, and began to plan literary occupations for his future life. A winged Virtue, through th' ethereal sky, From world to world unweary'd does he fly? And of those whom we know, which do we cherish most, our friends or our enemies? Wharton was impious, profligate, and shameless; without regard, or appearance of regard, to right and wrong. The emulation of parties made it successful beyond expectation; and its success has introduced or confirmed among us the use of dialogue too declamatory, of unaffecting elegance, and chill philosophy. Addison is most widely known through his contributions to the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian and Freeholder. Addison the honour of the most applauded pieces in that collection. When Cato was shewn to Pope, he advised the author to print it, without any theatrical exhibition; supposing that it would be read more favourably than heard. In the office, says Pope, he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest of fine expressions.
His rhymes are often dissonant; in his Georgic he admits broken lines. The remark of Mandeville, who, when he had passed an evening in his company, declared that he was a parson in a tye-wig, can detract little from his character: he was always reserved to strangers, and was not incited to uncommon freedom by a character like that of Mandeville. Before a censure so severe is admitted, let us consider that war is a frequent subject of poetry, and then inquire who has described it with more justice and force. His Trial of Count Tariff, written to expose the Treaty of Commerce with France, lived no longer than the question that produced it. In 1683, in the beginning of his twelfth year, his father being made Dean of Lichfield, naturally carried his family to his new residence, and, I believe, placed him for some time, probably not long, under Mr. This species of instruction was continued and perhaps advanced by the French; among whom La Bruyere's Manners of the Age, though, as Boileau, remarked, it is written without connection, certainly deserves great praise for liveliness of description and justness of observation. No writers had yet undertaken to reform either the savageness of neglect, or the impertinence of civility; to shew when to speak, or to be silent; how to refuse, or how to comply.